In Today’s Newsletter:
Grandes Marques Champagnes
Staff Pick: Tessier Pet Nat
The Best Value in Premium Oregon Pinot?
2016 William Fevre Chablis
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte
January Sale Recap!
Grandes Marques Champagnes
The Great Wines of the Great Houses
How can Grandes Marques’ Champagnes not be considered among the greatest bargains in France?
While grower bubbles get all the attention, the Grandes Marques have quietly started doing all of the things that get so much attention among smaller producers. Growing their own fruit, moving vineyards to organic and biodynamic farming and lowering the dosages on their wines have become commonplace among the best houses. This makes these top growth Champagnes increasingly some of the greatest values ever.
The region has suffered for far too long under the misconception that its wines are too expensive. This is simply not the case. While far too many current releases from the Great Growths in France clock in north of $500 or $1,000 per bottle, in Champagne one finds most Tete de Cuvees are not only under $300/bottle, but these are winery-cellared before release, often for ten years or more!
We are enthused to stock some of the top Grande Marques’ Tete de Cuvee and Vintage Champagnes and offer them to you at some of the lowest prices in the country (and some even sweeter by the six-pack!).
“2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002” –Antonio Galloni
“There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004… It has a luminous freshness and good density” –Decanter
“There is marvelous precision here on both the nose and palate, not to mention a sense of harmony and grace” –John Gilman, A View from the Cellar
“The poise is unquestionable” –James Suckling
Krug Vintage Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $248 special
Krug Vintage Brut Gift Box Packaged, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $259 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”
Dom Perignon Rose, Champagne 2005 750ML ($379.95) $259 special
James Suckling 99 points “A mind-blowing wine. This is super subtle and intense with aromas of peaches, light strawberry and cream. Also shows rose petal and cooked peaches. Medium to full body, with ultra-fine tannins that feel like fine silk. The finish goes on for mintutes. It floats across the palate. The winemaker says the closet vintage to this is the 1990, but I think this is better.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2005 Dom Pérignon Rosé is intriguing, complex and multi-faceted. Brisk and refreshing, with a slightly herbal (but not unpleasant character), the 2005 is superb today. Over time, the wine has acquired a bit more depth and body than it showed at the outset. Even with all of its depth, though, I would not suggest cellaring the 2005 too long given the challenges of the year. Hints of blood orange, mint, sage and dried flowers add the closing shades of nuance.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This rosé Champagne is rich and vinous, offering smoky minerality up front, expanding to show dried raspberry, mandarin orange zest, brioche and espresso crème flavors that ride the fine, lacy mousse. Spice and mineral details persist on the racy finish. Drink now through 2027.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This Champagne is beautifully mature, its ripe fruit and soft texture magnified by toast and yeast. Rich and full bodied, its fine acidity keeps it in great condition. With a crisp aftertaste that gives it a delicious lift, it’s ready to drink now.”
Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Millesime Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($219.95) $169 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2006 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut is simply fabulous. In most vintages, Dom Ruinart is a big, ample Champagne that shows the structure of the Montagne de Reims Chardonnay in the blend. The 2006 has plenty of textural resonance and richness, and yet I am also struck by its tension. Both bottles I tasted point to a Dom Ruinart that is quite a bit more polished and sophisticated than it often is at this stage.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “A statuesque Champagne, firm and finely knit, with a beautiful array of baked white peach, almond biscotti, pastry cream and crystallized honey flavors riding the silky mousse. A rich and smoky note of toasted brioche echoes on the chiseled finish. Drink now through 2031.”“nearly impossible to resist”
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2007 750ML ($179.95) $159 special
James Suckling 98 points “This is a step up from the linear and fresh 2006. It shows subtle depth and power with a dense block of vivid fruit that’s highlighted with lemon zest, green apples and hints of white peaches. Just the right amount of praline and nuts on the nose. Fine and tight bead give the Champagne a luxurious mouthfeel. One for now or the cellar. Drink or hold.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Taittinger’s prestigious Comtes de Champagne is composed entirely of Chardonnay grapes from the Grand Cru villages of Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger (Côte des Blancs). The citrus-golden colored 2007 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is the fourth in a row after the 2004 vintage (which will be followed by 2008 whereas there will be no Comtes from 2009, 2010 and 2011) and opens with a nobly intense yet nuanced bouquet of ripe fruits, chalk, iodine and a touch of brioche. The wine indicates a coolish and precise character on the clear, flinty nose that develops lemon, pastry and floral notes. On the palate, this is Taittinger at its best: clear, fresh, lush and elegant, offering both sensuality and noble elegance. The 2007 reveals great finesse and is a perfect expression of both the Taittinger style and the Côte de Blancs. The wine (of which 5% has spent four months in oak barrels to give roundness and a touch of toast) is tightly woven, well concentrated and even juicy yet always clear, fresh, pure, fine and elegant. The finish is intense, clean, vivacious and complex, with good grip and lingering salty minerals that indicate good aging potential. Disgorged in October 2017; tasted in May 2018.”Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($199.95) $149 special
Case-3 Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($499.95) $399 special (that’s only $133/bottle!)
Case-6 Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($999.95) $769 special (that’s only $128.17/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2006 Dom Pérignon is a beautifully balanced, harmonious Dom Pérignon that strikes an incredibly appealing stylistic middle ground. Rich, voluptuous and creamy, the 2006 shows off fabulous intensity in a style that brings together the ripeness of 2002 with the greater sense of verve and overall freshness that is such a signature of the 2004. Bass notes and a feeling of phenolic grip on the finish recall the 2003, as the Pinot Noir is particularly expressive today. After an irregular summer that saw elevated temperatures in July followed by cooler, damp conditions in August, more favorable weather returned in September, pushing maturation ahead and leading to a long, protracted harvest. The 2006 falls into the family of riper, more voluptuous Dom Pérignons, but without veering into the level of opulence seen in vintages such as 2002.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2006 Dom Pérignon comes from a very rich vintage with an early ripeness that brought a lot of aromatic maturity. The white-golden prestige cuvée contains a bit more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir and opens with a deep and seductive, pretty accessible nose with intense yet fresh fruit aromas of pineapples, with peaches and tangerines. Lively and elegant on the palate, this is a full-bodied, unusually aromatic and fruity DP with a long and tension-filled expression.”
The average price is $165Searching for Hard-to-Find Top Champagne?
Look No Further!
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires
The Incredibly Rare Blanc des Blancs
Imagine there was a Champagne, produced by a top tier, historic house. Imagine that Champagne was a blanc de blancs, from some of the top Grand Cru villages and aged for an extended time on the lees before release. Further still, this mythical Champagne has only been released five times in the last forty years—truly, only the best vintages made the cut. You’d think this wine would be outlandishly expensive and impossible to acquire. You’d be wrong, though, because we’re offering Charles Heisieck’s Blanc de Millenaires for about the same price as a bottle of NV Krug. If you want great Champagne to taste like Grand Cru White Burgundy with fine bubbles, this is something you need to jump on.Charles Heidsieck is one of the great, historic houses of Champagne, but because of their small size, they tend to be overlooked in conversations about elite wines in the region. That’s unfair on so many levels, from their excellent and inexpensive NV to this wine, the top-of-the-line Blanc des Millenaires, produced only in the (truly) best years. Millenaires is a white whale of the Champagne world. Even most “picky” houses declare 5-6 vintages a decade, but Heidsieck will only release this wine under the most perfect of circumstances (the last vintage released was the epic 1995). The resulting wine is powerful, intense but beyond elegant, as only Chardonnay given extended lees aging can provide. We’ve secured a small parcel arriving this summer and are excited to offer it at exceptional pricing. The winery has been mum on how long it will be until the next release, so this may be your best chance at this wine for some time.
