Edmunds St. John
Steve Edmunds knew very little about winemaking when he dove right into his first vintage back in 1985. His focus was on Rhône varieties, with a primary goal of producing wines true to their nature, from the varieties he knew and loved so well. His hard-work and meticulous craft was recognized when François Peyraud, winemaker from the highly acclaimed Domaine Tempier, paid a visit to Edmunds St. John and tasted Steve’s Mourvedre from his favorite vineyard. Looking back, Steve happily explains his reaction as if it were yesterday; as François lifted his nose from the glass, his eyes rolled back slowly, “La terre parle” he whispered, “the Earth speaks”. This turned out to be a fine day for Edmunds to say the least, and at that moment his winemaking philosophy was a bit more focused.
Edmunds St. John will never make a crowd pleasing, blockbuster California fruit bomb. Steve and his wife also do not own vineyards, a lavish winery or a tasting room. They have no marketing team, no sales staff and no advertisements. They have remained fairly small, relative to other California wineries, with a current production between 3,000 to 4,000 cases a year. Edmunds sources all his fruit from carefully chosen sites throughout California, that include; Mendocino, Sonoma, San Luis Obispo, and Napa counties. His sites are predominantly older vines, specifically chosen by their appropriate locations for each variety and determined by all the intricately necessary components for high quality and great complexity. He is a constant and vital presence with each vineyard source, paying close attention to the grapes maturation on the vines, every step of the way.
A true pioneer of the California “Rhône Ranger” movement, Edmunds’ goals have been greatly achieved and acclaimed by many professionals throughout the years. His wines truly resonate from the source of which they were derived, sought after and hounded down by wine connoisseurs, due to very limited availability of some of the highest quality, small production wines coming from California.
We have little taste for most of the wines of the New World and Australia; however, we greatly admire some of those produced by the “second generation” of California vintners, … above all, those of the astonishing Steve Edmunds; his wines do more than express the particular personality of the vintner and have entered the arena of those that are an expression of the land and culture.
Stephen Tanzer 90 points “(made from 52% Vermentino and 48% Grenache blanc): Pale gold. Musky, mineral- and spice-accented aromas of pear and nectarine, with a gingery nuance gaining strength with air. Taut and nervy on entry but fleshier in the mid-palate, offering juicy orchard fruit flavors and a hint of bitter herbs. Closes on a spicy note, with strong cut and an echo of candied ginger. This wine will be extremely flexible at the table.”
Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Gamay Rose, El Dorado County 2013 ($21.95) $18 special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points “Pale pink. Musky, mineral-laced aromas of strawberry, white flowers and tarragon. Silky, dry and seamless, with the floral and red fruit qualities carrying on the palate. Plenty of flavor here but with a distinctly light touch. Finishes clean, brisk and long, with a bitter blood orange quality adding cut. This lithe pink wine is made entirely from free-run juice.”Edmunds St. John Rocks & Gravel, California 2012 ($31.95) $26 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(55% Grenache, 27% Syrah and 18% Mourvedre): Vivid ruby-red. A pungent bouquet features candied red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, with a smoky mineral overtone. Sappy, incisive and densely packed blackberry and bitter cherry flavors gain sweetness with air and pick up notes of licorice and cola. Finishes stony and long, with slow-building tannins and lingering sweetness. Definitely let this one rest for a bit.”Edmunds St. John Wylie-Fenaughty Syrah, El Dorado County 2010 ($34.95) $28 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Vivid ruby-red. Intense, textbook syrah aromas of cassis, blackberry, cracked pepper, olive and violet. Intensely flavored and dense but surprisingly energetic, offering sharply delineated flavors of black and blue fruits, licorice and minerals. Finishes spicy and long, with fine-grained tannins and impressive clarity.”
Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Witters Vineyard Gamay Noir, El Dorado County 2013 ($21.95) $18 special
Joseph Swan, one of the first true pioneers of California winemaking was a big believer in small. Small vineyard, small crops, small winery, small production. His beliefs of high quality being a reflection of small practices, focused on the intricacies and meticulous care in the vineyard and in the cellar, by one single individual, himself. In 1967, he purchased a 13 acre vineyard in Sonoma, when all that existed were pastures, fruit trees and a few old Zinfandel plantings. Alongside the Zinfandel, with the help of his mentor and BV winemaker André Tchelistcheff, he eventually planted Pinot Noir (now known as the Swan clone), Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
A perfectionist at heart, Joseph Swan felt obligated to be involved with each and every one of his wines, taking full responsibility every step of the way, from vine to bottle. Swan passed away in 1989, but his legacy continues with his son-in-law taking over the vineyard and winery, and with good fortune has continued the family’s tradition of excellence. If ever there was a good value old vine Zinfandel coming from California’s ‘cult’ wines, this is definitely the one. Considerably modest prices from a family owned winery, internationally recognized and highly acclaimed for over 40 years now.
