In This Newsletter:
Jump Start Offer:
2014 Cristal Arriving in Early May
Wines Arriving Late February
Vinopolis’ House Champagne
Volpaia Towers Above Chianti Classico
Cult Wine Release:
Treasures from the Collector’s Vault
Pommery: The “other” Madame
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2014 Cristal Arriving in Early May
“The 2014 Cristal is a riveting Champagne. Don’t miss it.” – Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Louis Roederer Cristal Millesime Brut Champagne 2014 750ML ($379.95) $349 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98 points “The 2014 Cristal is another in a long line of gorgeous wines from Roederer and long-time Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. A dazzling, vibrant Champagne, the 2014 impresses with a stunning combination of fruit density and linear energy that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of 2012 and 2008. At times, the bubbles feel totally wrapped up in waves of creamy, resonant fruit to the point the mousse is barely perceptible, especially with aeration. The flavors are bright and finely sculpted, leaning very much into the citrus, floral and mineral end of the spectrum.
“The blend is a classic: 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay taken from 39 of the 45 parcels that comprise the Cristal estate. In most vintages, the Pinot components are roughly equally split between Verzy/Verzenay and Aÿ, but in 2014, Lécaillon favored Verzy and Verzenay, two north facing villages in the Montagne de Reims (where rain was less problematic) known for conferring saline energy and vibrancy. Rain was much more of an issue in the Vallée de la Marne. Consequently, some of the Pinots in Aÿ were diluted and did not make it into the blend. Chardonnays were sourced from historic plots in Avize, Mesnil and Cramant. About 32% of the lots were fermented in wood, the rest were done in tank. As always, all of the malolactic fermentations were blocked. In 2014, the growing season was marked by a good spring followed by a cool, wet summer and then very favorable weather in September. I vividly recall that there was not much enthusiasm for the vintage at the outset. Today, though, opinions are starting to change, at least with regards to some wines.
“Since 2012, Cristal has been made entirely from organically-farmed grapes, an approach Lécaillon adopted in order to achieve a more ideal and parallel relationship between sugar and phenolic ripeness. “Champagne is always a battle between picking too early and rot,” Lécaillon has often said during our tastings. One of the other benefits of organic farming is that it naturally lowers yields. As Champagne fans know, the great wines of the 1950s and 1960s were made at a time when yields were in the 5,000 kilo per hectare range. Then, in the 1980s, widespread planting of higher-yielding clones led to an entirely different situation in the vineyard. Today’s permitted yields are 11,000 kilos per hectare, with some variation in years that present unusual growing conditions. With organic farming, yields for Cristal are in the 7,000-9,000 kilo per hectare range. Another innovation at Roederer has been a focus on higher-density plantings with newer vineyards, an approach that encourages low production per vine. But back to the wine.
“The 2014 Cristal is a riveting Champagne. Don’t miss it.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2014 Cristal is a terrific effort that transcends the vintage. Bursting from the glass with expressive aromas of ripe citrus fruit, nectarine, white flowers, freshly baked bread and subtle hints of honeycomb, it’s medium to full-bodied, vinous and fleshy, with an exuberant core of fruit that’s girdled by racy acids, resulting in a wine that’s simultaneously chiseled and demonstrative, meaning that early appeal doesn’t come at the expense of the requisite tension for long-term cellaring. Concluding with a long, aromatic and intensely chalky finish, it is a brilliant Champagne that will offer a broad drinking window. This bottle was disgorged in June 2021 with seven grams per liter dosage.”
Simon Field Mw-Decanter 95 points “The rollercoaster growing season of 2014 is reflected to perfection by the innate tension here; ripe citric fruit and even a touch of exoticism (mango and fig) tempered by a fine shard of acidity and a lifted ethereal character, described paradoxically by chef de caves Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon as ‘weightless density’. Purity, energy and power make for very happy bedfellows, courtesy the chalky terroir and its organic husbandry. The texture is silky, the bubbles joyfully integrated and the finish resourceful and precise, its salinity deferential to the deep-digging roots. Disgorged: June 2021. Dosage: 7g/L. Drinking Window 2022 – 2030.”
Wines Arriving Late February
Wine Spectator 97 points “This goes from zero to 60 right out of the gate, with an intense spine of acidity driving tightly meshed flavors of crushed black currant, ground coffee, candied grapefruit peel and toasted almond. The profile expands on the palate, carried by the fine, raw silk–like mousse. Richly aromatic and expressive from start to lasting, spiced finish. Disgorged July 2019. Drink now through 2037. 850 cases imported. — AN”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Top 100 Cellar Selection in 2020. Still young for a wine of this caliber, this rich Champagne has an immense future ahead of it. The freshness of the wine will mature into the rich toastiness that is such a hallmark of this brand. Oak fermentation and aging have added to the great promise of this fine wine. Drink from 2022. -Roger Voss”
Wine & Spirits 96 points “A selection of pinot noir from Aÿ and Verzenay (65 percent of the blend) with chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oiry, this wine ferments and ages in oak barrels and large casks, followed by extended aging on the lees in bottle. There’s an immediacy to its bubbles, and a scent that is immediately awesome—lemon blossom, lemon verbena and something exotic, like Buddha’s hand. The flavors are classical, expanding outward as the wine develops with air, potent, salty and long. Once it’s gone, you can smell the ghost of oak in the empty glass, even if it wasn’t overt in the wine. This is a structured and long-lived 2012.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “Disgorged in July 2019, Bollinger’s 2012 Brut La Grande Année is showing well, offering up an incipiently complex bouquet of crisp yellow orchard fruit, fresh peach, orange oil, toasted walnuts and dried apricot that’s still quite reserved with less than a year on cork. Full-bodied, deep and muscular, the 2012 is blockier and broader-shouldered than its 2008 predecessor, with a weightier and even more concentrated palate built around a bright spine of acidity, concluding with a chalky finish that carries appreciably dry extract. This isn’t quite as elegant as the exquisite 2008, but it is a superb effort and obviously built to age.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2012 Grande Année is vibrant and wonderfully nuanced. Citrus peel, orchard fruit, brioche, dried flowers and chamomile are all finely knit in a Grand Année built on energy and persistence more than size. Readers will find a restrained Grand Année in 2012. There is plenty of the textural richness that is such a signature of the house style, but I am also struck by the wine’s freshness. Best of all, the 2012 will drink well right out of the gate. It is quite expressive today, even in the early going. (Originally published in August 2020)”
