Sunday Funday Newsletter 2-20-22

In This Newsletter:

The Vintage of the Century:
2008 Taittinger Comtes

Rocking Rhône
Chateau de Rouanne

New Weekend – New Arrivals
Emrich-Schonleber: Nahe Royalty

The Coin with two faces:
Chateau Palmer arriving This March  

Collector’s Corner:’s Alpine Treasure

The Vintage of the Century:
2008 Taittinger Comtes
2008 is considered one of the finest vintages in Champagne, though it did not begin auspiciously. What began as a cold, rainy growing season blossomed late into a warm, dry summer, with one of the longest recorded growing seasons. Producers brought in tiny harvests of highly concentrated fruit. Recognizing the quality, many held back their 2008 only to see releases interrupted by the pandemic and the resulting global shipping nightmare. Fourteen years on, we’re excited to announce the arrival of the 2008 Comtes from Taittinger. 

Taittinger describes the house style as emphasizing “Lightness and natural, elegant wines expressive of their origin” with as little dosage added as possible to allow the fullest character of their fruit to come through in the finished product. The house has some of the largest estate holdings of grapevines in all of Champagne, the majority of them predominantly in the illustrious Cotes des Blancs.

“Taittinger’s 2008 Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne is simply breathtaking.” –Antonio Galloni, Vinous

“Comtes is one of the most reliably age-worthy wines in Champagne, yet it continues to represent terrific value when compared to—frequently inferior—tête de cuvée bottlings from other Grandes Marques. And the eagerly anticipated 2008 vintage… will be worthy of enthusiastic pursuit…” –William Kelley, Wine Advocate

“2008 is purer in outlook than 2002, more balanced than 1996 and more classically constructed than 1990… The Comtes 2008 is one of the very last of Champagne’s big guns to be released (some are onto 2012 already), but it has been well worth the wait. The juxtaposition of a house style which majors on nuance and subtle poetry with a vintage of similar qualities is a great cause for celebration.” – Simon Field MW, Decanter Magazine

Arriving in April:

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne  2008 750ML ($319.95) $289 pre-arrival special, only 36 bottles arriving 
Case-6 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne 2008 750ML ($1999.95) $1649 pre-arrival special (that’s only $274.83/bottle!), only 3 6-packs available 
James Suckling 100 points “The perfect blanc de blancs. Full-bodied with a lovely framework of acidity and dry fruit, such as apples, pears and peaches. Opulent. Dense and muscular. Yet, it’s balanced and harmonious. Line of acidity at the end. Totally in tune. Superb. Deep and complete. Has everything. One for the cellar. It is the greatest Comte ever. It has everything. A perfect upgrade from two years ago. Drink or hold.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “Taittinger’s 2008 Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne is simply breathtaking. I have tasted it many times over the years in various trial disgorgements and it has never been anything less than compelling. The final, finished wine captures all of that potential. Bright, focused and wonderfully deep, Comtes is a fabulous example of a vintage that expresses so much energy but with real fruit intensity, the signatures that distinguish it from other vintages (1996 comes to mind) that were similarly taut, but more austere in the early going. Although the 2008 impresses right out of the gate, it only really starts to open up with several hours of air. The 2008 Comtes represents the purest essence of the Côtes des Blancs in a great, historic vintage. Readers who can find the 2008 should not hesitate, as it is a truly brilliant epic Champagne that no one who loves the very best in Champagne will want to be without.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 98 points “Taittinger’s 2008 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne is being released this year, and it will be worth a special effort to track down. I wrote in August 2019 that this is the finest Comtes de Champagne since the brilliant 2002, and this tasting confirmed that. Offering up a deep and complex bouquet of citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, warm brioche, crushed chalk, blanched almonds and smoke, it’s full-bodied and incisive, with excellent concentration, racy acids and a long, searingly chalky finish. While this is already immensely impressive out of the gates, this 2008 is clearly built for the long haul, and three decades’ longevity won’t be a challenge.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Cellar Selection. Coming entirely from Grand Cru vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, the new release of this famous Champagne is from a top vintage year. The wine is at perfect maturity, poised between crisp, taut minerality and wonderful toastiness. It is intense, beautifully clear and limpid, a great Champagne. It is ready to drink now and for many years to come. -Roger Voss”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Fresh and graceful, this dances across the palate with its fine, lacy mousse and seamless knit of delicate flavors of ripe Anjou pear, tangerine peel, toasted almond and candied ginger. The flavor range expands through the lasting, chalky finish. Drink now through 2033. 1,800 cases imported. — AN”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Shop our complete selection of 180 in-stock Champagnes on our web store now!