A well respected mentor and inspiration to a generation of winemakers, Swan’s legacy is left with simple yet thoughtful words; “There are few more civilized pleasures in life than good company, good food and good wine.” -Joseph Swan
Pre-arrival Joseph Swan offer – wines here Friday September 05
Joseph Swan Vineyards Mancini Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2008 ($34.95) $28 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Inky ruby. Pungent cherry and dark berries, pipe tobacco, flowers and underbrush on the nose. Creamy cherry and cassis flavors are lifted by zesty minerality and show very good focus. Becomes richer on the finish, which leaves cherry compote and spicecake notes behind.”
Joseph Swan Vineyards Stellwagen Vineyard Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2008 ($31.95) $28 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Bright purple. Displays sexy dark berry liqueur, cherry-cola, vanilla, violet and tobacco aromas and a hint of allspice. Broad, fleshy and sweet, offering palate-coating black and blue fruit flavors and a strong floral quality. Aeration brings up exotic Indian spice notes that carry through the sweet, gently tannic finish. Smooth, seductive and approachable now but will age effortlessly.”
Joseph Swan Vineyards Ziegler Vineyard Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2009 ($31.95) $28 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Vivid ruby. Intense red and dark berry aromas are lifted by peppery spice and rose accents, with a bright mineral overtone adding energy. Fresh, incisive and floral on the palate, offering blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that coat the palate and pick up a subtle, refreshingly bitter orange marmalade quality. Sweeter on the chewy finish, leaving behind dark berry and licorice notes.”
Bryant Family Vineyard
Bryant Family Vineyard is considered by many to be one of California’s grand cru sites. Don Bryant, chairman and chief executive of the Bryant Group (an executive benefit and wealth management firm in St. Louis, Missouri), built his eponymous estate in the hills above Napa Valley in an area known as Pritchard Hill, on the eastern slopes of the valley overlooking Lake Hennessey. Colgin and Chappellet are neighbours.
Bryant Family Vineyard Proprietor Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2002 ($399.95) $349 special, 3 bottles available
Robert Parker 93 points “The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon was made during a transitional period for Bryant when the winery was being constructed and a dramatic change in the winemaking was taking place, from Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer, who had made all the vintages until 2002, to Philippe Melka and Mark Aubert, and of course today, a new team. One of the finest vineyards of Napa Valley, Bryant is situated high in the Lake Hennessey region. While the 2002 is not one of their all-time great wines, it is performing beautifully, revealing plenty of classic notes of blueberry liqueur intermixed with acacia flower, incense, camphor and graphite notes. Full-bodied, opulent and generous, with low acidity, it can be drunk now and over the next 15+ years.” RP
Bryant Family Vineyard Proprietor Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2004 ($449.95) $399 special, 3 bottles available
Robert Parker 98 points “It is well-known that many of the vineyards and terroirs on Pritchard Hill can be magical, and this is unquestionably one of them. Bryant’s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a dense ruby/purple color along with exceptional aromatics consisting of stunningly pure blackberry, black raspberry and floral scents, full body and an opulent personality. Although this estate went through a few hiccups during its change in winemakers in 2001, the 2004 clearly shows this estate has come back with a vengeance. This stunning 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the superstars of the vintage. Drink it over the next two decades.” RP
Bryant Family Vineyard Proprietor Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2005 ($349.95) $299 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Spectator 94 points “Elegant and stylish, with ripe, vivid black cherry, currant, wild berry and black olive flavors that gain depth and vibrancy, picking up body and complexity and ending with a long, lingering finish that keeps repeating the fruit and cedary oak themes. Best from 2011 through 2017.” WS
Cristom was founded by Paul Gerrie in the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. His interest in Burgundy and the French notion of terroir inspired him to found the winery in 1992, which he named after his kids, Christine and Tom. After visiting Oregon for the International Pinot Noir Celebration, he became convinced that the Willamette Valley offered a place to produce Burgundy-style wines. He purchased the Pellier Winery and replanted most of the vineyards which had been abandoned. Mark Feltz is the vineyard manager who oversees the vines and harvest. Steve Doerner, a California winemaker (notably at Calera) who also studied under Domaine Dujac’s owner/winemaker Jacques Seysses, is Cristom’s winemaker. He likes to let “the land make the wine” and limit any manipulation. The winery uses high-density planting, limited yields, native yeasts and whole clusters to produce elegant, concentrated wines with distinction.
