New Chateauneuf Blanc Reviews from Vinous
Cascina delle Rose is a Rising Star in Piemonte
King of Gevrey: Library Rousseau
“Analog” Austrian Whites for Winter
Calabretta is Old School on Etna
First Offer: 2015 Masseto
omaine Fourrier makes some of the most captivating wines in Burgundy. To Burgophiles, this isn’t much of a claim—the wines that Jean-Marie has produced since taking over from his father have become hot tickets in the Burgundy world.
When young they’re among the most impressive in Burgundy, combining succulent fruit with minerality and a complexity that’s nearly unmatched in newly released wines. They improve with age, as well, though we’ve always had a hard time keeping our hands off of the lower-tier wines in the first five years after the vintage. Fourrier works exclusively with old massale vineyards (anything from vines younger than 30 years is sold off) and that sort of soul really makes it into the bottle.
We’re putting two of Fourrier’s most important wines on sale for the weekend—his old vine Clos St. Jacques and his entry level “VV” village level bottling. Both of these are superb wines for their prices, especially with the discount over the next 48 hours.
John Gilman 94 points “With the shortened crop in Clos St. Jacques, there is no Cuvée Centennaire here this year, just a single, truly lovely bottling of this great vineyard. The nose is pure, nascently complex and very precise, offering up scents of red plums, cherries, gamebird, mustard seed, a complex base of soil, roses and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep full-bodied and classically structured, with a sappy core, excellent backend mineral drive, ripe tannins and a very long, vibrant and promising finish. 2030-2070.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-95 points “Bright dark red. Knockout ethereal nose combines raspberry, licorice, rose petal, lavender, wild mint and spices. Densely packed but juicy, suave and a bit youthfully imploded, conveying an almost magical impression of weightlessness. Cool and reserved but not at all hard, this fully ripe but reticent wine spreads out to saturate the palate, showing a lighter touch than the Combe Aux Moines. Displays a captivating restrained sweetness from start to long finish. As the lower part of his Clos Saint-Jacques parcel was frosted (production for this premier cru was cut by 30% in ’16), Fourrier chose not to make a separate Cuvée Centennaire.”Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $88 Weekend Sale Price
Decanter 90 points “The Gevrey Vieilles Vignes is a great success, and effectively equivalent in quality to several of Fourrier’s premiers crus. It opens in the glass with aromas of red and black cherry fruit, rich soil and a framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep at the core and nicely concentrated, with plenty of succulent fruit. This is the most enrobed and complete of Fourrier’s villages in 2016. Drinking window 2024-2040.”
John Gilman 90 points “The 2016 old vine bottling of Gevrey AC, which hails from parcels on the northern side of the village, was showing very well indeed, offering up a fine bouquet of cherries, black raspberries, raw cocoa, mustard seed, dark soil tones and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is full, plush and generous, with a good core of fruit, fine soil signature, modest tannins and a long, poised and sappy finish. This will want a handful of years in the cellar, just to allow its secondary layer of complexity to emerge and the tannins fall away, but it is going to be very tempting to drink right out of the blocks. 2021-2050.”
Domaine Fourrier La Combe Aux Moines Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($299.95) $219 special
John Gilman 93 points “The 2016 Combes aux Moines from Jean-Marie Fourrier was also down by thirty percent in quantity, but is absolutely stellar in quality. The stunning nose soars from the glass in a mix of red and black cherries, grilled meats, raw cocoa, black minerality, woodsmoke and spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and sappy at the core, with great purity and soil signature, ripe, perfectly integrated tannins, bright acids and fine focus and grip on the very, very long and very pure finish. This will take a couple more years in the cellar to come around than the Goulots, but it will be every bit as refined and elegant when it has reached its plateau of maturity. Superb juice. 2028-2065.”
Decanter 91 points “The Combe aux Moines was still quite heavily charged with CO2 when I tasted it, but this warm site has produced another sweet, open-knit wine which offers up aromas of ripe cherry, summer fruits and rose petal, and a rich, full-bodied, ample palate impression. This is just a little brief on the finish, which keeps the score down a touch. Drinking Window 2024-2040.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-94 points “Good moderately saturated red. Deep, brooding aromas of black cherry, licorice and smoky minerality. As mineral-driven as the Goulots but with more size and breadth to its dark fruit and spice flavors. Sweet and seamless in the middle, spreading out horizontally to saturate the palate; lovely floral element. Finishes suave and very long, with fine-grained tannins; at once fully ripe and vibrant. This beauty will need at least a few years in bottle to reveal its full personality.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 89-92 points “Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Rather wild scents of crushed cherry stomp, flowers, medicinal herbs and minerals. Offers a lovely fine-grained texture and sweetness of fruit but still in a juicy style for all its ripeness. Very good for this cuvée but there are just three barrels of this juice from 0.34 hectare–or not much above 20 hectoliters per hectare. Savory and long on the aftertaste, with plenty of tannic support.”
Burghound 89-91 points “A discreet application of wood more easily allows the cool, pure and airy essence of black cherry and floral scents to be appreciated. The equally elegant flavors possess a sublime mouthfeel, indeed the word lacy would be apt, though the finish is sufficiently tight and linear at present that a few years of bottle age should help to flesh it out.”
