In Today’s Newsletter:
Bonneau Celestins 2005
Pallieres Arriving Friday
Ferrando’s Best White Label Yet?
Rosé of the Day
New Releases from K Vintners
Henri Boillot 2018’s
Return of a Vinopolis Classic Chateauneuf:
Gaja is a name that requires no context in discussion—like Latour or DRC, it’s understood which estate is meant and that the wines are epic, change-your-dinner-plans events. Angelo Gaja is one of the primary reasons we care about Barbaresco today and the wines bearing his name remain the most treasured and collectible of the region. Furthermore, the top wines from his Brunello estate, Ca’ Marcanda, have quickly become among top two or three most sought after wines in Tuscany.
The one complaint we might have with Gaja, as with most wines that are full-on collectible, is the pricing. We got lucky (or worked hard, your choice) and grabbed some of his outstanding Brunello for an absolute bargain—$20/btl below the online average price. These wines arrive during the early part of October, but you’d do well to secure yours now.
Arriving ETA October:
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($599.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points “Rich and expressive, with cherry, strawberry and earth flavors and plenty of flesh to cover the solid structure. Spice and tobacco notes add depth as this plays out on the long finish. Best from 2019 through 2032. 6,000 cases made.”
The next best price is $77
The average listed price is $89
Check out these fantastic wines from Gaja, in stock now:
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Rennina, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($149.95) $99 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is made from a blend of fruit from three different vineyard parcels. The sites total 25 hectares, with 15 located next to the church, or the Pieve, after which this estate is named. The sites have southwest exposures and different soil types. That flexibility explains the smooth and seamless bouquet offered by this wine. Compared to the single vineyard Sugarille expression, Rennina is more open and immediate. The wine presents fleshy and beautifully plump aromas of red cherry, dried blackberry and exotic spice with tobacco and chocolate at the back.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 93 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is strikingly beautiful. Rich, open-knit and alluring, the Rennina captures all the best qualities of the year. Sweet red cherry, plum, tobacco and spice notes are all supported by ripe, silky tannins that give the wine much of its sensual personality. The intensity of the year is very much in evidence, yet the Rennina also retains striking freshness. Historically, the Rennina has aged quite well, but it will be hard to resist, as it is already quite delicious.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2010 Bolgheri Camarcanda is an exceptional wine with a level of aromatic intensity and integrity that is impossible to exaggerate. The blend is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, in that order of importance. The bouquet is impeccable and refined, with deep layers of Morello cherry, cassis, dried blackberry and spice that peel back in quick succession. The oak component is beautifully integrated, imparting notes of chocolate and tobacco that complete this beautiful portrait of Tuscan winemaking. Hold this bottle for a few more years.”
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2011 Sorì San Lorenzo boasts massive depth, intensity and power. Black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice, savory herbs and leather are some of the many notes that emerge from the glass. Regardless of the year, the personality of Sorì San Lorenzo always comes through, which is why this is one of the great sites in Barbaresco, Piedmont and Italy. In 2011 the contours are a bit softer, which gives the wine a level of accessibility that is quite rare in Sorì San Lorenzos when the wines are young. Why is Sorì San Lorenzo one of the world’s most profound vineyards? Because its personality simply can’t be denied.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The exciting 2011 Sori San Lorenzo is a wine of enormous beauty and grace. Gaia Gaja classifies her three single vineyard Langhe Nebbiolo wines as follows: Costa Russi is “flowers;” Sori Tildin is “fruit;” and San Lorenzo is “plant” (with more structure and a more compact feel). San Lorenzo does indeed boast a strong mineral component of pencil shavings and crushed granite, followed by red cherry and soft spice. The wine’s tannins start off harder than the other wines, but soften with time. Drink: 2018-2040.”
