In This Newsletter:
Top Shelf Friday:
Napa Allocations arriving Friday March 11th
Post-off Patz and Hall
Mad for Musar: Best in Bekka Valley
Soothsayer of Swartland:
Johan Meyer’s Mother Rock wines
The Flower of Brunello
La Fiorita’s Riserva
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Spanish Wines on sale now:
Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’ Blanc, Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($99.95) Was $75, Now $69, 13 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points “Cariñena Blanca has finally been added to the registry of varieties in Spain, which means it should soon be allowed by the Priorat appellation, so they could start putting it on the labels of the 2018 Planetes de Nin Carinyena Blanca. This fermented and matured in used 300-liter oak barrels for seven months. It’s 13% alcohol and has a pH of 3.2 with 6.5 grams of acidity (tartaric); they struggled to get the minimum 13% alcohol required by the appellation, as the year was very cold and they lost a lot of grapes waiting for the alcohol level. It’s a year with lots of freshness, and the wine, which feels really young and undeveloped, needs some time in the glass to open up. This is an exceptional year that is going to develop slowly in bottle. The palate is vibrant, focused and dry, with citrus freshness and a mineral finish. 1,948 bottles were filled in April 2018.”
Raul Perez La Vizcaina ‘Las Gundinas’ Lomas de Valtuille, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($39.95) Was $30.90, Now $28, 9 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2016 La Vizcaína Las Gundiñas comes from a plot with deeper soils, and the wine feels quite immediate and fruit driven. There is a bitter touch in the palate. I’ve seen some ups and downs with this wine, and Raúl Pérez confirmed that the wines are variable, but they tend to deliver in the medium term. It’s not particularly complex, but it drinks well. 4,500 bottles produced.”
The next best price is $38.99
Raul Perez Ultreia de Paluezas, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($79.95) Was $66, Now $54.50, 21 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “One of the few vineyards in Bierzo where the soils have a significant content of limestone is San Juan de Paluezas, in a different valley looking into Las Médulas goldmines. They produce three barrels of the 2016 Ultreia de Paluezas from this vineyard. This year it had a shorter élevage, only around 12 months, as they saw it was ready and was racked out of the wood. Limestone soils always deliver dry, chalk-like tannins and a special tastiness that often translates in an almost salty feeling. It has more bones than flesh; it’s austere and should develop slowly in bottle. In fact, they are now releasing the 2015, as they feel it benefits from some more time in bottle. I like the austerity here. 850 bottles produced from a small plot with very low yields.”
The next best price is $62.99
Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’ Garnatxes en Amfora, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($44.95) Was $33, Now $29, 11 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2016 Planetes de Nin Garnatxes en Amfora was produced with biodynamically farmed Garnacha that fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in 700- and 1,000-liter terracotta amphorae for seven months. They do two versions, one with a little SO2 and the other without, and the difference is minimal. At first one was more closed, but when it opened up, they were very similar and showed some herbal and raspberry leaf aromas intermixed with wild berries and notions of earth, aromatic and balanced. It has fine tannins and a velvety texture. 7,395 bottles were filled in April 2017.”
Pago Casa Gran Malvasia, Valencia 2019 750ML ($19.95) Was $14.40, Now $11.90, 7 bottles in stock now
Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Molino Real’ Mountain Wine (Dry), Malaga 2015 750ML ($21.95) Was $18, Now $16, 17 bottles in stock now
De Maison note “Molino Real’s dry wine is surprising and original, marked by the aromatic intensity of the muscat grape and an incredible mouthfeel, showing complexity and great balance between freshness and ripeness. Málaga is traditionally known for its sweet wines, but dry wines are also produced in the area under the Sierras de Málaga DO. Mountain Blanco is made from 100% moscatel de alejandría sourced from three steep sites grown in polyculture on slate slopes from 500m to 1000m elevation. It is a dry, refreshing table wine with remarkable minerality and ability to develop in bottle; in fact, it needs extensive bottle age before it is released. Grüner veltliner comparisons come to mind, with a similarly rich, yet acid-driven mouthfeel and a white flower, orange zest and white pepper flavor profile. Vintage – 2015 was a warm, early vintage in Málaga that produced incredible wines with great complexity and potential to develop in bottle. Harvest started on the 12th of August and concluded on September 27. Considered by locals to be one of the great vintages in recent memory.”
