In Today’s Newsletter:
Trending May Sale Wine!
Scott Paul Update
Lisini Ugolaia Brunello
Popular Wines of the Weekend
One of the Rarest Great Sherries: Valdespino 2000
Thierry Germain’s Brilliant Saumur Cab Franc
Muga Reserva 2014
Tempier’s Criminally Underrated Benchmark Reds
Staff Pick: Bodegas Hidalgo
Luxury & Mature Champagne Extravaganza
Trending May Sale Wine!
Wine Spectator 95 points “This has a lovely, perfumy mix of savory, mint, tobacco, blood orange, cherry and bergamot notes, with finely beaded acidity and silky but ample structure. Long, mineral- and shiso leaf-infused finish. Best from 2020 through 2035.”JM
Wine Advocate 94 points “The flagship wine, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape, is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah and 5% other permitted varieties. It features delicate floral scents and ample cherry and licorice aromas. Somehow, it manages to be full-bodied and almost creamy in texture but without much weight, then it ends powerfully, with a flourish of rich Mexican chocolate on the long, silky finish. It should drink well for up to 20 years.”
The average listed price is $81
Scott Paul Update
All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately in this case we mean both the end of the Scott Paul winery and also the deals that have been coming as they liquidate their remaining inventory. They’ve officially closed up shop, so we’ve stocked up with as much of their wines as we could—these deals require quantity purchases (both for you and us). We’ve received all of our deliveries from the ex-winery, so if there’s anything you can’t live without—stock up. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
Some Highlights In Stock (For) Now:
Scott Paul ‘Azana’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2013 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Case-12 Scott Paul ‘Azana’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2013 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Brilliant red. Fresh red berries, cherry compote and a hint of blood orange on the highly perfumed nose and in the mouth. Juicy and lithe in character, with no rough edges; a suave floral pastille nuance emerges on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and spicy cut on the finish, which hangs on with strong, floral tenacity.”
Case-6 Scott Paul Quatre Journaux Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2012 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Vivid ruby-red. Drop-dead gorgeous, highly perfumed aromas of red berry preserves, Asian spices, sassafras and smoky minerals, with an intense floral nuance. Sweet, penetrating and pure, offering nervy red fruit and rose pastille flavors complemented by deeper notes of mocha and licorice. Shows outstanding balance and clarity, with smooth tannins building slowly through a long spice- and mineral-inflected finish.”
Lisini is a classic producer, both in style and in that they were one of the original 25 wineries in the Brunello Consortium. They’re known for powerful wines that see extensive aging in (large format) cask and bottle before release, which softens their textures and gives them wonderful secondary flavors. These are reference-point Brunellos that belong in the cellar of any collector, particularly the under-the-radar and under-$100 single-vineyard wine: the Ugolaia.
Newly Reviewed & In Stock Now
Lisini Ugolaia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 35 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points “A bright and elegant yet taut and structured version, this red features buried cherry, plum, earth, iron and tobacco flavors. Dynamic despite the firm grip of tannins, this should come around in a few years. Licorice and ripe cherry notes mark the finish. Best from 2020 through 2038.”
New Decanter review!
Lisini Ugolaia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $88 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Decanter Magazine 93 points “Pale, authentic shade. Open and well-defined on the nose with wild berry aromas. The palate has very fine, soft and refined tannins, with lots of sweet fruit. Not great structure, but attractive fleshy fruit. Drinking Window 2017 – 2025.”
Also Available, In Stock Now from Lisini:
Lisini Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 90 points “Black cherry, blackberry, iron and wild herb flavors mark this ripe, fruity red, which is well-integrated, with dusty tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2024.”
Lisini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $48 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points “Exuding cherry, strawberry and floral flavors tinged with iron, earth ans spice notes, this ripe red is elegant in profile, tightly wound and deftly balanced, ending with a kick of fruit, spice and mineral elements. Best from 2020 through 2037.”
Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94+ points “I have not seen a Riserva from Lisini for a while, so this wine comes as a pleasant surprise. The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva takes us back to one of the warmest vintages in re-cent memory. However, this wine holds nicely with plenty of lush primary fruit to keep it smelling and tasting younger than its years. Dark cherry and dried blackberry rise to the top. Soon to follow are layers of spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel is thickly layered but vel-vety smooth all the while”.
