In Today’s Newsletter:
Producer Spotlight: Vina Mein
Top Value Bordeaux from the Team Behind Le Pin
The Singular Genius of Nikolaihof Vinothek
July Sale Restock – A&P Villaine
Clos Ste. Magdeleine, Gouges,
Do Ferreiro, Dönnhoff, Raul Perez and More!
July Sale Highlights and Roundup
Producer Spotlight: Vina Mein
Coastal, northwestern Spain is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world. After decades operating in obscurity, the wine world is starting to discover the maritime climate, amazing terroirs and unique grapes of Galicia. As the world has noticed, money and technical ability have flowed in, creating the perfect environment for stunning, cool climate wines. These are wines that can challenge the finest of Chablis for complexity, personality and age-worthiness at prices that, while expensive for Spanish white wine, are bargains for the quality of the bottles in question.
A top case in point is the wines of Vina Mein, in Ribeiro. Just inland from the more famous Rias Baixas, the main grape at Vina Mein is Treixadura, which combines the saline notes you often get in Albarino with more texture and golden stone fruit flavors. These are electric wines which have the intensity and complexity that you expect out of Great Wine, in a distinctly coastal Spanish idiom. The wines we’ve recently brought in were made by the talented team at Comando G, who convinced owner Javier Alen to separate out different sites and expand the different vessels used for elevage.
While it’s easy and tempting to compare these wines to something like Burgundy (specifically Grand Cru Chablis), we’d like to note that these are very much their own genres—it’s just that these specific examples are more or less without peer in Spain. If ever we needed proof that the expansion of the wine world has been a good thing, these are some of the first wines we’d point towards. We’ve just received three new releases—the two single vineyard wines plus their entry level bottling (all white). There’s a noticeable step up in class and texture between the two levels of wines, but both are stellar and worth paying attention to.
In Stock Now:
Vina Mein ‘Eiras Altas’, Ribeiro 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The lemony and citrusy 2016 Eiras Altas comes from the vineyard that surrounds the winery, a place that was mentioned in old books linked to the San Clodio Monastery, where the Ribeiro wine was born. They used a blend of 70% Treixadura, 20% Loureiro and 10% Albariño from three hectares planted in 1987 on soils of white granite sand. The full clusters were pressed and the juice fermented in oak foudre, stainless steel and egg-shaped concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and then matured in those vessels for ten months with lees but without bâtonnage. This has great freshness and purity, great tension and length, it feels very young and undeveloped. There are some balsamic notes, possibly from the Loureiro, which they try not to pick early. It has tingling acidity that gives an electric sensation. This should develop nicely in bottle, and even if it’s drinkable now, I’d wait a little more before pulling the cork. 5,544 bottles were filled in September 2017.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The single-vineyard 2016 Tega do Sal is 90% Treixadura and 10% Albariño from the Vilerma zone, from 25-year-old plants on granite soils that have more clay and some laminar, schist-like texture, soils that give a little more volume. There’s also a high percentage of Treixadura and an east-facing exposition that provides good ripeness. They try to tame that natural power, as they are looking for tension in a place that would naturally deliver more volume, so they decided to ferment the Treixadura in stainless steel. It has great finesse and elegance; it’s floral and has a fresh palate with very good acidity. 2,745 bottles produced.”
Importer Note “Made from a blend of mostly Treixadura (70%) with a blend of Godello, Albariño, Loureira, Torrontés and Lado. This wine is fermented in stainless steel with extended aging on the lees.”
Top Value Bordeaux from the Le Pin Team
Jacques Thienpoint is the iconic owner of Le Pin, the hyper-rare and sought after Pomerol, and L’if, a cult property in St. Emilion. He’s recently added a third property to that list—L’Hetre, also named after a tree, in the emerging region of Castillon in Bordeaux. There are a lot of reasons to think that Castillon is going to be the next big thing in Bordeaux (for one, it’s one of the highest points in the region) and Thienpoint’s investment is an important marker. Unlike Le Pin (one of the most expensive wines in the world) L’Hetre is very much a value proposition, at least for now. We’ve got the debut 2016 vintage arriving this week, along with the second wine, Raison L’Hetre, and these are as fantastic as any sub-$30 Bordeaux we can remember. Only time will tell if L’Hetre ends up being one of the most expensive wines in Bordeaux (the initial vintage of Le Pin went for ~$20) but for now it’s one of the best values in classy, right-bank Bordeaux.
