In Today’s Newsletter:
June Clearance Sale
Less Than One Week Remaining!
For the Love of Valcombe
Hot Wines of the Week
July Clearance Sale Begins Today:
Lucien Le Moine, Grattamacco & Louis Nicaise Champagne
The Rayas of Bordeaux: Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre
June Clearance Sale
June Clearance Sale
Less Than One Week Remaining!
Winery note “The color is a deep scarlet-red with lush aromas of blackberry bramble, nutmeg, and hint of caramel. The wine is fresh and exuberant in the mouth with sumptuous strawberry jam, ripe black cherry, cranberry and warm gingerbread. It is perfectly balanced with refreshing acidity, velvety tannins and a hint of toffee carrying through its long finish. When asked to describe this wine, I simply say it’s like a taste of Christmas, all year long!”
Sylvain Cathiard Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($2799.95) Was $2,499, Now $2,199 Clearance Price, only 3 bottles available
Burghound 94-97 points “A dazzlingly complex, perfumed and pure nose reveals a bit of wood influence yet remains strikingly elegant with its superb scope of spicy red berry fruit aromas that are followed by ripe, seductive and beautifully intense flavors that display marvelous depth and perfect balance on the sappy and naturally sweet finish of monumental length. This is a wine of indisputable class and a model of grace and understatement that should age effortlessly for 20 to 30 years.”
The next best price is $2,450
Remoissenet Pere & Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 750ML ($279.95) Was $189, Now $169 Clearance Price
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Ruchottes-Chambertin presents a classical expression of lifted, fragrant fruit to match its weightless personality. Today, the 2011 is incredibly expressive, with impeccable balance and a total sense of harmony that is hugely appealing.” AG
Selbach-Oster ‘Anrecht’ Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2014 750ML ($49.95) Was $33, Now $26 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 93 points “Bottled with 8% alcohol, the 2014 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese Anrecht (erroneously designated as Spätlese instead of Auslese) opens with a super ripe and intense, stunningly bright and clear bouquet of very fine Riesling flavors; there are apple and pip aromas due to a higher proportion of golden and green grapes, and a lesser proportion of botrytis, due to the higher altitude of the Anrecht plot. There is so much finesse and piquancy in this juicy, elegant and well concentrated Riesling, which reveals a long and complex finish, as well as great finesse.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93 points “This product of block-picking (as opposed to selective picking) conveys a sense of ripeness and botrytization that could as easily have been captured in the word “Auslese.” Candied lemon, mint and anise mingle in the nose with suggestions of the quince, apple and Persian melon that come to dominate on a lush and expansive yet animatedly juicy palate. A hint of white raisin testifies delectably to the share of shriveled berries. Sweaty salinity lends mouthwatering intrigue while the fruit retains an invigoratingly tangy edge in a finish that readily stimulates the desire to take the next seductive, by no means overly sweet sip.”
The average price is $36
Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco, Rioja DOCa 1973 750ML ($999.95) Was $799, Now $599 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 1973 Vina Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva is so sublime, so complete and natural that it may bring tears to the eyes. It has a complex bouquet of beeswax, lanolin, lemon curd and almond that is effortlessly combined. The palate is nigh-perfectly balanced with very good weight. It has a seamless waxy texture and a peacock’s tail of almond, creme brulee, marzipan and dried apricot. There is a beguiling sense of completeness here. Heaven in a glass, and one of the finest Tondonia Blancos I have encountered. Drink now-2020+”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Grapelive 92 points “Mount Ventoux, which is one of the toughest climbs in the Tour de France, can be seen from across the Rhone’s Luberon standing tall and shimmering white from the chalky soils that make up this regions Marl underpinnings along with hardened clay, sand and ancient river stones. This part of the Southern Rhone is mostly known for their Grenache based reds, but one of their secret pleasures is their dry Rosé wines. Chateau Valcombe [was] founded and crafted by long-time vigneron in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Paul Jeune, formerly of Domaine Monpertuis, who has recently retired. New owners Luc and Cendrine Guénard, who worked under him for years, [are] now at the helm. They certified to 100% Organic and continue the tradition of making outstanding wines. The Valcombe Rosé is vinified via direct press, whole cluster from a blend of Grenache Noir (60%), Cinsault (20%), Carignan (10%) and a touch of Clairette (10%). Interestingly, the vines for the Rosé are of an average age of 40 years, so there is a ton of soul and character found in this is a completely bone dry Rosé. With a bright and vivid pink/salmon hue in the glass this 2017 Valcombe Rosé is explosive in flavor and fresh deal with a cooly crisp personality showing tangy strawberry, watermelon, earthy sour cherry and vigorous citrus notes along with steely mineral, delicate floral tones and zippy spices. Not easy to find, this Chateau Valcombe Epicure Rosé is an exceptional value and a very pleasing summer wine. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, it is well worth searching out, by the case. Don’t miss their other Ventoux grown offerings either, especially their reds.”