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2014 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo is the most virile and explosive of Gaja’s Barbarescos. Dark, brooding and powerful, with a huge spine of tannin, the San Lorenzo is utterly regal in the glass. Gravel, smoke, menthol, tar, licorice and a host of sepia-toned fruits build into a crescendo of aromas and flavors that is truly compelling. What a gorgeous wine this is.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Earthy notes lead off, followed by cherry, plum, graphite and tobacco flavors. Starts out broad and muscular, with a thick layer of tannins for support, yet gains elegance with aeration. A tad austere on the finish, but stays vibrant and long. Best from 2021 through 2036. 170 cases imported.”Gaja Costa Russi Langhe, Piedmont 2006 750ML ($499.95) $299 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Vinous- Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Good full red. Reticent strawberry and plum aromas are complicated by a medicinal component. Rounder and sweeter than the normale, but also showing excellent inner-mouth lift for all its fullness. This very broad, fine-grained wine finishes with a juicy quality and excellent structure. In spite of its firm tannins, this makes the young ’07 come off as a bit drier by comparison.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2006 Langhe Costa Russi is a bit reticent at first, and two of the three bottles I tasted showed elements of reduction that eventually blew off. A gorgeous center of soft perfumed fruit lies behind the slightly unfocused bouquet. The wine reveals notable clarity and detail once it opens up in the glass, with dark cherries, flowers and minerals that linger on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031.”
Bonneau Celestins 2005
Henri Bonneau is a producer without peer in the Southern Rhone. No other winemaker (other than perhaps Rayas) has produced as many epic bottles of Cheateauneuf as he has and at the top of his pyramid is the legendary Reserve des Celestins.
Produced only in the best years, it’s generally the best Southern Rhone wine made in the years that it’s bottled. We just secured five bottles of the absolutely legendary 2005, arriving Friday, to go along with a bottle of the 2011 that’s in stock right now. If you’re a collector of the fine and rare, don’t pass go—snap these up while you can.
Only five bottles available
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2005 750ML ($799.95) $599 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “A big, muscular Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the 2005 Henri Bonneau Réserve des Célestins delivers a thrilling array of plum, crème de cassis, roasted garrigue, blood, and hints of graphite on the nose. Absolutely compelling aromatically, with awesome typicity and complexity, this full-bodied, structured effort is thick and rich on the palate, with a layered, concentrated mid-palate, integrated acidity, and blockbuster length on the finish. Given the almost voluptuous texture and quality of fruit, this is a profound drink now; nevertheless, it will benefit from 5-7 years of bottle age, and keep for 2 decades or more. If I had to choose one bottle to represents the essence of traditionally made Châteauneuf-du-Pape, this would be it!”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Full ruby. Huge, room-filling bouquet of blackberry compote, cherry, potpourri and cured tobacco, along with an intense spicy quality and a hint of orange zest. Palate-staining dark fruit flavors are braced by a strong mineral component and complicated by star anise and candied lavender nuances. Refuses to let up on the finish, which emphatically echoes the dark berry and lavender notes. There are tannins lurking in here but they’re buried beneath this wine’s powerful fruit.”
In Stock Now:
Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins, Rhone 2011 750ML ($399.95) $379 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93-95 points “Bright ruby-red. Far more expressive than the Marie Beurrier, displaying a wild array of candied red fruits, flowers and Asian spices, along with an intense mineral overtone. Silky, sweet and pure on the palate, offering intense raspberry preserve and spicecake flavors and a jolt of lavender pastille. Closes long and sweet, with building spiciness and smooth, harmonious tannins that sneak up late.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins (still in barrel) is rich, deep and concentrated. It’s also noticeably fresher tasting than the Cuvee Marie Beurrier from the same vintage, with ample cherry fruit and a touch of chocolate on the long, silky finish.”
Both Kermit Lynch and the Brunier Family (Vieux Telegraphe) are legendary names in the French wine trade. Kermit, obviously, is one of the most influential importers of wine and the Bruniers make Telegraphe, a wine that help put him on the map. Both went into business together with Domaine Pallieres in Gigondas and are now making some of the most exciting wines in the appellation.
