October 23, 2014
The SALEBRATION of a decade continues…
A Toast /New Score / Best Price!
Moet & Chandon Champagne Brut Vintage 2006 ($79.95) $49 salebration special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 94 points “Sleek acidity trims the sails of this otherwise rich and expansive Champagne, keeping it finely balanced and racy throughout. Flavors of roasted hazelnut, crushed blackberry, ripe apricot, honey and ginger biscuit glide on the silky palate to a saline-tinged finish. Drink now through 2029.”
The next best price is $58.09 a bottle!
The average listed price is more than 50% higher – $74 / bottle
Charles Smith Wines: Sixto
Charles Smith; former rock band manager- turned multi-winery owner, Walla Walla Syrah aficionado, the brains behind K Vintners and the founder of the ever so popular labels of Kung Fu Girl and Velvet Devil Merlot, has started a NEW project…and it’s all about Chardonnay. Smith’s newest endeavor is Sixto, a 20,000-case winery exclusively for Chardonnay; only Chardonnay.
His focus is on older vines coming from some sweet spots for the noble white grape, with Moxee Vineyard being one, a 36-year-old vineyard site previously harvested for years by Chateau Ste. Michelle. Driven by texture, it also maintains its purity and is drinking beautifully now. But, if you can, hold on to it for 3-5 years, time will allow it to integrate more and show greater complexities.
The Frenchman Hills Vineyard Chardonnay, lying on basalt and limestone soils at an elevation of 1,600ft has been said to share a close resemblance to a ‘high class white Burgundy’. Fermented in concrete and ageing in 20% new French oak allows for the variety to showcase its mineral components.
The Roza Hills Vineyard Chardonnay comes from just outside the town of Zillah, at an elevation of 1,300ft on limestone soils, and was aged in 30% new French oak, offering layer upon layer of textural richness.
Smith focuses on these specific vineyards sites and the winegrowing involved, knowing the capabilities Chardonnay has in Washington State and really allowing the grape to shine. Smith’s explanation being that, ‘if you’re going to leave the wines so naked, you have to have everything coming right out of the vineyard.” So put your index and pinky finger up, because these Chardonnays are about to rock.
Charles Smith Sixto Wines Arriving Tomorrow
Charles Smith Sixto Uncovered Chardonnay 2012 ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2012 Chardonnay Columbia Valley sees no new oak and is a blend from the three vineyards (Frenchman Hills, Moxee and Roza Hills). Loaded with lychee, citrus blossom, lemon and crushed rock-like minerality, this medium-bodied, beautifully pure and elegant effort has superb mid-palate richness and picks up additional nuttiness on the finish. While my favorite cuvee here is probably the Frenchman Hills Vineyard, when you factor in price, this straight Columbia Valley is a no-brainer. It, too, should evolve gracefully over the coming 3-4 years, if not longer. Speaking of longevity, the safe bet with these would be to drink them on release and over the coming couple of years, but there’s no reason these beautiful efforts won’t evolve gracefully for upward of a decade either.”
Charles Smith Sixto Frenchman Hills Chardonnay 2012 ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “First up, and coming from basalt and limestone soils that lie at 1,600 feet in elevation, the 2012 Chardonnay Frenchman Hills Vineyard is an incredible white that bears more than a passing resemblance to a high class white Burgundy. Giving up bright Chardonnay fruit, lychee, mint and assorted toasty/brioche-like nuances, this medium-bodied effort flows onto the palate with fabulous precision and energy, solid mid-palate richness and gorgeous focus on the finish. Fermented all in concrete and aged in 20% new French oak, this is one of the finest examples of the variety that I’ve tasted from Washington.”
Charles Smith Sixto Moxee Chardonnay 2012 ($79.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “Coming from a warmer site and old vines (37-year-old) that are located northeast of Yakima city, the 2012 Chardonnay Moxee Vineyard (aged in 20% new French oak puncheons) gives up perfumed spice, lemon curd, toast and chamomile-like nuances to go with a medium-bodied, rounded, supple and yet fantastically pure and layered profile on the palate. I love the mid-palate here, and this is a rich, textured effort that’s geared for consuming over the coming 3 to 4 years.”
Charles Smith Sixto Rosa Hills Chardonnay 2012 ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2012 Chardonnay Roza Hills Vineyard comes from limestone soils that lie at an elevation of 1,300 feet outside the town of Zillah. Aged in 30% new French oak, it gives up impressive lemon and stone fruits, white flowers, warm spice and ample chalky minerality in its medium-bodied, layered, fabulously pure and rich profile. As with the other whites from this estate, it’s more than a little impressive.”