Rocking Rhône
Chateau de Rouanne

Saint Cosme is one of the notable estates of the Southern Rhone. Louis Barruol is a talented winemaker and is the 14th generation of his family to make wines in the domaine that was founded in the 1500’s. The wines he makes are rich and powerful, with undeniable terroir signatures. He has long admired the wines from the Chateau de Rouanne estate in Vinsobres. Much like his Chateau de Saint Cosme, this is a phenomenal site dating back to Gallo-Roman times, now located in a dramatically underrated region. The vines in this 72-hectare estate were mostly planted in the 1960s and are massale selections. 
Barruol purchased the estate in the spring of 2019 and hasn’t had enough nice things to say about the estate’s potential. 
This year, we were able to secure the single-parcel selections from the estate. Look for beauty and elegance in the Guerin, bold power in Les Cotes, and richness and intensity in the Rouanne et les Crottes.

Don’t take our word for it, here is an interview in which Monsieur Barroul discusses his estate!

Newly Arrived:

“The vineyard of Château de Rouanne is a unique single block, planted entirely with 50+ year old vines, which are a selection massale of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The ancient terroir is comprised of limestone and sandy marl soils dating back to the Pliocene epoch.” –Importer notes from Winebow

Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres France 2019 750ML ($37.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points
“Looking at the reds, the 2019 Vinsobres is unquestionably outstanding and has lots of Syrah character in its dark, meaty fruits, peppery herb, violet, and chalky mineral-like aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, nicely textured, and balanced, it has plenty of structure and will keep for 8-10 years.”
Decanter 89 points “Ripe berry coulis on the nose with a ferrous tang. Full-bodied, very ripe and potent, with intense, concentrated fruit and warming alcohol on the finish. It does has a sense of freshness at its core however, and chalky tannins like 100% cacao dark chocolate. Drinking Window 2021 – 2024.”

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“The Les Côtes lieu-dit is a 1-hectare plot located at the top of the Rouanne hill, and represents one of three prime vineyard sites of the estate. The clay soils have good drainage and the vines are low yielding with small, delicate berries – these are the perfect ingredients for intensity, concentration, and structure. This wine is impressive in its youth and will continue to develop and reach its prime with extended bottle aging.” –Winebow

Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres “Les Cotes” 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Winey and muscular, with cassis and bitter plum reduction notes leading the way, while baker’s chocolate, tobacco and warm humus fill in behind. Grippy and dark on the finish, with an old-school edge lingering. Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. Best from 2023 through 2030. 350 cases made, 200 cases imported. — JM”

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“This wine comes from the historical, geologic and viticultural heart of the estate: the Rouanne et les Crottes lieux-dit is a 2.1-hectare plot located in the middle of the Rouanne hill where the original Roman villa is thought to have stood. Remnants of tiles and ancient pottery are routinely found when the viticultural team ploughs the soils. Similar to other hilly wine regions like Burgundy, the center of the hill is regarded as the “Holy Grail” for quality due to the perfectly balanced drainage for the soil and ideal sun exposure – this dynamic is perfectly realized for Rouanne et les Crottes.” –Winebow

Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres France Les Crottes 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Rich and well-built, this offers up a serious dark core of black currant and plum reduction flavors supported by graphite, humus and cast iron notes, with sweet bay leaf, violet and tobacco notes filling in the background. A wine with a smoldering intensity. Grenache and Syrah. Best from 2023 through 2032. 350 cases made, 200 cases imported. — JM”
Jeb Dunnuck 91+ points “Lastly, the 2019 Rouanne Et Les Crottes is the same 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, not destemmed, and brought up in demi-muids. It’s more straight, structured, and tannic, with lots of black fruits and chalky minerality. Fresh, focused, medium to full-bodied, and balanced, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will have 10-15 years of overall longevity.”

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“Located at the bottom of the Rouanne hill, the Guérin lieu-dit delivers a distinct interpretation of the estate’s unique vineyard. This 1.5 hectare plot showcases a different soil type: reddish clay strewn with limestone pebbles, which is clingy when it rains.” –Winebow 

Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres France “Guerin” 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“The Grenache-dominated single vineyard 2019 Vinsobres Lieu-Dit Guerin is brilliant as well. Concentrated, medium to full-bodied, and opulent, it has lots of red and black fruits, plenty of peppery herbs and meaty nuances, terrific balance, and outstanding length. It’s another gorgeous wine from this talented winemaker, and this is an estate to watch.”

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New Weekend – New Arrivals

Summer must be on the horizon because Big Salt is back in stock!
Ovum ‘Big Salt’ Elkton 2021 750ML ($21.95) $17 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Big Salt™ is a white wine that embodies a day at the beach. It’s bright, fresh, dry and a bit salty (although no salt is added of course!) – once it’s done you’re left wanting more. We achieve this experience by letting mother nature create complexity – that is to say we allow all of the grapes to ferment together, with native yeast..rather than making a blend in the laboratory. Finding the right vineyards throughout Oregon that share the same cool climate is what it’s all about.”