Arriving Wednesday, July 17th
l’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-6 l’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($159.95) $119 pre-arrival special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – jancisrobinson .com “L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.'”
Case-12 l’Hetre ‘La Raison d’Hetre’, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($259.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – jancisrobinson .com “There is a second wine, Raison d’Hêtre, made from the younger vines and lower slopes. It’s a little lighter in body and tasted as if it had a little more of the Cabernets in the blend though the proportions are the same, but this was perhaps just slightly less ripe Merlot fruit.”
The Singular Genius of
Nikolaihof makes some of the most fascinating and compelling whites in the world, including a two different wines, Vinothek and Steinriesler, which are aged up to over a decade and a half in cask (unsulfured!) before being bottled. These are two masterpiece wines to buy and savor at a special occasion—the vinous equivalent of watching an Antonioni film. The Vinothek wines are made from riper (Smaragd) grapes and have more power and intensity, where the Steinriesler is made from wine that would otherwise be Federspiel.
When you taste these wines, you’re immediately struck by a few things. The first is their sheer beauty, complexity and intrigue. It’s a bit of a cliché to say that a wine is enrapturing, but these are wines that stop conversations when you first smell and taste them. The second thing that first-time drinkers remark on is how young the wines taste. The very old barrels these are aged in are less permeable than newer oak and so the wines mature extremely gradually. They take on a complexity and nuance that is truly unique, but there’s a vibrancy to them that’s unmistakable and energizing for the drinker as well. We just received the standout ’02 Vinothek to go along with the great ’97 and have the ’04 Steinriesler arriving later this month. These are wines that anyone who cares about wine should buy and we’re happy to offer them.
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Vinothek Riesling, Wachau 2002 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 96 points “From the Im Weingebirge single vineyard, the 2002 Riesling Vinothek has been aged… for 16 years in a 6,000-liter oak cask. Bottled in July 2018, the brilliantly white-golden colored wine is fascinatingly clear and bright on the elegant and aromatic nose. Highly elegant and beautifully balanced on the palate, with some bitterness in the finish, this is a concentrated Riesling whose fine acidity is completely integrated. The finish is tight, intense, very complex and terribly long. The acidity is completely interwoven with the stony character, which gives the 2002 great elegance and finesse. Tasted at the Nikolaihof in Mautern/Wachau, September 2018.”
Terry Theise [++] “This as you know is a concept whereby a Smaragd wine is left in (large) cask for fifteen years or longer, without sulfur. (There’s a parallel program called “Steinriesler” made from lighter material, but I wasn’t persuaded by the current vintage.) This is the best since the ’95; solid, powerful, smoky; strong but not heavy, an old iron stove of Riesling. The roast is reposing fragrantly, and the stove still smolders….”
Wine Advocate 97 points
“Aged for 17 years in a domestic 3,500-liter cask before it was bottled in August 2014, the 1997 Riesling Vinothek is the best part of the regular 1997 Riesling Smaragd Im Weingebirge, which was bottled and marketed in late 1998. The aged Vinothek version offers a fascinatingly clear, bright, deep and multi-layered nose with iodine and ripe as well as intense white-fleshed fruit aromas. Full-bodied, full of finesse and elegant, this dry, transparent and mineral Riesling develops a great intensity, complexity and power on the palate, but never leaves its silky road of purity, finesse and transparency. There is a lot of Spiel and tension here, but the most exciting characteristic trait is the intense and very mineral, almost endless finish. How youthful this wine is! And its further aging potential is still terrific. The wine reminds me of certain sherries, white Riojas and Jura wines, although it is not less oxidative. But it spent a long time in cask and has the freshness, complexity and thrilling taste of those. It’s a great, unique and stimulating wine that was bottled with 12.8% of alcohol, 6 grams of residual sugar and 6.5 grams of acidity.