Vinopolis Midweek Addition 9-4-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Stars of Tuscany
2016’s from Isole e Olena and Felsina

de Montille: Pride of the Cote de Beaune

Gimonnet’s Secret Upgrade

New Grapelive Review for a Classic Burgundy Producer

The White Whale Tete de Cuvee

A US Exclusive Offer for a German Riesling Star

Rosé Picks for Fall Drinking

Meyney Returns


Stars of Tuscany

2016’s from Isole e Olena and Felsina

Antonio Galloni recently published his report on the 2016 vintage in Chianti, confirming the greatness we’ve been tasting in these wines!  He said “I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about Chianti Classico and its wines”—ecstatic praise from someone who’s been covering Italian wines for as long as he has.  He declared that “[t]he top 2016s have turned out to be just as extraordinary as I had hoped.”

How extraordinary?

Well, Galloni had previous written that “A balanced growing season…produced a set of truly exceptional, highly promising wines. The 2016s are distinguished by their superb aromatic presence, silky tannins, layered fruit and fabulous sense of harmony. The 2016s I have tasted so far point to a high-quality vintage that may very well turn out to be profound.”  We’re highlighting

Isole e Olena
For many, Chianti symbolizes Italian wine and no winery symbolizes the modern quality of the region like Isole e Olena.  Since the arrival of Paolo de Marchi in 1976, Isole e Olena has been a leader in quality in Tuscany.

Stylistically, Isole e Olena occupies a place that is at once traditional and modern.  Their Chianti Classico and their flagship Cepparello are both firmly rooted in the primacy of Sangiovese and the idea of Tuscan typicity.  Elegance wedded to power, both of those wines show the nuance and bright fruit you expect from a classic wine of the region combined with the density and complexity of top tier, noble wines.

In a more modern sphere, de Marchi also produces mono-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah, which are made in a modern idiom.  Elegant and polished they represent wines that are at the top of their class for each of the respective grape varieties, no matter the origin of the wine.  We’re getting in their new releases, including the absolutely jaw-dropping 2016 Cepparello, at the end of this month and we’re excited to offer them today.  Given the (justified) hype surrounding ’16, we expect these to move quickly.  Collectors and enthusiasts should take note and act quickly.

Arriving ETA Late September:

Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($219.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2016 Cepparello is dense, dark and also very closed in on itself. Those qualities bode well for the future, but readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and new leather gradually open up in the glass, but the 2016 is not ready to show all of its cards. This fruit was brought in during the second week of October, which is pretty much optimal at Isole e Olena. The 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, with a bit less than 30% new oak, and a few months in cask prior to bottling. An explosion of floral and spice notes punctuates the super-refined finish. The 2016 is shaping up to be epic. Don’t miss it!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $84.99
The average price is $93
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 750ML ($359.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 1.5L ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Broad and complex, delivering plum, black cherry, almond, leather and earth flavors. The tannins are dusty and well-integrated, while vibrant acidity keeps the flavors pumping through the long finish. Best from 2021 through 2036. 11,666 cases made, 4,166 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico is a gorgeous wine that very much captures the essence of the house style. Bright floral and savory notes, sweet red cherry fruit, tobacco and mint are all finely knit in this super-appealing, mid-weight Chianti Classico from Isole e Olena. As always, the Chianti Classico here is lithe, aromatically precise and all about elegance.”
Decanter 92 points “Despite being known for one of Tuscany’s top 100% Sangiovese wines – Cepparello – Paolo De Marchi believes in blending this grape. Here, he includes a generous portion of Canaiolo Nero to give some spice and also likes a pinch of Syrah, especially in lighter vintages. The aromas are very precise, with black raspberry, violet, heather and juniper. It’s dense without being rich or heavy, with a rousing core of appetising juiciness. Grainy, ripe tannins will support this effortlessly for at least a decade. Drinking Window 2019 – 2029.”
This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($99.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of elegance and finesse that shows the effects of rain during harvest in its decidedly mid-weight, lithe construction. Even so, the 2015 offers lovely aromatic presence and persistence. Grilled herbs, crème de cassis, licorice, violet, plum, spice and licorice all develop, but the 2015 remains decidedly delicate for this bottling. My impression is that it will age more on its freshness rather than on its concentration.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.99
Felsina is a top-three Chianti producer and a top-ten estate in Tuscany as a whole.  The value out of their wines, from top to bottom, is astounding.  We’re big fans of their top two wines, Rancia and Fontelloro, but their lower tier wines offer great value. We’ve been selling the entry level Chianti Classico and their 2016 Chianti Riserva for a while, but have just brought in some large formats for these value treasures.  These wines, while not expensive, are value plays that are attractively priced but serious wines that are capable of aging, especially in magnum.

