In Today’s Newsletter:
Subscriber Special #1
Guímaro: The Rebel of Galicia
Spotlight on Dry Mosel Riesling
Carl Loewen, Heymann-Löwenstein & Karthäuserhof
Subscriber Special #2
Bursin’s Outstanding Late Harvests
Vanguard of the “New California”
Levet’s Cult Classic Côte-Rôtie
Subscriber Special #1
Guímaro: The Rebel of Galicia
Ribeira Sacra, Rodríguez’ home, is a cool climate region through and through. The closest analogue to the vineyards might be the Mosel, in Germany, as both have extremely steep slate vineyards that make you wonder who would think it would be reasonable to farm them. The best wines from here are lean and taut, but with enough fruit to give the structure definition and detail. Guímaro is clearly at the top of the heap and it’s always a treat to be able to offer their top wines, even better at Subscriber Special pricing.
In Stock Now:
Guímaro A Ponte, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $45, 6 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutiérrez-Wine Advocate 94 points “A wine that has surprised many when I’ve showed it in a couple of tastings, the 2015 A Ponte is from the first harvest of incredibly young vines. It has less color and is rather light and ethereal, and in a way, it’s not the same style as most of the wines from Guímaro. It’s a project that has taken a long time, because it involved buying many small plots that have belonged to the family since 1898 (they have records) but were in different hands, so they had to find all the different owners. The land didn’t have vines anymore, so they had to replant it in 2010. It’s like an amphitheatre on a 52% to 72% steep slope on slate soils with lots of quartz, iron and mica. The idea was to plant the five red varieties—Mencía, Caíño, Merenzao, Brancellao and Souson—with 2,000 plants of each, initially with the idea to produce varietal wines. But in 2014, they had very few grapes and decided to use all of the varieties together. In 2015, all of the varieties fermented together with 100% full clusters in an oak vat, and the wine matured in used oak barrels for some 17 months. It’s a young and tender red that’s very elegant and subtle, soft and elegant. It’s quite unusual, and the style might change in the future. The vineyard was hit hard by a terrible hailstorm in 2016, so they couldn’t produce it that year; thus, the following wine is from 2017, and it’s a little more structured and powerful than this 2015, even if they are both from warm and dry years. The nose here is beautiful, and what’s surprising is the complexity and depth produced by the extremely young vines. Pedro Guímaro thinks this is a little light on the palate, but I find it superb. This vineyard has been organically farmed from day one. There are some 2,000 bottles of this first year.”
Guímaro A Ponte, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($69.95) Was $54.50, Now $49, 12 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutiérrez-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The red 2017 A Ponte is a blend of equal parts of Mencía, Caíño, Merenzao, Brancellao and Souson from a vineyard planted in 2010. The full clusters fermented in a wooden vat with a maceration of 35 days (shorter than the average). I really like the nuance and complexity provided by the varietal blend, and the wine feels quite complete and harmonious, clean and balanced, with no traces of oak, very pure and more on the elegant side even if it has more concentration than the initial 2015. This is only the second vintage—they couldn’t produce it in 2016 since the vineyard was basically destroyed by a terrible hailstorm that even killed some 12% of the plants in the summer that year. This is going to be a reference in Ribeira Sacra, a clear indication of how the blend of grapes can provide an extra dimension. 3,500 bottles produced. It was bottled in September 2018.”
Importer Note “A Ponte is a new cuvée (2015 is the inaugural vintage) from a young plot planted above Finca Meixemán, comprised of Mencía, Sousón, Brancellao, Merenzao and Caiño grown on granite, slate and sand. Grapes are hand-harvested, fermented whole-cluster in tank with 50 days maceration, then raised in eight used Burgundy barrels for around 14 months. The finished wine was bottled without fining or filtration.”
Guímaro Camiño Real, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($37.95) Was $29, Now $24, 24 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutiérrez-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2017 Camiño Real now contains all the plots that they intended to include in the initial 2016 but couldn’t because many vineyards in the Amandi zone were destroyed by a terrible hailstorm on August 15th that year. It fermented with 80% full clusters and the rest uncrushed grapes in oak vats with a maceration of 35 days and matured in those vats for seven to eight months. Half of the wine was then moved to barrique and was kept there for five months, while the rest continued maturing in the 10,000-liter vat. The wine has notes of wild berries, flowers and herbs, with good complexity and a medium-bodied palate with fine-grained tannins. It has more complexity and depth than the young, unoaked wine and the single-vineyard bottlings. It has a nice mouthfeel and is quite approachable, a round and somewhat immediate vintage. 25,000 bottles.”
