Weekend VinopolPick 10-11-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

New Wines from K Vintners

Screaming Eagle’s “The Flight”

Classical St. Emilion from Chateau Grandchamp

New Arrivals from Foradori

The Legendary White Burgundy of Jacques Carillon

Trending Wines

Rose of the Day

New Releases from Christophe Mignon

An Outspoken Vintage from Vincent Paris


Featured New Arrival

New Wines from K Vintners

The wines of K Vintners need very little introduction, as the wines Charles Smith makes under this label are some of our most popular year in and out.  The new releases just arrived and they’re highly praised and highly allocated, as usual.

If you’re unfamiliar with the winery, know that Charles Smith fashions himself a bit of a rock star and he ought to—he used to manage them.  Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards.  Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.

His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners.’ The winery has grown by leaps and bounds since—by our count, K makes well more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the additional projects he’s involved in such as Substance and Sixto.

At this point, Charles Smith is one of the defining wine makers for what might be the modern Washington style.  His wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacony quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else.  The only thing we can complain about is that they sell out and we can’t carry them more often.

Just Arrived In Stock Now:

K Vintners The Beautiful Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“The 2016 Syrah The Beautiful Powerline Vineyard is stunning and one of the finest Syrahs in the vintage. Coming all from Clone 470, co-fermented with 3-4% Viognier in concrete tanks, and brought up in mostly neutral oak, it’s a rich, meaty, smoky, full-bodied Syrah that has classic Northern Rhône-like aromas of black olives, smoked meats, ground, earth, and dark fruits. With a stacked mid-palate and beautiful balance, it’s going to keep for 10-15 years.”

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K Vintners The Cattle King Syrah, Snipes Mountain 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2016 Syrah Cattle King Upland Vineyard comes from Snipes Mountain and has a singular, pretty, fresh style with more obvious acidity as well as tannins, yet it still stays in the plush, sexy style of the estate. Blue and black fruits, blood orange, violets, and exotic spice notes all define the bouquet and it’s full-bodied, incredibly pure and seamless on the palate. It’s a beautiful wine that’s going to come together nicely for 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for over a decade.”
James Suckling 95 points “From a sloping plot of deep river rock, this has a fresh array of red and blue berries with a fine, stony edge. The palate has a very sleek, composed feel with such length and composure. The purity of blackberry and blueberry flavors is entrancing. Holds so fresh. Drink this now or hold for a decade or more.”

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K Vintners Charlotte, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
No reviews yet for this vintage.  The previous vintage (2015) scored 95+JD.
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K Vintners The Deal Sundance Vineyard Syrah, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Syrah The Deal comes from the sandy, loamy soils of the Wahluke Slope and has classic earthy notes of spices, forest floor, dried herbs, hot stones, and a crushed rock-like sensation of minerality. Full-bodied, concentrated, and opulent on the palate, it has a beautiful balance between richness and elegance, fine tannins, and a great finish. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is from the Sundance Vineyard, which has volcanic, sandy soils at a higher elevation than the surrounding plots. The nose has aromas of crushed dried flowers and bright red berries that follow to the palate where a streak of sweetly spicy oak threads into the ripe, composed and elegant red-plum finish. Drink over the next decade.”

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K Vintners The Hidden Syrah, Wahluke Slope 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points
“Flirting with perfection, the 2016 Syrah The Hidden is a classic example of the old saying “an iron fist in a velvet glove.” Beautiful notes of dark fruits, damp earth, iron, and crushed rocks as well as ground pepper all emerge from this full-bodied effort that has no hard edges, a terrific mid-palate, sweet tannins, and a finish that goes on for over a minute. It’s a brilliant, brilliant Syrah and one of the wines of the vintage.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of sweet earth, pepper, espresso, plums and blackberries follow to the palate. This delivers a big, bold hit of ripe, sweet and round fruit with a very encompassing feel, married with a class and breed that really sets it apart. Nothing pedestrian, but a lovingly familiar syrah. Drink from 2023.”

Charles Smith ‘King Coal’ Stoneridge Vineyard Cabernet – Syrah, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Always from the Stoneridge Vineyard, the 2016 Cabernet / Syrah King Coal is a ripe, sexy, yet savory effort that has awesome notes of red and black currants, spice box, graphite, and ground herbs. Deep ruby/purple-colored, full-bodied, beautifully layered, and with a blockbuster finish, it’s one of those powerful yet still ethereal wines that gives up tons of richness and depth yet has no sense of heaviness or weight.”