Case-12 Chateau Valcombe Les Hauts de Valcombe Ventoux, Rhone2015 750ML ($179.95) $142 special (that’s only $11.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Grapelive 92 points “Sometimes you just need the warm comfort of a nice Grenache based Southern Rhone, with its full flavored and smooth tannin charm washing over your palate and light spicy character holding on the mouth coating finish adding complexity to its sweet fruits and earthy seduction. Yup, that is what was needed and this Valcombe Ventoux Rouge delivered! The “Les Hauts de Valcombe” is a cuvee cepage/blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from exclusively north-facing vineyards, allowing for less sun to give an extra burst of freshness, even in a ripe year. Even with that much Syrah this wine feels remarkably graceful and Grenache(y) on the palate with a playful and fruity core. Valcombe, near the town of St. Pierre de Vassols, is all organic and this cuvee is all cement vat fermented and raised. It’s an old school traditional wine that displays a wonderful transparency and is terroir driven with the chalky marl soils showing through. With air some of the Syrah savoriness comes through, but the dense fruit always keeps the pleasure levels high. It’s an easy Rhone to love with racy raspberry, plum, boysenberry, sweet cherry and strawberry fruits along with hints of dusty stones, pepper, anise, leather and wild lavender. Chateau Valcombe’s owners Luc and Cendrine Guénard trained under Paul Jeune, former winemaking legend at Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s famed Domaine Monpertuis. [Jeune] transformed this property, with vineyards on the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux, from its humble origins into a serious estate [and the Guénards] have continued in his footsteps, and, in fact, in recent vintages even risen the quality here. This is a winery that almost always over delivers in the price to quality ratio, especially this bottling, which I adore. Drink this dark garnet hued medium/full bodied and textural 2015 “Les Hauts de Valcombe” over the next 3 to 5 years, but there’s no need to wait as it is drinking beautiful and fresh right now. It’s a steal.”
Vinopolis Wine Shop
Will Be Closed on July 4th
We will re-open on Thursday, July 5th for our regularly scheduled hours
10 am – 6 pm
Hot Wines of the Week
The best producer in one of the best value regions in Burgundy, at a massive discount? Yes.
Domaine Francois Lumpp A Vigne Rouge, Givry Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($49.95) $29 special
Case-12 Domaine Francois Lumpp A Vigne Rouge, Givry Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($499.95) $319 special (that’s only $26.58/bottle!)
Grapelive 92 points “This Domaine is getting a lot of buzz for value, and I was very excited to try this Givry by Francois Lumpp. This area is in the Cote Chalonnaise, not far from the more famous Mercurey. There are a total of 240 acres of red and just 24 acres of white in the 27 climats within the Givry AOC (appellation) that are classified as Premier Cru vineyards, with wines designated Givry Premier Cru that show a vineyard name. This Lumpp A Vignes Rouge cuvee [is] a single vineyard Premier Cru Givry. Even though it’s a lesser known place, Burgundy fans have long looked here for purity, character and especially value, and with this Francois Lumpp you can see why. Kermit Lynch now imports Lumpp, who was founded in 1991 and produce just about 4,000 cases annually. Every wine François makes is from Givry, and interestingly from vineyards that he planted and nurtured–something that is exceedingly rare in Burgundy today. His vines are a massale selection of old bud wood grown on, in this case, a mix of Oxfordian Nantoux Limestone, Fine Marl, and Clay with A Vignes Rouge coming off 15 year old vines at 850 feet above sea level. Givry’s best premier cru sites are situated on the mid to upper level slopes of the rolling hillsides. These form the base of Lumpp’s holdings (all of which are in fact Premier Cru plots, except one white Lieu-Dit). Lumpp uses stainless steel to ferment with gentle punch downs then the wine is raised in barriques, of which surprisingly are about 70% new each vintage. The Premier Crus get one year in barrel as this one did with only one racking to clarify before bottling. This 2013 is astonishingly fresh and deeply flavored with a rich dark garnet/ruby hue and a vivid grapey nose that leads to a textured palate that shines with blackberry, plum, bramble berry and cherry fruits along with a streak of mineral, earth and briar adding sweet woody notes along with hint of tobacco, tangy currant, minty herb and apple skin. The tannins are supple, but firmer than you’d expect of a wine of this vintage and there’s a lot of pop from vital acidity, while being rather lush and dense. Certainly this Burgundy has ages to go and it’s a huge bargain, best with robust cuisine, and it must be said it has resolved almost all the oak making for a real entertaining and stylish wine. Best from 2019 to 2026.”
