Tuesday Newsletter 1-16-18

Jump Start Offer: Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2017 – Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino; Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino New Arrival; Staff Picks; Single Vineyard, Rare Tuscan Clone; Arriving Friday: Old School Barolo from Cavallotto; New Burghound Reviews: 2016 Domaine Faiveley; January Clearance Sale: Spain Edition; Grand Marques: All Best Prices in the USA!


Jump Start Offer

Arriving Friday

Wine Spectator Top 100 2017

Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Umbria 2011 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG, Umbria 2011 750ML ($419.95) $316 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.33/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 92 points “This finely balanced Sagrantino layers creamy tannins with a pretty array of raspberry ganache, fig cake and dried sage flavors, accented by aromatic hints of rose petal and spice. Elegant and lightly juicy, with a subtle mineral streak that gains momentum on the finish. Drink now through 2027. 4,000 cases made.”

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The average price is $33


Alessandro and Gian Natale Fantino

New Arrival

This family estate is run by brothers Alessandro and Gian Natale.  They own eight hectares of some of the oldest vines from the heart of the Bussia cru, an area known for wines of finesse and longevity.  The vines were planted in 1946 and 1947.  Of the many Fantinos producing wine in the region, they are the stanch traditionalists who prune their vines in an old, labor-intensive style and ferment their wines in old oak vat before aging in large, old oak barrels.

Importer note “Barolos from Bussia tend to have deep color and rich fruit and while they don’t lack the classic tannic structure of Nebbiolo from this part of the world, they are not nearly as hard as the Barolos from the southside of Monforte or from Serralunga. This fact does not preclude the Fantino Baroli from aging but makes them delightfully approachable relatively young. The Fantinos are also blessed with some of the oldest vines in the entire Barolo zone, thanks to the fastidious care given to them by Alessandro and Gian Natale. Planted in 1946 and 1947 and pruned in an old style that is very labor intensive, they produce grapes that would be the envy of any Barolista. The Riserva Bussia is from 60 year old vines grown in sandy clay. Fermented for 30 to 35 days in stainless steel tank. Aged in large oak barrels for 5 years. Aged in bottle for 12 months before release.”

A & G Natale Fantino Barolo Riserva Bussia – Cascina Dardi, Barolo DOCG 2010 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points “A big, dark wine, 2010 Barolo Riserva Cascina Dardi is dense, powerful and structured, with massive tannins that need time to settle down. Black cherry, menthol, licorice, tobacco, cloves and a host of dark, balsamic-inflected notes build into a crescendo of aromas and flavors on the huge finish. Like all the Fantino wines, the 2010 Barolo Riserva starts off a bit rustic and then finds greater finesse with time in the glass. Readers should plan on being patient with the 2010.”

Also in stock now from A & G Natale Fantino

Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino Barolo Riserva Bussia – Cascina Dardi, Barolo DOCG 2007 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2007 Barolo Riserva Bussia – Cascina Dardi is power and virile, but above all else, it really speaks to a time in the estate’s history when French oak barrels were used more heavily than they are today. The 2007 is quite attractive, but it is also hard to taste in this range because it is so stylistically different than the other wines. A host of dark cherry, plum, smoke and licorice notes meld into the expressive finish.”

Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino Barolo Riserva Bussia – Cascina Dardi, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2008 Barolo Riserva Bussia – Cascina Dardi is shaping up to be a real jewel. Exquisite balsamic-inflected aromatics meld into a core of dark fruit. Slender and nuanced, as most wines are in this vintage, the 2008 Riserva is all about grace and finesse. The first signs of aromatic complexity are just beginning to appear, making the 2008 an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next 10-15 years. The 2008 spent five and half years in cask and is just being released now.”

Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino Vigna dei Dardi Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino Vigna dei Dardi Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($249.95) $175 special (that’s only $14.58/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 91 points “Fantino’s 2014 Barbera d’Alba emerges from 70 year-old vines in the heart of Dardi. Sweet red cherry, plum and smoke are some of the signatures. The 2014 was vinified and aged in steel, so it needs time in the glass to blow off some of its slight elements of reduction, but it is a pretty special wine. This is one of the more compelling, alluring 2014 Barberas I have tasted so far.”