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K Vintners ‘Ovide’ Jack’s Vineyard Cabernet – Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Named after Smith’s father, the 2016 Ovide comes from the Walla Walla Valley and is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Syrah. This savory, full-bodied, earthy blend offers complex red and black fruits intermixed with notes of dried earth, asphalt, baking chocolate, and spice. It has terrific balance and is going to evolve for 10-15 years.”

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K Vintners Powerline Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
No reviews yet for this vintage.  The previous vintage (2015) scored 98JD/96JS.

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Charles Smith ‘Royal City’ Syrah, Washington 2016 750ML ($149.95) $135 special
No reviews for this vintage yet.  The previous vintage (2015) scored 98JD.
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Screaming Eagle’s “The Flight”

Screaming Eagle needs very little in the way of introduction.  The most sought after wine in California, their Cabernet is hard to get and incredibly pricy.  The Flight is their “second” wine—a 98/99 pointer that would be the top wine and pride of almost every other winery in California.  Three bottles arrive later this month and more won’t be available until next year.

Arriving ETA October:

Only three bottles available
Screaming Eagle ‘The Flight’, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($899.95) $799 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2016 The Flight is gorgeous. Dark, brooding and closed in on itself, the 2016 is going to need a number of years to be at its very best, but it is incredibly beguiling today. Plum, black cherry, lavender, blood orange menthol, and a host of more mineral-driven notes punctuate this super-expressive wine. This is a decidedly tannic and powerful edition of The Flight. I can’t wait to see how it ages. Bottled just six weeks before this tasting, the 2016 appears to have a very bright future. Time in the glass brings out some of the softer edges that will almost surely emerge with cellaring. The Flight is built on a core of older Merlot vines from the southeast corner of the estate. It is an absolutely riveting wine from Screaming Eagle.”
James Suckling 99 points “This is the best Flight I have ever had with so much merlot character coming through with black olives, hazelnuts, brown sugar and blackberries, as well as violets. Full-bodied yet linear and very long. Extremely refined and fresh. Needs a few years to come completely together, but already so refined.”
Wine Advocate 97+ points “Composed roughly of two-thirds Merlot with 5% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, the medium to deep colored 2016 The Flight opens with bold, expressive notions of wild blueberries, warm plums and boysenberries with touches of black raspberries, spice cake, violets, dark chocolate and potpourri with a hint of menthol. Full-bodied, rich, spicy and jam-packed with energy, it has beautifully plush tannins texturing the multilayered blue and black fruits, delivering a very long, perfumed finish.”


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Classical St. Emilion

From Chateau Grandchamp

We’re suckers for classically made Bordeaux at reasonable prices—a combination that seems to be harder and harder to find. Gonzague Maurice makes a set of wines under the Chateau Grandchamp and Clos du Pavillon labels that more than fit the bill.  These wines are the essence of right-bank Bordeaux—Merlot and Cabernet Franc with limited makeup.

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.  As the weather turns cool, these are wines we’re going to be drinking a lot of.

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Chateau de Grandchamp, Montagne-Saint-Emilion 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Le Guide Hachette Des Vins 2/3 stars
(Vin Remarquable) “A mountain that exalts the qualities of the 2015 vintage and participated in the final of the favorites. From a blend of hand-harvested Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Franc, Château Grandchamp’s team has extracted a wine that combines power and elegance. The color of the dress is purple with violet, the nose is centered on dark fruits with spicy aromas, the palate is frisky, smooth, fruity, with fine, firm tannins and a long finish. [translated]”
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.”

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Le Pavillon “La Grange des Bardes,” Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29 special

Le Pavillon “Dragon St George”, St George Saint-Emilion 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 special


New Arrivals from Foradori

The Elisabetta Foradori’s wines occupy a singular place in the world of wine.  She’s a natural wine icon whose wines don’t taste Natural—just classic and pure.  Likewise, her adventurous and questioning spirit has lead her down a number of different (now trendy) roads long before anyone else in her region, including the use of amphora and long skin contact on white (and grey) grapes.  None of her wines taste “experimental” though—there’s an effortless grace that suffuses everything coming out of her cellar.  We’re tempted to write more, but her importer (Louis/Dressner) does such a great job with their profile that we’ll just quote liberally:

“How can one try to describe the wines of Elisabetta? It’s easy to say that, in this case, the grape does not fall far from the vine or the hand that cultivated it. Foradori – immediately striking, gracefully elegant, discerningly tasteful, soberly serious while at the same time wry and playful, and above all always generous and sincere. Wait, is that Elisabetta or her wines? In fact, it could easily be used to describe one or the other….

