In This Newsletter:
Featured New Arrival:
Quilceda Creek’s 100 Point 2018
“As Good as it Gets for Washington Cabernet Sauvignon”
New, 95-Point Super Tuscan
From a Chianti Favorite
Including Dagueneau, Vajra,
Produttori del Barbaresco, Caze-Thibaut,
Cristom, Foradori and More!
Vinopolis Face-Off: The Tête de Cuvee Extravaganza, Part 1
Two Classic Rosés from Very Different Places
Classical St.-Emilion from Chateau Grandchamp
Collector’s Corner: Veuve Clicquot’s Top Wine
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Quilceda Creek’s 100 Point 2018
“As Good as it Gets for Washington Cabernet Sauvignon”
2018 is going down as a standout vintage in Washington State for its near perfect wines. A long growing season combined with a leisurely paced harvest allowed for perfectly healthy fruit to be brought in at ideal ripeness. After 40 vintages working with the Champoux vineyard, Quilceda Creek has wrangled in the sites 5th 100 point score in its planted history.
Bold, rich, and powerful, it’s destined to be one of the greatest wines ever produced in Washington. The only catch is that the quantities are extremely limited—we barely received two cases of this sought-after icon.
In Stock Now:
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Decanter 100 points “This is as good as it gets for Washington Cabernet Sauvignon. Right away the gorgeous crème de violette and crème de cassis tones join blackberry cordial, exotic spices and dark chocolate shavings. The combination of finesse and texture is downright scintillating. Sweet pipe tobacco is woven together with Black Forest cake, and fresh blueberries and graphite with shades of tar take shape on the palate. Truly sensational even at the three year mark, this will provide drinking enjoyment over the next 20 plus years. Drinking Window 2021 – 2040.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points “Another magical Cabernet Sauvignon from this team, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley comes from a blend of sites and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up mostly in new French oak. This vivid purple-hued beauty offers a kaleidoscope-like array of red and black currants, spice box, lead pencil shavings, crushed stone, and assorted tobacco and leafy herb nuances. These carry to full-bodied Cabernet with incredibly purity of fruit, building tannins and structure, flawless balance, and a monster of a finish that won’t quit. It should keep for 20-25 years with no issues. This is unquestionably another brilliant set of releases from Quilceda, and these 2018s show the classic opulence this estate is known for backed up by beautiful purity and lots of underlying structure.”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 98 points “The capsule of the 2018 celebrates the 40th vintage, otherwise unnoted specifically to keep the consistency of the label. The nose is soft and delineated with lifted dark red and black fruit essences that waft with a delicate floral lift. Showing a softer and compact frame that delivers fine and focused aromas, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon packs complex layers in the nose, with a fresh bouquet of red and purple flowers, violets, lilac and sakura before overflowing with a fruit bowl of aromatics, including black raspberry, black cherry and juicy plum with blackberry nuances, all shining through with a thoughtful frame of French oak tones. Medium to full-bodied at 14.8% alcohol, the palate bursts with precision and finesse and there’s an elegant frame that offers lively acidity and succulent, fine-grained tannins. The 40th vintage marks a brilliant success for Quilceda Creek, attaining a lighter chassis that captures the same magic without being overly generous. The 2018’s tighter frame has allowed the wine to express layers of beautiful dark red fruit flavors and supple oak spices that make the wine slightly spicy with cinnamon essence while offering the same precision without any sacrifices to the overall experience. Ultimately, the wine glides to a remarkably long and textured finish that will last for a couple of decades. Bravo! This is another successful vintage for Quilceda Creek. Run, don’t walk to get this into your cellar!”
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Cellar Selection. Aromas of black raspberry, dried herb, cherry, incense, cranberry and spice explode from the glass. The flavors undulate across the palate, creamy in feel, with layer upon layer of fruit and barrel flavors. It is completely seamless, with outrageous balance—the quintessential hammer in a velvet glove. The finish carries off into the distance. Best after 2032. -Sean P. Sullivan”
From a Chianti Favorite
Chianti remains one of the best value regions in Italy, despite its great international acclaim. Case in point? The new wines from Rocca di Montegrossi. These are big, rich versions of Chianti, with texture and density to spare. Except for the slight textural difference, you’d swear these were Brunello/Rosso di Montalcino—except their pricing is 20% below what they’d be if they had those labels.
