In Today’s Newsletter:
2016 Domaine Dujac
New Arrivals from Jean Masson
Tua Rita: Super-Star Tuscan
Staff Pick: Bottled Joy
Rosé for Chilly Weather
The Remarkable 2017 Domaine Huet Vouvrays
Reference-Point Napa: Philip Togni
Gatinois: The Glory of Äy
September Sale Recap
Featured New Arrival
2016 Domaine Dujac
Dujac is undisputedly one of the top handful of producers of Burgundy and the domaine’s collection of vineyards is impressive by any measure. The wines are incredible—built to last and as complex as the day is long.
Dujac is known primarily for their holdings in and around Morey-St. Denis, though recent years have seen them add new parcels to their domaine. These are some of the most sought after wines in the world and quantities are extremely limited!
Newly Arrived from Domaine Dujac:
” a serious step up from the village cru”
Domaine Dujac Monts Luisants, Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) $133 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2016 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Mont Luisants Blanc is a serious step up from the village cru in my opinion. It has a lovely bouquet with passion fruit and light honeyed scents, a hint of ginger developing with time. The palate is well balanced with a fine line of acidity, just the right amount of salinité and a brisk, focused finish. Very fine and full of charm and character.”
Domaine Dujac Les Combettes, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 89-91 points “The 2016 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes was also touched by the frost more severely than the Folatières. The vines here are older than those located in Folatières, but I feel that the frost impacted more acutely apropos vigor, since it does not emit the same brightness. The palate is well balanced with an attractive orange zest and apricot opening, smooth and slightly waxy with a brisk, nicely detailed finish. It’s a decent Puligny handicapped by the vintage.”
The next best price is $240
“a well-crafted Folatières that may in fact surpass the 2015”
Domaine Dujac Les Folatieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2016 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatieres was touched by the frost, one plot more affected than the other. It has a clean and pure bouquet with subtle scents of lychee, citrus peel and minerals, tight at first but opening up nicely. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, a slightly waxy texture, very focused with hints of peach skin and spice on the finish. This is a well-crafted Folatières that may in fact surpass the 2015.”
The average price nationally is $191
Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis AOC Rouge 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 89-91 points “(from a crop level of 35 hectoliters per hectare): Moderately saturated medium red. Aromas of black raspberry, brown spices and musky chocolatey oak. In a more savory style than the négociant version but also shows lovely juicy energy and a more relaxed quality to its flavors of dark raspberry, resin and spices. The team did only two punchdowns during the vinification of this wine.”
“one of the top wines from Dujac”
Domaine Dujac Aux Malconsorts, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($699.95) $599 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2016 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts actually has a similar bouquet to the Les Beaux Monts but with heightened mineralité which is prioritized over the fruit. I was momentarily whisked back to my youth, pot-holing in the Lake District, that tang of limestone and moorland in the air. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin. As Alec Seysses remarked, there is more “wine” in the Malconsorts compared to the Beaux Monts. It has brilliant delineation and a very complex finish that fans out with real confidence. This is one of the top wines from Dujac. Chapeau.”
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points “13.2% alcohol): Good full red. Captivating perfume combines raspberry, Oriental spices, minerals and cocoa powder. Wonderfully sweet but tightly wound, offering a terrific core of sappy red berries and spices framed by sound acidity. Finishes with a subtle saline touch.”
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($699.95) $579 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Jasper Morris, MW 95-97 points “A satisfactory yield approaching 45 hl/ha. Medium deep purple. Refined, reserved and really classy. Do not expect an explosion from Clos de la Roche but do expect something to make a long term classic. The balance on the palate is exquisite and subtly nuanced, as always it is a drier style but the fruit is infused throughout. Exceptional persistence. Magical. (Jan 2018)”
John Gilman 95 points “The 2016 Clos de la Roche from the Seysses family was really singing at the time of my visit. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a refined blend of red plums, cherries, gamebird, a touch of fresh nutmeg, superb soil tones and a deft base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very elegant out of the blocks this year, with a sappy core of fruit, outstanding backend soil signature, ripe, suave tannins and a long, complex and tangy finish. I love the balance and breed this exudes this year. 2030-2075. (Nov/Dec 2017)”
Stephen Tanzer 93-96 points “(the estate made a full crop of 40 hectoliters per hectare, as there was no frost here): Full, dark red. Captivating aromas of raspberry, strawberry, spices, flowers and sweet new oak. Juicy, intense and aromatic on the palate–youthfully imploded in a positive way. Projects compelling energy and subtle sweetness to its red berry and spice flavors. Finishes very long and tight, with an exhilarating wild berry element. A knockout sharply delineated Clos de la Roche that offers terrific intensity without any sense of weight.”
