Head to the “Cs” for the Best Brunello Values
Rare Cellared Vintages of a Rhone Legend
Three Landmark Wineries Land This Week:
Zind-Humbrecht, Passopisciaro, and Lopez de Heredia
2016+JJ Prum=A Winning Formula
New 2012 Brunello Riservas: Top Wines from a Classic Vintage
Best Value in Brunello?
Head for the Cs
Case-6 Caprili Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($319.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points “Appealing aromas and flavors of cherry, almond, leather, iron and earth are the hallmarks of this muscular red. Remains fresh and persists on the aftertaste, with echoes of iron and tobacco. Best from 2021 through 2035. 3,500 cases made.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93 points “Bright deep red. Very perfumed, pure aromas of raspberry, red cherry, flint and violet. Juicy but dense, with vibrant acidity lifting the floral berry and cherry flavors on the long mineral finish, characterized by an especially silky mouthfeel. Knockout Brunello.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Truffle, leather, mature black-skinned fruit and carob aromas emerge from this powerful red. The full-bodied palate delivers succulent wild cherry, black raspberry, licorice, pipe tobacco and grilled herb flavors with big, chewy tannins. Drink 2019–2027.”
The next best price is $36.89
The average price is $46
Case-6 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($319.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
International Wine Report 93 points “The 2012 Canalicchio is a beautifully crafted, refined Brunello which spent more than 24 months in medium-large Slavonia oak casks. It slowly opens with aromas of dried cherries ans plums woven together with walnuts, tobacco, leather, dried spices and hints of balsamic. Medium-bodied and firm, with a fine grained tannins and lovely balance leading to the ultra-long, chewy finish. Today this is still a bit austere and will require a few years of additional bottle age before it becomes fully accessible. (Best 2020-2029) – February, 2017 (JD).”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino shows excellent continuity with past vintages and underlines a house style that is specific to this estate. This is a nuanced and delicate expression of Sangiovese that delivers grace and power. It walks a fine line between these two opposites. The bouquet is redolent of wild berry, red currant, grilled herb, wild mushroom and underbrush. I gave the 2011 vintage the same score, although the differences between the two wines are pronounced. The 2011 vintage shows the warm climate with more directness, whereas this edition offers more subtle depth and finesse. Both wines are most appropriate for near or medium-term drinking.”
The next best price is $36.39
The average price is $42
Wine Spectator 95 points “This cuts more of a broad swath than its peers, yet remains graveful, evoking strawberry, cherry, tobacco and stony mineral flavors. Long and dense in structure, with a tobacco- and under-brush-tinged finish. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($49.95) $36.60 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is fabulous. In 2011, proprietor Paolo Bianchini bottled just one Brunello. That commitment to quality comes through loud and clear. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco and licorice all flesh out in an effortless, incredibly inviting wine. The warmth of the vintage and the natural generosity of these vineyards in Castelnuovo is evident, yet the 2011 possesses remarkable balance to match all of that intensity. I don’t expect the 2011 to make old bones, but is gorgeous today. Readers should expect a flamboyant, decadently full-throttle wine built on voluptuousness and generous, racy fruit. Bianchini gave the 2011 three full years in cask.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a very beautiful wine that shows a fraction of good things to come. Very fruit-driven at the moment, it should flesh out further with time. Evident fruit underlines the warm growing conditions of this vintage. You get dark cherry, raspberry, dried strawberry and plum. The bouquet doesn’t feel overripe per se, but you definitely get a taste of the warm growing season. Delve deeper, and this Brunello begins to reveal spice, herb, cola, tar and black licorice. These elements form the base of the wine’s budding complexity. As nice as this wine is to drink now, I look forward to trying it five years from now.”
The next best price is $40
The average price is $53
Rare Cellared Vintages of a Rhone Legend
Remizieres’ Cuvee Emilie Arrives Tomorrow!
We’re getting a small tranche of rare, back vintage Hermitage from Remizieres and are super excited to be offering it. Older wines from the Northern Rhone can be extremely hard to source. Quantities are low and, unlike Bordeaux, little is bought speculatively, so most of the original buyers of the wines end up drinking them. These wines are already into a nice period of drinking, but they should age further with gusto, if you manage the patience.
