Vinopolis Newsletter – Wednesday 12/27/2023

 In This Newsletter:

Happy Holidays from Vinopolis!

We will be CLOSED New Year’s Day
and resuming our normal hours (10-6pm) January 2nd

New Arrivals
Clouet, Diebolt-Vallois, Saint Damien, Cascina delle Rose, Hermann Ludes, and more!
Featured Winery: Ar.Pe.Pe
You’ll be over the moon for these high altitude Nebbiolos!
Collector’s Corner
In the mood to celebrate?

New Arrivals
Andre Clouet: Life is a dream…
“André Clouet is one of my favorite small domaines in Champagne. At their best, proprietor Jean-François Clouet’s wines are distinctive and full of character.”
-Antonio Galloni, Vinous

The Dream champagnes are a celebration of Clouet’s most accomplished vintages. They are 100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest, and disgorged on order.

Andre Clouet Brut Dream Vintage 2006 750ml $75 special, 13 bottles available
James Suckling 95 Points “A rich and almost opulent champagne for lovers of mature chardonnay. As much melted butter as candied-lemon and orange character. Glides over the palate into the very silky finish, the touch of salinity creating a wonderful tension with the creaminess. 100% chardonnay. Drink or hold.”
Andre Clouet Dream Vintage 2008 750ml $85 special, 20 bottles available
James Suckling 96 Points “Such a classic Blanc de Blancs champagne with the special elegance, brilliance and minerality of the 2008 vintage. Very well structured, but without the austere acidity structure that some 2008s have. Long and very clean finish that sends you back to the glass. 100% chardonnay. Drink or hold.”
Andre Clouet Brut Dream Vintage 2013 750ml $53.50 special, 7 bottles available

Diebolt-Vallois is a grower Champagne house located in the Grand Cru village of Cramant in the Côte des Blancs. The winemaking is meticulous at this tiny estate, with parcel-by-parcel vinification and the use of neutral oak in the fermentation of the top wines.
The pricing, like the house’s style, is a throwback to classical Champagne. The entry-level Tradition, which is easily the finest under $40 Champagne, is a blend of Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs villages of Cuis and Chouilly and Pinot Noir and Meunier from the villages of Épernay and Marfaux. It elegantly marries the structure of Chardonnay with the red fruit and forward-drinking appeal of the Pinots.  
Diebolt-Vallois Tradition Brut, Champagne NV 750ml $38 special, 23 bottles available
Wine & Spirits 93 points “[Most recent review for a previous disgorgement] Deep in color, with rich scents of peach and toasty notes of fresh almond, this is clean and compact, finishing with the creaminess of hazelnut flan. What’s hard to describe is the beauty of its simple line—one taster compared it to the sleek design of a vintage Ferrari.”
Winery note “The Champagne Tradition is assembled from the three major champagne grape varieties and is the only white wine of the whole range which is not pure chardonnay.”
Best Price in the USA
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 750ml $41.90 special
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 375ml $26 special, 13 half-bottles available
Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L $112 special, 6 magnums available
Wine Spectator 91 points “[Most recent review for a previous disgorgement] Rich aromas and flavors of poached apricot, melon, tangerine and hazelnut are enlivened by vibrant acidity in this well-knit Champagne, with a creamy finish of graphite and spice.”
Winery Note “The Champagne Blanc de Blancs is a non-vintage brut champagne, 100% chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs and the Coteaux d’Epernay.”
Best Price in the USA
The Prestige bottling, the most shockingly underpriced wine of the entire lineup, is made from Chardonnay from Cuis, Épernay and Cramant. This is richly textured with generous orchard fruit and creamy leesy notes and a palate-refreshing dash of minerality.