Domaine Dujac Echezeaux Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($599.95) $499 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2016 Echézeaux Grand Cru was reduced by 50% due to frost. It has quite a closed, quite broody bouquet that takes time to open. This is actually not unlike a Malconsorts. However, the palate is very classy with a fine line of acidity, red and black fruit mingling together with a saline, marine-like finish that defines the final third. It does not quite possess the effortless harmony and focus of the Aux Malconsorts. But it has a satisfying focus with impressive length, to wit, a great success considering the growing season.”
Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points “(the estate’s vines in the lieu-dit Les Champs Traversins lost about 35% of their fruit to the frost): Healthy medium-deep red. Darker on the nose than usual for the Dujac Echézeaux, offering musky scents of black raspberry and licorice. Rich, thick, seamless wine with lovely sweetness and a savory complexity; strong in extract but not particularly clenched in the early going. Finishes with ripe, dusty, chocolatey tannins, a slightly roasted fruit element and excellent length. This will need time in bottle to harmonize.”
New Arrivals from Jean Masson
Newly Added to Our September Clearance Sale!
In the hills between the Jura and the Alps sits one of the most overlooked appellations in all of France: Apremont. The land was formed in 1248 when Mount Granier collapsed, sliding down the landscape and wiping out all in its path. This tragic landslide offered up future reward: the deep limestone soils of the mountain were spread out over the land, creating in an instant one of the finest terroirs for vines. As quick as the change was, it took nearly 800 years for the land to find its voice. And in the hands of Jean-Claude Masson, the “arch terroiriste of Apremont,” the land has found its champion.
Jacquere is the dominant grape of Apremont. Like Chardonnay and Melon de Bourgogne, this is a white that seems to exist solely for the purpose of expressing terroir (and like Muscadet, the wines produced always offer insane bang for the buck). And when you couple the expressive ability of the grape with century old vines, magical things happen in the glass.
But these are also decidedly not Muscadet nor Chardonnay. The wines whisper of their home with aromas of fresh alpine air and herbs. These complex undertones bring to mind the finest dry vermouth being poured across the room.
The better to spread the word, we’ve decided to feature these wines on our September Clearance sale. The few cases we have of each are all we will get from this tiny estate this year. So don’t wait too long – for though the sale may last through the end of this month, our stock probably won’t.
So yes, undiscovered treasures still exist in the wine world – even in France. And once in a great while, the stars of terroir, ancient vines and affordability align. Would you turn that down?
Domaine Jean Masson & Fils Savoie Apremont La Centenaire Vieilles Vignes 2016 750ML ($34.95) Was $29, Now $26 September Clearance Sale Special, 36 bottles in stock now
Winery note “[Translated] From a vineyard planted over a century ago, La Centenaire is a powerful wine. It shows with notes of ripe white fruits, fresh almonds and stone fruits. Its beautiful minerality makes it an exception wine for the cellar. The tiny yields produce great concentration, and allow the Jacquère grape to express so many forgotten things.”
Importer note: Shows a deep minerality and super long finish.
Winery note “Our flagship wine, the cuvee Coeur d’Apremont is sourced from the same plots every year, selected with the greatest care by Jean-Claude Masson. The grass cover-cropping and the age to the vines (80 years on average) result in tiny yields. Thus, when the fruit is picked at optimum maturity, it highly expresses all its aromatic potential. The result, after a long fermentation on fine lees, is a powerful wine of purity, characterized by notes of exceptional candied fruit: apricot, fig and peach.”
Importer note “Shows high acidity with a long finish. The interesting minerality intertwines with notes of tarragon, verbena and orange.”
Winery note “[Translated] A very atypical wine, the Dechiree comes from a hill at the highest point in Apremont. The vineyard is surrounded by brambles (mulberry and raspberry), and the vines offer a powerful wine with a cascade of complex and pronounced aromas. This wine has a nice minerality highlighted by a rich texture. It pairs well with fish in a cream sauce, roasted poultry and lobster.”