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 97 points “This successor to the almost supernaturally ethereal and haunting 1995 also has to live up to the reputation of a vintage-of-the-half-century. It manages, though! The bouquet is unearthly in its complex amalgam of bittersweetly floral (iris, gentian, buddleia), pungently nutty, subtly smoky (black tea) and elusively mineral (sea breeze, wet stone, faint fusel oil) components. Considering the secondary development signaled on the nose, a surprising intensity of pure white peach, apple and grapefruit emerges sumptuously on the silky palate. The buoyant finish, more tightly clinging and less ethereal than that of the 1995, represents a long, harmoniously undulating interaction of liquid floral perfume, diverse minerality and succulent fresh fruits. I tasted this shortly before its mid-2014 bottling (a rare exception to the Nikolaihof rule against unveiling wines from cask) and did not review that note before tasting seven months later. My first spontaneous word each time was “unearthly.” And happily, my impressions that followed demonstrated that this wine’s amazing personality, including its aromas and textural allure, had made it to bottle scarcely altered. The source vineyard here, incidentally, is the Im Weingebirge whereas the 1995 was from Vom Stein.”Arriving this Month:
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steinriesler Riesling, Wachau 2004 750ML ($99.95) $71.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Swirl this awake to reveal a world of dried hayflower, lemon peel and tart, baked apple. Its lifted, elixir-like chamomile scent goes straight to the pleasure center of the brain, signaling a celebration of maturing Riesling. Dry, taut and fresh, it shimmers with lemon zest and lemon-scented incense. Although immensely concentrated, it’s also quite lithe. Treasure this, with its deep, lingering flavors. Lovely now, it will continue to develop. Drink now–2040.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 95 points “Having been bottled in April 2016, this received a shorter stay in cask than its three Steinriesler predecessors. (The vineyard source is Vom Stein. On the origins of Nikolaihof Steinriesler, readers are referred to my inaugural Austrian report for Vinous; and for the origins of the name “Steinriesler,” to my review in the subsequent report of the vintage 2002 installment.) A nose mingling gentian, elderflower, seaweed, mussels, salt spray and chicken stock is about as intriguing and far from fruity as the nose of any Riesling can be. Sage, fennel, peach kernel, lemon, alkali and wet stone all chime in on the silken, buoyant (11.5 percent alcohol) palate, rendering a carpet of richness and intricate complexity that unrolls in a mouthwateringly saline finish of polished and prodigious length. Nor does this bottling forget Riesling’s first duty to refresh. Those unfamiliar with Nikolaihof Vinothek bottlings, or who have not stopped to contemplate the chemistry of maturation in a large cask that’s effectively sealed with tartrate deposits, may be surprised at how little old oak flavor or sense of oxidative evolution this wine displays, and what hints of both are present merely enhance its multifaceted depth.”
That Domaine A&P de Villaine is forever associated with the Domaine de la Romanée Conti is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, Aubert de Villaine’s involvement serves as a guarantee of quality, but on the other, it’s convenient to compare these wines to Burgundy that costs hundreds of dollars more, resulting in disappointment. Judged for what they are, which is tip-top Cote Chalonnaise Burgundy, it becomes clear, though, that the personal project of the man who runs DRC produces exceptional wines at (even better) exceptional pricing.
Whether the mineral-driven, crunchy whites or the reds that have surprising structure and complexity, these are some of the best wines coming out of these less-heralded villages in Burgundy. When you compare to wines from the Cote d’Or at similar prices, it becomes clear that these wines deserve your hard earned money. We added a number of wines to the July Sale to make their already good deals even better. These were already exceptional values and now are even better. Given their combination of drink-now appeal and ageability, you’d be best to buy a bundle of them to account for their (inevitable) quick attrition. Several of these wines sold out already, but we just restocked with as much of these wines as we could get.
Back In Stock:
Domaine A. & P. de Villaine Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise La Fortune, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $36 July Sale Special
Winery note “Fresh with fruity notes that evoke blackberry, red fruits, wild strawberries. The tannins are soft, silky and give the wines, beside a powerful structure, a real aromatic lightness.”
The average price is $42
Winery note “Les Clous Aimé comes from several parcels located on a south-facing slope of Bouzeron’s valley, sheltered from summer’s north wind during ripening. Our vineyard here is planted with selections of Chardonnay grapes that we have chosen for moderate yields. 2016 [was a] great success. Our Clous Aimé 2016 is powerful, dense with a soft and floral touch on the palate at the same time. A wine of pleasure, without complexity and very attractive. No need to think about it, it simply must be drunk.”
