In Today’s Newsletter:
Foillard: The Beaujolais Gold Standard
The Grandest Rosé (Isn’t Tempier)
Goodfellow, Better Winemaker
The Sleeping Giant of Traditional Barolo
Library Biondi-Santi: A Rare Find
Grand Back Vintage White Burgundy (Leflaive, Gagnard)
A Worthy Successor (to the Discovery of the Year): 2016 Darnaud
The Beaujolais Gold Standard
Jean Foillard makes the wines that other Beaujolais are judged against. There are other growers who might be cooler or longer-lived, but when we think of top-grade Beaujolais, Foillard’s Morgon is the first thing that comes to mind. They’re the Beaujolais equivalent of Grand Cru Burgundy—great every year and especially good in the classic vintages.
2016 is one such classic vintage—it’s an archetypical year for Beaujolais. The wines, Foillard’s especially, are fresh and bright, packed with minerality and floral aromatics. The 2016’s also show incredible terroir distinction, with each cuvee showing what makes it special. The Corcellete is floral and silky, delicate but intense, whereas the Cote du Py shows more exotic spices and overt power. Finally, the Les Charmes is compact and sinewy—the highest altitude plot of the bunch, it has a bit more tannin but should blossom with a few years of age. The Fleurie is as dynamic as ever, and remains a bit of a unicorn in the lineup.
These wines are no longer cheap, but every time we drink them we’re reminded that they are some of the best wines made in their price points. Whenever they’re on the table, they’re remarkable—no matter what else is on the table with them. These arrive later this month and will sell out quickly (the 15’s were only around for a flash), so if you’re a fan, now’s the chance.
Arriving Later This Month:
Domaine Jean Foillard Fleurie, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 93 points “Wonderful aromas of dark cherry, citrus and hints of banana from the whole berry fermentation. Medium to full body, light tannins yet shows grip and minerality from the combination of bright acidity and slate soils. A beautiful encore from the excellent 2015. Made from organically grown grapes. Drink now.”
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cuvee Corcelette, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Vivid ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented red fruit liqueur aromas are complemented by hints of candied lavender, five-spice powder and incense. Silky, pliant and appealingly sweet, offering palate-caressing raspberry and cherry compote flavors given lift and focus by a core of smoky minerality. In a pure, energetic style, showing excellent finishing thrust, harmonious tannins and lingering stoniness.”
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($44.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais 2016 1.5L ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Lurid ruby. An expansive, mineral-accented bouquet displays powerful red and dark berry, incense and potpourri qualities, and a Moroccan spice nuance adds urgency and lift. Bright, seamless and alluringly sweet, offering palate-staining black raspberry, blueberry, violet pastille and spicecake flavors that slowly firm up with aeration. Shows superb depth and clarity, with nary a rough edge to be found. Closes supple, sweet and insanely long, leaving a sexy floral note behind.”
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Les Charmes Eponym, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($47.95) $37.50 pre-arrival special
Chateau Simone is a small estate in Provencal appellation of Palette, an AOC that is known only because of their prowess. They produce masterful red and white wines, but their rosé is a legendary wine. We know that for many, Tempier’s pale rosé represents the essence of what the genre is, but if you want your wines to be able to age and evolve, Simone is what you’re after.
Simone makes their rosé from a mix of at least 9 different grapes, and the result is a rosé with a bit darker hue than many coming out of the region. The limestone soils of Palette give the wine intense freshness and the extended elevage before release emphasizes the savory aspects of the wine. Although it’s held back an extra year before release (compared with most rosé) we recommend cellaring it for another 6 months or so at least to gain advantage of the complexity it develops.
Simone rosé is stunning with age, it has the body and texture of a classically minded white Rhone, with more acidity and freshness and (of course) red fruits and the complexity that comes along with aging them. It’s a slam dunk pairing for nearly everything from salad to steak and a wine that you can plan a meal around. There’s nothing like it, however there isn’t much of it—Neal Rosenthal says that he only imports 125 cases per year. We’re getting six of them, plus two cases of magnums (even more rare) on Friday, so grab them now if you love the wine.
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Palette 2016 750ML ($64.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Palette 2016 1.5L ($139.95) $119 pre-arrival special
“The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe.”–Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Notes
Goodfellow, Better Winemaker
Marcus Goodfellow is one of the premier winemakers in Oregon. He founded Matello wines, his original label, in 2002 and hasn’t looked back since, 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. Rather, we love them for their coiled power and Burgundian structure. These are wines that speak with an Oregon voice, but the tannin and acidity comes from an old-world point of view. In 2012, after the birth of this first child, he created Goodfellow Family Cellars—to focus on single vineyard wines and celebrate his new family. We wanted to focus on one particular wine that epitomizes what we love about the winery (and that we got an especially great deal on).