Importer note “The VV bottling is the entry bottling, but the vines are over 60 years old, thus the VV designation. He does two bottlings and I always wait for the 2nd bottling so that the wine has more lees time. At the 2nd bottling the wine has spent 8-9 months on the lees. The wine has great texture and mouthfeel, closer to Muscadet than most Jacquere. On the palate you get citrus and herbs.”
VinopolNote: The Massons own some of the highest and oldest vines in the appellation, including some planted by Jean-Claude’s grandfather that are over 100 years old. At a whopping 450 meters above sea level, the family is always the last to harvest in the area. The resulting wines are fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel.
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $18.99See the complete list of wines on our September Clearance Sale at the bottom of this newsletter!
Tua Rita has quietly become one of the best producers of super-Tuscan wine, with a special gift for Cabernet based wines. These wines age beautifully and will surprise you by outclassing wines that are twice as expensive. We’re highlighting three of their bottlings today—the Cabernet-based blend called Giusto di Notri and their Petrus slayer, Redigaffi.
The Giusto di Notri is a classic Super-Tuscan in the mold of Sassicaia, based on Cabernet with decreasing portions of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. On release it’s always a bit tight and structured, but with age it turns into a beautiful, expressive wine. Conveniently, we’ve been hunting back vintages of the Giusto di Notri and have two offerings available. This is a wine to stockpile if you like Sassicaia and Ornellaia but don’t want to pay the prices required.
We’ve also acquired the top wine from Tua Rita—the wine that stands toe to toe with Masseto, Petrus and Le Pin at a price that makes it a bargain. Redigaffi is one of the iconic wines of Italy, a truly breathtaking red and one that belongs in the cellar of any serious collector. The 2015 version is one of the best in years. We were only able to secure a few three-packs of it, though, so grab it quickly.
In Stock Now:
Redigaffi is one of the great wines of the world—full stop. Give this a few decades and watch it blow away $800 Bordeaux.
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($299.95) $212 special
James Suckling 100 points “This is an extraordinary merlot with such purity and focus. Flowers such as violets and hints of orange peel. It is full-bodied yet incredibly energetic and structured. The finish goes on for minutes. Seamless texture. Fresh yet dense. Contrasty. Best Redigaffi ever. Hard not to drink now but a wine for decades.”
The average price is $249
Tua Rita Giusto di Notri Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2008 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This fabulous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot delivers loads of plush softness and succulent richness. Aromas of chocolate, ripe fruit and spice are distinct and clear, and the wine shows compelling complexity and intensity overall.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Giusto di Notri is wonderfully alive in the glass. Dark red berries, flowers, spices, grilled herbs, licorice and leather are some of the notes that flesh out in this dazzling, vibrant Giusto di Notri. Polished tannins provide the backdrop for the silky, expressive finish. A final blast of red fruit adds freshness and brightness on the close. Giusto di Notri is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.”
The average price is $63
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A dark, brooding wine, the 2012 Giusto di Notri presents a compelling array of dark stone fruits, grilled herbs, smoke, tobacco and menthol. The power of Suvereto and these Bordeaux varieties are both super-expressive in a virile, imposing wine loaded with personality and gorgeous, totally resonant fruit. This is a terrific showing.”
Pradeaux remains the standard bearer for traditional Bandol.
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rouge, Provence 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94 points “Etienne Portalis, the fourteenth generation, winemaker at Pradeaux has made a brilliant and deep Bandol in the 2013 vintage. It is my pick for #Mourvedre Day. It is a traditional and old school wine that is made with the blessing of the warm Mediterranean sun and his family’s old vines. The Chateau Pradeaux, founded back in 1752, is a Provence legend and the house style is natural and powerful with Etienne only using whole cluster with stems. These are wines that have firm structures from the raw/authentic skin tannins and wines that can age many decades. That said, this 2013 shows a beautiful freshness of detail and refinement after its extended time in large used cask. The 2013 is deep in color with a dark garnet hue around a blackish core with an earthy profile that opens to a full bodied and complex wine. [It is] almost 100% Mourvedre with a tiny amount of other black grapes. It reveals layers of dusty blackberry, kirsch, plum and boysenberry fruits, peppery briar spice, leather, chalky stones, anise, bitter coco and a touch of floral lift with a mix of violet and lavender as well as a cedar/tobacco element. This 2013 is drinking with an impressive palate impact with plenty of dry grip and force, but turns generous with air with a ripe opulence allowing lots of pleasure and textural charm. It’s a serious example that will gain further with short to mid-term cellaring. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Chateau Pradeaux is without question, along with Domaine Tempier, is a standard bearer of the region. This 2013 is a beauty that will be perfect with rustic and simple country cuisine. It’s a big, bold and robust Bandol with a natural sex appeal and inner energy. Drink over the next 10 to 15 years.”
