2012 Arriving Friday
John Gilman 94 points “The 2012 Clos de la Roche from Éric Rousseau was raised in somewhere between ten and fifteen percent new oak in this vintage, which has allowed all of the beautiful fruit and soil tones to stay front and center in this seamless beauty. The deep and very sappy nose wafts from the glass in a complex mélange of cherries, pomegranate, mustard seed, venison, very complex soil tones, woodsmoke and a faint whisper of cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and nicely reserved out of the blocks, with a sappy core of pure fruit, great mineral drive, fine-grained tannins and a very, very long and utterly refined finish. Another great wine! 2022-2060.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 92-94 points “For the first time a little new oak (10%) has been used on the 2012 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, where part of the vineyard was replanted five years ago. The fruit here is a little blacker than the Mazis-Chambertin tasted prior, that new oak ‘plugging’ the gaps that might have been there without the new wood. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins on the entry. There is a citric core of fruit here, touches of marmalade infusing the black and red fruit on the linear, mineral finish. This should age very well — a Clos de la Roche with substance and presence.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92-94 points “(10% new oak; from very ripe fruit picked early, according to Rousseau): Bright, dark red. Complex, primary nose melds sappy cherry, spices and rose petal. Tangy, sweet and fine-grained in the mouth, offering an exhilarating combination of urgent crushed fruits, flowers and loamy earth tones. Finishes with lovely stony length and reserve. Really shimmers on the aftertaste.”
Fine Wine Review 91-94 points “The Clos de la Roche is raised 90% in 1-year old barrels and 10% in new ones. Still more substance here, and the wine is elegant with spicy dark fruit, good length, and minerality. (Issue #141; 2014)”
The average price is $407
Antonio Galloni 96-98 points “The 2013 Chambertin is shaping up to be one of the wines of the vintage. Aristocratic in its bearing, the Chambertin is simply magnificent today. The overall impression is of a totally spherical wine that has no beginning and no end. Layers of flavor continue to open up in the glass in a sublime, textured wine that captures the truest essence of what Burgundy is all about. The pulsating, vibrant finish is classic 2013.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 97 points “Very good deep red. Closer to the CSJ than to the CDB on the nose, offering terrific pungent lift to the aromas of black raspberry, rose petal and blood orange. Wonderfully sappy and pure, without any impression of weightiness to its saline flavors of raspberry, spices and white pepper. Utterly fine-grained, silky wine with great finesse. One of the longest, most palate-saturating wines of this vintage, finishing with noble tannins and taste bud-titilllating perfume. Perfectly balanced also but built for a glorious evolution in bottle. It would be a shame to open this bottle too soon.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Matured in 100% new oak, the 2013 Chambertin Grand Cru has wonderful transparency on the nose, beautifully defined with Morello, crushed strawberry, limestone and orange sorbet. The palate is supremely well balanced with lithe tannins, beautiful acidity and real elegance on the finish. This is a sublime Chambertin, but I might hedge my bets with the Clos de Bèze this year.”
The next best price is $1,299
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2013 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru has a more complex, nuanced bouquet than the Clos Saint Jacques and this year, it insists upon putting distance between the two. It has an effortless quality, unfurling with each swirl dark berried fruit, subtle moss/undergrowth tones that are almost autumnal. The palate is tensile, intense, focused and underpinned by filigree tannins that lend it magnificent sophistication. This is utterly harmonious and an outstanding wine for the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 94-97 points “Another striking wine, the 2013 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze is beautifully layered and expressive today. Violets, lavender, dark spices, mint and new leather meld together as this striking, translucent wine shows off its unmistakable personality. This is an especially refined Bèze with perhaps a bit less power than is customary, but that is not at all a bad thing. As always, the new oak (80%) is quite evident today, but that should not be an issue, as I can’t imagine opening a bottle of the 2013 before its tenth birthday, and even that will be too soon for the wine to deliver the full breadth of its pedigree.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94+ points “Good dark red. More closed today than the Clos Saint-Jacques, showing a stronger oak presence to its reticent aromas of dark raspberry, strawberry and blood orange. Then hugely rich, opulent and pliant on the palate if still youthfully reserved. Completely different in shape from the Clos Saint-Jacques, conveying a strong impression of solidity and saline minerality. Finishes with big but ripe, thoroughly integrated tannins. This may not have quite the fruit intensity or verve of the 2014 but it still leaves the salivary glands humming.”
The next best price is $1,692.95
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2013 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, which will contain some new oak although I tasted from a used barrel, has a tightly knit bouquet that at the moment is less expressive than the Mazis-Chambertin. The palate is crisp and pure, quite tensile, with a spiciness that becomes more prominent toward the fleshy, harmonious finish. Curiously, even from a used barrel the texture feels as if there is some new oak, but that is just the concentration of fruit coming through. Frédéric enthused about this wine and I suspect that it may surpass my expectations once in bottle.”
