In Today’s Newsletter:
New Reviews for a Tuscan Favorite
2017 Huet Arrives Friday
New Rosé in the September Sale
Selosse – Ne Plus Ultra Champagne
The Rarest Chartogne-Taillet?
Reference Point, Old School Napa Cab
2015 Jamet Cote Rotie
The Koveted K Vintners – New Releases
2010 Prado Enea Reloaded
Classic Chablis at Throwback Pricing
The September Sale Recapped
New Review for a New Favorite
This delicious entry-priced Chianti Classico is quite the star of the Tuscan section in our shop. It was no surprise that admiration started pouring in. Scoop a case or two up for yourself to drink while you wait for Felsina’s 2015 Rancia and Fontalloro to age!
“represents a true renaissance of one of Tuscany’s forgotten treasures!”
Fattoria dei Pagliarese Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 91 points “Fèlsina’s new release is a wine from an old property nearby. It’s a classy Chianti Classico that offers a lot of value and authenticity. Pagliarese is a historic Chianti Classico estate located in Castelnuovo Berardenga, nestled between Fèlsina and Castell’in Villa. In the 1960’s and 70’s, Pagliarese was, in fact, one of the most highly regarded estates in Chianti Classico. However, by the 1980’s, the property was in need of some investment, particularly in the vineyards. In 1995, the Poggiali family, owners of Fèlsina, bought the estate and set out to replant 28 of the 32 hectares using a massale selection from the oldest vines at the property. Since that time, some of the grapes from Pagliarese have gone into the Fèlsina’s Chianti Classico, though a majority of the grapes and wine from the estate has been sold off, but now Felsina is now ready to show this estate in all its glory. Starting with this 2015 vintage, the Poggiali’s decided to make their inaugural release from the estate made from, and unlike the Sangiovese-only Felsina, the wines at Paglierese are, of course, Sangiovese-based. They are also blended with small amounts of Canaiolo and Mammolo, but without the use of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon that has been the norm in recent times. The soil at Paglierese is a bit more sandy than that at Fèlsina. According to the winery the terroir is unique at Paglierese, as it combines sand, rock and clay with some tufo (a type of volcanic rock), whereas in Felsina’s Chianti Classico vineyards it is more dominated by stoney albarese soil. Given the differences in two terroirs, as well as the fact that the wines are blended (particularly with the Cannaiolo), the Pagliarese wines tend to be a bit more elegant and soft. The graceful style is accentuated by a classical wine-making regimen that promotes elegance over extraction including a gentle maceration regime as well as extended aging in mostly in neutral 50HL Slavonian oak botti. The resulting wines are beautifully refined, pure examples of Chianti Classico. This re-birth of Pagliarese in Castelnuovo Berardenga, in the southern zone of Chianti Classico represents a true renaissance of one of Tuscany’s forgotten treasures! This 2015 is ripe and lush on the palate showing the region’s success in this vintage along with the finesse and elegance you normally find in Felsina’s own wines with layers of smooth red berry, plum, currant and strawberry fruits along with classic dried tobacco, minty/menthol, anise and light cedary wood notes. This Chianti Classico has muted tannins and subtle acidity, but the structure is there, though hidden slightly by its seamless unfolding and opulent mouth feel, this is certainly an easy wine to enjoy young, and especially with simple country cuisine and or hard cheeses like Pecorino.”
The average price nationally is $22
So do we.
Check out these additional 2015 wines from Felsina in stock now:
Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “This shows serious density and balance with a blackberry, licorice and blueberry character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Sleek and racy. Structured yet wonderfully polished. Drink in 2021.”
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $45 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 1.5L ($139.95) $115 special, 12 magnums in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “Plenty of dark plums, black cherries, blackberry pie, cedar, tobacco and a hint of orange rind. There’s a real vitality to the palate, which is so well carved out by firm, savory tannins and seriously bright acidity. A chewy finish. Drink in 2022.”
A perfect vintage for the CCR.
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 35 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points “What a delicious nose that’s ripe, but also really well defined with dried red plums, hazelnuts, Indian spices, baking spices, cedar, tar and licorice. The dusty tannins are a delight, and so are the dried fruit and spices that warm the palate. They also penetrate all the way through to the long, charcoal-laden finish. Drink in 2021.”