The average price nationally is $74
Trending Wines of the Weekend
Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special, 26 bottles in stock now
More Durant in the blend this year, this is always one of the prettiest and best-value Willamette Valley Chards out there.
Winery note “Durant Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA is planted in Volcanic soils, on a sheltered east facing slope. Whistling Ridge Vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA is an exposed, ridge top vineyard planted in shallow marine-sedimentary soils. Both are sustainably farmed by the Oregonians who own the land.”The less-expensive Cameron bottlings always fly out of here.
Cameron Winery Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Pegau ‘Pink Pegau’ Rose, Vin de France 2017 750ML ($21.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Pegau ‘Pink Pegau’ Rose, Vin de France 2017 750ML ($249.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 91 points “The plump, medium-bodied 2017 Vin de France Rose is a bit darker and richer than normal, but that’s just fine with me. Raspberry and watermelon flavors pack in more spice than usual as well, giving it more complexity and flavor interest than in the past, including a savory edge to the finish. It should drink well for at least a year.”
Josh Raynolds 90 points “Light, bright orange. Musky cherry, red berry and orange zest aromas show very good clarity and pick up a minerally nuance with air. Chewy, focused and light on its feet, offering biter cherry and redcurrant flavors that take a sweeter turn and deepen on the back half. The mineral note repeats on a long, incisive finish that leaves a hint of juicy raspberry behind.”Top-tier Pinot Gris is as perfect a late-spring wine as you could imagine.
Agathe Bursin Pinot Gris Zinnkoepfle, Alsace Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($44.95) $36 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 93 points “Bright straw. Fresh, deep aromas and flavors of apple, pear and delicate sweet spice are complemented by a stony undertone and a touch of youthful austerity. The apple and spice flavors linger nicely on the back. More refined and more precise than Bursin’s 2016 Pinot Gris Dirstelberg. Bursin owns two plots of Pinot Gris in this grand cru: one is high up on calcaire soil, while the other is farther down where the Zinnkoepflé’s famous pink sandstone starts. This wine always has more acidity than the Dirstelberg, and it gains in liveliness with aeration.”
VinopolNote: The Zinnkoepflé vineyard has been recognized as a top site since the beginning of vine cultivation in Alsace. The road in leading to the vineyard is known as “The Street of Gold” so famed were the wines. The shelly-limestone soils provide for great acidity, so wines from here are always both rich and racy—a rare and impressive combination.
Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $40.90 special, 33 bottles in stock now
The 2016 vintage in Champagne is going to be beautiful, if the NV blends are any indication. Of course we’re hardly surprised at the quality here – Bereche’s Brut Reserve is always the best Champagne buy under $50, and can certainly go toe to toe against bottles that cost even more!
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2017 750ML ($189.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Grapelive 92 points “Saint Cosme’s Cotes-duRhone, grown on a mix of soils, including red clay, pebbles and limestone sands all hillside vines is partial whole cluster and all tank raised. Always a wine of value and purity it gives a ton of character, personality and never disappoints in any vintage, and this one is an exceptional year. In 2017, low yields produced wines with lots of intensity and depth with hedonistic density, but with vibrant fresh detail, with what Barruol notes, adds crunchiness and salinity to this beautiful red wine. This 2017, which is an amazing follow up to the great 2015 and 2016 versions that I loved, delivers boysenberry, sweet blueberry and plum fruit as well as savory spices, a touch of meat, black licorice and a inner perfume of violets and lavender. Rounded tannins give structure, making this wine perform at a higher level than one would expect and this vintage in particular will age well, maybe a decade or more, impressive for the price!”
James Suckling 91 points “Beautiful, garrigue herbs and flowers across fragrant, red berries. The palate has a very deep-set, plush and ripe core of dark-berry flavors, amid glossy, ripe tannins. Great value. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 100% Syrah 2017 Cotes du Rhone is a bargain superstar, offering hints of smoke, cracked pepper, blueberries and black olives. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a long, supple finish. For the $20 (or less) I’ve seen it selling for, you’re not going to find a better Syrah.”Many points/Not much money.
Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Agrelo 2015 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Casarena Owen’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Agrelo, 2015 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle—the lowest listed price in the country!)
Wine Advocate 94 points “Tasted side by side with the 2014, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Owen’s Vineyard feels a lot fresher. This is an old, balanced, traditional vineyard that yields wines with very good depth and natural balance. There is perfect ripeness here and a notable absence of those green pepper aromas that often mask the personality of many Cabernets. These old vines yield very concentrated juice and it shows in the tannins and acidity, which show in perfect harmony. 30,000 bottles produced.”
Marques de Caceres Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 1.5L ($59.95) Was $39, Now $28 May Sale Special
Case-6 Marques de Caceres Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 1.5L ($319.95) Was $219, Now $159 May Sale Special (that’s only $26.50/magnum!)
Wine Spectator 93 points “Black cherry, currant and floral notes are expressive and alluring, balanced by loamy earth, tobacco and mineral elements that add a savory quality. Firm, well-integrated tannins give support to the polished texture, while orange peel acidity fuels the fresh finish. Drink now through 2027.”
The next best price is $43.97
Pure Magic: One of the Rarest Great Sherries
The Valdespino Palo Cortado Anada 2000
Single vintage Sherries (Anada bottlings) are rare. Single vineyard Sherries are basically unheard of. What happens when a top producer (Valdespino) makes a single vintage, single vineyard Palo Cortado from a single, excellent cask and a great year? Pure Magic
Valdespino owns some of the best vineyard land in Jerez and Macharnudo Alto might be their crown jewel. It’s the highest vineyard in the region and has especially chalky soils. Wines from the site seem to have a vitality and energy that’s irreplaceable in other terroirs. The vineyard forms the backbone of their incredible (and pricey) VORS releases
The wine we’re offering today, the Anada 2000 Palo Cortado, hails from this vineyard and indeed from a single barrel—only 500 half-bottles were made. If you love sherry, though, you should do whatever you can to get one, though—these have everything you’d want out of a special release from Valdespino. Our pricing is especially sharp, as well—the next best price in the country is over $30 more expensive.
Only 9 half-bottles remaining!
Valdespino Macharnudo Alto Single Cask Palo Cortado Vintage Sherry, Jerez 2000 375ML ($159.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Sherrynotes.com 4.5 Stars “A complex and aromatic nose, which presents itself in a very elegant, smooth way. There’s a Fino side to it (hay, minerals, bread crust) as well as Amontillado (soft beeswax, orange oil, apricots and other fruity echoes) and Palo Cortado (a little tobacco, hazelnuts, caramel)…Mouth: a gentle entry. I’m struck by the delicate glyceric / buttery touch, making it seem a little sweet (toffee, apricots again). However it becomes sharper and deeper over time, with a gentle saline tang and balanced acidity. Soft herbal notes. Some lemon and olive brine. Roasted almonds and walnuts. Hints of old polished wood. Very long finish with the toffee and praline notes lasting forever.An exciting hybrid wine again. It could be described as a particularly buttery Fino with subtle traces of Oloroso, but it’s more complex than that. Absolutely lovely: a rare gem – let’s hope there are more casks like this in the bodega.”
Decanter Magazine 93 points “This was sealed in cask as a vintage wine, and over time it developed the characteristics of a Palo Cortado, so it was refortified to 17% and sealed again. There’s just one cask, so quantities are tiny, but it will make a great gift if you can track it down. It is delicate, vibrant, salty, and punchily fresh. Drinking Window 2018 – 2022.”
The next best price is $129.07
Looking for more great sherries? Check out our offer on the wines from Bodegas Hidalgo further on in the newsletter!
Brilliant Saumur Cab Franc
The reds of Saumur are some of the most interesting, compelling wines in the Loire (and therefore, in France). They offer depth and complexity with a food-friendliness and savor that is a hard to beat, dollar for dollar. A wine like Thierry Germain’s entry level wine is a prime example—100% Cabernet Franc from biodynamically farmed vines on limestone and clay soils, it possesses both power and elegance.
This wine shows all of the savoriness that makes Cab Franc such a great partner at the table but with a little more polish and elegance than you often find at this price. This is a perfect bistro-y Saumur that’s easy to drink but will develop nuance with a few years in the cellar. At this price (the lowest in the county!) you can stock up and afford to drink some now and some down the road.
Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur-Champigny (Cuvee Domaine), Loire 2016 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur-Champigny (Cuvee Domaine), Loire 2016 750ML ($319.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Kermit Lynch Note: “100% Cabernet Franc from 4 to 70 year old vines grown on sand, clay, and Tuffeau limestone.”
The next best price is $26.87
Muga Reserva 2014
The Follow Up to Our Best Selling Rioja of 2018
Muga’s 2013 Rioja Reserva was our best selling Rioja last year. It was a delicious wine and the appetite for it was tremendous. It’s long since sold out, but the good news is that the next vintage (2014) arrives next week—and that it’s even better than the 2013.
That’s a tall order (the ’13 was fantastic, especially for the price) but 2014 was an easier vintage for most in Rioja and the wine shows it, with rich fruit, integrated earthiness and a vivacity that marks it as a wine to drink with nearly anything grilled.
Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($319.95) $259 pre-arrival special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(aged for two years in a combination of new and used French and American oak barrels) Bright ruby. Expressive aromas of ripe red fruits and candied flowers, along with allspice, vanilla and pipe tobacco topnotes. Juicy and appealingly sweet, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry-vanilla and mocha flavors and a spicy nuance that emerges as the wine opens up. Finishes sappy, penetrating and quite long, with smooth, slow-building tannins that fold smoothly into the wine’s sappy fruit.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2014 Muga Reserva checks in as a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the balance Mazuelo (aka Carignan) and Graciano. This deep ruby/purple-colored effort gives up textbook currants, smoked earth, leather, espresso, and graphite aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, ripe, voluptuous and sexy on the palate, with sweet tannin, it’s a charming, forward vintage of this cuvée that dishes out loads of pleasure.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “The Muga family thinks the rains of 2014 benefited many of their vineyards, which are in cooler places at higher altitudes and take longer to ripen. So, they are really happy with their 2014 Reserva, the flagship bottling which delivers the Muga style and the typicity of the Rioja Alta at a very attractive price and with good availability because they produced one million bottles of it! They select the gentler sites from within the cooler parts of Rioja where their vineyards are located, as this is their more approachable red. It fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts, matured in barriques for two winters and was bottled in its third year. It has the telltale aromas of spices and berry fruit, with the Muga signature and a medium-bodied palate with some dusty tannins that would welcome food. 950,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2016.”
The average price nationally is $28
Wine Advocate 92+ points “This is an excellent vintage in Chianti Classico that shows especially well in the simple, more accessible wines such as this. The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga delivers the power and density of its territory. The southern side of the appellation often shows the richest expressions of Sangiovese. This wine opens to sweet aromas of dark fruit, cherry and plum. The wine shows a slightly savory side as well with spice and dried terracotta that recalls the gray gravel soils of the region. Bay leaf, cola and chopped mint appear as subtle background notes. Some 260,000 bottles were made.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “The temperate 2016 growing season yielded a beautifully perfumed and posed Chianti Classico at Felsina. The aromas and flavors are pure Tuscany, with scents of lavender and dried thyme that lead into flavors of ripe black cherry and even savory tomato skin. Notes of pink peppercorns and leafy tobacco emerge with air, adding layers to the fleshy fruit.”
Antonio Galloni 91+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a stellar, joyous wine. Bold, powerful and ample, with a good deal of finesse for such a big wine, the 2016 shows why this is such a compelling vintage for Chianti Classico. Leather, game, smoke, tobacco and licorice infuse a wine that oozes Sangiovese character. The 2016 needs a few years in bottle to be at its best, but is already pretty alluring. Moreover, this is a fabulous expression of the estate. Don’t miss it.”
James Suckling 93 points “This is fragrant and floral with dark berries on the nose. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh, clean finish. A driven and linear Chianti Classico. The backbone of fresh acidity gives this focus. Drink now or hold.”
New review from Decanter!