Antonio Galloni 92-95 points “Distinctly chalky, ferrous notes announce the 2013 Clos de la Roche, a wine marked by its intense, saline-infused energy. A wine of notable complexity and pedigree, the 2013 offers striking nuance from start to finish. White pepper, chalk and citrus lend additional lift to the energetic, taut finish. There is a lot to look forward to here.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-94 points “(no new oak): Bright medium red. Musky, reduced nose offers blackberry, licorice, minerals and smoky underbrush, lifted by a violet topnote that carries onto the palate. Juicy, sappy and intense, with its dark fruit flavors complicated by soil-driven salinity. At once fat and sharply delineated, this taut grand cru finishes salty and long.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($999.95) $569 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94-97 points “Rousseau’s 2013 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques possesses gorgeous aromatic lift and energy. Polished and refined throughout, the 2013 is super-expressive. Winemaker Frédéric Robert adds that the grapes were especially small in 2013, with virtually no juice. Once again, Rousseau’s Clos St. Jacques looks to be one of the wines of the vintage.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 95+ points “Good deep red. Much less reduced on the nose than Ruchottes, offering captivating, high-pitched perfume of raspberry, rose petal, blood orange and crushed stone. On the palate, the tangy raspberry, red cherry and mineral flavors show a penetrating character and superb lift without any weightiness or hardness. Finishes with very fine-grained tannins and mounting floral perfume. This brisk, cool, aristocratic wine is built for a graceful evolution in bottle.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2013 Mazis-Chambertin, matured in second-fill barrels, has a refined bouquet that is not a million miles away from the Charmes-Chambertin at the moment, but very precise and focused. The palate is very well balanced with tensile tannins and a keen thread of acidity: vibrant and shimmering in the mouth. With plenty of energy on the finish, this is a superb Mazis-Chambertin for the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 91-93 points “The 2013 Mazy-Chambertin shows slight elements of reduction, but the signatures of this site come through nicely just the same. Sweet red cherries, red currant, hard candy, flowers and mint are laced together in a soft, lighter Burgundy that should drink well with minimal cellaring as long as the reductive elements don’t make it into bottle.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-93 points “Good bright red. Reduced, wild nose hints at iron and game. Concentrated, rich and taut, with sappy, savory dark fruit and saline flavors displaying excellent lift. Firmly structured and in need of patience.”
New World Classics from Washington and California
Arriving This Week
Leonetti Cellar Reserve, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special; 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 100 points “Even better than the straight Cabernet Sauvignon, with additional richness and texture, yet without any added weight or heaviness, the perfect 2010 Reserve is comprised of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 9% Malbec that spent 22 months in new and used French oak. Inky purple in color and gorgeously rich and pure, it slowly gives up notions of smoked black currants, espresso, liquid flower, licorice and graphite that flow to a full-bodied, concentrated, plush and seamless 2010 that is perfectly balanced, has no hard edges and an incredible finish. It’s a monumental bottle of wine that will drink well at an early age, yet age effortlessly for two decades or more. Drink now-2030.”
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2008 Block 1 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new French oak for 30 months. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it reluctantly gives up a brooding bouquet of pain grille, pencil lead, creme de cassis, black currants, floral notes, and earthy minerals. Dense, layered, and long, it will evolve gracefully for 6-8 years and will see in its 20th birthday in fine form.”
Wine Advocate 97-100 points “The 2009 Block 1 is thicker, richer, more velvety, and more pleasure-bent than the 2008. It is a candidate for perfection once it goes into bottle.”
Wine Advocate 98 points “The incredible 2010 Block 1 comes from estate vineyards and is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 28 months in French oak. Massively concentrated, with a slightly backwards, brooding profile, it offers up an ultra-rich, meaty bouquet of smoked black currants, sage brush, mint, dry-aged beef and brown spice that gives way to a full-bodied, muscular 2010 that has a serious amount of fruit and texture that’s cut by juicy, lively acidity and ripe tannin. Disjointed right on opening, it improved beautifully over the evening (and consecutive days) and should be decanted for an hour or more if drinking anytime soon. It’s a unique, thrilling effort that will benefit from short-term cellaring and drink well for 15-20 years. Drink 2016-2030.”
Sheridan Cabernet Reserve 2007 750ML ($199.95) $179 pre-arrival special; 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve had 140+ days of hang-time with its canopy with picking extended through November 3. Purple/black, opaque, and brooding, it delivers an other-worldly bouquet of wood smoke, lavender, licorice, espresso, Asian spices, incense, a hint of balsamic, blackberry, and black currant. Dense, rich, loaded, and totally pleasure-bent, this phenomenal effort is remarkably fresh and symmetrical despite its size and power. It will easily see its 30th birthday but that is a conservative estimate.”
