In This Newsletter:
Coming down the Columbia:
Spring Valley’s Walla Walla Cabernet Arriving Friday
Felsina’s Fantastic Chianti
Field Blend Barons of Sonoma
Mature and Rare Champagne from de Venoge
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Coming down the Columbia:
Spring Valley’s Walla Walla Cabernet Arriving Friday
Farmed since the 1800’s, what is now known as Spring Valley Ranch in the Walla Walla Valley was planted to grapevines in 1993. As you can expect with a producer in the beating heart of Washington Wine country their specialty is Cabernet Sauvignon and Red blends. With the 2016 vintage being one of the best regarded in recent memory, these are just starting to enter their drinking windows and are will be perfect come barbeque season! With the new French oak percentage clocking in at 40% these are built for the long haul for those with the space and patience to do so.
Spring Valley Cabernet arriving Friday, March 18th
Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $36 special
Case-6 Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($359.95) $199 special, (that’s only $33.16 per bottle)
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah, and 2% Malbec aged 19 months in 40% new oak, the 2016 Frederick Red Wine is another classic, beautifully balanced, age-worthy wine from this estate that has lots of blackcurrant, leafy tobacco, and damp earth-like aromas and flavors. With a seamless, texture, it shows the style of the estate. It will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 20 years or more.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92+ points “Bright, dark red. Brooding, slightly medicinal scents of black cherry and menthol lifted by flowers. The densest and sweetest of these 2016s, but conveys a youthfully brooding quality to its flavors of red and black fruits, menthol and spices. Finishes classically dry, with substantial firm but ripe tannins and the density to support an extended life in bottle. (a different blend from normal, featuring an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, most of it from blocks planted in 2006, 2001 and 1999)”
Most winemakers would pick a vineyard once or twice and vinify the lots together—it’s easier and the wines are good. Molitor, though, asks what each parcel and pick would be like on its own—treated as if it were a wine of distinction rather than a blending component. This is a lot of extra work and requires time and space that most winemakers would rather not spend, but the result is a dizzying number of bottlings that all strive toward perfection.
The critical praise backs this up— Markus Molitor’s wines are some of the most celebrated in the world. We have a dazzling selection of Markus Molitor’s wines in stock, and are eager to share them with you. Whether white capsule (dry), green capsule (off-dry), or gold capsule (fruity to nobly sweet), you can’t really go wrong with any of the numerous bottlings. So pick your favorite style and discover for yourself why we insist on carrying so many of these brilliant wines!
Markus Molitor Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2018 750ML ($34.95) Was $26, Now $21.90, 19 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2018 Riesling Graacher Domprobst Kabinett (White Capsule) is deep and flinty on the terroir-driven, dark and smoky nose. Full, round and juicy on the palate, this is a rich yet pure and slatey Domprobst with crunchy grip and fruity intensity. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.”
Decanter 90 points “South-southwest-facing steepness defines the Domprobst, as does some water-holding clay in the Devonian slate. An exquisitely aromatic nose combines ripe Amalfi lemon and Granny Smith with a floral notion of white summer blossom. The nose alone delivers refreshment. The palate bursts with the same fresh, pristine but notably ripe fruit. This is a mellow Kabinett with bright but tame acidity, not typical maybe, but nonetheless compelling. The finish is dry and beautifully stony.”
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “The 2018er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett (White Capsule) offers a delicate nose of vineyard peach, tangerine, smoke, almond cream, and spices. The wine is nicely dynamic and fresh on the creamy and juicy palate and leaves a superbly light and elegant feel in the fully dry finish. 2022-2033”
Markus Molitor Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2018 750ML ($37.95) Was $31.90, Now $28, 31 bottles in stock now
Decanter 94 points “Here, the first notion is not of fruit but of slate. That lovely, reduced, stony precision that could not hail from anywhere else in the world. Bit by bit apple starts shining through and takes over with bright, apple-scented, citrus-edged luminosity. This sits at a most lovely junction of ripeness where fully ripe fruit was captured at just the right moment, so it brings vivid but ripe freshness that strikes a natural, unforced beautiful balance. Texture, concentration and that tangy slateyness combine to make this irresistible. Long citrus finish.”