The wine to focus on is their Super Tuscan “Geremia”, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It captures so much of what we love about the estate with big, rich fruit and a surprising amount of elegance. This is a wine that would be 2x as expensive if it were from Bordeaux (and probably 3x if it were from Napa, sadly) but the wines of Chianti offer superb value.
The new vintage, 2016, was one of the most immaculate years in Tuscan history—a near perfect vintage that left growers spoiled for choice on when to pick and how to make their wines, and Montegrossi’s Geremia reflects this. It’s a super-Tuscan exactly the way they would dream of it, and worthy of a starring place on your table.
Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia Toscana IGT 2016 750ML ($69.95) $49 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 Points “The 2016 Geremia is a total knock-out. An exotic mélange of sweet dark cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice, spice and menthol races out of the glass. The 2016 is deep, dense and full of character. It is also easy to drink with minimal cellaring. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon work so well here in the way they express richness and structure, all with a real sense of Tuscan raw power.”
Also Available, In Stock Now:
Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia Toscana IGT 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The Geremia, Rocca di Montegrossi’s Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, is outrageously beautiful in 2015. Racy and pliant, with soft curves, Geremia captures all of the radiant beauty of the vintage. Sweet red cherry, plum, mint, mocha and sweet spice are all fused together. At the moment, there is a touch of new oak that still needs to integrate, but a few more years in bottle should do the trick. Time in the glass brings out attractive floral notes and red-toned fruit character that lend freshness and lift to play off the wine’s more extroverted leanings. The 2015 is a gorgeous Geremia.”
Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico DOCG 2018 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2018 Chianti Classico opens with a burst of sweet red berry fruit, spice and wild flowers. Exuberant and racy, the 2018 is endowed with tremendous energy and tons of personality. Time in the glass brings out the wine’s inner sweetness and radiance, with a closing flourish of red flowers. This is a fabulous wine for the money. Don’t miss it.”
Wine & Spirits 93 points “Winter rains in 2018 brought welcome relief from the drought of the previous year, according to Rocca di Montegrossi’s proprietor, Marco Ricasoli-Firidolfi, and while many areas of Tuscany suffered from humid conditions during the summer, his estate’s position in the high, well-ventilated hills of Gaiole kept his grapes healthy. The result is a dark and savory wine packed with rich black-cherry flavors and subtle spice notes, all underlined by firm, slatey tannins. It shows formidable substance and ripeness compared to some of the lighter wines coming out of this vintage and will develop well over the next several years.”
Rocca di Montegrossi Vigneto San Marcellino, Chianti Classico DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Chianti Classico Vigneto San Marcellino is dark, sumptuous and super-expressive. Like all of the wines here, the 2014 San Marcellino needs at least a few years in bottle to truly show everything it has, but there is more than enough here to provide for engaging drinking for many years to come. Time in the glass brings out gorgeous scents of black cherry, plum, menthol, licorice and smoke. The 2014 is a striking, complete wine.”
Rocca di Montegrossi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2009 375ML ($99.95) $89 special, half-bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2009 Vin Santo is a rich, exotic wine, as it always is. Readers will find one of the richest most intense Vin Santos being made today. Plush, tropical and ample in feel, Rocca di Montegrossi’s Vin Santo is bold and racy to the core. The 350 grams of residual sugar leave the wine with tremendous textural plushness.”
Dagueneau’s only bottling from Sancerre, this hyper-rare beast is one of the gems of the Loire.
Louis-Benjamin – Didier Dagueneau Sancerre ‘Le Mont Damne’ 2018 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 3 bottles in stock now
A new (excellent) vintage of our best-selling Cabernet value.