The average price is $36
2016 will go down as one of the best vintages at Huet. This wine is something of a calling card.
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec, Loire 2016 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
Case-6 Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec, Loire 2016 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 96 points “This delivers a beautiful display of purity and grace, with creamed Jonagold apple, star fruit, white peach and chamomile notes flowing seamlessly, backed by wet stone and fresh verbena accents. Subtle but persistent energy ripples through the very long finish. Drink now through 2035.”
Rioja Alta has been a standard-bearer for the region and 2009 catches them in full flight. Magnificent.
La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
Case-12 La Rioja Alta Vina Arana Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($349.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points “This is a powerful and rich red with black truffle and blueberry character. Sweet tobacco, too. Full body, tannic and flavorful. Yet open and polished. Fantastic finish. Great ageing potential. Drink or hold.”
It’s hard to think of a better deal in Sauvignon Blanc. This combines incredible texture with Sauvignon personality.
Zorzal Eggo Blanc de Cal, Tupungato, Argentina 2014 750ML ($29.95) $19 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Eggo Blanc de Cal is pure Sauvignon Blanc from two different vineyards in Gualtallary. The full clusters are pressed and the must was fermented and aged in contact with the lees for nine to ten months in their famous egg-shaped cement vats. This is more subtle and earthy, less Sauvignon, with the fruit expressing itself in a lower-pitched voice, more of a baritone. It’s also has a little wider, pungent and powerful character in the mouth. This is only around 13% alcohol, and even though in 2014 it didn’t go through malolactic fermentation, it’s still a very light and fresh wine. Groundbreaking Sauvignon. 4,800 bottles were produced, fruit of two eggs.” LG
This Gigondas is a winner every year and the 2016 version is especially so. St. Cosme power with extra energy!
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-6 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($519.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($519.95) $419 special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “Even Saint Cosme’s 2016 Gigondas looks built to age. It’s full-bodied and firmly tannic but balanced by ripe fruit notes of cherries, peaches and chocolate.”
Jeb Dunnuck 90-92 points “Looking first at the base 2016 Gigondas, it’s certainly going to be another outstanding wine from Barruol. Based on 70% Grenache and the rest close to an even split of Syrah and Mourvèdre, it offers classic St Cosme notes of dark fruits, tapenade, pepper and smoked earth. It has plenty of tannin and will need 2-3 years of cellaring and shine for a decade or more.”
The next best price is $49.95
This could be a universal glass pour—rich in texture but vibrant on the finish. Everyone will love it.
Edmunds St. John Heart of Gold, El Dorado 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.75 special
Winemaker’s note “Palest gold. Fresh, nervous nose, of ginger and stone. Very lively and fresh in the mouth, with considerable textural depth, and richness to the lengthy finish. Heart Of Gold has now reached its 10th Birthday, and the 2017 may well turn out to be the best one ever. The 2017 growing season was preceded by the wettest winter in California history, and with all that water in the ground, the vines were able to cruise through some significant heat-spikes in Summer and early Fall, without any real dehydration or heat-stress. Harvest was just a bit later in ’17 than it had been during the previous four seasons marked by severe drought. When the grapes were picked they were in beautiful condition, with modest sugar concentration, healthy acidity, and plenty of flavor. 56% Vermentino, 44% Grenache Blanc.”