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Staff Picks

The 2015 Thivin Cote de Brouilly sold out incredibly quickly, which is understandable, given the hype for the vintage.  To be frank, though, the 2016 is the better wine.  Sure, in 20+ years, the 2015 might evolve into an epic bottle, but for the next decade or so, give me the ’16.  2016 is everything I love in Beaujolais—the fruit is fresh and deep, the textures are have grip but remain ethereal and the wines seem to disappear as soon as the glass is poured.  Like with most good and classic vintages for Thivin, this wine will definitely show best with a few years of bottle age on it to round the structure out, but drinking them young with a bit of air is understandable.  Great stuff.

Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($39.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly, Beaujolais 2016 3L ($189.95) $159 special, 1 double magnum in stock now
Wine Advocate Note “Château Thivin must be one of the prettiest wineries in Beaujolais, perched on the steep slopes of the Côte de Brouilly like something you would find on a postcard. It is always a pleasure to meet winemaker Claude-Edouard Geoffrey (still a dead-ringer for Harry Potter—apologies for keep mentioning that), and in recent years he has certainly been casting his magic over the wines that are among the finest in Beaujolais. “The 2016 season started very warm,” he told me as we tasted in his dining room, “and for one month [in early spring] it stayed around 25 degrees Celsius. This was followed by a cool period. April to June was very rainy, which made the viticulture very difficult, and then there was good weather during flowering. Afterwards it was a very good August and September, very hot and dry. Some of the young vines suffered during this period. We started the harvest around 21 or 22 September and finished 6 or 7 October. The next day the vines were freezing.” Although the 2016s faced a more challenging growing season than the previous year, Thivin’s wines performed extremely well, demonstrating freshness and satisfying fruit, not just with respect to the reds but also a wonderful Beaujolais Rosé that is one of the finest I have tasted from the region. I have bleated on about the brilliance of Thivin’s Côte de Brouilly, in my mind one of the finest offerings from Beaujolais, an exemplary expression of Gamay from one of its most propitious terroirs. In summary, it is onwards and upwards from Château Thivin. [No scored review at this time]”

I’m admittedly a touch skeptical about Alsatian wines. My preference leans towards the ethereally light and elegant wines found along the Mosel. When considering that Agathe Bursin tends to pick earlier than her neighbors and often leaves a touch of RS in the final wine to balance the higher acidity, it’s no surprise that she quickly became one of my favorite Alsace producers. She ticks all the boxes for me in a way well-described by Kerry Winslow of Grapelive when he writes that her “style is brisk and sharp with loads of inner energy and delicacy of form, but with good dry extract and depth of flavor.”

The Parad’Aux opens with a surprising touch of vanilla bean this has a lovely floral and minerally nose. The wine shows a zesty Meyer lemon note on the palate, which tastes dry and balanced despite the 11 g/L rs. (Methinks the 9.5 total acidity it to blame!). It’s a pretty, filigreed finish with a refreshing combination of white flowers and exotic citrus notes that dance slowly into the background.

Domaine Agathe Bursin Pinot Blanc Parad’Aux, Alsace 2016 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 special, 26 bottles in stock now

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Tuscan Treasure

Single Vineyard, Rare Clone

The experience of stumbling across a small vineyard or winemaker in Tuscany can be moment that forever changes your expectations of what Sangiovese can be. The first time we dipped into the Il Carbonaione from Poggio Scalette was just that special. Try it and see for yourself.

The estate, which had been largely abandoned to active cultivation after the death of the previous owner, come into new hands and the fortunate discovery of Sangiovese di Lamole, planted just after the First World War, reinvigorated the estate. The vineyard may be the only example planted primarily to this classic member of the Sangiovese family. In the early nineties Vittorio Fiore came to make the wines from this special place. The results, year after year, have been singular in their depth, spice and underlying fruit. From the winery, “This is the wine conceived and desired by Vittorio Fiore after long years of study and working experience, and it is the result of an exceptional pairing and synergy: Sangiovese and the Ruffoli vineyards in Greve in Chianti. The results of this synergy – grapes harvested in the Carbonaione vineyard – are worked with passion and dedication by Vittorio Fiore and his son Jurij in order to obtain a wine of great power and elegance, capable of expressing in all of its richness the terroir in which it is born.”