Substance ‘Cs’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2019 750ML ($19.95) $14.50 special
Case-12 Substance ‘Cs’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2019 750ML ($239.95) $156 special (that’s only $13/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “Juicy blue fruits, leafy tobacco, violets, and orange blossom notes all emerge from the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Cs and it’s medium to full-bodied, has a beautifully balanced, fruit-forward style, no hard edges, and a great finish. It’s no simple fruit bomb and has notable structure, ripe tannins, and outstanding length. It reminds me of a top Cru Bourgeois from Bordeaux and represents a stunning value. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”
It’s rare to find Barbera planted in cru Barolo vineyards, which is why this is so good.
G.D. Vajra Viola delle Viole Barbera d’Alba Superiore, Piedmont750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points “This wine carries the fantasy name “Viola delle Viole,” when in fact, its fruit comes from the Bricco delle Viole vineyard and the Bricco Bertone, two sites with different soil types, one adding structure and one adding aromatic purity. The G.D. Vajra 2017 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Viola delle Viole opens to an inky almost impenetrable appearance. The bouquet opens to robust aromas of blackberry jam and cherry preserves. You feel the heat and richness of the vintage, and there’s no way around it. The 2017 growing season produced very concentrated fruit with smaller berry size due to heat and drought. In effect, you get a super-sized Barbera that ups the ante in terms of extraction and intensity. There is a point of almost-sweetness on the close followed by good acidity. A pairing with marinated or spicy barbecued meat might work best. Some 12,000 bottles were released. Honestly, I’m not a fan of overripe wines, but I make an exception with Barbera because this grape handles the warmest growing seasons with grace and always offers enough acidity to balance things out.
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Barbera d’Alba Superiore is plush, racy and flat-out delicious. Raspberry jam, cinnamon, dried flowers, sweet tobacco and cedar all flesh out in a forward, plush Barbera that will drink well right out the gate. The Superiore always needs a few years to fully emerge. I imagine that will be the case here as well. Even so, the 2017 is an especially open-knit version of this wine.”
The new vintage of one of our favorite Nebbiolo values is the best edition since… 2013?
G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($26.95) $19.90 special
“2019 was marked by an early bud break, late flowering and a slow and progressive ripening. These elements turned the vintage into one of the longest and latest of the decade. Early winter snows and moderate rain falls throughout the year preserved the water reservoirs and laid the conditions for a balanced phenolic ripening. Thankfully, the Langhe were spared from both the April frost and the dramatic heat of late June. A severe hailstorm hit some vineyards on September 5th. Low yields since flowering, slow ripening, late harvest, excellent phenolic maturity and a great acidity spine: it all reminds of 2013. We foresee the potential for a truly remarkable vintage.” – Winery note
Previously sold out, now back—for a bit.
Produttori del Barbaresco Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
We’ve been hearing about this Champagne for five years, and finally get to offer it.
Caze-Thibaut ‘Naturellement’ Extra Brut, Champagne (2018) NV 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special
Caze-Thibaut ‘Naturellement’ Extra Brut, Champagne (2018) NV 1.5L ($149.95) $128 special
Peter Liem note “Fabien Cazé is the tenth generation of his family to cultivate vines in Champagne, and while the Cazé family has been bottling champagne through the local cooperative since 1953, Fabien himself began making estate-bottled champagnes under his own label in 2013. Today he cultivates 2.56 hectares of vines in the villages of Châtillon, Vandières and Reuil, all on the Rive Droite, or the northern bank, of the Vallée de la Marne. About two-thirds of his vineyard area is planted with meunier, with the rest chardonnay except for one parcel of pinot noir in Vandières. Cazé’s vineyards have been certified organic since 2016, and he places heavy emphasis on mechanical labor in the vines, eschewing large tractors in favor of smaller chenillards—lightweight, caterpillar-tracked vehicles that don’t compact the soil as much. After harvesting, he presses the grapes in a Coquard PAI press that he shares with his wife at her winery, Champagne Bouquet, whose facilities are located just next to their house on the road leaving Châtillon-sur-Marne (and just in front of the lieu-dit La Fontinette, which Cazé’s friend Flavien Nowack bottles as a single-vineyard champagne). Cazé favors a long, slow pressing, which he says “extracts tannins but also more minerality,” and while he used to ferment a portion of his wine in tank, he now vinifies his entire production in secondhand oak barrels of various sizes, exclusively with indigenous yeasts.”