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A rare look at a highly esteemed vineyard, crafted by the Riesling whisperers at Brooks. 
Brooks Hope Well Vineyard Riesling Eola-Amity Hills 2018 750ML ($29.95) $26 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“This dry Riesling has mouth-watering acidity with ripe and generous notes of pineapple, star fruit, kumquat and quince. With only 100 cases produced, this wine will move quickly. It’s organically farmed by one of the valley’s visionaries, Mimi Casteel. A second generation wine grower, her commitment to the environment and restoring native habitat is unequaled. We love this wine, not only because it’s a truly stunning Riesling, but because it embodies everything that is good about the land that is being healed and the people whose lives are dedicated to crafting exceptional expressions of time and place.”

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A skin-macerated beauty that’s profoundly pink this vintage
Kelley Fox Wines Nerthus Willamette Valley 2021 750ML ($29.95) $28 special, 12 bottles in stock now
50% Pinot Gris, 30% Early Muscat, 20% Riesling

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Marcus Goodfellow is one of the most talented winemakers in Oregon. He founded Matello wines, his original label, in 2002 and hasn’t looked back, making wines that have continually improved—both in bottle and from vintage to vintage. These are profound wines, both white and red, that are made in a style that’s distinctly savory—no fruit bombs here. We love them for their coiled power and Burgundian structure, and we stack them abundantly in our personal cellars to adore for decades to come. 

Pale and delicate in appearance with a rigid structure for the ages. An iron fist in a lace glove…
Goodfellow Family Cellars Heritage No. 15 Whistling Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2019 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 96 points
“Translucent ruby. Expansive, mineral- and spice-accented red fruit preserve, potpourri and incense aromas are joined by hints of cola and botanical herbs as the wine opens up. Alluringly sweet and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry, cherry cola, star anise and candied rose flavors that slowly unfold through the back half. Smooth, polished tannins build slowly on the impressively long, focused finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit, floral and spice notes. This suave wine will age gracefully on its balance.”

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Josh Bergstrom receives oodles of well-deserved positive press these days and we couldn’t be happier for him!
Bergstrom ‘Bergstrom Vineyard’ Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($129.95) $109 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 95 points
“Brilliant ruby. Hugely perfumed raspberry, boysenberry, fruitcake, floral oil and exotic spice scents show fine delineation and building minerality. Stains the palate with sappy red and blue preserve, candied rose, cola and five-spice powder flavors that smoothly blend depth and energy and betray no rough edges. Polished tannins add shape to an extremely long, spicy finish that echoes the floral and blue fruit notes.”

Lingua Franca has made quite the name for itself in a very short period of time and has spared no expense in pursuit of quality. The wines show this. The Estate Pinot hails from the heart of the Eola-Amity hills (and right next to famed sites like Seven Springs).  Like its neighbors, the vineyard shows classic Eola-Amity structure, perfume and concentration.

“The Pinots made by the team headed by Larry Stone (whose resume I won’t bore you with; it’s pretty well known and available on The Google) and winemaker Thomas Savre (whose own CV is also quite impressive) have quickly become among the best in the United States. For to my palate, the 2018s show wonderful clarity and no warm-vintage shortcomings, and I’ll wager that the 2019s are the best set of wines yet made here. In both years, one gets the generous fruit expression that marks the vintages and identifies the wines as “New World.” At the same time, there is distinct tension and focus in play, which confounds such stereotypes. New oak isn’t eschewed by Savre, but when it’s there, I find it well-played: an integral supporting actor, but not a star (think rhythm guitar versus lead). It’s early days to predict where these wines will go with age, but the right boxes (depth, energy, focus, structure and balance) are all ticked, suggesting that the 2018s and 2019s will deliver big dividends down the road.” -Josh Raynolds, Vinous

A nod to their viticulturist, inspiration, and neighbor, Mimi Casteel
Lingua Franca Mimi’s Mind Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, only 18 bottles available
Josh Raynolds 97 points
“Vivid ruby-red. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark fruits, incense and potpourri, along with an exotic spice nuance and a hint of smoky minerality. Palate-staining black raspberry, cherry and fruitcake flavors show sharp definition and deepen steadily as the wine stretches out. Deftly plays richness off elegance and finishes impressively long and chewy, with repeating cherry and floral character and building tannins adding final grip. 8% whole clusters and 26% new French oak.”

