Monday Newsletter 9-25-17

Featured Re-Arrival: Best Pricing on Clos Erasmus; New Week – New Arrivals; Staff Pick; Soos Creek; Fladgate: Port Royalty (And Bonus Rivesaltes!); Rose Sale Recap; Agathe Bursin; Three 100 Pointers


Featured Re-Arrival

Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus, Priorat DOCa 2014 750ML ($219.95) $149 special
Wine Advocate 97 points “There is a little more Syrah in the blend of the 2014 Clos Erasmus, where it reached around 30% to complement the majority of Garnacha. As is the norm, the wine matured for some 18 months before bottling, with most of the volume in French oak barrels, 40% of which are renewed each vintage, but there are also one or two amphorae. I tasted it next to the 2013 and as the 2013 required so much attention, it took some time to get to the 2014. It showed a bit shy at first, but when I finally came back to it, I found that it had really blossomed with a mixture of violets, ground, smoky meat and black raspberries. The slight increase in Syrah was noticeable, but it somehow also seemed to increase the voice of the slate in the bottle. The palate is medium to full-bodied with terrible balance and elegance combined with inner strength. This is simply terrific. 3,000 bottles were filled at the end of May 2016.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $193


New Week – New Arrivals


New half-bottle option!
Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 375ML ($34.95) $28 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Eileen gives bold raspberry preserves and red currant jelly notes with suggestions of chargrill meat, truffles, forest floor and cedar. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers a solid backbone of grainy tannins and loads of freshness supporting the generous, muscular fruit, finishing with great persistence.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Winery library release – 1998!
Cristom Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 1998 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 89 points “The medium to dark ruby-colored 1998 Pinot Noir Reserve offers toasted oak and blackberry aromas. Juicy black cherries, cookie dough, and raspberries can be found in its harmonious, well-balanced, and focused personality. This exceptionally long-finishing wine is elegant and medium to full-bodied.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
France – Burgundy

Domaine Henri Gouges La Perriere Blanc, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($149.95) $99 special
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 88-90 points “The 2014 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru les Perrières Blanc, from white limestone populated by Pinot Blanc vines planted in 1956 after the frosts, has a lifted pineapple and pink grapefruit-scented bouquet that unwinds in the glass. The palate is well balanced with Cornice pear and white peach notes, a fine line of acidity with a touch of baked apple towards the finish. Enjoy this over the next 5-6years.”

Domaine Henri Gouges Bourgogne Rouge 2014 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
“From vines on the plateau, which give a more elegant wine than vines from the lower sections.  Reduction masks the underlying fruit though it does not extend to the palate as there is good freshness and verve to the nicely voluminous flavors that deliver excellent depth and length. This is worth considering.” Burghound

Domaine Henri Gouges Les Chenes Carteaux, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 89-91 points “Reduced aromas of black cherry, raspberry, mint and menthol. A step up in sweetness and suppleness from the Chaignots; at once more velvety and more facile than that wine. Gouges describes this rather suave wine as the estate’s “entry-level premier cru of Nuits-Saint-Georges.” More red fruits than black.”

Domaine Henri Gouges Les Vaucrains, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($149.95) $139 special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91-94 points “Dark red-ruby. Tight, medicinal aromas of black cherry, bitter chocolate and menthol. Very rich and deep, with captivating sweetness cut by medicinal menthol and minerals. Highly concentrated, dense and broad but uncompromisingly dry. Finishes very long and perfumed, with serious saline tension. This very impressive premier cru has a big tannic structure and may well close down after the bottling.”
Burghound 91-94 points “Here too there is a subtle application of wood setting off the intensely spicy and overtly sauvage aromas of mostly cassis and black raspberry aromas that are also liberally laced with warm earth nuances. The muscular big-bodied flavors possess real power and punch along with ample minerality before terminating in a hugely long, complex and well-balanced finale. As it always is this is distinctly old school in style and will definitely require extended cellaring.”