Billecart-Salmon ‘Cuvee Nicolas-Francois Billecart’ Millesime Champagne 2007 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2007 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart is positively stellar. Elegant, polished and sophisticated, the 2007 dazzles with effusive aromatics and gorgeous balance. It’s not an obvious wine, though, but rather a Champagne built for long, patient cellaring. The 2007 is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay taken from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Ambonnay, Verzenay and Verzy for the Pinots and Chouilly, Avize, Cramant and Mesnil for the Chardonnays. In other words, as good as it gets for villages. The wine was done mostly in tank with about 15% of the lots vinified in oak. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 97 points “Disgorged with six grams per liter dosage, the 2007 Brut Cuvée Nicolas François is showing very nicely, offering up aromas of fresh bread, citrus oil, crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers, verbena, macadamia nut and hints of biscuity complexity to come. Full-bodied, chiseled but fleshy, its vinous core of fruit cloaks the vintage’s brisk acids to achieve real plenitude in a year that’s sometimes rather tautly austere. Long and penetrating and complemented by a pretty pinpoint mousse, this is a real success.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “#4 Cellar Selection in 2021. This beautiful Champagne is amazingly at its peak. Not too mature, not too young, the wine is in fine balance, showing some nervy edge as well as touches of toast. With a small amount of wood vinification, the wine has extra fullness. Drink through 2025. -Roger Voss”
Yohan Castaing-Decanter 97 points ” A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Sourced from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, Ambonnay, Verzenay and Verzy for the Pinots, and from Chouilly, Avize, Cramant, and Mesnil-sur-Oger for the Chardonnays. Around 15% of the lots are vinified in oak barrels. The 2007 Nicolas François is a brilliant Champagne with astonishing aromas of dried herbs, spices, white fruits, citrus, pear, peach and camomile, with chalky hints. With air, the bouquet becomes deeper and more complex. Gorgeous in the mouth, with a chiselled texture, laser-like acidity, racy finish, and lots of charm. This Champagne is built for long ageing (10-25 years). One of the most powerful vintages for this cuvée. Fantastic! Dosage: 6g/L. Drinking Window 2022 – 2040.”
Vinopolis’ House Champagne
Andre Clouet Wines In Stock Now:
Andre Clouet Le Clos Bouzy Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 2007 1.5L ($319.95) $249 special, 7 magnums in stock now
VinopolNote: A limited production bottling, all from one of the four walled Grand Cru vineyards in Champagne. 100% Pinot Noir.
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose Champagne NV 3L ($379.95) $319 special, 3 double-magnums in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The NV Brut Rosé No 3 Grand Cru is a pure Bouzy Pinot Noir that gets its beautiful intense onion-skin color from the addition of 8% red wine. The nose is rich and complex but at the same time pure and refined, with a nice chalky layer and vinous fruit intensity. Round and rich but fresh and vital on the pure and elegant palate, this is a full-bodied, pretty intense and persistent rosé to be served with main courses. This rosé is seriously complex and expressive, with grip, tension and a long finish. Remarkable in class and style.”
James Suckling 93 points “[Reviewed 2021] A frank, generous and juicy but properly dry rosé champagne that has plenty of pinot noir red-berry character. Enough substance to easily handle the dining table. Long and bright, berry and citrus finish. 100% pinot noir, of which 8% was red wine. Drink now.”
Andre Clouet Chalky Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 93 points “[Reviewed 2021] Brimming with fresh apple, lemon and wild-berry aromas underlined by a note of freshly baked baguette, this begins so charming, then it turns in a fascinating mineral direction with a pronounced saline quality. The excitement comes from the tension between these two sides of this very distinctive champagne. Very long, chalky finish. 100% chardonnay from the 2013 vintage. Drink now.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut Champagne 2004 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2004 Brut Dream Vintage is elegant, polished and medium in body, as wines in this vintage tend to be. Nicely balanced and harmonious, the 2004 will drink well for at least a handful of years.”
Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut Champagne 2008 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
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 ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut Champagne 2013 750ML ($59.95) $53.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer Note: 100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged to order for the importer.
“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
Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut Champagne 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer Note: 100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged to order for the importer.
Andre Clouet The V6 Experience Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93+ points “Aged for six years on the second lees, the yellow-golden NV Brut The V6 Experience is a Bouzy Pinot Noir that displays great purity and intensity but also reduction on the mineral-scented nose. This is deep and complex, but it needs all our patience and perhaps even a decanter or at least a big glass and lots of aeration. The palate is rich and powerful, firmly structured, very tight and still astringent on the finish, but there is so much finesse paired with power, concentration and fruit, which give the V6 a promising future. The wine just starts a bit slowly (like a rocket, which is pictured on the label), but it will most probably go very steep in a couple of years. I have ever had this cuvée before, so I can only guess, though.”
The Silver Brut Nature is a different, but equally intriguing wine. While the Grand Réserve is drawing 50% from solera and reserve, the Silver is 66% vintage. Jean-François selects complimentary reserve wine and makes certain that the personality of this wine is very direct and delicious. While many zero dosage wines can seem austere, the Silver has clear notes of dried fruits and warm pie crust. And the Pinot Noir shines through with aplomb. While this wine is not shy, it is well-balanced and delivers delicious flavor without seeming flabby.
Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature Champagne NV 750ML ($239.95) $206 special (That’s only $34.33 per bottle!)
Case-12 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature Champagne NV 750ML ($479.95) $389 special (That’s only $32.41 per bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature Champagne NV 3L ($349.95) $279 special, 20 double magnums in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92+ points “[Reviewed Apr 2021] Clouet’s NV Silver Brut Nature Grand Cru is a pure Bouzy Pinot Noir that was disgorged without any dosage. This disgorgement displays a medium intense golden color and a complex and refined bouquet of ripe and pureed apples and discreet chalky as well as brioche aromas. The palate is elegant, straight and fresh, very pure and salty on the finish. This is a challenging Brut Nature that needs to be aged for two or three years to gain complexity and finesse and to smooth its current edges. The finish is mineral, limestone and salty but also a bit drying at this moment.”
