2012 Chateauneuf du Pape
Domaine de Ferrand
The Domaine de Ferrand is at least as old as the reign of Louis XIV, as both a map dating from the Napoleonic era documents its early existence. Just outside the borders of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Le Grès district of Orange, the winery was officially founded in 1960 by Charles Bravay and has remained a family-run winery ever since. While the domaine formerly sold exclusively to traders, Philippe Bravay launched bottling directly at the winery when he took over the domaine from his father in 1995, the first bottling under Domaine de Ferrand taking place in 1997. Extremely dedicated to preserving the unique traditions that Châteauneuf du Pâpe, Phillippe is dedicated to classic winemaking methods; yields from his small 51/2ha estate are extremely limited, traditional vinification practices such as open-top fermenters are used, and aging is, for the most part, done in large oak foudre with absolutely no use of new oak. The Châteauneuf du Pâpe is 90% Grenache, from vines ranging in age from 60 to 100 years, and the balance the other twelve Châteauneuf varietals. With a focus on ripeness, Ferrand’s reds are known for their supple fruit flavors and immediate enjoyability.
Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 ($69.95) $56 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91-94 points “Moving to the Chateauneufs, and a blend of 95% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre, 2% Mourvedre and 1% Bourboulenc, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape is a fresh, elegant and medium to full-bodied effort that offers up notions of crushed flowers, sappy underbrush and licorice. Very fresh, yet with solid mid-palate depth and perfect balance, it should be approachable on release and have over a decade of longevity. Drink 2014-2024.”
The Domaine Charvin was founded by Guillaume Charvin in 1851. The family began its work with four hectares of land in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first bottling at the winery – intended only for private consumption – took place in 1951. During the following years, most of the wine was sold to dealers. Today, Laurent Charvin runs this small family estate located in the north of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The domaine has vineyard holdings of just 8 hectares in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and 13 hectares in Cotes du Rhone. Laurent Charvin describes his vineyard site as being ‘cool’ for Chateauneuf as their vines are mostly planted on sandy north facing slopes. Charvin produces finely styled Grenache based wines showing great depth and finesse. Winemaking is traditional with no de-stemming and all ageing is done in cement tanks, no wood is used for the elevage of any of Charvin’s wines. There are no secrets here, simply old vines, very low yields and minimal winemaking intervention. Approximately 80% Grenache goes into this Chateauneuf du Pape, offered below, with small amounts of Vacaresse and Mourvedre as well as Carignan and Bourboulenc, all from vines averaging 50 years of age.
Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93-96 points “More backwards and tannic, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape (same blend as the 2012) was tight and structured at the time of this tasting (as was the 2011, which was much more approachable and open when I tasted it from a bottle in the U.S.), with serious pepper, herbs de Provence and assorted darker berry-styled fruit. Cutting a broad path across the palate, with full-bodied richness, bright acidity and edgy tannin, it should soften up over the next year and be reasonably accessible with short-term cellaring. A solid 12-15 year drink window sounds about right. Drink 2016-2027. Consistently producing lively, fresh and elegant efforts that never lack for structure or richness, Domain Charvin is run by the soft spoken and generous Laurent Charvin. The winemaking here is very traditional, with some stem inclusion and aging completely in tank.”
Unusual as the name may be, there are several Usseglio wineries in Châteuneuf- Du- Pape, and though the relationships between the families is evident, the wines themselves are not to be confused.
Francis Usseglio moved to the Rhone from Italy in 1931, finally creating his winery in 1948. Francis Usseglio had two sons, Pierre and Raymond. After their father’s retirement, Pierre took over the family estate and Raymond branched off, creating his own winery using his name in 1964. Considered one of the top producers in the appellation, Usseglio puts out consistently stellar wines every vintage. Stephane, Raymond’s son, has taken over the domaine in the last few years and, with his oenologist Xavier Vignon, is pushing to reach the full potential of the family’s holdings, their already excellent wines appearing to get even better.
Domaine Raymond Usseglio owns 18 hectares of vines in Chateauneuf du Pape. Half his vines are situated near the road in the lieu-dit “La Crau” and the other half on the hill across the road from the actual ruins of the new castle of the Pope. All the vineyards in Chateauneuf are farmed using sustainable, biodynamic farming techniques and he has the good fortune to have very old vines. The Cuvée Imperiale, 90% Grenache with 10% other Rhone varietals, is bottled from vines averaging 100-year old. The Cuvée Girard is bottled without filtration exclusively for importer Peter Weygandt and is 70% Grenache with Mourvèdre and Cinsault filling out the blend.
Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Girard 2012 ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 89-92 points “Almost identical, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Girard is a slightly tweaked blend of 85% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah and the rest Cinsault and Counoise, that’s aged in a combination of concrete, oak tanks and barrels. Voluptuous, textured and layered, with sweet black raspberry, licorice, spice and leafy herbs, it’s a medium to full-bodied, fruit-loaded effort to drink over the coming decade. Drink 2014-2024.”
Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Imperiale 2012 ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “A field blend of close to 95% Grenache (from 100+-year-old vines) that’s aged all in concrete, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale is one of the stars in the vintage. Offering up gorgeous Grenache character, with ripe blackberry, kirsch, licorice, old pepper and earth, it is a full-bodied, rich and voluptuously textured effort that possesses fantastic purity, loads of fruit and grippy tannin. It should be reasonably approachable on release, yet benefit from a handful of years in the cellar. Drink 2016-2027.”
The average listed price is $74 / bottle
Over forty years ago, Charlie and Lorna Wagner embarked on an incredible journey with their son Chuck – starting a family winery in the center of Napa Valley. Now in its third generation, Caymus continues to produce world class Cabernet Sauvignon. With a special bottle and label for their 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, Caymus is ready to celebrate for this epic 2012 vintage. Charlie and Lorna Wagner with their son Chuck began their legacy as a Napa Valley icon in 1972. Chuck is now the owner and winemaker, and has this to offer:
“This wine exemplifies our style of Cabernet out of a great vintage—deep color, rich, concentrated and balanced. 2012 celebrates 40 years of producing our pride and joy, Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.” – Chuck Wagner, Owner/Winemaker
Caymus Cabernet 40th Anniversary Edition 2012 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 96 points “They appear to be immune to some of winedom’s less than intelligent trends and fads that we see from time to time, and the result is a spectacular 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary offering. Its dense purple/black color is followed by copious quantities of crème de cassis and blackberry fruit, silky tannins, a voluptuous texture and stunning purity as well as length. This full-bodied effort is a fabulous example of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as well as a tribute to this amazing family. It is so good now, why wait? However, I’m sure that like most vintages of Caymus, it will last for 20-25 years. Amazing!”
Case-12 Dozen Deal- Re-arriving Friday
Domaine Les Pallières is undeniably one of the greatest, longest-running properties of the Southern Rhône—outside the village of Gigondas, woven into the foothills of the beautiful and brooding Dentelles de Montmirail. A long running family-owned domaine, the Pallieres estate struggled for years before the last generation of its original owners, the Roux family, decided to sell. The Brunier brothers, Daniel and Frédéric, of the famed Vieux Télégraphe in Châteauneuf-du-Pape ( click here for their family history), were rising stars in the Southern Rhône at the time, having distinguished themselves time and time again with world class wines. In the midst of looking for a change and a new challenge, they found Domaine les Palleres and, fighting back stiff competition, purchased the estate in 1998. After decades of neglect, Pallières’ renaissance had begun, with the brothers making huge improvements and renovations both in the vineyards and the cellars. With vineyards ranging from 250-400 meters in altitude, the Brunier brothers focus on making terroir-based cuvees; Cuvée “Terrasse du Diable,”, offered here today, encompasses the low-yielding vines from the higher altitudes. 90% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre and 5% Clairette, the Diable is aged in tank for about 10 months and then in foudres for a year before bottling, expect great structure and intense minerality in this dark-fruited red.
Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses Du Diable 2010 1.5 LITER ($119.95) $99 special
Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable 2010 ($49.95) $36 just arrived special
Case-12 Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable 2010 ($479.95) $399 pre-arrival special (that’s just $33.25 per bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “Slightly superior, revealing more minerality and a subtle, incremental building of flavor intensity, the 2010 Gigondas Terrasse du Diable offers lots of black raspberry, kirsch and floral characteristics along with an undeniable crushed rock minerality. Medium to full-bodied and elegant as well as impressively built, rich, pure and beautifully balanced, it can be enjoyed now and over the next 15 years.”
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Bright ruby-red. A complex, heady bouquet evokes candied red fruits, potpourri and Asian spices. Silky and seamless in texture, offering vibrant raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and an exotic touch of blood orange. Anise and herb notes come up with air and carry through a long, bright and focused finish. I underestimated this sexy wine last year.”
The average listed price in the USA is $45 / 750ml bottle
Sandhi, meaning ‘collaboration’ in Sanskrit, is a new venture from well-known sommelier Rajat Parr, former owner of Screaming Eagle Charles Banks, and up and coming winemaker Sashi Moorman. Parr, an acclaimed wine director for the Michael Mina group has swiftly climbed up the ladder, initially being recognized for his incredible capability to blind taste and identify single vineyards and producers from wines all over the world. Since then, he has written books, ran elaborate wine programs, conducted wine seminars all over the globe and has now moved in the direction of winemaking, amongst many other projects.