You can experience this profound and rare wine, which Antonio Galloni calls “compelling,” “a stunner,” and having “a tremendous track record of aging very well.”

In-stock now:

Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($69.95) $41.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2013 Il Carbonaione is compelling. That’s the good news. The bad news, if you can call it that, is that the 2013 is going to take the better part of the next decade to be at its best. Black cherry, plum, licorice and menthol are all fused together. Today, the 2013 is rich, deep and unctuous, with superb depth and striking balance. Opening a bottle anytime soon, though, is likely to be a mostly academic exercise, as the Carbonaione is so primary, it almost tastes like a barrel sample!”

Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione Alta Valle della Greve IGT, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($69.95) $44 special, 11 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2012 Il Carbonaione comes across as quite shy and reserved today, with less of its typical exuberance. That just makes me think the wine is going to need a few years to blossom. Sweet red cherry, plum, kirsch, spice and rose petal nuances gradually emerge from the glass, but the 2012 remains reticent and not fully expressive. I would not be surprised to see the market look past the 2012, as it is not at all showy, but that will just create an opportunity for savvy consumers. There is plenty to look forward to. Readers will have to be patient, though. Over the years, Il Carbonaione has built a tremendous track record of aging very well. Next to Chianti Classico’s other 100% Sangioveses, Carbonaione is made in a sweeter, jammier style with more mid-palate opulence. Although showy in its youth, Carbonaione needs time in bottle to show at its best.”


Arriving Friday

Old School Barolo

“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 Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2013 1.5L ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival 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.”

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Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival 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.”

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Cavallotto Bricco Boschis Vignolo, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
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.”


New Burghound Reviews

Domaine Faiveley

Arriving Fall 2018

Domaine Faiveley Les Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-94 points “A broad-ranging nose features notes of red and dark raspberry, cherry, lavender, earth and a suggestion of the sauvage, all of which is trimmed in just enough wood to notice. There is excellent delineation and vibrancy to the overtly powerful medium weight plus flavors that also possess obvious muscle before concluding in a saline and lightly austere finish. This is quite firmly structured and will need plenty of time to reach its full apogee. In a word, excellent. (91-94)/2031+.”

Domaine Faiveley Les Amoureuses, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($379.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92-95 points “A wonderfully spicy nose combines notes of red and dark cherry with those of violet, lavender and Asian-style tea. The vibrant and beautifully detailed middle weight flavors possess a polished mouthfeel thanks to the refined tannins that shape the lacy yet entirely seriously finish. This is class in a glass. (92-95)/2028+.”

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Domaine Faiveley La Combe d’Orveau, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-93 points “(only one-half barrel produced as the yields were 10 hl/ha; vinified with 100% whole cluster and raised in a new feuillette). The effect of the new barrel is evident even though the nose is firmly reduced. The supple and attractively velvet-textured flavors exude a lovely bead of minerality on the lacy and racy finish where notes of both wood and mocha arise. Not surprisingly this is noticeably marked by its wood but it appears to have the intrinsic stuffing to eventually absorb and my predicted range implicitly assumes that it will do so. (91-93)/2026+.”

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Domaine Faiveley La Combe aux Moines, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-94 points “(from a large 1.2 ha parcel). Discreet wood easily allows the overtly sauvage and earth-infused aromas of dark berries and humus to shine. The intense, muscular and powerful big-bodied flavors possess good minerality that really comes up on the austere and sneaky long finale. Textbook CAM. (91-94)/2031+.”

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Domaine Faiveley Lavaux Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-94 points “This is aromatically interesting, and particularly so for LSJ, as there is an exotic character of dried yellow fruit to the otherwise more typical aromas of earth, humus, game and wild dark berries. There is a relatively refined mouthfeel to the tension-filled, muscular and mineral-driven flavors that culminate in a beautifully persistent finish that is moderately austere but not strict. Patience required. (91-94)/2031+.”