Cristom 2012 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir –
Pre-Arrival offer- wines here Friday September 05
Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Winery’s note “The 15-acre Eileen Vineyard is a group of vineyard plots named for Paul Gerrie’s wife. The vineyard extends to the top of the winery’s property where cooler conditions and the chance to soak up the last sun of the day encourage the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly… Eileen Vineyard tends to produce a wine that is the most precocious of our four estate vineyards and it’s often the first wine we release into the market. It is always the wine we show first in a line-up of Cristom Pinot Noir. We often find them softer, meaning rounder on the palate with less minerality. Typically, Eileen is textured, layered and creamy on the palate and often recognizable by its bouquet of sweet spices.”
Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Winery’s note “Situated on a spectacularly steep site, the Jessie Vineyard boasts the best views on the property. Named for Paul’s paternal grandmother, Jessie is the most diverse of Cristom’s vineyards, and a challenge to farm. As her vines matures (planting began in 1994), Jessie contineues to distinguish herself among the other vineyards with a uniqueness and complexity that likely stems from the site’s ranging slope and five distinct soil types… Jessie Vineyard tends to produce Pinot Noirs that we recognize by a savory aroma that often calls to mind rare-beef. It also tends to have a very fresh and appealing scent of minerality, along with some higher tone lavender—purple flower notes. On the palate, Jessie tends towards a full mouth-feel and a deeper—darker—rounder impression. We find a certain ‘nervosity’ in this wine that describes some part of the tension between the ripe fruit and the structure of the wine.”
Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Winery’s note “Paul’s maternal grandmother is the namesake for the Louise Vineyard, the first of the Cristom estate vineyards to be planted. Top sloipes that run up against woodland separate Louise’s lower vineyards from the upper, causing them to spend late afternoon in shade. The fruit on the lower slopes, which gets more sun, is often the first of the season to be harvested. Louise Vineyard is typically the last single vineyard wine to be released. The wine is more heavily textured, dark-fruited and more concentrated in flavor than any of our other estate Pinot Noir. We often find creamy-mocha latte notes on the bouquet co-mingling with dark red fruits that are reminiscent of fresh mulberries, very ripe blackberries, plums and black cherries along with hints of chocolate. We recognize Louise by a delightful velvet texture and a full and persistent finish.”
Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2012 ($79.95) $69 special
Winery’s note “Named for Paul’s mother, the Marjorie Vineyard was originally planted in 1982, making it one of the older sites in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills. The first of the matriarchs to be released, Marjorie has achieved rightful cult status, consistently generating some of Cristom’s best fruits since the vineyard’s intitial release in 1994. Though Marjorie is brighter and more red-fruited than the other estate vineyards (think raspberry-red and pie cherries), those qualities are supported by a form that is more layered and textured than her floral aromas and soft exterior would suggest… Elegant, fine-lined, and highly detailed are words that often describe Marjorie. This wine typically leads with a delightful and perfumed nose that is reminiscent of fresh-cut flowers, red fruits and sweet spices. These very ‘pretty’ aromas follow through on the palate and are supported by a firmer, yet supple, tannic structure. The oak elements can be evident in a kiss of cocoa powder on the nose or a hint of creamy vanilla on the palate but are never overt or out of balance.”