Hard to find a better deal in early-drinking Tuscan wine.
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($59.95) $49 special, 19 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “A stunning, spatial wine, the 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a wine to buy by the case and savor over the next 20 or so years. All the natural richness of the 2015 vintage comes through in a creamy, voluptuous Chianti Classico that hits all the right notes.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a tight and elegant wine with bright berry notes followed by mineral tones of clay and chalky soil. You really taste those Castelnuovo Berardenga signatures here on the bouquet. The finish carries forward with grace, elegance and determination.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Dense yet rich, this red offers black cherry, earth and graphite aromas and flavors. Needs a year or two to find balance, yet the lingering, tobacco-inflected finish and refined tannins indicate the potential here. Best from 2019 through 2028.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “Scents of lilac and mint preview the fresh, herbal notes that highlight this wine’s vibrant flavors. It’s juicy with black cherry and raspberry fruit, propelled forward by cool, mineral tannins and mouthwatering acidity. This is a wine to buy by the case and follow its progress over the next couple of years.”
Arriving This Friday
The Remarkable 2017 Domaine Huet Vouvrays
These are wines we stock year in and out and we’re excited to feature the exciting 2017 vintage (you can view the ’15 and ’16’s in stock on our website). 2017 looks to be an exciting year for the estate (as it is across France) with bright, mineral driven wines that showcase the prime terroirs Huet is known for.If you’re new to the estate, know that they make wines from three vineyards (Le Haut Lieu, Le Mont and Clos de Bourg) at varying levels of sweetness. To that last point, don’t make the mistake of skipping anything past Sec—the Demi-Secs are especially useful at the table and long lived, with the sugar adding fruit and body but not much in the way of perceptible sweetness. Moelleux is a specialty of the Loire and is a beautiful wine that is a perfect partner for cheese and contemplation.
Of the three vineyards, Le Haut Lieu produces wines with the most fruit and the softest texture, accessible young. Le Mont is the most mineral and often requires the most time to find itself as a wine and the Clos de Bourg is a bit of a combination of the two. Gaston Huet thought it the best terroir in Vouvray, but a bottle of well-aged Le Mont Demi is an effective counter argument. Whichever combination you go for, stock up—there have been three short harvests in a row in Vouvray and many producers’ reserves are running low.
Arriving Friday, September 21th:
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Importer note “The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hA. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu.”
The average price is $37
Importer note “For many insiders, the argument over Vouvray’s greatest vineyard comes down to two sites: Le Mont and Clos du Bourg. Undisputably a grand cru vineyard, Le Mont enjoys a choice site on the Première Côte. With less clay and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, Le Mont yields young wines of intense minerality. With age, the wines develop great length and finesse.”
The average price is $41
Importer note “Gaston Huët believed this to be the greatest of all Vouvray vineyards. With the Première Côte’s shallowest, stoniest soils, its wines often synthesize Le Mont’s intense minerality with Le Haut-Lieu’s generous texture.”
The average price is $41
Wine Spectator 93 points “Plump and lively, with a core of bold ginger, McIntosh apple and almond notes followed by quince and persimmon flavors. Shows buried minerality, but also an ever-so-slightly off-dry wink on the finish, making this especially fun to drink. Drink now through 2032.”Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Delightfully ripe and lively, with a mix of white peach, ginger, yellow apple and quince flavors that are carried by bright minerality and mouthwatering acidity. Light floral hints gild the finish, while the fruit drives through. Thoroughly delicious, and built to age well. Drink now through 2033.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “This glistens, with glazed pear, warm persimmon, green plum and quince flavors, all carried by elegant white ginger and verbena notes. A light gilding of piecrust adds to the flattering feel, though there’s ample acidity here for balance and drive. Drink now through 2032.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux, Loire 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “A beauty, with an inviting display of succulent yellow apple, green plum, pear, persimmon and quince flavors that ripples lengthily through the finish, while light verbena, ginger and honeysuckle notes dart around. A long green tea echo runs through the finish. Shows terrific range and purity, with the sweetness easily harnessed for balance. Best from 2019 through 2040.”