Stephen Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2018 Riesling Graacher Domprobst Spätlese (White Capsule) offers a concentrated, very intense and flinty bouquet. Crystalline and round on the palate, this is a full-bodied, dense and juicy, intense yet not really dry Spätlese with elegance and a nervy mineral acidity. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.”
Markus Molitor Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese Feinherb (Green Capsule), Mosel 2018 750ML ($44.95) Was $33, Now $29, 21 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott-Jamessuckling 95 points “The stunning aromas of cassis, fresh garden herbs and Amalfi lemons make this a very expressive, mid-weight wine that’s barely off-dry and extremely food-friendly. Great interplay of tannins, minerals and live-wire acidity at the very long finish. Drink or hold.”
Stephen Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2018 Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Spätlese (Green Capsule) is crystalline on the coolish, pure and refreshing nose with its white fruit and crunchy slate aromas. Crystalline and piquant on the palate, this is an intense and round yet finessed and elegant Himmelreich with perfectly ripe and juicy fruit, delicate slate grip and tension on the finish. This is a classic with juicy-refined Riesling fruit. Bottled with AP number 13 19. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.” [AP number may vary from review]
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Golden Delicious apple mingles with lime and grapefruit on the nose, while on the polished, silken, buoyant palate, brightness of citrus takes the lead. Bruised apple skin and citrus peels serve for bittersweet counterpoint on an infectiously juicy, vibrant, stone-kissed finish.”
Markus Molitor Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese *** Feinherb (Green Capsule), Mosel 2017 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $89, 18 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2017 Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Auslese *** (Green Capsule) is intensely yellow in color and, straight from the bottle, still has prominent smoky oak aromas but also highly intense yet refined fruit on the nose as it opens. This aromatic bouquet combines perfectly ripe and concentrated Riesling scents with the crunchy-coolish slate notes of the Himmelreich and, after a couple of days of aeration, adds concentrated lemon zest and pink grapefruit aromas. Rich and lush but highly elegant on the palate, this is a precise, finessed, nobly textured and juicy Himmelreich with very fine tannins and a long, complex and elegant finish. This is a nearly perfect, nearly dry Auslese, and the seamless texture makes this highly concentrated and refined Riesling flow down your throat without any effort. Give it air, give it time, give it years! This Auslese just flows. And one day, it will stay in your memories forever. Fabulous. Divine. Unforgettable. Tasted three times in April 2019.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Hubertuslay Riesling Auslese *** (Gold Capsule), Mosel 2017 750ML ($179.95) Was $149, Now $119, 15 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 99 points “The 2017 Riesling Kinheimer Hubertuslay Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) is clear and concentrated, on the deep and complex nose with stewed peach aromas intertwined with spicy notes of a fleeting kiss of oak and nougat. It has a highly elegant, refined and salty-piquant palate with fine grip and mineral tension. This Hubertuslay is rich, lush and sweet, with remarkable concentration but also weightless finesse and a lean, salty-piquant finish that tickles the palate. Lemon chutney flavors intertwined with the crystalline salinity characterize the long finish of this beauty. Tasted at the domain in April 2019.”
The next best price is $141.67/btl
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Hubertuslay Riesling Beerenauslese, Mosel 2017 375ML ($99.95) Was $89, Now $79, 31 half-bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 99 points “The 2017 Riesling Kinheimer Hubertuslay Beerenauslese is very concentrated and fresh and needs time to open up and unfold its flavors. Salty-piquant and terribly fresh on the palate, this is another exciting discovery from the Hubertuslay, a former highly regarded cru that Molitor has brought back onto the track of the Mosel’s finest terroirs. His 2017 BA is, of course, sweet and concentrated but also stunningly precise and fresh, crystalline and salty and reveals great energy and finesse. It’s a gorgeous wine and almost too good to be true. Tasted at the domain in April 2019.”