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $46 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Decanter Magazine 97 points “The south-facing Rancia vineyard reaches altitudes of 420 metres, overlooking the lower-lying vineyards of Colli Senesi. It boasts complex soils of calcareous clay layered with the chalky white limestone-like alberese and schistose galestro. This 2016 vintage is simply stunning. It’s stately yet gracious, with personality for days, leading with a sumptuous nose of smoke, exotic spice and iron-rich earth. Ripe fruit coats the mouth yet it remains buoyant and tangy as chalky tannins charge in to frame the palate. A seductive wine with an appetising, savoury edge and a long, long life ahead. Drinking Window 2023 – 2041.”
Antonio Galloni 94-97+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is yet another magnificent wine in this range from Fèlsina. Silky, gracious and inviting, the 2016 starts off gradually and then builds, gaining volume and explosiveness with air. A wine of breadth, textural intensity and pure power, the 2016 Rancia is shaping up to be epic. That’s pretty much all there is to it.”
The Tempier Conundrum:
Criminally Underrated Benchmark Reds
“Of all of the domaines we represent, no other serves more as our cornerstone, stands more in the defense of terroir, and is more intricately interwoven with our own history, than that of the iconic Peyraud family of Domaine Tempier…. the wines of Domaine Tempier stand as the proud benchmark when talking about Provençal wines. Through their passion, pioneering, and advocacy for Bandol, the Peyrauds have become legendary. We are fortunate to have their wines serve as the flagship of our portfolio, and even more grateful to have the Peyrauds and their extended family as cherished friends. If any wine can be said to have soul, it’s Tempier.” – Kermit Lynch (Importer)
Domaine Tempier makes criminally underrated red wines. Sure, the rosé is in exceptionally high demand, but the reds are what made the estate famous—for good reason. These are some of the pinnacles of French reds and the pricing keeps them affordable enough that you can buy some to drink now and some to cellar (especially at the prices we’re offering).
If you aren’t familiar with the Tempier reds (or Bandol in general) know that these are Mourvèdre based blends that turn the Rhone on its head—they are big and rich with a distinct earthiness and a spicy, bright finish. Historically, they were quite tannic as well, but Tempier has made current releases much more approachable—these are now wines that you can drink on release without a pang of guilt (just give them a healthy decant).
Oh, and they age. Mourvèdre seems to have an ability to absorb the years like no other grape (pace Nebbiolo)—despite their youthful charm they’ll improve for decades in the cellar. We’d recommend buying a mixed case so you can drink the basic rouge over the next decade and the single vineyards starting after that. 2016 represents a fantastic vintage for the region and we’ve gone long on as much as we could get our hands on. They arrive Friday and are ready for shipment right after.
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge, Provence 2016 750ML ($59.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge, Provence 2016 750ML ($719.95) $499 pre-arrival special (that’s only $41.58/bottle—the lowest listed price in the country!)
Importer Note “75% Mourvèdre, 14% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 2% Carignan from 40+ year old vines on clay and limestone soils. Destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged 18-20 months in large oak foudres.”
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge Cuvee La Tourtine, Provence 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
“The La Tourtine parcel lies at a slightly lower elevation, in the Castellet region, and is more homogeneously clay soils. This parcel yields a powerful, rich, concentrated and surprisingly polished Bandol that has the fruit and texture to impress in its youth, yet the concentration to age beautifully.” –Jeb Dunnuck [no reviews for the 2016 vintage]
Importer Note “80% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache, 10% Cinsault from 40+ year old vines on clay and limestone soils. Destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged 18-20 months in large oak foudres.”
The average listed price is $80
“Lying outside the village of Le Beausset, the La Migoua vineyard is the highest elevation site of the three and sits at 270 meters above sea level; it consists of diverse clay and limestone soils. Possessing the smallest amount of Mourvèdre (~55%) and the most Grenache, this cuvee is always slightly less powerful and rich than the other two single vineyards, yet is always the most perfumed and complex.” –Jeb Dunnuck [no reviews for the 2016 vintage]
Importer Note “50% Mourvèdre, 20% Grenache, 26% Cinsault, 4% Syrah from 40+ year old vines on clay and limestone soils. Destemmed, fermented with indigenous yeasts and then aged 18-20 months in large oak foudres.”
The next best price is $65.95
The average listed price is $80
Staff Favorite Winery!