Araujo Estate Eisele Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Winemaker’s notes: While winter rainfall in Napa Valley was half the normal amount, heavy rains in March deeply soaked the Eisele Vineyard soils immediately before emergence of the first shoots, stimulating humification and healthy vine growth. Warm weather without frosts led to one of the earliest bud breaks on record. Bloom was two weeks earlier than in 2013, and fast, homogenous flowering ensured good fruit set. Mild July weather allowed slow ripening of the grapes, which progressed rapidly during August heat to early, complete maturity. Harvest started August 18th and the last parcel of Sauvignon Blanc was picked on August 28th. The fruit was fresh and very aromatic, with bright acidity. The grapes are certified ‘Organic’ by California Certified Organic Farmers and ‘Biodynamic’ by Demeter. The wines were aged on their lees for 12 months, in a combination of stainless steel (30%), concrete eggs (25%), used oak (30%) and new oak (15%)
Tasting note: Nose is shy at first with a whiff of flint stone, then it opens up to a perfume of bright white musk giving place to grapefruit and passion fruit notes, with a twist of basil leaf. The mouthfeel is round, savory with flavors of candied citrus and coriander accompanied by a hint of vanilla lingering in a crisp and mineral finish.
James Suckling 95 points “Glorious aromas, like walking into a flower shop, from roses to lilacs. Lots of dark fruit too. Then goes to slate and dark mushroom. Full body, super refined tannins and refresh and ultra-clean finish. A thoroughly balanced and refined wine. 80% cabernet sauvignon, 10% cabernet franc, 6% petit verdot, and 4% malbec. So delicious to drink now.”
Robert Parker 93 points “As for the 2013 Proprietary Red Altagracia, the blend is slightly different, at 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. One of the finest Altagracias I’ve tasted to date, the color is saturated ruby/purple, much darker than the 2012 and the wine slightly less fragrant and more coiled tight. Yet, it is also more concentrated and promising. The wine is a heck of a second wine, but does require some patience. For now, deep, rich blackcurrant and blackberry fruit with floral notes (white flowers?), medium to full body and sweet tannin are all present in this relatively larger-scaled Altagracia than we’ve seen in the past (14.8% alcohol). The finish is long, still youthful and certainly approachable, but this wine will be better with 2-4 years bottle age and should keep for at least two decades.”
Sequoia Grove Carneros Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($26.95) $20.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sequoia Grove Carneros Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “A classically rich, generous version of the variety from the appellation, this wine holds a ripeness of baked apple, pear and vanilla toffee at its heart. A depth of oak influence is consistently kept in check by a balance of minerality.”
Robert Parker 96 points “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Lewelling Ranch, which is actually a great value in the scheme of Napa pricing, is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot that was aged for 20 months in 70% new French oak. The wine displays gorgeous licorice, lead pencil shavings, black currants, loamy soil undertones and a touch of barrique. Dense purple, it has a full-bodied, multi-layered mouthfeel and a stunning finish with good acidity and velvety, well-integrated tannin, alcohol and wood. This is a scrumptious, full-throttle Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 15 or so years.”
from Salon and Massolino
Antonio Galloni Vinous “I have tasted the 2004 Salon a few times now, starting with a bottle disgorged a la volee about a year ago. Now in finished form, the 2004 Salon is simply one of the greatest young Champagnes I have ever tasted. The 2004 vintage produced dazzling, crystalline Blancs de Blancs. That is exactly what readers will find in the 2004. Unlike other taut Salons (1996 comes to mind), the 2004 has such phenomenal balance that is virtually impossible to resist young. It is a superb Champagne.”
Here @ Vinopolis in June. The most elusive of Champagne’s grand marques; made only in what the house considers to be the very best years. In fact, Salon has been bottled just 38 times since 1905, its first vintage.
Massolino Barolo DOCG, Serralunga d’Alba 2011 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “A tightly coiled version, with a solid core of black cherry framed by licorice and spice accents. Though locked up for now, this shows the potential for a long evolution. Delivers fine ripeness and midpalate density. Best from 2019 through 2033.”
James Suckling 92 points “Lots of pretty, ripe yet subtle fruit in this wine with plum, dried strawberry and spice character. Full body, silky tannins and a fresh finish. Better in 2018.”
Massolino Parussi, Barolo DOCG 2007 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Warm and inviting, featuring macerated cherry, leather, tobacco and spice flavors. The balance leans toward the tannic side, yet this shows an extra level of ripeness and integration, with excellent length. Best from 2015 through 2032.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 93 points “Bright medium red. Compelling perfume of strawberry, raspberry, red cherry, flowers, minerals and wild herbs. Dense, sappy and concentrated; wonderfully silky Barolo but also much more vibrant than the 2008. The tannins are a bit youthfully aggressive but the wine’s lingering mineral and wild herb perfume suggests it will be a beauty with another four to six years in the cellar.”
Massolino Barolo Vigna Rionda X Dieci Anni Riserva, Barolo DOCG 2004 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: The Dieci is a special reserve bottling released by the winery after 10 additional years.