Diebolt-Vallois ‘Fleur de Passion RD’ Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2008 750ml $399 special, only 5 bottles available

Diebolt-Vallois ‘Fleur de Passion RD’ Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2008 1.5L $799 special, only 3 magnums available
Winery note “Pure Chardonnay made from our oldest plots located in Cramant Grand Cru terroir. This Blanc de Blancs, 100% 2008 harvest, is vinified in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation nor filtration. This bottling in 2009 is prolonged by an ageing on lees during 13 years in our cellars… The Champagne Fleur de Passion is the jewel in the range from the house of Diebolt-Vallois. It is only made in the very best years. This wine is created entirely in barrel, following the major principles of the first wine Jacques Diebolt made together with his grandfather in 1953. Fleur de Passion is a precious and delicate champagne, it is complex, intense and long on the palate. 100% chardonnay.”

Only listing in the United States today

Diebolt-Vallois Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ml $44.50 special, 22 bottles available
Wine Spectator 91 points “[Most recent review for a previous disgorgement] An elegant rosé Champagne, fresh with crunchy acidity and lacy texture, this shows a delicate mesh of star fruit, pink grapefruit pith, star anise and pickled ginger. Chalk-tinged finish.”
Winery note “The lively Pink Champagne Rosé – mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – offers up sweet aromas of small red fruits.”

Best Price on the West Coast
Fresne Ducret

“In 2014, Pierre Fresne undertook a new adventure by creating exceptional wines and champagnes in limited series for connoisseurs. Since then, he has produced one or two of these unique wines each year, according to his desires and the profile of the vintage. This collection is called Arquémie, that’s what alchemy was called in the Middle Ages. Described as “a truly royal science and an undoubtedly divine study…it makes a thousand different waters, a thousand oils, numerous liqueurs without which one could not live comfortably or even live at all,” Arquémie embodies the spirit of this range micro-cuvées.” –Fresne Ducret

Fresne Ducret Le Chemin Du Chemin Premier Cru NV, Champagne 750ml $44.50 special, 18 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast Roger Voss 94 Points “This Champagne shows some fine maturity. A blend based on the 2014 vintage, it now has toastiness while keeping intense freshness. Acidity and touches of minerality come through the spiciness. Drink now.”
Fresne Ducret Arquemie No 2 Premier Cru Blanc De Blancs NV, Champagne 750ml $59 special, 12 bottles available
Fresne Ducret Arquemie No 6 Premier Cru Blanc De Noirs NV, Champagne 750ml $59 special, 12 bottles available

Jose Michel
Jose Michel Special Club 2014 750ml $69 special, 12 bottles available
Winery Notes “This Prestige cuvee blended with 50% Meunier and 50% Chardonnay, some of which is produced from vines of over 70 years old, is patiently aged across many years in the darkness of our cellars and reveals the superb alchemy between two contrasting and yet complementary grape varieties. This Cuvée is made according to the very sought-after “Club Trésor de Champagne” charter that can only be claimed by 25 Champagne Wine Growers.”
Cameron Winery Abbey Ridge Cuvee Julia Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 750ml $112 special, 20 bottles available
Winemaker Note “Our Julia Pinot noir is vinified from 40 year old vines located in a small block of Martin Ray Massale in the Abbey Ridge vineyard. It is aged for two years in barrique with one additional year in bottle. The nose shows top-level cru fruit saturation. It has a huge range of fruit profiles from blackberry to blueberry to strawberry, with a bit of licorice thrown in for good measure. Hints of charcuterie for you meat lovers. It’s reminiscent of wines made from vineyards above the village of Gevrey.
The label represents a native Madrone tree which grows next to the vineyard. Named in honor of Julia Wayne of Abbey Ridge, who also drew the illustration for the label, this extremely limited wine is elegant and charming, just like its namesake. This is a wine you can age for years.”