Arriving ETA June:
Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points “It says much that Charles Heidsieck went for the 2004, not the richer 2002, as the long-awaited successor to the epic 1995 Millenaires – the ’04 has an admirable beauty and finesse in the classic mould that fits the style of this wine so well. It’s an intriguing blend of great Chardonnays from Oger, Mesnil, Avize and Cramant, but also from Vertus, a premier cru punching above its weight. Vanilla and butter flatter this wine famously, but there’s no oak. It has controlled richness, with precision and purity ruling over the green and tropical fruits. A magnificent champagne with impressively elegant acidity, a triumph now and for years to come. Disgorged in 2016. Drinking Window 2020 – 2035.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”
Tessier’s “Phil’en Bulle” is a surprisingly refreshing Pet Nat and versatile food companion. This hazy, golden sparkler is bursting with Yuzu citrus and honey on the nose, with more subtle notes of apple and pear skins. On the palate, the citrus persists, expressing more tangerine, along with pear and almonds. The finish is bright, refreshing your palate to the very last sip.Domaine Philippe Tessier Phil’en Bulle, Loire NV ($31.95) $28 special, 21 bottles in stock now
VinopolNote: Phillipe Tessier has become one of the landmark natural wine producers in the Loire Valley. He turns out a number of exceptional renditions of Chevery and its satellites, all bright, fresh and impressively full of life (as you’d expect).
Importer note “Philipe’s fizzy ‘pet-nat’ is the least serious but perhaps the most fun wine in the Tessier lineup. To be enjoyed fresh and frothy. 90% Romorantin and 10% Orbois.”
Averaen The Best Value in Premium Oregon Pinot?
It’s Even Better on Our January Sale!
We’re pleased to offer the exceptional wines of Averaen to Vinopolis—at more than exceptional pricing. If you’re unfamiliar with these wines, you’d be excused—2016 is only the label’s second year in existence, but they’ve already established themselves as a top producer of rich, terroir-driven Pinot Noir in Oregon.Averaen is a project of Baron Ziegler, one of the founders of Banshee wines, and like their counterparts, the Averaen wines deliver exceptional value—a hard thing to do in Pinot Noir. These are exceptionally made and well-reviewed single-vineyard wines (and one Willamette blend) that are a steal for the prices we’re offering them at.
In Stock Now:
January Sale Wine!
Averaen Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir, McMinnville 2016 750ML ($49.95) Was $36, Now $33 January Sale Special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(20% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Lurid red. Blackberry and boysenberry aromas are complicated by suggestions of cola and candied violet, and a smoky mineral note lends nervy lift. Incisive dark berry and bitter cherry flavors slowly gain flesh and become sweeter in the midpalate. Impressively precise and energetic, delivering strong finishing thrust and dusty, building tannins that make a late appearance.”
Averaen Croft Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Brilliant red. Powerful smoke- and spice-accented red berry liqueur, mocha and floral pastille scents show excellent clarity and pick up notes of licorice and cola with air. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry cola, lavender and spicecake flavors that become livelier on the back half. This weighty yet lithe Pinot finishes smooth and very long, featuring slow-building tannins and resonating florality.”
Averaen Eola Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Vivid red. Spice-tinged black raspberry and cherry scents are complicated by hints of cola, pungent flowers and smoky minerals. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering energetic red and dark berry and vanilla flavors along with suggestions of rose pastille and blood orange that add complexity. Concentrated but vibrant and precise in character, delivering strong finishing thrust, interwoven tannins and excellent, floral-driven persistence.”
Averaen Nysa Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(30% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Deep vivid red. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes red fruit liqueur, mocha and Asian spices, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering sweet raspberry, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily with air. Conveys a suave blend of richness and finesse and finishes with supple, harmonious tannins and outstanding clarity and floral-tinged persistence.”