Lingua Franca ‘Avni’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points
“Deep, shimmering red. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, licorice and Asian spices, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Juicy, lithe and focused on the palate, offering appealingly sweet, mineral-tinged raspberry, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen slowly with air. Finishes with harmonious tannins, sharp clarity and strong persistence, leaving cherry and spice notes behind.”

Lingua Franca ‘The Plow’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 95 points
“Deep magenta. Expansive red and dark berry and floral aromas are complemented by hints of star anise, sassafras and cola. Sappy, seamless and fleshy on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, cherry cola, candied lavender and mocha flavors underscored by a vein of smoky minerality. Seductive in character, finishing with powerful thrust and supple tannins that meld smoothly with the sappy, persistent fruit.”

“Jay Somers has been devoted entirely to this personal project since he left his long-time role as winemaker at J. Christopher, the winery he set up in 1996. He continues to work with Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills vineyards of Abbey Ridge, Bella Vida and La Colina, with whom he has long-standing relationships that go back decades. Somers says he wants to cap his production at a manageable number of about 1,500 cases, which is significantly smaller than what he was doing at his previous gig. Both of these 2019s are quite impressive for their energy and balance. You can bet on them aging gracefully, as Somers’s wines always have.” -Josh Raynolds, Vinous

J.C. Somers Abbey Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($69.95) $61.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 94 points
“Shimmering ruby-red. An expansive bouquet evokes fresh red and blue fruits, potpourri and baking spices, along with hints of cola and smoky minerals. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering vibrant raspberry, boysenberry, spicecake and candied rose flavors braced by a core of tangy acidity. Gains weight with air while maintaining energy, and finishes extremely long and precise, with smooth tannins and resonating florality. All de-stemmed fruit and 25% new French oak.”

A blend of Dundee fruit from Abbey Ridge, Bella Vida, and La Colina.
J.C. Somers Nouvelle Lune Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($44.95) $37 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 92 points
“Deep garnet. Powerful cherry, blueberry, potpourri and cola aromas are brightened by a building spicy nuance. Fleshy and weighty on the palate, offering appealingly sweet blue fruit, cherry and lavender pastille flavors that turn livelier through the back half. Fine-grained tannins build steadily on a long, sappy finish that echoes the floral and cherry notes.”

One of benchmark Eola-Amity vineyards vinified by one of the first families of Oregon Pinot
Brooks Temperance Hill Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($54.95) $42.50 special
Josh Raynolds 95 points
“Deep garnet. Highly complex on the nose, displaying cherry preserve, raspberry, vanilla and allspice scents and a sexy floral note that gains strength with air. Intense, appealingly sweet red and dark berry, cherry cola, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors possess outstanding depth and energy. Tightens up on the impressively long finish, where fine-grained tannins frame resonating floral, cherry and spice notes.”

Colene Clemens Vineyards ‘Margo’ Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2018 750ML ($49.95) $32.50 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 92 points
“Glistening ruby-red. Lively and focused on the nose, displaying fresh red fruit and floral scents and a touch of peppery spice. Sappy, gently sweet cherry and raspberry flavors put on weight and stretch out slowly with air. The long, spice-laced finish is framed by steadily building tannins and leaves a hint of bitter cherry behind. All de-stemmed fruit and 22% new French oak.”

The barrel select cuvee that is just as opulent as her royal namesake. 
J.K. Carriere Antoinette Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 12 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points “Aromas of plums, dark cherries, earth, clay, incense and dried flowers. It’s medium-bodied with plush tannins. Round and creamy with floral character. Spicy and flavorful finish with excellent length. Drink or hold.”
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Shimmering ruby-red. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark berries, along with spice and mineral nuances that lend urgency. Juicy black raspberry, cherry cola and baking spice flavors take on subtle licorice and mocha qualities as the wine opens up. Closes very long, sweet and precise, with fine-grained tannins adding shape and subtle grip. 25% new French oak.”

France – Beaujolais

Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 24 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
” Tasted at the domaine, Foillard’s 2017 Morgon Côte du Py is much the same as it showed from my cellar earlier this year. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of cherries, red berries, grilled meats, rose petals and orange rind, it’s medium to full-bodied, velvety and fleshy, with fine and powdery tannins, lively acids and a ripe core of fruit. It’s a touch richer and more sun-kissed than the stunning 2016 rendition, but this is a very fine Côte de Py from Foillard.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Vivid ruby. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe red/blue fruits, candied flowers and exotic spices, and a smoky mineral nuance builds as the wine opens up. Stains the palate with appealingly sweet black raspberry and cherry flavors that become livelier and spicier on the back half. Conveys an impressive blend of power and finesse and lingers with superb persistence on the finish, which features sneaky tannins and lingering florality.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 94 points “We finished with a 2017 Morgon Côte du Py from Jean Foillard, which showed up the Kiwi Pinot. The color was iridescent, the bouquet pure Gamay in full flight: copious blueberries, cassis, crushed violets and blood oranges, all delivered with superb delineation and brightness. The palate harnessed the vivacity and unpretentiousness of Gamay with fine tannins, pure, tart black and red fruit and veins of blueberry. There was a gentle but insistent grip on a finish of supreme length. An outstanding Beaujolais wine, but frankly, I expected nothing less from this producer.”