Grapelive 92 points “One of my favorite producers and wines, Guímaro, made by Pedro Rodríguez, makes red and white wines in the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain’s Galicia provence….These steep vineyard sites are back-breaking hard to work, with everything done by hand, they look more like frightening slopes in Mosel than what you’d expect in Spain, looking down upon the Sil river. This 100% whole cluster 2017 is full flavored with flinty earthy tones showing briar accented raspberry, huckleberry, plum, cherry and cranberry fruits, a touch of smoke, leather, mineral iron and anise, along with a delicately sweet floral essence that balances out the savory elements and dusty dry tannins. Mencía has qualities that remind you of the northern Rhône, but is brighter like Pinot or Gamay with a similar lively personality. The 2017 vintage is ripe, but full of natural acidity and takes a few swirls in the glass to reveal its true depth and textural quality, it is a wine that certainly benefits from simple country cuisine and robust dishes. Pedro’s wines are real, honest and terroir driven with the reds being made mostly from Mencía and the white crafted from Godello, ancient native grapes that require extra care and TLC to make world class wines, which he does at this small winery set in this remote place that was once highly prized by the Romans, who named it the Sacred Banks (Ribeira Sacra) and planted vines on the historic terraces…the wines from Guímaro, which means “rebel” in Gallego (the local dialect)…are wines of rustic charm and character from a region that humbly respects and honors the power of nature, they are wines of place, especially the series of single parcel wines like this Camiño Real bottling, from all organic 40-60 year old vines set on the slate with a mix of sand, quartz and granite with a field blend of about 85% Menci´a plus tiny amounts of Merenzao, Mourato´n, Brancellao, Cain~o, Souso´n and Alicante Bouschet. In the cellar, Pedro, who was mentored by the legendary Raul Perez, keeps things simple, natural and non intervention in style, employing native or indigenous yeast, spontaneous fermentations in open-top wood vats and long macerations, with this Camiño Real seeing a 40 maceration and primary fermentation on the skins, after which the wine was raised in a combination of used oak from large foudre to small used barrique and bottled with ultra low sulfur, unfined and unfiltered.”
Guímaro Finca Meixemán, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $33, 7 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutiérrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “I tasted the 2015 Finca Meixemán, because the following vintage, 2017, will be bottled and released a little later. Like the rest of the single-vineyard bottlings, they were not able to produce this wine in 2016, as the grapes were hit by hail in August. It comes from vines planted in the 1940s, from the older part of a larger vineyard. The soil mixes slate and granite. They used 60% full clusters to ferment in oak vats with a long, 50-day maceration. The wine matured for five months in oak vats and then was put in used 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for some ten months. Despite the time it has already spent in bottle (almost two and a half years), the wine is still quite tannic and powerful. 2015 was a warm and dry year that delivered concentrated wines. It needs powerful food. 7,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in late 2016.”
Guímaro Finca Meixemán, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($54.95) Was $49, Now $39, 7 bottles in stock now
Importer Note “Finca Meixemán is a single 1.2 hectare southeast-facing plot of old Mencía vines. This is the original family-owned vineyard that helped create their adega. The grapes are hand-harvested, foot-trodden with 40% whole cluster, and fermented in open-top foudre with a long maceration. The wine is raised for 12-14 months in mostly used Burgundy barrels, and bottled without fining or filtration. With a core of kirsch-like red fruit, spices, and minerals, this is a serious wine to pair with wild game, offal, braises, stews, roasted or grilled meats.”
The next lowest price nationally is $44.99
Love Spanish reds? We have 120 red wines from Spain in stock now. Shop our entire selection, including famous names like Daniel Landi, Raúl Pérez, Vega Sicilia and more, on our web store now.
Spotlight on Dry Mosel Riesling
Carl Loewen, Heymann-Löwenstein & Karthäuserhof
Carl Loewen has taken over some of the oldest vineyards in the Mosel, returning them to their historic esteem and in many cases elevating them to new heights. The wines are textural, rich and complex, often from old, ungrafted parcels within vineyards. These are staff favorite Rieslings that always seem to exceed our already lofty expectations.