The Grand Réserve is easy Champagne to love. It’s lightly toasty, citrusy and bright, with a texture to the palate that adds an irresistible tension. It is also an incredible wine to pair with food. We’ve had great success pairing it with everything from oysters to Merguez sausage, and it never fails to add something to the meal.
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($239.95) $206 special (That’s only $34.33 per bottle!)
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($479.95) $389 special (That’s only 32.41 per bottle!)
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut Champagne NV 1.5L ($119.95) $79 special, 6 magnums in stock now
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut Champagne NV 3L ($319.95) $279 special, 10 double magnums available
Decanter 92 points “[Reviewed 2021] Incredible value for a blanc de noirs (100% Pinot Noir) grower Champagne from the grand cru vineyards of Bouzy. It shows gorgeous aromas of stone fruit, citrus and strawberry, with complex brioche nuances, remarkable balance, ongoing elegance and a rich, refined, persistent finish. Drinking Window 2021 – 2026.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91 points “[Reviewed Apr 2021] The NV Brut Grand Réserve Grand Cru is a pure Pinot Noir from Bouzy. It’s pure, fresh, fine and aromatic on the nose and round and delicate on the palate. The fruit-intense finish is chalky-mineral and stimulatingly fresh in its salty finesse and elegant yeastiness. Nice lemon juice flavors give an extra kick of refreshment. This is a picture-book NV Brut. No indication of disgorgement given.”
Did you know that Tête de Cuvee’s can also be non-vintage? While it’s true that non-vintage bottlings are every champenois “Bread and butter” there can still be top offerings made from them. Often done for a stylistic decision rather than economic, the goal is to create “The perfect year” through assemblage.
Andre Clouet crafts their 1911 cuvee from the 10 best plots in their portfolio in the Grand Cru village of Bouzy. The village shares borders with 3 other Grand Cru villages and specialized in powerfully structured Pinot Noir. As such, the 1911 is entirely Pinot Noir and exemplifies the village’s reputation beautifully. Comprised of a single vintage that’s at least 7 years old and a solera based reserve wine that was started in 1998, this is champagne that encapsulates both maturity and youthful vigor. Complex doesn’t begin to cover this wine with the solera aging for the reserve wine portion adding incredible nuance like white truffle, rose petal, ground coffee, and miso to the flavor profile. The aromas are equally compelling, delivering a spectrum of white flowers like jasmine and orange blossom against a chalky backdrop.
Andre Clouet Un Jour de 1911… Brut Champagne NV 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “[Review is for a prior disgorgement] The NV Grand Cru Cuvee 1911 emerges from the glass with the most haunting of perfumes. Sweet rose petal and jasmine are some of the nuances that emerge over time. Despite recent disgorgement, the purity of the fruit and the extraordinary elegance of the mousse are hard to miss. This is an exceptional, elegant version of the 1911 that should drink beautifully for years to come. The bottle I tasted needed quite a bit of air to open up, so readers should be patient with the wine at this stage.”
Volpaia Towers Above Chianti Classico
By any metric, they remain one of the reference points estates in Tuscany, producing brilliant wines that combine coiled power, elegant textures, and classical elegance. Radda, their home village, is ground-zero for top Chianti, and Volpaia competes with Montevertine for the honor of top winery in the village. Unlike Montevertine, though, Volpaia’s top Chiantis won’t set you back $150+, even if their Riserva is capable of aging for decades and astounding with its complexity and refinement.
Their “Citto” bottling is also of particular note—a Super-Tuscan informed blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet, it’s everything you could ask out of a Tuesday night wine, and more—try this out next time you have pizza or pasta on your table and you’ll be immensely rewarded.
In Stock Now:
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Tuscany 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Castello di Volpaia is an immensely rewarding, inviting wine. Juicy and racy, with no hard edges, the Riserva captures the allure of this warm, dry year. There is plenty to like in the 2017, starting with its depth and volume, I won’t be surprised if the Riserva turns out to be even better than this note suggests. Sweet red fruit, cedar and blood orange give the 2017 striking aromatic intensity and lift.”
Importer Note “The Chianti Classico Riserva has a ruby-red hue with a trace of garnet. The nose is elegant, displaying hints of spice and fruit. This a well-structured wine with smooth tannins and a long finish. Barrel Aging: 24 months in oak casks (combination of Slovenian and French) and minimum 3 months in bottle. Varietal Composition: 100% Sangiovese. A record year for heat and drought throughout the growing season. This condition presented extremes which began early bud break in the vineyard, followed by a spring frost over late April. The frost affected the lower portions of the Volpaia estate. Spring and summer months were dry with higher than average temperatures. Rainfall in mid-September helped the grapes achieve complete ripeness of tannins and other phenolic compounds despite low yields.”
Castello di Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscana IGT Tuscany 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
Case-12 Castello di Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscana IGT Tuscany 2017 750ML ($199.95) $149 special
Importer Note “In the Tuscan dialect, “Citto” means “a young boy.” In the tradition of Bordeaux Châteaux — Mouton Rothchild has its Mouton Cadet, Cheval Blanc has its Petit Cheval — Castello di Volpaia has its Citto. Mostly Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were destemmed and crushed, then fermented in stainless-steel vats for 10 days at 26 C to 30 C (80 F to 86 F). After eight days, the juice was drained off the skins. This generous, silky wine displays ripe fruit aromas with intense cherry and red berry flavors on the palate.”
Wilson Daniels tasting note “Scintillating amber. It is a full, balanced wine with intense flavors of cane sugar, apricot jam and sultan grapes. Warm and luscious with an almond finish.”