Now it’s even lower!
Ameztoi Primus Txakoli di Getaria Hondarribi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina 2019 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $21.90, 22 bottles in stock now
Winery note “[Edited for clarity] A white wine from the Hondarrabi Zuri grape. Naturally lightly sparkling. Pale with a touch of green, its bright tone has fine and elegant bubbles. Has a delicate and sophisticated fragrance, reminiscent of green apples and grapes, with a minty note. Opens dry, and is harmonious in the mouth. It has a broad and aromatic finish, which is cheerful because of its bubbles.”
Note on the 2018 vintage by Luis Gutierrez (provided for reference) “The white 2018 Primus is 100% Hondarribi Zuri and was selected with the idea of aging potential. It has 11% alcohol and seven grams of acidity balanced by three grams of sugar, which resulted from fermenting the must in stainless steel at low temperature and keeping the wine with the lees at zero degrees to preserve the dissolved gas. This has a more traditional style with quite a lot of gas, closer to the light, sharp and citrus style, finishing dry with notable tart acidity.”
Atance Bobal, Valencia 2019 750ML ($17.95) Was $14, Now $11.90, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Atance Bobal, Valencia 2019 750ML ($199.95) Was $149, Now $128 (that’s only $/bottle!)
Importer note “Organic viticulture and hand picked grapes from bush vines in Requena, specifically the Casa Segura estate vineyards with well drained, sandy soils.”
The average price is $15
Granja Nuestra Senora de Remelluri ‘Remelluri’ Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($99.95) Was $89, Now $79, 12 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “The DNA of Remelluri is here. Wild mountain herb character, structured and firm, these tannins are succulent and deeply expressive. Powerful and assertive red plums, wild cherries and roasting herbs with the oak sitting well. Power and balance. Try from 2021.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points “A blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Graciano, the 2012 Granja Remelluri Gran Reserva represents what they are aiming for with this wine, a classical expression of the place, the quintessence of the vineyards. The select their oldest vineyards and age the wine for a long time, coming back to those early years of a modern Rioja that has now turned into a classic. It has some dusty tannins, with good grip and length. It was bottled in 24,238 bottles after an élevage of 26 months. It has been in bottle since May 2015.”
Alvaro Palacios ‘Les Terrasses’ Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($44.95) Was $36, Now $33, 10 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “I’ve always had a special interest in this Garnacha and Cariñena blend from Álvaro Palacios, and the current vintage is now the 2017 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes. It’s produced with grapes from 80 different vineyards in eight villages and therefore is a regional wine. 2017 was a warm and ripe year that produced powerful wines. This 2017 is 55% Garnacha with 44% Cariñena and a 1% pinch of white grapes that fermented in concrete and oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in barrique and oak vat for 11 months. This is the earthiest of the bottlings, and it has some rustic touches from the Cariñena, which gives it its personality. 2017 was their earliest harvest ever (the first time they ever started harvesting in August!). They used a little more new oak, yet the wine is not oaky or excessively ripe. There is no room for sweetness here, and the wine is clean, reflecting very healthy grapes and very elegant tannins, quite transparent, not dry, but rather juicy. Great Terrasses, a triumph over the conditions of the vintage. 126,000 bottles produced.”
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $45
Galia Villages, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon 2015 750ML ($49.95) Was $45, Now $39, 30 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points “The regular Galia has been renamed and is now the 2015 Villages since there are two more reds in the portfolio this year. It’s a blend of grapes from different soils in all the villages they work (Piquera de San Esteban, Fuentelcesped, Hontangas, Cuevas de Provanco and Trigueros del Valle), trying to represent the Duero Valley as a whole. It has an intoxicating, perfumed and really attractive nose full of flowers, wild herbs and spices. The palate is medium-bodied and has the elegance and poise the nose was pointing out, with ultra refined tannins, great balance and freshness. It has to be one of the most elegant wines produced from the Ribera del Duero zone, and it doesn’t show any of the heat from the warm and dry 2015 vintage. They included the white grapes from their vineyards in Piquera, Fuentelcesped and Trigueros, so the estimated breakdown of the blend is 88% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha and 2% Albillo—and 100% produced in their own, brand new winery. All this must have contributed to a more relaxed wine, with perfectly integrated oak and a sense of harmony and elegance despite the 15% alcohol and relatively high pH (3.8). It fermented with indigenous yeasts, with some full clusters and aged in oak barrels and vats of different sizes for some 20 months. 14,559 bottles and 196 magnums were filled in June 2017. I was really blown away by this.”
