Thursday Newsletter 10-19-17

New Featured Reviews from Wine Spectator for 2015 Domaine Leflaive; New Grapelive Review: Emmanuel Darnaud; Staff Picks; Sales Ending Tonight: Pierre Peters Chetillons & Zorzal Sauv Blanc & Pinot Noir; Jose Michel: Meunier Master Class; Late Breaking News: Isole e Olena’s 2014 Cepparello


New Reviews

Wines Arrive Early November

Domaine Leflaive

There are few names more permanently identified with a village than Domaine Leflaive and Puligny-Montrachet. Following the phylloxera tragedy of the last years of the 19th century, and recovering after the Great War, Joseph Leflaive laid the groundwork of rehabilitating the vineyards and eventually selling wine under his own label instead of selling to negociants. The quality of the wines has been a trajectory nearly unmatched by any producer in the Cote d’Or. His descendants have thrown themselves into the Domaine, stepping into their roles with pride and renewed vigor. The family has committed themselves for five generations to improving vineyard health and the quality of their wines with every vintage.

The wines are an experience and a master class in terroir. The vineyard team has had direct lineage for 3 generations. They have dug into the clay and limestone, isolating individual mineral traces showing up in narrow bands throughout the individual vineyards. This allows Leflaive to further narrow the profile they want to achieve with every vineyard, every vintage. Intensity, concentration and volume are hallmarks, especially with a tremendous vintage like ‘15, but beyond the power come the finesse and beauty that reveal themselves more every year that you can keep your hands off of them. With wines like these, scents of apple become apple tartine, citrus becomes lemon oil or toasted zest; superlative becomes the norm. These are, quite simply, the best wines you’ll find in Puligny-Montrachet, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more pure expression of Chardonnay anywhere on the planet.

Newly Reviewed Wines from Domaine Leflaive – Arriving in Early November:

Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($899.95) $799 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 97 points “Offers a broad mouthful of peach, apple and melon flavors, underscored by lively acidity. Has power and weight, with a mouthwatering finish that goes on for a minute or more. Really expansive on the finish, where citrus and mineral notes reign. Best from 2020 to 2033.”

Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($799.95) $699 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points “An appealing mix of lemon cake, peach, citronella, floral and stone flavors, this white is light-footed, yet intense and luminescent. Beautifully integrated acidity drives the long finish, where elements of mineral, citrus and spice linger. Best from 2020 to 2032.”

Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($699.95) $599 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points “A picture of power and restraint, this white evokes peach, melon, lemon cake and stone flavors. Turns more elegant, gliding to a lingering conclusion. Cuts a swath of lemon and mineral notes on the extended aftertaste. Best from 2021 to 2032.”

Domaine Leflaive Les Pucelles, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($359.95) $319 pre-arrival special, 1 bottle available
Wine Spectator 95 points “This is ripe, brimming with peach, lime, floral and pastry aromas and flavors, backed by vivid structure. In the end, this is harmonious, offering a racy profile, with an essence of lime blossom and stone on the aftertaste. Best from 2020 to 2032.”

Domaine Leflaive Clavoillon, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special, 10 bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 points “A fresh style, with a gossamer texture framing lemon, apple and white peach flavors. Accents of baking spices and mineral add depth as this unfolds to a long, intense aftertaste. Best from 2019 to 2025.”

Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, 9 bottles available
Wine Spectator 91 points “The nose is shy, but this steps up to the plate, with flavors of lemon pie, peach and spring blossom. Stays focused and intense through the citrusy aftertaste. Drink now through 2022.”


