Moet’s Grand Vintage Value
The Montrachet of Germany: Keller’s Abst Erde and More!
Montevertine is Now in the March Clearance Sale
A New York Times Inspired Trio of Rosso di Montalcino
Glantenay Volnay: An Up and Coming Producer Makes His Mark in ‘15
Trending Wines from the Weekend
Bousquet’s 2016 Gigondas—Forces of Vinous Nature
For Champagne Value
Moet & Chandon Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($69.95) $48 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Sleek, with a smoky underpinning and a lively, detailed bead, this firm version offers flavors of black currant, toast, lemon curd and honey. Lingering finish. Drink now through 2030.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Just beginning to mature, this balanced, ripe wine is complex, with bright acidity, toast and pear and green-plum fruits. It is rich, with a tight mouse that shows intensity as well as a stylish character. This is a fine wine just coming into its own but well worth aging further until 2020.”
The next best price is $54.98
The average price is $72
Keller’s Abst Erde
A German Montrachet
The wines of made by Klaus Peter Keller are no longer secrets. Within Germany, Keller is considered the finest producer of dry Riesling, which is hard to argue with (and their off-dry bottlings are pretty great too). The estate dates back to 1789 and has holdings in some of the best vineyards in the Rheinhessen including Hubacker, Absterde and Kirchspiel. All of the wines he makes are electric and soul stirring, but the top bottlings are what established Klaus Peter’s reputation in the modern market.
Keller’s top wine, G-Max, exists in such small quantities as to be practically mythical, which makes the Abst Erde bottling his top wine that is actually purchasable. Quantities are still incredibly tiny (ie: top White Burgundy type numbers of bottles), but we were able to secure a few six-packs of the 2016 edition, arriving at the end of month. By Keller standards, it’s an enormous allocation and an incredible price, as well. Our offering is $50 less than the average price on wine-searcher (across all vintages) and is the only current listing for the 2016.
Arriving ETA March 30th:
Weingut Keller Abts Erde Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2016 Abts E(rde) Riesling GG is clear, intense and chalky on the concentrated, ripe and juicy nose. On the palate, this is a pure, intense and chalky Riesling with fine tannins, piquant acidity and great purity. This is very salty and grippy Riesling that is straight, dense and mineral. No fruit here but lots of crushed rocks and great tension.”
Weingut Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “This develops a superbly herbal and minty nose driven by intense notes of smoke, yellow peach, pineapple and spices. The wine is full of energy and, even if still quite compact at this early stage, already reveals great complexity and finesse. There is a touch of riper fruits on the mid-palate but these are beautifully balanced out by fresh and minty notes in the very long, spicy and herbal finish. Smoky notes remain in the after-taste for minutes. This fresh Hubacker is quite a treat, but also one which will need quite some time to reach its optimal drinking window. 2026-2041.”
John Gilman 94 points “There was no 2014 RR bottling from Weingut Keller, but happily, the 2015 vintage allowed for this cuvée and what an amazingly fine wine it is! The bouquet is very pure, very precise and nascently complex, as it soars from the glass in a stunning blend of tart orange, very complex, crystalline minerality, blood orange, petrol, gentle notes of wild yeasts and a topnote of citrus zest. On the palate the wine is fullish, complex and electric in its vibrancy, with a superb core of fruit, great mineral lift on the backend and laser-like focus on the very, very long and utterly refined finish. The best RR vintage I have yet tasted from KP! 2016-2040.” (Mar/Apr 2016)
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Distributor note “The Limestone cuvée of Riesling is a special one, indeed, a gift from nature. Keller rarely makes an off-dry Riesling and can only do so when the conditions are perfect. When balanced by incredible, juicy fruit and just 9% alcohol, we have the makings for the perfect summer/Sunday brunch wine. Limestone has a deep, intense nose of lime zest, pink grapefruit and jasmine. It is wonderfully concentrated with peach and apple flavors, followed by a long, stony finish.”