Daniel Gomez Jimenez-Landi ‘Cantos del Diablo’, Mentrida 2016 750ML ($119.95) Was $95, Now $85, 3 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2016 Cantos del Diablo, single vineyard from the village of Real de San Vicente, the one plot that is bottled separately from within the Méntrida zone of Gredos, had notes of pomegranate, blood orange and wild cherries, showing elements of ripeness and restraint. It’s much more mineral, with a chalky sensation on the nose and palate. In fact, it started with a reductive personality, so decanting in advance might not be a bad idea. This cool year is quite pale and sharp, at times closer to a white than a red that is wild in nature and has a sharp palate. This is going to be phenomenal in four or five years. 1,737 bottles and 50 magnums were filled in March 2018.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $114
Daniel Gomez Jimenez-Landi ‘Cantos del Diablo’, Mentrida 2017 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $79, 11 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points “The single-vineyard 2017 Cantos del Diablo was produced with the grapes from 0.35 hectares in the village of El Real de San Vicente (Toledo), the highest vineyard in the Méntrida appellation. It’s a north-facing plot at 900 meters in altitude that was planted some 70 years ago on sandy granite soils rich in silt and is worked biodynamically. The grapes, with all the stems, fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats, and the wine matured in a 1,200-liter oak foudre for 12 months. This was one of the few villages from Gredos that escaped the hail and frost, and it was a dry year, so harvesting was early (10 to 15 days earlier compared with a “normal” vintage!). It’s aromatic and floral but has the austerity of the wines from El Real de San Vicente as well as a texture like liquid chalk and very fine, powdery tannins. It’s clean and ripe without excess, with a nice combination of fruit and minerality, really balanced, with intensity and finesse. Excellent 2017! 1,362 bottles were filled in March 2019.”
The average price is $101
Daniel Gomez Jimenez Landi ‘Las Iruelas’ El Tiemblo, Castilla y Leon 2016 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $89, 1 bottle in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 97 points “As a result of a soil study, the 2016 Las Iruelas comes only from the higher altitude part of the vineyard, a stonier and convex part that deliver more subtle wines with positive intensity, subtleness and detail. It felt a little shy and reticent, with finesse, tons of white pepper, wildflowers, herbs and berries with a depth and clout, which I had not seen in previous years. This can feel a little tight, even reductive at first and decanting it in advance can be a good idea. This character tells me that this wine might behave brilliantly in the bottle and have a long and positive evolution. 2,821 bottles and 50 magnums were filled in February 2018.”
Now it’s even lower!
Daniel Gomez Jimenez Landi ‘El Reventon’, Cebreros 2017 750ML ($134.95) Was $119, Now $99, 4 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points “El Reventón in the village of Cebreros (Ávila) is really two plots just a few meters apart, but with different exposition, altitude and soils that make up one hectare of vines. Given the differences and the fact that part of the vineyard has basically no soil and the mother rock on the surface, they have been studying these soils and making further selections to decide which plants go into the wine. In 2016, they experimented with two different bottlings. But the 2017 El Reventón is a single cuvée of the grapes from both plots, as they had hail and used all the grapes that could be saved. The vinification follows the same modus operandi as with the rest of the wines—manual selection of every bunch, discarding all the single grapes that are not perfect, then fermentation with the stems and a long maceration in oak vats, of course with indigenous yeasts. The élevage was in used oak barrels and lasted for a year. The wine has good ripeness, more power than wines like Las Iruelas and more fruit and a rounder palate, but it’s a more delicate vintage than other years, more fragile because of hail. It developed a high-pitched note of curry with time in the glass, a recurring note in this wine. Only 775 bottles were filled in March 2019.”