Treasures from the Collector’s Vault
Bond Melbury Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($799.95) $689 special, 1 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “The 2017 Melbury comes from a vineyard north of Lake Hennessey with more clay soil. It offers more red and blue fruits as well as pretty floral, spice, and mineral nuances. These carry to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully elegant, seamless Cabernet that has silky tannins and no hard edges. All about charm and balance, this is a seriously good 2017 that will evolve gracefully.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2017 Melbury is a rich, sumptuous wine with a bit more volume and intensity than is often the case. All the typical Melbury signatures are present – the red berry fruit and the floral top notes in particular. The 2017 is a decidedly potent, heady Melbury that has really gained in both fruit depth and structural intensity since I last saw it as a barrel sample. The 2017 clearly needs time to soften though, as the tannins are imposing. In 2017, the Melbury is made only from the top blocks, which means production is down around 40%.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96 points “Melbury vineyard is on Pritchard Hill, overlooking Lake Hennessy. Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Melbury leaps from the glass with exuberant scents of Morello cherries, blackcurrant jelly and mulberries with hints of violets, wild sage and tilled soil. Full-bodied, rich and plush with lovely freshness and finely knit tannins, it finishes with long-lingering, evocative earth nuances.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Ripe and dense, but with a sleek edge, as steeped red and black currant fruit shows good length and a racy feel thanks to mouthwatering acidity, while tobacco leaf and iron notes course through. There’s grippy tannins and loamy bass notes to match the initial treble of this red, with everything knitting nicely on the energetic finish. Should cellar well. A Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. Best from 2022 through 2040
Bond Quella Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($799.95) $689 special, 1 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Quella comes from a steep, southwest-facing vineyard in the eastern Vaca hillsides, just up from Joseph Phelps’s winery and Denali Estate. Deep garnet-purple colored, it explodes with bombastic scents of stewed plums, boysenberries, crème de cassis and kirsch plus hints of black truffles, tar and damp soil. The palate is full-bodied and velvety, jam-packed with blackberry and plum preserves flavors with lots of savory nuances on the long finish.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “More dark fruits, Bing cherry, candied violets, and Asian spice notes emerge from the 2017 Quella, which always has an exotic, complex style. Medium to full-bodied and nicely textured, with some chalky tannins, it’s another terrific 2017 that will benefit from just short-term cellaring and have two decades of prime drinking.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Enticing, with a mix of steeped loganberry, mulberry and blackberry fruit flavors that are laced with black licorice, bramble and singed apple wood notes. There’s a loamy edge underneath it all and solid, focusing grip harnessing the finish. A contemplative wine, rather than showy. A Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. Best from 2022 through 2040. 532 cases made. –JM”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2017 Quella is a dark powerhouse. Blackberry jam, grilled herbs, sage, menthol, licorice and chocolate infuse the 2017 with tremendous aromatic complexity to play off its natural richness. Savory and brooding, the Quella is a distinctly brooding Cabernet.”
Bond St Eden Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($799.95) $689 special, 1 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “I loved the 2017 St. Eden. This Oakville beauty boasts a deep purple hue as well as incredible minerality in its blue fruits, cassis, violets, and tobacco-laced aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, ripe, tannic, and concentrated, it has everything you could want in a Napa Valley Cabernet. Give bottles 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy over the following 20 years or so.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2017 St. Eden is bold, juicy and also more immediate than some of the other wines in the range. Then again, that’s St. Eden, a site that naturally produces sumptuous Cabernets. In 2017, St. Eden comes only from the older portion of the vineyard, which was planted in 1991.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 95 points “St. Eden comes from a red, rocky, iron-rich vineyard site located just north of the Oakville Crossroad in the Vaca Mountains. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 St. Eden is a little broody, opening out with much coaxing to notes of crushed black cherries, cassis and tilled soil with hints of red currants, fruitcake and dusty soil. The opulent, full-bodied, soft-textured palate delivers bags of spicy black fruit preserves flavors, backed-up by loads of freshness, finishing long and exotic.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This isn’t shy with its fruit, showing waves of steeped fig, warmed blackberry reduction and crushed plum, though it all stays focused rather being overtly showy, as the substantial but fine-grained grip provides the ideal matrix to give additional bay leaf, warm earth, iron and tobacco notes room to emerge. A deft display of power and range. A Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. Best from 2022 through 2040
Bond Vecina Napa Valley USA 2017 750ML ($799.95) $689 special, 1 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 97 points “Vecina vineyard is located in the western foothills of Oakville, just to the southeast of the winery (up on Oakville Grade). Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Vecina needs a little coaxing to reveal notes of black currants, blackberries and blueberry compote with hints of dusty soil, cinnamon stick and fallen leaves. Slightly more structured than the other Bond 2017s, it has a rock-solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the muscular black and blue fruit flavors, finishing long and earthy. It will likely need a little longer to come around than its siblings, but it should also be longer lived.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2017 Vecina is outrageously beautiful. Inky and deep, it possesses stunning richness, power and structure. Its pedigree and sheer beauty are immediately evident. Over the last year, the 2017 has gained quite a bit of depth and overall resonance I did not see in the barrel samples. As a reminder, Vecina is sourced from Vine Hill Ranch, specifically Block 6 Upper, one of the best locations on the ranch.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “A richer, more structured wine, the 2017 Vecina nevertheless still shows the more elegant style of all these 2017s. Lots of cassis, dark chocolate, bouquet garni, and gravelly earth notes define the bouquet, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with building, chalky tannins, terrific balance, and outstanding length. It needs 3-4 years of bottle age but will have two decades of longevity.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Ripe and sappy in its intensity, but still driven as the dark plum, cassis and açaí berry fruit pumps through, flanked by apple wood and laced with a graphite note. Everything comes to a nice focal point on the finish, which extends with licorice root and sweet tobacco accents. Well-embedded acidity supports it all, lending this subtle tension and energy to offset its heft. A Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend. Best from 2022 through 2038.
Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Rose Millesime Champagne 2012 750ML ($699.95) $599 special, 3 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 99 points “This is a great vintage for Cristal Rosé. The pinot noir finds a band of power and expressiveness. The power here is impressive, very assertive and rich, really mouth-filling and super deep. This is exceptional and has intense, chalky and fresh, white-peach and nectarine aromas, underpinning red flowers and pink fruit. The palate has a scintillating blend of flesh and mineral cut, packed with such sweet, pristine, white-strawberry flavor and texture. This has such incredible potential. So exciting. Will take another two or threw years to resolve. Look out for this! Drink from 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points “Just about as good as it gets, the 2012 Cristal Rosé is a magical effort based on 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay. It’s a powerful, medium to full-bodied, incredibly textured rosé offering a huge amount of salty, chalky minerality as well as awesome notes of white cherries, orange blossom, caramelized apples, and toasted bread. It shows the ripe, rounded richness of the 2012 vintage yet has bright, racy acidity, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. It opens up nicely with air and will ideally be given 2-4 years of bottle age, and it should evolve for 2-3 decades.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2012 Cristal Rosé is magnificent. When Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon started to move Roederer towards organically farmed fruit, he started with Cristal Rosé, Roederer’s smallest production cuveé. Because of that, Cristal Rosé is the wine in this range that shows the current Roederer style in its fullest expression. Rich, vivid and crystalline in the glass, the 2012 Cristal Rosé is a Champagne of tremendous gravitas. Chalk, white flowers, sweet red berry fruit, mint and blood orange are all beautifully delineated. The 2012 is 55% Pinot from Ay and 45% Chardonnay from Mesnil and Avize. The Pinot fruit gets a 7-10 day cold soak an is the infused into the fermenting Chardonnay musts. Readers who can find the 2012 should not hesitate, as it is truly magical. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2012 Cristal Rosé is showing brilliantly, unwinding in the glass with a beautiful bouquet of fresh peach, bergamot, strawberries, tangerine and blanched almonds that’s still quite reserved. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, deep and strikingly complete, its vinous attack segueing into a multidimensional core that exemplifies the ideal of power without weight, built around a racy but integrated spine of animating acidity and complemented by an exquisitely refined mousse. All the concentration of the 2012 vintage is on display, but it’s rendered with terrific finesse. Decidedly youthful and introverted—indeed, I spent several hours with a bottle to compose this note—the 2012 will really come into its own with five or six years in the cellar and displays all the attributes necessary for considerable longevity. It’s a blend of 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay that saw no malolactic fermentation, and it was disgorged with eight grams per liter dosage.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Years in the making, this is the first fully biodynamic Cristal rosé. The very fine 2012 vintage is a good starting point for this new era. The Champagne is just right, beautifully rich and showing some maturity while also having tension and crispness from the golden-apple and spice flavors. The wine could be drunk now but its future is assured. Organic and biodynamic. -Roger Voss.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “An elegant rosé Champagne, starting quietly with a subtle range of white cherry, Marcona almond, pink grapefruit zest and saffron flavors that gain momentum and volume as they expand, gliding across the palate’s fine, raw silk–like texture. This is mouthwatering and minerally, the symphony concluding with accents of oyster shell and chalk that echo on the finish. Drink now through 2032. — AN”
Georges Laval ‘Les Longues Violes’ Brut Nature Champagne 2013 750ML ($899.95) $779 special, 1 bottles in stock now
No reviews available for the 2013 vintage. 2012 review provided for reference.
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2012 Brut Nature Les Longues Violes is one of the most distinctive wines in Champagne. Weightless and perfumed in the glass, the Longues Violes possesses unreal finesse and stunning beauty. Floral, citrus and orchard fruit notes are all finely sketched in this a Champagne that sizzles with tension. This is a fabulous showing. Les Longues Violes is 90% Pinot Noir planted in 1964 and 1974 and 10% Meunier planted in 1947.”
John Gilman 96 points “The 2012 is the first release of les Longues Violes from Vincent Laval. This is a single vineyard bottling of pinot noir and pinot meunier that Monsieur Laval just started producing when he had to replant a parcel of very old pinot noir from his neighboring lieu à dit of les Hauts Chèvres, as those 1931 vines finally gave up the ghost after the 2009 harvest. However, in this adjoining vineyard, Vincent wanted to wait until the youngest vines (planted in 1984) were sufficiently mature to go into a single vineyard cuvée. The meunier here dates back to 1947 and most of the Lavals’ pinot noir in les Longues Violes was planted in 1964 for this bottling. The vins clairs were barrel-fermented (as is the case for all of Vincent’s wines) and aged until August of 2013 prior to bottling up for secondary fermentation; the wine was disgorged at the end of May of 2019. It delivers a marvelously pure and youthful bouquet of white peach, apple, hazelnut, a touch of buttery oak, lovely soil tones, warm bread and just a touch of upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused, complex and perfectly balanced, with excellent mid-palate depth, elegant mousse, bright, buried acids and outstanding length and grip on the complex and utterly refined finish. This is gorgeous young wine, but like all of Vincent’s cuvées, it really needs some cellaring to blossom. 2028-2075.”
Sine Qua Non Cumulus Vineyard ‘Next of Kyn’ Touriga Nacional Central Coast 2016 750M ($499.95) $369 special, 1 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 98 points “The 2016 Número Dois is full of mystery and sheer allure. Mocha, wild cherry, mint, iron and a touch of new oak infuse this opulent red with tremendous nuance. Soft curves and rich, voluptuous fruit add to the wine’s considerable personality. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s intense aromatics and overall nuance. The 2016 is flat out gorgeous. That’s all there is to it.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “Even better than the 2015, which might have been the greatest expression of Touriga Nacional I’d ever tasted, the 2016 Touriga Nacional Numero Dois Cumulus Vineyard boasts a knockout bouquet of ripe black fruits, charcoal, bouquet garni, and ground pepper. Rich, full-bodied, layered, and straight-up sexy on the palate, don’t miss a chance to try this singular wine. The blend is 83% Touriga Nacional, 9% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah, and 3% Petite Sirah that was roughly 50% destemmed and spent 33 months in one-third new French oak.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 97 points “Coming entirely from the Krankl’s “Home” vineyard—the Cumulus vineyard—the 2016 Touriga Nacional Numero Dois is a blend of 83% Touriga Nacional, 9% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah and 3% Petite Sirah using 54% whole clusters. It spent around 33 months in French oak barrels, 33% new.”
Cayuse Vineyards Wallah Wallah Special Series #12 Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2018 1.5L ($319.95) $289 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “Christophe often releases a special blend in magnum (he never says which vineyards it’s from), and the 2018 Syrah Special #12 is another gorgeous wine. Revealing a deep ruby/plum hue as well as classic Rocks notes of blue fruits, ground pepper, bacon fat, lavender, and violets, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, elegant texture, ripe yet certainly present tannins, and a great finish. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will cruise for two decades.”
Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($189.95) $159 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Lots of earthy tobacco, gravelly earth, shiitake, and assorted darker fruits emerge from the 2018 The Widowmaker En Chamberlin Vineyard. Medium to full-bodied, it has a wonderful core of sweet fruit, polished tannins, and a great finish. It leans heavily into the earthy, foresty side of the spectrum. Give bottles 2-4 years in the cellar if you can, and it should have two decades of prime drinking ahead of it. This is only for those who like plenty of savory earthiness in their Bordeaux blends.”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 94 points “Opening with a mineral-driven nose, the 2018 The Widowmaker en Chamberlin Vineyard offers up elements of dusty blackberry, hints of leather and resinous purple flowers with cinnamon and nutmeg tones. Medium to full-bodied, the wine displays a ripe, lush expression that is coated with a delightful mineral tension before displaying elements of bitter dark chocolate, dried sage and dusty purple flowers. Concluding with a long, winding finish, the Cabernet should continue to deliver an elegant, dark-fruited and delightful drinking experience for the next decade and a half. The wine rested for 19 months in French oak barrels, one-third new. Just over 3,000 bottles were produced.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93+ points “Dark red. Claret-like aromas of raspberry, strawberry, black tea, leather, menthol and minerals; a bit less wild than the 2017 version. Enters the mouth smooth, fine-grained and rather thick, then saturates the palate with red and darker fruits and spices. Substantial dusty tannins call for at least a few years of patience. Not currently showing the sweetness of The Lovers, this wine needs time to express itself and gain in nuance. It would appear to possess the balancing acidity and firm mineral spine to evolve positively. (Tasted June 2021; Published September 2021)”
Agusti Torello Mata Kripta Gran Reserva Cava Catalonia 2011 750ML ($99.95) $75 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez “It’s a blend of the thee classical Cava grapes—Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada—from three old vineyards in the Penedès, in the villages of Sant Pau d’Ordal, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and Sant Joan de Mediona; it aged in contact with the lees in bottle for seven years.”
Marques de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator #1 of Top 100 2020
Falstaff Magazine 100 points “[Translated] Dark ruby garnet, violet reflections, subtle brightening of the edges. Fine mint, fine black cherries, fine herbs, fresh heart cherries, mineral and inviting, a multi-faceted, young bouquet. Juicy, complex, elegant, extract-sweet texture, fine round tannins, ripe heart cherries, delicate nougat, sticks for minutes, enormous future potential. Simple calculation: buy what is possible.”
James Suckling 99 points “Marvelous aromas of crushed berries, tobacco, cedar and mushrooms. Some dried cheese. Then turns to flowers. Very complex. Full and intense with fantastic depth and power. It goes on for minutes. It is a wine that exudes tradition but gives a sense of modernity with precise winemaking. Two years in oak, one in concrete and three or four in bottle. Drink on release and age onwards.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 97 points “I had very high expectations for the 2010 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial, and the wine delivered as expected. 2010 was one of the finest vintages in Rioja in recent years, and this blend of Tempranillo with 15% Mazuelo (Cariñena) has to be one of the finest modern day Castillo de Ygays. The grapes come from a plot planted in 1966 at 485 meters in altitude, the highest in the estate, and the vines yielded 3,500 kilos per hectare. The two varieties fermented separately in stainless steel for 11 days, and the wine spent 26 months in a mixture of American and French oak barrels. I tasted the 2009 next to this 2010, and I had also had a bottle two nights before. So, I was able to compare this with the 2009, which was a very different year, as 2010 was a cooler year and a priori a more adequate year for long-aging wines like this Gran Reserva. The difference was the vegetative cycle, as the vinification and élevage was the same. This is sleeker and sharper, less developed and livelier than the 2009, which already shows some signs of “old wine” with aromas that remind me of the old classical Rioja reds. It has greatness and finesse and is a very attractive wine with all the stuffing and balance that is needed for a long (and positive) aging in bottle. This is one of the finest modern day vintages of Castillo Ygay. This is going to develop in the direction of the classical bottlings from yesteryear. 130,853 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2015.”
Decanter 97 points “Ygay these days is a blend of Tempranilo and Mazuelo, the later making up 15% in this vintage. 2010 will be remembered in the great vineyards of Europe as a classic year, elegant restraint and wonderful harmonious balance, even in youth, its key characteristics. The Ygay fits this template perfectly; plums and sloes, hints of blueberry and cassis, then figs, cocoa and sousbois, a distinct balsamic note to underline provenance. The Mazuelo etches fresh acidity and a powerful finish, leaving the Tempranillo the opportunity to dance flamboyantly on the mid-palate, the bringer of joy and harmony.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 97 points “Brilliant ruby. A hugely perfumed bouquet evokes spice-accented red and dark berry preserves, potpourri, pipe tobacco and vanilla, and violet and mineral accents emerge as the wine stretches out. Palate-staining blackberry, cherry-vanilla, cassis, fruitcake, mocha and candied licorice flavors show superb depth and clarity while hints of floral pastilles and Moroccan spices add complexity. Gains weight with air, with no loss of energy, showing powerful, spicy thrust on a strikingly long, gently tannic and floral-driven finish.
Wine Spectator 96 points “Maturing well, this round red is a lovely example of the traditional style. Orange peel, dried cherry, forest floor, vanilla and black tea flavors mingle harmoniously over round tannins and citrusy acidity. Generous but gentle, lively, balanced and harmonious. Tempranillo and Mazuelo. Drink now through 2030. From Spain. —T.M.”
Wine & Spirits 96 points “[Best Rioja Wine of 2021 by Wine & Spirits] The city of Logroño is surrounded by several high mesas, pieces of the original plateau that still stand above the cliffs and the Ebro River valley below. The Pago La Plana is one of them, a flat mesa at an elevation of 1,590 feet, with close to 100 acres of vines at the top of Finca Ygay. On the north side of the plateau, the soil is limestone that hits solid rock five feet below, limiting the penetration of water; the soil shifts to round river stones to the southwest, where the tempranillo and mazuelo vines, planted in 1950, have been the exclusive source for Castillo Ygay since 2001 (prior to that, the wine included other parcels on the 740-acre estate). Great vintages of this wine can thrive for more than 50 years, and this vintage appears to be pretty great. It’s grand and dynamic, a youthful ten-year-old. Initially austere, gripped by bitter plum-skin tannins and mouthwatering strawberry acidity, the wine opens with exposure to air and the fruit begins to blossom with an energy that defines what is great about Rioja.”