New Rosés in the September Sale
With the arrival of autumn comes the end of “rosé season,” which as we’ve explained before is kind of absurd. Rosé is a fantastic year-round drink that pairs perfectly with a bunch of cooler weather foods. Nevertheless, we’re dropping the price on a quartet of delicious rosé—and you should take advantage. Two of these are in the light and delicate vein (the Orangerie and Plouzeau) and two are a bit more robust (St. Damien and Grands Bois). All were great deals and are even better now, so stock up.
A classic bright rosé.
M Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($17.95) Was $14, Now $11.90 Clearance Price
Josh Raynolds 90 points “Light, bright orange. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of fresh red berries, orange pith and rose oil on the tightly focused nose. Dry and nervy in the mouth, offering lively strawberry, cherry and citrus zest flavors that show very good clarity and minerally cut. Closes brisk and long, with resonating floral and red fruit notes and a hint of succulent herbs.”
VinopolNote “While Chinon is best known for its lovely, savory bistro reds, a few producers make dynamite rosé from the AOC as well. Plouzeau is one of those that makes excellent rosé, and the 2017 version just landed. As a red, some don’t love Chinon because of its herbal, savory streak, but that’s tempered in rosé form, turning into a lovely background note of thyme or rosemary to complement the bright juicy fruit. This is dry and crisp—and more importantly budget friendly.”
Chateau Carignan L’Orangerie De Carignan Rose, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2017 ($17.95) Was $14, Now $11.90 Clearance Price
Winery note “50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. A salmon pink color.The nose is a subtle bouquet of flowers and red fruits.On the palate, it is a lively wine, refreshing, delicate and well balanced with a very pleasant finish.”
“Soft and easy, with modest peach and white raspberry fruit flavors. Rounded finish. Drink now.” -Wine Spectator
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($27.95) Was $24, Now $21.90 Clearance Price
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points “Limpid orange. Incisive orange pith and red currant aromas are complemented by building herb and floral accents. Silky and round on the palate, offering intense red berry and blood orange flavors firmed by a jolt of bitter cherry pit. Finishes with strong authority, echoing the orange and floral notes.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “Mainly Cinsault (70%) from 80-year-old vines (the balance is split between Grenache and Mourvèdre), the 2017 Gigondas Rose is a medium-bodied wine that captures much of that variety’s elusive fruit and spice character. Hints of melon and redcurrant pick up notes of dried, savory spice on the finish.”“In a fleshy, smooth style but shows good energy and lift”-JR
Domaine Les Grands Bois Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Les Trois Soeurs Rose 2017 750ML ($14.95) Was $11.90, Now $9.90 Clearance Price
Grenache, Carignan. Certified organic.
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 89 points “Limpid orange-pink. Ripe strawberry and tangerine and a subtle floral note on the fragrant nose and in the mouth. In a fleshy, smooth style but shows good energy and lift as well. Finishes with repeating florality and good, red-fruit-driven persistence.”
Now it’s even lower!
Ne Plus Ultra Grower Champagne
What’s the name to know in grower Champagne? Or better yet, who does everyone brag about working for?
Meeting Anselme Selosse is “one of those encounters that changes your life” –Olivier Collin
Discover for yourself what sets the Champagne world on fire.
Arriving This Friday:
It’s Selosse—it’s gonna go quick.
Jacques Selosse V.O. ‘Version Originale’ Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($319.95) $289 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles available!
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Vivid yellow. Deeply pitched nectarine, poached pear and buttered toast aromas are brightened by dusty minerals and lemon pith. Deep, expansive orchard and pit fruit flavors show a hint of toffee and are lifted and sharpened by suggestions of white pepper and bitter quinine. Distinctly rich but quite lively as well, finishing very long, with firm stony grip and lingering spiciness.”
In Stock Now:
We got 1% of the total production of 2004 Selosse. Only 2 magnums remain.
Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Millesime 2004 1.5L ($2,199.95) $1,999 special, 2 magnums in stock now
The 2004 vintage was bottled exclusively in magnum. Only 300 magnums were bottled. 100% Chardonnay from two parcels in the Grand Cru of Avise. Disgorged 26 April 2017.