“A path of questioning, experiment and intuition (that included everything from biodynamics, to massale selection and the use of amphorae) eventually led her to give up any sense of chasing market trends of the ‘wine industry’ to develop the estate towards the goal of making wines respectful of the soil and the local grapes she wants to honor, and using the techniques she found more interesting, less invasive, and more wine ‘holistic.’

“In a lot of ways, she has come far, but we think, that for Elisabetta, like for other great grower/winemakers we are privileged to work with, it is a process, and one that doesn’t necessarily end…”-LDM

We just received our fall allocation of her wines, from her lighter-take-on-Teroldego, “Lezer,” to her impressively age-worthy single vineyard wines, these are bottles to pay attention to.  Although we’ve brought in a number of different bottlings, quantities on each are very limited (which is both deserved/great for her and kinda hard to fathom if you’ve sold the wines for longer than five years).

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Foradori Manzoni Bianco, Trentino-Alto Adige 2018 750ML ($34.95) $31.90 special
Importer Note
“100% Manzoni Bianco, an early-20th-century crossing of Riesling and Pinot Bianco. Foradori organically farms and hand-harvests 3 hectares on clay-limestone soils in the Fontanasanta hills above Trento. Destemmed fruit with 3-4-day skin maceration; aged 8 months in acacia barrel, concrete and clay.”

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Foradori “Morei Cilindrica” Teroldego, Trentino-Alto Adige 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Importer Note
“100% Teroldego. Only the 2nd vintage of this miniscule production! It is the same wine as the “normal” Morei but after it is racked out of the first amphora, where it spends 8 months on the skins, this sliver of it goes into a differently shaped amphora for another year of aging. Morei is a warmer, stonier 2.5-hectare vineyard averaging 30 years old on the Campo Rotaliano plateau, a broad, flat, sunny and well-drained expanse of vines in the shadow of the Dolomites.”

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Foradori “Sgarzon” Teroldego, Trentino-Alto Adige 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Tasted at the winery just a few weeks after its release, the 2017 Teroldego Sgarzon is a step above the 2016 vintage. You feel that extra heat and flavor intensity that seems to radiate off the primary fruit. This was a warm growing season, and the quality of aromas is more open, generous and immediate as a result. This wine is fermented on the skins in clay amphorae for six months. Aromas of dark fruit are followed by cigar smoke, scorched earth and wet clay. In the mouth, this vintage offers noticeable density and richness.”
Importer Note “100% Teroldego. Sgarzon is a cooler, sandier 2.5-hectare vineyard averaging 25 years old on the Campo Rotaliano plateau, a broad, flat, sunny and well-drained expanse of vines in the shadow of the Dolomites. As for all Foradori wines, the farming is certified-biodynamic and the harvest is by hand. Sgarzon is very close to the Morei site and made identically: destemmed whole berries are put in clay amphorae for spontaneous fermentation and aging for 8 months. There is no sulfur used until racking and bottling. Both Sgarzon and Morei develop more quickly, being raised in clay, compared to the traditional foudre-aged Foradori red, and are therefore released earlier. Interestingly, both were originally bottled in 1987 through 1999, then discontinued until the 2009 vintage–at this point, Elisabetta had converted the vineyards and gotten them certified biodynamic and was ready to embark again on expressing these two particular terroirs. The name Sgarzon comes from sgarzo, local dialect for “vine shoot”.”

Foradori “Sgarzon Cilindrica ” Teroldego, Trentino-Alto Adige 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Importer Note
“100% Teroldego. Only the 2nd vintage of this miniscule production! It is the same wine as the “normal” Sgarzon but after it is racked out of the first amphora, where it spends 8 months on the skins, this sliver of it goes into a differently shaped amphora for another year of aging. Sgarzon is a cooler, sandier 2.5-hectare vineyard averaging 25 years old on the Campo Rotaliano plateau, a broad, flat, sunny and well-drained expanse of vines in the shadow of the Dolomites. The name Sgarzon comes from sgarzo, local dialect for “vine shoot”.”