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New Grapelive Review

Emmanuel Darnaud 

The Terroir of Crozes-Hermitage

A passionate advocate for terroir-specific wines, Emmanuel Darnaud has been crafting robust reds from individual parcels in the northern Rhone since 2001. His six parcels are spread over 15 hectares, where the grapes are hand harvested. Each is vinified separately with differing oak aging and maturation practices depending upon the wine. The Saint Joseph is from a small, 1.7 hectare vineyard on a hillside in an area colloquially named ‘speared by the sun.’ These richly flavored and powerful wines are in stock now!

darnaud trois chenes 15Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chenes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($31.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points “Made from his oldest plots of organic vines, the Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Heritage Les Trois Chenes is a pure and beautiful Syrah with lovely layers and a wonderful mix of dark fruits and earthy elements with a nice background of spices. This wine is an awesome value, grown on alluvial soils and round stones with a vine age between 25 to 60 years. It shows great terroir character and markers. The 2015 is ripe and lengthy highlighting the warm vintage. This 100% Syrah shows brilliant details and while it has a slight reduction at first it opens wonderfully to an array of complex flavors. It starts with its very dark purple/garnet hue and delicate floral notes with hints of violets and camphor, truffle and leather before filling out on the palate with blackberry, blueberry, damson plum and kirsch/cherry fruits along with black licorice, sticky lavender, peppercorns and dusty porcini. Aged in neutral cask (demi muids) this harmonious 13.5% alcohol wine gathers energy, focus and weight with air in the glass, but stays vibrant and medium bodied with a lithe mouth feel. I am excited to try more of Darnaud’s wines, especially his Saint-Joseph, which I hear is outstanding as well, imported by Casa Bruno in Portland, Oregon. Emmanuel Darnaud looks set to be a break through winemaker/producer. It’s hard to imagine a better Northern Rhone Syrah for the price. This is a wine to enjoy in the next 3 to 5 years and a label to follow. This is a quality and impressive effort that deserves your attention, it’s also a Syrah that needs cuisine to perform at its best, while still being vibrant, flexible and supple in tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $31.99

Also Available Here Now from Emmanuel Darnaud:

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The top cuvée of the estate (which isn’t made in every vintage) is the 2015 Crozes Hermitage Au Fil Du Temps, which is 100% Syrah from the Les Saviaux lieu-dit (near the village of Glun), raised in once-used demi-muids. Like all the cuvées here, it sports an inky purple/opaque color and has a sensational bouquet of blueberry, strawberry, black cherry, graphite and smoked herbs. Full-bodied, rounded, seamless and impeccably balanced, it’s hands down one of the most impressive Crozes out there.”

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Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Mise en Bouche, Rhone 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points “This brims with dark plum, blackberry and raspberry confiture notes, laced with anise and singed apple wood details. Ends with fleshy intensity. Best from 2018 through 2025.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “His entry-level effort is the wonderfully fruity, rounded and sexy 2015 Crozes Hermitage Mise En Bouche, which is already hard to resist. It offers tons of black and blue fruits, peppery herbs and hints of cured meats. I love its purity and it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 6-7 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $24

Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 34 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “A monster of a St Joseph, the 2015 Saint Joseph comes from the Dardouille lieu-dit (near Mauves) and was aged in demi-muids and second-fill barrels. It has a saturated purple/blue color as well as awesome notes of crème de cassis, freshly crushed rocks and cracked pepper. Rich, full-bodied, ultra-pure and with impeccably purity and balance, it’s another tour de force from this appellation.”


Staff Picks

k vintners the dealDipping into Washington again, we opened a bottle of The Deal with friends from the Midwest. They’re big fans of the bolder style of Syrah, and I wanted to taste this again to see if it had come together after the initial taste I’d had a few months ago. The difference in this short of time was transformative. The blue fruit was still up front, but all of the secondary savory notes were coalescing into a brambly pepper and bay leaf note that seemed wild and animal. I left some in my glass and came back to it a couple hours later, and was rewarded with more wet stone and dark spice – the long vintage of 2014 certainly paid off in more complexity in the glass. From start to finish, this wine surprised me. I’m not typically a fan of the bigger wines from K, but this is still just coming together, and I could see this being a sleeper hit in the K Vintner line up. I’ll probably be adding one or two to the cellar just to see where it is in five years.

Charles Smith K Vintners The Deal Sundance Vineyard Syrah, Columbia Valley 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “Coming from the Wahluke slope and 100% Syrah fermented (all native) with no destemming and aged in 30% new 500-liter or larger barrels, the 2014 Syrah The Deal Sundance Vineyard has a killer bouquet of black pepper, currants, blueberries, graphite and dried herbs. Full-bodied, seamless, pure and with no hard edges, it is indeed a screaming “deal”!”