Mosel Fine Wines 96+ points “The 2017er Kinheimer Hubertuslay Beerenauslese (Golden Capsule) offers a hugely complex and big nose of pear, grapefruit, orange blossom, candied pineapple and fine spices. The wine is beautifully playful and superbly precise on the palate, where gorgeous fruity and exotic flavors of pear, mango and apricot mingle with some almond paste and minerals. The finish is long, suave and above all very precise. Sweetness still dominates the after-taste. But give this beauty ideally more than a decade and it will prove utterly irresistible. 2032-2067.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Auslese *** (Gold Capsule), Mosel 2017 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $89, 17 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2017 Riesling Kinheimer Rosenberg Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) is super fine and delicate on the concentrated and peach-scented nose, which reveals an unexpected subtleness for this terroir that normally leans toward ruthless opulence. On the palate, this is a lush, highly refined and salty Auslese with amazing purity, piquancy, finesse and elegance. The acidity is pronounced but also delicate and gives this very fine Auslese piquancy and precision. Tasted at the domain two times in April 2019.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Rosenberg Riesling Kabinett Feinherb (Green Capsule), Mosel 2018 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $21.90, 28 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2018 Riesling Kinheimer Rosenberg Kabinett (Green Capsule) displays an intense yet pure and mineral bouquet with fully ripe Riesling and mirabelle aromas that intertwine with very fine slate aromas. Very fine and delicate on the palate, this is a lush yet crystalline, fresh and intense, persistently mineral and sustainable Rosenberg with a slightly sweet but elegant and structured finish. This Kabinett could be served as a Spätlese as well. 9.5% alcohol. Delicious and perfectly balanced. Tasted at the domain in September 2020.”
Markus Molitor Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Auslese *** Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2017 750ML ($129.95) Was $119, Now $99 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2017 Riesling Ockfener Bockstein Auslese *** (White Capsule) is bright, deep and elegant on the nose, with perfectly ripe white-fleshed stone fruit and pineapple scents intertwined with very fine toast aromas. Concentrated, intense and juicy on the palate, with lots of flesh and the crystalline precision of broken slate, this is a generous but pure, close-meshed, highly elegant and finessed Auslese with pink grapefruit and raisin flavors on the persistently salty finish. This concentrated and densely textured Bockstein reveals great energy and finesse with filigreed mineral tension and lingering, mouthwatering salinity. The finish is intense and delicate at the same time. A fabulous, not really dry but dry-styled Riesling of great complexity. Tasted several times in March and April 2019.”
Markus Molitor Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese ** (Gold Capsule), Mosel 2017 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2017 Riesling Saarburger Rausch Auslese ** (Golden Capsule) is intense and concentrated on the fresh and piquant nose that indicates fine botrytis with lemon confit and pumpernickel notes. Lush and smooth as well as refined and piquant on the palate, this is an incredibly fruity and mouth-filling Auslese with great finesse and a lightweight but intense and aromatic body. The finish is intense but delicate, full of layers and finesse. A gorgeous Auslese from the Rausch in Saarburg. Tasted in April 2019.”
Markus Molitor Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese *** (Gold Capsule), Mosel 2017 750ML ($179.95) Was $149, Now $119 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 99 points “Like the Bockstein, the 2017 Riesling Saarburger Rausch Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) is also enormously concentrated on the nose, where fine botrytis aromas intermingle with dried apricots, peaches, notes of quince, lime and lemon chutney and even fig mustard. Concentrated and velvety on the viscous palate, this is a pretty sweet but highly refined and salty-piquant Auslese with an enormously long and concentrated finish. This is a wine to be served in 20 or 30 years, unless you like this bigger but balanced style at this early age. The wine seems to be less racy because the acidity is already integrated and provides structure for the sweet, stewed fruit, but it comes back on the finish and reveals the piquancy and precision of an Eiswein with botrytis. Tasted at the domain in April 2019.”
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Felsina’s Fantastic Chianti
The ancestral home of Sangiovese, Chianti produces the widest array of styles in part due to stratified geological, topographical and administrative processes. As one of the first established wine regions in Italy after the country’s unification in the 30’s, Chianti is synonymous with Italy’s quality revolution in recent decades.
Felsina has been a major leader in this quality revolution, with their single vineyard Riservas being among the most collectible in the appellation, as well as age worthy. Their Riserva offering, called “Rancia” is sourced from a single vineyard formerly used to supply the Benedictine Monks with sacramental wine in the Middle Ages. Felsina rehabilitated the site and cloned the best vines throughout the vineyard, eventually spreading them throughout their other holdings. The dominant soil type of the vineyard is albarese, a type of limestone-infused sandstone that’s famous for the aromatic punch it contributes to the wine.
Unlike the Rancia bottling, the Fontalloro is a blend between two sub regions just outside of the borders of Chianti Classico. Still entirely sourced from Sangiovese like her Riserva sister, the Fontalloro is meant to offer a snapshot of Tuscan Sangiovese as a whole.