Domaine des Remizieres Hermitage Cuvee Emilie, Rhone 2003 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck – Wine Advocate 95 points [Reviewed Dec 2016 “A big, beautiful, concentrated effort that delivers on all accounts is the 2003 Hermitage Cuvee Emilie. Brought up all in new barrels, it has profound notes of blackcurrants, asphalt, bouquet garni and chocolate all soaring from the glass. These carry over to the palate and this blockbuster-styled beauty has a stacked mid-palate, as well as sweet, integrated tannin and full-bodied richness. Drink it anytime over the coming 20+ years.]”
Domaine des Remizieres Hermitage Cuvee Emilie, Rhone 2005 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 93+ points “The 2005 Hermitage Cuvee Emilie has also turned out better than I thought from cask. A wonderfully intense bouquet of licorice, graphite, blackberry liqueur, and stone is followed by a full-bodied wine with superb concentration, and chewy, deep flavors of espresso roast, smoke, licorice, and creme de cassis. With plenty of tannin, this wine looks set to enjoy 20 or more years of aging potential.”
Jeb Dunnuck – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2006 Hermitage Cuvee Emilie is more classic in style than the flamboyant 2009 and offers lots of darker fruits, game, olive and underbrush characteristics. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and still youthful, with notable tannin and acidity, it opens up nicely with time in the glass and has another two decades of life. [Reviewed Dec 2016]”
Three Landmark Names Arriving This Week
Zind-Humbrecht, Lopez de Heredia and Passopisciaro
We went a few years without being able to get ahold of the Zind-Humbrecht wines and it’s certainly not for lack of trying. They left their old importer and were homeless (in that sense) for a while. When we heard the wines were in the market again we dropped everything to snap them up and are pleased to offer them for a second year in a row. We are quite proud of the range – many of these new arrivals were initially not intended for release in the USA. You’ll be glad we kept at it when you see the unreal deal on these wines and have them in your glass!
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Roche Calcaire, Alsace 2015 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
The next best price is $42.80
James Suckling 95 points “Lemon pie and almond aromas. Steel undertones. Full body, dense and layered. Big and rich style yet it’s dry. An oily profile yet turns dry and satisfying. Drink now. Made from organically grown grapes.”
James Suckling 96 points “A dense and linear riesling with sliced limes, lemons and flint. Bright and precise. Full-bodied, layered and beautiful. Great finish to this. Big and flavorful. Yet not showy. Drink now.”
The next best price is $89.94
James Suckling 97 points “A fabulous 2014 with amazing aromas of spices, light cheese and walnuts. Full body, dried lemons, limes, stones and saltiness. Pumice as well and a layered, velvety texture. A joy to taste. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now.”
The next best price is $89.94
James Suckling 93 points “Love the lemon rind and hints of cream and stones. Some flinty undertones. Full-bodied, bright and beautiful. Tangy, lime finish. Drink now.”
The next best price is $69.99
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2015 Gewurztraminer Clos Windsbuhl is in fact a Vendange Tardive that was picked at 16.66% potential alcohol, since it stopped fermentation at 12.5% and 70.7 grams of residual sugar. However, Oliver did did not announce that he would produce a VT in the Windsbuhl, so he isn’t allowed to sell this wine as a such. Even without the Vendange Tardive predicate, the 2015 is a great and age-worthy Gewurz that is rich, sweet and concentrated but enormously well structured. It is made for long-term bottle aging of 10, 20 or 30 years. Tasted in February 2017.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Apricot preserves, candied violets, licorice, marzipan, rowan, gardenia, white raisin, and tangerine mark both the nose and palate of the 2004 Riesling Brand Vendange Tardive, a wine of enormous botrytized ripeness, high acidity, and low alcohol, but in none of these respects quite as extreme as the Clos Windsbuhl. Here there is already elegance, refinement and lift, a ravishing combination of textural richness and palpable extract with delicacy and buoyancy, and an extraordinarily clear, pure finish with a mineral dimension as unmistakable as it is ineffable. Compared with the Clos Windsbuhl, the density here is allied to more winsome creaminess of texture (with patisserie-like flavors of vanilla cream and marzipan), and the finish – while no less penetrating and fresh – caries an intricate interplay of flavors and is not at all severe. This breathtakingly beautiful Riesling is too complex and ravishing today to tell you “wait!- but it can certainly be safely followed for a quarter century.”