The Riserva might offer the best ratio of age-worthiness to price of any wine in Tuscany.  From a strong vintage, we’ve enjoyed these wines at 20+ years of age (and felt they could still age for a bit longer).  The 2016 looks to be built in that mold—it’s going to go down as one of the best Riserva’s Felsina has made.  For a wine like this to be available for under $80/mag seems crazy.  Anyone who loves traditionally made Sangiovese would do well to stick as much as they can in the cellar and drink a bottle a year, starting in ~five years.

Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special, ETA September
Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($89.95) $79 special
Case-12 Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($419.95) $315 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Streamlined and elegant, this mid-weight red trots out notes of grilled herb and dark fruit nuances that segue to spice, tilled earth and savory tobacco, with great complexity. This 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is still a bit closed and tight, but this beautiful wine boasts all the best qualities of this vintage. It shows elegance and power, two contrasting characteristics that only work well together in the world’s most achieved expressions. The most satisfying aspect of this Riserva is the crisp acidity on the close that keeps the palate refreshed and ready for the next sip.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva shows all the quality and pedigree of the year in its layered personality and overall nuance. Cedar, dried cherry, game licorice and tobacco convey the darker, gamier side of Sangiovese that is such a signature at Fèlsina. The 2016 finishes with terrific energy and bright acids that suggest it will enjoy a long life in the cellar, but readers should plan on giving it at least a few years in bottle.”

Felsina Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Felsina Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 92+ points
“This is an excellent vintage in Chianti Classico that shows especially well in the simple, more accessible wines such as this. The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga delivers the power and density of its territory. The southern side of the appellation often shows the richest expressions of Sangiovese. This wine opens to sweet aromas of dark fruit, cherry and plum. The wine shows a slightly savory side as well with spice and dried terracotta that recalls the gray gravel soils of the region. Bay leaf, cola and chopped mint appear as subtle background notes. Some 260,000 bottles were made.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “The temperate 2016 growing season yielded a beautifully perfumed and posed Chianti Classico at Felsina. The aromas and flavors are pure Tuscany, with scents of lavender and dried thyme that lead into flavors of ripe black cherry and even savory tomato skin. Notes of pink peppercorns and leafy tobacco emerge with air, adding layers to the fleshy fruit.”
Antonio Galloni 91+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a stellar, joyous wine. Bold, powerful and ample, with a good deal of finesse for such a big wine, the 2016 shows why this is such a compelling vintage for Chianti Classico. Leather, game, smoke, tobacco and licorice infuse a wine that oozes Sangiovese character. The 2016 needs a few years in bottle to be at its best, but is already pretty alluring. Moreover, this is a fabulous expression of the estate. Don’t miss it.”
James Suckling 93 points “This is fragrant and floral with dark berries on the nose. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh, clean finish. A driven and linear Chianti Classico. The backbone of fresh acidity gives this focus. Drink now or hold.”

Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 375ML ($34.95) $28 special
Felsina Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Decanter Magazine 97 points
“The south-facing Rancia vineyard reaches altitudes of 420 metres, overlooking the lower-lying vineyards of Colli Senesi. It boasts complex soils of calcareous clay layered with the chalky white limestone-like alberese and schistose galestro. This 2016 vintage is simply stunning. It’s stately yet gracious, with personality for days, leading with a sumptuous nose of smoke, exotic spice and iron-rich earth. Ripe fruit coats the mouth yet it remains buoyant and tangy as chalky tannins charge in to frame the palate. A seductive wine with an appetising, savoury edge and a long, long life ahead. Drinking Window 2023 – 2041.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is powerful, rich and explosive, with tremendous drive. Even so, several bottles have been quite closed. That is probably a very good sign for the long-term, but readers should not plan on touching a bottle anytime soon. A wine of vertical drive and aromatic nuance, the 2016 Rancia is super-complexed. Only with a few hours of air does it show the nuances and layers that were so evident from barrel. The 2016 is a painfully stubborn wine in the early going, but it will offer superb drinking pleasure for those who can wait.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia knocks it out of the park. Like the other new releases from Fèlsina, this pure expression of Sangiovese needs more time to evolve and improve with bottle age. But even at this young stage, you are made fully aware of the beautiful intensity and complexity of the quality fruit at its core. There is so much energy and tension here, further reinforced by the fresh acidity of the vintage. There are vibrant tones of wild cherry, raspberry and spice, followed up by white truffle and tilled


de Montille

Pride of the Cote de Beaune

The Côte de Beaune hardly hosts a better-known name than de Montille. It’s as if the family of archetypical Burgundian vignerons arose from the earth of Volnay centuries ago. The late Hubert de Montille helped make the domaine famous for its classic style of age-worthy Burgundy, and now his son and daughter make the wines. Low yields and partial whole-cluster fermentation remain the norm, but the modern de Montille reds have softer tannins, are more aromatic, and they don’t require as much cellar time as before. Few other wines from Beaune, Pommard, and Volnay speak of their terroir and of Burgundian culture like de Montille.

2016 is another standout year in Burgundy and these treasures are some of the best wines the new generation at de Montille have produced—the only issue is the quantities involved.  The best wines in Burgundy are always scarce, but the combinations of crop loss due to frost and hail means that the 2016s are even harder to come by than usual.  We also have a scattering of a few back vintage wines, mostly from 2013.  ’13 was an uneven vintage across Burgundy, but recent tastings have confirmed that de Montille absolutely killed it.

We’d also like to note that the quantity of individual bottlings is quite small, but we a larger assortment of wine in stock that we [should] list in the newsletter.  There are highlights below, but you can also see everything in stock by heading to our webstore, where there’s a full list.

In Stock Now:

Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($169.95) $136 special
Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($349.95) $289 special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
“(from the north side of Pommard above Les Grands Epenots on active limestone soil; vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in one-third new oak): Good dark red. Tight aromas of black cherry, redcurrant and rust (there’s a bit of iron in the soil here as well), lifted by a floral quality. Savory and fine-grained, with red berry flavors enlivened by saline minerality. Not a big wine but offers an attractive blend of sweet, savory and acidic elements. This minerally, salty wine finishes with big, mouth-dusting tannins.”
Burghound 90-92 points “Today there is enough reduction to push the underlying fruit to the background. Otherwise the middle weight flavors possess a similar mouth feel to the Taillepieds with fine delineation and more subtle minerality on the mildly austere finish that flashes a hint of dryness though I doubt that it will last.”
Neal Martin 90-92 points “The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles is one-third whole cluster fruit. Around half the vineyard suffered frost damage in this year. There is more red fruit here than other cuvées from de Montille: raspberry, wild strawberry and a touch of Bing cherry. The palate is well balanced with fine and slightly chalky tannin. There’s also a fine line of acidity, then the finish clams up for now and says, “Revenez plus tard.” Give this 4 to 5 years in bottle.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Domaine de Montille Les Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special
Domaine de Montille Les Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($399.95) $349 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(one-third vendange entier; 40% new oak; just racked following a very late malo): Healthy medium red. Compelling aromas and flavors of redcurrant, iron, rose petal and minerals. At once silky and penetrating, with its sweetness perfectly balanced by harmonious acidity. Shows captivating rose petal perfume throughout. The seriously tannic, floral finish displays real length and grip. This wine should age beautifully but even today there’s no hardness. The crop was reduced by about 30% due to the frost, noted winemaker Sieve.”
Burghond 91-93 points “discreet but not invisible application of wood surrounds overtly spicy and floral aromas of plum and dark currant that flash plenty of earth characters. There is first-rate punch to the delineated, muscular and mineral-inflected broad-shouldered flavors that terminate in a saline, youthfully austere and impressively persistent finish. Patience will clearly be essential as this will need time.”
Neal Martin 92-94 points “The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens Cuvée Hubert apparently had a very late malolactic that did not finish until September or October. Similar to the previous two vintages, it comes from the lieu-dit “Les Rugiens-Bas.” It has a complex and inviting bouquet with black cherries, crushed rose petals and undergrowth aromas, just a suggestion of dried blood emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied, the 40% new oak is absorbed by the fleshy red fruit, and it is adorned with a lovely, ferrous finish. Drink over the next 15 or 20 years.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Domaine de Montille Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 special
Burghound 92-94 points
“This too is exceptionally pretty with its perfumed aromas of essence of plum, violet, earth and once again a gentle application of wood influence. The rich, full-bodied and succulent large-scaled flavors possess a beguiling mix of power, vibrancy and delineation that also characterizes the beautifully long and balanced finish where the only nit is a forgivable trace of warmth. Good stuff though again, patience advised.”
Neal Martin 93-95 points “The 2016 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru is one-third whole cluster, less than in recent years according to winemaker Brian Sieve, with almost 50% new oak. It has a beautiful bouquet with scents of blackberry, raspberry coulis, crushed strawberries and seams of wet limestone underneath. The oak is seamlessly integrated here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very focused and taut with pure black cherry and crushed strawberry on the tensile finish. This is a very stylish, quite ambitious Clos de Vougeot. Excellent.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine de Montille Les Champans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 special
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points
“(this vineyard features more clay than most Volnay premier crus, but the crop level was very uneven in 2016 owing to the frost, with the bottom of the vineyard wiped out, the middle portion missing 30% of its normal fruit and the top “overloaded,” according to Sieve; vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in one-third new oak): Healthy medium red. Reticent but ripe scents of black cherry, licorice and musky chocolate. The dark chocolate element carries through on the palate but the wine also shows surprising acidity and lively notes of licorice and herbs. Saturates the tongue and palate on the aftertaste, with the tannins rather suave but serious. This wine is typically more about texture than minerality as the tannins soften, noted Sieve.”
Burghound 89-92 points “A moderately toasty nose frames brooding and restrained aromas of various dark berries that also reflect plenty of earth characters. The exceptionally rich and attractively textured flavors possess notably firm tannins on the wood-inflected finish, indeed this could be fairly described as a robust Champans.”
Neal Martin 89-91 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Champans suffered frost damage on the lower reaches and 50% damage on the mid-slope of the vineyard. It includes one-third whole cluster and matured in 30% new oak. It has a surprisingly broody and more introverted bouquet than recent vintages, defined but certainly holding everything back. The palate is well structured but bullish and rustic, quite rough tannin at the moment, a broad shouldered and square-jawed Volnay that will require several years in bottle.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine de Montille Les Mitans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
“(two-thirds whole clusters; one-third new oak; the sand on top of the limestone here typically yields relatively soft tannins, according to winemaker Brian Sieve): Good dark red. Cool black cherry aroma lifted by a stony quality. A step above the preceding samples in both juiciness and finesse; in fact, a real high-wire act of captivating sweetness and bright acidity. Very fine-grained, serious wine with excellent grip and length. These 45-year-old vines avoided the frost but yielded very little fruit, as they were very sensitive to rain and wind during the flowering.”
Burghound 90-93 points “As is usually the case, this is more aromatically elegant still with is airy array of intensely floral dark pinot fruit and spiced plum scents. The wonderfully refined and lilting flavors are shaped by notably fine-grained yet firm tannins on the focused and balanced finish that firms up considerably on the youthfully austere finish. This is textbook Mitans and lovely stuff.”
Neal Martin 90-92 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Les Mitans includes two-thirds whole cluster fruit and around 30% new oak. Around one-quarter of the vines suffered frost damage here. It has a more charming bouquet than the Champans, the whole bunch neatly disguised and lending discrete definition and focus. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin and well-judged acidity. It’s quite structured like the Les Champans; however, I discerned more grace and finesse here.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Domaine de Montille Les Greves, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Burghound 88-91 points
“A more deeply pitched and much earthier nose is comprised by notes of plum, violet and a whiff of game. There is fine volume and punch to the more powerful medium-bodied flavors that possess better depth and persistence though here too there is a trace of dryness though it is less evident.”
Stephen Tanzer 88-91 points “(vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in 20% new oak; from vines averaging 40 years of age, with some as old as 70; 30% of the crop was lost to frost): Medium red. Ripe cherry on the nose. Offers a bit more stuffing and sweetness than the Perrières, along with some floral and herbal notes, but the essentially soft middle palate turns distinctly firmer and more medicinal toward the back. Finishes with dusty tannins and a repeating herbal quality. This wine will need further élevage–and time in bottle–to come into harmony.”
Neal Martin 89-91 points “The 2016 Beaune 1er Cru Greves was matured in 20% new oak with one-third whole cluster fruit. It has a perfumed bouquet with blackberry, red cherries and iris aromas, the terroir here more expressive than the Perrieres for the moment. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, the oak lending a little more depth than the other Beaune premier crus; there’s sinew on the finish. Give this 3 or 4 years in bottle.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine de Montille Les Sizies, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 88-90 points
“(vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in 15% new oak; the average vine age here is 30 years but most of the vines are younger than that; the crop level here was down 30% in 2016): Healthy medium red. Aromas of black cherry, leather and licorice. Juicy and energetic, offering good texture but also some distinctly cool menthol and medicinal nuances. In a slightly rigid style, finishing with firm tannins. This wine only completed its malolactic fermentation in August.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Gimonnet’s Secret Upgrade