In Stock Now:
Weingut Carl Loewen ‘1896’ Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg Alte Reben Riesling, Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 95 points “The fantastic Old Vine Trocken from Christopher Loewen is a great way to celebrate Riesling’s birthday…especially well honored by this wine that comes from Germany’s oldest known Riesling vines dating back, to as the label and name suggest, 1896! This particular bottling is Loewen’s alternative top dry Riesling, labeled Alte Reben instead of Grosses Gewachs or a GG, it is a secondary special selection from this Grand Cru site…The dry 2018 Alte Reben Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg is a striking and crisply focused Riesling with classic slate soil influence showing intense minerallity along with brisk citrusy fruit with layers lime, tangerine, white peach, quince along with hints of kumquat, green apple, pineapple fruits as well as flinty wet shale (stoniness), chamomile, saline, verbena and white flowers. This is a wonderfully complex and thrilling Riesling that expands on the medium bodied palate with gripping extract and the sensation of textural grace making for a profound experience! The Maximiner Herrenberg vineyard was originally planted in 1896, and is now farmed by Loewen using organic methods and carefully sorted….Using modern natural methods in the cellar, the grapes are all whole cluster pressed, and Loewen is careful not to move the pomace so to not get bettering phenolic flavors…Loewen’s ferments are “Sponti” completely natural without addition of enzymes or nutrition, with these single vineyard wines, Christopher notes, being individually block picked with the juice going directly into classic Fuder barrels (or oak casks around 1000L in size) which average 25 years old to age. While the GG’s are awesome, especially the sister Herrenberg version, and Loewen’s majestic Ritch, there are two wines that you don’t want to miss, the 1986 Feinherb, one of the most sought after cult wines in the Mosel and this Alte Reben (Old Vine) Maximiner Herrenberg Trocken, both from the VDP Grand Cru (Grosse Lage) vines, these are exotic beauties that deserve your attention and a space in your collection! Happy Birthday Riesling! Loewen is quickly becoming a name on Riesling lovers lips, he is an outstanding talent and his collection of 2018 wines are stunning.”
Weingut Carl Loewen Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Mosel 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling 95 points “Pump up the volume! Rich and deep with a kaleidoscope of aromas ranging from exotic fruit to berries and herbs. A very dry, dangerously refreshing finish. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “The 2017er Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg GG was fermented with ambient yeasts in traditional Fuder casks from fruit harvested on over 100 year-old un-grafted vines. The wine proves still rather reduced at first but develops some attractive even if comparatively ripe scents of mirabelle, herbs, oregano and creamy elements, all wrapped into a whiff of volatile acidity. After some extensive airing, the wine shows a much fresher side, where grapefruit, cassis, herbs and floral elements make for a stunning experience. The wine is smooth and complex on the palate and leaves a rewarding feel in the long and creamy finish. A good kick of zest lifts the after -taste. There really needs a lot of airing (and we talk days rather than hours) before revealing the goods but, trust us, this wine is worth waiting for! 2022-2037.”
Weingut Carl Loewen Maximiner Klosterlay Riesling, Mosel 2018 750ML ($37.95) $29 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Terry Theise note “An east-facing vineyard directly on the Mosel, offering slender and “blue” tasting wines. This ’18 is the brighter (almost grassier) face of slate; a tatsoi snap, and it was the first Mosel I tasted that showed ‘18’s phenols—is this a drought feature? The wine is rather a “study in slate,” and on that March day it felt a little strict.”
Browse our entire selection of 8 Carl Loewen wines on our web store now.
Heymann-Löwenstein is the signature producer of Germany’s Terrassenmosel region. The Terrassenmosel is part of the lower Mosel river valley where the steepness of the slopes require terraces just to be able to grow grapes. It’s a daunting place to work—everything is so steep that no mechanized work is possible and so every single vine must be tended by hand.
Reinhard Löwenstein fits in with this region, then, as an absolute perfectionist who will do any and everything possible to make sure that his wines are as profound as possible. His yields and selection in the vineyards are made solely with quality in mind and he holds his wines back longer before release than most German producers—cash flow be damned.
In terms of style, the word that comes to mind when tasting these wines is ‘mineral.’ Not minerality paired with fruitiness, like with much Mosel Riesling, but sheer rockiness in liquid form. The wines are lean, racy and benefit from air or a few years in bottle, but are incredibly rewarding in the way that only the great wines of the world can be.