Despite the cool temperatures, often 20-30 degrees cooler than at the coast, the vines are healthy and active due to the sunlight that reflects off the seas below. Passopisciaro is balanced, polished and definitely a refined take on a grape that was viewed as quaint for its rusticity for decades. The Passorosso, a blend of the five contrada that Franchetti works with, is viewed as one of the best introductions available to the wines of Etna, with 2014 being hailed by Ian d’Agato of Vinous as the best vintages yet for this wine.
We had this wine available for a hot second last year—the score plus the price meant that the wine sold out before it arrived. We were lucky enough to secure a second tranche that arrives at the end of this month. Like before, we expect it to go quickly. If you’re among the many who emailed requesting more, jump on this now. We also finally have magnums available, which offer the same tremendous value in an even more celebratory package.
Passopisciaro ‘Passorosso’ Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2014 750ML ($59.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Passopisciaro ‘Passorosso’ Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2014 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Passopisciaro ‘Passorosso’ Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2014 1.5L ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 97 points “Bright red-ruby. The captivating nose combines strawberry, raspberry, minerals, violet and flint aromas. Creamy-sweet but amazingly light on its feet, offering palate-staining, perfumed flavors of soft red berries, ripe red cherry, vanilla, aromatic herbs and crushed rock. Rich, ripe and suave, but displays a penetrating, saline and energetic quality that gives this beauty a three-dimensional mouthfeel and a light-on-its-feet quality. Finishes with great length and wonderfully polished tannins. Absolute knockout wine: from a memorable vintage on Etna, this is most likely the best Passorosso ever (in earlier vintages, it used to be called simply Passopisciaro). Mainly Nerello Mascalese.”
The answer to that question is that for all of the grace, complexity, age-worthiness and profundity of the wines, the prices are shockingly low. You can purchase the entry level wine from the greatest traditional Rioja estate for less than $30. You can buy their Reservas (for which the current releases are 2004/6!!) for under $35. Even their great wines–old Gran Reservas, with bottle age, will set you back less than the average bottle of 2010 Mouton.
How can this be?
The idea that you can buy a bottle of Gran Reserva Tondonia from the 1960’s, directly from the winery’s cellar, for the same price or less than a current vintage of top-tier Bordeaux? We don’t think this will last that long. We’ve got some new wines from Lopez coming in–from up and down the range, price wise. They all over-deliver.
Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2006 Viña Bosconia Reserva, always more rustic and powerful than the Viña Tondonia, was cropped from a warm and early harvest and is a blend of Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha and 5% Graciano and Mazuelo. This wine matures in used American oak barrels for five years. It has a very developed nose, and as winemaker Mercedes López de Heredia noted, “It could be confused with a Gran Reserva, as I see it more tertiary and developed.” These are amazing wines, clean and complex, with polished tannins and surprisingly good acidity. I have the idea of 2006 as a warmer vintage, but it’s not true throughout Rioja; as I’ve seen with other wines, like the ones from Muga, in this cooler part of Rioja, the vintage was much better. There are some dusty tannins and some flavors that still remind you of fresh fruit. 72,000 bottles were filled in June 2013.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2004 Viña Tondonia Reserva is a completely different story. It is a worthy follower of the 2001, the greatest of the Viña Tondonia Reservas of recent times. It has the usual blend and usual levels of alcohol and acidity, bottled after six years in oak barrels. The nose feels savory (if that’s possible–umami?) and developed, with tertiary aromas and good balance between spices, leathery notes, cherries and balsamic notes of cigar box and incense. The palate is both round and crisp, with refined tannins. It has very good balance with subtle acidity and very good persistence.”