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2004 Barolo Riserva Vigna Rionda reveals superb complexity and nuance in a never-ending display of aromas and flavors that saturate the palate. Tobacco, truffles, spices, licorice and dark fruit swirl around in the glass as the wine continues to gain volume and depth with air. The tannins are massive yet beautifully balanced and the stage seems set for the 2004 to develop into one of the finest Vigna Riondas crafted here. Constantly changing in the glass, the wine captures that characteristic Rionda elusiveness that invites a second taste and then a third. In sum, it is a Barolo that will provide endless fascination for many years to come. Incredibly, it tastes almost as youthful as it did from barrel a few years ago! Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031.”
View the six other Massolino bottlings arriving late June on our web site www.vinopoliswineshop.com
Just a reminder about our current shipping specials during this season:
For the summer season we are offering UPS Three Day Select Service for the price of UPS Ground for shipments normally traveling 4 or more business days.
Free service upgrade only applies on single orders purchased and shipped during the promotional period. Additional fees will apply to orders held for any reason until after the promotional period and shipped by Three Day Select. Offer not valid on pre-arrival items that arrive after the promotional period.
We offer flat rate shipping on any size single order / single shipment
–Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California for $25
These rates do not apply to orders held in storage here for any reason.
Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment
do not qualify for flat rate shipping.
Ruffino Modus Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($27.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles available
James Suckling 94 points “A silky and refined red with currant, berry, mineral and dried flower aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, flavorful and delicious. A blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Drinkable now but better in 2017.” JS
The average price is $25
How Great, Fass 8
I fear that writing down a bunch of adjectives in quick succession reduces this wine to something to be scored rather than enjoyed. To hell with points! All I can say is that I really enjoyed it and believe that the chances are pretty high that you will, too.
Lauer himself – the third in the family to coax wine from earth and into bottle – makes drop-dead gorgeous wines. It seems as though this was once a secret, known only by a spattering of sommeliers and retail nerds. In counting myself among the latter, I’m not too worried that the cat’s out of the bag with this one. There’s enough to go around. Enjoy it. – Tyler
Peter Lauer Fass 8 Ayler Kupp Kabinett, Mosel, Germany 2014 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 special, 36+ bottles available
John Gilman 91-92 points ‘The 2014 Ayler Kupp Kabinett from Florian Lauer is really a lovely and quite classic example of this Prädikat, with lovely acidity and minerality providing a fine filigree to the wine and a nice sense of reserve out of the blocks as well. The very classy nose wafts from the glass in a mix of green apple, tart orange, slate, lovely smokiness and a touch of dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, pure and focused, with a good core, bright acids, a nice touch of sweetness on the attack and lovely length and grip on the elegant and nascently complex finish. This is quite approachable now, but still a touch primary, and I would be inclined to give it at least a few years in the cellar to develop its secondary layers of complexity. 2019-2035+.” JG
Crafted according to custom and modern taste, Yzaguirre continues to blend its delicious vermouths at its winery in El Morell, Catalonia, Spain. Almost eighty herbs and spices go into Vermut Yzaguirre, which sees time in stainless steel vats and then in oak casks. From the classic white and red vermouths, to the reserva in either color, plus the dry white, Yzaguirre covers the gamut. No liquor cabinet, no palate should lack a few bottles of this intriguing, time-proven drink. The floral, nutty, balsamic flavors; the velvety texture balanced by refreshing acidity; the mahogany red or rich yellow hue…
These days, people are drinking vermouth like its going into style, especially in cities like avant-garde Barcelona. It’s a new move in a traditional direction, one pioneered long ago by Vermut Yzaguirre, a producer that’s more relevant than ever: Taste their vermouths and you’re enjoying 132 years of flavorful experience.
Winery note “With a straw yellow colour, Yzaguirre Classic White Vermouth has an intense aroma with herby and spicy notes. Mild balsamic touches give it a pleasant and very unique structure. Fresh and smooth in the mouth and very well balanced, it has notes of vanilla and cinnamon.”
Yzaguirre Vermouth Rojo, Catalonia NV 1L ($17.95) $14 special
Winery note “With a mahogany colour and orange highlights, Yzaguirre Classic Red Vermouth has an intense aroma with herby and spicy notes. Mild balsamic touches give it a pleasant and very unique structure. It has a good aromatic intensity in the mouth which balances out the acidity very well. Long, intense and slightly bitter aftertaste.”
Yzaguirre Blanco Reserva Vermouth, Catalonia NV 1L ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note “With a deep yellow colour, Yzaguirre Reserva White Vermouth is highly aromatic, velvety and pleasant on the palate, with woody, herby and spicy notes reminiscent of ripe fruit. Its initial flavor is very tasty and balanced, in perfect harmony with its acidity. Twelve months in oak barrels give it consistency and character.”