That wine is the monumental 2014 Bishop Creek Pinot Noir, from a high-altitude site in Yamhill-Carlton. Marcus worked with the vineyard for a number of years, and did so well enough that Meo-Camuzet bought it to be the core of the Nicolas-Jay project. This is always one of the richer wines in the Goodfellow lineup (and Suzanne’s favorite vineyard of the bunch) and shows off the whole-cluster heavy style with the texture that only marine sedimentary soil brings. The 2014, in particular, is a fitting send-off, with the richness and openness of the year balanced by the deft hand of the winemaker.
We bought every bottle of it that we could (it’s going to age magnificently, FWIW) and got a great deal on it. Most of the single vineyard wines from Goodfellow sell for around $40, so this wine at $33 is a real bargain. (It looks like even more of a bargain compared to the $100 that Nicolas Jay wants for their single vineyard version). This is a wine to stock up on and drink over the next two decades. You can find it on our website, here.
Goodfellow Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton AVA 2014 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Case-6 Goodfellow Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton AVA 2014 750ML ($219.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Case-12 Goodfellow Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton AVA 2014 750ML ($419.95) $349 special (that’s only $29.08/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 91 points “Vivid red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red berries, cherry, candied flowers and musky earth, backed by a touch of smokiness. Lively black raspberry and floral pastille flavors pick up hints of bitter chocolate and licorice with aeration. The clinging, focused finish features fine-grained, slow-mounting tannins and repeating floral character. Give this one a little air time.”
Grapelive 91 points “Delicately layered and spicy, the 2014 Bishop Creek is a pretty effort, especially for a richer vintage in Oregon. Made by Marcus Goodfellow, the ex-Evesham Wood and Westrey man, [he] is coming into his own as a talent, inspired by Doerner of Cristom and John Paul of Cameron. You can see the style showing through here. Bishop Creek, planted to Pommard and Wadenswil (old Swiss clone), [is] now owned by Nicolas Meo of the famed Burgundy Domaine Meo-Camuzet. [The vineyard] ([which is] not far from Shea Vineyards) formed this wine with its distinct strawberry and racy red cherry core along with the mixed spice, mineral tones and light wood influence. Its southern exposure and Willakenzie soils (dark rocky marine sediment) give warmth and grace. Planted in 1988, the vines ripen without flamboyant extraction, allowing more finesse to show through. At 13.9% this medium weight wine offers fine detail, opulence and restrained, almost earthy, soulfulness. Hints of bitter herb, cedar and candied citrus rind add a tangy note to the whole and the finish echoes the red fruits in subtle fashion with a touch of wilted roses lingering on. It shines right now, though best to enjoy it with cuisine to match as it is a tad shier than other 2014 Oregon Pinots (I’ve tried) and needs time and coaxing to reach its beautiful peak. Best from 2018 to 2022.”
VinopolNote: This wine occupies a sweet-spot in the world of Oregon Pinot Noir, not flamboyant and over the top like some ‘Jamhill Carlton’ wines, but not as lean and savory as some of the wines in the Goodfellow stable. In many respects, this may be some of Marcus Goodfellow’s finest work (with a vineyard he’s been making wine from since 2008). Due to the generosity of the 2014 vintage, this wine is pretty approachable now (though it loves a decant) but it should age effortlessly for 15-20 years.
Compare to Nicolas Jay’s Bishop Creek at $100
“Cavallotto may very well be the greatest Barolo producer few people have ever heard of, something that continues to mystify me. Truth is, it isn’t just the Barolos here that are impressive, the entry-level wines are every bit as delicious and well-priced…Readers who appreciate a firm, classic style of Barolo will want to spend some time getting to know Cavallotto.” – Antonio Galloni
Cavallotto is a top tier, old school producer of Barolo. They make wines that are impressively ageworthy and every bit as good as producers whose wines go for 50%-100% more per bottle than the top wines from Cavallotto, but somehow manage to stay at the edges of the mainstream Barolo drinker. We notice that our customers who buy Cavallotto buy a lot of Piemontese wines—they’re very in the know drinkers.
Unfortunately (for everyone else) that enthusiasm hasn’t yet spread, which is something we’d like to change. These are incredibly expressive wines and are very true to their vineyard terroirs. Antoni Galloni describes them as “made in a style that offers the fruit density of contemporary Barolos with the structural underpinnings that are found in more traditionally made wines.” We agree—these are special wines and deserve a (major) place in your cellar.
