Crazy Low Cheval des Andes Offer – New Release!; #Trending: Fab French Finds for Fun Festivities; New Champagne Reviews from Antonio Galloni; End of Bin Sales: Riesling Round 2 & Bonus Old World Finds; Don’t Miss: Miraculous Best Price Deal on Perrier-Jouet!
Six bottles @ $319/six/pack (that’s only $53.17/bottle!)
Case-6 Terrazas de Los Andes ‘Cheval des Andes’, Mendoza, Argentina 2013 750ML ($479.95) Displayed price: $369; Your subscriber price until Sat Midnight: $319 pre-arrival special (that’s only $53.17/bottle!)
James Suckling 98 points “The purity of fruit is so impressive here with flowers, dark fruit, and strawberries. Full body, ultra-fine tannins, and a focus and beauty that makes you think. So long and elegant. 67% malbec, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 8% petit verdot.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “At Cheval des Andes they consider 2013 as a warm vintage, because even if the winter saw average temperatures, the spring and summer were warmer than normal. The 2013 Cheval des Andes came up to 67% Malbec, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot mostly from their vineyards at Las Compuertas at some 1,1000 meters altitude and some fruit from their 15 hectares at La Consulta in the Valle de Uco, that they use when they don’t find it too ripe. Even if they tend to pick early, the bottled wine is a ripe and heady blend hitting the scale at 15% alcohol fermented relatively warm (28 degrees Celsius) for some 25 days. After malolactic in tank, all different lots go into barrel and they try to make the blend as soon as possible, usually during the first winter so the wine ages together for some 15 to 18 months in French oak barriques. They have reduced the amount of new wood used (only 30%) to avoid overwhelming the fruit with aromas but providing complexity and clarifying the wine naturally. From this vintage onward they have been able to not acidify the wine, as they changed their approach to viticulture, and they are now able to burn the green notes and harvest early, with natural acidity and lower alcohol. The key to this is to get something like 30-35 hectoliters per hectare. I think this is absolutely the right approach, and this change started in 2010–with 100% estate fruit, no oenological products used, fresh maturity without greenness through lower yields. In 2013.”
Decanter 94 points “When Château Cheval Blanc’s Pierre Lurton visited Mendoza in the late 1990s, he teamed up with Roberto de la Mota, finding a block of ungrafted Malbec planted in 1929 in Las Compuertas. Selected for its elegant, refined expression, Cheval des Andes was born once the use of the revered Cheval name had been personally sanctioned by LVMH’s owner Bernard Arnault. Malbec has taken over from Cabernet Sauvignon as the senior partner in the blend, as its properties in viticulture and winemaking have become better understood. ‘After 18 years of experience,’ says Lorenzo Pasquini, technical manager and winemaker, ‘our aim is to create the same vision and style in Mendoza as at Château Cheval Blanc: ageing potential with elegance, complexity, freshness and balance.’ Scented cedar gives way to a lip smackingly rich black fruit quality, polished oak adding to a suave texture, before morphing into a firmer structure of youthfully vigorous grip and a fresh acid spine.Drinking Window 2018 – 2030.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 94 points “Bright, dark ruby. Sexy oaky high tones to the classy scents of blackberry, cassis, licorice pastille, tobacco leaf and violet. Wonderfully fine-grained wine with a seamless, velvety texture and terrific restrained sweetness to its blackberry, licorice and mineral flavors. Very penetrating, savory, rather powerful wine with terrific ripe tannins, a repeating licorice pastille quality and outstanding rising length. Really terrific subtle sweetness of fruit here. Has the density of texture and energy for a slow and eventful evolution in bottle.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $70.87
The average price is $83
Subscriber Special Ends Saturday, December 16th at 11:59 PM!