Yzaguirre (Blanco) Dry Reserva Vermouth, Catalonia NV 1L ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note “With a light straw yellow colour, Yzaguirre Reserva Dry Vermouth initially has a very alcoholic taste in the mouth yet perfectly balanced with its acidity. Highly glyceric, it is velvety and smooth in the mouth with notes of wood, herbs and spices. It is aged for one year in oak barrels which helps to stabilize the aroma and colour of the blend.”
Yzaguirre Rojo Reserva Vermouth, Catalonia NV 1L ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note “Mahogany red in colour, Yzaguirre Reserva Red Vermouth is highly aromatic, velvety and pleasant on the palate, with woody, herby and spicy notes reminiscent of ripe fruit. Its initial flavour is very tasty and balanced, in perfect harmony with its acidity. Twelve months in oak barrels give it consistency and character.”
Regional Feature: Priorat
Solid as a Rock
In the wake of Priorat’s time in the limelight, and the Great Recession, some growers began to offer simpler Priorat reds. More approachable in price and taste than the major Priorats, these wines capture the dark fruit and spice of the region. The Black Slate series of wines are a good example of this new direction in Priorat, a wine that will never give up.
Below, seven of our most popular Priorat selections.
(as well as our 87 total Spanish wines currently available!)
Priorat Wines Available Here Now:
Vinopolnote: Rougly equal parts Grenache, Mazuelo, and Cabernet Sauvignon from the rocky slopes of Priorat.
Wine Advocate 94 points “I was thoroughly impressed by the 2012 Planetes de Nin, a bright ruby-colored, fragrant Garnacha-based red with some 30% Cariñena from the Planetes vineyard in Porrera. It has a beautiful floral nose of violets and lilies, with showy aromas of blood orange peel, wild berries and oriental spices in a Vosne-Romanée way, very Burgundian overall and truly captivating. The palate is ultra-sleek, silky with very refined tannins and a subtle minerality that adds to the freshness and makes the wine very focused and precise. This is so different from previous vintages, so much more elegant and focused, pure and elegant. This should age in bottle nicely, but it will be very difficult to resist. And it’s a very good value.” WA
Bodegas Marco Abella Mas Mallola, Priorat DOCa 2008 750ML ($49.95) $29 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Dry, schisty aromas of cherry and spice are reserved and elevated. This is a bright wine with juicy acidity and complexity. Flavors of baked berry fruits are minerally at the core, while the finish is smooth, mature and steady, with lasting purity. Drink through 2019.”
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(63% garnacha, 20% carinena, 11% cabernet sauvignon and 6% merlot; aged for 20 months in French oak): Deep ruby. Lively aromas of fresh red berries, potpourri, vanilla and pipe tobacco, with a hint of incense gaining strength with air. Fresh and lively on the palate, offering intense raspberry and cherry-vanilla flavors and a zesty blood orange note. Juicy, appealingly sweet and seamless, boasting very good energy and thrust to its smooth, gently tannic finish.”
The next best price is $43.99
The average price is $45
Wine Advocate 98 points “After no 2011 was produced, the 2012 Clos Erasmus comes with renewed energy, a much fresher approach and a more transparent wine while keeping the slate typicity of Gratallops even in a tiny-yielding vintage. Part of the wine aged in 700-liter clay amphorae and the rest in Burgundy barrels that added a spicy patina to the nose, yet very much respected the wet slate character of the vintage. Contrary to previous vintages, the core of fruit is red rather than black; the 2013 that I tasted (not in bottle) followed pretty much this same direction. The palate shows power, elegance and a special mineral savoriness akin to licking stones. There is more Garnacha in the blend (there’s only 15% Syrah) which gives a Mediterranean juiciness. A new life for Erasmus, very much recognizable as Priorat, Gratallops and Erasmus, but with a more elegant haircut. Only 2,000 bottles produced.” WA
Case-12 Alvaro Palacios ‘Les Terrasses’ Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($419.95) $349 special, 2 cases available
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Brilliant ruby. Potent, mineral-laced raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by exotic floral and spice qualities, picking up white pepper and mocha accents with air. Seamless and sweet, offering silky red berry preserve flavors with a touch of allspice. Closes lively and precise, with sneaky tannins and a jolt of bitter cherry.” ST
Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 1 bottle remaining
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2012 Laurel is a blend of 70% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had a different élevage as it matured in a combination of used barriques, 20-hectoliter oak vats, cement vats and 700-liter amphorae. This is a very savory vintage of Laurel with pungent, almost saline flavors. The wet slate and black fruit that I link to Gratallops are present but the wine is much fresher than anticipated for a warm and especially dry vintage in a hot village like Gratallops. There is a balsamic twist in the background, but the place comes through stronger than grapes or process. I also tasted the 2013 a couple of weeks before bottling and it showed even better than the already great 2012. 9,000 bottles produced.” WA
Josh Raynolds—Vinous 93 points “(75% garnacha, 20% syrah and 5% cabernet sauvignon; aged in a combination of wooden upright vats and two- to four-year-old French oak barrels): Opaque ruby. Powerful smoke- and mineral-accented black and blue fruit aromas show very good clarity and pick up suave floral and spicecake elements with air. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering ripe blackcurrant and mulberry flavors sharpened by a peppery flourish. The floral note comes back strong on the finish, which clings with excellent tenacity and youthfully chewy tannins. In a broader-shouldered style than its Clos Erasmus sibling; this one should age well but offers plenty of immediate appeal as well. In the context of high-end Priorats there’s remarkable value here.” JR
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93 points “Brilliant ruby. Heady, mineral-laced aromas of candied red fruit, Indian spices and rose pastille. Juicy and incisive on the palate, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that gain sweetness and spiciness in the glass. Packs a powerful punch but comes off lithe and precise, with alluring sweetness and a touch of candied rose on the gently tannic finish. This suave wine was aged in a combination of French oak tanks, barrels and clay amphoras for 18 months.”