The newest vintage of a Willamette Valley classic (and top value) returns!
Cristom ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvee’ Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Cristom ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvee’ Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2019 375ML ($24.95) $19 special
James Suckling 97 points “This is very seductive on the nose with ripe strawberry, spice, flowers and hints of cloves. Full-bodied, but very reserved and tight with chewy, polished tannins and a long, long finish. Racy and structured.”
A California icon.
Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay California 2018 750ML ($ 24.95) $19.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate “The 2018 Chardonnay opens with notes of lemon butter, crème caramel and toasty oak over a core of ripe apricots and poached pears. The medium-bodied palate reveals a fairly oaky style with suggestions of stone fruit and spicy flavors with a succinct finish.”
A cult winemaker’s fantastically complex white from a local grape.
Foradori Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT 2019 750ML ($37.95) $33 special, 6 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 Points “Unique aromas of lemon drops and dried limes with hay and candied pineapple, following through to a full body with layers of fruit and a wonderful flavors of peaches and nectarines, as well as some tile and stone. Creamy texture. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification. Drink now.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The Foradori 2019 Manzoni Bianco Fontanasanta opens to a bright golden color with some faint copper or greenish highlights. A portion of the wine is aged in clay amphorae. The bouquet is somewhat neutral with loads of pear, Golden Delicious apple and quince. There’s nothing too fragrant or floral. Instead, the wine is grounded in unmistakable orchard fruit aromas that color both the bouquet and the wine’s flavor profile. You also get honey, saffron and candied orange peel. The wine ends with a touch of mineral dryness, like broken slate or crushed terracotta, that contributes to the tight, almost tannic finish.”
Pretty in pink.
Mancino “Sakura – Cherry Blossom” Vermouth 500ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Winery note “The limited edition of Mancino Vermouth with cherry blossoms from Kyoto and Italian Viola flowers, reveals Giancarlo’s culinary infatuation with Japan and Italy. A perfect blend of 20 botanicals based on Italian white wines with a distinct bitter taste on the palate given by the wormwood and a sweetness given by the flowers. This magical harmony with Japan is celebrated with the production of only 4000 bottles per year. 18% Vol.”
The Tête de Cuvee Extravaganza, Part 1
If that wasn’t rare and exclusive enough, there are Rose versions made but only during the most exceptional growing seasons. In certain years the Champagnes have a life in the bottle that can last for a half-century or more, with certain cuvee’s dating back to the 1930’s still being drinkable and offering an experience like no other. In the spirit of friendly competition we will be comparing a number of Tête de cuvée’s that we carry in store, who’s going to be your new champion?
You’ve heard of the Champagne widow and pioneer Madame Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (also known as Madame Clicquot), but have you heard of Madame Pommery? While less famous than her predecessor, Champagne as we know it would not exist without her contributions. In the 1870’s champagne was one of the sweetest wines of the world for a number of reasons. The first and foremost was to balance out the otherwise searing acid that was seen in Champagnes of the period. The second was to cater to commercial preferences of the era, particularly from the Russian royal family and their contemporaries who loved exceptionally sweet wines.
This all changed with Madame Louise Pommery who commissioned her cellarmaster to make a champagne with as little added sugar as possible, creating the category we now know to be “Brut”. The debut vintage in 1874 was an overnight success in England, who had developed a preference for drier styles of wine. It was so popular in fact, that it set records in London for the highest ever paid for champagne at auction. The Brut style clearly outlived its sweeter contemporary, given the latter is rarely seen on the market anymore.
The Tête de cuvee from Pommery is named after Madame Louise and in honor of her legacy has the barest amount of sugar added. Comprised of 3 Grand Cru vineyard sources Avize, Cramant and Ay and aged for 11 years on it’s lees before disgorgement, with predominantly Chardonnay but has 40% Pinot Noir as well. The grand cru sources for the fruit are clearly evident in the concentrated flavors, strong mineral character and high acidity with notes of toasted brioche, blackcurrant preserves, hazelnut paste, pine nuts and lemon curd. With the “Current” release being the 2004, this is a champagne built for the long haul to say the least.