In Stock Now:
Heymann-Löwenstein ‘von blauem Schiefer’, Mosel 2015 750ML ($44.95) $26 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2015 Riesling Von Blauem Schiefer opens with a beautifully clear and slatey bouquet of perfectly ripe Riesling flavors. The wine is round, piquant and salty on the palate, reveals picture book finesse and transparency and is extremely stimulating in its dry but perfectly balanced finish. The aftertaste is pretty long and already complex. If you are looking for a picture book wine of the terraced Lower Mosel, this is the one you have to taste. Thirteen percent of alcohol can hardly taste lighter and more stimulating.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 90 points “Scents of fennel and basil along with intimations of crushed stone set the stage for a relatively cool, restrained set of flavors. Yet the palate is richly textured, lush and expansive. Piquant and incisive notes of lemon peel and mustard seed offer invigoration on a soothingly yet stimulatingly sustained finish suffused with cooling green herbs and vividly underlain with wet stone. The primary sources for this “blue slate” bottling are nowadays the Weisenberg and Fahrberg, immediately upstream from the Uhlen (which is divided between the communes of Winningen and Kobern), along with vineyards in Klotten, a good 20 miles upstream from Kobern, that are farmed by the family of a former Heymann-Löwenstein stagiaire.”
VinopolNote: Soil is blue slate, brownish clay with iron oxide
Heymann-Löwenstein Röttgen, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Riesling Röttgen ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is pure and flinty on the nose, with bright fruit and mineral aromas on the nose. On the palate, this is a piquant, fresh and well structured as well as intense and persistent Riesling with cacao flavors in the finish. Terribly fresh and piquant, this is a remarkable Riesling. Tasted February 2018.”
Heymann-Löwenstein ‘B’ Uhlen Blaufüsser Lay, Mosel 2016 750M ($69.95) $49 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2016 Riesling Uhlen B ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is pure, fresh and rich at the same time, with flinty aromas on the nose. Full-bodied, precise and piquant on the palate, this is an elegant, fresh and salty Riesling with a lot of tension and length. Powerful. Long.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a gorgeous nose of candied grapefruit zest, some star fruit, ripe pear and apple, all wrapped into the telltale classy touch of fine spices and herbs so typical of the Estate. The wine is medium-bodied on the palate and leaves a beautifully pure, spicy and mineral-loaded feel in the long and delicately powerful finish. This is a gorgeous wine in the making with a hint of power and nice saltiness in the after-taste.”
Browse our entire selection of 8 Heymann-Löwenstein wines on our web store now.
Karthäuserhof is a unique winery even in a region with an abundance of magical producers—the combination of unique, historical sites, own-rooted vines, and visionary ownership has created an iconic producer whose wines bear attention year in and out.
In the centuries since its founding in the 13th century, Karthäuserhof has become one of the two vanguard producers of the Ruwer valley, a small, colder tributary of the Mosel. With history like that, it would be easy for a winery to rest on its laurels, but the Tyrell family (owners of the winery) have been forward looking in both the farming (no pesticides are used in the vineyards) and in the winemaking (Karthäuserhof was a one of the most prominent Mosel wineries to begin focusing on dry wines).
The resulting wines combine the power and complexity of old vineyards, often own-rooted, in great soils with a modern eye toward polish and raciness. The Ruwer tends to be cooler than the middle Mosel, so the wines are naturally bright, crunchy and mineral-driven. We only have a few of these magical wines left, so grab yours while there’s still time.
In Stock Now:
Weingut Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Mosel 2013 750ML ($69.95) $39 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points “Very clear, discreet and refined on the nose – where the 2013 Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling GG displays fine stone and fruit aromas of lemons and green apples. Lean and vital but also intense, rich and juicy on the palate, this is a lovely pure, straightforward, piquant and very salty expression of the Karthäuserhofberg terroir and the 2013 vintage. This long-distance runner has more fruit intensity than the Edition and reveals a very fine raciness and a complex finish with lingering lemon aromas.”
John Gilman 93+ points “The 2013 Grosses Gewächs is showing as beautifully this year as it did a year ago, wafting from the glass in a salty constellation of tart pear, pink grapefruit, plenty of smokiness, dried flowers, a touch of lemongrass and lovely slate-driven salinity. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and absolutely seamless, with fine youthful complexity, a lovely core, bright acids and a very long, refined and racy finish. This is a touch lower in alcohol than the 2014 version (11.5 versus twelve percent), but is just a tad more tightly-knit and complete. A fine bottle in the making. 2020-2050. 93+.”