Pierre Gimonnet makes some of the best wines in Champagne, in a style that’s hyper-precise yet approachable.  Most of his wines are Blanc de Blancs and his best wines are bottled under the “Special Club” (now including mind-blowing village-specific bottlings). What many people don’t realize, though, is that in magnum his vintage wine is upgraded to the same wine that goes into his Special Club bottling.  For the price of a magnum of his “Fleuron” (or in the case of today’s wine, the Millesime de Collection aka late-released vintage wine) you get a wine that stands toe-to-toe with any big house prestige cuvee.  In the case of the wine we’re offering today, you’re getting a magnum of one of the best wines that Gimonnet has ever made—the Special Club from one the best vintages in recent memory.  This is a wine to drink now and lay down for a long time, as well.  In this format, the wine should hold for a long, long time.

Arriving Friday:

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs ‘Millesime de Collection Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay’, Champagne 2008 1.5L ($349.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points
“The best-value sparkling wine of any kind that I have tasted in the past five years. In all its raw, youthful innocence, this is the epitome of introverted, tightly coiled restraint. A beguiling transparency of pure acid drive propels an incredible finish that splashes long and strong with breathtaking, scintillating, crystalline minerality. This is a cuvée of effortless poise and boundless energy. Drinking Window 2023 – 2038.” [Review is for the 750ml, which is bottled as the Special Club. This is the same wine, bottled in magnum.]

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Chouilly Grand Cru Special Club, Champagne 2012 750ML ($169.95) $138 pre-arrival special, only five bottles available!
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Elegant and well-meshed, this layers lively, lightly mouthwatering acidity, a fine, chalky texture and a delicate range of poached apple and pear fruit, dogwood blossom and biscuit notes, and minerally saline and oyster shell accents. Disgorged July 2017. Drink now through 2028. 100 cases imported.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $149\

Other Cool Champagnes Arriving Friday :

Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($99.95) $61.90 pre-arrival special
(No reviews yet for the 2014 vintage)
“Efflorescence is from an east-facing vineyard with 40-year-old vines (sélection massale) on Kimmeridgian soils. Fermented and aged for one year in pièces and 36 months on the second lees before the disgorgement…” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate, writing on the 2013 vintage