“Visitors to France should look out for another Meunier cuvée from the next-door neighbor vineyard, Beaux Sens. 61-year vines, and different from Les Barres, chalkier, less earthy, less deep but more silvery” -Terry Theise
Chartogne-Taillet is widely recognized as a top tier Champagne grower—their focus on single vineyard, old vine bottlings produces wine that has depth and soul that’s matched by only a very few in the region. We’re excited to have secured his rare “Beaux Sens” bottling—the next door neighbor to the coveted Les Barres and the flagship wine for the estate in his home country.
Because of the scarcity of the cuvee, no Beaux Sens “officially” is exported to the US—it’s all marked for the top restaurants and shops in Alexandre Chartogne’s home country (France). We’ve been working on securing some for a while and it’s quite a coup to be able to secure bottles, arriving Friday. Lovers of Champagne should pay attention—this is the toughest wine from the esteemed estate to source and a monument to old-vine Meunier.
Arriving Friday, September 21st:
Only 11 bottles remaining!
Chartogne-Taillet ‘Beaux Sens’ Extra Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
100% Pinot Meunier
James Suckling 95 points “Pure and delicious pinot meunier vinified in old wood, it opens up with sweet fragrant red and blue berry fruits, woody forest notes and peppery nuances as well as almond paste, dried meadow flowers and fresh bread nuances. Initially occupies the palate in sleek, plate like shape, builds outwards with plenty of flesh driven by cleverly paced acidity. Terrific vinous presence at the finish, this has unique and distinctive style. Drink now.”
Reference-Point, Old-School Napa
“Time passes, but nothing much seems to change at this reference-point estate on Spring Mountain. Philip, Birgitta and Lisa Togni continue to make classy, elegant Cabernet Sauvignons in a super-classic style that rewards aging. These remain some of the most distinctive wines being made in Napa Valley.” – Antonio Galloni
Philip Togni is one of the last holdouts from what might be called Old Napa. Based on Spring Mountain, the Togni winery (now in the capable hands of daughter Lisa) has been turning out some of the best wines in Napa since the 80’s and they continue to make every bottle in the same style that made them famous in the first place. If you want Napa Cabernet that combines rich fruit with structure, spice and earth in a package that isn’t Bordeaux but can age like one, Togni is one of the best remaining options.
For whatever reason, though, they’re less famous than their peers like Mayacamas, Dunn or Corison—the other producers who make wines in a similar style and quality level. As a result, it’s still possible to acquire library stock of the wines—and we are. We’ll have a small quantity of the 2004, plus the new release 2015 arriving at the end of this month. You should buy a bottle of ’04 to see where the wines are heading and then stock up on the 2015’s, an outstanding vintage.
Arriving September 21st:
Only six bottles available
Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 95+ points “[Tasted in 2014] The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, comes from steep mountain vineyards at the top of the Napa side of Spring Mountain. Aromas of black olives, tapenade, creme de cassis, licorice and truffles emerge from this opaque ruby/purple-colored, youthful 2004. Togni’s spiritual reference point is Bordeaux more than Napa Valley, and his wines seem to represent a hypothetical melange of those two distinctive schools of wine. Still backward, but rich, full-bodied and promising, this brilliant 2004 is 5-7 years away from its adolescence; it should age for 30-40 years.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “[Tasted in 2014 at a separate tasting] The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon has developed beautifully since I last tasted it. The early harvest produced an exotic, ripe wine built on intensity, breadth and power. Sweet tobacco, grilled herbs and cloves wrap around a core of blue/blackish fruit as this voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon shows off its considerable power. The 2004 will drink well for another 10-15 years. Today it is in a real sweet spot of total beauty.”
On the subject of Mayacamas, we’ve secured a rare six bottles of the 2013 vintage, also arriving Friday:
Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles available!
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is a huge, dark wine. Virile, imposing and massively structured in the glass, the 2013 is a wine for readers who can be patient. The flavors are dark, bold and incisive, with potent tannins and a real feeling of gravitas to back things up. Black cherry, game, smoke, gravel and licorice add to an impression of brooding intensity. In many ways, the 2013 reminds me of some of the great wines of the 1970s in its dark, imposing personality.”
Arriving Sept 21st
2015 Jamet Cote Rotie
Domaine Jamet needs no introduction. They’ve been the flagship producer in Cote Rotie, making some of the most coveted wines in the Northern Rhone. Their top wine has become the reference for what traditional Cote Rotie should taste like and is now a blue chip collectible bottle. The 2015 arrives late this month and though it’s expensive it will surely go fast. We’ve been asked about this wine for a year and a half now and it’s exciting to finally bring it in. They arrive late this month.