Wines Here Now –
Sale Pricing Ends September 1st
Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2012 ($79.95) $49 special, 16 bottles available
Case-6 Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2012 ($299.95) $279 special, 3 half-cases available
Fine Wine Review 95 points: “The Dellchen GG is from a combination of slate and volcanic soils. The nose is a bit smoky and has dust elements. The mouth is austere and deep with clarity, excellent acidity, and great penetration. (Issue #142; 2014)”
John Gilman 94 points (View From the Cellar): “The 2012 Dellchen Grosses Gewächs is a superb wine in the making, jumping from the glass in a youthfully complex mélange of grapefruit, tart orange, wild yeasts, complex slate tones, citrus peel and smoke. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and has laser-like focus, with a rock solid core, ripe acids and a very, very long, primary finish. This superb Grosses Gewächs will need a good six or seven years’ worth of bottle age to really blossom and come into its own, and it should prove to very long-lived. 2020-2045+. (Mar/Apr 2013)”Weingut Donnhoff Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2012 ($23.95) $18 special, 3+ cases available
Fine Wine Review 92+ points: “It seems that with every vintage, Helmut Dönnhoff manages to come up with a collection that is striking both for the quality of the wines and for the consistency across the board, no matter what the vintage conditions — such is the extent of his knowledge, skill, and care. The trocken is mostly from volcanic soils. The nose is pure, focused, and dusty. The mouth is dry with a fair amount of power. There are dusty, almost earthy, flavors with plum fruit starting to come out. 12% stated alcohol. (Issue #142; 2014)”
John Gilman 88 points (View From the Cellar): “The 2012 Estate Riesling Trocken from Weingut Dönnhoff is a lovely wine, with alcohol in the 11.5 to 11.8 percent range and a fine base of minerality to augment the very stylish fruit tones. The bouquet offers up scents of grapefruit, slate, petrol, wild yeasts, citrus peel and a gentle topnote of smokiness. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, long and crisp, with lovely focus and grip, bright acids and fine mineral drive on the backend. This is a really delightful bottle of dry Riesling for everyday drinking and would be great as a wine by the glass for restaurants. 2013-2025+. (Mar/Apr 2013)”
Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2010 ($37.95) $31.90 special, 3+ cases available
Case 12 – Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate Monument Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2010 ($379.95) $336 special, 5 cases available
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “A lovely Cabernet, ripe and delicious, yet complex enough to hold your interest. It’s just beginning its journey in the bottle. Very dark in color, with hard tannins, it has an immense core of blackberries and cherries. Give it at least 6-8 years, but it could still be rocking in 2022.” WEPaul Avril Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2009 ($149.95) $89 special, 26 bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points “Sinewy and reserved, with a light dusting of cocoa powder over the tangy damson plum, red licorice and cassis notes. The long, supple finish, with a lovely wafting note of Lapsang souchong tea, is packed with minerality and tight-grained tannins that will need time to fully evolve. One of the more backward 2009s, though this should pick up steam in the cellar. Best from 2013 through 2025.”Mas Jullien Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc-Roussillon 2010 ($59.95) $39 special, 3+ cases available
Robert Parker 94 points “The 2010 Coteaux du Languedoc Terrasses du Larzac is another superb example of this cuvee. Cassis, currant bud, massive minerality and a distinct iron/bloody quality all emerge from the glass, and this full-bodied, dense, concentrated and structured 2010 has fantastic tension and an overall energetic vibe. It needs another 2-3 years of cellaring and will have 15 years or more of ultimate longevity.”
Domenico Clerico Arte Rosso Langhe, Piedmont 2011 1.5L ($89.95) $69 special, 48 magnums available
Case 3 – Domenico Clerico Arte Rosso Langhe, Piedmont 2011 1.5L ($269.95) $189 special, 5 sets available
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(90% nebbiolo and 10% barbera; aged for 18 months in new French oak): Good medium red. Perfumed aromas and flavors of plum, redcurrant, tobacco and spices. Intense and vibrant, with lovely inner-mouth aromatic lift. Very classy, delineated wine.” ST
Falletto di Bruno Giacosa ‘Le Rocche del Falletto’, Barolo DOCG 2005 ($249.95) $169 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 96+ points “The 2005 Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto is a massive, towering Barolo loaded with tons of rich, primary fruit. The wine remains powerful, dense and muscular with superb length even if it is a smaller-scaled Barolo compared to previous great vintages. That said, when I came back to the wine after it had been in the glass for an hour or so, I found that the wine had grown remarkably.” WA
Produttori del Barbaresco Pora, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2004 ($59.95) $39 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2004 Pora is a dense, chewy offering loaded with ripe red cherries, licorice, tar and sweet wild herbs. The wine’s sheer concentration and power are impressive but today the tannins seem to lack the extra level of elegance that characterizes the best wines in this vintage. Despite its slightly rustic personality, this medium to full bodied wine delivers plenty of drinking pleasure in an intense style. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2024.”