Gigondas always represents some of the best value in the southern Rhone, especially when compared to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Like its more famous cousin, the Les Pallieres Terrasses du Diable displays all the richness and density you would want, coupled with a savoriness that is unique to Gigondas. Made from the steepest slopes of the estate, this is an ageworthy, old-school style southern Rhone wine that (while delicious today) will age like $50+ CdP.
Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The 2015s are also brilliant, and if not for the 2016s, I’d say best yet. The 2015 Gigondas Terrasses du Diable sports a ruby color as well as considerable polish and elegance in its blackberry, black cherry, garrigue and mineral-drenched style. Full-bodied, concentrated, loaded with spice, and beautifully textured, it’s a knockout 2015 to drink over the coming decade.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Dark and focused, with cassis, blackberry and black currant fruit flavors spliced together, racing along atop mouthwatering bramble, lavender and rosemary accents. A bright iron streak pierces the finish, adding lift and range. Best from 2019 through 2027. 2,600 cases made.”
Josh Raynolds 92-94 points “Bright violet. Heady aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, potpourri and licorice are complemented by smoky mineral and spice nuances that emerge with air. Juicy, expansive black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors become sweeter and put on weight with aeration while retaining a graceful touch. Velvety tannins lend subtle grip to an impressively long, mineral-laced finish that echoes the floral note.”
Ferrando’s Best White Label Yet?
Ferrando’s Carema is one of the signature Nebbiolo based wines made outside of the Langhe. Neal Rosenthal, its importer, described it by saying that “If there is any wine that defines the Ferrando “oeuvre” it is this one: the white label Carema. No single wine in our portfolio is more illustrative of our work than this brilliant rendition of Nebbiolo.” It’s hard to imagine higher praise and this wine is distinctive in the all the best ways—bright, full of drive and devilishly complex, as well.
A region as far north as Carema does better in warm vintages and the 2015 version looks to be one of the best ever produced. Rosenthal called it “a future legend” and we’re inclined to agree. We’ve got a few bottles arriving this coming Friday and you’d do well to stock up.
Ferrando White Label (Etichetta Bianca) Nebbiolo di Carema, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Importer note “2015 Carema ‘Etichetta Bianca.’ For us, Ferrando’s white-label Carema is perhaps the ne plus ultra of Alpine wine—as well as the most gorgeous expression of Nebbiolo in existence—and the 2015 is a future legend. With its mouthwatering acidity, its sumptuously velvety texture, its panoply of spices, and its eerily pure fruit, it embodies what makes Carema so special, yet with a bit more authority and power than in a more typical vintage. Aged in a combination of large Stockinger casks and smaller barriques and tonneaux (all well-used), it presents relatively open at this youthful stage—perhaps a function of 2015’s generosity of fruit—yet the underlying structure and tension promise a long life.”
Winery note “Made from Nebbiolo grapes harvested around the 20th of October, fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, with maceration on the skins for about 10 days. In conformity with the production regulations, refinement lasts 36 months, 30 of which in oak barrels. Tasting notes: Colour: Intense garnet red, limpid and dense. Nose: Spicy, fruity notes. Fine hints of dried flowers and rose petals. Palate: Warm, tannic mouthfeel. Well-integrated spicy notes.”
Trendy New Arrivals:
Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2016 Fontalloro is the best vintage of this landmark wine that I have tasted thus far. This is a very elegant vintage, with more volume in the mouth and precise notes of tar, licorice, camphor ash, resin and Indian spice. In a race between the highly competitive 2015 and 2016 vintages, I give a slight advantage to this wine. The warmer 2015 vintage shows more richness and exuberant fruit. However, this wine from 2016 offers a more focused and chiseled delivery. I am hopeful that this wine will continue to evolve and sharpen as it ages in the bottle. This is a beautiful wine to put aside in your cellar for ten years or more.”
James Suckling 98 points “Amazing aromas of licorice, wet earth, orange peel and lavender. Full body, tight and super compact and polished. Goes on for minutes. Clearly great. Better in 2021, but already a star.”