The next best price is $21.99
Il Poggione makes a universally beloved wine, a tough thing to do in Italy. 2012 was standout version and at this price…
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($89.95) $55 special
Case-6 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 ($519.95) $299 special (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Il Poggione is a Brunello superstar and a vintage like this reveals every reason why that affirmation is true. From the second the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino pours into the glass, you know you are in for something special. The wine is darkly saturated and rich in appearance. Absent are those slightly amber or browning hues you often get with Sangiovese in a hot vintage. Nor does the wine show flat or tired characteristics. Instead, the quality of fruit is vibrant and rich. This is a healthy, generous and exuberant Brunello with dark density and succulent fruit flavors that are followed by integrated spice and tobacco. The balance is impressive and one thing you get here is fresh acidity. This is not to be underestimated, because the acidity quota in the 2012 vintage across the appellation is not as high or evident as usual. This is one of the year’s best Brunellos.”
The average price is $74Arriving July 6th
Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 750ML ($899.95) $679 pre-arrival special (that’s only $113.17/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 98 points “A stunning red, featuring peony, strawberry, cherry and mineral flavors, accented by notes of wild herbs. Intense and deep, with great purity and elegance, a firmly wrought structure and a long finish. The harmony between fruit, tannins and acidity should allow this to age beautifully. Best from 2019 through 2036.” WS
James Suckling 97 points “Beautiful aromas of dark fruits and minerals. Full-bodied, succulent and chewy. It’s tight and stony. Lots of black olives and wet earth under the fruit. Bright and linear wine with beautiful layers…” JS
Wine Advocate 96 points “Montosoli enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli. This special single-vineyard expression shows a beautifully fragrant and floral bouquet that is exactly in line with what this firmly consistent producer strives to achieve. This wine represents one of the most distinctive expressions of varietal voice and that’s what makes it so precious and rare. Sangiovese sings loud with small berry nuances and loud floral impressions of rose, violet and lavender. Its underlying complexity is further enhanced by anise seed, cola and licorice stick. The wine’s texture is soothing soft and silky. This is one for your cellars to age ten years or more.”
VinopolNote: This single-vineyard Brunello is one of Italy’s first ‘cru’ wines. The soil of ancient limestone offers stunning wines of elegance, especially in such a brilliant vintage as 2010.
Lucien Le Moine
More than Bourgogne Rouge
From a Modern Jayer
Lucien Le Moine (the nom de plume for Mounir and Rotem Saouma) is one of the hottest names in Burgundy. The rise has been meteoric due to the scarcity of the wines (Mounir wants to keep production under 100 barrels) and also the fact that they only work with grand and premier cru vineyards—with the exception of a tiny amount of Bourgogne. That’s what we’re highlighting today and although it’s quite expensive by the standards of Bourgogne rouge, the material inside the bottle should warrant a much higher price tag.
To understand why the Le Moine Bourgogne rouge is such an exceptional wine, the first thing to understand is that the house doesn’t make, or set out to make, anything close to average wine. Jaspar Morris MW calls them a “haute-coture negociant” and just like a high end designer, they want everything they do to make a statement. The Bourgogne is a blend of village and premier cru wine from some under-the-radar appellations, like Fixin, Savigny and Pernand (along with some Hauts Cotes) with village wine from the Cote de Nuits and even some Premier and Grand Cru barrels that don’t quite meet the exceptionally lofty standards to be sold under the vineyard names (and prices). Less than 500 bottles make it into the US, so the chance to acquire some is a special opportunity.
When you couple that exceptional raw material with the Le Moine house style, which is heavily influenced by Jayer, you end up with wines in a very exclusive peer group. That style produces exceptionally sensual wines—wines that have textures like silk and explosive fruit that seems to arrive in waves from nowhere. They’re the opposite of rustic—polished and luxurious. These are wines that any wine lover should covet and take pains to acquire for their cellar.
2010 is looking like an all-time great Burgundy vintage. This bottling gives a clear picture into why.