Weingut Keller ‘Von der Fels Riesling’ Trocken, Rheinhessen 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 11 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 92+ points “Year in and year out, I am a huge fan of the von der Fels bottling and the 2014 vintage is another outstanding wine in the making. This is a touch fuller than the straight Riesling Trocken, coming in at twelve percent alcohol, and perhaps a bit more ageworthy as well. The excellent nose wafts from the glass in a mix of pink grapefruit, tangerine, petrol, a stunningly complex base of minerality, lemongrass and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is fullbodied, pure and very much defined by its complex soil tones, with a rock solid core, outstanding focus and grip and a very long, youthful and bouncy finish. This is still very early days for this outstanding wine, which is the same quality level of a lot of top estates Grosses Gewächs bottlings. 2019-2040.” JG
Wine Advocate 90 points “Keller’s 2014 Riesling Von Der Fels Trocken was born as a selection of younger vines, but these are more than 25 years old today. Sourced in the grands crus, this Riesling trocken shows a highly expressive shell limestone flavor with flinty/smoky aromas of crushed stones, and the typic lemon flavor of chalky soils along with white fruit flavors. Full-flavored, very delicate and finesse-full on the palate, this is an elegant, filigreed, lovely, pure and very frisky Riesling, with ripe fruit flavors and a stimulatingly salty finish. With just three grams of residual sugar, it’s the driest von der Fels so far.” WA
VinopolNote: The wine name translates to ‘from the rock’ and is a tribute to the slatey soils in which the vines are grown. Bone dry with excellent cellaring potential.
Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 10 bottles in stock now
VinopolNote: “Silvaner is often not a particularly exciting grape, but there’s always an exception to every rule. Keller’s version demonstrates what’s possible with the grape in a dry but delicious fashion. Really nice stuff that should give the better Alsatian examples a run for their money.”
Time has gone by and rules have changed, but the wines of Montevertine, despite being very traditional in style, are not called Chianti, out of pride and because the wines have built their own following. Le Pergole Torte is the top wine that the Manetti family makes and is consistently one of the most profound wines made in Tuscany. It’s something that stops you in your tracks whenever you get a chance to try it because the wine is that special. We just dropped the price on the incredible 2012 as well as the 2014 Montevertine Rosso—the mid-tier wine of the estate and one of the best values in profound wine out there. Quantities are limited, sadly, soif you like classic Sangiovese, you owe it to yourself to stock up on these (especially at these prices).
Montevertine Le Pergole Torte Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($149.95) Was $119, Now $99 Clearance Price
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2012 Le Pergole Torte is brilliant. In fact, this is one of the best showings of the 2012 that I can recall. The flavors are bright, focused and pulsing with energy. Because of its mid-weight structure and not overly complex personality, the 2012 looks like it will start drinking well sooner rather than later. Even today, the 2012 is extremely beautiful. This is a terrific showing for the 2012.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The gracious, perfumed 2014 Montevertine is a wine of pure finesse. Silky, slender and exceptionally beautiful, it is not the most obvious or powerful Montevertine, but it impresses with its balance, poise and class. Floral notes add nuance to the bright, sculpted finish.”
Importer notes: “the standard bearer of the estate, it is aged 24 months in large Slavonian oak barrels and is composed of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo (with perhaps a hint of Colorino). The fruit for this bottling comes primarily from a 2.5 hectare parcel of vines planted in 1982 on a south – southeast facing slope.”
Other New March Clearance Sale Wines:
Chateau de Birot, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2014 750ML ($19.95) Was $16, Now $14 Clearance Price
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Rich blackberry and black-currant flavors give this wine its ripe character. They are already well balanced by the spicy tannins and dry core. The wine will develop well and should be ready from 2019.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “Very deep garnet-purple in color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 4% Malbec, is scented of red currants, blackberries and wild blueberries with touches of olives and underbrush. Medium-bodied, tightly wound and packed with tense red and black fruits, it has a fine-grained texture and savory finish. 9,600 cases were produced.”
Band of Vintners ‘Consortium’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $28 Clearance Price
VinopolNote: This is a delightful wine for anyone who likes Napa Cabernet, but with a relatively lighter touch (both in style and on the pocket book). The wine opens with a rich nose of plum and blackberry with hints of dried herbs in the background. On the palate are notes of graphite, red cherries and ripe plums that are held together with just enough tannin and acidity to keep everything in balance before the finish adds notes of spices and dried herbs. This is a wine that pairs nicely with good friends and good food.