In contrast there is the Taittinger Comtes De Champagne; named after the royal counts who used to reside in the region. With only 17 Iterations in it’s 69 year history since the first in 1952, this is one of the rarest of the set, and one of the
In the classic novel and subsequent film, From Russia with Love, James Bond famously says “I’ll take Taittinger blanc de blancs….. It is not well known, but it is the best champagne in the world” when asked for his drink order. Representing the top selection from the Tattinger estate vineyards, it is entirely Chardonnay (The favorite grape of the house) and aged for a minimum of 10 years before disgorgement.
Taittinger describes the house style as emphasizing “Lightness and natural, elegant wines expressive of their origin” with as little dosage added as possible to allow the fullest character of their fruit to come through in the finished product. The house has some of the largest estate holdings of grapevines in all of Champagne, the majority of them predominantly in the illustrious Cote Des Blancs.
2007 was the first vintage that saw the Tattinger family resuming complete control over the operations of the house after repurchasing controlling interest. The dominance of Chardonnay from the Cotes de blancs combined with the extended time en tirage (on the lees) makes for an incredibly nuanced expression of the varietal, terroir and house. With a lean fruit profile, layers of tertiary character and an electrifying minerality; this is a liquid work of art.
In stock and available now:
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Nature, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $149 special, 34 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points “A creamy and refined 2004 with a very reserved and tight palate of ultra fine tannins that lend the wine beautiful creaminess and finesse. Subtly floral, offering lightly cooked apples and lemons. Flavorful, yet always hiding behind the fine bubbles. Drink now.”
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime, Champagne, 2004 1.5L ($299.95) $279 special, 6 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “A very fine-textured Champagne with lovely density and finesse. The bubbles roll off the palate. Full body. Extremely creamy and flavorful. Shows wonderful finesse and a lovely, chalky, lemon-curd and brioche aftertaste. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Pommery’s prestige Champagne is named after one of the great Champagne widows of the 19th century who took over when her husband, Alexandre Pommery, died. It is a rich, mature wine, with toast and almond flavors as much as fruit. Full of mineral Chardonnay (60% of the blend), this ripe wine is very ready to drink.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Bright and minerally, featuring smoke and pastry dough notes layered with lemon curd and pureed black currant details, riding the lively bead. Offers a creamy finish, with a lightly floral overtone. Drink now through 2024. 16,666 cases made.”
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $219 special, 21 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points “This is a new release and shows wonderful finesse and beauty. You know that the moment you see the pale-amber color. It’s medium bodied with freshness and energy and a long, vivid finish. A joy to taste. Drink now.”
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2007 ($179.95) $135 special, 17 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points “This is a step up from the linear and fresh 2006. It shows subtle depth and power with a dense block of vivid fruit that’s highlighted with lemon zest, green apples and hints of white peaches. Just the right amount of praline and nuts on the nose. Fine and tight bead give the Champagne a luxurious mouthfeel. One for now or the cellar. Drink or hold.”
The Champagne Guide 98 points “”(disgorged October 2015) After the might of 2005 and 2006, there is a pretty elegance to 2007 that I find thrillingly compelling, and it’s captured in pinpoint detail in this enchanting Comtes. The theme here is fragrant finesse of youthful lemon blossom, touched with delightful notes of brioche, marzipan and almond. The chalk mineral signature of Comte’s rumbles with the ancient geological history of the finest grand crus of the Côtes des Blancs. Still pale in hue at a decade of age, this is my style of Comtes. Turn down the lights and the music and pour it for the one you love most.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far.”