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There are only a handful of producers that are as legendary as Pingus. From their very first vintage in 1995, their wines have been described by Robert Parker as “One of the greatest and most exciting wine’s I’ve ever tasted”. The popularity of Pingus exploded when half of the latter vintage sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in transit to the United States. Due to the incredibly small volume of bottles produced by Pingus the price of the bottling doubled literally overnight, with Pingus still being one of the crown jewels of high end wine investment. 

Dominio de Pingus ‘Pingus’ Ribera del Duero 2019 750ML ($1499.95) $1199 special, 3 bottles available 
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 99 points
“I tasted the bottled 2019 Pingus two weeks after bottling. Even at this early stage and after the operation, the wine is super harmonious and elegant. They really outdid themselves here and produced an amazingly fresh, aromatic and harmonious wine in a warm vintage. It’s incredibly textured, with refined, very fine-grained and chalky tannins. It’s very balanced, and there’s no excess of anything; it has 14% alcohol, perfect ripeness and a velvety mouthfeel. It gets more floral with time in the glass, getting nuanced and really interesting. It delivers what the barrel sample promised one year ago, when the wine already surprised me. I think the word that best describes this wine is precision—it’s clean, focused, balanced and delineated. Bravo!”

South Africa

Southern Right Pinotage Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2020 750ML ($49.95) $30.90 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Importer Note:
Southern Right is re-defining Pinotage with this intense classically styled, clay-grown wine, packed with complex berry fruit, beautiful tannins, and subtle spice. Full ripeness and the longer hang-time afforded by cooler sites, combined with the complex, more classic fruit aromas and structure resulting from clay-rich soil, make this wine a highly individual expression of South Africa’s unique grape variety.

Emrich-Schonleber: Nahe Royalty

Despite the fame and renown of the estate inside Germany, Emrich-Schonleber flies under the radar in the USA. These are spectacular wines—every bit the equal of Dönnhoff, their main competition in the Nahe. This is a venerable estate (they go back 250 years) working at peak form as the current generation steps into the vanguard at the winery.

Working with two awe-inspiring sites, the Halenberg and the Frühlingsplätzchen (both of which are unusually steep for the Nahe—they have slopes of up to 70%), the wines are piercingly mineral, dramatically complex, and a must have for your cellar. The 2020 GGs just landed and are in painfully limited quantities, so act fast.

“The 2020 Rieslings from Emrich-Schönleber are at a consistently high level” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate

Newly Arrived from Emrich-Schonleber:

Weingut Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2020 750ML ($119.95) $95 special, only 12 bottles available

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Weingut Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2020 1.5L ($249.95) $199 special, only 1 magnum available
Stuart Pigott 99 points “Enormously fine and subtle nose. The ravishing but very delicate apricot aroma pulls you into the profound mineral depths of this dry-riesling masterpiece. The salty minerality at the finish just doesn’t want to stop and gives you a great feeling of how the most dramatic landscapes of this region look. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2020 Halenberg GG is pure, precise and fresh on the nose that offers flinty notes of crushed stones, herbs and lemons. Crystalline, refined and juicy on the palate, this is a dense and intense, tightly structured and persistently salty Halenberg with fine tannins and great purity. Tasted from a bottle that was opened three days before, the bouquet is deep and intense but pure and salty with ripe lemon and crushed stone aromas. The palate is full, dense and tight, with serious tannin structure and lingering salinity. The combination of both wines is amazing and combines purity and freshness with complexity and elegance. The salty finish is the leitmotiv of all three versions. 12.5% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in July 2021.”