Arriving This Friday, September 21st:
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 97 points “Lurid violet color. Assertive blackberry, licorice pastille, smoky bacon and potpourri scents are complemented by a strong mineral overlay. Seamless and broad in the mouth, offering deeply concentrated black and blue fruit liqueur, cola and floral pastille flavors and a strong jolt of exotic spices. Finishes with repeating mineral, smoke and dark fruit character, with noticeable but well-knit tannins and superb tenacity.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2015 Cote Rotie was scheduled to be bottled the day after my visit, so I tasted the final blend from tank. Jean-Paul describes the vintage as a cross between 2009 and 2010, adding that “as it’s aged, it’s gotten less broad and longer.” The warmth of the year hasn’t detracted from the wine’s floral aromas, and the berry fruit is still fresh but concentrated. This medium to full-bodied wine is rich and tannic but also ripe and almost creamy on the mid-palate, finishing with hints of tapenade. It should begin to drink well by age 10, although it’s far from unapproachable now.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95-97 points “The 2015 Côte Rôtie was scheduled to be bottled not long after my visit. This is an undeniably great vintage at this address, even if Jean-Paul prefers his 2016s, calling 2015 “too much.” It’s worth pointing out that he thought the same about his 1991, which is a borderline perfect wine today. The 2015 sports a deep ruby/purple color to go with searing notes of pepper, smoked meats, flowers, and assorted black and blue fruits. With full-bodied richness, a concentrated, thick mid-palate, sweet, yet present tannin, and a huge finish, this is a wine to back up the truck for. A warning, however – it’s not for those looking for instant gratification.”
In Stock Now from Domaine Jamet
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie, Rhone 2014 750ML ($189.95) $169 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 94 points “Deep ruby. Heady, smoke- and mineral-tinged blueberry, raspberry and violet aromas show outstanding clarity and a hint of Asian spices. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering deeply concentrated but surprisingly animated red and dark berry and floral pastille flavors, along with a suggestion of spicecake. The strikingly long, penetrating finish features intense minerally cut, an echo of juicy red fruit and fine-grained tannins that come in late.”
James Suckling 95-96 points “Plenty of violets, pepper and deep-set spices are all part of the equation here, and this is a very complex Côte Rôtie that has a wealth of darkly stony notes, coal smoke and dark chocolate. Just superb! The palate’s succulent and swathed in plush, fine tannins that envelop black- and red-plum flavors. Plenty of volume, great elegance and a lot of detail. A vintage when experienced makers could still shine, and the sorting in the vineyard was clearly a large part of this. Classy wine with so much on offer. Best from 2020 for a decade or more. Tasted in tank shortly before bottling.”
Domaine Jamet Cotes du Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 91-92 points “Very good syrah-based cuvée (100%) with plump ripe-blackberry and black-cherry fruits on offer, plus hints of blueberries. A refined and restrained style that’s really measured, fleshy, vibrant and energetic. Great wine. Drink now.”
Josh Raynolds 90 points “Bright violet. Lively, mineral-laced dark berry aromas are complicated by hints of licorice and peppery spices. Silky and seamless on the palate, offering gently sweet blackberry and violet pastille flavors that become deeper and fleshier with air. Sappy and energetic in character, closing with strong thrust and silky, slow-building tannins.”
Domaine Jamet Cotes du Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Bright purple. Textbook Syrah aromas of dark berries, olive, cracked pepper and smoky bacon carry a subtle floral topnote. Silky and sweet on the palate, offering juicy blackberry and cherry flavors and a touch of candied violet. Finishes on a spicy floral note; smooth tannins shape the clinging finish.”
Jeb Dunnuck 90+ points “I loved the 2016 Côtes du Rhône, which has already been bottled. Slightly closed aromatically yet with a deep, rich style as well as peppery herbs and dark fruit, this 100% Syrah needs a year or two of bottle age but is beautiful wine and ideal for readers looking to get a taste of this estate for not much buck.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2016 Cotes du Rhone comes from Syrah vines grown just outside Côte Rôtie and spends up to a year in older oak prior to bottling. It’s slightly more concentrated than the straight Syrah IGP (which comes from young vines), offering medium body, a plump, succulent mouthfeel and notes of cherries, violets and tapenade. It should drink well for 4-5 years.”