Decanter 96 points “The 2007 Comtes de Champagne is an astonishing Champagne. With aromas of dried flowers, chamomile and plenty of freshness, the bouquet is complex and dense. The fine and pure texture on the palate is supported by a chalk and iodine finish.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2007 Brut Blanc de Blancs Comtes de Champagne continues to show very well, and it hasn’t evolved appreciably since I last tasted it a few months ago. Revealing a pretty bouquet of lemon oil, lily pollen, dried white flowers, blanched almonds and crushed chalk, it’s medium to full-bodied, chiseled and tensile, with excellent depth at the core, racy acids and a pure, precise and notably chalky finish. Tight-knit without being austere, it’s a very classically balanced middleweight Comtes that has a long future ahead of it.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Taittinger’s prestigious Comtes de Champagne is composed entirely of Chardonnay grapes from the Grand Cru villages of Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger (Côte des Blancs). The citrus-golden colored 2007 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is the fourth in a row after the 2004 vintage (which will be followed by 2008 whereas there will be no Comtes from 2009, 2010 and 2011) and opens with a nobly intense yet nuanced bouquet of ripe fruits, chalk, iodine and a touch of brioche. The wine indicates a coolish and precise character ond the clear, flinty nose that develops lemon, pastry and floral notes. On the palate, this is Taittinger at its best: clear, fresh, lush and elegant, offering both sensuality and noble elegance. The 2007 reveals great finesse and is a perfect expression of both the Taittinger style and the Côte de Blancs. The wine (of which 5% has spent four months in oak barrels to give roundness and a touch of toast) is tightly woven, well concentrated and even juicy yet always clear, fresh, pure, fine and elegant. The finish is intense, clean, vivacious and complex, with good grip and lingering salty minerals that indicate good aging potential. Disgorged in October 2017; tasted in May 2018.”
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Brut Rose, Champagne 2000 1.5L ($1199.95) $899 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Light pink. Spicy strawberry, redcurrant, blood orange and minerals on the nose, plus a hint of jasmine. Nervy, focused and light on its feet, with fresh red fruit and tangerine flavors underpinned by juicy acidity. The racy finish offers excellent lift and a lingering minerality. A rose of elegance more than power.”
There’s not a single wine that Von Winning makes that isn’t an absolute knockout, and his latest vintage of rose is no exception. Made entirely with Pinot Noir or as the Germans call it, Spatburgunder. The character of the Pfalz is clearly evident from the first pour with the plush fruit, multispectral floral notes and loamy minerality. Full of white currant, strawberry puree, white peach skin, bing cherries and light roasted coffee beans; with an incredibly refreshing finish of salted lemon peel and white tea.
Von Winning Spatburgunder Rose Deidesheim 2020 750ML ($24.95) $18.50 special
Skurnik Wines note “Region: Pfalz. Grape Variety: Pinot Noir. Vineyards: Mix of sites in Diedesheim and Rupertsberg. Soil Types: Red sandstone, limestone, loess and clay. Age of Vines: 25 years. Farming Technique: Sustainable. Fermentation & Elevage: respectful cooperation with nature in the vineyard and minimal interference with the wine’s inner structure in the cellar.”
You’ve heard of Clos Cibonne and their illustrious rose-based portfolio, but did you know that they also produced an entry level offering? Sourced from the younger plantings of grapes on the estate and purchased fruit from 3 neighbors, this is the only department in France that allows the varietal Tibouren. Called Rosesse in it’s other home in Italy, it is a heritage varietal famous for the nuanced rose and compelling reds that are produced from it.
The Tentations rose is meant to offer an affordable introduction to the varietal and house style, and delivers in spades. Organically grown and fermented in steel with wild yeasts, the Tentations is pale in color with beautifully effusive aromas of orange peel, cherry blossom, marjoram and sea spray. A perfect introduction to Tibouren rose at a fraction of the cost you usually see.
Clos Cibonne Cotes de Provence Tentations Rose France 2020 750ML ($24.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Clos Cibonne Cotes de Provence Tentations Rose France 2020 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/btl!)
De Maison Selections note “Tentations offers an accessible entry-point into Provence wine. Tentations is made with exceptional ingredients, including fruit from young tibouren vines and some purchased fruit from farmers they have long-standing relationships with, in prime spots in La Londe. The Tentations wines do not undergo the extensive aging process of the Clos Cibonne line. Offering immediate and unpretentious enjoyment, they are incredible food wines and represent one of the best wine values in the Côtes de Provence region. Site: La Londe. Grapes: 50% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, and 15% Tibouren.”