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $42
“La Digoine is a site at the foot of a slope, known for centuries to provide the deep soil and growing conditions necessary for excellent red wine. At first sight, the colour is sustained, intense red. Even if the nose is still slightly shy, it suggests a great wine; this impression is confirmed by the complexity on the palate. A wine fleshy, rich, deep, full of ripe and silky tannins. These wines having been matured and vinified the most natural way possible, we would recommend that you cellar them for a bit and then let them breathe before drinking.”
The average price nationally is $50
Domaine A. & P. de Villaine Bouzeron, Cote Chalonnaise 2017 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special
Winery note “Our Bouzeron comes from vines situated on the best slopes of the appellations. We have planted to Bouzeron the golden Aligoté doré grape, which gives lowers yield and more aromatic wines than its cousin, the Aligoté vert. True to its varietal nature, our Bouzeron is a liveley, fruity wine, but it also has a finesse and roundness that spring from the essential nature of the terroir. These qualities lend it great versatility. To best appreciate the freshness and fruit, our Bouzeron would be drunk young, within two or three years. To allow the wine to fully develop fullness and “fatness”, age it for up to ten years. This Bouzeron 2016 is more floral than fruity but remains very fresh, thanks to the acidity present. This liveliness, as always, is generated by the particular marl-limestone soils of Bouzeron. Rich, round and lively at the same time, the mouth feel oscillates between richness of the fruit, roundness generated by a good maturity and a saline presence, a palatability that makes the wine extremely digestible.”
Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
Winemakers’ note “The 2016 Blanc de Blancs has bright and fresh aromas of green apple, apricot and orange blossom. The fruitful fragrance intermingles with hints of honey, and lemon zest. Freshly sliced peaches, pear and bright pineapple flavors carry vibrant length on the palate.”‘
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2018 1.5L ($89.95) $79 special
Importer Note “Cassis is not only an active port, but what Kermit calls “an earthly paradise.” The vineyards of Clos Sainte Magdeleine are particularly stunning. They jut out on a private cape to meet majestic limestone cliffs, poised spectacularly above the sparkling, azure Mediterranean. With landscapes such as these, it is only fitting that writers and poets alike have found inspiration in Cassis. Only a handful of vignerons today are fortunate enough to produce A.O.C. Cassis, and the small quantities available are largely consumed locally with fresh fish—the best way to enjoy them.”
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 3L ($379.95) $349 specialGouges’ 2016’s are knockouts. This is the place to start.
Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
John Gilman 91 points “The 2016 Nuits AC had just been racked the day before my visit and had its SO2 adjusted a touch as well, and yet the wine was in good form and easy to taste! The bouquet is deep and quite sappy this year (perhaps from the addition of some Chaignots?), jumping from the glass in a lovely mix of black cherries, sweet dark berries, woodsmoke, venison, dark soil tones and raw cocoa. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and sappy at the core, with fine focus and grip, ripe, seamless tannins and a long, vibrant and tangy finish. Fine, fine AC. 2024-2060+.”
Perhaps the signature bottling chez Gouges.
Domaine Henri Gouges Clos des Porrets Monopole, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 95 points “Earthy reduction in the aroma gives way to pure cherry, raspberry and stone flavors, revealing flashes of spice and dark, meaty elements. Dense and lush, with black fruit, spice and toast notes on the long finish. Powerful. Best from 2023 through 2042. 200 cases imported.”
True greatness—this is one for the cellar.
Domaine Henri Gouges Les Pruliers, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2016 Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers stands in contrast to the suave and elegant 2017 rendition. Offering up aromas of raspberries, cassis, dark chocolate, rich soil tones and cedary new oak, the wine is medium to full-bodied, dense and concentrated, with bright acids and an imposing chassis of rich, chewy tannin. Firm and tight-knit, this will require all the patience that readers will be accustomed to afford Gouges’ Pruliers.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 93 points “The 2016 Nuits Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er Cru has an impressive bouquet of black cherry, raspberry, orange rind, crushed stone and wilted rose petals in an antique glass vase. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, lovely red cherry, cranberry and raspberry fruit with great depth, more than perhaps the 2009 or 2010 towards the finish that fans out gloriously. There is a great Les Pruliers here in the making but it deserves time. Tasted at the Gouges retrospective at La Cabotte.”
Do Ferreiro Adina Albarino, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2017 Adina comes from a strip of red slate that goes from Porto to the south of England. The nose is more powerful, more exuberant, more immediate, and the palate is very intense. This is very different from the Lourido. It has lots of citrus sensations and more notes of grapefruit; Manuel Méndez told me he thinks this citrus acidity is present because there is malic acid. It was kept with the lees for nine months. This is superb, really tasty and has all it should take for a long and positive evolution in the bottle. 2,000 bottles were filled in September 2018.”