The average price is $43
Altesino is a smart buy every year. In 2013? It’s genius.
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $46 special, 33 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points “An intense perfume of juniper, bay laurel, sage, rose and berries marks this silky red. The structure is there, yet superb balance and refined tannins help this retain elegance through the long finish. Almost ethereal in its presence. Best from 2021 through 2036.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino is absolutely unique in terms of its aromatic display. To me, the nose is particularly beautiful because I have a preference for balsamic notes of cola, mint or medicinal herb (that may not be to everyone’s liking). You get those in spades here. These aromas are often more prominent in cooler vintages like 2013 in the Brunello appellation. In this case, they resemble intense eucalyptus. There is subtle fruit at the back, with wild berry and plum. The mouthfeel here is absolutely silky, fresh and streamlined. It is stitched finely together like lace. I am curious to see how a wine like this ages and whether the aromas hold tight or eventually fall flat. I would suggest a slightly shorter drinking window. But for now, this is my kind of Brunello. Bottoms up!”
James Suckling 94 points “A wealth of ripe fruit with spice, orange peel and cherry. Full body, fine tannins and a bright and vivid finish. Drink in 2021.”
Ian d’Agata – Vinous 93 points “Bright red. Extremely perfumed aromas of violet and raspberry on the enticing nose. Then more raspberry, but also blueberry and strawberry flavors and a strong juicy fruit-cocktail-like quality on the palate that persists nicely. Really lovely Brunello bursting at the seams with fresh bright fruit, and already utterly irresistible now. I had trouble not gulping my glass down all at once.”
A new flagship producer in Etna, this is beautiful.
Cusumano Alta Mora Guardiola Etna Rosso, Sicily 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “The crystal-clear nose of jasmine, slate, quartz, wild strawberries, blueberries and tons of orange rind, not to mention chocolate shavings and walnuts, is stunning. The full-bodied palate is expansive and fruit-forward yet so minerally and uplifted by a fresh line of acidity that culminates in a long finish. Tight and refined in terms of tannin texture. So good now but better in 2019.”
Arriving This Month (And Going Fast!)
2016 is shaping up to be a legendary Port vintage. Fladgate came out tops.
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special, only 24 bottles remaining!
James Suckling 100 points “OMG. This is really the most amazing young Taylor’s I have ever tasted. Full-bodied and lightly sweet with super power and intensity. So racy and focused. Yet this has such muscle and intensity. Needs at least eight years to show you everything it has to offer. Drink in 2025.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 97 points “In 2016 Taylor’s began picking in Vargellas on 17 September, followed by Pinhão Valley estate on 23 and 26 September. The 2016 Vintage Port has an aristocratic bouquet with tight wound aromas of blackberry, bilberry, crushed stone, black olive and a light, marine-tinged element, perhaps almost peat-like. The palate is just beautiful with fine, chiseled tannins and a perfect line of acidity. There is that almost “arching” structure one always seeks in a great Taylor’s with a gentle but insistent grip towards the finish. It is everything you really want from a Vintage Port. Production is 6,200 cases.”