VinopolNote: Jamet’s Cotes du Rhone is Syrah grown in Condrieu.
The Koveted K Vintners
A Fantastic Set of New Wines
The wines of K Vintners need very little introduction, as the wines Charles Smith makes under this label are some of our most popular year in and out. If you’re unfamiliar with the winery, know that Charles Smith fashions himself a bit of a rock star and he ought to—he used to manage them. Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards. Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.
His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners.’ And the winery has grown by leaps and bounds since. By our count, K makes more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the additional projects he’s involved in such as Substance and Sixto.
At this point, Charles Smith is one of the defining wine makers for what might be the modern Washington style. His wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacony quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else. The only thing we can complain about is that we can’t carry them more often.
We’re happy to announce that four wines will be arriving early… this Friday in fact. So snap up what you’d like now to secure your allocation.
Featured K Vintners Wines Arriving Friday, September 21st:
“a compelling Syrah that brooks no argument”-WA
Charles Smith K Vintners The Beautiful Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98 points “Co-fermented with 3% Viognier, the 2015 Syrah The Beautiful is fabulous, bursting from the glass with exotic aromas of violets, blackberries, panforte, black olives and lychee nuts (fanciful though that mélange sounds). On the palate, it’s full-bodied, velvety and lavishly textural, cutting a broad swath across the palate, with a deep core of dark fruit and pungent savory nuance, concluding with a fine-grained, mouthwateringly sapid finish. It’s a compelling Syrah that brooks no argument.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “Co-fermented with 4% Viognier, the 2015 Syrah The Beautiful Powerline Vineyard was fermented with plenty of stems and brought up mostly in neutral oak. Candied violets, game, blackcurrants, and incense notes all emerge from this beautiful, seamless beauty. It has a rich, full-bodied profile on the palate as well as a great mid-palate, fine tannin, and nicely integrated acidity. This is another singular, layered, silky beauty from this team. Keep in mind, this comes from very young vines, so I suspect the best is yet to come here, which is saying something at this quality level.”
Charles Smith K Vintners Powerline Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “Made from 100% Syrah, the 2015 Syrah Powerline Vineyard is much more backward, brooding, and mineral-laced, with sensational notes of blackcurrants, cassis, crushed rock, and tapenade. A true powerhouse on the palate, with terrific concentration, building tannin, and a great, great finish, it’s a singular, incredible wine that does everything right. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following decade.”
Charles Smith K Vintners Klein Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “Almost always one of my favorite releases at this address, the 2015 Syrah Klein Vineyard is up with the crème de la crème in the vintage. Plums, candied cherries, violets, lavender, chocolate, and tons of dusty, earthy minerality all emerge from this exotic, singular, full-bodied, effort that has building tannin and a vibrant, rich, textured style. With incredible purity, notable structure, and a lifted, perfumed style, it’s flat-out gorgeous.”
Charles Smith K Vintners Charlotte Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2015 Charlotte Rhône Blend Rock Garden Vineyard checks in as a co-fermented blend of 43% Grenache, 24% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah, and 13% Roussanne vinified in concrete aged in neutral puncheons and demi-muids. Its saturated ruby/plum color is followed by a rocking bouquet of smoked meats, dried herbs, spice-box and blackcurrant fruit. It’s medium to full-bodied, seamless, and silky on the palate, yet has savory tannin that’s going to keep it drinking beautifully for a decade.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “This is the first non-vineyard designate made by Jim Maresh. Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Old Vines has a lovely pure nose of pink peppercorn, dried black tea leaves, red and black licorice and violets with dried cranberries, red cherries and layers and layers of spice. Medium to full-bodied, it has amazing concentration of flavor in the mouth, blossoming out to pure red fruits and spicy layers, with cinnamon and autumn leaves accents, very fine-grained tannins and juicy acidity, finishing very, very long with tons of earth-laced fruit. Wow! 1,040 cases produced.”Big, rich Chardonnay in the August Sale!