In Stock Now:
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG, 2013 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG, 2013 1.5L ($179.95) $149 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96+ points “Cavallotto is on a roll with some very impressive new releases. The 2013 Barolo Bricco Boschis is a tremendous effort that has an edge on the excellent 2010 vintage in my view. The wine shows a beautifully exuberant but elegant bouquet with the ethereal and undertone fruit and spice aromas you get with Nebbiolo. Although the wine is never overdone, it does show silky persistence and a long finish that comes from the noble nature of the tannins and the wine’s textural finesse. Yet, it is playfully deceiving in a way because behind that polished grace, it delivers impressive depth and power.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This is packed with sweet cherry, currant, floral and spice flavors. The vivid acidity drives the intensity, while dense tannins lend support. This will take some time to harmonize, but should be well worth the wait. Best from 2022 through 2040.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2013 Barolo Bricco Boschis is terrific. Dense and powerful in the glass, the 2013 offers notable energy and muscle in its dark-toned Nebbiolo flavors. Smoke, graphite, rose petal, licorice and menthol develop in what is a decidedly brooding, inward Bricco Boschis. There is real staying power and persistence to the 2013. I wouldn’t plan on touching a bottle anytime soon.”
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 95 points “The Cavallotto 2011 Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe is an exceptional wine that really shows the best of Castiglione Falletto, home to some of Barolo’s most consistent and age-worthy wines. This bottle offers enormous complexity coupled by power and linear, classic lines. Maceration stopped at 20 days, otherwise the winemaking team feared the results would be overdone and too bold. The bouquet opens quickly to reveal dark fruit, spice, anise seed and licorice. The effect is ethereal and lasting. It would be hard to pin this wine down as being from the warm 2011 vintage in a blind tasting. The acidity is fresh and nicely folded into the background.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Balanced and expressive, this Barolo features maturing aromas and flavors of cherry, licorice, tobacco and mineral. Builds to a long, detailed aftertaste. Altogether savory and fresh. Best from 2020 through 2033.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Cavallotto’s 2011 Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe is powerful and dense. The more roasted, ripe side of the year is very much in evidence. There is no shortage of richness to the black cherry, smoke, tobacco, menthol and licorice flavors. At times, though, the 2011 comes across as a bit heavy. I would have liked to see a little more freshness, although, admittedly, that was hard to come by in 2011.”
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Vignolo, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A dark, powerful wine, the 2011 Barolo Riserva Vignolo has nevertheless preserved good freshness for the year. The breadth and amplitude of the vintage comes through, and yet all the elements are impeccably balanced. Readers can look forward to another 20 years of fine drinking. This is very nicely done.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “There are plenty of bass notes in this ripe, broad red, from deep plum and black cherry flavors to licorice and tar notes. An undercurrent of freshness propels the underbrush elements on the finish. Complex and long. Best from 2021 through 2035.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “2011 Barolo Riserva Vignolo is a dark and succulent expression that showcases the characteristics of the warm vintage. The bouquet puts forth a compelling set of dark fruit characteristics with Morello cherry, dried blackberry, mocha and delicate accents of sweet spice. The vineyard team was careful to keep the clusters under the shade of the canopy for as long as possible during the summer months to prevent the grapes from ripening too fast or bleaching their color pigments. The results are very nice indeed.”
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: We just secured a small parcel of Biondi-Santi Annata, including the legend-in-the-making 2010 and two back vintages. Oh? You haven’t heard that one? To be fair, we hadn’t either—the Biondi-Santi wines are hard enough to come by at release, much less as back vintage bottles from good years.
Biondi-Santi makes Brunello that other estates are judged against. Their estate, Il Greppo, occupies some of the most hallowed ground in the Brunello appellation, in the heart of Montalcino. Their standards are high (they rarely release riservas) and their style can only be described as classic. The wines are powerful, but not overwrought, elegant but emphatic. These are the wines that Brunello lovers dream about.
Arriving ETA June:
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007 750ML ($199.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino is gorgeous. The estate’s preference for picking on the early side is one of the factors that help balance some of the fleshiness of the vintage. This is an especially silky, supple Brunello from Biondi-Santi. The overt personality of the year comes through, but not at the expense of the house’s style. Floral notes reappear to frame the elegant, expressive finish.”