The average price nationally is $59
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 re-arrival special
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($89.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Streamlined and elegant, this mid-weight red trots out notes of grilled herb and dark fruit nuances that segue to spice, tilled earth and savory tobacco, with great complexity. This 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is still a bit closed and tight, but this beautiful wine boasts all the best qualities of this vintage. It shows elegance and power, two contrasting characteristics that only work well together in the world’s most achieved expressions. The most satisfying aspect of this Riserva is the crisp acidity on the close that keeps the palate refreshed and ready for the next sip.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This red offers density and focus, creating an ideal frame for the cherry, strawberry, almond, leather and earth flavors. A firm backbone of tannins lends structure and the finish persists, leaving an accent of bitter almond. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva shows all the quality and pedigree of the year in its layered personality and overall nuance. Cedar, dried cherry, game licorice and tobacco convey the darker, gamier side of Sangiovese that is such a signature at Fèlsina. The 2016 finishes with terrific energy and bright acids that suggest it will enjoy a long life in the cellar, but readers should plan on giving it at least a few years in bottle.”
Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Glimmering red. A hugely aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, along with a bright mineral overtone and a touch of smokiness. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering potent, mineral-laced raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Delivers a compelling blend of power and finesse and finishes with silky tannins, outstanding clarity and floral- and mineral-driven persistence.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderful earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”
The next best price is $89.95
The average listed price is $92
Bow & Arrow Air Guitar, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note “Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America. The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard. Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience. Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon. ”
The next best price is $26.99
Spottswoode Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Robert Parker 96+ points “This first-growth estate in St. Helena has produced a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon that is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It is certainly one of the wines of the vintage. Gorgeously opaque purple, it offers up notes of spring flowers, blueberries, blackcurrants, some baking spice and graphite. It is full-bodied, concentrated and rich, with layers of fruit. The wine builds and builds on the palate, with a great finish of 45+ seconds. This is a sensational 2014 to drink over the next 20+ years.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Spottswoode 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is striking. Black cherry, plum, graphite, spice and menthol are some of the signatures. Intensely mineral and savory, the 2014 comes across as a slightly restrained version of the 2013. The flavor and tannin profiles are both quite similar, but the 2014 is a bit smaller-scaled in all of its dimensions. That is not a bad thing, as the 2014 will be ready to drink sooner. This is an impressive showing.”
James Suckling 96 points “Amazing burnt-orange and currant aromas with tar and lead pencil. Blackberries, too. Changes all the time. Mesmerizing. Full-bodied and powerful with super-polished tannins and a long and intense finish. The polished and fine tannins coat your mouth. Glorious. Needs three to four years to soften.”The recent fall weather has reminded us how good some ’13’s (like this one) can be.
Grochau Cellars Zenith Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2013 750ML ($47.95) $28 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points “Brilliant red. Powerful, spice-accented cherry and raspberry aromas are complemented by hints of candied rose, anise and smoky minerals. Sweet and focused on the palate, offering intense red and dark berry and spicecake flavors and a strong suggestion of floral pastilles. Rich yet lithe in the style, this elegant Pinot finishes with powerful, spicy thrust and silky, slow-building tannins that contribute shape and grip.”
The average price is $32
Rosé of the Day
Tavel’s Better Brother
Lirac sites next door to Tavel, and Montfaucon’s rosé is made in that same style—just better than almost any Tavel we’ve ever tried. It has the weight and richness of Tavel but with more vivacity, spiciness and energy than we’ve come to expect out of southern Rhone rosé. This is a delicious wine, perfect for raining fall evenings.
In Stock Now:
Chateau de Montfaucon Lirac Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “Montfaucon’s lovely 2018 Lirac Rose is a blend of six varieties: 30% Grenache, 25% each Cinsault and Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan and 10% Clairette. It’s medium-pink in color, with assertive aromas of red berries and citrus. Medium-bodied on the palate and silky in feel, it picks up hints of peach and wet stone on the long, slightly briny finish.”