Fougeray de Beauclair Fixin Clos Marion 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Burghound 90-92 points “Once again firm reduction renders the nose impossible to fairly evaluate. Otherwise there is terrific intensity to the tightly coiled and stony medium-bodied flavors that possess plenty of punch on the saline, balanced and focused finish. This ever-so-mildly rustic effort is a first-rate Fixin villages and highly recommended.”
France – Rhone

Epic Value!
Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2014 750ML ($54.95) $38 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92-94 points “Brilliant ruby. A powerfully scented bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, incense and pungent flowers, and a smoky Indian spice nuance builds in the glass. Fleshy and broad on entry and then tighter in the middle, offering juicy, concentrated black raspberry and boysenberry flavors given spine by juicy acidity. Rich yet energetic, finishing with outstanding clarity and sweet persistence and shaped by smooth tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Italy – Veneto

Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Veneto 2008 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Veneto 2008 1.5L ($249.95) $189 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Quintarelli’s 2008 Valpolicella shows the mid-weight, gracious style of this cool year. Sweet tobacco, dark cherry, herbs and mocha are all given an extra kick of acidity. About half of the fruit was air-dried for two months. The estate’s decision to release a wine with a good bit of age gives consumers a terrific opportunity to purchase a current release that also offers a good bit of aromatic and flavor complexity. I imagine the wine’s lively acidity will allow it to hold for a number of years, although I do not expect the wine will improve materially.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Germany – Mosel

Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Butterfly Riesling, Mosel 2014 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
David Schildknecht– “Harboring only 15 grams / L of residual sugar, this installment of Zilliken’s volume bottling from purchased fruit is as dry as any I can recall. It boasts a serious concentration of smoky, stony inflections for an ostensibly intro-level Riesling, yet its pithy persistence also features ample apple and peach juiciness.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

New Vintage – Same Popular Appeal!
Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid 2015 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
Case-12 Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid 2015 750ML ($219.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90 points “The entry-level red 2015 Camino de Navaherreros is always produced with Garnacha from organically farmed vineyards in the zone of Navaherreros in San Martín de Valdeiglesias. It fermented in stainless steel with some 45% full clusters and aged in 5,000- and 10,000-liter oak vats for nine months. This is a very serious red Garnacha for the price asked, with an herbal touch, faint phenolic twist and no oak whatsoever, as well as a very balanced palate, refined tannins and the austere texture provided by the granite minerality. Very impressive. 33,000 bottles produced.”

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

Robert Oatley Vineyards Signature Series Shiraz, Barossa 2013 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
Wine Advocate 88 points “Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2013 Signature Series Barossa has a sweet cherry, warm mulberry and baked plums nose with a spice box undercurrent leading to a soft, ripe, uncomplicated palate of good length. It’s a little old-school, but a solid example of this style.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $16.99


Staff Pick

I’m incredibly picky when it comes to Sangiovese.  I don’t think the grape should be raised in much new wood and I tend to think that it does better in larger barrels than smaller.  In short, I like traditional wines.  The Brunello and, more importantly, the Rosso from La Torre are wines that are right in my wheelhouse, in short.  These are wines that are thrillingly pure expressions of Tuscany’s noble grape.  The Rosso, my pick today, is a wine that is deliciously drinkable right now (though it loves a bit of a splash decant) and will age and improve for a solid half-decade.  This is a wine to drink with something fatty or something braised—it brings the wine alive and the wine returns the favor to the food.

Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note “aged for 18 months in large oak casks of French origin with about 10% of the ultimate cuvée being aged in small French barrels. The vines for this wine also face full-south. One thousand or so cases of the Rosso di Montalcino are produced annually.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Soos Creek

Small Volume, Big Following

ETA October

Soos Creek Wine Cellars has had a growth plan that would send any CFO into fits. After getting their start in 1989, with a tiny production of 100 cases, Soos Creek has blossomed into a still tiny production of 2000 cases. Stumbling across these is not easy, and I was thrilled to see that we’re grabbing a “large” stash of their incredibly well made wines to offer.

The Washington wine industry isn’t necessarily known for subtle flavors, managed growth, or humble owners. It’s a huge industry in the State now, with cutthroat competition for customer’s dollars. How then, it’s fair to ask, did Soos Creek Wine cellars develop such a dedicated following? First and foremost, it is a dedication to making the best wines possible – Bordeaux styled blends that eschew changing trends and follow a path set upon from the beginning. Balanced wines that drink well, age well, pair beautifully and showcase fruit rather than oak and alcohol. These harken back to the days when a well-made Washington Merlot could well be confused with a Right Bank gem. The liberal use of Cab Franc adds an element of tension in aroma and vibrancy to the glass. All of the fruit is sourced from among the best sites in Washington and the dedication to picking earlier than almost anyone else ensures the freshest, brightest flavors possible.