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2008 750ML ($199.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Ian D’agata 94+ points “(13% alcohol): Good full ruby-red with a garnet rim. Brooding nose opens slowly with aeration to offer delicate hints of lively red cherry, underbrush and flint. Rich, dense and suave, with outstandingly precise red berry and mineral flavors complicated by delicate notes of licorice, chestnut and underbrush. Finishes extremely long and pure, with a seamless quality to the classic sangiovese flavors. A knockout: this is Brunello 101 for anyone wishing to understand–or to make–a great sangiovese wine. Brunello doesn’t get much better than this in 2008. Another very fine addition to the legacy of Franco Biondi-Santi, who passed away this year.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Annata is a real knock-out. Rose petals, mint, sweet spices and flowers are some of the first notes that open up in the glass. Almost indescribably beautiful, the 2010 is a classic, austere Biondi Santi Brunello built to age. Although the 2010 is going to require considerable patience, its pedigree is quite apparent today. The 2010 constantly changes in the glass, revealing different shades of its multi-faceted personality, while the long, saline-infused finish is a thing of real beauty.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Biondi-Santi is a benchmark for great Brunello. The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Annata does a great job of presenting classic Sangiovese characteristics in the context of a classic vintage. This wine shows extreme finesse and elegance with a silky approach that is nudged gently forward by delicate tones of wild berry, dried blueberry, pressed rose, wet earth, grilled herb and toasted almond. The acidity is beautifully balanced and the tannins are firm but silky. This wine benefits from the right DNA for long aging potential.”
Leflaive and Gagnard
Burghound 92-95 points “Don’t Miss! Interestingly, here the nose quite resembles that of the Caillerets save for having less obvious minerality and more peach and pear influences. There is superb richness to the big-bodied, intense and powerful flavors that possess an overt muscularity though no heaviness because while this is a full-sized Bâtard, it is also focused, pure and harmonious. This should also age well and repay up to a decade of cellar time though it should drink well before that.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2009 Batard-Montrachet positively explodes from the glass. Round, sweet and expressive, the wine saturates the palate with masses of fruit in a bold, powerful style that is utterly irresistible. The finish is intense and resonant in all directions. Remy notes that the Batard is the only 2009 above 14% in alcohol. Anticipated maturity: 2017+.”
Stephen Tanzer 95 points “Bright, green-tinged yellow. Lime, powdered stone and mint on the nose, along with a buttery nuance. Dense, saline, sappy and intensely flavored; offers very good cut for a wine with such breadth and richness. The white peach and lime tea flavors are complemented by a hint of exotic fruits. Much more powerful and chewy than the Bienvenue (this is 13.5% alcohol), not to mention more structured. Finishes with a whiplash of mirabelle, honey and jasmine.”
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “With its concentrated yellow fruits, this is already a powerful wine. It is packed with acidity, toast, peach flavors and minerality, starting out as a gorgeously rich wine from a ripe vintage. Of course, it will age over many years; open in 10 years.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2009 Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet is dazzling from start to finish. Silky and seamless at first, the wine impresses for its impeccable balance and tons of class. Chalky, mineral notes appear later, adding length, freshness and verve, while floral notes add the last flourishes of elegance. This is all silk and cashmere, especially on the finish. The Bienvenues seems to hover on the palate, inhabiting in the stratosphere reserved for just a handful of the world’s truly great wines. Anticipated maturity: 2017+.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 95 points “(13.9% natural alcohol, from vines on the Chassagne side): Bright, pale yellow. Knockout pure nose offers discreet notes of stone fruits, clove and iodiney minerality. At once powerful and vibrant in the mouth, offering great volume, depth and lift to its palate-staining spice and mineral flavors. The iodiney quality carries through to the very long, precise finish. Wonderfully juicy and energetic considering that it’s carrying a moderate four grams of acidity. This should evolve gracefully in bottle for a decade or more.”
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.”
Burghound 93-95 points “Don’t Miss! A pungent and more expressive nose offers up a broad assortment of aromas that include notes of matchstick, white orchard fruit and in particular white peach, exotic tea and plenty of citrus nuances. The mouth feel of the big-bodied flavors is notably more refined than usual yet the underlying power of a fine Bâtard is certainly present and especially so on the hugely long, firm and built-to-age finish. In a word, impressive.”
The wines of Emanuel Darnaud were one of the best surprises of 2017. This small producer made a set of spectacular Crozes-Hermitage, which were some of the best deals in red wine while they were in stock. From top to bottom, the Darnaud wines overperformed, with density, power and drinkability. They were Syrah with soul and immediate appeal—and sold incredibly well because of that.
The 2016 versions arrive in a two months and are a worthy follow up to their breakthrough 2015’s. From the low to the (relatively) high end, these are wines that over deliver at each price point. Crozes often offers a good deal of value, but as we found out last year, Darnaud is something unique. If you were one of many who fell in love with the ‘15s, grab some now. If you never tried them last year, you owe it to yourself.
Arriving in June:
Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 90-92 points “The 2016 Crozes-Hermitage Mise En Bouche comes from the southern parts of the appellation and is aging in a mix of tank, used barrels and foudre. It offers terrific red and black fruits, spice, tapenade and peppery herb aromatics, medium to full-bodied richness, moderate tannin and a great finish. It’s a hidden little gem in the vintage.”
The next best price is $25
Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Thanks for reading!