Bodegas Hildago is a legendary name in sherry, best known for their Manzanilla “La Gitana.” Hidalgo’s cellar is located right on the water in Sanlúcar de Barrameda where the humidty and breeze from the ocean preserves the flor to a much greater extent than in other parts of Sherry country. The resulting wines have a freshness that defines the house style—everything here is based off of the lightness and elegance of Manzanilla and it shows.
We recently tasted through the entire lineup and were incredibly impressed. The La Gitana was bright and fresh as always, but once you moved up the line the quality improvements seemed exponential. The En Rama (unfiltered from selected casks) bottling was stellar—like the La Gitana but with more of everything we love. The Pastrana, a single-vineyard Manzanilla Pasada (ie: Manzanilla on the way to Amontillado) remains one of the best values in the style.
From there, the Amontillado, Oloroso and especially the Palo Cortado sherries offer dry, rich, textural experiences that vastly overperform their prices (even in the value land that is Sherry). Also of special note are the unfortified, non-flor affected whites that are fermented and aged in sherry casks. These are brilliant, throwback style wines that offer immense complexity and depth for the price.
These are wines to buy and drink with abandon—especially in the summer, when our warm weather seems to invoke Cadiz and southern Spain. Whether with a simple dinner of salad and some tinned fish or more elaborate seafood creations (or a steak [seriously!] in the case of the Oloroso or Amantillado) these seem to pair effortlessly with any number of foods.
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana ‘Las 30 del Cuadrado’ Cepas Viejas, Andalucia 2017 750ML ($27.95) $19 special
“an unfortified Palomino fermented in old Manzanilla casks, a style that wants to revive the wines from yesteryear, so it has some of the flor notes of a Manzanilla” -Luiz Gutierrez, Wine Advocate [No reviews yet for the 2017 vintage]
VinopolNote “Viura from Rioja aged in ex-Sherry casks, this wine combines old-school white Rioja texture with the savoriness and smokiness we associate with Manzanilla. This is exceptional, unique stuff that will appeal to lovers of Lopez de Heredia’s whites.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Cellar Selection. Heady aromas of malted milk ball, ripe berry fruits and tobacco are warm and welcoming. Hailing from a warm year, this feels full but playful, with tannins that are only mildly scratchy. Flavors of vanilla, tobacco, butter, herb and dried berry fruit are textbook for Rioja gran reserva, while this takes a while to fully unfold on the finish. Drink through 2035.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Bright, with saline, sunchoke and blanched almond notes backed by a piercing, chalk-framed finish. This is all precision and cut. Drink now.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Very energetic, with a crunchy feel to the mix of dried chamomile and honeysuckle notes, accented by hints of lemon peel, white peach and quinine. The long finish is tightly zipped up.”
Decanter Magazine 94 points “A single-vineyard Manzanilla matured for 12 years and bottled en rama (only very lightly filtered), giving immense concentration and complexity of flavour balanced by mouthwatering acidity. Briny, yeasty and nutty, with floral hints on the beautifully textured, weighty palate that leads to a very long lemon zest finish. Superb!”
Wine Advocate 93 points “This is a special bottling to celebrate Hidalgo’s 225th anniversary. The NV Manzanilla La Gitana Aniversario, in a large, old-style bottle, was selected from ten botas of 12-year-old Manzanilla, bottled after three years in three 1,000-liter foudres, two 600-liter botas and one 500-liter bota without being refreshed. Even after those 15 years the flor was still alive. It’s very intense in color and on the nose and palate. There are no signs of oxidation and it remains fresh with a texture that has been sharpened throughout the years. It’s dry and very long, with chalky minerality. This is a textbook Manzanilla Pasada.”
Decanter Magazine 95 points “Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW: A great wine: complex and expressive, melding the deep expression of amontillado and the fresh lightness of manzanilla. Sarah Jane Evans MW: Glorious amber colour with reddish tinges. A nose laden with vanilla, almonds, coconut and mocha. Pungent, punchy palate: firm grip, very intense. Powerfully salty but with an underlying fruit note to soften the briskness. Long and superbly complex: Sherry at its unique best. Nick Room: Deep amber hue. Very concentrated, pungent nose of toffee and roasted nuts. Bone dry palate that is very specifically manzanilla with an underlying saltiness. Well balanced and powerful.”