Staff Pick:Bottled Joy
Donnhoff captured the high drama turned serenity of the 2016 vintage in near perfect form with their Spatlese from the Hermannshohle vineyard. This is a truly Great Wine vintage in, vintage out, so 2016 took it to the next level. This is a wine to cellar for decades. This is a wine to open tonight to bring tears to the eyes, levity to the heart and silence to the lips. A wine whose precision and ever-building drama evoke Barber’s Adagio for Strings. I could spell out the grocery list of aromas captured in this wine, but I won’t spoil the fun. To paraphrase both David Schildknecht and Stuart Pigott, it’s a multifaceted masterpiece of elegance and minerality.Is this the greatest Riesling ever made? No. But it’s the greatest Riesling you’ll want to open and drink whether tonight or in a decade (especially for the price). And isn’t that what it’s really about?”For many people this is a ne plus ultra of Riesling“ –Terry Theise
In Stock Now:
Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 96 points “Another 2016 Spätlese from Dönnhoff that’s still a bit shy on the nose, but on the palate it’s like a huge glittering diamond with more facets flashing many colors. An extremely long super-mineral finish that is impeccably clean in spite of the generous grape sweetness in this masterpiece of elegance. Better from 2018 with decades of ageing potential. Made from organic grapes and Fair’n Green certified.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 94 points “A fascinatingly multifaceted nose incorporates wet stone, leather and almond extract with more familiar white peach, quince and lime. A seductive aura of lily-like perfume hangs over this entire performance. The palate is palpably dense despite alcoholic levity, and subtly creamy while retaining animating primary juiciness. In common with its Brücke sibling, this leans more toward quince as it launches into a finish of honeyed richness – a function of nearly overripe but also nearly botrytis-free berries – yet retaining freshness as well as transparency to crystalline stony mineral nuances. “Under the right conditions,” observed Dönnhoff, “Hermannshöhle delivers something extra in the realm of sweetness, and for that you need cool nights that preserve slightly harder acidity” – which 2016 delivered in spades. Look for significantly more from this bottling after it’s had a decade or so in bottle.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2016 Nahe Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Spätlese is bright, fresh and coolish-piquant on the nose, with flinty and slightly reductive aromas. Lush and piquant on the palate, this is a generous, mouth-filling Spätlese with a long, piquant and spicy-mineral finish. The Hermannshöhle is more dense and rich on the palate, the Brücke more light, delicate and finessed.”
Rosé for Chilly Weather
Since we keep the shop at cellar temp, we wear our sweaters year round. Pretty soon, the times (or at least the weather) will catch up with our fashion sense. And when it does, you’ll want to grab a rosé or two to chill with but not chill down. With fall fast approaching, we’ve put together a very fashion-forward list for the forward-thinking you.
Top Picks for Chilly Weather – In Stock Now:
Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epine Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epine Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “A dependable producer of Tavel and Lirac (and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), the Lafonds have turned out a spice-driven 2017 Tavel that’s bottled under screwcap. Hints of allspice and clove accent watermelon and red berry flavors, while the palate is medium to full-bodied and richly textured, leading into a long, silky finish. Bravo!”
Bisson Ciliegiolo Rose Golfo del Tigullio, Liguria 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Neal Rosenthal note “Ciliegiolo, Golfo del Tigullio: is a traditional red grape variety that is rarely seen. Piero Lugano vinifies it to showcase its light and fruity character. When presenting it, we group this wine with our classic series of Rosés as it is released in the spring following the prior year’s harvest. Lugano proudly maintains this variety in both the Trigoso and Campegli vineyards situated in the hills above Sestri Levante and Chiavari, respectively. It is vinified dry, tastes of red cherry and wild berries and its brilliant cherry color is a particular joy to behold.”
Importer note “When is a rosé not a rosé? We have struggled with whether to officially classify the Ciliegiolo varietal in this category or whether to present it as a light-colored red wine with lots and lots of character (much as we do, for example, the Poulsard from the Jura). No matter what moniker we use, the fact is that this wine is a joyous presence at the table with its bountiful berry flavor, brilliant rose-ruby color and energetic freshness. From the Italian riviera via the talented Piero Lugano.”
Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points “Light lurid orange. Mineral-accented red berry and floral aromas are complemented by a subtle mineral element that gains power as the wine opens up. Juicy and expansive in the mouth, showing appealingly sweet raspberry, tangerine and lavender flavors and seamless texture. Concentrated yet lively in style, finishing with strong mineral thrust and a suave floral echo.”
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($64.95) Was $51.90, Now $41.90 September Clearance Price, 36+ bottles in stock now
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($139.95) Was $119, Now $99 September Clearance Price, 10 magnums in stock now
Neal Rosenthal note “The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe.”