Lucien Le Moine Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2010 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49 Clearance Price
Lucien Le Moine Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2012 750ML ($59.95) $39 pre-arrival special
The next best price is $59.99
The next best price is $49
Special Special #2
The Iconic Grattamacco
Arriving July 6th
Case-6 Podere Grattamacco Bolgheri Superiore, Bolgheri 2010 750ML ($479.95) $328 Clearance Price (that’s only $54.67/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2010 Grattamacco is drop-dead gorgeous. Sweet, layered and impeccable in its balance, the 2010 impresses for its silkiness, depth and purity. Black cherry and plum notes meld into mocha, violets, cloves and menthol in a polished, refined wine loaded with class. The 2010 is one of the most refined Grattamaccos I can remember ever tasting. It is also one of the very best. Readers won’t want to miss this Bolgheri icon in 2010.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “An intense red, with drive to the cherry, currant and spice flavors. Concentrated and dense, featuring a savory, spice-filled finish, remaining fresh, complex and very long in the aftertaste. Improves noticeably with aeration. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese. Best from 2015 through 2024. 2,500 cases made.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “($105) A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Sangiovese, this opens with a beautiful fragrance of violet, iris, exotic incense, cedar and black currants. The plush palate delivers a core of juicy black cherry and red currant accented with black pepper, clove and graphite alongside smooth, velvety tannins. Drink 2015–2025.”
Special Special #3
Louis Nicaise Premier Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Clearance Price, 16 bottles in stock now
Louis Nicaise Premier Cru Brut Millesime, Champagne 2010 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Clearance Price, 15 bottles in stock now
The Elegance of Nebbiolo
“Capable of expressing the purest essence of site, vintage and producer style, Nebbiolo is without question one of the world’s elite red grapes. Skyrocketing prices and soaring demand make it increasingly difficult for consumers to find the best Barolos and Barbarescos. But the glories of Nebbiolo stretch far beyond those prestigious appellations. Readers will find a bevy of striking, captivating wines in Alto Piemonte and Lombardy’s Valtellina
“Alto Piemonte has benefitted greatly from climate change and generally warmer seasons that give the wines a bit more mid-palate richness than was once the case without fundamentally altering how the wines feel.
“Today, Alto Piemonte has become trendy as wine lovers and industry professionals look for alternatives to Barolo and Barbaresco. But Alto Piemonte’s suitability for making world-class wines is hardly new. It may seem hard to believe, but in the 19th century Gattinara and not Barolo or Barbaresco, was Piedmont’s most famous red wine…” – Antonio Galloni
Newly Reviewed Wines In-Stock Now:
Antoniolo Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 89 points “Antoniolo’s 2012 Gattinara is a terrific entry-level wine. Dark cherry, tobacco, smoke and dried flower notes are all amped up in this decidedly succulent Gattinara. Ripeness is pushed forward, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for a wine that is intended to be enjoyed upon release with minimal cellaring. The 2012 is a bit darker and more powerful than most recent editions, but, here, too, I am inclined to look past some of the small imperfections as the 2012 is so easy to drink and enjoy.”
The average price nationally is $41
Antoniolo ‘Osso San Grato’, Gattinara DOCG 2012 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The flagship 2012 Gattinara Osso San Grato is the most convincing of the wines, as it appears to have handled the rigors of the growing season best. It is also the wine with the clearest and most distinctive expression of site. Ample and expressive, with terrific textural breadth and tons of personality, the Osso San Grato has quite a bit to offer. The black cherry, spice, leather and tobacco notes take on dark shades of expression. All things considered, the Osso San Grato is very nicely done.”
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Anno Primo Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2010 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Anno Primo Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2010 1.5L ($89.95) $77 special, 6 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2010 Cantalupo Anno Primo is a deep, powerful wine. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice, menthol and licorice meld together. Deep, pliant and full of character, the 2010 has so much to offer. The Cantalupo is dark and brooding, yet retains its mid-weight personality and overall feel. It is without question a very serious wine. I loved it.”
The average price is $36
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Carellae, Ghemme DOCG 2010 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2010 Collis Carellae is a reference point wine, not just for Ghemme, but for all of Italy. Mysterious and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2010 opens up beautifully over time, revealing myriad shades of dimension. Although quite finessed and lifted in feel, the 2010 has more than enough depth and persistence to allow it to age gracefully for many years to come. Hints of orange peel, sweet red cherry and mint develop effortlessly, but it is the wine’s overall feel that I find most alluring. Specifically, the tannins while present, are remarkably integrated into the wine’s fabric.”