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $64.89
Diebolt-Vallois Brut Tradition, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Bright, with citrusy acidity, this harmonious Champagne offers a creamy mousse and a minerally underpinning layered with flavors of apricot, honeysuckle, salted almond and biscuit. A crowd-pleaser. Drink now through 2020. 125 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $40
Diebolt-Vallois Prestige Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Wine & Spirits 94 points
“It’s a delicate, pure chardonnay that becomes dramatic in its intensity and breadth. The precision of the flavors will serve this well as it ages.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “Pretty floral and spice notes are delicately woven with flavors of ripe green apple, slivered almond, fleur de sel and biscuit, while citrusy acidity and a minerally note drive the finish. Drink now through 2021. 375 cases imported.” [Review is for June 2017 disgorgement]
Winery note “The Champagne Blanc de Blancs Prestige is made entirely from vines in the village of Cramant (a village classed 100% Grand Cru). The reserve wines age 2 to 3 years in 40 hl casks. These reserve wines bring richness, complexity and roundness to this 100% chardonnay cuvee Blanc de Blancs Prestige.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $59

Doyard ‘Revolution’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non-Dose, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non Dosé Révolution is the new name of the former Cuvée Vendémiaire Extra Brut, and it is sourced only in grand cru villages. This intensely yellow colored cuvée is based on 2011 (plus reserve wines from 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007). It offers a deep, ripe and intense but pure, fresh, very precise and expressive nose with ripe, concentrated citrus fruit aromas and some greenish chalky notes that demand further bottle aging. Full-bodied, round and creamy, with great elegance, finesse and complexity, this is another promising cuvée from Charles Doyard who sadly passed away in April 2017. It is nicely finessed but needs even more years to find its final character. Highly promising, though. Tasted April 2018.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $64.99
Bereche Crus Selectionnes ‘Cote’ Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Grand Cru, Champagne 2005 750ML ($119.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“An elegant Champagne, with a rich, savory streak of mineral underscoring the layered pear tart, lime blossom and crushed white cherry flavors. Creamy, with finely honed acidity chiseling the finish. Drink now through 2027. 330 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.89
The average price is $102

A New Grapelive Review

For a Classic Burgundy Producer

In Stock Now:

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges, Cote de Nuits 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Grapelive 92 points
“The Gouges family has been growing grapes in Burgundy for more than four hundred years and the current domaine was established in 1920 by the famed Henri Gouges….Now the domaine is run by Gregory and Antoine, who have grown into the challenge with exceptional ease and their latest wines are stunning, like this basic Village NSG shows, they have found an extra dimension and a wonderful degree of elegance that was sometimes missing from their father’s Pinot Noirs, when youthful….The Nuits-Saint-Georges Rouge comes from 7 small plots, mostly from the southern hillsides set on brown calcareous dirt over the classic limestone and clay soils, with this radiantly red fruited wine coming from the delightfully impressive 2014 vintage, which while known mostly for exceptional whites, it did produce some exciting reds like this one from Gouges…it performed beautifully with exceptional purity of fruit and classic details. Being the basic Village cuvee, it is more open knit in style than the Premier Crus and it shows a joyous array of forward red fruits, delicate floral notes, spice and mineral tones in a textured lighter frame, highlighting the vintage’s personality. With air in the glass this ruby/garnet Pinot Noir gains dimension and complexity adding a bit more intensity on the medium bodied palate with a touch of earth, chalky stones and the flavors become more defined showing black cherry, raspberry, plum and wilted rose petals plus a hint of wood. Everything is poised and elegant with a nice underlying vibrancy, in fact I first guessed it was a Volnay Premier Cru, such was the quality, drink over the next 3 to 5 years, it’s an excellent example from Gouges. ($60 Est.)”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

The White Whale Tete de Cuvee

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, especially for this, their top-of-the-line Blanc des Millenaires, produced only in the (truly) best years. Millenaires is a white whale of the Champagne world.

Even the 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 Next Week:

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]”

A US Exclusive Offer

For a German Riesling Star

This offer is a bit of a coup—a top German Riesling producer whose wines have been heretofore unavailable in the United States.  As a result, you’ll have to excuse our breathlessness, but the wines of Weingut Korrell are important enough in the German wine scene that it seems nearly impossible they could be unavailable on these shores—but here we are, with the only offering for Korrell in the US.