Best Price in the USA!
Cline Cellars Eight Spur Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley 2021 750ml $21.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 Points “An old-school Zin that smells fresh from the briar patch, this is ripe but not over the top, showing lively flavors of wild berry, licorice and savory cracked pepper. Drink now through 2031.”
Best Price on the West Coast
Saint Damien
The Louisiane & Souteyrades Vineyards Were Not Bottled In The 2021 Vintage. Louisiane and Souteyrades is going into this wine. Get it, lots of it, if you can. Raised in neutral, 50 hectoliter oak foudres.
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2021 750ml $34.50 special, 36+ bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck  96 Points “Moving to the 2019s, this is a great vintage for this estate, and all of the wines showed brilliantly. The 2019 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is its usual 80/20 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre and has awesome dark fruits, ground pepper, licorice, truffle, and earthy mineral-like aromas and flavors. I love its mid-palate, it has elegance as well as power, ripe tannins, and a great finish. I finished my note with “Wow.””
Vinous  93-95 Points “Vivid ruby. A highly fragrant bouquet evokes candied red fruits, smoky minerals and lavender; a spicy nuance builds as the wine opens up. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, juicy raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors show good heft, seamless texture and real energy. It finishes spicy and impressively long, with sneaky tannins adding a final grip. This is shaping up to be a highly impressive entry-level bottling, which is not surprising given that this is the only Gigondas that will be bottled this year, so all the juice from the Louisiane and Souteyrades is going into this wine. Get it, lots of it, if you can. Raised in neutral, 50 hectoliter oak foudres.”
Domaine Saint Damien Cotes du Rhone Le Blanc, Rhône 2022 750ml $16 special, 36+ bottles available
Importer’s Note “White wine. Southern Rhône, France. Organic. Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Viognier. Notes of white peach and citrus on the nose and palate. After some time in the glass, fines herbs and hints of almond complement the citrus and fruit flavors. Full-bodied, but shows good and balanced acidity and minerality.”
Best Price on the West Coast
Domaine Saint Damien Cotes du Rhone La Bouveau, Rhône 2020 750ml $18 special, 36+ bottles available
Importer’s Note “Red wine. Southern Rhône, France. Organic. 80% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 5% Viognier. A terrific value in just about every vintage, the Côtes du Rhône le Bouveau from this terrific estate offers lots of jammy raspberry and black cherry nuances intermixed with hints of olives, truffle and farmyard. Fruity, rounded and mouth-filling, with tons of charm, it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 3-4 years. With food this is a versatile wine, it can stand against a rib-eye or work well with a pork roast. Where it will do best is with meats like lamb, or duck, particularly seared chops or breast.”
Louis Jadot
Louis Jadot Domaine des Heritiers Corton Pougets Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2021 750ml $169 special, 12 bottles available
Neal Martin-Vinous 94-96 Points “The 2021 Corton-Pougets Grand Cru has a wonderful bouquet with transparent red cherry, raspberry and floral notes. This wine is classy and seductive. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannins. It’s lithe and agile in the mouth with a mineral undertow towards the finish. Often one of Jadot’s classiest offerings, this Pougets is no different and one of their stars in 2021.”
M Plouzeau
M Plouzeau Clos de Maulevrier Touraine ‘Ante Phylloxera’ Franc de Pied, Loire 2017 750ml $119 special, 2 bottles available
Importer Note “This rare cuvée comes from a small vineyard of only 40 acres, populated by vines planted in 1860 and having survived phylloxera. Free of vines, without rootstock, these Cabernet Francs allow a real journey through time. They have been cultivated without chemicals for many years, with great care, all the work in the vineyard being done manually. In the cellar, the berries harvested by hand are transported to vats by gravity, then ferment using only indigenous yeasts. Marc Plouzeau practices delicate extractions, then after pressing, the wine is aged for several months in barrels. These very old vines offer a complex and harmonious cuvée, scented with red fruits enhanced by fine spices and a touch of undergrowth. The palate, greedy and fresh, displays a delicate and slightly suave substance. A great Loire wine, produced at only 1000 bottles per vintage.”
Only listing in the United States
Cascina delle Rose