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $125
Javi Revert ‘Sensal’, Valencia 2017 750ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $29, 2 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 91 points “The red 2017 Sensal is a blend of Garnacha Tintorera and 30% Monastrell, with each variety from one vineyard, but in the future, it will contain Monastrell from one more vineyard and Garnacha that was planted in a new plot. The name is provided by the Garnacha Tintorera plot, a vineyard planted in 1965 on limestone soils. The two varieties fermented separately with some full clusters, then the wines were blended and matured in used French oak barrels for ten months. It feels quite ripe and a bit heady, and it’s powerful, concentrated and juicy, with notes of black olive and black berries. It’s rounder and gentler than the 2016, but it’s a powerful and rustic red, thinking that it has a majority of Garnacha Tintorera. 1,800 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2018.”
Bernabeleva Arroyo del Tortolas, Madrid 2017 750ML ($44.95) Was $34.50, Now $29,26 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The pale and aromatic 2017 Arroyo del Tórtolas has a herbal twist perhaps because of the hurried ripening of the grapes in a very warm year. At the same time, it has contained alcohol, and with the benefit of one extra year in bottle, the nose is fully open, expressive and approachable. It is medium-bodied and fresh, with fine tannins, and is lighter than the 2018 but beautiful to drink now. Delicious. 2,500 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2019.”
Goyo Garcia Viadero Vinas de Anguix – Fincas Vinas de Arcilla, Ribera del Duero 2014 750ML ($79.95) Was $66, Now $56, 5 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93+ points “The 2014 Finca Vinas de Arcilla from Goyo Garcia is a tad riper than his other two single vineyard wines in 2014, coming in at an even fourteen percent, but offering the same classic balance and sense of classical restraint that defines all of Senor Garcia’s wines. The bouquet wafts from the glass in more black fruity blend of cassis, black cherries, cigar smoke, lovely soil tones (there is more clay here than in el Peruco or Valdeolmos), chocolate and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, ripe and beautifully balanced, with a rock solid core, still very good acidity, ripe, well-integrated tannins and a very long, still fairly primary finish. There is terrific backend energy here, but the wine is properly structured and will need some cellaring before it is ready for primetime drinking. 2025-2065.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $70
Top Shelf Friday:
Napa Allocations arriving Friday March 11th
“When one considers the winemaking effort that goes into producing these cuvées of Vérité, from Bordelais Pierre Seillan, the fastidious attention to detail and the use of only the crème de la crème of fruit from some of the finest vineyards in the Jackson family empire, the results are not that surprising. …. All of these wines, basically, are aged in 100% new French oak, given 3-4 day cold pre-fermentation, cold macerations, treated like spoiled children during élevage, and bottled with no fining or filtration.…These are legendary wines of great extract, richness and potential of longevity and complexity. No compromises are made and the credit goes certainly to the Jackson family for supporting the efforts of winemaker Pierre Seillan.
“Jess Jackson has clearly positioned Verite as one of the two or three flagship wines in his impressive empire. These cuvees represent California versions of Bordeaux appellations, with the Merlot-dominated La Muse very Pomerol-like, the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated La Joie a hypothetical California version of a Medoc, and the St.-Emilion look-alike, the Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend, Le Desir. These wines are fashioned from the finest Sonoma vineyard sites owned by Jackson, and are meant for long-term aging.” – Robert Parker
Vérité is one of the toughest wineries for us to source. Between the insanely high scores every vintage, the tiny supply and the winery trying to police the re-selling of their bottles, it’s always an adventure to acquire their wines.
Vérité Arriving Friday March 11th:
Verite La Muse Sonoma County 2018 750ML ($499.95) $419 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles arriving
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 100 points “A blend of 90% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, the 2018 La Muse was matured 16 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the nose delivers a powerful perfume of cherry pie, blackberry preserves and baked plums, followed by suggestions of red roses, cast-iron pan, underbrush and unsmoked cigars, plus wafts of licorice and oolong tea. Medium to full-bodied, the black fruit and exotic spice layers flow so gracefully over the palate, textured by plush tannins and lifted with seamless freshness, finishing epically long and achingly fragrant. The intensity and complexity of aromas and flavors—all waltzing in captivating harmony—cannot fail to make your head spin in the best possible way. Electrifying!”
