Cult Cabernet Spectacular, Featuring Dominus and Colgin
Q: Do You Have Any Leonetti? A: Yes
Is Il Poggione the Most Loved Brunello?
The Stunning, Biodynamic Champagne of
Marie Courtin and Vouette et Sorbee
New Grapelive Review for a Cameron Favorite
Value Champagne for Any Spring Occasion
A Cult Cabernet Spectacular
Colgin’s Tychson Hill Cabernet is the rarest bottling the cult winery produces, from a sub-five acre vineyard originally planted in 1881 and purchased by the winery in 1997. It sits just north of St. Helena, on the west foothills and produces wines that have both the power that Colgin is known for as well as earthy and floral notes that make it one of the most complete wines in the Colgin stable. We just received a small allocation of the heralded 2014 version and are extremely excited to offer it today along with their IX Estate Red, the flagship wine of the estate.
The IX vineyard sits high atop Pritchard Hill in eastern Napa and produces the wines that made Colgin’s name—big powerful reds that have astoundingly long finishes. Whether Syrah or the flagship Estate Red, the wines are incredible young and have a track record of aging for a long time. Robert Parker called the IX vineyard “as close to a viticultural nirvana as I’ve ever seen.” The wine definitely reflects that.
We also received a few six packs of back vintage Dominus, from the legendary 2001 and 2002 vintages. Dominus is the personal project of Christian Moueix, the manager of Petrus, and has been turning out incredible wines since the 80’s. That said, the estate really began to hit its stride in the late 90’s/early 00’s, and is now correctly rated as one of the top half dozen producers in California. The 01/02 combo were both marked successes for the winery and we’re incredibly fortunate to have snagged these. (Oh, there’s also the perfect 2015 arriving Friday—don’t miss that).
Colgin Cellars IX Estate Red, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($699.95) $499 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Robert Parker 98+ points “From their steep hillside vineyards on Pritchard Hill, the 2014 Proprietary Red IX Estate is an old-fashioned Médoc blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, but with some Cabernet Franc (rarely seen in the Médoc these years) as well as Merlot and Petit Verdot. Striking aromatics of violets, forest floor, loamy soil nuances, blueberry, black raspberry and blackberry soar from the glass of this spectacular 2014. The acidity seems reasonable but on the lower side, the texture is magnificent, and the overall purity and equilibrium flawless. This is a wine pushing, even demanding, a three-digit score once again, but I’m holding back – at least for now. This magnificent effort from Colgin should drink beautifully for 25-30 years.”
Colgin Cellars Tychson Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($649.95) $549 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Robert Parker 98 points “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Tychson Hill is an extraordinary wine with an inky bluish purple color and classic aromatics of crème de cassis, white flowers, lead pencil shavings, pen ink, incense and camphor. It hits the palate with full-bodied richness but not a bit of heaviness. Great precision, vibrant underlying acidity, and sweet, long tannins make this a sumptuous mouthful of wine with a finish of close to 45+ seconds. This fabulous effort can be drunk now or cellared for 25-30 years.”
The next best price is $599
Robert Parker 98 points “A brilliant showing for Christian Moueix’s well-known Napanook Vineyard, the 2001 Dominus is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. A classic in the making, this is a flawless, seamless example of elegant, complex Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that possesses a Bordeaux-like personality. This gorgeous, sexy, opulent, dense ruby/purple-colored wine reveals sweet caramel, mocha, creme de cassis and kirsch notes intermixed with a hint of espresso roast as well as underbrush. Ripe, long and full-bodied with well-integrated tannin, acidity, alcohol and wood, this prodigious 2001 is drinkable now and over the next 25+ years given this estate’s longevity track record. A virtually perfect wine, it is one of the most complex 2001s at present. (Reviewed 2011)”
Dominus Estate (Christian Moueix), Napa Valley 2002 750ML ($319.95) $279 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Robert Parker 99 points “This 2002 was virtually perfect when I tasted it in early May. Even better than I predicted seven years ago, this 4,500-case blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot and Merlot has blossomed beautifully, revealing even greater intensity and potential than I predicted. A flawless, seamless integration of tannin, wood, alcohol and acidity is found in this dense, plum/purple-colored Dominus, along with copious notes of sweet black currants interwoven with kirsch, forest floor, unsmoked cigar tobacco, new saddle leather and forest floor. Full-bodied with velvety tannins, stunning elegance and a 45-second finish, this sensational 2002 rivals two of the all-time great wines made at Dominus, 1991 and 1994. It is hard to believe that proprietor Christian Moueix’s Dominus Estate has already celebrated its 25th anniversary and is moving toward 30 years with the 2012-2013 vintages. The 2002 will drink well for another 20 years. (Reviewed 2012)”
Dominus Estate (Christian Moueix), Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($324.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 100 points “Bottled in July 2017 and composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the Dominus 2015 Proprietary Red Wine leaps from the glass with notes of fresh wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and black currant juice with touches of wild thyme, underbrush, iron ore and aniseed with wafts of lavender and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has incredible energy and vivacity, with the firm, pixelated tannins and lively backbone skillfully framing the muscular fruit, finishing with wonderful length and depth.”