French Finds for Your Merry-Making
Wine Spectator 93 points “Sleek, with a smoky underpinning and a lively, detailed bead, this firm version offers flavors of black currant, toast, lemon curd and honey. Lingering finish. Drink now through 2030.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Just beginning to mature, this balanced, ripe wine is complex, with bright acidity, toast and pear and green-plum fruits. It is rich, with a tight mouse that shows intensity as well as a stylish character. This is a fine wine just coming into its own but well worth aging further until 2020.”Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-6 Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($239.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The nose of this wine seduces you straight away with a great balance of autolytic and fruit aromas: toasted hazelnuts, warm apple tart and kaya (coconut and egg) jam. The palate is equally well balanced providing plenty of evolved fruit and toasty / yeasty flavors. Small, fine bubbles, seamless use of dosage and a long nutty finish. This fine if relatively unknown Brut NV takes first place in the derby – a shocker even for me!”
Importer notes: “Arlaux is a small family-run champagne house producing only 5,000 cases a year located in a small village on the Petit Montagne de Reims called Vrigny. Arlaux has been producing champagne since 1826 but the Arlaux-Marchal family have lived in Vrigny since the 13th century. Exclusively 1er Cru Champagne with a minimum of 4 years aging. They only use their own grapes from 20 to 100 year old vines which are hand-picked in order to select only the very best. All Arlaux cuvées are 100% Premier Cru and 100% Tête de Cuvée (meaning that they only use the juice of the 1st press).”
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Cuvee des Fous, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2015 Brouilly Cuvée des Fous had been racked the day before my visit to the domaine and I tasted this directly from vat. It has an intense dark cherry, cassis and iodine-scented bouquet with gorgeous raspberry ripple scents lurking just underneath. The palate is very well balanced with fine, very lithe tannin. The acidity here is perfectly judged, as it sashays towards a composed and very pure and long finish. Wow – this is going to turn into one sensual and compelling Beaujolais.”
#6 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 2017
Wine Spectator 95 points “This tilts toward the flattering side of off-dry, showing a plump feel to the core of creamed pear, white peach and yellow apple fruit. Lovely verbena, honeysuckle and mineral accents keep this balanced and driven, with a long finish that lets the fruit echo. Drink now through 2032.”Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc 2010 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Case-12 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc 2010 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
James Suckling 92 points “Aromas of currants, plums, and minerals follow through full body, with chewy tannins and a chewy finish. Needs time to soften. Serious depth to this wine. Better in 2015.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
James Suckling 93 points “A soft and fruity wine, with orange peel and berries and plums. Full body, with super fine tannins and a fruity finish. Refined and very pretty. Structured in the end. Fresh. Succulent. A style away from the over extracted one a few years ago. Try after 2018.” JS
Wine Spectator 92 points “This is very distinctive, with live-wire acidity running through the core of damson plum, linzer torte and blackberry fruit that’s framed by a mouthwatering roasted apple wood note. The long and driven finish has a piercing iron edge and a smoldering tobacco note that adds to the dramatic profile. Best from 2015 through 2025.” WA
Robert Parker 90-92 points “Now owned by the proprietors of Cheval Blanc, the 2009 Quinault l’Enclos (composed of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits an opaque purple color, notes of licorice, incense, raspberries, and black cherries, medium body, elegant, stylish flavors, and no hint of oak. This is a beautifully made, pure, deep wine that continues to confirm what Dr. Alain Raynaud suspected when he bought this property in 1997. The naysayers all said this terroir was suspect, but that has been proven wrong by the wines that have been produced. This 2009 should drink well for 10-20 years. (Tasted once.)”Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2003 750ML ($59.95) $39 special
Wine Spectator 95 points “Honey, apple tart and lemon rind. Full-bodied, medium-sweet and very spicy with intense flavors of mace, apple and honey. Long finish. Thick and powerful. Best after 2010.”
The average price nationally is $54
New Champagnes Reviews
From Antonio Galloni
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs is a terrific example of the Margaine style at its best. Nervous and crystalline, the Blanc de Blancs is endowed with terrific energy and compelling overall balance. Lemon oil, white flowers, chalk and a host of saline-inflected nuances grow as the wine sits in the glass. A wine of pedigree and personality, Margaine’s Blanc de Blancs is a winner. This release is a blend of 80% 2013 and 20% 2012 vintages.”Aubry Cuvee ‘Aubry de Humbert’ Premier Cru Millesime Classique, Champagne 2008 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Brut Nature Aubry de Humbert is one of the standouts in a range full of exciting wines. Dried lemon peel, chamomile, dried flowers, yellow orchard fruits and a kiss of French oak all inform this resonant, deeply expressive Champagne. The Aubrey de Humbert is one of the more extroverted and overly powerful wines in the Aubry range but it has plenty of the freshness, verve and detail that makes these Champagnes so compelling. The blend is 30% each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with dollops of Arbanne and Petit Meslier that round out the blend. Disgorged in June 2016 with no dosage.”