Classical St.-Emilion from Chateau Grandchamp
Vinification is in stainless steel and most of the elevage is in concrete (25-33% of the wine sees aging in older barrels), so these wines have a purity and vitality that’s uncommon in Bordeaux these days. Chateau Grandchamp is made from an estate vineyard, farmed organically and worked/harvested by hand—a true rarity in the “satellite” regions of Bordeaux. The Clos du Pavillon wines we’re offering are negociant, but Maurice only works with growers who own unique terroirs and farm in accordance with his philosophies. These are delightful wines with plenty of old-school personality.
We flew through our last stock, so we convinced our importer to secure us another round. They arrived last week and are already selling briskly.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
Le Pavillon ‘La Grange des Bardes’ Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($39.95) $29.50 special
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Chateau de Grandchamp, Montagne-Saint-Emilion 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Case-6 Chateau de Grandchamp, Montagne-Saint-Emilion 2016 750ML ($149.95) $125 special (that’s only $20.83/bottle!)
Case-12 Chateau de Grandchamp, Montagne-Saint-Emilion 2016 750ML ($299.95) $236 special (that’s only $19.67/bottle!)
Importer notes “Château de Grandchamp is the only domaine on the hillside overlooking the ancient commune of Parsac, located in the Montagne-Saint-Emilion appellation on the right bank of the Dordogne. Vigneron Gonzague Maurice manually farms Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in densely planted vineyards rooted in clay-limestone soils with small traces of iron. The vineyard has been in organic conversion since 2010, however grass is sown regularly between vine rows and ploughing is done in alternating rows. Gonzague’s sole objective in the vineyard is to obtain perfectly ripe and clean fruit. Triage is done in both the vineyard and the cellar to ensure the highest quality grapes. In the cellar, grapes are vinified in small, temperature controlled tanks and then aged in a combination of tank and one to two year old barrels. Above all, he seeks to preserve the fruit throughout the fermentation and ageing processes. The resulting wine is aromatically vibrant and beautiful balanced with soft tannins.”
William Fevre Les Lys Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Chablis Les Lys 1er Cru is a dense, potent wine that will appeal most to readers who enjoy concentrated whites. Although not exactly subtle, the 2017 possesses superb depth and creaminess. Dried herbs, chamomile, crushed flowers and dried pear notes add character. There is no shortage of intensity, that much is clear. In this tasting, the 2017 comes across as a bit bombastic.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Grant Coulter is one of the hottest winemakers in the Willamette Valley.
Hundred Suns Sequitur Vineyard Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge 2019 750ML ($59.95) $48 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points “A perfumed nose of raspberries, plums, earth, orange peel and dried flowers. It’s medium-bodied with silky tannins and fresh acidity. Transparent and layered with plum and herbal tones on the mid-palate. Supple, long finish. Drink or hold.”
Dry Riesling from one of the most sought-after producers
Donnhoff Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) Was $66, Now $59 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Donnhoff Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 1.5L ($179.95) $149 special, 2 magnums in stock now
John Gilman 94 points “The 2018 Felsenberg GG is also absolutely outstanding this year. The bouquet is impressively expressive at this early stage, soaring from the glass in a blaze of pear, tart orange, a beautiful base of slate minerality, wild yeasts, a touch of fleur de sel and a potpourri of floral scents in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and seamless, with outstanding mid-palate depth, powerful mineral drive and great cut and grip on the long, perfectly balanced and youthful finish. This will be show stopping juice in the fullness of time. 2028-2070. 94.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93+ points “Bottled in July, just two days before I tasted the 2018 Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling trocken –GG– for the first time, the nose was ripe and generous but fine and flinty-mineral. Lush and salty-piquant, this is a full-bodied, rich and powerful yet vital Riesling with lots of body But also tension, purity and grip. Tasted again in August 2019.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points “Huckleberry, crushed coriander seed and zesty lemon on the nose anticipate the piquancy, pungency and citricity that dominate on a firm, full, glossy palate. Stony and alkaline notes tug in an austere direction, though the gripping, penetrating finish conveys ample refreshing juiciness as well as an uncanny sense of energy. “Whatever might be your favorite from among these vintage 2018 Grosse Gewächse,” remarked Dönnhoff, “you can recognize the [taste of the] site, and that’s the goal.””