Josh Raynolds 93 points “[Reviewed May 2017] (aged for six years in American oak barrels) Deep red. Exotic, oak-spiced red berry liqueur, dried cherry and vanilla aromas are complemented by a smoky overtone. Sweet and pliant in the mouth, displaying a velvety texture to the plush black raspberry, cherry-vanilla and coconut flavors. Shows no rough edges and picks up a suave floral note with air, finishing with excellent clarity, a hint of allspice and round, harmonious tannins.”
The average price nationally is $46
Wine Advocate 92 points “The red they say was born to go with tapas and sold in local restaurants is the 2009 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza. 2009 was a warm and ripe year, and this blend of Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha (or the masculine Garnacho they like to use) plus 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo from limestone soils with quite a lot of clay, feels juicy and soft. It fermented with natural yeasts in large oak vats and matured in used barriques for three years. This is a bottling that has grown and improved a lot since 2004-2005. It shows very good balance between fruit and more developed aromas, with hints of leather and cherries, spices and smoke, very clean and with good volume in the palate. It’s usually a little riper and with higher alcohol than Tondonia or Bosconia, with the character, finesse and elegance of a classical Reserva. 93,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2013.”
The average price nationally is $27
May Clearance Sale Wine!
Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco, Rioja DOCa 1973 750ML ($999.95) Was $799, Now $599
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 1973 Vina Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva is so sublime, so complete and natural that it may bring tears to the eyes. It has a complex bouquet of beeswax, lanolin, lemon curd and almond that is effortlessly combined. The palate is nigh-perfectly balanced with very good weight. It has a seamless waxy texture and a peacock’s tail of almond, creme brulee, marzipan and dried apricot. There is a beguiling sense of completeness here. Heaven in a glass, and one of the finest Tondonia Blancos I have encountered. Drink now-2020+”
There’s not a whole lot to say about the wines of JJ Prum that hasn’t already been said. Manfred and Katarina Prum make some of the finest and most sought after wines of the middle-Mosel. The wines are high-wire acts of tension between fruit and intense minerality and display their terroir in the most expressive way. Part of this is that their parcels have lots of old, ungrafted vines and part of it is spontaneous fermentation and whatever magic the Prum family uses in the cellar. No matter what, these are always some of the finest and longest lived wines in Germany.
Arriving Next Month:
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2016 750ML ($37.95) $30.90 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2016 1.5L ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 91+ points “This is delicately reductive at first and only gradually reveals a fresh and cool nose of herbs, smoke, almond cream, pear, greengage and cassis. The wine delivers quite some presence and ripeness on the palate, where grapefruit, pear and smoke are wrapped into a touch of tartness. This Kabinett will need time to integrate its sweetness and acidity. But the ingredients are there to make a great wine at maturity.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2016 1.5L ($89.95) $77 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This delivers a beautiful nose of flowers, whipped cream, herbs, smoke, vineyard peach, and apricot blossom. The wine is delicate, light weighted and has good presence with ripe fruits including peach, pear and a touch of toffee on the palate. It develops quite some Spätlese presence and intensity in the hugely long finish.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This opens up to a captivating nose made of ripe fruits yellow peach, pear, honeyed apple and cinnamon, all joined by some candied grapefruit and tangerine after some airing. The wine proves juicy as fresher flavors of peach and apple emerge on very pure palate. A great underlying touch of freshness runs through the wine, leaving one with some intense flavors of grapefruit and smoky slate in the very long and intense finish.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $96 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “This proves quite closed at first. A hint of volatile acidity quickly gives way to beautiful flavors of canned yellow peach, apricot blossom, grapefruit and a touch of toffee on the nose. The wine develops ripe aromas on the creamy, intense and smooth palate. The finish is full of honeyed fruits, roasted pineapple and butter cream. This Auslese-styled expression of Wehlener Sonnenuhr will need quite some time to integrate its richness, but could then turn out even better than anticipated as the fresher side emerges at maturity.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2016 750ML ($41.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This delivers a beautifully fresh and complex nose of pink grapefruit, ginger, passion fruit, smoke, apricot blossom, almond paste and a touch of toffee. The wine is quite rich and almost of Auslese presence and intensity on the palate, yet a juicy and clean side runs through the wine and lifts up the flavors. The finish of this classy Auslese-styled Riesling is delicate, creamy and nicely fruity”