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points “Checking in as 90% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Malbec that was raised in new French oak, the 2018 La Muse reveals a dense purple hue to go with plenty of black cherry and currant fruits as well as cedar pencil, graphite, dark chocolate, and smoked tobacco. Ripe, full-bodied, and brilliantly balanced on the palate, with both elegance and incredible opulence, it’s a hypothetical mix of Châteaux Canon and Lafite. This masterpiece of a Merlot can be drunk any time over the coming 20-30 years. Give bottles an hour in a decanter if drinking any time soon.”
Decanter 98 points “Such a pretty nose, floral, redolent also of autumn fruits and damsons, which over time in the glass releases the more oak driven mocha notes. The palate is compact, dense, the tannins are remarkably silky despite the youthfulness, the fruit is intensely ripe but not sweet. The overall impression is one of a circular wine, plush, hedonistic in the making, the flavours still in motion, becoming darker as they progress through the palate. There’s a freshness, a ‘tingle’ almost to the acidity mirroring the earlier picking regime, the efforts taken in the vineyard and at harvest to capture the essential freshness of Sonoma. The wine ends on black liquorice and coffee and the finish is seemingly endless – cut short only by the next wine. It’s a baby for sure. Drinking Window 2025 – 2050.”
Other Allocated Napa Arriving Friday:
Anakota Helena Montana Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96 points “Fruit for this was harvested on September 8th, and the wine was bottled six months ago. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard gives up exuberant notions of warm blueberries, crème de cassis, lilacs and chocolate box with hints of fertile loam, licorice and menthol. Medium-bodied, elegant, very fresh and juicy, the palate has beautifully ripe, fine-grained tannins supporting the generous fruit, finishing long and perfumed. 1,200 cases produced.”
Anakota Wines Helena Dakota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles arriving
Post-off Patz and Hall
Patz and Hall wines on sale now:
Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay Carneros 2015 750ML was $39, now $35 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Decanter 93 points “Restraint in the use of oak paid off here. Distant smoke mingles with sea air on the nose. It’s on the palate that the ripeness and richness of the wine becomes apparent – there is bundled force and warmth at the centre of this, radiating outward with finessed power. A big but elegant wine. Drinking Window 2020 – 2030.”
Wine Enthusaist 92 points “Rich in green apple and fig, this wine offers medium-bodied weight and breadth and grainy acidity. From the famous site planted to densely concentrated berries, it’s fleshy and textured, with plenty of complexity from spice and oak. -Virginie Boone”
Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 750ML was $49, now $39 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Case-6 Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013 750ML was $269, now $219 special, that’s $36.50 per bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “This lush, voluptuous and tenderly textured wine is still grippy in its youth. Dark cherry, cranberry and pomegranate round out the layers of juicy fruit, buoyed by rocky minerality, measured oak and firm tannins. Medium bodied, it can be enjoyed with or without a meal. -Virginie Boone”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “(15% alcohol, but this was the first of these vineyards to be picked in 2013): Pure aromas of cherry, dark berries, mulled spices and rooty underbrush. Fat, thick and sweet but suave, showing sexy, savory soil tones and a rather opulent texture. Finishes with sweet, fine-grained tannins and sneaky length. (ST)”
Decanter 92 points “This is plush and polished, with fine French oak (about two-thirds new) lending an almost floral overtone of peony to the black and red cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is full and juicy, with ripe but fresh cherry, rich yet toned. Beautifully balanced. Drinking Window 2018 – 2028.”
Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir Carneros 2013 750ML Was $49 now $45 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Editor’s Choice. High in acidity with a voluptuously sleek and supple body, this is a smoothly tamed wine. It’s youthful and structured, with a mix of citrus, black cherry and cola. Medium bodied, it’s memorably balanced and possesses subtle power. -Virginie Boone”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “Bright, dark red-ruby. Pure but reticent aromas of mint, cinnamon, clove and licorice. Plush, shapely and deep, offering lovely perfumed lift to the flavors of mulled cranberry and dark spices. Fine-grained tannins spread out to saturate the palate on the long, aromatic finish. (ST)”
Patz & Hall Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands 2013 750ML Was $49, now $45 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “Saturated ruby-red color. Knockout nose combines blackberry, black cherrry and Oriental spices; reminded me of a wine from the Vosne-Romanée/Nuits-Saint-Georges neighborhood. Powerful and large-scaled but a bit youthfully monolithic, with black fruit flavors lifted by mint and ginger high notes. This big boy finishes with huge tannins that avoid coming off as hard. Hall picks this fruit late, as it’s necessary to wait for the acidity to go down, but noted that in the hot years it can get porty. “And it’s necessary to be gentle with the extraction,” he added. This would be a perfect Pinot for a steak house. (ST)”
Mad for Musar: Best in Bekka Valley
Founded by Gaston Hochar in 1930, his son Serge took the world by storm in the late 1970’s after leaving Bordeaux for the Bekka Valley. Lebanon is one of the world’s first producers of wine that dates back over 6,000 years and was mentioned throughout antiquity for its quality, but has seen almost constant unrest since World War 2. The Hochar family has reported driving finished wines through minefields, witnessing the spillover of the Syrian Civil War, and delaying harvest in 2017 because ISIS and the Lebanese army were on their vineyard’s doorstep!
In spite of that, Musar has consistently delivered exceptional reds, whites and rose year after year to the international market. This is in part from their vineyards located in the Bekka Valley of Lebanon, A high elevation region between Mt. Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains. The elevation and mountainous conditions allows for massive temperature shifts during the evenings, allowing for the grapes to slowly ripen with good acidity.
Working exclusively with old vines that have always been farmed organically, Musar makes a fantastic single village wine named after Gaston in addition to their Cuvee that’s made them world famous. Working with a blend of varietals including Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvigion for reds, the reds are built for serious aging and collecting. Expect all the power and nuance of a super Tuscan, with the lift of Bandol and a totally unique frankincense, oud, cumin and sumac character that is definitively Middle Eastern.
In spite of the extensive history growing winegrapes, there are only two indigenous varieties that see commercial production anymore. Obaideh and Merwah as they’re called are white varietals produced in highly limited qualities and are famous for their age worthiness. Musar theorizes that the varietals are native to the mountains and describes them as “perfectly suited for the Lebanon, requiring no irrigation, canopy management or agrochemical application”. Full bodied and textured the Musar Blanc exhibits a creamy and spiced character underscored by Meyer lemon, Black Lime, frankincense, apricots and beeswax with high acidity and incredibly long finish.
Chateau Musar wines in stock now:
Chateau Musar Blanc Bekaa Valley 2013 750ML ($69.95) $57 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Winery note “In their youth: yellow-gold, subtly oaky, and creamy-textured, rich yet dry and intensely citrusy, with honeyed nuances. Wholly unique, the style has been described as resembling ‘dry Sauternes’ or mature white Graves. Chateau Musar Whites develop tawny hues and mellow spicy characters as they age. The cellars at Ghazir holds bottles of this wine dating as far back as 1954. Seven years in the making, Chateau Musar White is a blend of ancient grape varieties Obaideh and Merwah, indigenous to the mountains of Lebanon and said to be related to Chasselas Chardonnay and Semillon. The Obaideh vineyards are in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountains on stony, chalky soils, while the Merwah vines are on the seaward side of Mount Lebanon, on calcareous gravels. Yields are very low for these untrained bushvines: 10 – 20 hl per hectare. At high altitude (around 1400m) they are still on their own roots, among very few vineyards in the world of this calibre.”
Chateau Musar ‘Hochar Pere et Fils’ Red Bekaa Valley 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Decanter 91 points “This single-vineyard wine, from Aana, is made in a modern style: concentrated and slightly reductive. It shows notes of new oak barrels, lovely red berry fruit (reminiscent of Grenache) and garrigue aromas. So Mediterranean on the palate, with sweet tannins, spices and a meaty hint on the aftertaste. A very friendly, easy-to-drink and enjoyable wine. It becomes even better and more refined a day after the bottle is opened. I would recommend decanting it.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2017 Hochar is powerful and dense in the glass. Ripe flavors and incisive tannins give the 2017 much of its brooding personality. Readers should plan on opening the 2017 at least an hour or two in advance, as the tannins are rather grainy at the outset. With time ripe black cherry, spice, leather and licorice flavors emerge nicely. The blend is 55% Cinsault, 35% Grenache and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.”