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special, 5 magnums in stock now
Wine Advocate 92+ points “This is an excellent vintage in Chianti Classico that shows especially well in the simple, more accessible wines such as this. The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga delivers the power and density of its territory. The southern side of the appellation often shows the richest expressions of Sangiovese. This wine opens to sweet aromas of dark fruit, cherry and plum. The wine shows a slightly savory side as well with spice and dried terracotta that recalls the gray gravel soils of the region. Bay leaf, cola and chopped mint appear as subtle background notes. Some 260,000 bottles were made.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “The temperate 2016 growing season yielded a beautifully perfumed and posed Chianti Classico at Felsina. The aromas and flavors are pure Tuscany, with scents of lavender and dried thyme that lead into flavors of ripe black cherry and even savory tomato skin. Notes of pink peppercorns and leafy tobacco emerge with air, adding layers to the fleshy fruit.”
Antonio Galloni 91+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a stellar, joyous wine. Bold, powerful and ample, with a good deal of finesse for such a big wine, the 2016 shows why this is such a compelling vintage for Chianti Classico. Leather, game, smoke, tobacco and licorice infuse a wine that oozes Sangiovese character. The 2016 needs a few years in bottle to be at its best, but is already pretty alluring. Moreover, this is a fabulous expression of the estate. Don’t miss it.”
James Suckling 93 points “This is fragrant and floral with dark berries on the nose. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh, clean finish. A driven and linear Chianti Classico. The backbone of fresh acidity gives this focus. Drink now or hold.”
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG Tuscany 2019 750ML ($31.95) $23.75 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points “A beautiful, creamy red with cherry and chocolate character. Hints of dried earth. It’s medium-to full-bodied with creamy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. shows firmness and tension. Very drinkable now, but will improve beautifully with age. Drink or hold.”
Decanter 92 points “At the southeastern limit of Chianti Classico, Fèlsina’s expansive vineyards look towards Montalcino. The annata is assembled from various parcels rising from 320 to 420 metres on rocky calcareous soil with layers of sandstone. As usual, it is more earthy than fruity, bringing in evocative accents of violet, liquorice and pepper. The palate is superbly textured with fine, grainy tannins providing a sensuous grip. Dark fruited and tangy with admirable depth, it will drink well now and over the next decade. Finishes with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Drinking Window 2021 – 2031.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a classic wine for the year. Bright, perfumed and light on its feet, the 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga is so wonderfully expressive. There is a feeling of vibrancy to the 2019 that is hugely appealing. A wine of energy more than power. Crushed red berry fruit, cinnamon linger in a gorgeous Chianti Classico that is more about transparency than power.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “One of the best vantage points for drinking Chianti Classico is at the entry level. A wine like the Fèlsina 2019 Chianti Classico Berardenga offers so much freshness and cheerful, easy-drinking appeal. It’s a terrific partner to pizza, pasta or basically anything on the trattoria menu tonight. This wine shows bright cherry flavors and redcurrant with pressed flowers and some tangy blood orange. It is steady and generous, with lots of bright primary intensity.”
Felsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017 750ML ($59.95) $48 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “Plenty of fruit concentration with cherry and strawberry aromas and flavors. Full-bodied with chewy tannins and lots of concentration. Intense and rich. Give it a year or two to come together.”
Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is incredibly polished and sophisticated. Silky tannins give the 2017 its racy, sleek personality. Over the last year, the 2017 has really settled into a gorgeous place. There is plenty of vintage 2017 intensity, but Rancia is distinctly medium in body and restrained. The wilder side of Sangiovese, one of the signatures of Rancia and Fèlsina more broadly, tastes a bit baked out. I can’t wait to see how the 2017 develops over the coming years and decades.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Rancia is always one of my favorite wines from this storied appellation (and the Castelnuovo Berardenga subzone). This vintage threw quite a few challenges at the winemaking team, but the Fèlsina 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia emerges intact, intense and beautiful. It is virtually unscathed by the heat and drought that marked this growing season. In fact, that brilliant radiance, linearity and energy of the Sangiovese grape comes through loud and clear. The bouquet is redolent of red fruit, wild berry, toasted almond, violet and potting soil. My score is a little lower (compared to past vintages) in terms of mouthfeel because I found this edition to be a bit shorter and less impactful on the finish, but not by much. It ages in barrique for up to 20 months.”