Don’t forget our other highly collectible items including Tan Fruit, Biondi Santi and Von Winning!
Maloof Wines in stock now:
Ross & Bee Maloof Johan Vineyard Rouge de Gris Van Duzer Corridor 2020 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Winery note “70% Fermented on the skins with daily punch downs until fully dry (17 days). 10% Fermented carbonically for 17 days, before being pressed off with skin contact PG and moved to neutral oak. 40% Direct pressed, fermented and aged in neutral burgundy barrels for 8 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Vineyard History – Dag Sunby purchased the property in 2005, where he and his family continue to live. Dan Rinke joined Dag just two years later in 2007 to head up the farming. Dan began converting Johan into a biodynamic farm upon his arrival, and has aggressively grafted and replanted portions of the vineyard using lesser known varieties ever since. In 2020, Dan Stepped back from the day to day, leaving the farming rains to Elise Hansen, who has continued to do wonderful work growing grapes, and expanding the farming to include animal grazing, as well as beginning to farm vegetables for a Johan CSA. Morgan Beck heads up the cellar team and is producing some of our favorite wines in the area. The Johan crew continues to push the envelope in Oregon in both farming, and winemaking. It is a remarkably special place. Drink their wines!”
Ross & Bee Maloof ‘No Clos Radio’ Pinot Gris Willamette Valley 2020 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Winery note “Vineyard History – Estate vineyard and winery site for Maloof Wines and Fossil & Fawn. Originally planted in the early 70s by Harvey Shafer. Location – Forest Grove, OR (Tualatin Hills AVA) Vineyard stats- 27 acres, 500ft elevation Farming – Own rooted, dry farmed, planted in 1972. Organic farming program since January 2020 (previously sustainable), beginning organic certification process through CCOF in spring 2022. Soil – Jory & Loess, with pisolitic deposits of iron and manganese, that are particular to the newly minted Tualatin Hills AVA. Harvesting – By hand, harvested on September 20th. Winemaking – Pressed, and then fermented and aged in neutral burgundy oak barrels, on the lees with no batonnage. Bottled without fining or filtration. 30ppm total Sulfur.”
Ross & Bee Maloof Johan Vineyard ‘Scrambled Sticks’ Van Duzer Corridor 2020 750ML ($37.95) $33 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Winery note “We made six lots of wine from this special plot within Johan for the 2020 vintage, and blended them all together in the summer before bottling. We utilized amphora made by Andrew Beckham for portions of the wine, which makes up about 40% of the final blend. Typically we do extended skin contact in the clay pots, however given the vintage, we opted to make a slightly lighter wine, and reserved the amphora for fermented juice or aged skin contact wine (after pressing). Two of the lots this year that went into the pots were skin contact pinot gris (after we pressed off the skins from a larger ferment in a standard macrobin), and a mixture of Ribolla Gialla and Tocai Friulano (pressed juice fermented and aged directly in the clay). In addition to those lots, we did a ~30 day skin contact in an open fermenter of Pinot gris, another of Ribolla/Tocai, which were both aged in neutral Burgundy barrels. Lastly, we also pressed some Chardonnay and some Pinot Gris, which were both fermented and aged in neutral oak. The final makeup based off of grape variety was… -35% Ribolla Gialla, -30% Pinot Gris, -20% Tocai Friulano, -15% Chardonnay. Bottled without fining or filtration. 30ppm total Sulfur.”
We carry a number of producers from Oregon and the Willamette Valley including Cameron, Goodfellow and Sequitur!
If you’re a fan of Catalonian whites or Cava you might have heard of Xarel-Lo, an aromatic white grape that’s often compared to Chardonnay due to its versatility during vinification. Being an indigenous varietal in Spain since 1548 it mutated at some point and also has a red skinned clone called Xarel-lo Vermell. Less than 300 acres of this varietal are still in existence in the entire world, with Gramona dedicating part of their production to preserving the varietal. Expect the acidity, structure and stonefruit character of Xarel-Lo with a definitive red fruited element not unlike Goji , fresh cranberries and redcurrants.
Gramona ‘Mart’ Xarel-lo Vermell Rosat Penedes 2020 750ML ($37.95) $29.50 special, 28 bottles available
Eric Solomon Imports note “Xarel-lo Vermell Certified organic CCPAE and biodynamic DEMETER. The pale color of this rosé comes from a 48-hour maceration before pressing. With this additional skin contact, combined with the already high levels of antioxidants present in the juice of this variety, Mart cannot only be enjoyed in its youth (peaches and strawberries) but it has the capacity to develop for several years in the bottle as more pink peppercorn nuances emerge.”
Telmo Rodriguez is one of the unsung heroes of the Spanish wine revolution, having dedicated his life to rehabilitating some of the most compelling vineyards in the country. After studying at the University of Bordeaux and working throughout France, he returned home to Basque Country. With the rise in higher production farming and urbanization there vast swaths of vineyards across Spain abandoned simply because no one is around to work them. This happened even in Rioja, where Telmo began his work, eventually expanding beyond the region to incorporate 43 different native varietals spread across 355 plots. Given the precipitous conditions of many of the sites, labors of love to not begin to cover how much work goes into the finished wines.
Telmo Rodriguez in stock now:
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2013 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2013 750ML ($259.95) $185.50 special, That’s only $30.91 per bottle)
James Sucking 96 points “Exuberant red berries and cherries with a fine, rose-like edge and some coal smoke. Very juicy, fleshy, rich and ripe mid-palate with a dense, long and showy, glossy black-cherry finish. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 94 points ” Cropped from a cooler and late ripening vintage, the 2013 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra resulted in fresh wines and certainly worked well with the slate soils of these old Garnacha vines in Cebreros. This has a very good balance between ripeness and freshness, power and elegance, with the character of the soils slowly coming through in the shape of fresh meat and beef blood, with the iron-like notes still pretty shy. This should develop nicely in bottle. 8,931 bottles produced.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2015 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra has subtler tannins and has a more Mediterranean twist with notes of thyme and rosemary, ripe without excess. In fact, it felt quite elegant for the natural conditions of the harvest. On the palate, it is rounder and more approachable than the granite version, with the rusticity of the zone but more elegant. less extracted and with better oak integration than the initial vintages. It gives me the feeling that the best is yet to come… 2,700 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017.”