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Domaine Faiveley Les Cazetiers, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92-94 points “(from a huge 3.96 ha parcel). Reduction and wood currently overshadow the underlying fruit. There is first-rate intensity and power to the concentrated broad-shouldered flavors that possess a velvet-textured mid-palate while delivering outstanding length on the balanced and only mildly rustic finale. If this can add even more depth it could very well merit the upper end of my predicted range. In sum, this is a classic example and as such, it’s very much destined for a long snooze in a cold cellar. (92-94)/2033+.”

Domaine Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92-94 points “(from Charmes proper; from yields of only 18 hl/ha). Much more subtle though by no means invisible oak sets off beautifully layered aromas of plum, spice, earth and a whiff of underbrush character. There is terrific richness and density to the velvet-textured and voluminous flavors that possess a real sense of mid-palate density thanks to the abundant level of dry extract that also buffers the moderately firm tannic spine. This is at once a relatively elegant version of the appellation yet it is also altogether serious. (92-94)/2028+

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Domaine Faiveley Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($299.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Burghound 93-95 points “(from a very large 1.21 ha parcel). Here too the wood treatment is subtle yet just prominent enough to warrant pointing out on the cool, pure and notably more sauvage nose of both red and dark wild berry and earth scents. There is a really lovely sense of underlying tension suffusing the much more mineral-driven middle weight flavors that are not quite as rich but notably more precise on the chiseled and wonderfully refined finish. Textbook. (93-95)/2031+.”

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Domaine Faiveley Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($319.95) $259 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92-95 points “(from both Mazis Haut and Bas where the two parcels total a remarkable 1.20 ha). A pungent nose of wood and reduction renders the nose impossible to evaluate fairly. Otherwise there is a super-sleek and intense palate impression to the imposingly-scaled flavors that possess more size and weight if slightly less minerality than those of the Latricières while flashing excellent length on the moderately austere finish. This is also textbook. (92-95)/2036+.”

Domaine Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($449.95) $379 pre-arrival special
Burghound 93-96 points “(from a 1.29 ha parcel). This is softly oaky with a wonderfully spicy array of black cherry, pungent earth and evident sauvage nuances that can be found on the impressively rich and seductively textured broad-shouldered and concentrated flavors that coat the palate with extract, all wrapped in a balanced, long and deep finish. I very much like the way this fans out on the strikingly persistent finish. Note that plenty of patience is a requisite here and it would be largely pointless to open a bottle before its 10th anniversary. (93-96)/2036+.”

Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Beze Les Ouvrees Rodin Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,199 pre-arrival special
Burghound 94-97 points “(a selection of the oldest vines in one of their 3 parcels). This is aromatically similar to the regular cuvée save for being even spicier and displaying a bit more wood influence. There is almost painful intensity to the super-sleek big-bodied flavors that possess a positively gorgeous mouthfeel due to a mid-palate that brims with sappy dry extract that coats the mouth on the hugely long and impeccably well-balanced finale. While this may change given that these are barrel samples but based on the two that I tasted, this is actually slightly less structured though I emphasize slightly. Either way, this is a seriously impressive effort that should age effortlessly. (94-97)/2034+.”

Domaine Faiveley Corton ‘Clos des Cortons’ Faiveley Monopole Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92-95 points “Touches of wood and menthol can be found on the brooding and inexpressive nose of plum, dark cherry liqueur, freshly turned earth and a gamy note. There is an appealing sense of underlying tension to the concentrated big-bodied flavors that also coat the palate with dry extract while exhibiting excellent length on the balanced and very firmly structured finale. Patience strongly advised. (92-95)/2036+”

Also Newly Reviewed by Burghound

Arriving in January

Champagne Hebrart Special Club Millesime Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 re-arrival special
Burghound 92 points “This is still quite young as there is no trace of maturity to the super-fresh, yeasty, citrusy and green apple-suffused nose. There is excellent intensity to the delicious and reasonably complex flavors where the supporting and very firm mousse possesses a fine bead on the clean, dry and somewhat linear and lean finish. This is not particularly complex at present but this is clearly not at its peak and I would suggest buying this only if you intend to allow it at least another 3 to 7 years of bottle age. 92/2024+.”