Korrell is a rising star Nahe producer.  The Weingut goes back to 1832, but it’s only with young Martin taking over the cellar that the family has attained.  Their name has been ringing in insider circles for several years now, but their “Von Den Grossen Lagen” just won at the Riesling Cup and they’re officially blowing up now.

The best vineyard that Korrell owns (and the backbone for all their Rieslings) is a monopol site called, appropriately, “Paradis.”  Paradis is a limestone-heavy site (a rarity, much like Keller’s Kirschspiel GG), with shallow soils and privileged exposition—in short, everything you could ask of a Riesling vineyard, especially to produce dry wines.  The revitalization of the site, combined with Martin’s work in the cellar, has vaulted Korrell into the top tier of producers both in the Nahe and across Germany.  These are wines that any dry Riesling lover needs to have in their cellar and we’re proud to be the first in the US to offer these wines.

Over the last two decades, the Nahe has been the vanguard region in Germany, with producers like Dönnhoff, Schäfer-Frölich, and Diel producing some of the top wines in Germany, year and out.  Situated between the chilly Mosel and the sun-drenched Rhine, Nahe wines combine everything we love about German Riesling.  Korrell have established themselves as top producer in the region and we’re beyond thrilled that we can add these wines to our collection—and your cellars.

Arriving Next Week:

Weingut Korrell Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($49.95)
$39 pre-arrival special
Weingut Korrell Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 1.5L ($99.95)
$79 pre-arrival special
Weingut Korrell Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 3L ($199.95)
$179 pre-arrival special
Stuart 94 points
“Very clean and fresh, but behind the effusive, fruit-salad character that makes this so seductive, there is a lot of structure and the finish keeps pumping out the fruit and chalky minerality. Drink or hold.”
Grapelive 94 points “The radiant and graceful Korrell Paradies Trocken leads with expressive pure apple tones. [It] impresses for its elegance and subtle character. It’s a wine of great poise and delicacy, especially admirable for such a young Riesling. The monopole estate vineyard, Paradies, is the oldest single site Korrell has and is the flagship wine from winemaker Martin Korrell. It comes from his family’s vines that are set on limestone and clay soils in Bad Kreuznach area of the Nahe region. The Paradies Riesling Trocken is a gorgeous white of depth and precise winemaking that takes advantage of this unique site in the Nahe. This wine is the heart and soul of Korrell and it is product of its unique climat,or terroir. It sees more sunshine and the limestone allows for serious concentration, while retaining acidity, though there is always great attention paid to pick dates to finely tune this signature bottling to place and vintage. Korrell mixes some traditional stainless fermentations with some native yeast and barrel ferments to craft his wines. The Paradies shows a beautiful leesy finesse that reminds me a bit of the Von Winning GG’s, with a long time on the lees adding a beautiful glycerin density to this gorgeous dry Riesling. Coming off Korrel’s incredible Riesling Cup win for his Von den Grossen Lagen (Grand Crus) Riesling Trocken, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to try this wine, and found this particular wine just as intriguing. Martin focuses on preserving heightened aromatics and crisp mineral tones, while allowing the mouth feel and depth to shine through. It is an amazing accomplishment to get it all right, and Korrell deserves his time in the limelight. This is complex and glorious stuff. Layers of green apple, peach, mixed fresh citrus and melon fruits are lifted by liquid rock, steely mineral and faint perfume of white flowers along with a silkiness of mouth feel. While still delightfully crisp, [this delivers] an exciting energy filled performance. This is a winery that about to break out and join some elite company, in fact they are riding high after winning, as mentioned, the famous Riesling Cup award with their unique multi (Grand) cru Von den Grossen Lagen Trocken Riesling. This wine is just extra proof there is real quality here! The lightly golden hued and generously textured Paradies will age well. It’s full of charm, class and potential. Best to let this one have another 3 to 5 years, though it certainly is delicious right now.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Korrell “Von Den Grossen Lagen” Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Stuart 94 points
“What a beautiful nose of leaves and white flowers, dripping after rain. With aeration, peach, nectarine and mandarin-orange notes emerge. Concentrated, racy and very polished, this is a stunning dry riesling with a long, mineral finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This fruity yet dry Riesling is filled with flavors of currant and gooseberry, while juicy, orangelike acidity cuts through, carrying freshness and providing balance. The complex finish is long and inviting. This nicely sculpted white is ready to drink now, but will only get better with age. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases made.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Korrell Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 pre-arrival special
Stuart 91 points
“Brimming with tart peach, lemon and apples plus a hint of vanilla this has so much appeal on the nose. The juicy palate ends with a wave of herbal freshness that fulfills all the promise of the nose. 70% from the Paradies top site, i.e. from paradise! Drink now. Screw cap.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Rosé Picks for Fall Drinking