Voted 2013’s American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine, Rodney Strong is dedicated to crafting world-class wines, with a deep rooted history and involvement in Sonoma County. Pioneers of the Northern California winemaking scene, Rodney Strong was founded in 1959, and became the 13th bonded winery in Sonoma County. Best known for their estate-bottled and vineyard-designated wines, they have evolved over the years with a consistent focus on how they can best represent the individual characteristics, from some of the finest appellations in the county.
Since the Klein family took over in 1989, the vineyards are sustainably farmed and the winery now has built in solar panels and was the first carbon-neutral winery in Sonoma County. In addition to taking giant leaps in reducing their carbon footprint, Rodney Strong continues to hold on to their dedication and responsibility of providing some of the highest quality cuvees and single vineyard wines.
Fun fact from the winery: “In 2003, we installed solar panels on the roof of our barrel building. After six years in operation, the system produced 5.47 gigawatt hours of electricity, which helped avoid the release of 2,904 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – the equivalent of not driving 6,067,304 miles.”
The keynote 2011 Symmetry, offered below, is a Meritage blend; full of black opulent fruit, a hint of dried red fruit, black pepper, vanilla notes and baking spice, with beautifully balanced structure. The tannins today are still slightly gritty but have great potential into evolving softly and delicately. Decanting is recommended for drinking now…and a NY strip steak with sautéed Chanterelles alongside wouldn’t hurt either.
Rodney Strong Wines Arriving October 31st
Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2009 ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 92+ points “The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander’s Crown bursts from the glass with dark cherry jam, blackberries, exotic spices, flowers, grilled herbs and graphite. It boasts gorgeous depth and a rich, sumptuous personality. Higher-toned floral notes add lift and brightness on the finish. The style is decidedly on the opulent side, yet all of the elements are nicely balanced. The 2009 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 23 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. Rodney Strong has retained the services of David Ramey to consult on their Reserve program, and it shows in the quality of these wines.”
The next best price is $69.99 a bottle
The average price is $71 a bottle
Rodney Strong Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2010 ($79.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “[$75 list] This Cabernet is immediately succulent, with smooth tannins, gorgeous layers of oak, and intricate flavors of blackberries, black cherries, plums and mocha. The alcohol is high, giving this 100% Cabernet some heat, but it should pair well with char-broiled steak. 1,644 cases produced. Alcohol 15.5%. (Mar 2014)”
Antonio Galloni 90 points (Wine Advocate) “The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander’s Crown is pure wildness and gaminess. Savory herbs, licorice, menthol, tobacco and plums grace a powerful, structured frame in this expressive, individualistic Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromas and flavors are quite vivid from start to finish. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.”
The next best price is $66.95 a bottle
The average price is $71 a bottle
Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2010 ($79.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “The gripping tannins are evident early on, wrapped around a rich mix of red and black fruits, gaining depth and a range of flavors, with melted black licorice folding in. Ends with cedar-graphite tannins. Needs time. Best from 2014 through 2025.” WS
The next best price is $68.95 a bottle
The average price is $72 a bottle
Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 2011 ($41.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Lengthy and expansive, this wine offers cherry and herb on the nose, followed by a taste of chocolate and anise, with a jolt of spicy black pepper on the finish. Ready to drink now it’s also structured enough to age 2017-2019.” WE
The next best price is $32.95 a bottle
The average price is $39 a bottle
Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage, Alexander Valley 2011 ($59.95) $36 pre-arrival special
The next best price is $38.99 a bottle
The average price is $48 a bottle
Giovanni Massolino founded the estate in 1896 in Serralunga d’Alba. His family has since expanded the estate. His son built the family’s first wine cellar into the marl soil beneath the family house. His grandchildren purchased holdings in the cru vineyards of Margheria, Parafada and Vigna Rionda. In the 1990s, the fourth generation, Franco and Roberto, joined the estate. They studied as oenologists and have contributed innovations to the winemaking and farming techniques used in addition to promoting the brand abroad. They have also completed renovations to the estate to maintain the historical structures.
The Classic Barolo is produced from their vineyards in the Serralunga. It is more forward than the single-vineyard wines with floral and spicy notes. The Margheria vineyard is 1.5 hectares and 340 meters above sea level with an excellent exposure. The soil is a mix of calcareous limestone and sand. Parafada is of a similar size and elevation. The soil here is marly lime. The old vines produce long-aging wines. Wines from the Parussi vineyard have great tannic strength. The vineyard has south-west and south-east exposures along the crest of a hill. It is located in the Castiglione Falletto and is their only holding outside of the Serralunga.