January Clearance Sale

Spain & Span-esque Robust Reds

Marco Abella Clos Abella Priorat 2009 ($99.95) Was $59, Now $49 special
Josh Raynolds- Vinous 97 points “(50% carinena, 39% garnacha and 11% cabernet sauvignon; aged for two years in French oak): Saturated ruby. Heady aromas of cherry, cassis, mocha, Indian spices and underbrush are sharpened by a smoky mineral quality. Juicy, sappy and concentrated, showing excellent density to its smoke-tinged flavors of blueberry, cherry-vanilla and candied flowers. A fleshy, expansive, sexy wine that shows the warmth of the vintage to good effect, finishing with strong mineral cut, smooth tannins and lingering smokiness.”

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Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus, Priorat DOCa 2014 750ML ($219.95) Was $199, Now $149 special
Wine Advocate 97 points “There is a little more Syrah in the blend of the 2014 Clos Erasmus, where it reached around 30% to complement the majority of Garnacha. As is the norm, the wine matured for some 18 months before bottling, with most of the volume in French oak barrels, 40% of which are renewed each vintage, but there are also one or two amphorae. I tasted it next to the 2013 and as the 2013 required so much attention, it took some time to get to the 2014. It showed a bit shy at first, but when I finally came back to it, I found that it had really blossomed with a mixture of violets, ground, smoky meat and black raspberries. The slight increase in Syrah was noticeable, but it somehow also seemed to increase the voice of the slate in the bottle. The palate is medium to full-bodied with terrible balance and elegance combined with inner strength. This is simply terrific. 3,000 bottles were filled at the end of May 2016.”

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Buil & Gine 17-XI, Montsant, Spain 2014 750ML ($21.950 Was $18, Now $14 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Brilliant ruby. Highly perfumed, evoking ripe cherry and blackcurrant that are complemented by slowly emerging aromas of cured meat, lavender and minerals. Enlivened by a spicy nuance, the silky, sweet and penetrating palate offers intense dark fruit and floral pastille flavors. Seamless and very nicely concentrated, with smooth tannins lending shape to a very long, fruit-driven finish.” JR

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Want more?

Don’t miss these additional

January Clearance Sale

Span-esque Reds:

Charles Smith K Vintners The Hustler Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($149.95) Was $119, Now $99 special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “Still in barrel at the time of this tasting, the 2012 Syrah The Hustler is a blockbuster-styled Syrah that’s overflowing with notions of sweet red and black fruits, toasted bread, cured meats and cedar. Only made in special vintages (it was previously made in ’03, ’07 and ’09) and aged 38 months in French oak, it’s full-bodied, decadent and layered, with a weightless, elegant, seamless feel. Coming all from the Morrison Lane Vineyard (it’s actually the Morrison Lane Syrah with extended barrel aging), it should be ready to go on release and dish out tons of pleasure over the following decade or more. The extended elevage has given this a more upfront feel, yet I suspect it will also allow it age more slowly as well.”

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Charles Smith K Vintners ‘Ovide’ Jack’s Vineyard Cabernet – Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $47 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “A new Walla Walla release, the 2014 Ovide Jack’s Vineyard is a gorgeous black fruit, black olive, dried herbs and chocolate layered beauty that has ultra-fine tannin, a seamless profile and a great finish. It has more elegance and purity than the Roma release, and is a beauty!”