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Palo Cortado Wellington VOS Aged 20 Years Sherry, Andalucia NV 500ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points “A stylish version, with a caressing edge to the walnut cream, dried ginger and hazelnut skin notes. Features a core of green tea, Brazil nut and bitter almond flavors, with a long, lacy finish. Drink now. 300 cases made.”Only nine 500ml-bottles available!
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Palo Cortado Wellington VORS Aged 30 Years Sherry, Andalucia NV 500ML ($99.95) $85 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The NV Palo Cortado Wellington VORS is produced from Palomino grapes from the Balbaina and Miraflores vineyards, both in the municipality of Sanlucar de Barrameda, where the winery is also located. The wine has a deep amber color, a profound, clean, subtle nose of candied oranges, ginger, hazelnuts, cigar ash and smoke. The complex palate is very gentle, sharp but not aggressive, with clean flavors, great persistence and a dry finish where the orange rind comes back with a touch of beeswax. An exceptional Palo Cortado. 19% alcohol.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “This tawny tinted Palo Cortado will make a Sherry fanatic smile. Aromas of hazelnut, almond liqueur and toffee introduce an oily, creamy palate cut by a beam of blazing acidity. Briny apricot, persimmon and caramel flavors offer a dusting of cocoa in front of a long, classy, nutty finish. This has everything and lacks nothing.”
The next best price is $95
Wine Spectator 93 points “A sweet hint of flan lurks throughout, but this stays bright and dry in feel overall, with a mix of persimmon, quince and date flavors threaded with hazelnut and bitter orange notes. Offers a long and layered finish. Drink now. 1,800 cases made, 900 cases imported.”Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana ‘Alameda’ Cream Sherry, Andalucia NV 500ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91 points “The Alameda Cream is dark amber and medium sweet with creme brulee aromas and flavors, a far classier drink than what your grandmother used to imbibe.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Smooth and sweet, like a cream Sherry is supposed to be. On the nose, this one easily shifts from ripe apricot and peach fruit to nuts and saline. The palate starts with a blast of coffee and mocha and then folds in brown sugar and spice. Sweet, long and generous, with accents of cinnamon, clove and mild chocolate.”
Luxury & Mature Champagne Extravaganza
We’ve secured a parcel of rare mature and luxury Champagnes arriving just in time for the holidays from such highly respected names as Charles Heidsieck, Bollinger, Salon and Taittinger. Pre-order now and enjoyed these cellared beauties.
Don’t want to wait? We have some of the finest Champagnes, from Growers and Grande Marques, in stock now. See highlights and the complete list below!
Highlights In Stock Now:
Krug Brut 2004 750ML ($299.95) $248 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
Krug Brut With Gift Box 2004 750ML ($299.95) $259 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter Magazine 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”
Vilmart & Cie ‘Coeur de Cuvee’ Premier Cru Brut 2009 750ML ($179.95) $115 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points “Disgorged in May 2016, Vilmart’s 2009 Coeur de Cuvée is predictably superb, wafting from the glass with a lovely bouquet of lemon oil, verbena, dried white flowers, walnut oil and wet stones. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and fleshy but precise, with a voluminous mousse, incisive acids, superb concentration and more energy and tension than many examples of this vintage—no doubt amplified by Vilmart’s use of only the best press fraction for this bottling—concluding with a long, elegantly chalky finish. The blend is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. This is a wine that merits ardent pursuit.”
Highlight Champagne Arriving in June:
If you want great Champagne to taste like Grand Cru White Burgundy with fine bubbles, this is something you need to jump on.
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points “It says much that Charles Heidsieck went for the 2004, not the richer 2002, as the long-awaited successor to the epic 1995 Millenaires – the ’04 has an admirable beauty and finesse in the classic mould that fits the style of this wine so well. It’s an intriguing blend of great Chardonnays from Oger, Mesnil, Avize and Cramant, but also from Vertus, a premier cru punching above its weight. Vanilla and butter flatter this wine famously, but there’s no oak. It has controlled richness, with precision and purity ruling over the green and tropical fruits. A magnificent champagne with impressively elegant acidity, a triumph now and for years to come. Disgorged in 2016. Drinking Window 2020 – 2035.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”
Thank you for reading!