The average price is $75
Cresti Fattoria Carpineta Fontalpino Do ut des Toscana IGT Tuscany 2016 750ML ($54.95) $48 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Cresti Fattoria Carpineta Fontalpino Do ut des Toscana IGT Tuscany 2016 ($349.95) $269 special (That’s only $44.83 per bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points “The fruit here really takes your breath away with its intensity, as well as purity. Blackberry crumble, pressed violets, ink, iodine, charcoal, vanilla and resin. It’s the polish of the tannins that really makes this wine, carrying itself effortlessly over a shimmer of electric acidity to the long finish. Drink in 2023. Made from organically grown grapes.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2016 Do Ut Des (a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits a generous and expansive personality that hits the palate like a warm embrace from a favorite friend. This is a succulent and smooth red wine with thick layers of bold cherry, dried blackberry, leather, rose hip and scorched earth. In the mouth, the wine proceeds with medium- to full-bodied texture and elegantly contoured fruit flavors.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Sleek and focused, with black currant, black cherry, plum, iron and tobacco flavors coursing through from start to finish. Tightly wound and vibrant, this lingers with subtle licorice and spice elements. Shows fine harmony and length. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2023 through 2036. 1,650 cases made, 200 cases imported. — BS”
We adore what winemaker Bobby Rowett is doing. These are some of the most beautiful Champagne-style sparklers in the Valley.
Mellen Meyer Johan Vineyard Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut Sparkling, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special
Winery note: Disgorged November 17th, 2019. Produced from non-irrigated vines.
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Collector’s Corner: Veuve Clicquot’s Top Wine
2008 has been lauded as “The Vintage of the Century” in Champagne, with examples from this year being some of the most collectible bottles on the market. This is on account of the growing season being exceptionally cool, until the last weeks before harvest brought the fruit to perfect ripeness. The combination of phenolic ripeness and high acids are the textbook ingredients for exceptionally long life in the bottle, with the best examples promising scores of evolution.
In Stock Now:
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut Champagne 2008 750ML ($159.95) $138 special
Decanter 97 points “Now almost blanc de noirs, boasting 92% Pinot Noir and just 8% Chardonnay from 60%-70% estate vineyards. La Grande Dame is one of the most affordable of Champagne’s elite prestige set, and the stunning 2008 vintage was intricately engineered by the masterful Dominique Demarville for the long haul. It unites all of the enduring potential of its thundering grands crus with the tension and energy of this legendary season, colliding high-tensile acidity with deep, fine, powdery chalk minerality, bringing its finish into stark focus. Drinking Window 2020 – 2048.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “An elegant Champagne, powered by a sculpted frame of acidity and minerality, this wears the refined, lacy mousse and well-meshed flavors of black currant, lemon curd, toast and marzipan like finely tailored clothing. Fresh and lasting, with hints of spice and smoke on the finish. Disgorged August 2016.
Wine & Spirits 95 points “This is a sunny and delicious 2008, with brightness infusing the wine, from its platinum color to its mineral intensity, transforming its richness and power into cool elegance. Notes of agave and cassia bark add depth, suggesting the complexity this will develop with further bottle age.”
Peter Liem 3*/3* “Starting with this vintage, the proportion of pinot noir in La Grande Dame has been significantly increased, and in fact, the 2008 is almost a blanc de noirs, with 92 percent pinot noir and just 8 percent chardonnay (historically the blend was typically 50 to 60 percent pinot noir). While it displays the deep resonance and dark concentration of fruit that’s characteristic of the vintage, it remains elegant and fine, with a silky texture and a lively, elongated structure. It finishes with terrific length and poise, showing a complex and authoritative depth of flavor, yet it’s also still notably youthful and tightly wound even twelve years after the vintage, and it seems to indicate a long and slow development ahead of it. Patience, though, will undoubtedly be rewarded, and this feels as if it could turn out to be one of the finest examples of this cuvée in a long time.”
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