Weingut Karthäuserhof Tyrells Edition Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2014 750ML ($49.95) $29 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “Already at this early stage, this gorgeously light wine (with only 11.5% of alcohol) delivers beautiful scents of cassis, white flowers and minerals on the nose and a superbly playful feel on the palate. The finish is long and deliciously tart. Despite the hint of fruits, this is still only at the beginning of its life and lovers of racy Riesling will really enjoy this most in a few years’ time. 2019-2029”
Love German Riesling? We have nearly 300 different German Rieslings in stock now. Shop our entire selection, including famous names like JJ Prüm, Markus Molitor, Willi Schaefer and more, on our web store now.
Bursin’s Outstanding Late Harvests
If you’re looking for benchmark producers there are the stars like Trimbach and Zind-Humbrecht, but their wines are increasingly difficult to find and the prices continue to creep higher. Fortunately there are the up and coming producers making wines of comparable, and sometimes, superior quality, but without the sticker shock. We’ve been beating this drum for quite some time, but the wines of Agathe Bursin are the shining example of where to find the payoff for standout quality. And today we’re sweetening (pun intended) the deal with Subscriber Special pricing on three of Bursin’s late harvest whites.
In Stock Now:
Agathe Bursin Gewürztraminer Zinnkoepflé Sélection de Grains Nobles, Alsace Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69, 9 bottles in stock now
Ian D’agata – Vinous 95 points “Medium golden yellow. Very typical Gewürz nose of ripe tropical fruit, sweet spices, smoky bacon and orange oil. Then rich, dense and sweet, offering bitter orange marmalade and lemon peel flavors complicated by notes of cane sugar, guava and kumquat. Finishes suave and quite luscious, at once opulent and yet light on its feet. This has terrific sugar-acid balance (4.1 g/L total acidity and 92 g/L residual sugar).”
Agathe Bursin Gewürztraminer Zinnkoepflé Vendanges Tardives, Alsace Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 10 bottles in stock now
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93 points “Luminous straw-yellow. Truly lovely floral lift complements grapefruit and kumquat notes on the perfumed nose. Boasts a strong mineral underpinning to its white stone and tropical fruit flavors, complicated by hints of sweet spices. Another very beautiful wine from Agathe Bursin in 2016. All the grapes at VT and SGN levels of sweetness were picked on November 9, 10, and 12. This boasts 4 g/L total acidity and 73 g/L, so though certainly a sweet wine, it is not a thick, super-sticky wine.”
Agathe Bursin Riesling Zinnkoepflé Vendanges Tardives, Alsace Grand Cru 2015 750 ML ($79.95) Was $59, Now $49, 7 bottles in stock now
Ian D’agata – Vinous 92 points “Golden-tinged straw. The deep, rich nose boasts captivating aromas of honey, crystallized ginger and mango. Then light and refined and not at all weighty on the palate, offering precise flavors of tropical fruits and sweet spices. No noble rot hit these grapes, but there was plenty of passerillage (8.1 g/L total acidity and 65 g/L total [sugar]). Lovely VT.”
Love Alsace? Shop our entire selection of Alsatian wines, including famous names like Albert Mann, Weinbach and more, on our web store now.
Vanguard of the “New California”
Arnot-Roberts has been one of the vanguard producers of the “New California” movement, making wines that deserve to be paid attention to as some of the best in the United States. Started by childhood friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts in 2001, they’ve quickly established themselves as some of the best producers of restrained, elegant California wines. In 2013 the San Francisco Chronicle named them “Winemakers of the Year” in recognition of the quality and consistency of the wines they’re producing.
If you’re not familiar with Arnot-Roberts, don’t expect soft fruity wines. Everything they touch has a backbone to it—a spine of acid and tannin that make you think of the great wines of France far quicker than their peers in California. These are serious wines, built to age—which is how they’ve developed such a following. With a year or three in the cellar, these blossom into wines that rival the best in the world. We get painfully small allocations every year, and only a few wines remain, so don’t miss your chance to experience these benchmark wines of “New California”.
In Stock Now:
Arnot-Roberts Montecillo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “A captivating wine, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard shows just how magical this Sonoma site is. A whole range of floral, savory and earthy notes gives the Montecillo that trademark aromatic profile that is such a signature. Big tannins add energy as well as shape to a classically built Cabernet that delivers the goods, and then some. What a wine!”