Rereading the Classics:
Of course, there is the hype to contend against. Domaine Tempier’s wines – be they the powerful, perennial Bandol rouges, the roses which come trickling in each year, or the small amount of white wine the domaine produces – have made their rounds in the finest restaurants, across the tasting panels and critics’ desks, and within every nook a wine geek has been known to occupy in print and online. Even so, Domaine Tempier seldom seems to disappoint.
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose 2015 375ML ($27.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose 2015 3L ($449.95) $399 pre-arrival special (Only 1 jeroboam available!)
Winery note “50% Mourvèdre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 2% Carignan. The grapes used to make our rosé come from selected parcels where the vines are on average 20 years old. The yields are low, which explains the intense concentration and distinct expression of each varietal in this wine. The presence of Mourvedre gives this wine its strong character, balance and complexity. An intense fruit and floral nose make this an attractive rosé. The palate is rounded and full with fruity aromas of peach and pomegranate, followed by delicate spice notes and a pleasant freshness created by acidic balance. The grapes are harvested by hand. In the ripening process, we aim for a hint of freshness with some acidity and slightly less alcohol than for the red wines.”
Domaine Tempier Wines Available Here Now:
Wine Spectator 93 points “Offers a grippy, tarry feel, with blackberry and plum compote flavors at the core, lined with lots of dried anise and fruitcake notes. Pretty violet and lavender details fill in on the finish, with a serious bolt of iron pinning everything down. Will need time to stretch out fully. Best from 2016 through 2026.” WS
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge Cuvee La Tourtine 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 points “Well-packed but very fresh in feel, with a violet edge to the core of currant and plum fruit. Singed rosemary and licorice snap notes underscore the finish. Best from 2016 through 2026.” WS
The Pink Checklist:
Crucial Roses for Summer Survival
Imperative Provence Pink:
Case-12 Chateau Henri Bonnaud Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Terre Promise Rose, Provence 2014 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 3 cases available
Winery note “The texture is smooth, rich, and silky. The wine has a long finish with notes of red fruits and spices. A structured rosé, as is ideal for a Côtes de Provence Rose. 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah.”
Importer note “The pink sibling of Ameztoi’s flagship white, this vibrant rosé is made from a mix of red and white indigenous grapes and is bottled with a little residual carbon to give it a light spritz. Fermented in stainless steel. Tasting Notes: Candied red fruits combine with a lime infused edge makes this a wildly intriguing rosé.”
Vinopolnote: The Loire Legend returns with a Cabernet Franc-based pink which is perfect for warm weather sipping!
Prime Elegance for a Special Occasion:
Importer note “This magical and ancient estate in the hills just south of Aix-en-Provence produces a Rosé from the Palette appellation that is outside of category. It is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. Expensive yes … but a special experience. A blend identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. The mineral backbone of this wine is augmented by the flavors and bouquets sourced from the magnificent pines that surround this estate.”
Vinopolnote: A Cabernet Sauvignon-based rose from the Southwest of France. Raspberry and cherry fruits lead into a round, mouthfilling presence on the palate and a very refreshing finish.
The Pink Sancerre:
Importer note “Gilles Crochet’s series of Sancerres are a defining element of our portfolio and stand at the pinnacle of this appellation. Likewise his Sancerre Pinot Rosé deservedly has its fanatical followers. This wine shows pristine balance, an artist’s “pink” to its tint and a discrete strawberry fruitiness that shows the charm of fine Pinot Noir. A wine that simply should not be missed!”
Spring’s Greatest Hits
Native to the perennially underrated Calabria, the Gaglioppo grape is known for its rich, bold wines whose underlying tannic structure melds nicely with their full body. A study of the grape’s DNA in 2008 found that Gaglioppo is likely a cross between Sangiovese and a mysterious, yet-to-be discovered grape. Along with the better known Aglianico, it has been grown in Calabria for many centuries.
Statti Gaglioppo Calabria IGT 2013 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 17 bottles available
Winery note “The respect of the original and typical fruit produces a wine of a rare elegance and pleasantness. The right witness of a land hidden into its own richness. 100% Gaglioppo.”
