In Today’s Newsletter:
New Week – New Arrivals
Pick a Peck of Produttoris
Domaine de Courcel
Newly Reviewed & In Stock Now
Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro Manzano ‘Il Bosco’ Syrah Cortona, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro Manzano ‘Il Bosco’ Syrah Cortona, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($279.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Grapelive 95 points “This Italian Syrah is unmistakably Italian in its soul, but in many ways it reminds me of Penfolds Grange with its opulence that is matched by intensity and structure with ripe layers of fruit, spice and wood tones. It’s without question of sublime quality and shows this warm vintage and terroir to near perfection. Massimo d’Alessandro’s Il Bosco Syrah from Cortona, in Tuscany, is one of the most exciting versions in Italy and is a world class wine. This 2013 does not disappoint, expressing its warm vintage with class and ripe density. It’s a truly unique and impressive wine. Syrah first came to this old ex-Etruscan enclave in Val di Chiana back in 1988 when Milan professor Attillio Scienza planted an experimental 10 acre plot using selected Rhone clones. Within 11 years the area was given DOC status for the Syrah, a truly remarkable accomplishment with Tenimenti d’Alessandro being one of the region’s biggest successes. The Il Bosco is produced from 100% Syrah grapes selected from the three oldest hillside vineyards… planted between 1988 and 1995. The wine is aged 24 months in oak, mostly French, 30% new and raised in a combination of barriques and bigger wooden casks, plus it gets an extra 12 months of bottle aging before release, similar to what you see in Brunello and Barolo, highlighting the serious nature of this wine. The palate feels dense and chewy, but refined as well, showing copious amounts of cassis, plum and blackberry along with melted black licorice, a hint of menthol, mocha and lovely mix of dried herb, spice and floral elements with touches of lavender, lilacs and vanillin. There is a Guigal-level of regal decadence here and this vintage is exceptional for d’Alessandro, making for an impressive performance. A potential 20-year wine in the offing.”
New Week – New Arrivals
Winemaker’s note “Characteristic of 2017, the nose is beautifully perfumed. While there is (in its youth) a sense of fragility and nerviness, there is power that is more tensile in nature than in obvious structure or bulk. The Mirabai 2017 is an utterly transparent, light red with youthful, fuschia highlights at the edges. It is far deeper in flavor than the colour might suggest. It has the classic Maresh sun-warmed Hood strawberry and spice, with the classic Red Hills of Dundee silkiness, but this wine is fleet-footed, aerial, mercurial, and evokes flight, wind, and swift movement. Over time, this will likely be one of my most complex and age-worthy Mirabai’s to date. After all of these years writing these kinds of notes and hoping to not have them sound like grocery store lists or to imprison my wines with my words, I have begun to sometimes include quotes from my friends who have tasted the wine in question. These quotes are meant to be pure fun. In the case of the Mirabai 2017, another longtime winemaker here in the Willamette Valley noted: “It’s like a Maltese falcon and a kitty having a discussion about God”.”
The average price is $35
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Decanter 97 points “… It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead…”
John Gilman 97 points “The new release of 2004 Krug is absolutely beautiful and is already quite elegant and open on both the nose and palate and is drinking with great finesse. I had expected this wine to be a bit more steely in structure out of the blocks, but the refinement of the blend this year has produced a wine that is already a joy to drink at age thirteen, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come…”
James Suckling 97 points “This is an extremely fresh edition and remains in a restrained mode with an intense serve of Chardonnay’s lemon citrus dominating the nose alongside lime zest, bright florals, grassy elements, fresh dough, white stones and very subtle background spice. The palate has a svelte and elegant shape…”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Sleek, vibrant and expressive, this red exudes violet, blackberry, black cherry and almond flavors. Harmonious, leaving a mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2021.”
James Suckling 91 points “A tangy and fresh red with plum and raspberry character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a clean finish. Drink now.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2016 Barbera d’Alba hits the palate with tons of fruit. Super-ripe black cherry, mocha, licorice, spice and espresso give the 2016 much of its flamboyant personality. This racy, explosive Barbera is ready to deliver considerable pleasure in a bold, immediate style.”