Arnot-Roberts Gamay Noir, El Dorado 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Decanter 92 points “A blend of two high-elevation sites in the Sierra Foothills: Barsotti Vineyard (795m) and Witters Vineyard (1,005m). Wild, rustic nose of red plums, pepper and dried flowers then svelte palate that is broad and subtly tannic on the finish. These mountainous sites bring a sturdy, brambly quality to what is an often underrated variety. Singular and delicious.”
Arnot-Roberts Clary Ranch Syrah, Sonoma Coast 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2017 Syrah Clary Ranch is striking. Deep and resonant on the palate, the 2017 has so much to say. Some of the angular edges and intense savoriness the Clary Ranch can show have been soften by the intense heat of the year. Silky, fine tannins wrap around a core of dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice and pepper. A Syrah of power and structural intensity, the Clary Ranch is incredibly distinctive, and that is in a lineup in which many of the wines are exceptional. Two thousand-seventeen is a superb vintage for the Clary Ranch Syrah.”
Arnot-Roberts Luchsinger Vineyard Trousseau, Clear Lake 2019 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Decanter 93 points “The Trousseau for this vintage mainly comes from the Clear Lake AVA, with smaller portions from Fort Ross-Seaview and Green Valley. It’s fermented whole cluster, basket-pressed and aged in neutral barriques for eight months. Aromas of dried fruit, brown sugar and rust lead to a fine-grained, weightless palate of golden raisins, white pepper and cranberry skins. A poised, rustic and beautiful example of a variety gaining ground in California, in large part due to Arnot-Roberts.”
Love Golden State wine? We have over 70 wines from California in stock now? Shop our entire selection, including “New California” favorites like Bedrock and Pax, on our web store now.
Levet’s Cult Classic Côte-Rôtie
Bernard Levet has moved from an unsung hero of the Northern Rhône to a genuine star. The Côte-Rôtie he bottles is unlike anyone else’s. Feral, tannic and uncompromising, his wines need time to blossom, but when they do, there’s nothing in the world of Syrah (or wine, in general) quite like them.
“The modest, soft-spoke Agnès Levet is clearly reveling in the extra space of her expanded cellar, which sits just behind the family’s storefront on the main (only) drag of Ampuis, which is tricked out with modern, highly efficient new equipment, notably floating top tanks, which she says ‘helps the work happen more quickly because of the extra space.’ But things remain unchanged when it comes to vinification. The wines are still being made with a high percentage, up to 100%, of whole clusters and aged in large, old foudres and mostly neutral demi-muids. These are always wines that deserve time and their drinking windows can go way out there, as numerous examples of bottles from the ‘80s have consistently proven to me. They can be extremely stubborn in their early years, especially the La Chavaroche, so impatient wine lovers need not apply. There’s always a certain wildness to the wines as well, and their character hearkens back to the Côte-Rôties of the old days, which has earned the Levets a steadily growing, highly enthusiastic following. Two thousand seventeen ‘has classic lines but the wines are rich as well,’ Agnès Levet told me. ‘They have depth but also good tension and strong but not severe tannins, so they are definitely wines to age.’” — Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media
In Stock Now:
Vignobles Bernard Levet Côte-Rôtie La Chavaroche, Rhône 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 96 points “Dark purple. Ripe dark fruit, floral and spice qualities on the expressive nose, along with hints of licorice, black cardamom, espresso and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with deeply concentrated cassis, bitter cherry and candied violet flavors that slowly unfold and take a sweeter turn through the midpalate. Youthfully chewy tannins add firm grip to a strikingly long, energetic finish that emphatically echoes the cassis and mineral notes. Made with 100% whole clusters.”
Vignobles Bernard Levet Côte-Rôtie Les Journaries, Rhône 2017 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Inky ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, licorice, exotic spices and potpourri and shows outstanding definition. Stains the palate with appealingly sweet black raspberry, blueberry and cherry preserve flavors that slowly tighten up on the back half. Shows superb energy and floral lift on an impressively long, focused finish shaped by steadily mounting tannins. This is quite a powerful wine (about 70% of the fruit comes from La Landonne, by the way) for one that checks in at only 13% alcohol. Made entirely with whole clusters.”
Love Rhône reds? We have over 160 red wines from the Rhône in stock now. Shop our entire selection, including famous names like Chapoutier, Domaine Clape, Jaboulet and more, on our web store now.