We dare you to name a better woman run, organic practicing, Barbaresco house. You can’t? Neither can we, but we know you will love these elegant, rose and earth-scented wines as much as you do!
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo, Barbaresco DOCG 2020 750ml $74.50 special, 30 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 Points “This is Cascina delle Rose’s other single-vineyard wine from a second nearby site in the village of Barbaresco. The 2020 Barbaresco Rio Sordo is slightly more linear and streamlined compared to the Tre Stelle in this vintage. That wine felt more immediate to me, but the Rio Sordo feels more long-term thanks to elegant fruit, crushed stone and sweet licorice aromas it offers. Production is 3,500 bottles.”
Best Price on the West Coast
Cascina delle Rose Tre Stelle, Barbaresco DOCG 2020 750ml $74.50 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 Points “The 2020 Barbaresco Tre Stelle is a delight to drink. The character of this vintage is more accessible for sure, and the fruit is very bright and supple. But there’s no harm in drinking this warm-vintage release of 7,500 bottles on the early side while all its primary aromas are so intact and enticing. The tannins are soft, and the wine shows medium richness to close.”
Best Price on the West Coast
Cascina Delle Rose Langhe Nebbiolo 2022 750ml $33 special, 24 bottles available
Winery Notes “The vineyard is located in the village of Barbaresco, in lean soils, rich in mineral salts and densely stratified. Bright garnet red, elegant classic fruity and floral notes of the Three Stars, deep, clean, the clear expression of the grape. Dense texture of tannin, fine, silky. Very persistent finish. It matches perfectly with cured meats and raw hams, white or red meats and medium-aged cheeses.”
Best Price in the USA
GD Vajra
G.D. Vajra Ravera, Barolo DOCG 2019 750ml $89 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 Points “The organic G.D. Vajra 2019 Barolo Ravera (with fruit from the most sought-after cru in the village of Novello) reveals gorgeous tonality and color. The wine shines bright with dark ruby and garnet gemstone. Healthy Nebbiolo colors like this can be admired across the 2019 vintage. Ravera represents a union of different geologies from Barolo and Castiglione Falletto. The site has shown extraordinary versatility, especially in the face of climate change, to make wines of both strength and elegance. It is softly textured but also strong in fiber, with silky sensations followed by dark fruit and concentration. Ravera has a character all its own, and the operative word here is power.”
Weingut Hermann Ludes
Importer of German Riesling Vom Boden states it plainly: “This is the first Mosel estate we’ve taken on in almost nine years; let that tell you something about how important we think it is.” When Vom Boden, who brings us such essential German wineries as Keller and Emrich-Schonleber talks, the wine world must listen!
The Ludes estate is located off the beaten path in Mosel, specifically they derive from the village of Thornich, an area that has been divisive to some Riesling lovers in the past but for uncompromising winemakers like Julian Ludes they are a manifesto. Quoting Vom Boden again, “rustic, transparent, bracing – even a touch brutal – [like] Mosel wines that were probably common decades ago. Yet this style has been nearly forgotten, pushed aside by the riper, fruitier, easier style of plush-and-giving Mosel wine.
If you love structured, acid-driven wines with dense minerality, you can’t afford to miss these!
Hermann Ludes ‘Hermann’ Riesling, Mosel 2022 750ml $21.90 special, 12 bottles available
Vom Boden Importer Notes “This is a curvier, also lighter and more  ephemeral-feeling wine – as if you don’t really even have to drink it, as if it will just saturate and then evaporate, leaving a pleasing sorta wine-tingle […] The wine smells of the perfume of fermentation, pears, quince, spice, flowers and rocks with a rustic spritzy energy. Just essential deliciousness”
Hermann Ludes Thornicher Ritsch Riesling Kabinett Feinherb, Mosel 2022 750ml $33 special, 36 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “The finish is chiseled, focused, and superbly long. The aftertaste is marked by smoke, lime, and ginger-driven spices, and above all shows huge energy. This is a splendid dry-tasting and racy wine, made for lovers of straightforward and sharp Riesling. It only needs a few years to round off its edges.”
Hermann Ludes Thornicher Kabinet Feinherb Gack Unten Riesling, Mosel 2022 750ml $33 special, 36 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “It takes a few minutes in the glass for it to show its complexity, with notes of cassis, wild strawberry, candied grapefruit, fine spices, aniseed herbs, and fresh herbs. The wine has superb balance on the palate, with finesse but also intensity and grip. The finish is very long, chiseled, and refreshing. What a gloriously light yet deep expression of dry-tasting Kabinett!”