Scott Paul La Paulee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2013 750ML ($39.95) $18 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Deep red. Bright and energetic on the nose, displaying intense red berry and blood orange scents, along with candied rose and allspice highlights. Silky, sweet and incisive on the palate, offering juicy strawberry and floral pastille flavors and a spicy kick of white pepper. Closes very long and nervy; fine-grained tannins lend shape and closing grip.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Sophisticated and subtle, this lovely wine expresses varietal elegance, with a bouquet of roses and raspberries to begin. The jumble of pretty fruits is framed with citrus peel and a dusting of chocolate.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2013 Pinot Noir la Paulee comes from fruit sourced from Maresh and Nysa in the Dundee Hills, Azana in Chehalem and from the Ribbon Ridge, matured for ten months in neutral oak. It has a very natural, Côte de Beaune-like bouquet with ample brambly red fruit with hints of black tea developing with aeration. I appreciate the focus and definition here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, smooth in the mouth with just a faint honeyed note. Tart red cherries mingle with redcurrant and strawberry, segueing into a poised and fulsome finish. This should drink well over the next 7-10 years and represents great value.”Domaine Bruno Cormerais Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Cuvee Bruno, Loire 2010 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
VinopolNote: 72 months (!) sur lie in tank, from 40-50 year old vines on decomposed granite in some of the best vineyards in Muscadet. Powerful and rich, but with the characteristic brightness of the grape and region on the long finish. A stunning wine.
Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Nick Stock-JamesSuckling.com 98 points “There’s a beautiful purity of fresh, mixed berries, dark plums, deep spices, as well as a gentle, coal-smoke edge. The palate has an effortless, fleshy, fine-grained texture with long, majestic tannins and a long, black-cherry finish Such purity and depth, pulling a lot of flavor with perfectly balanced acidity. Equal parts of old and young vine parcels here. No wood. The real deal. Drink now or hold.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape offers more depth and richness than the 2015, with slightly darker fruits (blackberry, black raspberries), garrigue, smoked earth and licorice all emerging from the glass. It’s ripe, voluptuous, and beautifully textured, with sweet tannin, and is going to be a smokin’ good 2016 that’s going to have a long life. As always, this cuvée is a un-oaked blend of mostly Grenache (3% each of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Bourboulenc, with a splash of Cinsault) that comes mostly from clay soils, partially destemmed, and will be bottled with no filtration.”
A real deal!
The average price is $56
Ian d’Agata-Vinous 96 points “Deep red-ruby. Highly perfumed, mineral aromas of raspberry, red cherry, violet and iron. Wonderfully sappy but youthfully imploded in the mouth, this remarkably precise and well-delineated Brunello offers an extremely refined set of flinty red and black fruit herbal flavors. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins and very good floral and spicy lift. An outstanding, very pure and deep wine that really needs about a decade of patience. One of the Brunellos of the vintage.”Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “This is an excellent 2013 with such purity and finesse. Cherry, stone and light cedar aromas follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Hints of cedar. It shows a focused energy. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 99+ points “Pure and flinty, with perfectly ripe stone fruit aromas that are seamlessly intertwined with the flavors of crushing stones, the 2015 Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (White Capsule) is powerful, rich and incredibly juicy on the palate but, at the same time, pure, finessed and crystalline. This is a highly complex and salty, endlessly juicy and stony Riesling of great precision and salinity. The finish is long and stimulatingly salty, very rich and powerful and still marked by its yeasty texture. Fermented and aged in 3,100-liter barrel from Stockinger. Bottled in September.”
#Trending and Arriving November 16th:
VinopolNote: Named after the electrified deer fence surrounding the vineyard, the Clos Electrique is the estate vineyard surrounding Cameron’s winery. Located just up the road from Maresh vineyard, on Worden Hill Road, it’s in the promised land of the Dundee Hills and the wines deliver. This is always the meatiest, most primal Pinot of the Cameron lineup. We love it for its intense savoriness and quiet power—every year this is an absolute treat to drink.
2016s Arriving This Wednesday, November 7th
There may be no more ambitious winemaker in the world than Marcus Molitor. His determination and drive to make the best possible wines has made him a towering figure in the Mosel, with an impressive, modern winery and holdings in almost every important vineyard in the region. This drive also means there are a lot of different bottlings—Molitor believes that every single sub-parcel and selective pick should be vinified to its utmost potential. This is a lot of extra work and requires time and space that most winemakers would rather not spend, but the result is a dizzying number of bottlings that all strive toward perfection.