Averaen Flood Line Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($39.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 91 points “(40% new French oak) Bright red. Aromas of ripe red berries and cherry, along with subtle cola and licorice nuances. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering bitter cherry and raspberry flavors that flesh out on the back half. A smoky note emerges on the clinging finish, which features fine-grained tannins and suave red fruit preserve and mocha qualities.”
Check out the complete list of domestic wines on sale below or click to shop our entire January sale!
Check out the additional wines on our January Sale at the bottom of this newsletter!
2016 Southern Rhone Edition
Could this be the greatest Southern Rhone vintage of all time?
“The 2016 vintage was truly extraordinary for the Southern Rhône and is a vintage that readers should buy with abandon… I’ve never seen so many traditional cuvées achieve such high quality nor so many estates produce such truly extraordinary wines.” –Jeb Dunnuck (emphasis in original)
“The Chateauneufs 2016 are quite simply the best wines this region has seen in a very long time.” –Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com
“Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s monumental 2015 vintage was a tough act to follow, but 2016 was up to the challenge… the best wines also display real energy, making this a standout vintage.” –Josh Raynolds, Vinous
“In the Southern Rhône… 2016 looks like a classic vintage, with most growers favoring it over 2015.” –James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“The 2016 vintage in the Southern Rhône seems comparable to 1982 in Bordeaux (also a high-cropping vintage) for the profound impact it’s likely to have on the market… with that combination of quality, drinkability and value, they’re going to bring in more new Rhône consumers than ever before. Smart consumers will snap up wines from their favorite producers and any of the microproduction cuvées as soon as they can, as the 2017s will be even more expensive and harder to find when they’re released…” –Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
Top Trending Picks In Stock Now:
“I can’t speak highly enough of the efforts of winemaker Philippe Bravey, who consistently turns out ripe, voluptuous, classic wines that deliver both hedonistic and intellectual pleasure. I’d happily drink his wines any day.” –Jeb Dunnuck
Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Nick Stock-JamesSuckling.com 98 points “There’s a beautiful purity of fresh, mixed berries, dark plums, deep spices, as well as a gentle, coal-smoke edge. The palate has an effortless, fleshy, fine-grained texture with long, majestic tannins and a long, black-cherry finish Such purity and depth, pulling a lot of flavor with perfectly balanced acidity. Equal parts of old and young vine parcels here. No wood. The real deal. Drink now or hold.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape offers more depth and richness than the 2015, with slightly darker fruits (blackberry, black raspberries), garrigue, smoked earth and licorice all emerging from the glass. It’s ripe, voluptuous, and beautifully textured, with sweet tannin, and is going to be a smokin’ good 2016 that’s going to have a long life. As always, this cuvée is a un-oaked blend of mostly Grenache (3% each of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Bourboulenc, with a splash of Cinsault) that comes mostly from clay soils, partially destemmed, and will be bottled with no filtration.”
The average price is $57
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $36 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “Deeply colored, the 2016 Gigondas La Louisiane comes from single vineyard on the lower plain, not far from the estate, and is 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, and the balance Syrah and Cinsault. It offers a classic bouquet of dark berry fruits, peppery herbs, garrigue, and obvious minerality. Reminding me of the 2010 with its pure, straight style, it’s full-bodied and elegant on the palate, and is going to benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age.””Under the helm of Bruno Gaspard (with help from Philippe Cambie), Domaine du Clos du Caillou continues to make some of the most profound, layered and sexy wines of this sun-drenched appellation.” – Jeb Dunnuck
Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “Sourced from the lieu-dit of Les Bédines, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Safres is 95% Grenache, with the remainder being a mix of other permitted varieties. Like the other wines from Le Clos du Caillou, it shows great intensity and purity. Flowering garrigue accents black cherry fruit in this full-bodied, fresh, vibrant and intense wine, which ends with a burst of bright orange zest and waves of silky tannins.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Safres comes from more sandstone soils and is mostly Grenache. Spice strawberries, kirsch, dried herbs, flowers, and ample sandy, stony notes all emerge from this fleshy, medium to full-bodied, structured wine that has the classic weightless texture of the estate. This beauty has an exotic edge as well as a distinct salinity and is the finest version of this cuvée to date.”