Hermann Ludes Riesling, Mosel 2022 750ml $18 special, 24 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “The first nose is very smoky (bacon), with, after a few minutes’ aeration, notes of earthy herbs, potpourri, yellow peach, greengage, and spearmint. The palate brings plenty of fresh yellow fruits, with a touch of creaminess and juiciness. The finish is clean and light. This light off-dry Riesling is simply delicious.”
Hermann Ludes Thornicher Kabinett ‘im Schneidersberg’ T Riesling, Mosel 2022 750ml $33 special, 24 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “The wine comes over as straightforward and lean on the palate, with dynamism provided by some salivating acidity. The finish is taut, long, and tart, and clearly still austere. It will need a few years to soften. This lively, airy, and racy dry wine is remarkable, and will appeal to fans of this style.”
Hermann Ludes Thornicher Ritsch Riesling Kabinett Terrassen, Mosel 2022 750ml $29 special, 36 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “The wine is airy and finely fruity on the palate, with sappy yellow peach adding creaminess and juiciness. The finish is remarkably light, yet intense and very long. This is a remarkable Kabinett from the 2022 vintage.”
Hermann Ludes Thornicher Riesling, Mosel 2022 750ml $24 special, 12 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “The wine is deliciously fresh and slightly juicy on the palate, with plenty of spices and a saline edge which gives tension to the very delicate and precise finish. The aftertaste is dry-tasting and superbly airy. This dry-tasting Riesling is remarkably elegant and fresh.”
Weingut Emrich-Schonleber
Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Fruhlingsplatzchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2022 $79 special, 9 bottles available
Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Fruhlingsplatzchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2022 1.5L $189 special, 2 bottles available
Stuart Pigott (Suckling) 98 Points “One of the stars of the vintage in the Nahe! Cool and uplifting with a wealth of fresh and dried herbs and the whole spectrum of citrus. Powerful and compact on the palate which has breathtaking herbal and mineral intensity. Expands and expands at the super-long finish. Excellent aging potential, but you can drink it from release.”
Weingut Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2022 750ml $89 special, 9 bottles available
Weingut Emrich-Schonleber Monzinger Halenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2022 1.5L $199 special, 2 bottles available
Stuart Pigott (Suckling) 95 Points “Very attractive nose of peach and spice with just a touch of exotic fruits. Rich and ripe with a touch of mid-palate creaminess as it rolls gently over you, the power very understated. Delicate slatey minerality at the long silky finish. Drink from release.”
Kopke Colheita Tawny 1957 750ml $489 special, 3 bottles available $489 special, 3 bottles available
Harriet Kininmonth-IWSC 98 Points “Still showing elegance and incredible complexity when considering the age. Soft and mellow, loaded with ripe soft stone fruit. Harmonious yet still has austere delights to savour. Still has development to come.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 95 Points “The 1957 Colheita Tawny Port was seen before, but it’s worth revisiting in the USA, since it’s a great wine. This is also the new 2015 bottling. It has 127 grams per liter of residual sugar. It is stunning how youthful this is. Lush and rich on opening, it has mature flavors that emerge, easily demonstrating the complexity and concentrated aromatics one expects. Gripping on the finish, this delivers fruit flavor and seems to linger indefinitely. When I first saw this, it was tasted next to even more brilliant Colheitas and a bit overshadowed. On its own, it is even more stunning. It was pretty fine next to some other greats here as well.”
Best Price on the West Coast
Featured Winery: Ar.Pe.Pe