The critical praise backs this up—Marcus Molitor’s wines are some of the most lauded in the world. Whether white capsule (dry), green capsule (off-dry), or gold capsule (fruity to nobly sweet), he manages to produce wines that captivate and astound. 2016 is among the best vintages he’s produced. The second tranche of new offerings is arriving Wednesday…
Markus Molitor 2016 Rieslings Arriving Wednesday, November 7th:
Markus Molitor Alte Reben Riesling Trocken White Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2016 Riesling Alte Reben is clear, deep, fresh and flinty on the bright and elegant nose. Filigreed and piquant on the palate, this is a crystalline, clear and elegant Riesling from old vines. Its finish is very salty and reflects the pure slate soils of the steep vineyards in the Mosel Valley. The wine tastes bone dry and weighs in at 11.5% alcohol. Bottled in September 2017; tasted two times in March 2018.”
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling.com 92 points “If you find dry Mosel wines too light, you need to try this. Ripe and mouth-filling with quite a bit of power. In spite of this generosity, the wine plows straight ahead. A bold finish. Drink or hold.”
Markus Molitor Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese Trocken White Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $27 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “From deeper slate soils that deliver very aromatic fruit and crunchy slate aromas, the 2016 Riesling Graacher Domprobst Spätlese (White Capsule) is excitingly pure and smoky on the terribly fine and dark nose. This is intense, piquant and very complex on the palate but also beautifully fruity, lush and crystalline in its super fine and silky texture.The finish is pure, salty and perfectly interwoven with ripe and elegant fruit. This is a great Mosel wine from 2016, and it sells for 20 euros ex cellar. Tasted March 2018.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 94 points “Here is another of those gorgeously heady, florally perfumed noses that seem to abound among Molitor 2016s. Lily, rowan and heliotrope garland ripe apple and pecan, themes perfectly suited to this wine’s subtly creamy, expansive yet alcoholically buoyant palate impression. And for all of that creamy, nutty richness, the billowingly sustained finish is a model of sheer refreshment as well as of transparency to crystalline and stony nuances.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Hubertuslay Riesling Auslese** Trocken White Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “Slightly funky from the wild ferment. However, with aeration, this blows off quite quickly with a big wave of citrus and herbs following through. Bold and rather powerful but also very fresh. This is a very expressive dry Mosel riesling. Better from 2019, but there is no rush.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Spatlese Green Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Molitor’s 2016 Riesling Kinheimer Rosenberg Spätlese (Green Capsule) offers a clear and very elegant nose with fine and intense but not overly aromatic fruit aromas. Lush and piquant on the delicate palate, with fine slate flavors, delicate tannins and a persistent mineral structure, this is a tensioned, firm and vibrant Spätlese of remarkable class. It’s not spectacular in terms of flavors, but its expression and length are nothing but spectacular. The fruit is still covered a bit in the finish, but I suppose this will change over the years. This wine is made for aging anyway.”
Markus Molitor Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese Gold Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $27 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 95 points “Stand back and duck while this extraordinary Mosel Spätlese explodes! Enormous juiciness and minerality, as well as spices. Stunning freshness at the very long finish. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2016 Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese (Golden Capsule) is clear, pure, precise and piquant on the nose and shows tender citrus aromas along with very fine slate notes. Racy-piquant on the first attack, this is a stimulatingly lush and salty Spätlese with a very good and mouthwatering mineral finish. Stewed apples flavors come out in the complex aftertaste. Delicious, but it should be kept in the cellar for another 5-10 years.”
Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*** Gold Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 99 points “The 2016 Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) indicates gorgeously ripe and lush Riesling fruit with very fine flinty slate aromas that add freshness, finesse and complexity. This nose is incredibly pure and precise and doesn’t indicate any botrytis. The palate is highly elegant and fine but, at the same time, lush and salty with a highly delicate but persistent structure. The finish is mouthwatering and enormously stimulating. This Wehlener Sonnenuhr is another extremely digestible yet complex Auslese that you can drink in large amounts without getting bored or tired. The acidity is so delicate and fine here and lets this gold-capsuled Auslese dance over your palate. I just love it. Bottled September 2017; tasted March 2018.”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Gold Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97 points “Molitor and Mosel fans shouldn’t miss the chance to buy at least a case of the 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ** (Golden Capsule)—one of the five different Auslesen Markus Molitor selected in his most important grand cru. The sweet two-starred Auslese comes from the Schiesswingert and the Fliegenberg. It opens with a deep, clear, very fine and complex bouquet of perfectly ripe Riesling berries with very fine botrytis flavors and refreshing flinty notes from the fine slate of the Sonnenuhr. Lush and generous on the palate, with a perfectly ripe and concentrated Riesling fruit, very fine minerals and crunchy slate flavors, this is an exciting Auslese of great finesse and elegance. The finish is delicate but tensioned thanks to the crunchy-salty slate sensation that gives structure as well as finesse and energy. Bottled in September 2017; tasted March 2018.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 96 points “A giant Auslese that is so refined and light-footed. Hard to explain how it squared that circle, but somehow it did! A totally individual Mosel wine that in no way confirms to international norms and much less to any wine fashions. A super succulent and long finish that makes you want more. Drink or hold.”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*** Trocken White Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (White Capsule) is terribly deep, complex and smoky on the nose, offering perfectly ripe but precise fruit aromas that are intermixed with crushed stones and bones as well as wet slate plates. Gosh, this is spectacular! Pure and silky on the palate, with generous and concentrated fruit and a juicy texture with firm tannins from the oak, this is a very rich and powerful but elegant and promising Riesling that is far too rich to enjoy its talents today. Keep it for at least 10 years. The grapes are sourced from a 1-hectare plot with over 100-year-old vines in the Schiesswingert where the grapes are as big as peas. The blue Devonian slate soil is very fine (weathered) and gives some of the finest Mosel Rieslings. The 2016 was fermented in a 1,150-liter oak vat as well as several grand cru barriques from Mercurey that were aged three years instead of only two and only slightly toasted. This is spectacular—but be patient! The wine is rich and structured not just by mineral complexity but also fine tannins. It’s richer and sweeter than the Himmelreich yet not as pure as the Doctor. I am curious to taste it again in ten years, and be sure, I will!”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 96 points “Want to tell somebody how much you respect or love them? This could be the perfect wine to gift if they like dry whites. Clearly the deepest and most complex of Markus Molitor’s 2016 dry rieslings. This is also one of the top wines of that category. Although this has more pronounced acidity than many other vintages of the same wine, the balance is stunning. Made from 120-year-old vines. Drink or hold.”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*** Green Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 99 points “From over 100-year-old vines and fermented in an eight-year-old 2,000-liter Stockinger vat and 15% in small oak barrels, the 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (Green Capsule) offers a deep and concentrated, terribly fresh and oaky nose. Round and lush on the palate, this is a very elegant, intense and refined Sonnenuhr with super lush fruit, very fine tannins and ripe acidity. Molitor is extremely proud of all his Sonnenuhr bottlings, but they demand a much longer period of bottle aging. The richness (which is still elegant and fine) and the oak flavors (which are discreet but present) will surely integrate, so the wine has huge potential. Bottled in September 2017; tasted March 2018.”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*** Gold Capsule, Mosel 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98+ points “Molitor’s 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) is the one and only of the sweet three-starred sextet that indicates a higher percentage of botrytis (whereas the two-starred Auslese is beautifully pure and delicate). Intense and with iodine notes on the nose where ripe, concentrated Riesling aromas are displayed, this is a round, lush, intense and creamy textured Auslese with great elegance, balance and tropical fruit flavors in the opulent, gorgeously rich yet still refined finish that also reveals very fine tannins. Bottled in September 2017; tasted March 2018.”
Pick a Peck of Produttoris
In Stock Now!