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Charles Smith K Vintners ‘M.C.K. Motor City Kitty’ Syrah, Washington 2014 750ML ($39.95) Was $36, Now $29 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “Named after a cat owned by Charles when he was living in Walla Walla, the 2014 M C K Syrah sports a deep purple color as well as ripe, decadent notes of black fruits, plums, graphite, crushed rock and licorice. Big, sexy, seamless and pure, with present, yet ripe tannin, drink it through 2024. It’s worth noting that this comes completely from the River Rock vineyard in this vintage. As usual, it’s a crazy value.”
Grapelive 93 points “The Charles Smith K Vintners “M*C*K Syrah is a rock and roll red that proves both powerful and wonderfully textural in feel with sharp detailing and extra length, and while tannic by nature there is a lot to love in this vintage with black raspberry, sweet currant and dark chocolate covered bacon bits! This lush Syrah perfectly illustrates the house style and the terroir. Its bold frame is balance by perfectly reasonable 14% natural alcohol and inner acidity and an electric boost of energy matching its sweet fruited palate. Washington State is home to magical Syrah, with Cayuse, Betz and Gramercy Cellars (one of my personal favorites) being two of the higher profile examples. Many more are filling the scene with great wines like Reynvaan, Horsepower, Dunham Delmas, Waters, Mark Ryan, Trust, Syncline, Gorman, Rotie, Sleight of Hand, Amavi and Efeste all offering amazing quality. Charles Smith’s K Vintners reminds me of either Guigal or Jaboulet with his amazing array of bottlings from entry level wines to top single vineyard Crus, with lots of seriously good stuff in the middle, like this well rounded Motor City Kitty Syrah. [It] was fermented using native yeasts, with a long 43 days on the skins and aged 22 months in French puncheons, 30% new, from a Walla Walla vineyard planted to a Tablas Creek clone. [It is] 100% Syrah and grown on old river bed with large cobbles and well-draining rocky soils. This 2014 maintained its natural acidity allowing a real fresh verve to stay in this alluring and richly flavored wine that shows ripe boysenberry, minty plum, blueberry compote, sweet black cherry and dense creme de cassis as well as subtle vanilla wood notes, hints of acacia flowers, graphite, bitter coco, anise and that candied bacon bits mentioned above. The evolution in the glass is graceful and more refined than I had imagined. There is plenty of life here and I think in many ways it will be even more rewarding in 3 to 5 years in bottle. It’s not exactly what I expected, but thrilling none the less with very impressive detail and a very worthy performance.”

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Charles Smith K Vintners Morrison Lane Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $33 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2014 Syrah Morrison Lane Vineyard from Walla Walla offers a perfumed bouquet of incense, white pepper, plum and hoisin sauce, as well as full-bodied richness, building tannin and a great finish. It needs short term cellaring to integrate those tannin, but is an impressive Syrah.”

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Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2014 750ML ($54.95) Was $38, Now $33 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92-94 points “Brilliant ruby. A powerfully scented bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, incense and pungent flowers, and a smoky Indian spice nuance builds in the glass. Fleshy and broad on entry and then tighter in the middle, offering juicy, concentrated black raspberry and boysenberry flavors given spine by juicy acidity. Rich yet energetic, finishing with outstanding clarity and sweet persistence and shaped by smooth tannins.”

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Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2004 750ML ($199.95) Was $149, Now $119 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points “Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”

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Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable, Rhone 2013 750ML ($49.95) Was $33, Now $29 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Dark ruby. Candied red berries, cherry compote and potpourri on the highly pungent nose; a mineral element adds vivacity. Energetic black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show excellent clarity and a hint of licorice pastille that builds as the wine opens up. The energetic finish repeats the floral and mineral notes, while supple tannins lend shape and grip.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “Offers a taut, slightly sinewy feel, with cedar-laced grip cutting through the core of dried cherry, red currant and raspberry flavors. Displays a lightly chalky spine on the finish, with an ample tobacco note.”

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Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $39.96
The average price is $44

Domaine de la Janasse Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($119.95) Was $89, Now $69 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Up in the top handful of wines in the vintage (which should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this estate), the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, rich and layered Châteauneuf that doesn’t put a foot wrong. Made from 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah, it offers blockbuster notes of blackberry, liquid-violets, spice and serious minerality to go with awesome mid-palate depth and layers of sweet tannin. Like the Cuvee Chaupin, it will be better in another handful of years and thrill through 2027”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $99

More Span-esque:
An easy-drinking full bodied red arriving Friday

Gulfi Nerojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($21.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Deep ruby. Perfumed and juicy, offering sweet candied blueberry pie, sweet spices and faded flowers on the nose and in the mouth. Very smooth texture and clean, ripe flavors have pretty floral lift and vibrancy. A knockout NeroJbleo, one of the best in years, in fact.”

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Grand Marques

All Best Prices in the USA!