Decanter 93 points “In 2017, Giovanni Poggiali describes the work in the vineyard as focused on the vines’ root system to reduce water stress. Harvest started 15 days earlier than average and at the beginning of September he did a qualitative thinning to get rid of any shrivelled bunches or those showing problems with ripening. Fèlsina’s flagship wine, Rancia is still brooding. Plum and tar show up on a backdrop of vanilla and exotic spice. Though fruit is supple, layers of assertive tannins need time to loosen their grip. Appetizingly savoury, this finishes with an intense, irony character.”
Felsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Felsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG2018 750ML ($359.95) $285 special, (That’s $47.50 per bottle)
Case-12 Felsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG2018 750ML ($719.95) $549 special, (That’s $45.75 per bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is an absolutely stunning wine. The archetype of Rancia in the past has been of a big, potent Chianti Classico but in 2018, Rancia is a wine of mind-blowing elegance and finesse. Silky, perfumed and indescribably finessed, the 2018 dazzles from start to finish. It’s a magical wine in every way.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2018 is an unusual vintage that shows an especially austere character. Off the bat, it must be said that the Fèlsina 2018 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia would certainly benefit from more cellar time and a long drinking window. The Rancia is elegant and streamlined with a medium-bodied style that breaks from some of the more concentrated vintages we’ve seen in the past. The bouquet reveals a lot of dark or black character with blackcurrant, tar, resin, iron ore and a dusty hint of dry graham cracker (which reminds us of the vintage heat). Structurally, the wine offers a solid and firm footing, but it would benefit from further evolution.”
Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Tuscany 2017 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points “$70. Fontalloro is exquisite in 2017. It is also such a contrast to the Rancia, as the two wines could not possibly be more different. Fontalloro is bright and vibrant, with more sweet red Sangiovese character than the darker Rancia. It is also incredibly delicious now, even though it clearly has the energy to age for many years. The 2017 is one of the finest Fontalloros I can remember tasting.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The Fèlsina 2017 Fontalloro pours out of the bottle with a bang. This pure expression of Sangiovese is luscious and dark with thick layers of dark fruit, plum, cherry, leather and tilled earth. This hot-vintage edition shows good depth and intensity with lots of that black-fruit energy and extra concentration that is typical of this growing season. However, you can always count on Fontalloro to show balance, and that’s exactly what you get here despite the adversity of the scorching summer season. That Sangiovese acidity remains intact and crisp. Production is 30,000 bottles.”
James Suckling 94 points “I like the clarity and linear quality to this with ripe-cherry and bark flavors. It’s full-bodied, though not heavy and ponderous. Racy and bright at the end. Drink or hold.”
Decanter 93 points “In the commune of Castelnuovo Berardenga, the Fèlsina property spills over the Chianti Classico border into Chianti Colli Senesi. Fontalloro is a blend of vineyards from both sides. Artfully tousled, it captures Sangiovese’s untamed side. Sunbaked herbs and irony earth permeate exuberant wild berries. There is plenty to chew on without being heavy and while tannins are a bit gritty, this has a ton of personality.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “The flavors of cherry, strawberry and rose are pure, with a backbone of acidity and dense tannins for support. Iron and wild herb accents add depth as this red lingers, showing smoke and spice notes. Features a sense of urgency, driven by vivid acidity. The finish evokes energy. Best from 2022 through 2038.”
Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($419.95) $343 special, (That’s $57.16 per bottle!)
Case-12 Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($839.95) $663 special, ($That’s $55.25 per bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2018 Fontalloro is bright, floral and full of energy. In most vintages, Fontalloro is quite open, but the 2018 is especially nervy and taut. That won’t be an issue in time, of course, but readers should plan on being patient. Sangiovese is so expressive here. A whole range of floral and savory accents lingers on the close.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “To my palate, the 2018 vintage sometimes feels a little too ripe or baked. I was reminded of those characteristics when tasting the Fèlsina 2018 Fontalloro. There is plenty of dark fruit at its core, but this wine also reveals dry tones of jarred oregano, grilled Mediterranean herb, crushed aspirin and graham cracker. The mouthfeel is pleasantly lean and silky, and perhaps the wine delivers more in terms of length than it does weight or texture. A little more bottle age should help flesh out and soften these results.”