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Foradori Teroldego, Trentino-Alto Adige 2016 750ML ($29.95) $27 special
James Suckling 94 points
“Extremely floral and perfumed with blue fruit, roses, violets and other flowers. Full-bodied and very fine with beautiful depth and polish. Goes on for minutes. From biodynamically grown grapes and Demeter certified. Drink now or hold.”
Importer Note “This is the core red of Foradori: the first and only one to be bottled back in 1960 and still the largest production, from 10 hectares of vines planted from 1956 to 2005 on the flat, sunny, well-drained Camp Rotaliano plateau on sandy, Dolomitic limestone soils. Some of the vines are still pergola-trained, while newer plantings are on wires in the Guyot style; the farming is certified-biodynamic (as for all of their vineyards). The fruit is harvested by hand, destemmed with some whole clusters left intact (varies by vintage) and fermented spontaneously with indigenous yeasts and with no sulfur (until racking and bottling). Aging takes place in cement tanks and used foudres of 20-40 hectoliters for about a year.”

Foradori ‘Lezer’ Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Trentino-Alto Adige 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Importer Note
“100% Teroldego. Lezèr (“light” in local dialect) was a new bottling born of the terrible 2017 vintage, when the fruit from the vines that go into the basic Foradori red bottling was devastated by a summer hailstorm. What fruit could be salvaged and ripened was turned into this short-maceration red wine, named for its light color, body and structure and labeled with a tractor-driving farmer battling the storm. It was Foradori’s first vin de soif style wine, and they enjoyed the change of pace so much that even in the warm, productive 2018 vintage, they decided to make it again; jungle plants appear at the border of the label as a humorous nod to the more “tropical”–as winemaker son Emilio refers to it–conditions of this vintage. Maceration is less than 24 hours in various vessels; fermentation is spontaneous and finishes dry. It is juicy, soft and bright.”

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The Legendary White Burgundy of Jacques Carillon

The Carillon name is legendary in the towns of Puligny- and Chassagne-Montrachet.  Perhaps no family produces as much great white Burgundy.  We’re highlighting the slightly better, slightly harder to find brother today—Jacques, imported by Neal Rosenthal.  These are wines that are at the absolute pinnacle of what white Burgundy can be—especially in a vintage like 2017.

As in Chablis, the whites of the Cote d’Or are stunning in 2017.  It gives us everything we want out of a white vintage and is the best year since the (immaculate) 2014’s.  As you’d expect, Jacques Carillon’s wines are absolutely top-class and are arriving in unfortunately limited quantities.  These wines just arrived today and should be on the radar of anyone who loves white Burgundy.

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Domaine Jacques Carillon Puligny-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Decanter 93 points
“Jacques Carillon’s Puligny blend is always one of the most reliable and enjoyable in the appellation. Made with 15% new oak, it’s made up of three different components which are always more than the sum of their parts. This is grapefruity, subtle and mineral, with some stone fruit sweetness and oak spice.”
Burghound 89-92 points “A pure, elegant and airy nose combines notes of lemongrass, acacia, green apple and soft spice wisps. The beautifully well-detailed, intense and vibrant medium-bodied flavors possess very good mid-palate density before concluding in a saline, stony and impressively persistent finish. This is an excellent Puligny villages.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 89-91 points “Carillon had racked his 2017 Puligny-Montrachet Village into three tanks before bottling, and all three were both promising and complementary, displaying notes of citrus pith, white flowers, fresh peach and crisp green apple. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, satiny and tangy, with an appealing alliance of tension and volume. An excellent Puligny in the making.”

Domaine Jacques Carillon Chassagne-Montrachet, Cote de Beaune 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
“The 2017 Chassagne-Montrachet Village, a cuvée produced from young vines that made its debut in the 2015 vintage and was entirely destroyed by 2016’s frosts, makes a return to the lineup. Offering up notes of green orchard fruit, white flowers and ripe lemon, it’s medium-bodied, chalky and succulent, with an open-knit profile and less concentration than the Puligny-Montrachet Village.” -William Kelley, Wine Advocate
“A very fresh nose features notes of resin, rosemary oil, citrus and a hint of floral influence. The racy if less concentrated flavors are delicious but don’t offer the same refinement or the same depth and persistence. In short, this is pleasant and well-made but lacks the same overall distinction.”-Burghound