The Larsen family behind Soos Creek is as genuine as their wine. David Larsen has remained at the helm from the humble beginnings, and his goal of making the best wines at prices everyone can afford is a noble one. We’ve had back vintages stretching into the 90s, and the flavors are sublime. Grab these now, as there is not a lot to go around.

“These are the ‘backyard’ wines I remember when I first started in the industry in Washington. It seemed there always was the potential to make new-world Bordeaux that could rival the best. I love these wines.” –Andy

Here are the Soos Creek wines due to arrive in early October:

Soos Creek Wine Cellars Soleil Red, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Merlot, this offers aromas of high-toned red fruit, French-oak spice and herbs that lead to luxurious but still in-check dark-fruit flavors. Tart black-tea accents persist on the finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Soos Creek Wine Cellars Terrible Beauty, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($31.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “This wine blends fruit from top sites Champoux, Ciel du Cheval, Dineen, Elephant Mountain, Klipsun and Weinbau. Pleasing aromas of black tea, herb, dark chocolate and black fruit lead to bountiful black-fruit flavors supported by vibrant acids and firm, lightly chewy tannins that need time to unwind.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Soos Creek Wine Cellars Palisades, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($31.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90 points “Black cherries, plums, chocolate and leafy herbs all emerge from the deliciously fruit forward, textured, total charmer that is the 2014 Palisades. A blend of 83% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, drink it over the coming 4-5 years.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Champoux, Charbonneau, Ciel du Cheval, Elephant Mountain, Klipsun, and Slide Mountain vineyards make up this wine. The aromas are lightly styled, with notes of baking spice, caramel, licorice, raspberry and dried herb. It comes off as full bodied, rich and liquorous, coating the palate from end to end with ripe red and black-fruit flavors. It’s a hedonistic delight.”

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Soos Creek Wine Cellars Artist Series #14 Red Blend, Columbia Valley 2014 ($31.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90 points “Loaded with spice, kirsch, incense and hints of currants, the 2014 Artist Series #14 (57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Cabernet Franc) is medium+ bodied and nicely structured on the palate, with plenty of length. It’s another character filled red from this estate.”

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Soos Creek Wine Cellars Champoux Vineyard Red, Horse Heaven Hills 2014 ($41.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2014 Champoux Vineyard is rock-solid. Made from 83% Cabernet Sauvignon and 17% Cabernet Franc, it has lots of incense, dried violets and black and blue fruits, medium to full-bodied richness, and a layered, nicely textured style.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Fladgate: Port Royalty

ETA October

Taylor Fladgate is a premier name in the world of Port.  In most declared vintages, the Fladgate offering is the top, especially for lovers of elegant, rich port with sublime aromatics.  They’ve always been innovators (basically inventing LBV port) but we love them for their classical vintage ports.

Founded in 1692, Taylor Fladgate sources their wines from a variety of vineyards, but the vintage ports lean heavily on Vargellas, Terra Feita and Junco, three quintas that are some of the finest few vineyards in the Douro.  The resulting vintage Port that is produced is something that demonstrates the Taylor Fladgate commitment to excellence from vineyards all the way to bottle.

Unlike the sometimes showier Fonseca’s (their only real competitor for top old-school port house), these are wines that often take some time to mature and show their full stuff. When they do, though, these are wines that dreams are made of (and wines you should plan meals around).  Luckily, we’re able to save you the trouble and are able to offer this fine collection of already aged treasures, perfect for holiday drinking.