“Do You Have Any Leonetti?”
“Yes, We Do (For Now)”
We generally get an allocation of Leonetti once or twice a year, at most and the wines sell out quickly. There just isn’t much wine available (unless you like paying restaurant markups) and the wines are held in incredibly high esteem. The Reserve is obviously the shining star, but we’ve found that among the other wines, there seems to be a fairly even split as to the favorite of the lineup. The Cabernet is fantastic, the Merlot reminds you why people fell in love with the grape in the first place and the Sangiovese is probably the best version outside Italy. No matter the grape, Leonetti seems to have a magic touch. We’re not getting much of any of them, so jump on this now if you’re interested.
Arriving Tuesday April 24th:
Leonetti Cellar Reserve, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “The 2015 Reserve is a borderline perfect wine. Made from 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Malbec, and 8% Merlot, its vibrant purple color is followed by a gorgeous nose of crème de cassis, graphite, scorched earth, liquid violets, and charcoal. Full-bodied, deep, voluptuously textured and layered, with sweet tannin, this incredible beauty stays pure and elegant on the palate, with perfect balance. It’s going to drink nicely for two decades as well.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “The classic 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon checks in as a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc that spent 22 months in new, once-used and neutral oak. Its purple/blue color is followed by fabulous notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, tobacco, and graphite. Deep, rich, and opulent, with a sexy, full-bodied, incredibly pure style, it’s already impossible to resist but is going to keep for two decades.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “I always love the Merlot from Chris and the 2016 Merlot (there’s 5% Cabernet Franc) is no exception. Deep purple-colored and loaded with notions of black cherries, plums, leafy herbs, and graphite, it offers medium to full-bodied richness, bright yet integrated acidity and a great finish. It’s a fresh and lively Merlot that I suspect will keep for 10-15 years.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Chris’s 2015 Sangiovese (there’s 13% Aglianico) spent 22 months in new and once-used barrels. Red currants, ripe cherries, dried earth, spice and a hint of nuttiness all emerge from this deep ruby/opaque colored effort. It’s medium to full-bodied, incredibly seamless, silky, and polished, with fine tannin emerging with time in the glass. It’s one of the great vintages for this cuvée. Give bottles 2-3 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following decade or more.”
Is Il Poggione the Most Loved Brunello?
We just secured a set of wine, arriving in June, from the 2012 and 2013 vintages—an excellent set of years for Brunello. Both vintages have received ample hype from all the major publications and the scores for the Il Poggione wines is as high as you’d expect. Wine Advocate and Vinous are especially fond of the wines ad so we were very pleased to get the quantities and prices we were able to secure.
These are wines to back up the truck for, especially at the prices we’re getting. The vintages are classic but approachable, so you can drink these while you wait for your 2010’s to age and also when they’re 15+ years old. They’re going to age beautifully. These wines arrive in the next few months and we can’t promise this pricing will be there when the wines land (especially the Case Specials, which disappear as stock gets low). If you’re even casually interested in these wines, you’d be smart to pick them up now.
Arriving ETA June:
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($519.95) $336 pre-arrival special (that’s only $56/bottle!)