James Suckling 94 points “Immense, seamless depth. Alluring, fresh, dark-plum, spice and chocolate aromas and flavors. The tannins are immaculately plush, long and even. Superb. From organically grown grapes. Drink in 2020.”
The average price is $57
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Blended, but still aging in barrel, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape will likely be bottled in March 2019. Brandied cherries and dried spices mark the nose of this full-bodied, plush wine. It’s slightly warm, and certainly rich, but it remains fresh and long on the finish. It should be a beauty.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “From a cooler terroir of sandy soils just beside the domaine, the 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu Dit is another tour de force from this brilliant estate. It sports a medium ruby color as well as a rocking bouquet of kirsch, blackberry liqueur, rose petals, damp earth, incense, and spice. Ultra-fine, seamless, elegant, and pure, it’s nevertheless powerful and rich, with awesome intensity. Readers need to snatch up this blockbuster.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96-98 points “The 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu-Dit is also 100% Grenache and comes from a parcel just beside the winery. This is a cooler, sandy terroir and the style of this cuvée is dramatically different than the La Colline cuvée, showing a much more finesse-driven, elegant, ethereal style. Nevertheless, the 2016 is one of the larger, richer example of the cuvée and sports a deep, inky color as well as to die for notes of black raspberries, crème de cassis, crushed pepper, and ground herbs. With full-bodied richness, polished, sweet tannin, no hard edges and a fabulous length, it’s another best to date cuvée from this estate.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Deliciously ripe, featuring a bright and lively display of red currant, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that race along, underscored by fine but persistent chalky tannins and backed by lilac, violet, rooibos tea and savory notes along the way. The long finish ripples with fresh acidity. Best from 2020 through 2036.”
2016 William Fevre Chablis
Classic, Rich, Mineral
The Domaine William Fevre was born of a force of will in 1959, when William declared his first vintage; this, in a region where winemaking families stretch for centuries, not just decades. The purchase of land seemed to be first and foremost in their mission, acquiring a whopping 78 hectares over 90 separate parcels. The access to this much fruit, in one of the priciest AOCs in France, gives Fevre a leg up in making some of the most iconic Chablis available today.
After the warm, rich 2015 vintage, 2016 Chablis wines in general feel like a breath of fresh air—fresh, stony, seaside air. As with most of Burgundy in 2016, yields were terrible and quantities extremely small. Luckily for us and for the producers, the quality of what remained was superb—further proof that Burgundy can and will get better and better regardless of what Mother Nature throws its way.
Stylistically, 2016 is a classical vintage (with somewhat warmer leanings). It’s not as bracing as 2014, but shares a similar style of fruit and degree of minerality. These are beautifully Chablisienne wines that nevertheless seem to be delicious right out of the gate. The wines are marked by their chalky, smoky intensity. A character branded into the vineyards by Kimmeridgian soil. And the professional reviews gush with mineral descriptors for the entire collection on offer: from notes of “oyster shell,” “sea breeze,” and “iodiney minerality” – these are wines as intensely mineral as one could want in a fine Chablis. We’re head over heels for the wines and have a nice selection of recent arrivals from William Fevre.
2016 William Fevre Chablis In Stock Now:
William Fevre Chablis, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Burghound 88-90 points “A ripe and fresh nose offers up notes of iodine, oyster shell, mineral reduction, pear and plenty of citrus influence. There is fine density to the concentrated and sappy flavors that possess fine volume while delivering very good length and solid depth. Good stuff and worth a look.”