You’ll Be Over The Moon For These High Altitude Nebbiolos!
The super-traditional style will leave lovers of translucent Nebbiolo weak at the knees… Perhaps most importantly, ARPEPE shows just how pedigreed the wines of Valtellina can be.”—Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Everyone wonders the same thing at first, so to begin with let’s answer the question. It stands for Arturo Pelizzatti Perego. For some it’s the enigmatic name that draws them to this winery. For others it’s the striking label art. But most people who come to Arpepe are attracted by the word of mouth.
Located in the “Valtellina Superiore” region of Italy, a gorgeous valley that that nestled between two sets of Alps (the Orobic and Retic ones for all of you Alp lovers) near the Swiss border, with dramatic, sweeping hills straight out of a gothic romance and sub regions with evocative names like Inferno and Paradiso.
The wines are similarly memorable. These are vivid wines that tell the story of their wholly unique terroir.
Enjoy them!

Ar.Pe.Pe. Buon Consiglio Riserva, Valtellina Superiore Grumello DOCG 2013 750ml $99 special, 13 bottles available
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ Points “One of two late-release wines from Ar. Pe. Pe., the 2013 Valtellina Superiore Grumello Riserva Buon Consiglio is a beautifully light and delicate expression of Nebbiolo with a lean, ruby-tinged appearance. The wine ages to silkiness and extreme suppleness, and I cannot help but notice the unique aromas of toasted hazelnut, mountain flower and balsam herb that rise so delicately from the bouquet. These results are exquisite and ultra delicate, giving the wine a lithe or ethereal personality. What a beauty. Only 6,000 bottles were released.”
Wine Spectator 94 Points “A perfumed red, exuding aromas and flavors of crushed raspberry and pureed strawberry, exotic spice and graphite, dried marjoram and thyme. It’s finely knit, with silky tannins and mouthwatering, citrus peel acidity. A graceful version with a lasting, mineral-laced finish. Drink now through 2028. 500 cases made, 175 cases imported.  –AN”
Best price on the West Coast
Ar.Pe.Pe Fiamme Antiche Valtelina Superiore 2017 750ml $59 special, 18 bottles available
Wine Spectator 94 Points “A graceful, mineral-driven red, with seamless integration of the firm, fine-grained tannins and concentrated flavors of ripe raspberry, star anise, Earl Grey and red licorice. Light on its feet, this red boasts complexity and depth. Drink now through 2030. 500 cases made, 150 cases imported.”
Ar.Pe.Pe Inferno Sesto Canto Riserva 2013 750ml $99 special, 9 bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 Points “There’s a lovely juiciness to the crushed black raspberry and strawberry fruit on display in this elegant, medium- to full-bodied red, yet sleek tannins are well-integrated and provide fine definition. Fragrant notes of tea leaf, pomegranate and hot stone chime on the silky finish. Drink now through 2033. 500 cases made, 175 cases imported.  –AN”
Ar.Pe.Pe Sassella Nuova Regina Riserva 2013 750ml $99 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 96 Points “Loaded with finesse and energy and still youthfully austere, this linear, structured red offers tart cranberry, blood orange and star anise sensations. A vein of salty mineral provides the backdrop while fine-grained tannins provide elegant structure and support. Racy acidity keeps it balanced. Give it time to fully develop and blossom into even more of a beauty. Drink 2025–2035. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 Points “A release of about 6,000 bottles, the Ar. Pe. Pe. 2013 Valtellina Superiore Riserva Sassella Nuova Regina draws its fruit from terraced vineyards delineated by rocky drywalls. The vines are at least 50 years old and planted in friable metamorphic rock or gneiss shaped by glaciers. This wine is made in a highly traditional manner with extended skin maceration in oak casks, and all the harvest work is done by hand. This is a true beauty with enormous finesse and a deep well of aromatic nuances that center around wild berries, blue flowers and iron ore. The wine is carefully aged with fine and silky tannins. It tastes great, so if you have a bottle you can drink it now or wait longer if that is your pleasure.”
Ar.Pe.Pe Grumello Rocca De Piro Superiore 2017 750ml $59 special, 23 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 Points “Wine Spectator 95 Points A fresh, focused red, with a subtle yet persistently fragrant thread of tobacco and spices winding through dried cherry and strawberry, tea rose, stone and smoke notes. Reveals supple tannins that firm the creamy, lasting finish. Tightly meshed yet still expressive, this should show well with short-term cellaring. Best from 2024 through 2034. 1,900 cases made, 170 cases imported.”
Ar.Pe.Pe Rosso Di Valtellina 2020 750ml $38 special, 17 bottles available
Winery Notes “100% Nebbiolo from 50-100 year old vines on the lower slopes of the Sassella and Grumello vineyards.”
Ar.Pe.Pe Grumello Sant’antonio Riserva 2013 $99 special, 4 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95 Points “The 2013 Valtellina Superiore Grumello Riserva Sant’Antonio is a bold, pungent wine. Dark red and purplish fruit, lavender, spice, menthol and licorice race across the palate. A deep, vertical Riserva, the 2013 is very young today, but it is so impressive. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s striking inner perfume, sweetness and sheer pedigree.”
Collector’s Corner