Winery note “30% Grenache, 25% Cinsault, 25% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan, 10% Clairette. Chateau de Montfaucon is located in the heart of the Rhone Valley overlooking the river on the right bank. This complex rose from the great Lirac Cru terroirs combines intensity, gourmandize and finesse. Its red berry, almond and peach aromas along with its ample mouthfeel and fresh finish [indicate] a true gastromonie rose calling for audacious food pairings –Rodolphe de Pins.”
VinopolNote: One of the last truly old-school Southern Rhone producers (see Gour de Chaule in Gigondas, too). Long ignored due to its subtly, Chateau Montfaucon is seeing renewed interest in the US now that alcohol percentage is no longer the sole indicator of quality.
Haden Fig Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
VinopolNote: This delicious Pinot Blanc is all from two rows in the Mahonia Vineyard of 20-30 year old vines farmed sustainably. Erin Nuccio took over farming of this vineyard and purchases all of the grapes, so he now considers it an estate vineyard. The Pinot Blanc was barrel fermented and underwent full malo before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Kelley Fox Wines Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($33.95) $29 special
VinopolNote: This is riotously fragrant, delicious and round without any fruity sweetness. A true show stopper and easily one of the finest true Pinot Blancs out there.
The next best price is $33
Cascina delle Rose Tre Stelle, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Cascina delle Rose Tre Stelle, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $128 special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Editor’s Choice. Enticing scents of rose, violet, menthol and nutmeg float above the glass on this fragrant, radiant red. Elegantly structured, the focused palate delivers raspberry compote, juicy cherry, star anise and cinnamon. Taut, ultrarefined tannins and bright acidity lend precision and balance. Drink 2022–2034.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2016 Barbaresco Tre Stelle, tasted from barrel, is a darkly concentrated and rich expression of Nebbiolo with lots of black fruit packed tight at its core. The wine was technically unfinished when I tasted it; however, reading between the lines, you get a sense of the deep and profound nature of the fruit in 2016. I see this vintage turning out very nicely. Some 4,900 bottles were produced.”
This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $128 special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection. More structured than Tre Stelle, this is another intriguing, gorgeous Barbaresco that shows the firm’s hallmark of elegance. It opens with aromas of ripe, dark-skinned fruit, truffle, violet, mint and a compelling earthy note suggesting game. On the youthfully austere palate, tightly wound but noble tannins and bright acidity support juicy Marasca cherry, licorice, mint and brown spice. It’s already tempting, but give it time to unwind and develop even more complexity. Drink 2024–2036.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2016 Barbaresco Rio Sordo is the darkest and most concentrated of these barrel samples presented by Cascina Delle Rose. This is a structured, medium to full-bodied expression of Nebbiolo with lots of dark fruit packed in at the core. The wine is fermented in steel and aged in botti grandi for about 22 months. Only 1,800 bottles were made.”
The next best price for the 750ml is $69.99
This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Cascina delle Rose Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Winery note “Bright garnet red. Floral and elegant notes of roses and violet (which is classic of the Tre Stelle); a direct, deep, and clear expression of the vineyard. Notes of fruit (maraschino cherries, berries), vanilla, leather, and tobacco. Dry, balanced and enduring, with dense texture of fine and silky tannins, great elegance and persistence. It goes well with salami, cured ham, red and white meat, and medium-aged cheeses.”Perfect pizza wine, with lots of character and a perfect price point, too.
Cascina delle Rose Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 88-90 points “Tasted from barrel, the 2017 Barbera d’Alba opens to a darkly concentrated appearance with lots of succulent primary fruit. At this very young point in the wine’s life, it offers lots of rich syrupy black fruit flavors with cured tobacco and faded tones of campfire ash. It will be interesting to see where the next couple of months of bottle aging will bring it. Some 5,600 bottles were produced.”