As summer turns into fall, our rosé drinking does not abate.  If anything, those pink wines that straddle the line between red and white are even more useful at the table—pairing with the slightly heartier fare of the cooling season in a way that the crisp whites of summer struggle with.  These are some of our favorites for the coming season, but you can see all of our rosés

In Stock Now:

Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-12 Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Pale, shimmering pink. Vibrant, mineral-accented red currant, strawberry and blood orange aromas are complemented by a suave floral nuance. Shows impressive energy and precision on the palate, which displays intense citrus fruit, red berry and floral pastille flavors supported a bracing spine of dusty minerality. The floral note comes back strong on the bright, focused finish, which leaves a building mineral note behind.”

Torre dei Beati Rose, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Ian D’agata 91 points
“Bright dark pink. Delicate aromas of strawberry and rosehip on the inviting nose. Then richer and tactile on the palate, with juicy acidity lifting and focusing the peppery red fruit flavors on the long finish. The freshness and liveliness is typical of the 2018 vintage. The Montepulciano grapes used to make this wine were planted in 1972.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($259.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Vivid orange-pink. Bright, minerally and focused on the highly perfumed nose, displaying fresh blood orange, strawberry and floral aromas that expand steadily with aeration. Energetic and chewy in the mouth, offering concentrated red berry, citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors that show excellent depth and delineation. Closes taut and precise, displaying strong persistence and a resonating floral note.”

Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cote du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Case-12 Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cote du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($189.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Light vivid orange. Deeply perfumed raspberry, tangerine and candied rose scents are accompanied by a slowly building hint of succulent herbs. Broad and fleshy on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry preserve flavors and a refreshingly spicy touch of white pepper. Finishes velvety and long, displaying resonating florality and an energizing jolt of dusty minerals.”

Meyney Returns

Chateau Meyney is a perennial best value in Bordeaux.  One of the oldest estates in the region, it’s superbly situated on some of the best vineyard land in St. Estephe, though it curiously isn’t a classified growth.  That’s helped to keep the price down, despite the fact that the wines age as well as any in the AOC aside from Estournel and Montrose.  The ’82 and ’86 are still stellar and the ’89 and ’90 have only recently moved into their prime.  That wouldn’t be much to talk about, except that we’re talking about a $40 wine—and that’s for current releases from a tip top vintage.  We’ve just confirmed our stock of the 2016, arriving next week.

Arriving Next Week:

Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points
“Wild nose. Impressive, deep hue and a wealth of fresh, violet-like aromas, as well as cassis, graphite and dark cherries. The palate has a very sleek, fine, powerful core of tannins that bring a lot of depth and deliver rich dark-fruit flavor. A classic Meyney. Best since 1961! Try from 2023.”
Decanter 94 points “Rich and full, this is very St-Estèphe: round through the mid-palate, with an amazingly tasty balance of richness and freshness leading to salinity and minerality on the finish. It will need another five to eight years before being ready to drink, but it has to be one of the value picks of the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2016 Meyney is a bold, powerful wine. Tobacco, menthol, chocolate, spice and torrefaction notes all add shades of darkness. Meyney is potent and quite broad in feel, and yet everything is very nicely balanced. Although not especially subtle, Meyney delivers the goods, and then some.”

Thanks for reading!