The average price is $59
The Remarkable 2017 Domaine Huet Vouvrays
Huet makes some of the most undervalued great wine in the world. Take any metric you’d use to adjudicate greatness (complexity, age-worthiness, aromatic intensity, 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.
These are wines we stock year in and out and we’re excited to feature the exciting 2017 vintage (you can view the ’15 and ’16’s in stock on our website). 2017 looks to be an exciting year for the estate (as it is across France) with bright, mineral driven wines that showcase the prime terroirs Huet is known for.
If you’re new to the estate, know that they make wines from three vineyards (Le Haut Lieu, Le Mont and Clos de Bourg) at varying levels of sweetness. To that last point, don’t make the mistake of skipping anything past Sec—the Demi-Secs are especially useful at the table and long lived, with the sugar adding fruit and body but not much in the way of perceptible sweetness. Moelleux is a specialty of the Loire and is a beautiful wine that is a perfect partner for cheese and contemplation.
Of the three vineyards, Le Haut Lieu produces wines with the most fruit and the softest texture, accessible young. Le Mont is the most mineral and often requires the most time to find itself as a wine and the Clos de Bourg is a bit of a combination of the two. Gaston Huet thought it the best terroir in Vouvray, but a bottle of well-aged Le Mont Demi is an effective counter argument. Whichever combination you go for, stock up—there have been three short harvests in a row in Vouvray and many producers’ reserves are running low.
Arriving Friday, September 14th:
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Importer note “The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hA. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu.”
The average price is $36
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Importer note “For many insiders, the argument over Vouvray’s greatest vineyard comes down to two sites: Le Mont and Clos du Bourg. Undisputably a grand cru vineyard, Le Mont enjoys a choice site on the Première Côte. With less clay and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, Le Mont yields young wines of intense minerality. With age, the wines develop great length and finesse.”
The average price is $41
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Gaston Huët believed this to be the greatest of all Vouvray vineyards. With the Première Côte’s shallowest, stoniest soils, its wines often synthesize Le Mont’s intense minerality with Le Haut-Lieu’s generous texture.”
The average price is $41
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($41.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Plump and lively, with a core of bold ginger, McIntosh apple and almond notes followed by quince and persimmon flavors. Shows buried minerality, but also an ever-so-slightly off-dry wink on the finish, making this especially fun to drink. Drink now through 2032.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Delightfully ripe and lively, with a mix of white peach, ginger, yellow apple and quince flavors that are carried by bright minerality and mouthwatering acidity. Light floral hints gild the finish, while the fruit drives through. Thoroughly delicious, and built to age well. Drink now through 2033.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “This glistens, with glazed pear, warm persimmon, green plum and quince flavors, all carried by elegant white ginger and verbena notes. A light gilding of piecrust adds to the flattering feel, though there’s ample acidity here for balance and drive. Drink now through 2032.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux, Loire 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “A beauty, with an inviting display of succulent yellow apple, green plum, pear, persimmon and quince flavors that ripples lengthily through the finish, while light verbena, ginger and honeysuckle notes dart around. A long green tea echo runs through the finish. Shows terrific range and purity, with the sweetness easily harnessed for balance. Best from 2019 through 2040.”
Also Arriving in September:
Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Cuvee Constance’ Moelleux, Loire 2015 500ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival 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).”
“Time passes, but nothing much seems to change at this reference-point estate on Spring Mountain. Philip, Birgitta and Lisa Togni continue to make classy, elegant Cabernet Sauvignons in a super-classic style that rewards aging. These remain some of the most distinctive wines being made in Napa Valley.” – Antonio Galloni
Philip Togni is one of the last holdouts from what might be called Old Napa. Based on Spring Mountain, the Togni winery (now in the capable hands of daughter Lisa) has been turning out some of the best wines in Napa since the 80’s and they continue to make every bottle in the same style that made them famous in the first place. If you want Napa Cabernet that combines rich fruit with structure, spice and earth in a package that isn’t Bordeaux but can age like one, Togni is one of the best remaining options.