Arriving in October

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1970 750ML ($499.95) $399 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points “Clearly lives up to Taylor’s superb reputation. Deep ruby, with intense violet and chocolate aromas, full-bodied, with gorgeous fruit flavors, full but well-integrated tannins and an extremely long finish. Amazing balance and finesse. Still needs time.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1977 750ML ($349.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 96 points “This house must certainly be the Latour of Portugal. Their ports are remarkably backward yet still impressive when young. Of all the vintage ports, those of Taylor need the longest time to mature and even when fully mature seem to have an inner strength and firmness that keep them going for decades. Their tawnys are also among the very best, though somewhat expensive. The 1977 has consistently been at the top of my list of vintage ports in this great vintage, although the Dow, Graham, and Fonseca are equally splendid. It is a mammoth, opaque, statuesque vintage port of remarkable depth and power, but is should not be touched before 2000.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1985 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “Still going very strong from a bottle via a decanter. (The Robertsons served Fonseca 1985 at their dinner that night to celebrate Fonseca’s bicentenary.) Lovely hazelnuts nose and soft, spicy and sweet on the palate. Tannins fully resolved but still vigorous too.”    (6/2015)
Neal Martin’s Wine Journal 95 points “A very youthful deep garnet core with ruby rim. This has a much more precocious nose than the -83 with ripe blackberry, raspberry coulis, black olives and a certain minerality to it. Very fresh and well defined, the palate is full-bodied, certainly more structured and complex than the previous two declarations. Notes of black cherry, fig, raisin with a hint of savoury fruit towards the finish that has great length and refinement. Still in its youth, this has great potential…” (05/2008)
Wine Spectator 93 points “Medium ruby. Beautiful aromas of flowers and fresh plum, with hints of stems. Full-bodied and medium-sweet, with gorgeous silky tannins and a long, long finish. This is just starting to come around and offers wonderful flavors. Long life ahead, but ready to try.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2003 1.5L ($299.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2003 Taylor’s has a lovely ripe, primal bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, vanilla and marmalade that shows slightly better delineation than the Fonseca. The palate is medium-bodied with very composed, refined tannins that belie the heat of that summer. There is wonderful focus here and fine tension, the finish offering precise notes of black cherries, mulberry, cloves and white pepper. This is one of the finest Ports of a precocious vintage. Tasted May 2013.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2007 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “This is a giant of a wine lurking behind fresh flowers and ripe fruit. Starts off in a friendly way, then takes hold of the palate, with intense blueberry and blackberry fruit and chewy yet fine tannins. Mouthpuckering, but impressively complex and long. Really kicks in on the finish. The best Taylor since 1994.”

Taylor Fladgate Very Old Single Harvest Colheita Port 1967 750ML ($279.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points “This draws you in, with aromas of warm halva and toasted pistachio giving way to a wide range of buckwheat, toasted sesame, walnut husk, menthol and licorice root notes that refuse to break down in the mouth. Exhibits remarkable length, with ample viscosity matched by steely tension, putting this in rarified air. Drink now.”

Arriving in February

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1994 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special, ETA February
Wine Spectator 100 points “In a word, superb. It’s full-bodied, moderately sweet and incredibly tannic, but there’s amazing finesse and refinement to the texture, not to mention fabulous, concentrated aromas of raspberries, violets and other flowers. Perhaps the greatest Taylor ever, it’s better than either the ’92 or the ’70, though it’s very like the ’70 in structure.”
Port’s Cousins from Another Universe

Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes, Languedoc-Roussillon 1932 750ML ($279.95) $249 pre-arrival special, ETA October
Wine Advocate 97 points “The creme of the lineup, the 1932 VDN Rivesaltes Old Collection Ambre (100% Grenache Blanc aged 30 years in cask) is a monumental effort that makes your eyes roll back in your head and has you wondering why you don’t drink more of these. A borderline perfect dessert wine, it thrills on all accounts with fabulous aromas and flavors (toffee, cigar, cedar, sweet spice), full-bodied depth and richness, and yet no weight or heaviness whatsoever. It has serious acidity (and sugar) if you hunt for it, but everything is perfectly balanced, and it hangs on the palate until you either take another sip or do something to physically remove it. Find it if you can.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes Collections, Languedoc-Roussillon 1933 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special, ETA October
Wine Advocate 96 points “The white grape-based Cazes 1933 Rivesaltes smells gorgeously of creme brulee infused with iris, violet and orange blossom; then comes to the palate at once creamy, texturally caressing and expansive, yet also gushing with juicy and zesty evocations of grapefruit and blood orange that took me by delighted surprise. Toasted nuts and haunting, smoke-tinged liquid floral essences help balance and compliment the sweetness in a profound, protracted, and impeccably balanced finish.”


Rose Recap

Rose for Fall, Rose for All!

A Large Selection of Roses on Sale Now

We say it again and again, rosé drinks well all year long. Why not get into it at the beginning of fall when those last lingering days of warmth will bring the stragglers off of your tomato plants? They’ll also pair well with your fall harvest dishes, all the way through Thanksgiving. Perhaps a crispy roast duck or some dim sum? Some smoked brisket and a little spice? Our favorite feature of rosé is its willingness to play nicely with almost anything you can throw at it.

These were some of our favorite wines this season, and while we are looking forward to another slate of pink wines to roll through the door next spring, we’d love to see these enjoyed sooner rather than later. Stash a few away for those days when the clouds are low, the drizzle is relentless, and you need a reminder that somewhere the sun is shining.