The Lamezia Rosso is a blend of 40% Gaglioppo, 40% Greco Nero, and 20% Nerello Cappuccio. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature with 10 days’ worth of skin maceration and stainless steel aging. The wine itself is medium-bodied, with cherries and spice on the nose. On the palate, it features dark berry fruit, fresh earthiness, and a touch of herbs.
Statti Lamezia Rosso, Calabria 2013 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36 bottles available
Case-12 Statti Lamezia Rosso, Calabria 2013 750ML ($179.95) $119 special, 3 cases available (that’s only $9.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Winery note “Deep, young, brilliant colours. Typical taste and smell characteristics in a wine whose vinification process introduces the cultural versatility of such a precious terroir. Gaglioppo 40% Greco Nero 40% Nerello cappuccio 20%.”
The “Peak Series” of wines in California are Mr. Terlato’s way of paying tribute to the Grand Cru wines of Bordeaux. “Angel’s Peak” is the first in the series, geared towards the wine stylings of Pomerol, where Merlot takes center stage. We’re proud to offer this plush, structured cuvee from the 2007, currently at the lowest listed price in the USA.
Terlato Family Vineyards Angel’s Peak, Napa Valley 2007 750ML ($49.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Spectator 88 points “Loaded with toasty oak aromas, this features appealing layers of red currant, dill and mocha coffee flavors, which linger toward ripe tannins. Merlot and Cabernet Franc.”
The next best price is $29
The average price is $48
He and his wife, Alis, founded Arrowood Winery with the 1985 vintage. Each year, they made extraordinary small-lot varietals and vineyard designates. Richard was the winemaster at Arrowood Winery until June 2010, when he resigned his position to devote himself full-time to making wines for his estate winery, Amapola Creek Vineyards and Winery.
Arrowood Saralee’s Vineyard Syrah, Russian River Valley 2011 750ML ($34.95) $16 special, 14 bottles available
Case-12 Arrowood Saralee’s Vineyard Syrah, Russian River Valley 2011 750ML ($319.95) $159 special, 1 case available (that’s only $13.25/bottle!)
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 90 points “(36% new oak): Vivid ruby. Smoky dark berry and olive tapenade scents are lifted by zesty mineral and black pepper notes, with a floral nuance adding complexity. Silky and focused on the palate, offering spice-accented blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter with air. The floral quality recurs on the persistent, smoky finish.” ST
The next best price is $29.99
The average price is $31
Burgundy Great Estates
François, while appreciating the great traditions that are very important to the Servin family, strives to modernize and improve the estate. He has resumed hand harvesting of grapes over most of the Premier Cru and all of the Grand Cru vineyards. Where necessary, he has replanted with improved Chardonnay vines. The wines are aged in a mix of stainless steel and wooden barrel, depending on the cuvee, and bottled without filtration.
With a long history in Chablis, Domaine Servin owns some great parcels through the area, including Grand and Premier Crus. Remarkably approachable in their youth, Servin’s wines are enjoyed for their well-balanced minerality and fresh fruit, outstanding values from Chablis!
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2013 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros has a very welcoming nose with superb mineralite and transparency. There is great intensity here that even overshadows the Les Preuses. The palate is medium-bodied with fine acidity, gorgeous light peach and apricot notes with great tension on the harmony on the finish. Superb! Drink 2015-2025.”
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(100% oak; 13.4% alcohol): Pale yellow-green. Lovely spicy lift to the aromas of lime, white peach and powdered stone. Juicy, dense and lightly saline; conveys strong Chablis character in a somewhat sweet way. A rich, fruit-driven wine of obvious power. Finishes with very good length and grip.” JR
Antonio Galloni 89-90 points “The 2013 Chablis Butteaux is all about subtlety. Here the citrus flavors take on an attractive sense of oiliness and pure texture, with white flowers, white pepper and mint overtones that add brightness. Today the Butteaux is a bit compact, especially on the finish, but that is a relatively small quibble within the context of the year. Saline notes add complexity to the chalky finish.” AG
The next best price is $31.99
Antonio Galloni 89-91 points “A round, succulent Chablis, the 2013 Les Forêts is beautifully textured in the glass. Graphite, petrol, slate and white orchard fruit open up nicely. The 2013 looks to be a fairly approachable Forêts with considerable near and medium-term appeal.” AG
Antonio Galloni 87-89 points “Servin’s 2013 Chablis Les Pargues presents attractive smoke and slate nuances, along with yellow orchard fruit, mint and spices. There is plenty to admire in this subtle, nicely layered village-level Chablis.” AG
The average price is $23
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 89-91 points “(from 48-year-old vines): Bright yellow. Citrus fruits, minerals and flowers on the nose, plus a suggestion of gingery spice. Intensely flavored and nicely deep, with an attractive sugar/acid balance contributing to an overall impression of smoothness. Saline and white pepper qualities add interest to the middle palate. Finishes pliant and long, with firm chalky minerality.” ST
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90+ points “(30% oak): Bright pale yellow with a green tinge. Spicy, slightly high-toned aromas of orange oil and white peach. Pliant and concentrated, offering good inner-mouth energy and minerality to the intense soft citrus and floral flavors. Very rich but in need of a couple years in the bottle to gain in complexity. Slightly phenolic on the back end, showing subtle chalk and saline qualities.” JR
Case-12 Domaine Servin Vaillons, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($419.95) $299 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2014 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons comes from the vineyard that Marc Cameron believes has improved the most in recent years. It has a fragrant bouquet with touches of yellow flowers and cold flint, opening up with hints of orange blossom with aeration. The palate is well balanced with an almost shrill opening that needs to calm down by the time of bottling, though there is good weight and fruit intensity to soak that up. Good potential here, though it needs to tame that initial feisty side of its personality.”