Bucklin: Field Blend Barons of Sonoma
Their Ancient is gorgeously saturated in color and leaves a spectrum of purple and red in the Marangoni flow, throwing out aromas of lavender, 5 spice, dried cherries and terra cotta in a multilayered spectacle. On the palate the old vine influence is evident, with a full body serving spiced marionberries, Italian plum, and blueberry compote by the bucketful interspersed with juniper berries, bay leaf, and sage.
There’s a beautiful minerality that is reminiscent of hot sandy loam and granite. The acid and tannins are stratospheric on this wine, which speaks to a long life in the bottle but also temper the alcohol level to the point you’d expect it to be 13-14% ABV. Get one if you can resist opening it, and a few if you can’t.
Also offered by Bucklin, the stewards of Old Hill Ranch for over 3 generations are wines made from their “younger” parcels of vines. Otto’s Grenache is composed of a hillside planting done in 2010 over decomposed volcanic tuff and basalt. Incredibly structured and burly on first pour, Otto throws out strawberry jam, kirsch cherry and fresh raspberry, but with a subtle note of dried hibiscus, daffodil and honeysuckle. There’s a tremendous minerality throughout the wine, exhibited by hot pumice in the aromas and a savory basaltic note on the finish. Otto’s Grenache is something to cellar for at least 5 years after the vintage, or to be had by the glass over the course of a week.
The Bambino was planted in 1998 and is generally around 75% Zinfandel co-fermented with Alicante Bouchet and Petite Sirah. The exact blend is vintage dependent as a result of Bucklin’s commitment to entirely estate grown fruit. Bambino exhibits an old world character that would have me thinking this was imported from Puglia. There’s a fruit character that sets it aside from its centarian counterparts on the ranch, but sharing in the layers of purity, spice, minerality and old world rusticity.
Bucklin wines in stock now:
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Ancient Field Blend Sonoma Valley 2019 ($49.95) $37.70 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Bucklin Anne’s Upper 5th Vineyard Ancient Field Blend Sonoma Valley 2018 750ML ($39.95) $30.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Winery note “Our Mom, Anne Teller has been farming commercially in Sonoma Valley since the late 1970’s. Her 50-acre farm includes the Upper 5th Vineyard, a century old, one-acre vineyard that is promiscuously interplanted with nut and fruit trees. Managed with Anne’s conscientious and benevolent farming practices, including no-till dry farming. The Upper 5th is a field blend of five grape varieties: 67% Zinfandel, 19% Peloursin, 8% Petite Sirah.”
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Bambino Zinfandel Sonoma Valley 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 10 bottles in stock now
VinpolNote: Old Hill Ranch planted a block of Cabernet in 1983 on a rootstock known as “AXR”. Fast forward 20 years and the block was infected by phylloxera due to an undiagnosed susceptibility in AXR. This means that the block is in the process of dying, with the resulting wine being every bit of a “Swan song” you’d expect.
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Otto’s Grenache Sonoma Valley 2019 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Winery note “Otto’s Grenache was planted to honor our Step Father Otto Teller. Opinionated and cantankerous, Otto believed grapevines were too coddled and needed great stress to produce the best wines. This field blend was planted in 2010 on a modestly steep hillside that faces the hot setting sun. The soils are shallow, between two to three feet deep, and they are underlain with a thick impermeable volcanic tuff made from ejected rock and ash that is compacted and cemented into rock. If these growing conditions aren’t challenging enough, the vines are also dry farmed. Average yields are low primarily because the berries are so small and these grapes produce very intense and colorful wine.”
Mature and Rare Champagne from de Venoge
De Venoge has a strong following in Europe for good reason—they source from some of the best vineyards in Champagne and produce prestige cuvées of immense quality, built on long lees aging. They source Pinot Noir from Grand Cru villages like Verzenay, Ambonnay and Bouzy and pair it with a murderer’s row of Chardonnay sources, including Avize, Mesnil, and Cramant. The resulting wines capture the essence of classical Champagne and are in high demand in Europe’s top restaurants.