Cascina delle Rose A Elizabeth Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
“Cascina delle Rose is without question one of the emerging estates in Barbaresco. Readers who have not tasted these wines should make a point of doing so, as they encapsulate everything that makes Barbaresco so alluring.”– Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Nervi Conterno Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($59.95) $47 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Haunting aromas of rose, wild cherry, kirsch, mineral and leather are the hallmarks of this silky, elegant red, which is linear and balanced, extending on the finish with notes of fruit, spice, mineral and tobacco. Very harmonious. Drink now through 2033. 5,000 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The weather in Gattinara is often unexpected. For example, in 2017 it rained more in this area than it did in Barolo. This vintage was more tempered, and this 2015 Gattinara comes across as pretty, elegant and soft, with light notes of berries and a pretty ashy signature. This particular expression of Nebbiolo would be a good choice for lamb.”
James Suckling 92 points “A very floral and lilting nose with abundant rose perfume, as well as sweet cherry aromas and sweet, wild herbs. Very sweet florals here in 2015. The palate has precision and finely detailed acidity, as well as a deep-set, flavorful core of strawberries and cherries. Seamless, long and persistent flavor. Great depth, elegance and precision here.”They’ve been farming this site since the 15th century—for very good reason.
Nervi Vigneto Molsino, Gattinara DOCG 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “Roberto Conterno tells me he prefers the 2014 Gattinara Vigna Molsino over his other single-vineyard expression from the Vigna Valferana. I tend to agree given this wine’s large span of beautiful aromas. This is a deep and expressive Nebbiolo that starts with plump fruit tones and ends with drying mineral nuances. There is a touch of white pepper too. Bring this one out for pheasant or other game bird roast.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This starts out spicy and savory, with a core of cherry, strawberry, licorice and stone flavors. Consistent from beginning to end, with leather and tobacco accents on the aftertaste. Best from 2020 through 2033. 1,166 cases made.”
James Suckling 93 points “Amphitheater site, just below Monte Rosa at 400 meters. South-facing. Quite an open nose with deep blue-fruit aromas here. The fruit is ahead of the flowers, which come later with deep blue-rose-like aromas. The palate has a very elegant and supple core of lilting roses with a gently herbal edge. The tannins are so soft, so ripe and balanced. Very ethereal finish.”
Comando G Granito del Cadalso Garnacha Sierra de Gredos, Madrid 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “A custom blend for importer Eric Solomon made from 100% Garnacha from very high-altitude sites, aged all in concrete, the 2016 Vinos de Madrid offers a Southern Rhône-like style in its dried herbs, cherries, currants, and mineral-laced aromas and flavors. This ruby colored, elegant, seamless Garnacha shows more and more floral notes with time in the glass, has a rich, heady perfume, ripe tannin, and a great finish. Drink it anytime over the coming 3-5 years.”
Wine Advocate 90+ points “I tasted an unbottled sample last time, so it was time to review the bottled 2016 Granitos de Cadalso, which showed superbly, with great freshness and floral aromas, with great finesse and detail. I also liked the palate very much, where the austere and strict tannins from the granite are very noticeable. This has a great combination of approachability and seriousness. This is a great value! 14,000 bottles were filled in June 2017.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2018 bottling of the NV Amontillado Viejísimo Solera 1922 Marqués de Poley has a bright orange color and a nose that combines varnish, hazelnut and peach aromas with some iodine and sea breeze aromas. It has a pungent palate, finishing dry and with a pleasant bitter and salty touch.”
[Year of bottling not indicated. L-011601S43]
The next best price is $37.99
Bodegas Tradicion VORS 30 Years Old Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($179.95) $119 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “This is a new, sweet Pedro Ximénez, older than the VOS released previously, average aged 30-40 years. Up to now they have only bottled a younger and fresher PX, but as the solera has grown to include a few barrels that are considerably older it is now bottled for the first time and released as NV Pedro Ximénez VORS. With 409 grams of sugar it is incredibly dark and dense, almost black, with a bright amber, green border and a nose of caramel, a little burnt note, cigar ash, a touch of rusticity and flavors of toffee that are quite sweet but that shows a surprising high acidity. It is a beast. Only 300 bottles were filled in October 2014.”
New Releases from K Vintners
The wines of K Vintners need very little introduction, as the wines Charles Smith makes under this label are some of our most popular year in and out. The new releases arrive in a few weeks and they’re highly praised and highly allocated, as usual.