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Only three bottles available
Domaine Jacques Carillon Les Champs Canet, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91-93 points
“The 2017 Pulingy-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Canet is very promising, bursting from the glass with notes of white flowers, crisp green apple and crushed chalk. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, pure and bright, with a giving but precise profile. It’s typically the most immediate of Carillon’s premiers crus.”
Burghound 90-93 points “A subtle interjection of wood appears on the smoky and well-layered aromas of various white orchard fruit, lavender and citrus zest. Once again there is excellent energy and punch to the much more mineral-driven and more concentrated flavors that deliver really lovely complexity and sneaky good persistence. This is impressive and a wine that should amply reward most of a decade of cellaring.”

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Only three bottles available
Domaine Jacques Carillon Les Perrieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Decanter 95 points
“Les Perrières, located close to the border with Meursault at the bottom of the slope, often seems to show more minerality at Carillon. True to form, this 0.6ha parcel has produced a zesy, crunchy, saline Puligny with some tangerine and citrus fruit and a hint of quince.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92-94+ points “The 2017 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrières is excellent, displaying a classy bouquet of crisp white peach, pastry cream, beeswax and green apple, followed by a medium to full-bodied, elegantly textural and broader, more concentrated profile than the Champ Canet, concluding with a long and chalky finish. The Réferts is a little more elegant, but this is a little more powerful.”
Burghound 91-93 points “A pungent yet elegant nose reflects notes of mineral reduction, citrus, quinine and a whiff of oak toast. The even sleeker and more tightly would middle weight flavors brim with minerality as well as plenty of dry extract that buffers the moderately firm acid spine shaping the linear and highly persistent finish. This needs more depth but the underlying material is present for that to occur.”
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points “Sexy aromas of pineapple, pear and flowers are complemented by salty minerality. At once rich and vibrant, showing a fine-grained texture and noteworthy purity to its intense citrus fruit and saline flavors. A bit higher in acidity than most of the other 2017s at this address (4.0 grams per liter, vs. 3.8 to 3.9), this premier cru finishes with very good structure, length and thrust.”

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Only three bottles available
Domaine Jacques Carillon Les Macherelles, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Decanter 94 points
“This is the last vintage of this wine unfortunately, as the 0.2ha parcel has now passed to Jacques Carillon’s brother. At least it’s a high note on which to sign off. Planted comparatively recently, in 2003, it’s a wonderfully intense wine that’s rich yet very well focussed and balanced. Woodsmoke aromas lead you into a palate that combines flavours of blood orange, pear and sweet cinnamon spice.”
Burghound 90-93 points “A smoky resin and petrol-inflected nose is also trimmed in just enough wood influence on merit mentioning. The delicious and racy medium weight flavors are almost painfully intense with excellent delineation while exhibiting fine length on the chiseled finish. This is unusually good for the vineyard and worth checking out.”

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Trending Wines

The vineyard that Domaine d’Henri values most—in an excellent year.
Le Domaine d’Henri Fourchaume, Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Winery Note
“In 2012, we started a massal selection from our oldest Fourchaume vines, planted in 1937, before the existence of clones. These vines provide us with a unique heritage that we absolutely want to preserve…In addition to the fundamental work on the vine canopy, we have joined forces with renowned soil specialist, Claude Bourguignon, and his son, Emmanuel, to gain a better understanding of our soils. The soil is a very complex, living environment that deserves to be better understood. It is, after all, the soil that will allow the vine to reach its full qualitative potential. It is important to understand the living organisms present in the soil: microbial, bacterial, vegetal and animal, such as worms that will help break up and aerate our soils.”

Big, bold and Tuscan to the core, this a wine to pay attention to.
Rocca di Montegrossi Vigneto San Marcellino, Chianti Classico DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
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.”