Winery notes: “Band of Vintners is the outcome of seven wine industry friends who regularly get together to taste wine and talk shop. The collective “insider” knowledge of where the best fruit can be sourced, where the deals can be found, and where favors can be called in when needed, was contagious, and surprised even us. The outcome, is a wine we believe makes a strong case for one of the best QPRs in the Napa Valley, and something we’re proud to share with our friends, family, and neighbors.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “One of the wines of the vintage is the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de l’Edre. While this cuvee had a rustic edge in the past, today it’s incredibly polished and pure, with brilliant aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, licorice, crushed flowers and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant and balanced, it’s a classic Roussillon that can be enjoyed today or cellared for a decade.”
100% Grand Cru, 100% Pinot Noir, no dosage
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Nature Silver is naturally a very focused, driven wine given the no-dosage style. This shows wonderful nuance and depth all the way through to the long finish, with bright aromas and flavors but less of the toastiness than some of the house’s other wines. The mousse and finish are both utterly impeccable in their elegance.” AG
Ian D’agata–Vinous 92 points “Gold-tinged straw. Delicate aromas of peach, apricot and poached apple. Rich and dense on the palate, with lively acidity lifting the sweet flavors of orchard and tropical fruits. Finishes very long, with impeccable balance. These Sylvaner vines grow in the grand cru Zinnkoepflé, the soils of which are marked by calcaires à entroques. Planted in 1930 with a southeast exposure, these vines give the description vieilles vignes real meaning, but Bursin doesn’t care to use this wording on the label since she believes the term has been reduced to mainly marketing purposes. “In France, vieille vigne wines are made with vines ranging anywhere from as little as 20 years to as much as 100 years of age, so what‘s the point?” she asks.”
Rosso di Montalcino
Early Drinking, Great Value Sangiovese
From the Heart of Brunello
We wanted to highlight three of our favorite Rossos, with special note of the Livio Sassetti arriving on Friday—it’s a perpetual best buy in the category and a wine that over delivers both in terms of price and the reputation of the genre. The La Torre is also a wine of note, recommended by Eric Asimov in his column and representing a great entry point for one of the best producers of Brunello out there and the Piancornello as one of the best value-category wines on the market.
Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29.50 special
Importer note “aged for 18 months in large oak casks of French origin with about 10% of the ultimate cuvée being aged in small French barrels. The vines for this wine also face full-south. One thousand or so cases of the Rosso di Montalcino are produced annually.”
Importer note “The younger brother of Brunello di Montalcino, the Rosso di Montepulciano from Piancornello is a versatile, medium bodied Sangiovese with lots of varietal fruit, including cherries and fresh plums.”
Sassetti Livio ‘Pertimali’ Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sassetti Livio ‘Pertimali’ Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2014 ($329.95) $259 pre-arrival special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “Lots of earth and richness to this rosso with plums, mushrooms, violets and dark fruit. Full body with soft, velvety tannins and a long finish. This is masterful rosso. From one of the top producers of Brunello. Drink now.”
Top Tier Wines from a Rising Star
Domaine Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Clos des Chenes, Volnay Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2015 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chênes was showing just a slight reduction on the nose, though it develops nicely in the glass, yielding raspberry coulis, cranberry, cola and light fennel scents with time. The palate is powerful on the entry with plenty of lightly spiced black fruit, tinged with earl grey and minerals, the latter becoming more conspicuous towards the finish. There is a subtle sour cherry edginess that lends this Volnay complexity and personality – it will be fascinating to revisit once in bottle.”
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2015 Volnay 1er Cru Santenots was completely de-stemmed and apparently some of the berries showed some fig-like characteristics just before harvest, therefore Thierry wanted to avoid any sur-maturité. It has a perfumed and floral bouquet with a light marine/seaweed scent lending complexity. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, well-measured acidity and a gentle but insistent grip in the mouth. There is good depth here, a Santenots with substance, though it needs a tad more complexity and nuance to develop on the velvety, rich and generous finish. One to watch.”
Domaine Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Importer note: 30 year old vines grown in deep clay soil. Thierry Glantenay has taken over at his family domaine and is now producing exquisite, ethereal Volnay and full, powerful Pommard from many of the best terroirs. They farm their own vines and make their own wines ensuring the best available quality. Across the board these wines are precise, focused and reflective of their underlying terroir, with great sappiness and depth in the mid-palates, coupled with brilliant structural integrity that makes them, to me, amongst the finest wines made in the southern half of Burgundy.