Domaine William Fevre Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points “(23 hectoliters per hectare): Pale, slightly cloudy yellow. Strong mineral notes of shrimp shell and sea breeze currently dominate citrus and white peach on the nose. Densely packed, concentrated and energetic; wonderfully fresh and balanced for the year. Clamps down impressively on the superb, sappy, slowly rising finish, leaving behind piquant notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and minerals. Classically dry, crystalline and taut but not austere. This beauty really spreads out to saturate the palate on the back end.”
William Fevre Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points “(all of William Fèvre’s vines in Fourchaume are situated in Vaulorent, where they’re the largest land owner; there’s usually a separate estate bottling labeled as Fourchaume but not in 2016): Pale green-tinged yellow. Musky, complex aromas of citrus fruits, spices, minerals and pepper. Ripe fruit notes are joined by a hint of exotic lichee, but the wine’s pliant texture is nicely supported by pepper, spices and minerals. This fairly large-scaled, savory wine boasts an exhilarating balance of sweetness and acidity. Finishes with explosive length and a strong impression of terroir. The crop level here was just 18 hectoliters per hectare and my notes say that this wine is at the same high level of quality as the Montée de Tonnerre.”
Burghound 91-93 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding! This could be from nowhere else but Chablis with its nose of oyster shell, iodine and strong mineral reduction aromas. The concentrated, mouth coating and serious flavors are at once muscular yet refined, all wrapped in an explosively long and well-balanced finish. As good as the Montée de Tonnerre is, and it’s very good, there is just a bit more overall depth present here.”
Domaine William Fevre Chablis Bougros Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points “(50% fermented in oak; from a yield of 35 hectoliters per hectare): Pale green-tinged yellow. Wonderfully expressive, pungent, classic Kimmeridgian nose offers scents of lime, grilled almond and iodiney minerality. Round, plush and seamless on the palate, with its juicy citrus fruit and ginger flavors lifted by minerality. This silky, sedate, rich wine has no corners and seems almost too easy and expressive today for grand cru. But it also has the stuffing and balance to age, and a finishing element of brown spices provides lift.”
Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Cotes Bouguerots 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points “Very pale green-tinged yellow. Classic Chablis scents and flavors of white peach, ginger, oyster shell, iodine and flint. Highly concentrated, tactile wine offering an impression of strong dry extract and a compelling combination of pliancy and energy. A very powerful, structured Chablis with a long, chewy, saline finish. Really saturates the palate without leaving any impression of weightiness. Offers splendid potential.”
Burghound 92-94 points “A super-fresh, cool and admirably pure nose exhibits notes of iodine, citrus, white rose petal, sea breeze and mineral reduction scents. Like several wines in the range I very much like the lovely texture of the energetic medium weight flavors that also possess fine concentration before terminating in an intensely saline-infused, balanced and wonderfully long finale.”
Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2016 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 12 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “The complexity, concentration and drive make this an excellent Clos in 2016. The fruits vary from citrus to exotic stone fruits. Green tropical and white floral notes, too. The palate has a staggeringly concentrated core of acid-drenched lemons, lime, peaches and green mangoes. Incredible depth, high acidity and a very long finish. A great Clos! Drink or hold.”
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points “(just 18 hectoliters per hectare produced owing to frost and mildew): Pale yellow. Lovely brisk citrus and apple aromas complicated by gingery spices, white pepper and iodiney minerality. Large-scaled, dense and quite powerful but not yet filled in, with its very concentrated peach and citrus flavors accented by ginger and white pepper. More glyceral in the early going than the Preuses but showing less personality today. This fruit was picked very ripe, with nearly 13% potential alcohol, according to Didier Séguier.
Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Preuses 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points “(22 hectoliters per hectare): Pungent but reticent nose hints at pineapple, peach, ginger, menthol and subtle crushed-stone minerality. Rich, spicy and sweet, with its ripe orchard fruit flavors leavened by a floral topnote. Very subtle, elegant yet extract-rich wine with terrific dusty length and lift. Ultimately dry and classic, this wine reverberates on the palate for a minute or more. Vincent Dauvissat’s Preuses is frequently the finest and most complete example of this grand cru but the William Fèvre version is often my #2 choice.”