The average price is $58
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2012 Brut Ivoire et Ebène is another fabulous wine in this range. Powerful, ample and resonant in the glass, the 2012 is superb from the moment it is first poured. Baked apple, pear, smoke and spice fill out the wine’s voluptuous frame, with a hint of French oak that add complexity without being overpowering. The combination of bright flavors and rich textures is compelling. Disgorged: June 2016. Dosage is 3 grams per liter.”
The next best price is $45.40
The average price is $48
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Explosive and powerful in the glass, with terrific freshness, the 2009 Brut Spécial Club Millésimé is harmonious and impeccably balanced in every way. The natural ripeness of 2009 comes through in the wine’s generous fruit and soft contours. At the same time, the Spécial Club preserves quite a bit of freshness and brightness. Disgorged: March 2016. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”
The next best price is $65.73
The average price is $74
A. Margaine Cuvee Traditionelle Premier Cru Demi-Sec, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special, ETA December 20th
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Le Demi-Sec captures all the signatures of the Margaine house style, but with the extra textural amplitude that the 30 grams of sugar give the wine. Hints of smoke, crushed rocks and citrus are layered into the fruit nicely. At present, there is just a hint of reduction that hopefully will disappear with time in bottle. As is often the case, the Demi-Sec is one of the best wines in its style. The Demi-Sec is the same wine as Le Brut, but with 30 grams per liter of dosage. Disgorged: June 2017. Dosage 30 grams per liter.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Brut Cuvée Le Brut is bright and finely sculpted to its core, with terrific energy and verve throughout. Citrus, white flowers, slate and chalk all take shape in the glass. On the palate, the Brut offers a compelling interplay of translucence married to creamy resonance of the Pinot Noir in the blend. Those qualities, along with the wine’s overall balance, make Le Brut irresistibly beautiful and alluring. The current release is 48% 2014 and the rest 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2009. Disgorged: June 2017. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”
The average price is $47
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Rosé is done in a relatively open-knit style for Aubry. There is a lovely sense of immediacy that makes the Rosé easy to drink with minimal cellaring, even though the flavors and textures show the energy and briskness that are such signatures of the house style. This release is 40% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir and 10% still Pinot, all from the 2014 vintage. Disgorged January 2017.”
End of Bin Sales
Part Two of German Riesling
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On Perrier Jouet
We flew through our first tranche – don’t miss this second & final restock!
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut Millesime 2008 750ML ($149.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Decanter 93 points “Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque 2008 reminds me somewhat of the grace of the exceptional 1995, Cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps’ first solo vintage and still one of his best. Though the two vintages 13 years apart share the same grace and class, the 2008 is more mineral, reflecting a quite sunless summer season. Only the return of warmer weather at the start of September imbued the vintage with a freshness of great Chardonnay in tune with the subtly restrained power of Pinot Noir and a soupçon of rounded Meunier – that final little touch making the wine more pleasurable to drink soon, unlike other wines from the Champagne 2008 vintage, which need a lot more time.
Chardonnay is from Cramant, Avize, and Mesnil, Pinot Noir from Ay and Ambonnay in the Montagne de Reims, and Pinot Meunier from Dizy. Shimmering pale gold with green lights, radiant clarity; persistent tiny bubbles: riot of white flowers scents, hawthorn, then more stone-fruit than citrus, reine claude (greengage) and elderflower. Vibrant mouthfeel, invigorating, expansive – perfect with saline fruits de mer.”
The next best price is $119.98
The average price is $149
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We will be closed on Monday, December 25th and Monday, January 1st
We wish you a happy holiday season!