In the Mood to Celebrate?

Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle No. 26, Chanmpagne NV 750ml $249 special, 2 bottles available

James Suckling 100 Points “This is really something. Electric on the palate. The aromas are so complex with sliced fresh and dried ginger, subtle pie crust, tarte tatin and hints of nutmeg with some salted caramel. Toasted bread, too. Always subtle. The palate is full- to medium-bodied yet hemmed-in with a freshness and balance that draws you back. Savory and vibrant. It’s full of energy. Spectacular. Fascinating. Symphonic blend of 2012, 2008 and 2007. 65% of the 2012, 25% of the 2008 and 10% of the 2007. Eight grand cru. Chardonnay 58% and 42% pinot noir. Disgorged February 2023. 10 years on the lees. 7g/L dosage. Drink or hold.”
Janis Robinson 19.5/20 Points “Powerful aroma of orange peel and something in the putty/chalk spectrum. It somehow manages to be both tight yet approachable, dense in terms of flavour concentration yet filigree in terms of texture. As usual, it’s so Chardonnay! Overriding citrus character and quite amazingly long, a mouthful tingling on the palate for minutes not seconds. Enormous finesse. Massive pleasure. This would make the most luxurious aperitif. Michel Fauconnet, having welcomed the new chef de cave in January 2023, must be especially proud of this wine.”
Cult Producer alert! This Côte des Bar producer releases only single-vineyard, single-varietal, single-vintage, zero-dosage Champagnes. Cedric Bouchard features some of the lowest restricted yields in Champagne, and places extra emphasis on picking at the optimum moment. The Côte des Bar itself is partially composed of the same Kimmeridgian soils as Chablis, which gives these a surge an almost electric intenstiy. Think of them as lightning in a bottle!
Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne ‘VV-Cote de Val Vilaine’ Blanc de Noirs, Champagne NV 750ml (2021) $199 special, 6 bottles available
Winery Note 100% “Pinot Noir from the 1.5 hectare lieu-dit of Val Vilaine. 300-500 cases produced annually.”
Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Orizeaux Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2012 750ml $219 special, 2 bottles available
Vinous 94 Points “The NV (2012) Extra-Brut Cuvée Orizeaux is Chartogne’s Pinot Noir Champagne from a parcel originally planted in 1961. The Orizeaux manages to somehow be both translucent and deep. Surprisingly bright and focused, the 2012 offers quite a bit of aromatic lift and intensity throughout. White orchard fruit, white flowers and lemon peel are nicely delineated. The flavor profile is more like Chardonnay, while the structure and phenolic impression are, indeed, those of Pinot. What a gorgeous wine this. Disgorged: February 2016. Dosage is 5 grams per Liter.”
Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Orizeaux Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2010 750ml $249 special, 3 bottles available
Christophe Baron ‘Les Alouettes’ Brut Nature, Champagne 2016 1.5L $259 special, only 1 bottle available