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Weingut Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Fruhlingsplatzchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2020 750ML ($99.95) $85 special, only 12 bottles available
Weingut Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Fruhlingsplatzchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs Nahe 2020 1.5L ($219.95) $179 special, only 1 magnum available

Decanter 97 points “The Frühlingsplätzchen is in the cooler western part of the Nahe region, which has endowed this Riesling with tightly wound acidity. The wine is produced in a very classic style, underpinned by beauty and silkiness. At the same time, there is plenty of varietal character with citrus fruit and grapefruit as well as nuances of wet stones alluding to its origin. The tight structure leads to a long finish. Drinking Window 2021 – 2040.”
Stuart Pigott 97 points “A breathtaking wine that has all the mineral depth and concentration you associate with a Grand Cru, but also a wide spectrum of very fine citrus and berry aromas. Then it splash lands in an explosion of fresh-herb aromas. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2020 Frühlingsplätzchen GG is very pure and fresh on the precise and stony, pretty reductive and herbal nose that needs lots of air to open up. Crystalline and pure on the palate, this is a bone-dry, refined, enormously salty and piquant Riesling from partly red slate, loam and quartzite plots. The finish is pure, fresh and precise, very long and expressive. Tasted from a bottle that was opened three days earlier, it is much more charming and open on the nose, showing an intense and complex bouquet of crushed stones, lemons and white fruits. The palate is round and elegant, much lusher and long, but it still has long-lasting salinity on the finish. A gorgeous Frühlingsplätzchen that today comes from stonier plots than in the beginning of the GG saga. 12.5% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in July 2021.”

The Coin with two faces:
New Chateau Palmer arriving This March  
We were lucky enough to secure one of the best recent examples of the 2016 vintage from Chateau Palmer in Margaux. 2016 was the fifth year that the chateau practiced biodynamic farming, something their next-door neighbor Château Margaux hasn’t even initiated yet in 2022. It’s said that biodynamics requires a handful of years to find it’s stride, and this vintage exemplifies that in spades! 

Couple that with old vines ranging from 25-70 years old and ideal soil conditions, you can see how people compare them to their first growth neighbor! Palmer is famous for their rigorous standards, with the majority of production being delisted from the Château’s label. With a house style described as “Silk wrapped in satin with layers of velvet” this is one of the most collectable houses in general before price is even factored. 

If that wasn’t enough we were able to secure a limited amount of their most exclusive cuvee, known as the Historical XIXth Century. Harkening to the Bordeaux blends of centuries past, it’s easy to forget the region’s historical predilection to unusual weather events. These often resulted in wines that were barely ripe and highly austere, with the vignerons of the day electing to blend Syrah sourced from the Northern Rhone for much needed stuffing. As you can expect with such a nod to the past this is considered the most collectible bottling by Chateau Palmer and is one of the rarest in all of  Bordeaux. Found almost exclusively in the auction circuit, we will be offering a negligible amount for only the most serious collector’s. 

Chateau Palmer wines arriving March, 2022: 

Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend Vin de France  ($499.95) $419 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles arriving 
“In fact, seeing a bottle of 19th century Lafite Hermitagé, as it is described on the label, gave me an idea, and from 2004 we produced a small quantity of what we call Historical 19th Century Wine. It’s Palmer plus 15% Syrah from the northern Rhône. It’s labelled as vin de table, so no one would ever mistake it for Palmer.” – Palmer’s director-general Thomas Duroux
The 19th Century practice in Bordeaux of ‘hermitaging’ their ‘claret’ was abandoned with the installation of the AOC regulations. Over the past decade however the always acclaimed Chateau Palmer decided to utilize some of their classifed Margaux to reincarnate the traditition. Those 19th Century Clarets needed the boost of power and structure. Palmer’s Margaux has no such need. Palmer’s ‘hermitaged’ margaux in its early years will be somewhat more fruit forward. After a decade rolls by you might detect a slight difference in flavor but be need to be a gifted taster to describe. The “Historical’ is made to honor the past, not to alter the wine and its future.