If you’re unfamiliar with the winery, know that Charles Smith fashions himself a bit of a rock star and he ought to—he used to manage them. Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards. Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.
His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners.’ The winery has grown by leaps and bounds since—by our count, K makes well more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the additional projects he’s involved in such as Substance and Sixto.
At this point, Charles Smith is one of the defining wine makers for what might be the modern Washington style. His wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacony quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else. The only thing we can complain about is that they sell out and we can’t carry them more often.
Henri Boillot 2018’s
Henri Boillot is an undisputed top producer of white Burgundy, vinifying wine after wine that turns heads and captures hearts. Rich, bold, textured and complex, with minerality to spare, these wines are the quintessence of whites Burgundy for many. We just secured our all our allocation of the 2018’s arriving in the spring and are excited to offer them to you today.
2018 already seems poised to be a legendary year in the Cote d’Or, inviting comparisons to 1947 (by Phillipe Pacalet, nonetheless!) and other vintages in the same suit (2005, etc). ’18 was a hot, relatively easy year and producers could pick without fear of rot or mildew—there was barely any use for the sorting tables. Boillot seems to excel in these warm vintages and his whites offer richness with minerality, with good density and the balance to age.
As you’d expect given Boillot’s stature, quantities are very limited, but they should be wonderful for the lucky few that get in on these wines.
Arriving ETA Spring 2020:
These are all the only listings in the USA today!
Henri Boillot Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($299.95) $249 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Henri Boillot Meursault, Cote de Beaune 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Henri Boillot Les Charmes, Meursault Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Domaine Henri Boillot Les Genevrieres, Meursault Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Henri Boillot Les Perrieres, Meursault Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($199.95) $179 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Henri Boillot Les Poruzots, Meursault Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet Les Combettes, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Domaine Henri Boillot Les Pucelles, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Return of a Vinopolis Classic Chateauneuf:
We’re pleased to announce the return of one of our favorite Chateauneuf du Pape producers, Olivier Hillaire. Back when the shop was in its old location, Hillaire was one of our two or three best-selling producers—there were stacks of those wines and they flew out the door by the case. They deliver exceptional value at each price level, from the entry level to the top end. We’ve been unable to source them for the last few years but are excited to bring them back in force. Now’s a perfect time to restock and grab a case or two for all your winter drinking and cellaring needs – all at the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Arriving ETA December:
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 pre-arrival special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points “The young estate has turned out some crazy good 2016s, including the “basic” 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape, a blend of 90% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre and Syrah, all from the lieu-dit of Grand Pierre. Aged in concrete and neutral barrels, it shows terrific balance, matching black cherries and raspberries with hints of garrigue, and ample weight and richness on the palate with fine, silky tannins. Concentrated, flavorful and long, this should be available for around $50, making it a relative bargain.”
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($599.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand comes from a parcel of Grenache originally planted at the end of the 19th century in a sandy part of La Crau. It’s Hillaire’s flagship, and it merits its status this vintage, where it shines with raspberry fruit and layers of dried spice complexity. It’s full-bodied and rich yet silky, elegant and long on the finish, epitomizing the delicious contradictions that Grenache can present.”
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, spicecake and incense, and a minerally element adds urgency. Impressively energetic on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry compote and lavender pastille flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. The floral note repeats emphatically on the impressively long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves a smoky mineral note behind.”
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($539.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Terrasses is a fine example of old-vine Grenache from a parcel of vines near La Nerthe. Rose petals and black tea accent pristine cherry and raspberry fruit in this full-bodied but silky-lacy, delicate wine. Long, briny and refreshing on the finish, it’s deceptively drinkable but undoubtedly packs a wallop.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Brilliant violet. Lively, mineral-accented red and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of lavender and vanilla. Silky and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry and boysenberry flavors that deepen and become spicier as the wine opens up. Closes sweet, energetic and very long, displaying harmonious tannins and lingering smoke and red berry liqueur notes.”
Thank you for reading!