Burghound 92-94 points “A pungent nose consists of a potent mix of fennel, oak, menthol, mineral reduction and essence of pear. There is excellent density and power to the medium weight plus flavors that still manage to come across as quite refined thanks to hugely long, balanced and sappy finish. This classy effort needs a few years to develop more depth but the material is present for that to happen.”
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte
One of Chianti’s greatest wines isn’t labeled as a Chianti, despite being made in the heart of the Classico zone. Montevertine originally left the appellation because at the time, white grapes were required to call a wine Chianti and Sergio Manetti, the owner, wanted to make a wine that was 100% Sangiovese, a scandalous thing at the time. Thus Le Pergole Torte was born. It’s a special wine, one that stops a conversation every time you get a chance to taste it. This is one of the icons of Tuscany and at this price, should be a star of your cellar, as well.
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($189.95) $166 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96-98 points “Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2015 Le Pergole Torte is a 100% expression of Sangiovese sourced from the estate’s oldest vines (between 30 and 50 years old). Like the other wines from Montevertine, Le Pergole Torte sees both its alcoholic and malolactic fermentations in cement, and the wine later ages in new oak barrels for 12 to 18 months depending on the vintage. After that first phase in barrique, it goes into large botte to complete its integration. This gorgeous vintage opens to a deep, dark appearance with a velvety presentation of dark fruit and black cherry flavors. The wine’s textural richness is ultimately what sets this fantastic vintage apart.”
Antonio Galloni 95-98 points “The 2015 Le Pergole Torte is explosive and powerful while showing a remarkable level of precision. Pliant and beautifully resonant, it captures all the best qualities of the year. The oak still needs time to fully assimilate. Even so, the wine’s pedigree and potential are very much in evidence today. In a word: superb.”
Late Breaking News!
Daniel-Etienne Defaix releases Chablis when he believes the wines are ready. This can mean 15 years past their release. Luckily, the time has come for the truly awesome 2005s. They’re not really ex-cellar or library release, but represent the current vintage on offer (and imported by Rosenthal, so you know it’s good). These are magnificent bottlings that have just reached their peak maturity window. What could you possibly expect to pay for such an experience? This is premier cru Chablis, so you’d expect $100 minimum. Well, probably $200, considering these have been quietly dreaming in the winery’s cellar for the past 14 years.
Ha! Try under $50.
“These are textural, complex wines that evoke the white Burgundies of yesteryear, and they may confuse consumers habituated to the tart, brittle, processed wines that are often passed off as expressions of region’s “terroir.” Their potential to develop in bottle and their capacity to pair with a thrilling variety of foods, however, make them fascinating, at least to this writer. Much of the production is sold to France’s best restaurants, but what reaches the export market is well worth seeking out.” – William Kelley, Wine Advocate
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix (Domaine du Vieux Chateau)
Arriving in February:
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $46 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet is more complex than the Vaillon, unfurling with complex aromas of honeycomb, mandarin oil, fresh mushroom, almond paste and oyster shell. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, rich and gourmand, with a satiny attack, a deep, concentrated core and tangy balancing acids. It’s a textural, sapid Chablis that will work well at the table.”
The next best price is $49.88
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “Dramatic aromas of blanched almonds, beeswax, honey and preserved lemon introduce the 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys, a full-bodied, textural wine that’s rich, concentrated and structured, with a tight-knit core, tangy acids and a stony finish. Like Defaix’s other 2005s, it’s very much in its prime and will be well worth seeking out when it reaches the marketplace.”Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Vaillon, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $46 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon is drinking beautifully, wafting from the glass with a pretty bouquet of honey, buttered citrus and confit lemon. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, satiny and bright, with a generous, textural attack, vibrant acids and a charming, open-knit profile that belies its evident capacity to age. It will be well worth seeking out when it’s released.”