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2010 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2010 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special, 6 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2010 Ghemme Collis Breclemae is a powerful, austere wine and also the most tannic of the three Ghemmes I tasted from Cantalupo. Readers should be prepared to cellar the 2010 for at least a few years, as the bruising tannins are going to need time to soften a bit. Black cherry, wood smoke, licorice, tobacco and incense add to an impression of virile intensity. The Collis Breclamae is another wine with tons of cellaring potential.”
Monsecco Ghemme Pelizzane, Ghemme DOCG 2011 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2011 Ghemme Pelizzane is one of the bigger, more imposing wines in this range from Monsecco. Black cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco, licorice and a touch of new wood fill out the wine’s big, burly frame. Although a bit rustic, the 2011 is nicely balanced. The personality of the year comes through in the wine’s feel and super-ripe, at times slightly sweet, profile.”
Monsecco Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2011 Gattinara is a super-classic wine laced with the aromas and flavors Nebbiolo shows with a bit of age. Sweet tobacco, dried flowers, dried cherry, menthol, orange peel and anise give the wine its aromatic presence. Firm tannins add drive through to the finish. Further time in bottle should help those tannins soften even more. Still, the 2011 is quite attractive today.”
Proprieta Sperino Uvaggio Coste della Sesia Rosso, Piedmont 2013 750ML ($37.95) $29 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2013 Uvaggio, a blend of 80% Nebbiolo and 20% Vespolina, is absolutely delicious. Beautifully perfumed and light on its feet, the Uvaggio captures all the pedigree that makes the wines of Lessona so captivating. Sweet red cherry, raspberry, mint, orange peel and white pepper add brightness throughout. Focused and nervy, with tons of energy, the 2013 Uvaggio is a winner. Moreover, it is a very serious wine for the money.”
While digging through the shelves looking for something new to try, I saw the Vacqueyras from Font Sarade. Two bottlings to choose from, the 2015 Premier Vin ($24) and the 2016 Hauts de la Ponche ($18); both have a decent slug of Mourvedre which makes the Grenache a lot more interesting. I grabbed both for a vintage comparison and went with friends to grill. We opened them early to see what we thought; eighteen hours later and the verdict still isn’t in. Initial notes were similar – classic spice and garrigue, tons of structure.
We had to move on to rosé with dinner, but at lunch I went back to the bottles, and the separation between the two became more clear. The Premier Vin developed sweet tobacco and anise notes – it spends more than a year in oak and is ready to go. The Hauts de la Ponche is still full throttle. In addition to the Mourvedre there is quarter Syrah in the mix adding a roasty note. The air and time has only made the wine more intense with the fruit only just starting to come to the fore.
These are serious value wines for those looking to tuck some away. The structure and attack will develop nicely, and I believe that the potential for a sleeper hit is very strong. Patience will be rewarded…
Domaine Font Sarade Vacqueyras Premier Vin, Rhone 2015 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-12 Domaine Font Sarade Vacqueyras Premier Vin, Rhone 2015 750ML ($299.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “My favorite in the line, the 2015 Vacqueyras Le Premier Vin checks in as 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre that spent 14 months in French oak. It’s a killer bottle of wine and has lots of blackberries, cassis, smoked herbs and licorice aromas and flavors. Ripe, sexy and opulent, with low acidity and sweet tannin, drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”
Domaine Font Sarade Vacqueyras Les Hauts de la Ponche, Rhone 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Domaine Font Sarade Vacqueyras Les Hauts de la Ponche, Rhone 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 91+ points “The 2016 Vacqueyras Les Hauts de La Ponche checks in as 50% Grenache and 25% each of Syrah and Mourvedre, completely destemmed and aged all in concrete tanks. It’s another early bottled wine from this estate that has medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black, black fruits, charcoal, and graphite aromatics and solid concentration. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age, which is unusual for a Vacqueyras.”
Domaine Font Sarade Gigondas Cuvee Les Pigieres, Rhone 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “A super effort, the 2016 Gigondas les Pigieres boasts complex notes of dried herbs layered over ripe cherries and raspberries. This full-bodied, unoaked blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah manages to be fully ripe and creamy in texture without showing any alcoholic warmth. Drink it over the next decade.”