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Chateau Palmer Margaux 2016 750ML ($499.95) $419 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles arriving 
Antonio Galloni 100 points
“Technical Director Thomas Duroux and his team made one of the most brilliant wines of the 2016 vintage. Palmer is simply exceptional. Rich and dramatically sweeping in the glass, the 2016 is breathtaking. All the elements simply fall into place in a wine of mesmerizing beauty. The counterpoint of dark, sumptuous fruit and floral notes makes for an utterly compelling Palmer that will take its place among the estate’s finest vintages. Dark cherry, lavender, spice and mocha are some of the many notes that build into a deep, substantial finish that is truly unforgettable. In a word: magnificent!”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The finest vintage I’ve ever tasted from this estate, surpassing the 2009 and 2010, the 2016 Château Palmer is a blend of 47% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Petit Verdot, all of which was brought up in 65% new French oak. This magical effort reveals a saturated purple color as well as a huge nose of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rocks, and spring flowers, and it develops beautifully with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, incredibly concentrated and powerful, it nevertheless just glides over the palate with flawless purity and balance, present, ripe tannins, and a finish that just won’t quit. This is Bordeaux at its most regal and classic. It will be drinkable with just 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for half a century.”
Wine Enthusiast 100 points “#27 Cellar Selection in 2019 Powerful tannins and hugely rich fruit balance together in this superb wine. The velvet texture belies the power behind the concentrated, ripe black-fruit flavor, with vibrant acidity giving ample lift. The wine’s structure will ensure aging for many years. Drink from 2024. -Roger Voss”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Opaque garnet-purple colored, it slowly glides out of the glass with compelling notes of blueberry compote, warm cassis and kirsch with emerging hints of violets, cigar box, black tea, sandalwood and Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, wonderfully rich, concentrated and packed with latent energy, the palate literally grows in the mouth, revealing layer upon layer of black, blue and red fruits and tons of floral sparks, framed by super ripe, incredibly fine-grained tannins and finishing with epic length. It’s a wine that makes you wanna drape yourself languidly over a chaise lounge, glass of Palmer in hand, sighing with deep satisfaction, ‘This is so wonderfully Palmer.'”
Decanter 98 points “As is always the case with Palmer, the richness, depth and silkiness is just so impressive. Sophisticated and well constructed, with a vertical lift-off, there’s a creamy richness on the palate which supports pencil-lead, liquorice, damson, black cherry and slate. I love the smoky cocoa bean finish. Like the Alter Ego, it’s a different style this year but no less impressive, displaying width, heft and incredible persistency. It’s a wine that’s going to age far into the future and is extremely easy to recommend. The highest ever proportion of grand vin was produced in 2016. Drinking Window 2025 – 2042.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 98 points “The 2016 Palmer has a generous, slightly lactic bouquet of opulent red fruit infused with touches of dark chocolate, although it calms down and gains more grace with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and well-judged acidity. Very harmonious, revealing cedar and mint toward the extraordinarily persistent finish. This is another classy, persistent Margaux with a long future ahead. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting.”
James Suckling 98 points “Such attractive fruit and alluring ripeness that it draws you in from the get-go. The discreet power here is delivered with a very astute touch. Assorted dark-berry aromas, as well as red plums, abound on the nose. The richness and depth in the mouth is stunning. The tannins are super polished and layered and they draw pristine dark fruit flavors deep into the finish in effortless mode. This is a star of the vintage. A blend of 47 per cent merlot, 47 per cent cabernet sauvignon and six per cent petit verdot. Try from 2024.”

Collector’s Corner:’s Alpine Treasure

You’ve heard of sister regions Barolo and Barbaresco but did you know that there is a third sibling that also specialized in Nebbiolo? The Italian Alps are home to some of the most ethereal and mineral driven expressions of wine in the entire world. Naturally insulated from the rest of the country due to the topography, the villagers practice winemaking exactly as they have for centuries. Alto Piemonte as it’s known by the locals was formed during the shift of the African and European tectonic plates millions of years ago, creating one of the most diverse mix of soils in the world. 

You see everything from prehistoric marine sediment, schist, fractured limestone, granite and even sandstone. There is so much complexity that only the locals have dared to try classifying the contents of their soil. Located near the Italian-Swiss border Arpepe does exactly that, producing Chiavennasca (The local name for Nebbiolo) from terraced vineyards that have been in their family for generations. Known as a benchmark producer for the regions wines, Arpepe is a fantastic introduction to the particular stylings of Chiavennasca in way that draws comparisons to Barolo and Barbaresco of years past. Considering the advancement of climate change these wines are well on their way to becoming the next hotbed for Nebbiolo in Italy, as freshness and elegance become more elusive further south. 

Arpepe wines in stock now: 

Ar.Pe.Pe. Buon Consiglio Riserva Valtellina Superiore Grumello DOCG 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points
“One of two late-release wines from Ar. Pe. Pe., the 2013 Valtellina Superiore Grumello Riserva Buon Consiglio is a beautifully light and delicate expression of Nebbiolo with a lean, ruby-tinged appearance. The wine ages to silkiness and extreme suppleness, and I cannot help but notice the unique aromas of toasted hazelnut, mountain flower and balsam herb that rise so delicately from the bouquet. These results are exquisite and ultra delicate, giving the wine a lithe or ethereal personality. What a beauty. Only 6,000 bottles were released.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “A perfumed red, exuding aromas and flavors of crushed raspberry and pureed strawberry, exotic spice and graphite, dried marjoram and thyme. It’s finely knit, with silky tannins and mouthwatering, citrus peel acidity. A graceful version with a lasting, mineral-laced finish. Drink now through 2028. 500 cases made, 175 cases imported.  –AN”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Camphor, wild rose and botanical herbs mingle with a whiff of wet granite. On the elegantly structured, still youthfully austere palate, tight, refined tannins lithely support sour cherry, orange zest and star anise. It’s vibrant and balanced, with bright acidity. Drink 2023–2033. -Kerin O’Keefe”