The focus is on select vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County, and the participation of three major elements; man, earth and vine. The idea being that the winegrower has the responsibility to combine these elements that are necessary for creating great wine. The vineyards have been carefully selected with a focus on the capability of showing character, personality and balance. All wines are wild yeast fermented, with absolutely no additions of water, sugar, acid and enzymes, a very rare occurrence in California winemaking.
The Rinconada 2012 Pinot Noir is their debut vintage from this historic vineyard planted in 1997 on silica-based soils. A structured Pinot Noir with more of an earthy expression of this variety, rather than the fruit forward styles that are expected from California. The firmness and solid structure of this wine is a resulting combination of shallow soils in the vineyard, the Northern exposure the grapes receive, and whole cluster fermentation, allowing it to have incredible aging capabilities.
The Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir is from the original 1971 plantings of this highly acclaimed vineyard. Planted on silex and clay soils, this vineyard reacts very differently each year, allowing the wine to truly show its natural expression each and every vintage.
Sandhi Wines Arriving November 11th
Sandhi Pinot Noir Rinconada, Santa Rita Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “From a vineyard just beside Sanford & Benedict, but further up the slope and with less top soil, the 2012 Pinot Noir Rinconada is thrilling stuff. Loaded with minerality, spice, earth and darker berry fruits, there’s a slight rusticity here, but I love the underlying structure and depth. Showing more floral notes with air, give it another year and it will dish out loads of pleasure through 2020.” WA
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2012 Pinot Noir Rinconada is deep, layered and vibrant to the core. Dark red cherry, smoke, game, blood orange and sage meld together in a structured, intense Pinot that needs at least another year or two in barrel for the tannins to soften. This is an impressive showing.” AG
Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills 2012 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93+ points “Showing a streamlined, focused and straight feel, the 2012 Pinot Noir Sanford and & Benedict knocks it out of the park with its nose of underbrush, rose petal, red berry and cranberry-slanted aromatics. Still tight on the palate, it has a serious core of fruit and will benefit from another year in bottle and drink nicely through 2020.” WA
Domaine Hudelot-Baillet: 2012 Releases
Neil Martin of the Wine Advocate: “I chanced upon the wine at “The Sampler” in London when the name was little known. I was instantly taken with the wines and had been meaning to visit the winery since that time. Joel Hudelot founded the domaine in 1981 after being handed down small parcels of vine by his father Paul Hudelot and his mother Chantal Baillet. Paul retired in 2004 and his son-in-law Dominique Leguen took over the running of the estate, having worked alongside Paul since 1998. Dominique comes across has a straightforward, self-effacing vigneron, uninterested in bells and whistles to create flash wine, but rather using simple tenets in order to exploit his holdings to the full. Here, the harvest began on 22 September and yields were reduced, though having said that, 28hl/ha is not as pitiful as other growers. Everything here is de-stemmed, sorted but not crushed, and sees a modest amount of new oak from several cooperages such as Rousseau, Francois Freres and CaVin. As I anticipated, I adored these 2012s. They are clean, pure, weightless yet intense, adroitly expressing their terroirs with style and honesty, whether that is his delicious Bourgogne Passetoutgrain (one of the best I have tasted) or a sublime Bonnes-Mares, his sole grand cru.”
Domaine Hudelot-Baillet 2012 Wines Arriving November 25th
Domaine Hudelot-Baillet Bourgogne Rouge ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Domaine Hudelot-Baillet Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2012 Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes comes from four lieux-dits to the south of Chambolle, courtesy of vines aged between 55 and 70-years. It has a very elegant bouquet that needs a little more encouragement than the regular Chambolle, opening to reveal brambly black fruit, cold stone and a touch of forest floor. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, supple tannins matched with good acidity. There is fine depth here, adorned with rounded blackcurrant and raspberry fruit and perhaps just requiring a little more tension right on the finish. Still, this is very fine.”
Domaine Hudelot-Baillet Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “From two parcels of 60+ year old vines totalling 0.63-hectares, the 2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Charmes has an entrancingly beautiful bouquet with blackberry, wild hedgerow, iris and cold stone that has wonderful definition. The palate has very good structure and mineralite: real tension here with a taut, linear finish that goes on and on. This is one of the best Chambolle premier crus this year.”
Domaine Hudelot-Baillet Bonnes-Mares ($279.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2012 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru comes from a 0.29-hectare parcel of 70-year old vines that this year yielded just two barrels, one of them new. It has a very perfumed, quite floral bouquet with crystalline, red berry fruit intermingling with rose petals and just superb delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine fruit concentration on the entry (black cherries, blueberry and raspberry) with supple yet fine tannins. It fans out wondrously towards the finish that is surfeit with energy and mineralite. This is a superb Bonnes-Mares – though it will be difficult to find!”