Cayuse is one of the most in-demand wineries in North America, producing wines from both Rhône and Bordeaux varieties that are among the finest in the world. Because Cayuse sells almost exclusively through their mailing list, even current releases can be difficult to find. This fact helps illustrate what makes today’s offer so unique.
Arriving this Saturday, we’ve secured a cache of back-vintage Cayuse, including most of their most coveted bottlings. The selection spans the 2008-2013 vintages, and includes Armada, Bionic Frog, En Chamberlin, Flying Pig, Impulsivo and Widowmaker. These types of offers don’t come around often, and quantities are unsurprisingly miniscule, so act accordingly.
Arriving Saturday, January 16th:
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($599.95) $419 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 100 points “This insanely good 2010 Syrah Bionic Frog offers incredible notes of blood orange, liquid violets, cassis, seared meats, licorice and crushed rocks to go with full-bodied richness, ultra-fine tannic structure, perfectly integrated acidity and a blockbuster finish. Raised in roughly 20% new demi-muids and foudre, this is a heavenly Syrah that couldn’t get any better. Give it 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2030.”
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($319.95) $259 pre-arrival special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 99 points “While a lot of the 2012s came in near the bottom of the barrel score, that wasn’t the case with the 2012 Syrah Bionic Frog and this beauty flirts with perfection. Inky colored and purple to the rim, it offers extraordinary notes of black fruits, wild mushrooms, smoked earth and salty minerality. These all flow to a full-bodied, thrillingly concentrated, focused, structured and lengthy 2012 that needs 4-5 years of cellaring, and will knock your socks off over the following 15 years or more.”
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($319.95) $249 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97-99 points “I think the best of the Syrahs is the 2013 Syrah Bionic Frog, and while I’ve liked other single vineyards more than this cuvee in the past, it seems a solid step up in both 2012 and 2013. The 2013 offers incredible notes of roasted herbs, beef blood, mushrooms, scorched earth and sweet black fruits in a full-bodied, gorgeously concentrated, structured, serious style. Short-term cellaring should be the name of the game here, and while it should offer plenty of pleasure around age 5-6, I’d put money on it still singing at age 20.”
Cayuse Vineyards Flying Pig, Walla Walla Valley 2009 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, 1 bottle available
David Schildknecht – Wine Advocate 94 points “Baron’s as usual Cabernet Franc-dominated 2009 Flying Pig – incorporating 34% Merlot as well as 12% Cabernet Sauvignon; its entirety sourced from the 1998 En Cerise plantings; and assembled around nine months after fermentation – gives a mouthwatering impression of being suffused with savory, carnal, fatty pan drippings. If this libation doesn’t qualify as high umami, I don’t know what would! With that come ripe, succulent, subtly tart-edged cassis and blueberry; bittersweet floral perfume; as well as rich yet piquant toasty walnut and hickory, all of which ally on a polished, soothing palate, leading to a long, vibrantly dynamic and – as already adumbrated – salivary gland-milking finish. This should prove a terrifically memorable table companion over the coming decade if not also beyond.”
Cayuse Vineyards Flying Pig, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Robert Parker 96 points “Moving away from the Rhônes-styled efforts and the most up-front and perfumed of the Bordeaux blends (just ahead of the Widowmaker), the 2010 Flying Pig is a Cabernet Franc-dominated blend that incorporates 37% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon into the blend. Loaded with notions of cassis, dried flowers, saline-like minerality, exotic spice and damp earth, it flows onto the palate with a juicy, brilliantly focused profile, with a core of sweet fruit, full-bodied richness and no hard edges. Give it 3-4 years to fill out and enjoy it over the following decade. Drink 2017-2027.”
Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 99 points “Another wine that flirts with perfection is the 2012 Impulsivo. Showing the heights Tempranillo can hit in Washington State, this blockbuster offers tons of purple fruits, crushed rocks, exotic spice and spring flower characteristics to go with a full-bodied, fabulously concentrated, structured feel on the palate. What really sets this apart is the purity of fruit. In addition, this cuvee ages brilliantly, and doesn’t start to really hit maturity until around age 8-10. This beauty will have 20-25 of overall longevity and is one thrilling drink!”
Cayuse Vineyards Armada Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97+ points “The 2010 Syrah Armada Vineyard saw 22 months in puncheons and a second-fill foudre. It offers gorgeous purity in its black raspberry and cassis fruit, crushed rock and spice-laced aromatics, yet is relatively closed and backward at the moment, with an almost granite-like tightness and focus on the palate. It could flirt with perfection at maturity, but it needs 3-4 years of cellaring at the moment.”