Three of the most famous Tete de Cuvees in Champagne at pricing that can’t be beat—save big and stock up for any of the special occasions coming your way in 2018 and beyond.

Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($179.95) $139 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($899.95) $799 special (that’s only $133.17/bottle!)
James Suckling 97 points “This is a DP that shows the ripeness of the 2009 vintage yet remains full of energy. Gorgeous aromas of cream, apple, mango, honeysuckle, and chalk follow through to a full body and super fine, tight texture. Dense and agile. Vinous. It’s like a top grand cru white Burgundy. Think Batard-Montrachet. More depth than the 2006. Drink now.”
Decanter 96 points “Unbroken sun through August and early September helped to shape an idyllic harvest, on 12th September. Superb maturity of fruit in flawless health has produced a wine with wafting scents of both fresh and confit of spiced lemon and wild cherry. Despite the heat, the wine has freshness, vitality and length. Still a youngster, this will grow greatly by 2019. A more stylish son of the ’03, and cousin of the slender and charming ’06. Disgorged June 2016.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2009 Dom Pérignon is a gorgeous, totally seductive Champagne that will drink well right out of the gate. Medium in body and unusually open-knit at this stage, the 2009 is one of the most accessible young Dom Pérignons I can remember tasting. It is an excellent choice to drink while waiting for the release of the stellar 2008 and some recent vintages that remain very young, including the 2006. Despite the warm, ripe personality of the 2009 Dom Pérignon is quite gracious, but there is plenty of depth underpinning the fruit. With each successive tasting, the 2009 seems to have gained more power and breadth, especially on the finish. Above all else, the 2009 is decidedly restrained for a warm, radiant vintage. It is not as overtly flamboyant as the 2002 nor as phenolically intense as years like 2003 and 2006. Instead, the 2009 is a beautifully balanced Champagne, with all of its elements in the right place. Tasted three times.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $170

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($149.95) $99 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $119.98
The average price is $146

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($169.95) $99 special, 6 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 94+ points “The final blending of the 2006 La Grande Dame was completed prior to Dominique Demarville joining the team at Veuve Clicquot, so we will have to wait for the release of the 2008 version to see his impact on this bottling. The 2006 Grande Dame is a blend of fifty-three percent pinot noir and forty-seven percent chardonnay and was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine is excellent, wafting from the glass in a complex blend of apple, pear, wheat toast, fine minerality, a touch of smokiness and a nice note of caraway seed in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, deep and complex, with elegant mousse, fine focus and grip and a very long, vibrant and zesty finish. This is drinking beautifully, but has the balance to age long and gracefully as well. High class juice. 2016-2040.”
Champagne Guide 96 points “(disgorged early 2014; 53% pinot noir, largely from Verzy and Verzenay, with a touch of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Ay; 47% chardonnay, predominantly from Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; 8g/L dosage). In response to the generous, rounded, supple 2006 season, Demarville’s predecessor, Jacques Peters, increased the share of chardonnay in his final La Grande Dame. Demarville confessed to some nervousness at launching the 2006 after the caliber of the linear and refined 2004. The two seasons certainly stand in contrast, with the 2006 already much more approachable and immediate. It launches confidently into generous, rich ginger, honey, toast, roast nuts and brioche, well into its phase of secondary evolution, yet in no way broad or developed. Citrus-zest liveliness defines a honed focus, while a fine chalk mineral structure keeps the finish lively and energetic.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The prestigious 2006 La Grande Dame is made from 47% Chardonnay and 53% Pinot Noir, and assembles the fruit of eight grand cru villages. Very intense and complex on the nose, this is a full-bodied, round, rich and mouth-filling, but also refined prestige cuvée; it reveals a fascinating purity, precision and freshness. The finish is long and complex, and shows a spicy minerality. There are coffee beans, bread and toast aromas in the aftertaste. This comes highly recommended.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “A waft of spring blossom draws you into this elegant Champagne, whose subtle notes of poached quince, toasted brioche and mandarin orange gracefully ride the satiny mousse, supported by a vibrant backbone of acidity. Disgorged February 2016. Drink now through 2029.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $155

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