Our Rose Markdown Selections:

Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2015 750ML ($19.95) Was $16 Now $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
VinopolNote: A versatile rose with savory, herbal notes from a legendary Chateauneuf producer. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grown in clay limestone, galets and sandy soil. Practicing organic & biodynamic.
Importer note “Hand harvested and fermentation in tank, vines are between 10 and 60 years old. Wine is aged for 4 months in tank. A fruity and generous rosé with strawberry and clay aromas. Drink within the next two years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cote du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2015 750ML ($17.95) Was $14 Now $11.90 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Vinopolnote: A layered Rhone rose of Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, Clairette, and Counoise. Natural yeast fermentation of hand-harvested grapes. Biodynamic. Juice from 70% direct press, 30% saignée.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose, Provence 2015 750ML ($21.95) Was $18 Now $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note “[Translated] This Rose, made mostly from Grenache and Cinsault, is obtained by saignee and undergoes temperature-controlled fermentation.  It has discreet aromas of red fruits, fuller body and a long finish.  It is an ideal wine for light summer dishes.”

Domaine de la Berangeraie ‘Tu Bois Coa’ Rose, IGP Cotes du Lot 2015 750ML ($14.95) Was $9.90 Now $8.80 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note: 100% Malbec. Very aromatic (raspberry, wild strawberry, blueberry), with a pronounced pomegranate color. The palate is rich, vinous, and unctuous. Drink as an aperitif, or with BBQ and exotic fruits.
Vinopolnote: A rich and pronounced rose of 100% Malbec from Cahors, France. Great for picnics and all things within the great outdoors.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Domaine de la Petite Mairie Bourgueil Rose, Loire 2015 750ML ($21.95) Was $18 Now $16 special, 1 bottles in stock now
Importer note “As we enter the Touraine, the Cabernet Franc takes center stage. The Bourgueil Rosé produced by James Petit from vineyards in Restigné and Bourgueil is a graceful and dignified wine with lots of class. This should prove to be a particularly fine reason to pay attention to an underappreciated appellation that offers stunning value, even more so in its red wines. A favorite of ours!”

Domaine Collotte Marsannay Rose, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($24.95) Was $21.90 Now $16 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Vinopolnote: One of our favorite producers of affordable Marsannay presents a rose with surprising pop and shoulders. Another year round rose selection.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Eric Chevalier Domaine de l’Aujardiere Pinot Noir Rose, Loire 2015 750ML ($21.95) Was $14 Now $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 88 points “Bright orange. Ripe red berries, pungent flowers and a hint of spiciness on the nose. Plush and open-knit, offering gently sweet raspberry and cherry flavors that tighten up on the back half. Clings with good authority and a bit of heat, leaving a bitter cherry pit note behind.”

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Domaine Les Grands Bois Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Les Trois Soeurs Rose 2015 750ML ($17.95) Was $14 Now $11.90 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 88 points “Bright pink. Dried cherry, red currant and orange pith on the pungent nose. Fleshy and dry on the palate, offering bitter red berry skin and cherry pit flavors given a spicy edge by a suggestion of white pepper. Closes dry and tight, showing good length and an echo of bitter orange zest.”
Vinopolnote: A peppy blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan from a certified organic estate.

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Domaine de Mattes Sabran Duc de Narbonne Rose, IGP Pays d’Oc 2015 750ML ($17.95) Was $14 Now $11.90 special, 11 bottles in stock now
“The size of Mattes-Sabran’s vineyards in the region of Corbières in the Languedoc is a legacy of the estate’s  ancient role as the seat of the duke of Narbonne. Yet vine-growing and winemaking here truly stretches back centuries; parts of the ancient Roman “Via Domitia” run through the estate. This full-flavored, pure  Syrah wine is hand-harvested and pressed directly (rosé de pressurage). Juice is fermented on indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks.”–Importer Notes

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Agathe Bursin

Secret Superstar of Alsace

“Alsace continues to be one of the world’s finest but most underrated, small wine regions.” – Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate

Agathe Bursin is a wonderful producer of Alsatian wines, with a strong following in France, but somehow remains slightly unknown in the US.  Her production sells out before it’s even bottled—mostly to private clients in Europe, but a little makes its way over to our shores.  Yet when it gets here, sometimes it gets overlooked, because she makes wines that are useful at the table (and are priced as such) instead of being ‘trophy’ wines for collectors to fight over.  Part of the reason for her lack of fame might be that she lacks a national importer, though her wines are brokered by Thomas Calder (who also sells Prevost/Bouchard/Pattes Loup/Boulay, etc) which speaks to the quality of the wines.