Cayuse Vineyards Armada Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2011 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special, 3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 points “Even better, the 2011 Syrah Armada is probably my favorite of the 2011s. Deep, rich and layered, with phenomenal black plum, damp earth, pepper, mushroom, charcuterie and spice-driven aromas and flavors, this beauty tastes like the essence of this unique terroir. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it too should flesh out beautifully with short-term cellaring and have upwards of two decades of longevity.”
Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96+ points “A 100% Syrah and always the most exotic and wild of the lineup, the 2010 Syrah En Chamberlin Vineyard has the Cayuse peat moss, iodine, underbrush, olive brine and gamey qualities on full display. Blossoming in the glass and showing a core of sweet fruit, it has a rich, substantial feel on the palate with a concentrated, full-bodied mouthfeel, brilliant mid-palate depth and a focused, detailed finish that carries ample finely polished tannin. Very gamey and bloody on the palate, this singular beauty will be better in another year or three and thrill for 15 years or more. Drink now-2025.”
Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2011 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special, 3 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 99 points “Dark and concentrated, this sends up complex aromas saturated with tar, asphalt, ink, steel, smoke and charred barbecue. It’s a beautiful wine, tight and textural, in perfect balance, with superb depth, precision and elegance. The most contemplative of a superb 2011 Cayuse lineup, this wine above all needs your full attention.”
Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($179.95) $139 pre-arrival special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 96 points “The dark ruby, opaque 2012 Syrah en Chamberlin Vineyard is a classic example of this vineyard. Gamy, complex and nuanced, with lots of olive tapenade, ground herbs, charcoal and wood smoke, as well as a beautiful core of dark fruit, it has full-bodied richness, building tannin, and a light, elegant texture. One of the more approachable 2012s from Christoph, it still doesn’t lack for tannic grip. It offers plenty of pleasure now, but should have 15 years or more of longevity.”
Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Another sensational looking Syrah, the 2013 Syrah en Chamberlin Vineyard is the most savory, umami-styled, exotic and funky of the lot. Iodine, beef blood, licorice, mushroom and hints of soy and give way to a full-bodied barrel sample that has ample concentration, sweet tannin and a great finish. This is classic Rocks characteristics and is perfumed, complex and downright exotic. It should drink well for 15 years or more.”
Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2008 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Superb sculpture and definition in this compact and lightly funky evocation of pure Cabernet Sauvignon. The deep, dense, super ripe berry flavors are framed within a bouquet of dried herbs, pepper, mineral, astringent tannins, and a crisp mix of earth, wood and plant flavors. Superb length and ageability.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The Cayuse En Chamberlain 2008 Widowmaker is an essence of cassis laced with sloe berry as well as floral distillates that would seem remarkable for any wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, let alone when subjected – as was the bottle in question this March – to side-by-side comparison with Baron’s Bionic Frog of the same vintage. There is a remarkable creaminess of texture and sheer melted fondue of tannins here that I wouldn’t have believed possible. Is this seductive Cabernet Sauvignon as complex as the greatest examples of its variety? Hardly, I think. But it finishes with extraordinary length and there are stony and bittersweet herbal nuances as well as a hint of chocolate to parallel its persistent florality and intensely luscious fruit. Look for at least a decade of delight.”
Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2009 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, 1 bottle available
Wine Enthusiast-Cellar Selection 97 points “Using grapes sourced entirely from the En Chamberlin Vineyard, this pure Cabernet is deep, dark, focused and tight, with firm but velvety tannins and a perfect mix of cassis, coffee and earth. Even more than previous years, this vintage displays astonishing depth and power. Flavors of Serrano ham and other cured meats, plus a delicate saltiness and minerality keep the flavors developing onto the long, fascinating finish.”
Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 points “A silky, supple and downright sexy 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 Widowmaker En Chamberlin Vineyard offers up notes of sweet red and black currants, leaf tobacco, mulled spices and cedar to go with a full-bodied, rich and gorgeously textured and polished palate. Already approachable and surprisingly civilized, with a core of sweet fruit and ripe, polished tannin, it nevertheless holds up beautifully with air and drank well for the three days I had the bottle open. Enjoy it over the coming 12-15+ years. Drink now-2025+.”
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