Joh. Jos. Prum Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2016 750ML ($41.95) $36 pre-arrival special
David Schildknecht – Vinous 93 points “Fresh apple garlanded in honeysuckle and heliotrope sets the tone for a generously juicy, subtly creamy palate seductively loaded with inner-mouth floral perfume and leading to an inhalative, delicate but seriously sustained finish vividly underlain with wet stone and tinged with bittersweet, smoky nut oils and mouthwatering salinity.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2016 375ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “This is still quite reductive at this early stage, however it already shows a quite rich and almost opulent nose made of candied peach, grapefruit, pineapple, cassis, pear, smoke, tar and almond paste. The wine delivers juicy honeyed fruity on the palate. The fruity side runs right into the long, smooth and fresh finish. This is still quite backward and full of potential. But it will ideally require more than a decade to fully shine.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2016 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2016 375ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “This exhibits a superbly aromatic and exotic nose of mango, apricot and quince as well as quite some smoke and tar. The wine is rich and creamy as it woes one with juicy and mouth-coating flavors of pear, grapefruit and honeyed apricot on the palate. The rich and intense finish is all about honeyed and fruity flavors. This rich Auslese from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr will require patience as it will need quite some time to fully integrate its elements.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This is still quite reductive at first and only timidly hints at exotic and concentrated notes of apricot, mango, guava and quince, pepped up by a fresher streak of grapefruit. The wine delivers smooth and delicately unctuous flavors of candied yellow fruits and strawberry juice on the deep and beautifully balanced palate. The finish is pure, fresh even if still loaded with quite some residual sugar in need of integration. This rich GK is quite a treat but it is one which will demand a lot of patience. The patience will be worth it”
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2016 375ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 2016 1.5L ($279.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This delivers an absolutely gorgeous and multi-layered nose including pineapple, candied apricot, honeyed exotic fruits, almond paste, tangerine flower and a touch of minty smoke. The wine is superbly smooth and exotic on the palate. The complex and refined delicacy of fruits is simply stunning. The finish is all about honey and creamy exotic fruits, and while not extremely expressive at this time, grows by the minute in the glass. One is left with a great and very subtle sense of almond, passion fruit and tangerine blossom in the after-taste. This will need time to integrate all its components but should then prove a cracker of a wine!”
New 2012 Brunello Riservas
Top Wines from a Classic Vintage
Just Added, Arriving this Fall
We have a selection of some of the best arriving this fall. Like most of the best Brunello Riservas, these are made and imported in extremely scarce quantities. If you’re a lover of Brunello, jump on these now while we still have quantity on them.
Arriving ETA September:
Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Firm and dense, this red sports cherry, leather, cigar box and sweet spice flavors. A juiciness midpalate adds depth. Finishes with tannins and a combination of earth, mineral and tobacco notes. Best from 2022 through 2038.”
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points “Perfumed, with wild herb aromas and a subtle mix of strawberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant and dense, with fine acidity driving the long finish. Though elegant, there is intensity and fine energy on the aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2028.”
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points “This delivers intense balsamic notes of juniper, wild rosemary and sage, along with rose, cherry and berry aromas and flavors. Elegant and saturated with flavor, supported by a vibrant structure. Ends with energy and refined tannins. Best from 2022 through 2040.”
Eredi Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 ($219.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points “Bright and juicy, this is packed with cherry, strawberry, floral and mineral aromas and flavors. Linear in shape and tightly wound, yet very pure, with a long, detailed aftertaste that pulls all the elements together. Best from 2021 through 2040.
Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto 2012 ($419.95) $379 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 98 points “Flavors of medicinal herbs, juniper, macerated cherry, plum, tobacco and spice are the hallmarks of this intense red, which is ripe and concentrated, yet sleek and focused. Spice notes chime in on the long, minerally and firmly tannic finish. Best from 2023 through 2040”
Thank you for reading!