Orin Swift Mannequin, California 2015 750ML ($34.95) Was $21.90, Now $18 September Clearance Price
Case-12 Orin Swift Mannequin, California 2015 750ML ($359.95) Was $279, Now $199 September Clearance Price (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Winery Note “Bursting aromatics of honeydew, honeysuckle and ripe peach are complemented by a hint of jasmine, pineapple and cream. With lots of weight and viscosity, the full-bodied palate brims with ripe stone fruit, wet stone and a touch of sweet Meyer lemon. The fleshy, golden mid-palate evolves into a pointed, textured finish that closes with lots of minerality.”
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $30
Case-12 Domaine Lafond Tavel Roc-Epine Rose, Rhone 2017 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “A dependable producer of Tavel and Lirac (and Châteauneuf-du-Pape), the Lafonds have turned out a spice-driven 2017 Tavel that’s bottled under screwcap. Hints of allspice and clove accent watermelon and red berry flavors, while the palate is medium to full-bodied and richly textured, leading into a long, silky finish. Bravo!”One of the top two Produttori Crus, and 2013 is a vintage for the ages.
Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 1.5L ($199.95) $179 special
Wine Enthusiast 97 points – Cellar Selection “A hallmark expression of Nebbiolo, Produttori del Barbaresco’s 2013 Rabajà Riserva offers aromas of wild red berry, menthol, Alpine herb, saddle leather and dark culinary spice. The concentrated palate boasts enviable finesse and is practically weightless in the mouth, showing crushed black cherry, juicy raspberry, orange zest, clove and licorice alongside firm, velvety tannins. Bright acidity provides impeccable balance. Drink 2021–2033.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Rabajà is shockingly seamless in this tasting. Deep layers of fruit virtually bury the tannins, something that is so unusual for a young Rabajà. A host of dark blue-tone fruits, lavender, mint, violet and spice race across the palate in an utterly vivid, compelling Barbaresco of the highest level. Perhaps I caught the Rabajà on an unusually open day, but it is terrific and also quite refined for such a young wine.”Wine Spectator 96 points “Fruity, featuring floral, cherry and plum flavors, along with savory leather, licorice and tobacco notes. A chewy texture and lively acidity keep this well-defined through the long finish. Complex and classy. Best from 2023 through 2038.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Fruity, featuring floral, cherry and plum flavors, along with savory leather, licorice and tobacco notes. A chewy texture and lively acidity keep this well-defined through the long finish. Complex and classy. Best from 2023 through 2038.”
Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico Irpinia, Campania 2015 750ML ($21.95) $17.75 special
Case-12 Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico Irpinia, Campania 2015 750ML ($249.95) $184 special (that’s only $15.33/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points “This shows such a beautiful density and texture with licorice and blackberry character. Full and layered yet always tight and focused. A fantastic young red. Drink or hold.”
2010 Prado Enea Reloaded!
Your Second Chance at First Growth Rioja
Muga’s top-end “Prado Enea” bottling is a wine that represents the best of Rioja. Produced only in great years and held extensively before release, this is one of the top examples of traditional Rioja and will age and deliver pleasure like a top Bordeaux—only a lot less expensive.
2010 was about as perfect a year as you could hope for in Rioja, with warm but not hot weather and a dry harvest. Muga took advantage of this and has made one of their best ever bottlings of Prada Eneo. This edition is 70% Tempranillo with the balance made up of Garnacha and Mazuelo—grapes the provide freshness and lift to go with the brooding power of the flagship grape.
Muga is considered one of the finest old producers of Rioja, combining a traditionalist approach with modern cellar techniques. Up and down the line, their wines offer tremendous value—these are wines that will age into dynamic, complex beauties. The Prado especially is worth paying attention to. With proper age, it’s a wine that can be the best bottle in almost any company, which makes it a steal.
We sold through our first tranche of this wine back in the spring but have just secured another round, arriving in October. It’s exciting to offer this to you again, though quantities are still quite limited. Act now to secure yours before the wine disappears again.
Arriving ETA October:
Bodegas Muga ‘Prado Enea’ Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 99 points “The wonderfully silky texture with an added juiciness is what makes this wine so very special. The flawless and seamless nature to the wine is so impressive that it takes you breath away. Plenty of beautiful fruit but what mouthfeel. Drink now and forever.”