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“another terrific vintage for this cuvée, and a quintessential expression of Saint Cosme”-JD
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2017 750ML ($599.95) $419 special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 93 points
“($60)This offers a mix of dark cherry, currant and blackberry compote flavors, scored liberally with singed alder, dried sage and warm earth accents through the finish. A flash of chestnut at the very end keeps this in the old-school camp. Solid for the vintage. Best from 2022 through 2035.—J.M.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The 2017 Gigondas is another terrific vintage for this cuvée, and it’s a quintessential expression of Saint Cosme. Ground herbs, graphite, gunpowder, pepper, black raspberries, and cassis all emerge from this full-bodied, ripe, polished Gigondas. With solid concentration, building yet ripe tannins, and a great finish, you’ll be thrilled to have a case in the cellar.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “Loaded with notes of black olives and black cherries, the full-bodied 2017 Gigondas is rich and velvety in the mouth. I’m not sure it’s quite as good as the 2018, but it’s certainly no slouch, with a long, silky finish that picks up a hint of cocoa.”
Decanter 92 points “Whole-cluster fruit from limestone, marl and Miocene sand soils is fermented in concrete with indigenous yeasts. It’s then aged 70% in barrel, 20% new, with the remaining 30% in concrete. It has a very oaky aromatic profile at this early stage, but it’s joined by a lovely herbal aspect from the stems. Medium to full-bodied, the fruit has a vibrant freshness and the acidity is pretty marked, while the tannins are massy but ripe and harmonious. Long finish.”

Gaja’s Brunello is every bit as good as you’d expect.
Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Case-6 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($599.95) $389 special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Rich and expressive, with cherry, strawberry and earth flavors and plenty of flesh to cover the solid structure. Spice and tobacco notes add depth as this plays out on the long finish. Best from 2019 through 2032. 6,000 cases made.”

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The next best price is $77
The average listed price is $89

Could this be the Oregon wine of the vintage? You decide!
Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points
“Glimmering red. A hugely aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, along with a bright mineral overtone and a touch of smokiness. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering potent, mineral-laced raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Delivers a compelling blend of power and finesse and finishes with silky tannins, outstanding clarity and floral- and mineral-driven persistence.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderful earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”

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Rose of the Day

Cuilleron is a master in the Northern Rhone and he brings all of his white winemaking skill to bear on this bright, crisp rose.  Made from Syrah, this nevertheless displays none of the grapes potential heaviness–it’s bright, fresh and slightly peppery on the finish.  If you’re looking for a delicious dry rose for early fall drinking, this would be perfect.

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Yves Cuilleron ‘Sybel’ Syrah Rose, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Importer note
“This Rosé is sourced 100% from Syrah grown within the confines of the village of Chavanay. It is produced by the “saignée” method after a brief maceration of several hours. The fermentations are in stainless steel and the elevage continues for about six months before bottling in the spring following harvest.”

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New Releases from Christophe Mignon

“Mignon’s champagnes certainly reflect an emphasis on viticulture, showing a rich, ripe depth of fruit as well as a pronounced and complex mineral signature. As befits the soils in this area, the wines are more earthy and stony than overtly chalky, yet this doesn’t make them any less terroir-expressive, and a hallmark of Christophe Mignon’s champagnes is their intense articulation of place.

“This can be observed in Mignon’s Brut Nature, a pure meunier that is typically made from two different vintages, blended in equal proportions. A model of balance, its ripe fruit allows it to feel expressive in the absence of dosage, bringing minerality to the foreground while keeping acidity in check. Mignon also releases this blend as an Extra Brut, dosed with a liqueur of organic cane sugar, and in some years, this can be even more complex and complete than the Brut Nature. The same blend is used as the base for Mignon’s pungent, vinous Brut Rosé, where it’s combined with a relatively high percentage of red wine, made from meunier that’s vinified in barrel” – Peter Liem

“(Quiet) and soft-spoken, Christophe Mignon is a man of deeply held convictions. A visit to this tiny estate opens a window into Mignon’s deeply personal approach to farming and making wine that comes through in Champagnes of rarified distinction and personality. Biodynamic farming and stripped down winemaking inform the essence of Mignon’s approach.” — Antonio Galloni

Arriving ETA Late December:

Christophe Mignon Brut Nature Pur Meunier, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $47 pre-arrival special

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Christophe Mignon Brut Rose Pur Mugnier, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special

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Christophe Mignon Brut Pur Meunier, Champagne 2013 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special

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2017’s from Vincent Paris

An Outspoken Vintage for the Cornas Master

It’s pretty clear that Vincent Paris is the next “it” winemaker in the Northern Rhone.  Working primarily in Cornas, the wines have everything we love about Northern Rhone Syrah packaged in a clean, direct style.  He has the benefit of incredible vineyard material, too, as he now works the vineyards his uncle, Robert Michel, made famous.  Stylistically, there’s definitely some of that old-school Michel rusticity, but overall, his wines are far more polished and in line with what we think of as good modern Cornas. Don’t look for new oak here, though there is an elegance about them that has always impressed us.