Importer note “Cebreros, a village within the Sierra de Gredos mountains outside of Madrid, was a forgotten region Telmo Rodriguez discovered while traversing the Cañadas Reales with his father in 1999. Then, the region was known only for bulk wine and the idea was to write a book. However, enchanted by the old-vines and incredible natural beauty of the terrain, Telmo began to make his first wine that year. He decided to use the name Pegaso, a tribute to the famous Spanish car and truck manufacturer of the 1940s, which is dear to collectors with an eye for design and style. In the village of Cebreros, a rare band of brown slate is folded into the mostly granitic mountain range. They began by recovering the gran cru slope of Arrebatacapas, at an elevation of over 1100m, which is the most important pizarra (slate) landscape in all of Gredos. The wine from this special slate vineyard and other slate vineyards they have recovered is called Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra. Barrancos de Pizarra is sourced from 930m to 1100m slate vineyards near Cebreros. Produced with 100% traditional, EU organic, bush-trained garnacha vines. Hand-picked grapes are fermented with native yeasts. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak barrels sourced from different forests.”
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon Spain 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points “The explosive nose of the 2017 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra is all thyme and flowers, really expressive, aromatic and redolent of the herbs found in the surroundings of the Gredos Mountains. It’s especially representative of the Mediterranean character of the year. It has powerful aromatics that keep growing in the glass, floral and spicy, with notes that are reminiscent of curry, nutmeg and Jamaica pepper. It’s very showy and intoxicating, with the tight tannins of the slate soils—they are chalky and finer grained than the slightly coarser tannins from granite. I am really impressed by this 2017, which is as good or better than the 2016. Bravo! 2,800 bottles were filled in July 2018.”
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Granito’ Vino Tinto de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon VT Spain 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points “The floral 2017 Pegaso Granito is quite different from the Pizarra from the same vintage, with more light and red fruit rather than the slightly darker Pizarra. It’s floral and expressive and doesn’t show any heat despite having full ripeness. It has grainy tannins, deep flavors and a remarkable finish. I think it transcends the character of the year, delivering balance and elegance at the same time as power. It’s fresher than I expected. It’s closer to the 2016 than the 2015. 2,800 bottles were filled in July 2018.”.
We carry a number of regenerative farmers from Spain including Raul Perez, Daniel Landi and Mesquida Mora
Pommery: The “other” Madame
This all changed when Madame Louise Pommery commissioned her cellarmaster to make a champagne with as little added sugar as possible, creating the category we now know to be “Brut”. The debut vintage in 1874 was an overnight success in England, who had developed a preference for drier styles of wine. It was so popular in fact, that it set records in London for the highest ever paid for champagne at auction. The Brut style clearly outlived its sweeter contemporary, given the latter is rarely seen on the market anymore.
The Tête de cuvee from Pommery is named after Madame Louise and in honor of her legacy has the barest amount of sugar added. Comprised of 3 Grand Cru vineyard sources Avize, Cramant and Aÿ and aged for 11 years on its lees before disgorgement. The blend itself is predominantly Chardonnay but has 40% Pinot Noir inclusion as well. The grand cru sources for the fruit are clearly evident in the concentrated flavors, strong mineral character and high acidity with notes of toasted brioche, blackcurrant preserves, hazelnut paste, pine nuts and lemon curd. With the “Current” release being the 2004, this is a Champagne built for the long haul to say the least. We also carry a number of magnums, back vintages and the elusive Rosé bottling!
In stock and available now:
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime 2004 750ML ($149.95) $125 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime 2004 1.5L ($299.95) $279 special, 4 magnums in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “A very fine-textured Champagne with lovely density and finesse. The bubbles roll off the palate. Full body. Extremely creamy and flavorful. Shows wonderful finesse and a lovely, chalky, lemon-curd and brioche aftertaste. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Pommery’s prestige Champagne is named after one of the great Champagne widows of the 19th century who took over when her husband, Alexandre Pommery, died. It is a rich, mature wine, with toast and almond flavors as much as fruit. Full of mineral Chardonnay (60% of the blend), this ripe wine is very ready to drink.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Bright and minerally, featuring smoke and pastry dough notes layered with lemon curd and pureed black currant details, riding the lively bead. Offers a creamy finish, with a lightly floral overtone. Drink now through 2024. 16,666 cases made.”
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Nature 2004 750ML ($199.95) $149 special, 34 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points “A creamy and refined 2004 with a very reserved and tight palate of ultra fine tannins that lend the wine beautiful creaminess and finesse. Subtly floral, offering lightly cooked apples and lemons. Flavorful, yet always hiding behind the fine bubbles. Drink now.”
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Rose Millesime 2004 750ML ($299.95) $219 special, 25 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “This is a new release and shows wonderful finesse and beauty. You know that the moment you see the pale-amber color. It’s medium bodied with freshness and energy and a long, vivid finish. A joy to taste. Drink now.”
Pommery Grand Cru Brut Millesime 2008 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Winery note “It was a must for Pommery not to miss out on one of the greatest vintages of champagne. One single term to characterise 2008: unexpected! After a difficult summer, nature succeeded in aligning its stars and allowed us to have an exceptional harvest. 2008 has already conquered aficionados from all over the world, but it is a special vision of 2008 in the pure style of our Maison that we propose to you. Only originating from grands crus, with an exceptional ageing potential, slowly brought to maturity in the freshness of our 18 kilometres of galleries, it is necessary to wait to taste a Pommery vintage at its zenith: the precise moment when all the components are in harmony and when maturity, freshness and complexity come together. This moment has come for our 2008 vintage. The nose presents the patina of the Pommery vintages: elegance, minerality, freshness. First of all intense floral notes reach us: the peony floats around the hawthorn. Maturity is expressed by fruity notes of pear and fresh apricot. The great Pinot Noir present themselves with notes of crushed fresh strawberries. On the palate, the tasting is floating, with a great uprightness. A mineral structure fills the palate from the attack to the finish like a spine. Notes of acacia honey and Mirabelle underline the central element of the tasting. The finish is punctuated by a nice sweetness, marked by flavours of blood orange.”
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