Produttori del Barbaresco Paje, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2008 ($59.95) $39 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Paje wraps around the palate with layers of dark fruit, spices and menthol. Today, the Paje is one of the more open of the 2008 Riservas, but there is plenty going on in the glass. Sweet floral and spiced notes add lift on the finish. As good as the Paje is, it also tends to shut down quickly in the glass. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2048.” WA
Fattoria Galardi Terra di Lavoro Roccamonfina IGT, Campania 2006 ($149.95) $91.90 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 points “Once again I am at a loss to capture the sheer beauty of Terra di Lavoro. The 2006 is a remarkably elegant and pure vintage of this wine, where layers of flowers, violets, graphite, tar, smoke and black cherries continually flow from the glass in a dazzling, virtuosic display if power and finesse that is stunning. The wine remains incredibly fresh and primary, with superb detail, especially considering its sheer size. Today the 2006 Terra di Lavoro comes across as suprisingly accessible, but long-time connoisseurs know better; there is plenty of structure underneath. Readers are advised to taste this wine within the next few months and then forget about it for a minimum of several years. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2036.”WA
Achaval Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec, Uco Valley, Argentina 2011 ($119.95) $89 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 96 points “This pure, racy red exhibits a dark side, with layers of spice, graphite and maduro tobacco to the crushed raspberry, blackberry and concentrated cassis fruit. Needs time in the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2022.” WS
Achaval Ferrer Finca Bella Vista Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 2010 ($119.95) $89 special, 11 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points #10 TOP 100 2012 “Dark and powerful, yet elegant, with a delicious core of crushed raspberry, blackberry and damson plum notes tightly woven with silky tannins. The minerally finish lingers on with layered flavors of wildflowers, melted licorice and spice box. Drink now through 2020.”WS
Achaval Ferrer Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 2011 ($31.95) $21.90 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 92 points “Very pure, with a beam of raspberry coulis, blackberry and cherry pulp notes that pump out layers of spice, flint and wildflowers. Juicy yet structured, with a mineral edge to the long, savory finish. Drink now through 2015. 13,000 cases imported.”
Riedel Vinum Decanter ($149.95) $99 closeout special, 3 available
Riedel Item Code 416/14 – Expect to pay double elsewhere!
Riedel Vinum Magnum Decanter ($179.95) $89 closeout special, 1 available
Riedel Item Code 416/13 – Expect to pay double elsewhere!
Riedel Duck Decanter ($249.95) $149 closeout special, 2 available
Riedel Item Code 1700/14 – Expect to pay at least $75 more elsewhere!
Riedel Vinum Extreme Decanter ($329.95) $199 closeout special, 2 available
Riedel Item Code 1800/14 – Expect to pay at least $100 more elsewhere!
Riedel Champagne Flute 12 pack ($99.95) $49 closeout special, 4 boxes available
Riedel Item Code 446/48; Crystal – Expect to pay double elsewhere!
Spiegelau “St. Claire” Flute Champagne Wine Glass 6 pack ($59.95) $39 closeout special, 5 boxes available
Spiegelau Authentis Champagne Glass 6 pack ($49.95) $29 closeout special, 15 packs available
Riedel Vinum Zinfandel/Riesling/Chianti Glasses 2 pack ($49.95) $19 closeout special, 7 boxes available
Riedel Item Code 6416/15 Item note: “Recommended for: Alsace Grand Cru, Bardolino, Beaujolais Nouveau, Blauer Portugieser, Chianti Classico, Côtes de Provence, Côtes du Rhône rosé, Dolcetto, Grüner Veltliner, Jurançon Sec, Marsannay rosé, Montepulciano, Orvieto Classico, Primitivo, Riesling, Riesling (Spätlese/late harvest dry), Riesling Smaragd, Rosé, Sangiovese, Scheurebe, Schilcher, Smaragd, Teroldego, Vernaccia, Welschriesling, Zinfandel.”
Spiegelau Vino Grande Chardonnay Glasses 6 pack ($49.95) $29 closeout special, 1 box available
Riedel Vinum Brandy / Cognac snifter ($27.95) $19 closeout special, 3 glasses available
Item description “The Riedel Bar Vinum brandy glass is made of 24 percent lead crystal. The rounded balloon-style bowl on this Riedel brandy snifter is specifically shaped for brandy or cognac drinkers to cup the bottom with their palm to warm the beverage with one hand. Coupled with the narrower rim on the glass, the bowl is also designed to direct the liquors’ aroma to the nose with each sip. Riedel Vinum Cognac/Brandy Snifter is recommended for Cognac XO or Mature Armagnac.”
Riedel Vinum Martini Glass ($17.95) $11.90 closeout special, 19 available
5 ounce size