Wine & Sprits 93 points “A sumptuous albariño, this wine takes the Atlantic pallor of the grape and expands on those white nectarine notes with darker shades of salted almond and pistachio. It’s rich without weight, combining the taste of the ocean and the brightness of ripe fruit in a satisfying white for lobster or langoustines.”
Do Ferreiro Dous Ferrados, Albarino Rias Baixas 2017 special ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2017 Dous Ferrados is basically the evolution of the Albariño Barrica. They started in 2011, and Gerardo used vines from sandy soils. His son Manuel changed the wine in 2015—he used grapes from red slate soils and felt the wine went better with the barrique. In 2016 he thought the oak was very subtle and wanted to change the name, removing the reference to the barriques. They only produce two 500-liter barrels, and one “ferrado” is the amount land that they need to fill one barrique, hence the name of the wine. If you are put off by the idea of oak and Albariño, taste this. The salinity comes through here, perhaps because of the slow oxygenation through the pores of the oak, and they search for complexity, especially the change in the mouthfeel. The wine was in contact with the lees for eight months. This has volume and clout, with perhaps a rounder palate than the Adina. With time in the glass, notes of licorice and aniseed emerge. The barrels are ten years old, so they do not lend aromas or flavors. In the future, they might experiment with foudres and other sizes. 1,300 bottles were filled in September 2018.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “This wine ferments in 500-liter casks, where it ages for eight months on the fine lees. While the fruit sustains its clean freshness, that time on the lees has enriched it with notes of buttercups and daffodils, as well as some pomelo bitterness. It’s bold and juicy enough for skate Grenobloise,or grilled swordfish.”
Do Ferreiro Lourido Albarino, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Lourido shows the austerity of the poor granite soils, like the ones in this zone very close to the island of La Toja. But the palate is also more mineral, vibrant, intense and pungent, with citrus acidity and very long in the palate. They started working these small plots in 2014 and were surprised because the vines are very close to the sea, yet the wine has less salinity. This is because salinity comes from fog, not from proximity to the sea, and so they ended up with a very mineral, electric palate. This is a great addition to the Do Ferreiro portfolio. 1,300 bottles produced. It was bottled in late September 2018. It would be very interesting to see how this ages.”
Wine & Spirits 93 points “Gerardo Méndez selects this wine from parcels of 50-year-old vines rooted in weathered granite. There’s a delicate pink cast to its zesty grapefruit flavors. The texture is just creamy enough to surround the wine’s structure, creating a push-pull of freshness and toasty richness. Tina Vaughn of The Simone in NYC likened those toasty flavors to the yeastiness of fregola sarda, a couscous-like pasta from Sardinia; you could bridge it to this wine with saffron and clams.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The vines at La Vitoriana are from a north-facing part of the vineyard and are extremely old, and the grapes show their best between 13% and 13.5% alcohol. The maceration of the 2016 La Vizcaína La Vitoriana is the longest of all wines from La Vizcaína wines, and it always has very strong balsamic notes. It’s subtle and elegant with a velvety texture, with lots of energy and inner strength. Pérez selects about half of the vineyard, and he feels 2016 is the year that best represents the character of the place. I’d add it’s probably the best vintage so far. 3,000 bottles produced.”
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
John Gilman 89 points “The 2018 Estate Trocken had been bottled three days before my visit, but was still showing very nicely. The fruit for this bottling hails from volcanic soils in and around Oberhäusen and the 2018 version comes in at 11.5 percent octane. The bouquet is bright and quite elegant in its constellation of lemon, grapefruit, a touch of wild yeasts, a lovely base of minerality and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is crisp, fullish and nicely focused, with fine mineral undertow, good balance and grip and a long and classy finish. This is a really good entry level wine! 2019-2040.”
Importer note “At once fine and elegant with delicate peach and citrus aromas, but also unusually powerful for the humble category and this producer. Long, ripe and crisp finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe 2018 750ML ($379.95) $275 special (that’s only $22.92/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
John Gilman 93 points “The Leistenberg has the oldest vines of all the Dönnhoff parcels and they have really excelled in 2018. This beautiful Kabinett offers up a complex bouquet of white cherries, apple, salty slate, bee pollen and a lovely mix of spring flowers and fruit blossoms. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and filigreed, with its beautiful fruit tones stretched taught over its minerality, with bright, zesty acids and lovely lift and grip on the long and complex finish. Just beautiful. 2022-2060.”