The Bursin family has been making wines in Alsace for several generations and Agathe has taken the family domaine to new levels.  Educated in Burgundy, she worked in Chablis before returning home to the family winery and there is a marked Chablisienne influence on her wines in terms of their clarity of flavor and brightness.  All the wines she makes are delicious, and she’s known in Alsace as something of a Sylvaner whisperer, but we’d urge you to check out the entire range!

In Stock Now from Agathe Bursin:

Agathe Bursin L’As de B, Alsace 2015 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 89 points “Bright straw. Clean, crisp aromas of orchard fruit and botanical herbs. Easygoing, very smooth and possessing a hint of residual sweetness to give it a touch more body, but does not seem especially dry. This strikes me as perhaps less aromatic than past vintages. A blend of 20 percent each of Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Sylvaner, plus 15 percent Pinot Gris, 10 percent Pinot Blanc, 10 percent Auxerrois and 5 percent Muscat Ottonel, all co-planted on the Bollenberg.”
VinopolNote: This wine comes from the lieu-dit Bollenberg and is made from an assortment of grapes that are interplanted and harvested at the same time. Made from a mix of Riesling, Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, though the exact blend changes depending on the yields in the vintage.  This wine is a delightlful representation of all of the things we love about Bursin, at a crazy price for its quality.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $18.99

Agathe Bursin Pinot Blanc Parad’Aux, Alsace 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 90 points “Bright straw-green. Lovely freshness thanks to lemony acidity that lifts the nuanced aromas and flavors of white flowers and stone fruit. A touch of spicy honey (it’s the Auxerrois) gives this a creamier texture than anticipated on the nose. Finishes bright and juicy, with good length. A 50/50 blend of Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois. Bursin likes to use quite a bit of Pinot Blanc, as she believes her Auxerrois on its own is a little too rich and round, and I for one am happy she does so, as the wine gains in drinkability.”
VinopolNote: Classic Alsace Pinot Blanc.  Clean, crisp with nice minerality and a touch of nuttiness.  This would make an excellent aperitif or a smashing pairing with fish.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Gewurztraminer Zinnkoepfle, Alsace Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($41.95) $37 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2015 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Zinnkoepflé opens with a clear, smoky/flinty, vegetal and spicy/herbal rather than fruity bouquet with flavors of anise, licorice and peony—fascinating and unique! On the palate the wine is rich, intense and elegant, shows a creamy texture and reveals a great power, but also character. This Zinnkoepflé is more the classic style of Gewurztraminer compared to the Dirstelberg and its finish is compact, nicely bitter and very expressive. Bottled with 31 grams of residual sugar, 4.16 of total acidity and a pH of 3.59. Drink over the next 20+ years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Pinot Gris Dirstelberg, Alsace 2015 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 90 points “Straw-yellow. Green apple, lemon juice, unripe pear and minerals on the complex nose. Then sweet and rather large in the typical Dirstelberg style, displaying a tactile mouthfeel and an almost chewy quality to the apple and pear flavors. Finishes off-dry and medium-long.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Riesling Dirstelberg, Alsace 2015 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 90 points “From a southeast-facing single vineyard on red sandstone soils at 400 meters altitude in Westhalten (Vallée Noble), the 2015 Riesling Dirstelberg displays a clear, fresh and very precise bouquet of crushed sandstones, white fruits and lemon flavors. Lovely pure and fresh, as if there was spring in the glass! Medium-bodied but concentrated and aromatic on the palate, this is an intensely fruity but dry and mineral Riesling, with the fiery warmth of generous 13.8% alcohol and three grams of residual sugar.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Sylvaner Eminence Zinnkoepfle, Alsace Grand Cru 2013 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 92 points “Gold-tinged straw. Delicate aromas of peach, apricot and poached apple. Rich and dense on the palate, with lively acidity lifting the sweet flavors of orchard and tropical fruits. Finishes very long, with impeccable balance. These Sylvaner vines grow in the grand cru Zinnkoepflé, the soils of which are marked by calcaires à entroques. Planted in 1930 with a southeast exposure, these vines give the description vieilles vignes real meaning, but Bursin doesn’t care to use this wording on the label since she believes the term has been reduced to mainly marketing purposes. “In France, vieille vigne wines are made with vines ranging anywhere from as little as 20 years to as much as 100 years of age, so what‘s the point?” she asks.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Sylvaner Eminence Zinnkoepfle, Alsace Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 94+ points “Bright straw-green. Enticing aromas of apple, pear and jasmine. Then very pure quince, green apple and coriander flavors are complicated by a peppery note of crystallized ginger. Finishes long and clean, with harmonious acidity. The Sylvaner vines used to make this wine were planted in 1930 and are located in the heart of the Zinnkoepflé grand cru on calcaire soil, a site that has a long and distinguished history of giving superlative Sylvaner wines. This is never a particularly dry wine (“It’s an especially lazy yeast that doesn’t always manage to close out the fermentations,” laughed Bursin) and it tastes a little sweeter than the 2014 (24 g/L residual sugar in 2015, and only 18 g/L in 2014; the total acidity was also lower in 2015 at 5.9 g/L, compared to 6.2 g/L in 2014). This is an absolutely gorgeous wine of mind-blowing crystalline purity.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Sylvaner Lutzeltal, Alsace 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 91+ points “Luminous straw-yellow. White flowers, chamomile and stone fruit on the perfumed nose. Clean and fresh on entry, then more glyceral, showing sneaky concentration and size to the quince and white stone fruit flavors. This lovely wine is both rich and round and doesn’t quite taste completely dry, but in fact it has only 5 g/L residual sugar with 5.7 total acidity, and the latter masks the sugar’s presence very effectively. The finish is bright, long and creamy. Bursin is a recognized master of the Sylvaner variety; in her hands, it gives wines that are better than many Rieslings and Pinot Gris from other producers.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Agathe Bursin Wines Arriving in October:

These new releases will feature a few special 2015’s (her VT and SGN wines, some Pinot Noir) and the range of 2016 whites.  2016 looks to be a really good Alsatian vintage, with wines showing good ripeness but less than some of the extremes that 2015 displayed.  Acids are good and the wines will show great freshness (which is also a hallmark of the Bursin style).  The 2015 late harvest wines look to be stunners—the vintage allowed for very ripe wines that are stunners now and will age for a long time. It also looks to be the best vintage for Pinot Noir in Alsace since 2009 and potentially better than that.

See the complete list of Agathe Bursin wines arriving in October below – visit our web store to read full descriptions & reviews and to shop online.

bursin wines pre-arrivals 8-17-17


Three 100 Pointers

Arriving in February

One Just for You

Subscriber-Only Secret Special

Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta, Colchagua Valley 2014 750ML ($159.95) $119 pre-arrival secret special, ETA February
James Suckling 100 points “An extremely aromatic and focused Clos Apalta with blackberry, blueberry, floral and hot stone character. Full body, very linear and ultra-fine tannins. Focused and tight. Precise and long. This is the most polished and beautiful definition of this wine ever. You want to drink it now but better in 2020. A blend of carmenere, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.”

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Sena, Aconcagua Valley, Chile 2015 750ML ($179.95) $138 pre-arrival special, ETA February
James Suckling 100 points “Stunning aromas of blackcurrant, stone, blueberry and licorice. Also iodine. Floral. Perfumed. Full body, fantastic density of fruit and ripe tannins. It goes on for minutes on the palate with such energy and focus. Touch of chewiness on the finish. A complex and complete wine that delivers a generosity with firmness. Drink in 2021 but already a classic to drink.”

Vina Almaviva

This Franco-Chliean project continues to impress since its inception in 1998. The collaboration celebrates the elegance and winemaking skill of the Rothschilds and the Chilean thumbprint that only the most singular terroir could provide. This is a truly harmonious wine that will belong in your cellar for a very long time. We currently have the lowest price listed in the US on what will certainly be a touchstone wine amongst collectors for decades to come.

Vina Almaviva, Puente Alto, Chile 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, ETA February
James Suckling 100 points “A glorious and complex nose of tobacco, blackberries and hints of stones and flowers. Hints of bitter chocolate. Full-bodied, very tight and compacted. Linear backbone gives this form and tension. It has the same character on the palate as well as cayenne and other spice. Loved the 2014 but this shows more fine-grained tannins. So balanced and harmonious. A blend of 69% cabernet sauvignon, 24% carmenere, 5% cabernet franc and 2% petit verdot. Needs four or five years in bottle but a joy to taste now.”

Thank you for reading!