The Rayas of Bordeaux
The Elegant, Old- School Margaux
Of Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre
“The vinification is distinguished by a bias of naturalness and lack of sophistication which is at the antipodes of all that Bordeaux has been practicing for a number of years: no sorting table, cement vats, no winemaking piloted by computer, no oenologist-advice, no aging in barrels, very long tank farms. Just a “man-orchestra who plays pretty much all the instruments but is virtuoso of none. “Who, alone, away from everything and all develops a wine like no other, totally idiosyncratic, a little like a Rayas de Margaux. Except that Mr. Boyer is not called Mr. Raynaud and the whole world does not move here to try to negotiate an allowance. With this difference, due to the psittacism of men, the parallelism is striking” – Jacques Perrin
“Jean-Pierre Boyer’s energy belies the fact that he is about to turn eighty-five – nothing unusual there. Many winemakers work until they are physically incapable. What is remarkable is that Jean-Pierre is embarking upon his 68th vintage at the same property. That is not a typo. Sixty-eight vintages. Think about that for a moment.… Even more astonishing is that his modus operandi, his tenets and practices, remained unaltered from his first day to this. It is forgotten Bordeaux made corporeal and if you don’t believe me, then I guarantee you will by the time you finish reading this article….
“The vines. Wow. I have visited most of the major vineyards in Bordeaux and never encountered any like these. “I have vines that are over 100-years old, maybe dating back to the 1870s on their own roots,” Boyer tells me, vanquishing the idea that the only Gallic vines on their original roots lie chez Bollinger. Winemakers often boast about the age of their vines, exaggerating and adding a few years. Inspecting these veterans close-up, they must constitute not just some of the oldest in Bordeaux, but in France.
“….To my left are Jean-Pierre’s barrels. Forget your endless rows of bespoke François Frères or Cadus. There are eight, well, seven and a half barrels in total. I am not sure of their age but they have seen a few vintages for sure. Behind are stacks of unlabeled bottles, not because they remain unsold, but because Jean-Pierre does not sell en primeur and hold vintages back until he is ready to put them into market….
“Each side of the [vat] room is dominated by terraces of large cement vats that have clearly fermented Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre since time immemorial, so dark and gloomy grey they seem to absorb light. He switches on a rudimentary electric bulb so that I can see them better and then turns them off because he does not want to waste electricity. Underneath each vat are large format bottles tilted at 45° and a handful of demi-jeans in wicker baskets. These are not a library stock of ancient bottles but Jean-Pierre’s only means of manually topping up the vats. Presumably he tilts a ladder against the vat, hoists up what looks like rehoboams and pours them in from the top. That’s your maceration. The wines spend two or three years in these cement vats, a similar approach to Château Gillette in Sauternes.” – Neal Martin, Vinous
Arriving ETA July:
Chateau Bel Air Marquis d’Aligre, Margaux 1995 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin – Vinous 91 points “The 1995 Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre has an exquisite, gentle, almost Burgundy-like bouquet with wonderful purity and delineation. This is a mixture of red and black fruit, developing pressed violet aromas that direct you back to Margaux. The palate is medium-bodied with a structured entry, a fine line of acidity, black fruit mixed with iodine and sea salt that leads to a linear, Pauillac-like finish. This is a very fine Margaux that is ageing gracefully at 23-years of age. Tasted at the Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre dinner.”
Chateau Bel Air Marquis d’Aligre, Margaux 2000 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin – Vinous 93 points “The 2000 Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre is like the 1986 on the nose: backward and broody, demanding coaxing from the glass. There are moss-like, undergrowth scents, a touch of morels emerging with time and then, after an hour, the nose blossoms and finds its groove. The fruit belatedly surfaces and you find yourself bewitched by the bouquet. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin. This is not a complex millennial Margaux however there is a beguiling sense of effortless class and poise that plenty of its Margaux colleagues crave. Towards the finish there are subtle notes of tobacco and terracotta that lend another layer of complexity. I just love this wine – one of the best vintages from Jean-Pierre Boyer. Tasted at the Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre dinner.”
June Clearance Sale
See the complete list of wines on our June Clearance Sale below or click to shop the sale on our web store!