Case-12 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($959.95) $636 pre-arrival special (that’s only $53/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Il Poggione is a Brunello superstar and a vintage like this reveals every reason why that affirmation is true. From the second the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino pours into the glass, you know you are in for something special. The wine is darkly saturated and rich in appearance. Absent are those slightly amber or browning hues you often get with Sangiovese in a hot vintage. Nor does the wine show flat or tired characteristics. Instead, the quality of fruit is vibrant and rich. This is a healthy, generous and exuberant Brunello with dark density and succulent fruit flavors that are followed by integrated spice and tobacco. The balance is impressive and one thing you get here is fresh acidity. This is not to be underestimated, because the acidity quota in the 2012 vintage across the appellation is not as high or evident as usual. This is one of the year’s best Brunellos.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93+ points “Good full red. Medicinal red cherry, raspberry, sweet spices and mint on the fresh, precise nose. Bright and sweet, with a penetrating, austere quality to its flavors of red fruits, minerals and medicinal herbs. Harmonious acidity nicely frames the pure, long, youthfully tight finish. Lovely young Brunello that will repay cellaring.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino lives up to the impeccable reputation garnered by this estate over the years. This is a profound and beautifully rendered Sangiovese that delivers bold and luscious fruit quality with black cherry and spicy plum at the start. The bouquet follows through with mild oak notes of smoke, tar and toasted nut. There is another aromatic component that includes crushed stone and dried herb or mint. This Brunello shows elegant evolution in the glass and promises a very long aging future ahead. Some 200,000 bottles were made, so it should be easy to locate this excellent wine.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 95 points “Bright red. Pure, refined red cherry and wild strawberry aromas and flavors complicated by sweet spices and aromatic herbs. Deep and multilayered, the wine boasts polished tannins and a harmonious acid spine that lifts and extends the red fruit on the long, suave finish. An essence of Sant’Angelo in Colle with bigger body and palate weight than, for example, the Brunellos of Montosoli, but still sleek and refined as the best wines of Sant’Angelo in Colle can be. The cool-climate-styled 2013 vintage is precisely the type of year in which Il Poggione excels: this lovely, focused wine is the best classico Brunello from Il Poggione in years. Superb.”
Marie-Courtin and Vouette et Sorbee
Yes, Virginia, There is Biodynamic Champagne
Two of those few producers who cared enough to do something were Bertrand Gautherot of Vouette et Sorbee and Dominique Moreau of Marie Courtin. Both saw the conditions of viticulture in Champagne and resolved to farm better, both for the health of their families and also for the quality of the wines coming out of those vineyards. The results are spectacular.
Both estates are in the Cote des Bars, in the Aube in the southern part of Champagne and both focus on single grape expressions of Cote des Bars terroir (check out this great NY Times article about the region, here). The Marie Courtin wines (named after Dominique’s grandmother) are all single vineyard expressions, as well. Her wines show as tightly coiled, chiseled masterpieces, with incredible energy packed into an edgy frame. Most of her production is Pinot Noir based Blanc de Noirs, but she also makes a remarkable Blanc de Blanc and Rosé as well.
By contrast, the wines from Vouette et Sorbee show as a bit richer and more vinous, owing to fermentation and elevage in a higher percentage of wood (all older). The Fidele (Gautherot’s Blanc de Noirs) is also the main production, but the Blanc d’Argile is not to be missed. The 2014’s have yet to be reviewed, but these wines are consistently critically beloved as well.
Allocations for all these wines have become much tighter in recent years, so if they’re favorites of yours, know that these aren’t going to be around for long.
In Stock Now
Marie Courtin Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Tension and energy are the signatures of the 2013 Extra Brut Eloquence. The expression of Chardonnay takes on Chablis-like dimensions, with bright, saline-infused underpinnings that give the wine its shape and overall personality. Today, the Eloquence is the most angular and reticent of these wines. Another few years in bottle can only help. Disgorged in April 2017 with no dosage.”
“Perhaps the most expressive of all of Moreau’s wines is Eloquence, a blanc de blancs made from her tiny parcel of chardonnay. Contrary to the usual roundness and generosity of Cote des Bar champagne, this is rigid and taut, driven by its fierce backbone of minerality. Nevertheless, it’s multifaceted and complete, and at its best, it’s one of the most exciting champagnes being made in the Aube today.” –Peter Liem
Josh Raynolds 91 points “The 2012 Extra Brut Allégeance Rose de Macération is beautifully nuanced in the glass. Scents of dried herb, mint, dried cherry and tobacco give the wine striking aromatic depth. Interestingly, the 2012 is much less giving on the palate, where it remains tightly wound and a touch severe. It will be interesting to see if further time in bottle relaxes the wine a bit further. Disgorged in June 2017 with no dosage.”
Marie Courtin Concordance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV (2012) Extra Brut Sans Soufre Concordance is another fabulous, deeply expressive wine from Marie Courtin. Here the more overt side of Pinot comes through, with lightly honeyed notes, orange zest, chamomile, dried flowers and sage adding a good deal of aromatic and flavor nuance. Soft contours add to the wine’s considerable appeal. I would prefer to drink the 2012 sooner rather than later, as the flavors are a bit forward for a new release.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A complete and wonderfully nuanced wine, the 2013 Extra Brut Efflorescence is fabulous. Bright and sculpted to the core, the 2013 exudes energy. Chalk, mint, jasmine and orchard fruit add complexity, but it is the wine’s overall balance that is most impressive. The Efflorescence offers striking translucence and energy from start to finish. The non-dosé style is especially successful here. Disgorged in April 2017 with no dosage.”