Terry Theise note “My WINE OF THE VINTAGE this year. In ancient times, before you were born (shit, before my primeval ass was born), Leistenberg was the top site of Oberhausen. “Brücke” didn’t yet exist; the vineyard was part of Niederhäuser Hermannsberg, and Helmut hadn’t begun to acquire his necklace of Grand Crus in Niederhausen, Schlossböckelheim and Norheim. Though its exposure is less than perfect (southeast rather than due south), this is favorable in the modern climate era, as it permits longer hang-time, which enables wines like these Kabinetts to be made, and to be outstanding. I sense my old friend Helmut was feeling wistful about Leistenberg, as though it was the child who doesn’t get enough attention. Often I feel, do I need Dönnhoff’s wines to be better than this? This ’18 is like lace curtains of spindrift, as if it were snowing the little crystals from the pears.”
Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Rouges Gorges, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Case-12 Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Rouges Gorges, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($479.95) $389 special (that’s only $32.42/bottle!)
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note “his wine is produced from two separate parcels: one on a hillside above the hamlet of Gamay and the other from a parcel between Saint Aubin and Chassagne Montrachet. The average age of the vines is 50 years (as of 2011). A classic wine of this sector with compelling notes of animal and wild berries. The elevage is about 18 months before bottling; again, very little new oak is used.”
Burghound 87-90 points “Here the expressive nose is spicier still with its layered array of various red berries, soft earth and pretty floral nuances. There is a bit more volume to the slightly richer, seductive and caressing medium weight flavors that exude a subtle minerality onto the mildly austere and rustic finale. This could use a few years to round out.”
Betz Family Winery La Cote Rousse Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “As usual, the 2015 Syrah La Cote Rousse offers a more masculine, structured, mineral-driven style. This cuvée comes all from the warmer Red Mountain AVA and is a power-packed 2015 loaded with notions of black, black fruits, scorched earth, graphite, and charred meats. It’s a big, rich, inky effort, yet like all the wines from this estate has awesome purity of fruit and is impeccably balanced.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a blockbuster Syrah from Red Mountain that’s from the Ranch at the End of The Road and Ciel du Cheval vineyards. It’s a mix of four different clones and is brought up in barrel. This deep, inky, seriously black Syrah gives up Hermitage-like notes of scorched earth, charred meats, graphite and licorice. It’s a big, concentrated effort that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and keep through 2035.”
Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2004 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Grapelive 93 points “Deep, golden and mature in character, the opulent and beautiful 2004 Münsterer DautenpflänzerSpatlese from Kruger-Rumpf is in a wonderful window. It may just be the peak period for this vintage with layers of apricot, quince jelly, candied pineapple, marmalade notes and vinous textural charm along with nice salinity, mineral, rose led florals and light earthy and petrol fume notes in a classic Nahe Riesling. In recent years I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to re-visit some 2004’s and they have really blossomed, losing the year’s awkward form, going from an almost an ugly duckling into a swan in bottle with age. This is especially true in some late releases by Schlossgut Diel and this Weingut Kruger-Rumpf Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Spatlese, both of which can still be found if you look, a well worth it exercise. The VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, a tiny parcel within Kapellenberg, is set on quartzite and loess-clay based soils, which in my humble opinion highlights fruit detail and brings out a yellow fruit profile along with crystal clear mineral intensity with this wine bringing out baked peach core on the palate with hints of honey, fig and liquid stone. Georg Rumpf is moving towards organic in most of the vines with his vineyards being farmed to sustainable practices with hand harvesting employed to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. There is intense attention to detail here. I was here at harvest in 2016 and saw the team in action as well as the vines, which are steep and well cared for. Rumpf goes for native (spontaneously with ambient yeast) on the cru trockens (dry) and fruity (off-dry and sweeter) Rieslings and he uses large old stuckfass (oak casks) with extended lees aging. This all adds to the wines purity, extract and concentrated depth. This such a steal, I highly recommend searching for a few bottles, drink now.”
Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay, Mount Veeder 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2016 Chardonnay is fabulous. A vivid, textured wine, the 2016 possesses remarkable finesse and intensity in all of its dimensions. Lemon oil and white flowers are amped up by the natural intensity of these old vines. The 2016 was fermented and aged in neutral oak, with no malolactic fermentation. Mayacamas is setting a new standard for what California Chardonnay can be. Don’t miss it.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Editor’s Choice. From the mighty dry-farmed site within the secluded appellation, this incredible wine is expressive in tones of flint, fig, pear and lemon peel, with lasting acidity that brightens and freshens the palate. Medium bodied, it’s soft in feel yet structured, balanced and complex.”
Remelluri ‘Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de San Vicente’, Rioja 2014 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-6 Remelluri ‘Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de San Vicente’, Rioja 2014 750ML ($179.95) $128 special
James Suckling 96 points “Some richer, darker and deeper fruit character with plums, blackberries and a dark, earthy streak. The tannins are more upright, more elevated, and the fruit is richer and darker than in the Labastida. This has real presence, grip and energy. Try from 2021.”
Grapelive 94 points “Telmo Rodriguez, one of the most iconic and best winemakers of his generation…. has accomplished himself as a champion of terroir over varietal and employs artisan craftsmanship in the cellar, with his wines hardly ever showing overt oak or aggressive alcohol, they always show distinctive purity and a sense of place, and these secondary wines known as Lindes de Remmelluri are magnificent expressions of Rioja, they are richly flavored and soulful wines crafted from old vine purchased fruit from vineyards that prior had got into the family’s main wine. These two vineyard select wines, Labastida and this San Vincente, coming from vineyards that used to go into the Remelluri Reserva are now separated into these two new single vineyard bottlings that are absolutely stunning values, especially in this 2014 vintage….The beautiful and deep Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente 2014, a field blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Garnacha, was fermented using all native yeasts in cool stainless steel tanks and then raised in barrel, 100% French oak, for 12 months before bottling where it is rested a good amount of time as well. San Vincente in the Rioja Alta just to the east of Haro is at about 50 meters up, but hotter than the higher sites at Labastida and at the main Remelluri estate located in Rioja Alavesa which are much cooler, making this wine seem more lush, riper in satiny tannin and with a softer acidity. Grown on hardened clay and calcareous limestone over a firm core of bedrock from organic vines that average at least 40 years of age this wine shows warm dark fruits, blackberry, cherry and plum lead the way along with hints of earthy mulberry and cranberry along with lilacs, cedar/sandalwood, a touch of vanilla and a subtle array of spices. 2014 was a slightly cooler year and that really helps this wine feel alive on the opulent and full bodied palate and it lingers on and on with a echoing aftertaste that is highly impressive. Telmo’s wines are always polished and textural, but distinctly authentic with terruño character and delivering substance along with some flair, which this one shows, it should age well too, I can imagine at least another decade plus with this 2014 San Vincente.”
July Sale Roundup
Two weeks into July and we’ve already sold out of one of the wines in the July Sale! Now’s your chance to grab Force Majeure, de Villaine, magnums of Dönnhoff, Bitouzet Priur and more at even better pricing than usual. You can see all of the wines in our webstore or in the spreadsheet below, but we’ve also got some in-stock highlights if you’re having trouble making up your mind.
Highlights In Stock Now:
Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) Was $36, Now $33 July Sale Special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
The average listed price is $38
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91+ points “Healthy dark red. Very primary nose hints at black cherry, menthol and bitter chocolate lifted by a floral topnote. Then sappy and saline on the palate, showing very good chewy concentration and medicinal reserve. Quite reticent today but displays a terrific balance between sweetness and firm minerality. Bitouzet wishes he made big bottles of this juice.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 90 points “Bright red. Very primary, vibrant aromas of raspberry, rose petal and mint. Juicy and tightly wound, showing lovely intensity and energy but a medicinal reserve in the early going. I like the combination of density and airiness. Finishes with excellent cut and verve.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “A Pomerol look-alike, the 2015 Epinette is mostly Merlot, yet includes 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. It’s another rich, mouthfilling effort and offers lots of darker, plummy fruits, chocolate, and scorched earth aromas and flavors. With building tannin and serious structure, it isn’t for those looking for instant gratification and is going to need a solid 3-5 years of bottle age.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.99
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!
Wine Advocate 93-96 points “It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.97
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!
Vive La France!