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Ar.Pe.Pe. Sesto Canto Riserva Valtellina Superiore Inferno DOCG 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“There’s a lovely juiciness to the crushed black raspberry and strawberry fruit on display in this elegant, medium- to full-bodied red, yet sleek tannins are well-integrated and provide fine definition. Fragrant notes of tea leaf, pomegranate and hot stone chime on the silky finish. Drink now through 2033. 500 cases made, 175 cases imported.  –AN”

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Ar.Pe.Pe. Vigna Regina – Nuova Regina Riserva Valtellina Superiore Sassella DOCG 2013 750ml ($119.95) $99 Special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Loaded with finesse and energy and still youthfully austere, this linear, structured red offers tart cranberry, blood orange and star anise sensations. A vein of salty mineral provides the backdrop while fine-grained tannins provide elegant structure and support. Racy acidity keeps it balanced. Give it time to fully develop and blossom into even more of a beauty. Drink 2025–2035. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “A release of about 6,000 bottles, the Ar. Pe. Pe. 2013 Valtellina Superiore Riserva Sassella Nuova Regina draws its fruit from terraced vineyards delineated by rocky drywalls. The vines are at least 50 years old and planted in friable metamorphic rock or gneiss shaped by glaciers. This wine is made in a highly traditional manner with extended skin maceration in oak casks, and all the harvest work is done by hand. This is a true beauty with enormous finesse and a deep well of aromatic nuances that center around wild berries, blue flowers and iron ore. The wine is carefully aged with fine and silky tannins. It tastes great, so if you have a bottle you can drink it now or wait longer if that is your pleasure.”

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Ar.Pe.Pe. ‘Il Pettirosso’ Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2016 750ML ($54.95) $45 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Decanter 93 points
“Il Pettirosso, or ‘robin redbreast’, is a dedication to Ar Pe Pe’s founder, Arturo who first created this bottling in 1997. A selection of casks ready to be bottled after relatively minimal ageing, it brings together parcels in the subzones of Sassella and Grumello. Piercing pure rose, cherry blossom and tobacco lead the way to a nucleus of sweet raspberry, red cherry and subtle flintiness. It’s fine-boned in frame and zesty in acidity, with silky-smooth tannins that glide effortlessly across the palate. The epitome of elegance. Drinking Window 2021 – 2028.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Valtellina Superiore Il Pettirosso is a terrific choice for readers who want to explore the Ar.Pe.Pe. wines before delving into some of the more pricey bottlings. Dried autumn leaves, cedar, pipe tobacco, herbs and licorice are some of the many notes that grace this wonderfully expressive, super-classic Valtellina Nebbiolo. Aging in cask brings out the nuances of these old vines so well. The transparency of Nebbiolo comes through beautifully.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “Here’s a beautiful wine with a great human story behind it. Fruit from 50-year-old vines planted in friable granitic mountain soils is carried down to the winery in small cassettes on the hearty shoulders of the harvesters. With some 24,000 bottles made, the Ar. Pe. Pe. 2016 Valtellina Superiore Nebbiolo Il Pettirosso is perfumed with rosebud, wild berry, sour cherry and crushed stone. All that backbreaking human labor leads to a soft and gently polished red wine to pair with a classic buckwheat pasta from this ski-loving region.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Bright and tangy, this fragrant wine offers head scents of red rose, pine forest, wet flint and Alpine herb. Vibrant and savory, the racy palate has lovely mineral energy and tension, doling out juicy Marasca cherry, ground clove and a hint of hazelnut alongside taut, refined tannins and bright acidity. Drink through 2026. -Kerin O’Keefe”

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

Ar.Pe.Pe. Grumello Rocca de Piro Riserva Valtellina Superiore Grumello DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special,  12 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Fruit for this wine comes from the high altitudes of the Rhaetian Alps, where decomposed granite soils make for a dark contrast against brilliant white ice and snow falls. The Ar. Pe. Pe. 2015 Valtellina Superiore Nebbiolo Grumello Rocca de Piro reveals a long succession of dried raspberry, cassis, pressed violets, iron ore and crushed stone. This wine promises to make a terrific pairing with a simple plate of thinly sliced Valtellina bresaola. Some 30,000 bottles were made.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Initially shy, the subtle nose eventually reveals new leather, Alpine herb and wild berry. The savory palate has an understated elegance, offering Marasca cherry, pomegranate and graphite alongside refined tannins. Drink through 2027. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Wine Spectator 92 points “An elegant light- to medium-bodied red, with fine tannins creating a supple frame for flavors wild strawberry, black tea leaf and a ferrous, minerally underpinning. It’s fresh and focused, with a lingering, lightly spiced finish. Drink now through 2030. –AN”

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