OK, this is already a world-famous wine. And for years now, I’ve called Brucke one of my favorite vineyards in the world. The Spatlese always sings with purity that becomes only more concentrated and refined in the Auslese bottling, like an orchestra playing Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The vineyard is a monopole with a variety of soils types including grey slate and loam within its tiny 2.5 acres. The vineyard typically offers a lush wines with a strong undercurrent of minerality and acidity. In the fortunate years, it is the site of the second-rarest wine of Germany: the Eiswein. Clocking in at around 400-450 g/L of sugar, these babies are syrupy in body but with intensely crystalline-concentrated fruit and acid. The balance conveys a sense of tension that Terry Theise describes far more poetically than I can as “Energy again…Perfect balance both in gross elements (sugar/acid) and fine elements (body/vigor/juice/texture); the juice of a hundred heirloom apples, and at the end, one last needle-brush of acidity.”

Besides, we’re reaching the holidays and, dread them or love them, you need to serve something for dessert.

donnhoff brucke eiswein 15Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Eiswein, Nahe 2015 375ML ($199.95) $159 special, 18 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 97 points “Picked in 2016 on January 18th, the 2015 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Eiswein is very clear and displays black bread, fresh lemon and even some flinty aromas on the nose. On the palate, this is a highly elegant, precise and piquant Riesling with tension, grip and concentration, but also finesse and beautiful roundness. This Eiswein is as razor-sharp as sensual and is a fascinating drinking experience. The aftertaste reveals raisin, chestnut cream and even some malty flavors. “The berries were so stable due to the high acidity, but the juice inside was slightly oxidized through the sensitive skins,” says Helmut Dönnhoff. “However, thanks to the yeasts, it ends up as a reductive wine.” (This is produced in 375 milliliter bottles.)”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $169.99
The average price is $181



coutier 2008R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Case-12 R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($719.95) $519 special (that’s only $43.25/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Coutier’s 2008 Brut Grand Cru is interesting to taste next to the Grands Vintages. Here the brightness, focus and tension of the 2008 vintage are front and center. Lemon peel, white, flowers, mint and chalky notes infuse this bright, finely sculpted Champagne. The interplay of Ambonnay Pinot with Chardonnay, along with the chiseled style of the year adds up a compelling and absolutely delicious bottle of Champagne. I very much like the sense of energy here.”

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The average price is $58

Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
 Case-6 Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($219.95) $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).”

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The average price is $37

xavier vacqueyrasXavier Vignon Vacqueyras, Rhone 2010 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2010 Vacqueyras was made from a somewhat unusual blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache, most of it from the Plateau de Garrigue, near Sarrians in Vacqueyras. This rich effort reveals lots of forest floor, roasted herb, blackberry and cassis notes as well as a hint of acacia flowers. Impeccably pure, rich and long, it should drink well for 6-8 years.”

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Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Case-12 Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($749.95) $649 special (that’s only $54.08/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Playing true to type, the 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Pora is another of the more open wines in this vintage. But that is only in relative terms. Layers of expressive red fruit, crushed flowers and spices flesh out in this radiant Barbaresco. In most vintages the Pora is one of the more accessible of the Riservas when young. The close proximity of the vineyard to the Tanaro River results in a warm microclimate that ripens the fruit earlier than elsewhere. In 2008, though, the Pora packs a serious punch. The coolness of the late harvest comes through in a finish laced with considerable tension and minerality. This is easily one of the very best Poras I have ever tasted from the Produttori. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2048.” AG

Trending Wine Arriving in April 2018

Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($599.95) $519 pre-arrival special (that’s only $43.25/bottle!)
[No reviews yet!]
“Two thousand thirteen …is shaping up to be an epic vintage of classic proportions and superb pedigree. The growing season was much more stable than 2012, but it is the last month of the year, a perfect September with warm days and cool nights, that yielded Barbarescos endowed with regal intensity. The 2013s remind me of the 2010s, but with more inner sweetness and mid-palate richness. “–Antonio Galloni

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Don’t Miss Out!