For whatever reason, though, they’re less famous than their peers like Mayacamas, Dunn or Corison—the other producers who make wines in a similar style and quality level. As a result, it’s still possible to acquire library stock of the wines—and we are. We’ll have a small quantity of the 2004, plus the new release 2015 arriving at the end of this month. You should buy a bottle of ’04 to see where the wines are heading and then stock up on the 2015’s, an outstanding vintage.
Arriving Late September:
Only six bottles available
Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 95+ points “[Tasted in 2014] The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, comes from steep mountain vineyards at the top of the Napa side of Spring Mountain. Aromas of black olives, tapenade, creme de cassis, licorice and truffles emerge from this opaque ruby/purple-colored, youthful 2004. Togni’s spiritual reference point is Bordeaux more than Napa Valley, and his wines seem to represent a hypothetical melange of those two distinctive schools of wine. Still backward, but rich, full-bodied and promising, this brilliant 2004 is 5-7 years away from its adolescence; it should age for 30-40 years.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “[Tasted in 2014 at a separate tasting] The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon has developed beautifully since I last tasted it. The early harvest produced an exotic, ripe wine built on intensity, breadth and power. Sweet tobacco, grilled herbs and cloves wrap around a core of blue/blackish fruit as this voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon shows off its considerable power. The 2004 will drink well for another 10-15 years. Today it is in a real sweet spot of total beauty.”
Arriving in October:
One of the best vintages in recent memory chez Togni.
Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($169.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Medium garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has a very classic nose of cassis, warm plums and crushed blackberries with notions of cigar box, garrigue, damp soil and truffles plus wafts of menthol and underbrush. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a firm frame of grainy tannins and wonderful freshness, finishing long and minerally.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “A fleshy deep, wine, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate exudes richness and sheer exotic beauty from the very first taste. As always, the Togni wines need bottle age to be at their best. In 2015, time will mostly help the aromatics develop, as the tannins are quite soft for such a young wine. Expressive floral and savory notes develop with time in the glass, but the 2015 is years away from hitting its stride. It will be interesting to see where the 2015 goes in the coming years and decades. Sadly, yields are down a whopping 50%.”
Arriving Late September
The Glory of Äy
Äy is an easy town to love in Champagne and also a town that’s easy to have never heard about. It’s Pinot country but its biggest and most famous landowner, Bollinger, doesn’t have anything on their labels to let you know where they’re based. Nevertheless, that richer, more powerful style that everyone associated with Bollinger (and the other big producer in the town, Gosset) is very much the flavor of Äy. This is Pinot country and the Champagnes from the town show tons of rich fruit and opulent, impressive textures.
Of the producers in Äy, Gatinois might be the most undervalued. The family farms some of the best land in the town and works with a very high proportion of a massale selection of Pinot Noir called “Petite Pinot d’Äy” that has extremely small berries. These small berries ensure an exceptionally flavorful base wine that translate into the finished product—Gatinois’ wines are rich, textured and powerful. We’re excited to carry them and they arrive at the end of the month, in plenty of time for celebratory fall drinking.
Arriving Late September:
This gives Bollinger a run for the money at a lot less $$.
Gatinois Grand Cru Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Gatinois Grand Cru Tradition Brut NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Composed mainly of the 2014 vintage, with a small bit of reserve wine. Fermentation (100% malo) in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. Estate-owned Pinot Noir (majority is Petit Pinot d’Ay) and Chardonnay grown in the Grand Cru village of Äy. Most of their Pinot holdings are comprised of massale selection Petite Pinot d’Ay: a small-yielding, tiny berried clone that is unique to this village. [The soil] has a good percentage of limestone found in subsoils. Technically located in Vallée de la Marne, but its terroir and exposition are more like Montagne de Reims.”
Gatinois Grand Cru Rose d’Ay Brut NV 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Estate-owned Pinot Noir (majority is Petit Pinot d’Ay) and Chardonnay grown in the Grand Cru village of Äy. Most of their Pinot holdings are comprised of massale selection Petite Pinot d’Ay: a small-yielding, tiny berried clone that is unique to this village. Assemblage-style rosé made mostly from the 2013 vintage, with a small bit of reserve wine. The still wine (Pinot Noir) was sourced from 60 year old vines. Fermented (100% malo) in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. [The soil] has a good percentage of limestone found in subsoils. Technically located in Vallée de la Marne, but its terroir and exposition are more like Montagne de Reims.”