“Dominique Moreau [makes] tiny amounts of Champagne under the Marie-Courtin label that are gorgeous, precise and elegant, and that I cannot get out of my head.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times
The Aube: once a sleepy backwater Department of the Champagne region where generations of vineyard owners and tenders subsisted on selling their crops to the Grand Marque luxury brand Champistocrats headquartered in Reims. Now it is a cradle to a movement. A movement to something of a Burgundian model: of estate growers escorting their grapes through to the finished wine, and in so doing expressing their grapes, their ground, and their esthetic. The Aube is not alone in this turnabout. It is happening all over Champagne. And the proprietress of Marie-Courtin, Dominique Moreau, is not alone in the Aube- the grower contingent there has other luminaries including Cedric Bouchard, Vouette & Sorbee, and Jacques Lassaigne.
But, we digress, as our story begins in 2001….
In the Aube, on a hillside of the Cote des Bars, near the village of Polisot, where Dominique Moreau took over a small vineyard of mostly 40-50 year old Pinot Noir (planted by her father-in-law) and combined it with her vision to produce single-vineyard, single varietal, single vintage Champagnes from biodynamically grown grapes- farmed with meticulous care, and vinified au naturel. Native yeasts, no dosage, minimalist intervention at all decision points. This was and still is a sharp turn from the conventional mind-set in Champagne, which is to produce a homogenous product- and plenty of it.
And the pace picked up markedly in 2006, when the visions were first bottled, and became something the world beyond the Aube could share. But they didn’t go far beyond the Aube. There were only 1,000 cases or so, and they were mostly intercepted by the restaurants and Champagne bars in Paris.
Well, a modest linear progression of bottlings and growth, and an immodest exponential explosion of consumer knowledge, interest, and demand. It hasn’t hurt that Champagne is by far the hottest sector of the wine market today, and the grower Champagne is the hottest sector of the Champagne market. But Dominique would have succeeded in moribund markets, as her vision and skills are indomitable and her Champagnes approach transcendental.
‘Resonance’ is the base of the program here, a tank fermented Pinot Noir. The ever-holistic Dominique says that ‘Resonance’ refers to the balancing energies of earth and sky that affect the creation of a wine from its surrounding terroir. But we’d say that it could equally refer to the harmonic symphony it adds to a glass. The 2008 vintage of this wine was the first to be received in the Western US in quantities above miniscule and we took in an outsized vinopolshare. We were the first to have it, and the last to have it, but we didn’t have it long enough. Conservation of supply was not possible when demand was spurred by Antonio Galloni’s glowing reviews and breathless conclusion that: “It is a fabulous wine in every way. I loved it.” And how does the 2014 vintage compare? With gazelle-like poise, mineral verve and a filigreed tension that captures her vision of balance and energy.
‘Efflorescence’ is drawn from grapes at the base of the hill- Dominique feels they have greater power and potential. The wine is raised in used Burgundy barrels for a year. For Dominique, “Efflorescence” refers to “something that evolves in perpetuity”. Starting with the evolution encouraged by the small oxygen exchange in barrel, she feels that this wine in particular will show a very different face at each stage of its development in bottle.
‘Eloquence’ arises from a small amount of Chardonnay on Dominique’s estate. Elegance is as ‘Eloquence’ does.
She’s yet to share with us what was on her mind to name this bottling ‘Concordance’. But perhaps flying very high, above all else; because that is what it does. Dominique, by the way, recommends that all of her Champagnes be served in conventional wine glasses rather than flutes. We’d say that is an option on all but this Concordance, where it is a must. Consider a decanter too. Bubbling Burgundy it is, un voyage- sans limit, sans end. The bubbles are not accidental, but they are incidental.
“These wines represent the height of vinosity in Champagne” –Antonio Galloni
“Intensely expressive, emotionally moving wines.” –Peter Liem
Marie-Courtin Champagnes Arriving This Month
Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne (2014) NV 750ML ($59.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV (2014) Extra Brut Resonance is superb. Rich and ample on the palate, with terrific freshness and verve, the Resonance is another gorgeous and deeply expressive Champagne from Dominique Moreau. The orchard fruit, crushed stone and floral notes are beautifully focused throughout. The saline-drenched finish only adds to the wine’s considerable appeal. This is an especially tense, vibrant style, even within the context of Moreau’s wines.” [Review is for April 2017 disgorgement]
Importer note “100% Pinot Noir all from a 2 hectare vineyard in Polisot on Kimmeridgian soil. All from 2014. Vinified and aged in enamel-lined tanks, full malo. No addition of yeast and minimal sulfur as well as no dosage.”
Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2013 Extra Brut Efflorescence is from an east-facing vineyard with 40-year-old vines (sélection massale) on Kimmeridgian soils. Fermented and aged for one year in pièces and 36 months on the second lees before the disgorgement in October 2017, this golden-yellow cuvée opens with a very delicate, almost floral bouquet of great elegance. Round, intense and full on the palate, this is an extraordinarily fine, elegant, highly finessed and perfectly balanced Pinot Noir with beautiful cherry fruit on the fresh finish. This is a great wine, and just 9,000 bottles were produced. Tasted April 2018.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A complete and wonderfully nuanced wine, the 2013 Extra Brut Efflorescence is fabulous. Bright and sculpted to the core, the 2013 exudes energy. Chalk, mint, jasmine and orchard fruit add complexity, but it is the wine’s overall balance that is most impressive. The Efflorescence offers striking translucence and energy from start to finish. The non-dosé style is especially successful here. Disgorged in April 2017 with no dosage.”
Marie Courtin Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Importer note “While the Aube is thought of as producing rounder, fruitier wines than those of the Marne, the 100% Chardonnay Éloquence is marked by a certain austerity, driven not only by the acidity of chardonnay but by a complex and distinctive soil signature. It’s an intensely terroir-driven champagne, and at its best, it’s one of the most exciting champagnes currently being made in the Aube. 50% in barrel, 50% in enamel lined tanks. No dosage.”
The average price is $74
Marie Courtin Concordance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2014 Extra Brut Concordance is 100% Pinot Noir from 50-year-old vines on marl and Kimmeridgian soils that spent at least three years with the second lees. Disgorged in December 2017, the Concordance offers a deep, intense, very complex and flinty-mineral bouquet with perfectly ripe and elegant fruit aromas. On the palate, this is a pure, refined yet highly complex and elegant Pinot with great terroir expression. Fermented and aged in enameled stainless steel, this is a terribly pure and salty Blanc de Noirs with a very promising finish.”
The average price is $86
Marie Courtin Concordance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV (2012) Extra Brut Sans Soufre Concordance is another fabulous, deeply expressive wine from Marie Courtin. Here the more overt side of Pinot comes through, with lightly honeyed notes, orange zest, chamomile, dried flowers and sage adding a good deal of aromatic and flavor nuance. Soft contours add to the wine’s considerable appeal. I would prefer to drink the 2012 sooner rather than later, as the flavors are a bit forward for a new release.”
Marie Courtin ‘Allegeance’ Extra Brut Rose, Champagne 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 91 points “The 2012 Extra Brut Allégeance Rose de Macération is beautifully nuanced in the glass. Scents of dried herb, mint, dried cherry and tobacco give the wine striking aromatic depth. Interestingly, the 2012 is much less giving on the palate, where it remains tightly wound and a touch severe. It will be interesting to see if further time in bottle relaxes the wine a bit further. Disgorged in June 2017 with no dosage.”
Domaine de Courcel
Of the short list of producers who star in Pommard, Domaine de Courcel needs to be near the top of the list. Without a tremendous amount of fanfare, the Domaine has been turning out some of the most powerful, densely aromatic wines from a village known for long lived brooding Pinot Noir. The Courcel family has been learning how to navigate the animal intensity of Pommard fruit for 400 years. For the past two decades, the quality has steadily increased as the delicate balance between elegance and power is fine tuned.
A region between hills, most of Pommard’s vineyards are on relatively flat, protected sites. Wind and lashing rains may buffet the nearby hillside vineyards, but Pommard stays sheltered from the worst of the effects of the weather. Vineyard management and knowledge of the soils offers up rewards of fruit with dense black currant and cassis notes. The tannins are often firm and plenty, built for long term cellaring, but also offering gentle structure to those bottles opened early. Limestone dots the area but the prominent iron rich clay lends itself to the density of the flavor.
Annual production is usually less than 2500 cases, so it is nice to see these beautiful wines from a deep selection of vintages. The ageing has been done for you – all that is left is the enjoyment.