“A vintage-dated pinor noir champagne aged in oak barrels… typically released without dosage.” –Peter Liem
Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Blanc d’Argile Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne (2014) 1.5L ($199.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “From Clay, Kimmeridgian limestone soils. Hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation in French oak, [and] minimal SO2. Mainly from a small parcel of Chardonnay in Briaunes supplemented with scattered plantings of Chardonnay in Bertrand’s other lieux-dits. Small in volume now, it will increase when the young vines in Vouette begin to come online. Mineral, nougat, salty and long – basically a Grand Cru Chablis with bubbles.”
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Fidele Extra Brut, Champagne (2014) 1.5L ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “From Rocky Kimmeridgian and Portlandian limestone clays, hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation in French oak barrels, [and] minimal SO2. Fidèle is 100% Pinot Noir mainly from the lieux-dits of Fonnet and Briaunes with additional fruit from the other sites Bertrand farms. Fermented in oak, then 20 months sur latte, Extra-Brut. Deep color, distinct red fruits, forward and lush. Dangerously tasty.”
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
A New Grapelive Review
For a Cameron Favorite
Grapelive 94-96 points “John Paul is an Oregon legend and his wines just as legendary, especially his Pinots, like this one from A slightly younger vine planting within Abbey Ridge vineyard, that was planted in 1990, and Cameron Winery, part of the Deep Roots Coalition is sustainably farmed, non-irrigated and has been fanatically Burgundy influenced, since Paul started producing wine here in 1984. He uses mainly Dundee Hills fruit, the estate Clos Electrique and Abby Ridge, as well as a newer parcel in Ribbon Ridge, his Clos Electrique and his Abby Ridge bottlings are his top old vine cube’s, but his regular Willamette Valley, Dundee and Reserve offerings are stunning as well, with this Arley’s Leap being new to me, and one I was thrilled to get my hands on! The eponymous hero, on the label, was Bill and Julia Wayne’s old dog Arley, who survived a jump from a second story balcony when startled by a cat. Abbey Ridge is one of the highest vineyards in Dundee and is picked relatively late, it’s farmed pretty much all organic and allows for deep flavors and complexity, it’s significantly cooler and with it’s Jory soils, which are volcanic based there is a lot of natural acidity that helps with balance and gives these wines tremendous aging structure along with a slightly exotic character. 2015 is looking like an outstanding vintage in Oregon and John Paul took advantage of the year to craft an amazing set of wines, and in my opinion, this Arley’s Leap is a sleeper, in particular it’s a earthy dark beauty that is wonderfully expressive and intriguing. This 2015 shows the years ripe personality, at 13.9%, but thrills for it’s brilliant energy, tanginess, a porcini note, forest floor and rustic charm that resembles a fine Nuits-Saint-Georges! This stuff entrances with a heady mix of plum, black cherry, strawberry, dusty red spices, minty herbs, crushed violets and a touch of leather adding to the dense kirsch, currant and wilted rose petals, making for an amazing palate and bouquet, it’s very much sex in a bottle as only a great Pinot can be! Paul employs traditional Burgundian winemaking and subtle well integrated French oak, it’s as good as it gets, drink over the next decade, it will fascinating to see how this ages!”
Perfect for Any Spring Occasion
Thierry Triolet Carte Noire Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “(90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir; 10 g/l dosage): Light yellow. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of fresh citrus and orchard fruits, with suave floral and candied ginger notes adding complexity. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering juicy green apple and orange zest flavors and a touch of white pepper. Closes silky and smoky, with good clarity and length.”
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points ” Light orange-pink. Ripe, spice-accented cherry and tangerine on the fragrant, vinous nose. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering pliant red berry and orchard fruit flavors and a hint of candied rose. Seems like there’s a lot more pinot in this blend. Closes chewy and firm, with building spiciness and a hint of bitter orange pith.”
Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 1.5L ($79.95) $69 special, 10 magnums in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
Jose Michel & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 375ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ half-bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(70% Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay; 9 g/l dosage): Light yellow-gold. Fresh tangerine, pear and sweet butter on the fragrant nose. Smooth and weighty in the mouth, offering pliant orchard fruit and melon flavors and a bracing kick of bitter citrus zest. A minerally element adds lift and cut to the penetrating finish, which leaves a suave floral note behind.”
Importer note “Produced entirely from Grand Cru grapes from the village of Ambonnay, this stunning Brut Tradition shows rich, leesy fruit obtained through extended bottle aging prior to disgorging. Quite vinous in texture, it is full and long with crisp apple fruit notes on the finish and showing some toasty notes in the nose. Very low dosage levels allow the great Ambonnay fruit to shine.”
Lot H414T1G7; Disgorged 07/2017; 25% Chardonnay/75% Pinot Noir
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
Thank you for reading!