Massolino Barolos Available Here Now
Massolino Barolo DOCG 2010 ($59.95) $49 special, 7 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2010 Barolo is gorgeous. Sage, rosemary, tar, dried rose petals and sweet spices meld together. An impeccable, perfumed Barolo, the 2010 impresses for its balance. Fine, silky tannins support the gracious finish in this medium-bodied, refined Barolo. Readers who want to get a sense of what the 2010 vintage is all about will want to check out this fabulous effort from Massolino. This is decidedly a medium-bodied style for Serralunga, but it works.” AG
Massolino Barolo Parafada, Barolo DOCG 2006 ($69.95) $59 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 94 points “Dark and richly flavored with black cherry, plum and violet. There’s a gracefulness here, but also density and texture to the tannins, which provide grip on the mineral-infused finish. Best from 2013 through 2035.”
Massolino Barolos Arriving October 30th
Massolino Margheria, Barolo DOCG 2010 ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Iron, smoke, tar, plum and black cherry are some of the many notes that take shape in the 2010 Barolo Margheria. A deep, resonant wine, the Margheria captures an attractive middle ground in this vintage. It can be enjoyed with minimum cellaring because of its pliancy, but also has enough depth to age gracefully for years. Aromatic nuance, expressive fruit and fabulous balance are among the hallmarks in a Barolo that captures the essence of Serralunga. Violets, lavender and new leather flesh out on the inviting finish. This is also the deepest and darkest of the Massolino 2010s.” AG
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Underbrush, rose, violet, black cherry, balsamic notes, cinnamon, mint, leather and Mediterranean herbs are just some of the sensations that emerge. The juicy fruit is balanced with energy and velvety tannins. It’s loaded with energy and finesse, and give it time to develop even more complexity. Drink 2020–2040.” WE
Massolino Parussi, Barolo DOCG 2010 ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Barolo Parussi hits its stride with an amazing bouquet that is as generous as it is complex and compelling. The wine boasts a dark ruby color with delicate amber highlights and shows a deep level of color saturation and richness. Its perfumes are redolent of sweet cherry, black fruit, dark licorice, cigar ash and wet earth. There’s a bright floral note of pressed red rose that lifts delicately as the wine warms in the glass. The meeting of the wine’s acidic component and its tannic firmness is absolutely seamless. Drink: 2017-2030.” WA
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “This bold wine is yet another impressive 2010 Barolo from Massolino. Powerfully structured, it delivers succulent black cherry flavors layered with black pepper, sage, tobacco, licorice, balsamic notes and grilled herbs. It’s superbly balanced but has youthful tension and an abundance of energy so give it time to fully develop. Drink 2020-2050.” WE
Mischief and Mayhem
Mischief and Mayhem is the creation of Michael and Fiona Ragg and Michael Twelftree, three great friends whose passion for wine, and for Burgundy in particular, inspired them to create the company in autumn 2004.
Michael Ragg spent nearly ten years working with leading UK fine wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd before moving to Burgundy in spring 2003 and setting up his own wine consultancy and broking business in Aloxe-Corton.
Michael Twelftree is co-founder and driving force behind top Australian winery Two Hands Wines in the Barossa Valley.
Living in Aloxe-Corton for nine years has given Michael and Fiona the opportunity to develop a large network of contacts on the ground in Burgundy and this is key to the business. Mischief and Mayhem sources grapes from all over the Côte d’Or and the Raggs’ knowledge of the region’s vineyards, along with Twelftree’s knowledge of the world’s emerging markets, combine together in a goal to produce outstanding wine, in a helpful way, that uncovers and de-mystifies this wonderful, yet often frustratingly complex region.
The company achieved full domaine status in 2012 with the purchase of a small plot in Aloxe-Corton. An additional vineyard in Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru Aux Gravains was added to the portfolio in 2013, and the company is currently engaged in a renovation programme, creating its new winery and barrel cellars in Aloxe-Corton.
The concept of Mischief and Mayhem is to produce excellent wines from both the Côte d’Or and Chablis that are fairly priced, and to simplify the way these wines are marketed, by offering the consumer, detailed and relevant back-label notes in English, on the vineyard site, specific vintage conditions, production details and all other relevant information.
Mischief and Mayhem Wines Arriving Tuesday October 28
Mischief and Mayhem Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir 2011 ($29.95) $16 saleabration special
Case-6: Mischief and Mayhem Bourgogne Rouge Pinot Noir 2011 ($149.95) $89 saleabration special
Michael Twelftree says “A good QPR, mainly red fruits, for immediate consumption, well made but no enormous depth or detail.”
The next best listed price is 50% higher- $24.99