Domaine de Courcel Grand Clos des Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 1990 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special, only 1 bottle available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Good deep red. Very ripe, smoky nose showed mounting red fruits with aeration; ultimately much less extreme than the Fremiers. Then similarly huge in the mouth, with smoke and mineral notes complicated by an exotic stone fruit (peach, apricot) character. This silky, voluptuous wine offers superb depth of flavor and slowly mounting, superripe finishing flavors that saturate the palate. Best of all, it seemed to gain in freshness as it opened in the glass.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This red is rich, round and very accessible, tasting of freshly crushed berry and cherry. A phalanx of ripe tannins lurks in the background, but this is balanced and ends with a spicy note. Best from 2012 through 2026. 250 cases imported.”Domaine de Courcel Grand Clos des Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 2008 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91+ points “Good deep red. Deep aromas of cherry, menthol, rose petal and licorice. Sweeter than the Fremiers, showing terrific intensity of red cherry flavor. Plenty of ripe acidity here but today it’s hidden behind the fruit. Finishes with substantial, ripe building tannins that call for six to eight years of patience.”
Domaine de Courcel Grand Clos des Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 2009 750ML ($139.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 points “Gorgeous aromas of toasty oak lead off in this polished red, followed by black cherry, blackberry and spearmint flavors. The structure present, yet ably matched by concentrated, ripe fruit. Best from 2015 through 2025. 160 cases imported.”
Domaine de Courcel Les Fremiers, Pommard Premier Cru 2008 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 91-92+ points “The Courcel 2008 Pommard Fremiers delivers marvelous energy, as well as purity of tart, fresh, ripe black fruits, with nutmeg, cooked ginger, black tea, white pepper, cyanic bitterness of fruit pit, iris, and elder flower all lending complexity. Positively silken in texture though palpably dense, this finishes with vibratory intensity of vividly fresh elderberry, blackberry and cherry; pungent spices; liquid floral perfume; iron filings and crushed stone. Here is an instance of synergy between relatively high acidity and abundant yet fine tannin such as one seldom witnesses in this vintage. Expect at least 15 years of fascination from this formidable yet elegant Pinot that beautifully marries virtues of both Volnay and Pommard, as befits its location.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “Raspberry and red currant notes are married to a supple texture that initially covers its density and layer of tannins, with fine length. Best from 2013 through 2023. 85 cases imported.”
The average price is $90
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points “Bright medium red. Complex, soil-driven nose combines redcurrant, flowers and minerals. Suave and weightless, with sneaky intensity to the brisk red fruit and minerals flavor lifted by a piquant note of orange peel. Finishes quite dry, juicy and classic, with substantial but very fine tannins and rising fruit. Winemaker Yves Confuron compares the marne blanche soil here to that of Gevrey’s Clos Saint-Jacques. This wine was bottled barely two months before my November visit and had not yet shut down.”
The next best price is $98.99
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92-94 points “Bright ruby-red. Deep, ripe aromas of black cherry and chocolatey oak, plus a high-toned whiff of sherry. Then large-scaled and aromatic in the mouth, conveying stronger terroir personality than the foregoing wines. Complex and fine-grained, with a positive trace of bracing bitterness. Chewy, chocolatey, well-integrated tannins take over the entire mouth on the back end. This nuanced, fine-grained wine finishes with a trace of dried herbs and has the structure to age. The yield here was just eight hectoliters per hectare, according to estate manager Yves Confuron.”
Burghound 91-94 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. This is the first wine to display any reduction along with a bit more wood influence. Otherwise the refined yet overtly powerful flavors once again possess so much dry extract that they come across as velvety and forward just until the almost painfully intense finish where the character changes to a youthfully austere, dusty and very serious finale. Like all of the wines in the range, this is a big 2016 with plenty of muscle and excellent aging potential.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-95 points “(also made from a tiny crop): Bright medium ruby. Vibrant nose combines blackberry, boysenberry, kirsch, violet, minerals and chocolate. Dense, fine-grained and light on its feet, offering uncanny intensity and penetration to its juicy dark berry and mineral flavors. This graceful, vibrant Rugiens finishes with substantial broad, dusty tannins, harmonious acidity and slow-building length. A real live wire, particularly for a wine made from grapes picked in October.”
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