Chateauneuf du Pape Roundup
The town surrounded by vineyards speckled with white pebbles. The soil in the region is made up of quartz stones and sandy red clay from ancient riverbeds. Its Mediterranean climate is hot and dry. The mistral wind that blows down through Rhone keeps the region dry and can threaten ripening grapes when it reaches its maximum speeds of over 55 miles per hour.
The style of red wines produce is full-bodied, spicy and typically made with a large proportion of Grenache and often with Syrah or Mourvedre. The other red varieties allowed under the AOC are: Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir, and Vaccarese. Usually these wines are not aged in new wood, leading to a more pure expression of the fruit. Expect to detect notes of herbs, red and black berries and even notes of roasted meat.
Below we’ve put together a list of wines from
three of our top CDP producers, available here now:
Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92-94 points “Brilliant violet color. Fresh redcurrant and cherry on the seductively perfumed nose, with a smoky mineral quality adding lift and focus. Concentrated cherry, raspberry and lavender pastille flavors display very good vivacity thanks to juicy acidity. Aeration brings up deeper black raspberry and licorice notes that carry through a strikingly persistent, focused, youthfully tannic finish.”
Domaine du Pegau
Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2012 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of my favorite wines, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Réservée is a classic. Beautiful on the nose, with notions of ground pepper, wild herbs, minerality and smoked plum and dark fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has plenty of tannin that comes through on the finish. Similar in style to a lighter-weight 2010, drink this beauty anytime over the coming 12-15 years.” JD
Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2013 750ML ($69.95) $53.50 special, 36+ bottles available
Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2013 1.5L ($149.95) $128 special, 9 magnums available
Case-12 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2013 750ML ($719.95) $588 special, 5 cases available (that’s only $49/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93 points “Deep ruby. Potent aromas of ripe dark berries, licorice pastille, woodsmoke, game and garrigue, plus a peppery nuance that adds spiciness and lift. Round and fleshy on the palate, offering intense blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that become livelier and sweeter with air. The very long, energetic, sharply focused finish features fine-grained tannins and subtle, lingering notes of dark berries and smoked meat.”
Domaine du Pegau Selection Laurence Feraud Cotes du Rhone 2013 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 33 bottles available
Importer’s note: “In addition to running the legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape estate Domaine du Pegau with her father Paul, Laurence Féraud manages a successful negociant wine business under the “Sélection Laurence Féraud” label.”
Domaine du Pegau ‘Pink Pegau’ Rose 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles available
Importer’s note: “A delicious new rosé from Laurence Féraud of Domaine du Pegau, Pink Pegau was crafted at Château Pegau, a recently purchased estate of more than 100 acres located less than 4 miles from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Tasting Notes: Pale pink/salmon in color, with peach, floral and red fruit aromas. Bone dry, with a crisp, mouth-watering acidity leading to a long, spicy, mineral finish.”
Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “Deep ruby. Deeply pitched aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, olive paste and smoky minerals, along with hints of cola and licorice. Plush and creamy on the palate, with juicy boysenberry, cherry liqueur and mocha flavors picking up a spicy quality with air. Velvety tannins build through the finish, which lingers with good tenacity and appealing sweetness.”
The average price is $45
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to taste his traditional Châteauneuf du Pape, but the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee des Felix will certainly be outstanding. Still in foudre, it’s a superb effort from this estate with textbook dark fruits, smoke plum, roasted meat and wild herbs to go with a rich, textured and nicely concentrated feel. If you’re looking for classic, old-school styled wines, look no further.”
And Arriving in June:
Robert Parker 95 points “Absolutely magnificent is the opaque ruby/purple 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Felix. Notes of root beer/beet root interwoven with roasted Provencal herbs, black currants and even blacker fruits such as blackberries are prominent in this full-bodied, concentrated wine, which has fabulous fruit, sumptuous, a deep, multi-layered texture and a sensational finish of close to 40+ seconds. Acidity is present and there is precision and uplift to the big, bold flavors the 2010 Cuvee de Felix possesses. Drink it over the next 15+ years.” RP