He makes several wines from Cornas and we’re pleased we get to offer the range, but we’re happy to feature his top two wines today, the Granit 60 and La Geynale.  The “60” is from some of his steepest vineyards and is an introspective, powerful wine with great class and poise.  The Geynale, by comparison is all raw emotion and feral power.  Made from Robert Michel’s old vines and done 100% whole-cluster, it’s uncivilized in the best ways.

The 2017 versions of both of these wines remind us of 2015 or 2011—bigger, bolder versions with great fruit intensity.  ’17 is shaping up to be yet another fantastic year, especially at the lower end of the scale.  Even appellations like Crozes and St. Joseph are bigger and more powerful—more reminiscent of Cornas or Cote Rotie than usual.

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Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60, Rhone 2017 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95+ points
“Similar colored, the 2017 Cornas Granit 60 comes from further up the slope and older vines. It offers a deeper, richer bouquet of black and blue fruits, smoked earth, violets, and ground pepper. Deep, full-bodied, thrillingly pure and elegant, yet still with classic Cornas density, power, and length, it’s another gem of a wine from this incredibly talented winemaker.”

Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale, Rhone 2017 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points
“The 2017 Cornas Geynale is the only wine in the lineup to not be destemmed and it comes all from the La Geynale lieu-dit. Deep saturated purple-colored, with beautiful notes of blackcurrants, smoked herbs, earth, pepper, and tons of meatiness, it’s certainly the most classic in style, as well as structured and tannic. Give this full-bodied beauty 2-4 years of bottle age and it’s going to drink nicely for 10-15 years or more. It’s an awesome wine for the true Cornas lovers out there.”

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Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Jeb Dunnuck 91-93 points
“The 2017 Cornas Granit 30 shows a fresher, elegant, polished style as well as perfumed notes of black raspberries, crème de cassis, crushed violets, and hints of bouquet garni. Floral, elegant, and medium-bodied, it’s just a pretty, elegant, juicy wine that’s going to benefit from short-term cellaring and drink nicely for a decade.”

Domaine Vincent Paris Saint-Joseph Les Cotes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($37.95) $28 special
Grapelive 93 points
“Vincent Paris, whose first vintage was 1997, is one of the Northern Rhone’s great young winemakers. [He] is co-president of the Cornas appellation, where he is based. His small-lot collection of Syrah(s) include Cornas, for which obviously he most famous for, and a selection of Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph bottlings like this gorgeous version. Vincent’s uncle is the legendary and now retired Robert Michel, one of Cornas’ finest ever growers. [Michel] mentored him and helped make his first few vintages, before he stepped out on his own… Vincent’s total rented and owned holdings amounting to a mere 8 hectares… This is such a satisfying Northern Rhone that is high-toned and pure. It has potential to get even better, making it a great buy for the price, even though it is not as thrilling as the more whole-cluster driven Cornas, but still a wonderful wine. Farming all organic and tending steep granite soil sites, Paris crafts bold and expressive wines. [He ferments] in tiny batches and with this Les Cotes Saint-Joseph he uses native yeast and ferments in a combination of steel and wood at low temps to preserve the beautiful aromatics, with this wine seeing a year in barrel. With the Saint-Joesph he uses less whole cluster to focus on elegance and refinement, which this vintage shows especially, but with the vintage’s depth and concentration this is an awesome mouthful of Syrah. After fabulous stuff in 2015 and 2016, these 2017 had a lot to do to match and excite the Rhone enthusiasts’ cravings and it does and then some! This 2017 Saint-Joseph is freshly detailed with classic elements. It’s impressive in the glass with a deep garnet/purple color and layers of blackberry, currant, boysenberry and blueberry fruits along with graphite, anise, cedar and pepper, adding density with air and gaining hints of subtle florals including violets.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “Don’t overlook Paris’s outstanding 2017 Saint Joseph Les Cotes. It combines blueberries, espresso and pepper in a medium to full-bodied format that’s supported by silky, fine-grained tannins and plenty of length. Like previous vintages, it’s approachable young, but it should have the stuffing to age up to a decade.”

Thanks for reading!