These Sales Expire Tonight at Midnight!

Pierre Peters “Les Chetillons”

Single Vineyard, Grand Cru Champagne

pierre peters chetillonPierre Peters Cuvee Speciale ‘Les Chetillons’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 2010 750ML ($149.95) Was $128, Now $109, only 37 bottles remaining!
Wine Spectator 95 points “Fine and lacy, this textbook blanc de blancs offers a lovely range of dried apricot, crushed hazelnut, fleur de sel and spun honey notes. Beautifully balanced and fresh, with a long, chalk-tinged finish. Drink now through 2030. 200 cases imported.”

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The average price is $132

Sale Ends Tonight at Midnight!


10 Hours
2 Wines
30% Off The Best Listed Prices in the Country


zorzal pinot and sauv blancZorzal Eggo Blanc de Cal, Tupungato, Argentina 2014 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $18, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Eggo Blanc de Cal is pure Sauvignon Blanc from two different vineyards in Gualtallary. The full clusters are pressed and the must was fermented and aged in contact with the lees for nine to ten months in their famous egg-shaped cement vats. This is more subtle and earthy, less Sauvignon, with the fruit expressing itself in a lower-pitched voice, more of a baritone. It’s also has a little wider, pungent and powerful character in the mouth. This is only around 13% alcohol, and even though in 2014 it didn’t go through malolactic fermentation, it’s still a very light and fresh wine. Groundbreaking Sauvignon. 4,800 bottles were produced, fruit of two eggs.” LG

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Zorzal Eggo Filoso Pinot, Tupungato, Argentina 2014 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $18, 31 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Eggo Filoso Pinot Noir is produced with fruit from Gualtallary. It fermented after carbonic maceration in cement vats and like the whole Eggo line, it matured in cement eggs for some nine months and never saw any oak. Pale-colored, floral and showing a lactic touch, it is earthier than the Gran Terroir. The palate is medium-bodied, with floral flavors, very good acidity and a fine texture.”

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Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $37.99

Sale Ends Tonight at Midnight! 


Arriving in December

Jose Michel

Master Class in Meunier

The fourth-generation to run his family’s estate in the village of Moussy, Jose Michel has produced wines from their vineyards since the mid-1950s. He had a love affair with Pinot Meunier in his early years (Peter Liem calls him “one of Champagne’s greatest Meunier specialist”), and has since added Chardonnay to some of his wines because he believes it adds “finesse and harmony.” Here one finds the clay soils needed for Meunier but also layers of chalk that give the wines added structure without heavy weight.

Jose Michel & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Jose Michel & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 375ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Jose Michel & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($219.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(70% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay; 9 g/l dosage): Light yellow-gold. Fresh tangerine, pear and sweet butter on the fragrant nose. Smooth and weighty in the mouth, offering pliant orchard fruit and melon flavors and a bracing kick of bitter citrus zest. A minerally element adds lift and cut to the penetrating finish, which leaves a suave floral note behind.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $37


Late Breaking News

Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($479.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 1.5L ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95-97 points “Isole e Olena’s 2014 Cepparello is mind-blowingly beautiful. The product of a long, cool growing season with perfect weather at the end of the fall. Dark, savory and intensely mineral, the 2014 possesses remarkable depth and intensity. In 2014, the grapes reached full maturity at lower sugars than is the norm today. I tasted the 2014 from an assortment of barrels. If the finished wine is like the wine I tasted from barrel, the 2014 Cepparello will be one of the big surprises of the vintage. I love the mid-palate depth here.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93-95 points “Here is another big surprise from an underdog vintage. The 2014 Cepparello had recently been bottled when I preview tasted it, but it is far from its release date. Paolo De Marchi sold off any finished wine that did not live up to his standards and picked the very best results for this edition. Production this vintage is down by almost a quarter. This is a beauty. It flaunts a deep, dark appearance with succulent fruit, savory spice, leather and grilled herb. The oak element needs additional time to integrate and it surely will as the wine continues its slow bottle evolution. Only a third of the blend is aged in new oak. This upcoming Cepparello is a wine of substance and distinction.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $79


Thank you for reading!