Antonio Galloni 94 Points “The 2016 Brut Nature Les Alouettes (Magnum) is ample and broad, with a real sense of volume that grows over time. Layered and beautifully resonant, the Alouttes is also the most sensual and immediate of these wines. Even with all of its intensity, the Alouttes is translucent and so expressive, even in the early going. Spice, dried pear, flowers and nutty accents linger. Disgorged: March, 2020.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ Points “The most reserved wine in the range is the 2016 Brut Nature Les Alouettes, from a southeast-facing site in Charly-sur-Marne. Unwinding in the glass with scents of citrus zest, apricot, orange oil and pear, framed by hints of wet stones and struck match, it’s medium to full-bodied, tightly wound and chalky, with racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse. Interestingly, a magnum tasted in November 2020 was rather more open and expressive than this one, tasted in early 2021.”
Christophe Baron ‘Les Alouettes’ Brut Nature, Champagne 2017 1.5L $259 special, 6 bottles available
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 Points “The 2017 Brut Nature Les Alouettes is excellent, bursting with aromas of golden orchard fruit, warm spices, honeycomb, plums and toasted bread. Full-bodied, fleshy and vinous, it’s rich and sapid, with a layered core of fruit, a pretty pinpoint mousse and a long, saline finish. Seamless and complete, this bottling is particularly strong this year.”
Antonio Galloni 95 Points “The 2017 Brut Nature Les Alouettes (Magnum) is the most potent and tightly wound of these three Champagnes from Christophe Baron. It offers up a beguiling mix of graphite, orange confit, dried flowers, earthiness, chamomile and spice, all in a dense, inward style that demands cellaring. The Alouttes shows the more earthy, savory side of Meunier. Disgorged: May, 2021.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points “The 2017 Champagne Les Alouettes is beautiful, and richer, mouth-filling style that should age gracefully. Giving up lots of toasty, nuttiness aromatics, it has a core of green apple fruit, plenty of mid-palate density, bright, almost racy acidity, and a great finish.”
Christophe Baron ‘Les Hautes Blanches Vignes’ Brut Nature, Champagne 2017 1.5L $269 special, 4 bottles available
Antonio Galloni Vinous 95 Points “The 2017 Brut Nature Les Hautes Blanches Vignes (Magnum) is a rich, burnished wine. Deep in color and intensity from tiny yields, the Hautes Blanches is a rich Champagne endowed with notable textural breadth and energy. Orange peel, hazelnut, dried flowers, chamomile, tangerine oil and light oxidative notes build in this powerhouse Meunier. The red fruit character of Meunier is so expressive. This is an especially vinous style, even for Christophe Baron. The Hautes Blanches Vignes is just as much wine as it is Champagne. Disgorged: May 2021.”
Larmandier-Bernier Les Chemins d’Avize Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ml $149 special, 9 bottles available
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 Points “Revisited from the October 2019 disgorgement, Larmandier-Bernier’s 2013 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Les Chemins d’Avize continues to show brilliantly, offering up complex aromas of argan oil, fresh apricot and crisp yellow orchard fruit, complemented by hints of fresh walnuts and almond paste. Full-bodied, deep and vinous, it’s layered and elegantly fleshy, with a concentrated core of ripe fruit, racy acids and a long, mineral finish. As I wrote last year, Pierre Larmandier invariably excels in cool, late-growing seasons, so the 2013 vintage was perfectly adapted to his talents.”

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