De Venoge prestige cuvées are outstanding wines for lovers of truly mature Champagne in all its glory, rich, creamy textures from extended lees aging married to surprisingly fresh, mineral personalities. There’s a reason this house has such a following overseas, they produce stunning wines and then age them until they’re ready to go, so consumers don’t need to leave them in the cellar for decades. Now’s your chance to try them for yourself! These are perfect “occasion” wines that make for fantastic birth year or anniversary gifts.
In Stock Now:
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésime, Champagne 2006 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points “The assemblage of the 2006 Louis XV Brut Millésimé is about the same as the 1995 and 1996—composed of 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all from grand cru villages. The only difference is that the Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (10% of the assemblage) spent 12 months in oak barrels. Disgorged in January 2017 (dosage: six grams per liter), the 2006 has a golden color and opens with a deep, ripe, elegant and vinous bouquet with toasty and chalky lemon and fresh white fruit flavors. On the palate, this is an intense, round, fresh and complex Louis XV with great purity and finesse. The wine opens on the palate like a soufflé, coating the whole palate without any pressure or weight—gorgeous! This is a delicate and fresh yet well-structured and persistent Louis XV whose intense and long but weightless finish reveals lovely, almost juicy fruit concentration with perfectly integrated freshness and lasting minerality that seems to give additional structure. The 2006 shows a lot of Chardonnay features right now and drinks perfectly today; however, it can be kept under perfect conditions for decades. Just keep it in the box, because the bottle is white and nothing makes a Champagne age faster than exposure to daylight. (Tasted in November 2017 from Lot LL15067017BT.)-SR”
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 16 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “This is really punchy and broad-shouldered with muscular structure and citrusy undertones. Full body. Lightly tannic and a fresh and vivid finish. This is the first vintage without malolactic fermentation ever. One for the cellar. Better in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The straw-yellow/white-golden colored 2008 Louis XV Brut Millésimé blends 50% Chardonnay (20 % from Avize, 15% from Oger and 15% from Mesnil) with 50% Pinot Noir (41.5% from Verzenay and 8.5% from Bouzy). Disgorged in January 2018 with a dosage of six grams per liter, the 2008 displays a clear, pure, fresh, chalky-tinged and vinous nose with lemon, white fruits, brioche, hazelnuts, white blossoms and some caramel notes. Pure, lean, fresh and elegant on the palate, with a lingering hazelnut flavor, this is a straight yet complex cuvée with grip and a long, well-structured and textured finish. This 2008 is still terribly fresh and should benefit from further bottle aging. For the moment, I am missing the mouth-filling generosity of the 2006 and 1995. Mind that this is the first vintage of de Venoge’s prestigious Louis XV where the base wines didn’t undergo malolactic fermentation! Total production: 10,326 bottles. Tasted October 2018.”
De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Extra Brut Rosé Millésime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points “Harmonious, with fine intensity, offering rich notes of spice cake, toasted almond, dried cherry, grilled plum and smoky mineral. Almost velvety in texture, with juicy acidity that brings you back for another sip. Delicious. Drink now through 2022. 54 cases made.”
De Venoge ‘Princes’ Tour Eiffel 130 Anniversary Edition Champagne NV 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Envie de Champagne “The Maison De Venoge was founded in 1837 by Henri-Marc De Venoge. Innovation in the production and marketing of champagnes were the founding values of this of champagne house, which won the Excellence Price in Philadelphia in 1876. A few years later, in 1889, during the World Fair in Paris, the house became the partner of the event. This exhibition celebrated the centenary of the French Revolution and it is on this occasion that the Tower designed by Gustave Eiffel has been inaugurated. This monument, with a height of 312 meters during its construction can now 337 meters in 2019 following the installation of antennas. In addition to its cultural and tourist use, the Eiffel Tower is used as a transmitter for TV and radio programs. The Eiffel Tower, object of discord at the time of its creation has become today the most visited paying monument of France. It has about 7 million visitors a year. It is also inseparable from the history of the French capital. For the 130 years of this first collaboration, De Venoge signs a beautiful partnership with the company in charge of the exploitation of the iron lady (surname of the Eiffel Tower). This collaboration is obvious because of the common history of both parties but also because of the characteristic shape of the bottles of the Princes cuvée. This limited edition vintage is named “Cuvée Princes Tour Eiffel”. Only 10,000 bottles have been marketed for this partnership.”