Decanter 96 points “Only made in the best vintages, and they don’t get any better than 2010, this is a brooding, ageworthy blend of mostly Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha and 10% Mazuelo. It’s rich, dark and complex with stylish tannins and scented oak.”
Classic Chablis at Throwback Pricing
” comes from one of the coolest Premier Cru vineyards”-WE
La Chablisienne Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Decanter 95 points “Flowers with a bit of lemon curd on the nose, giving way to a lively palate with white flowers, herbs and a fine-grained mineral seam running through to the racy, spicy finish.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “This wine comes from one of the coolest Premier Cru vineyards, giving it an initial austerity that then fills out as the wine breathes. It’s crisp and bright with white fruit and intense, lemony acidity. Age it for a few more months and drink from 2018.”
Burghound 91 points “Outstanding. A spicy and super-fresh array of citrus, pear and tidal pool serves as an elegant introduction to the impressively intense and precise middle weight flavors that exude a fine bead of minerality on the lingering and complex finale where a hint of austerity surfaces. Lovely.”
“a classic Les Lys of finesse”-BH
La Chablisienne Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 La Chablisienne Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($219.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding! A subtle touch of wood sets off airy and elegant aromas of cool wet stone, tidal pool, algae and green apple. There is an equally cool and restrained mouth feel to the delicate, intense and delineated middle weight flavors that deliver excellent length on the lacy and chiseled finale. This is a classic Les Lys of finesse.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Grapes from this lesser known Premier Cru are often blended with those from Vaillons, yet La Chablisienne has bottled it as a separate wine. The coolness of the site translates beautifully into a crisp fruit expression that’s tight with acidity and minerality, ready to age. Drink from 2019.”
“All the pieces of the Chablis puzzle are in place here”-Decanter
La Chablisienne Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 La Chablisienne Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($219.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Decanter 95 points “An exuberant, complex nose packed full of exotic fruits, asparagus and elderflower with well integrated oak. The palate has a very strong fruity expression with an oily depth and harmony and very impressive length. All the pieces of the Chablis puzzle are in place here.”
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding. As is usually the case this is more elegant, particularly on the floral and white orchard fruit suffused nose that is nuanced by plenty of classic Chablis elements and in particular mineral reduction. There is also a bit more volume to the caressing, intense and voluminous flavors that drip with minerality on the refined but powerful finale where a discreet touch of wood arises. This offers ample development potential and should be lovely with time. Drink: 2021+”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Sometimes blended with grapes from the Fourchaume Premier Cru, this Vaulorent bottled on its own is a bit crisp–bright with citrus and toasty from wood aging. It will develop slowly over several years, so drink from 2019.”
September Sale Recap
The September Sale contains multitudes—here are a few more highlights, plus a full list of everything on sale through the end of the month.
From one of the most hallowed vineyards in Napa.
Eisele Vineyard ‘Altagracia’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($149.95) Was $133, Now $121.90 Clearance Price
James Suckling 95 points “This is a dense and juicy red with characters of blackberries, chocolate and pine needles. Sweet tobacco, too. Full body and round, polished tannins. A more dialed-in, terroir character than in past vintages. 88% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc and 5% petit verdot. (5/2018)”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia has slightly muted black cherries, crushed black plums and cassis with hints of licorice, black soil and cracked pepper plus a waft of tapenade. Medium to full-bodied, rich and expressive in the mouth, it delivers a lot of layers and wonderfully fine tannins, finishing long and earthy.”
Domaine Philippe Charlopin Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($249.95) Was $219, Now $199 Clearance Price
Wine Spectator 94 points “There’s a lot of oak here, lending char, vanilla and whisky elements to the core of black cherry and black currant flavors. Fresh and firm, though the finish absorbs the oak better than the initial attack. Vibrant and long, this just needs time to integrate. Best from 2020 through 2036.”
Chateau Simone Les Grands Carmes de Simone Rose, IGP Bouches-du-Rhone 2014 750ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $26 Clearance Price
Importer note “We are pleased to be able to access a larger quantity of the “Grandes Carmes de Simone” Rosé this year, which is classified as a Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhone. From a small north-facing site just around the hill from the Chateau itself, the wine is 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 20% Merlot and 5% Cinsault. It receives the same special care as the flagship Palette, with manual harvests and extended elevage in small foudre.”