The Hottest Wines of the Past Weekend
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Bright ruby-red. Heady, mineral-accented aromas of ripe cherry and red berries, with a peppery nuance adding vivacity. At once concentrated and lively, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a sneaky suggestion of spicecake. Picks up a sexy lavender pastille quality on the incisive, sharply focused finish, which hangs on with outstanding tenacity and building minerality.”
Zorzal Eggo Filoso Pinot, Tupungato 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Eggo Filoso Pinot Noir is produced with fruit from Gualtallary. It fermented after carbonic maceration in cement vats and like the whole Eggo line, it matured in cement eggs for some nine months and never saw any oak. Pale-colored, floral and showing a lactic touch, it is earthier than the Gran Terroir. The palate is medium-bodied, with floral flavors, very good acidity and a fine texture.”
Freemark Abbey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley—blended of 78.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 5.6% Malbec and 2.2% Cabernet Franc—has a compelling perfume of dried roses, fragrant herbs and dusty earth over a core of crushed plums and blackberries with a waft of tobacco. Medium-bodied, lively and expressive in the mouth, it has a pleasant pluminess accented by herb and earth notions, finishing long and chewy. 36,160 cases produced.”
Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Bianco Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 10 bottles in stock now
VinopolNote: A Blend of Albanello and Zibbibo (Moscato di Alessandria). Fermented on the skins for a few weeks, but not an ‘orange’ wine, this is pretty and perfumed, with bright, sparkling acidity and slight herbal notes overlayed across stone fruit flavors. A really standout Sicilian white.
Are Legends in the Making
Domaine des Bosquets has quickly vaulted into the stratosphere of top producers in the Southern Rhone. All it took was a generational change, as Julien Brechet’s uncompromising drive for quality has changed Bosquets from a solid but unspectacular producer to one deservedly commanding some of the top prices in the region.
On the subject of pricing, ours is fantastic—and when you combine our prices with the fact that the top Gigondas is undervalued relative to Chateauneuf, you get some of the best deals in the world of top Rhone wines. The “basic” Gigondas is an intense, rich wine that puts a lot of $50 bottles to shame and the high end wines…well, yes, they’re that much better. We just secured pricing and availability on these 2016’s, arriving in the Fall, and wanted to offer then now so you can grab them before the hype reaches critical mass.
Arriving ETA September 2018:
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 91-93 points “Moving to the Gigondas releases, the classic 2016 Gigondas (60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and the balance Cinsault) comes from a mix of estate terroirs and will see 18 months in a mix of barrels, foudre, and demi-muids. It offers terrific notes of black raspberries, caramelized cherries, orange blossom and spice as well as a full-bodied, rich, multi-dimensional texture on the palate. You can chase the top cuvées, but don’t overlook this beauty.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96-100 points “Utterly sensational, and unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage, the 2016 Gigondas La Colline is 100% Grenache that’s from the La Colline lieu-dit which is close to the domain, at an elevation of 350 meters above sea-level. It was mostly destemmed (there are 20% stems), fermented in concrete tanks and aging all in 2-4-year-old demi-muids. Notes of Camphor, black raspberries, strawberries, crushed rocks, garrigue and ground pepper all flow to an incredibly layered, concentrated 2016 that has sweet tannin, and an opulent, decadent profile that never seems heavy or over the top. It’s a tour de force in winemaking and hats off to the young Julien Brechet for this incredible wine. There are only 250 cases for the world, so don’t miss a chance to latch onto a few bottles.”
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.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-97 points “A new cuvée made from a parcel selection of old vine Mourvèdre (there are smaller amounts of Syrah, Cinsault, and Grenache) planted on a north-facing, limestone plateau, the 2016 Gigondas Le Plateau sports an inky purple color as well as more black and blue fruits, loads of pepper and garrigue like nuances, full-bodied richness, and a thick, opulent, unctuous texture. It’s a singular beauty that has building tannin and loads of potential, and I can’t wait to taste this from bottle.”
Thank you for reading!