Also Arriving Late September
Pinot Meunier is so frequently overlooked as the third grape of Champagne. At the hands of a rarified few (Prevost and Mignon come to mind alongside Dehu) the glory of this grape comes into its own. Think of it as Gamay: derided and overlooked in favor of Pinot and Chard, yet so full of minerality and charm. The ability of this grape to express terroir is so often ignored by grower, producer and drinker alike. Here, in these single-parcel Champagnes, one can truly appreciate the depth and complexity achieved in the hands(-off approach) of masters.Arriving Late September:
Benoit Dehu Rose De Saignee, Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Winery note “82% Pinot Meunier, 18% Chardonnay + 17% red wine (mainly Pinot Meunier); aged for three years on the lees. On the palate, it is an explosion of crushed raspberry, wild strawberry and fresh mango. It is broad in the mouth and surprisingly smooth and fresh. As it warms, its aromas open into notes of pear and quince.”
Importer note “Benoit is an eighth generation vigneron that returned to the family estate after working for Bollinger. He is committed to natural farming and aims to craft unadultered, pure Pinot Meunier. He purchased this 1.7 hectare vineyard and farms it biodynamically. The results are exceptional and we are thrilled to introduce Benoit’s work to our clients. The Cuvee La Rue de Noyers, named for the walnut trees that line the parcel, is a wine that will keep you intrigued and coming back for more. Organically farmed Pinot Meunier, 1.7 hectares farmed biodynamically. A quarter of the property is worked with a horse named Violette. Vinified in oak barrels, many of which are made from trees from the forest of Fossoy. No malo, no dosage, unfined and unfiltered.”Benoit Dehu Champagne Initiation Brut, Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Cuvée Initiation is the newest addition to the Déhu lineup. Made from his signature variety Pinot Meunier and 25% Pinot Noir, which Benoît planted using massale selection of Pommard clone from Burgundy. Oak vinification and ageing, unfined and unfiltered, low dosage. The wines is zippy and round with a persistent finish. Sourced from a small parcel at the bottom of the hill which Benoît planted using massale selection of Pommard clone from Burgundy.
September Clearance Sale Recap
Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($249.95) Was $225, Now $199 Clearance Price
James Suckling 96 points “The aromas of mint, blueberries and blackberries are very intense. Full-bodied, layered and softly textured; yet it delivers a firm and lightly chewy finish. Hot stones, too. This is a wine that will improve with three to four years of bottle aging.”
Winery notes “Our second coolest micro-climate is our five-acre Gravelly Meadow vineyard. Originally a pre-historic river bed, this stony, gravelly soil drains rapidly and the vines struggle for moisture. Gravelly Meadow is our lowest yielding vineyard. The wines are described as “earthy, cedary, jammy and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish.”
The average price nationally is $213
Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($249.95) Was $225, Now $199 Clearance Price
James Suckling 97 points “This has amazing aromas of red licorice, tar, lead pencil, dark berries and blackberries. Full body, a very soft texture and fine-grained tannins. Lovely freshness and brightness. Sweet and sour underneath. A wine that gives such enjoyment already but it will improve nicely in the bottle.”
Connoisseurs Guide 97 points “One of the most consistent producers of collectable Cabernets over the years, Diamond Creek has come up big in 2015 with a brace of truly outstanding wines. At the very top of the list, the Red Rock Terrace bottling is a beautifully composed effort of extraordinary depth and focus. Its incisive, pure cassis qualities merge with perfectly fit elements of loam, stony soils, creamy oak and accents of raspberries, and never once does it trade in flamboyant ripeness. It is, in fact, a wine of remarkable polish and cohesion right down to the fine, seamlessly integrated tannins that afford it the structure to age for two decades if not more, and those fortunate few who manage to hide a few bottles away should not consider drinking even one until another six to ten years have passed”
Winery notes “Red Rock Terrace, a warm microclimate, is 7 acres of north facing vineyard. The red tinted soil is high in iron content. The wine from Red Rock Terrace is the most accessible and earliest drinkable of all our wines. Our winemaker describes Red Rock Terrace as “having velvety tannins, rich and well balanced, medium dark ruby color with cherry, mint and black currant flavors.”
The average price nationally is $223Want to see all the wines in the September Clearance Sale?