Chateau Musar Bekaa Valley 2015 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Johan Meyer’s Mother Rock wines
The Holocene is a blend of Cinsault, Carignan and Mourvèdre sourced from a single vineyard in Malmesbury. Dry farmed and practicing organic this could be seen as South Africa’s riposte to the GSM blends of the Southern Rhone. Very easy to enjoy in that Holocene is perfectly juicy with a minerality that brings to mind crushed lava rock with the classic fynbos you find with South African wine.
Cinsault is rapidly becoming one of the top red varietals in South Africa and the world on account of it’s drought tolerance and ability to retain acidity during heat waves. As a single varietal there is often a spectrum of blue and red fruits with high acidity and perfumed aromatics. Cinsault pairs beautifully with various cuisines including Nigerian, Lebanese, Greek and barbeque on account of the fruit tea esque tannins and refreshing acidity.
Most unique out of the Mother Rock wines is their Pet-Nat. Comprised of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage sourced from a single farm. Grown at over 1,000 feet above sea level, the wine is bottled before fermentation completes, creating bubbles from the last of the remaining sugars. Pinotage takes on a spectrum of blue, black and purple fruits underscored by a tertiary plethora of smoke and earth, with the Chenin contributing beeswax, honeysuckle, chamomile, quince and yellow apple. If one had to summarize the wine in a word: Crushable.
Mother Rock wines in stock now:
Mother Rock ‘Force Majeure – Force Celeste’ Cinsault Swartland 2020 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 32 bottles in stock now
Importer note “A medium-bodied red with ripe tannins, depth and drinkability from whole bunch fermentation. A great addition to the Force Majeure range.”
Mother Rock ‘Holocene’ Swartland 2018 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 91 points “Fragrant and distinctive, this tangy red is light- to medium-bodied and racy, offering an expressive profile of steeped raspberry and peach fruit flavors meshed with notes of dried flowers, blood orange zest and medicinal herbs. Lingering, zesty finish. Carignan, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. Drink now through 2025. 222 cases made, 56 cases imported. — AN”
Mother Rock ‘Force Majeure – Force Celeste’ Cuvee PN Pet Nat Swartland 2021 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Importer note “A Pet-Nat that puts Pinotage in the spotlight. South Africa’s native grape is best known for its bright fruit and deep earthy character, which translate beautifully in this joyful rosé fizz. Slightly hazy salmon-pink in the glass, with aromas of raspberries, blood orange and earthy rhubarb. Fresh in the mouth, with crunchy cranberry fruit and a savoury edge. Delicious and dangerously drinkable at only 11%!”
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The Flower of Brunello
La Fiorita’s Riserva
Looking for Biondi-Santi? How about the vineyard next door for a fraction of the cost? Coming from a single vineyard neighboring the Biondi-Santi estate, this is already a steal before you consider farming practices and vintage conditions. The juice from this high-density, high-elevation (almost 4,000 feet above sea level), organically farmed estate, is vinified by Roberto Cipresso. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you may be familiar with his work. He is perhaps best known for his Argentine label Achaval-Ferrer. But he also famously created a papal cuvée for His Holiness John Paul II, and crafted the Sesquicentennial Anniversary Cuvée commissioned by the Italian Republic to celebrate 150 years of unification.
This is a Brunello built for long-term aging, given the ripe fruit profile and richly developed tannins from the 2015 vintage. La Fiorita means “flowery” in Italian and this certainly comes through in the wine with notes of rose petal, rosemary and flowering oregano. These qualities have already been harmonizing during the additional time in vat and bottle required by the Riserva classification. Expect this wine to continue improving for at least 10 years, as even La Fiorita’s entry-level Brunello is famously austere. But if you can’t wait that long, a few hours in a decanter will have it singing.
La Fiorita in stock now:
2015 La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($199.95) $89 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 97 points “Highly Recommended. This rich red is energetic and balanced, saturated with black cherry, plum and mineral flavors. Accents of wild rosemary and sage chime in as this remains fresh and long on the iron and underbrush aftertaste. Best from 2024 through 2045. 310 cases made, 100 cases imported.”
The next best price is $99.98
Love Tuscany? We have over 165 different options in stock. Shop the entire selection, including staff favorites like Castell’in Villa, Fèlsina, Fontodi and more, on our web store now.
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