John Gilman 93 points “Normally we will taste Goulots ahead of Champeaux in the lineup chez Fourrier, but I am guessing that the idea was to show the two Gevrey premier crus that escaped frost damage first, followed by the crus higher up on the Combe de Lavaut, where yields were off by an average of thirty percent. Champeaux lies right below Goulots on the slope and the 2016 here is an outstanding wine in the making, delivering a fine nose of red and black cherries, dark chocolate, grilled meats, a lovely base of soil, a touch of fresh herbs, woodsmoke and spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure on the attack, with a sappy core, excellent soil signature, fine-grained tannins and a long, vibrant and nascently complex finish. A beautiful bottle in the making. 2028-2060.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-93 points “Good bright-medium red. Tight, dark aromas of black fruits and licorice pastille lifted by a whiff of cranberry. Ripe and broad, but with terrific inner-mouth floral lift and a rocky pungency. Tannins are fully ripe and fine-grained. Offers a rather exhilarating–and uncommon–combination of cooler flavors and full phenolic ripeness. This wine comes from a very cool, east-facing site planted on rock, which had difficulty ripening its fruit prior to global warming. A tighter, more intellectual style than the Champeaux: Fourrier loves the Goulots with sushi, while he’d pair the Champeaux with a rib-eye steak.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 90+ points “Good medium red. Raspberry, cherry, crushed stone, smoked meat, orange peel, mint and wild herbs on the highly complex, very ripe nose. Then quite closed in the mouth, less sweet and more peppery than the nose suggests. Densely packed but in need of aging. Fourrier told me he waited at least two months between the end of the malolactic fermentations and the bottling, and this wine was one of the latest to finish its malolactic fermentation.”
Domaine Fourrier Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2012 750ML ($559.95) $499 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Tasted blind at the annual “Burgfest” tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos St Jacques from Fourrier is showing the most stems on the nose, but it is so full of character with supreme delineation. The aromatics clearly need three or four years to fully coalesce. The palate is divine: supremely fine tannin, perfectly judged acidity, utterly harmonious with not a hair out of place on the finish. There is so much sophistication here that it does not know what to do with itself. This is the Clos Saint Jacques that is leading the pack – a quite brilliant wine from Jean-Marie Fourrier.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94+ points “Bright, moderately saturated dark red. Brilliantly pure, vibrant aromas of raspberry, rose petal, spices and crushed stone; here the terroir trumps the vintage character. Wonderfully silky on the palate but with a firm spine of acidity giving the flavors of red berries, flowers and crushed stone a youthfully clenched quality. Finishes with outstanding breadth and saline complexity, the noble tannins thoroughly coated by fruit. It will be a treat to try this wine next to the 2013 version a decade from now.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2009 Griotte-Chambertin is a relatively delicate, ethereal wine with expressive aromatics and understated fruit. Deceptively medium in body, the Griotte needs time to flesh out a bit, but it is a stunner. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2029.”
Stephen Tanzer 94+ points “Medium red. Slightly high-toned aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, violet and licorice. The high-toned quality carries through in the mouth, where the sappy-sweet black and blue fruit flavors are complicated by saline soil tones. Less creamy than some of Fourrier’s 2009 premier crus, this very firmly structured, long wine will demand patience. The lovely lift on the back end suggests that it has the energy for a long evolution. Fourrier now gets all his corks from a single supplier in Corsica, who simply steams them and does not use a peroxide solution.”
Burghound 94 points “This is also intensely floral as well as quite elegant with a highly attractive sense of freshness to the high-toned red berry and wet stone suffused aromas. The seductively textured, concentrated and mouth coating flavors possess a taut muscularity on the refined, intense and hugely long finish where a discreet touch of wood surfaces. This should make for a seriously fine example of the appellation in a decade or so yet thanks for the ample dry extract, it should be enjoyable young if desired.”
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New Chateauneuf Blanc Reviews from Vinous
“While only 7% of total Châteauneuf-du-Pape production is white wine, all but a handful of domaines in the region produce at least one bottling, if often in tiny quantities (sometimes less than 100 cases per vintage).… But outstanding examples – and the number of such wines is growing steadily – are more than worth the hunt, especially since the most recent vintages (2017, 2016 and 2015) are all excellent.
“Greater experience with – and general respect for – white varieties by an increasing number of producers over the last decade has ushered in a golden age for Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc. In particular, gentler pressing of the grapes, increased use of temperature-controlled tanks, and modernization of cellars throughout the region have contributed to the overall improvement in wine quality, not to mention the broader appeal of today’s wines. In fact, the general quality standard of this region’s white bottlings has risen to the same level of excellence as the best that northern Rhône AOCs, such as Condrieu and Hermitage, can offer. I’d also add that the best of these wines bear comparison to some Premier and even Grand Cru white Burgundies in terms of depth and complexity.” – Josh Raynolds, Vinous
Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau Blanc, Rhone 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Limpid yellow. Penetrating citrus and orchard fruit aromas are joined by suggestions of chalky minerals, fennel and jasmine. Juicy and deeply concentrated, offering mineral-driven pear nectar and Meyer lemon flavors that show superb definition and drive. The mineral and pear notes repeat emphatically on the nervy finish, which hangs on with impressive focus and persistence.”
Arriving ETA November:
Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Light brilliant yellow. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe citrus and orchard fruits, white flowers and smoky minerals, and an exotic saffron nuance emerges as the wine opens up. Sappy and penetrating on the palate, offering concentrated Meyer lemon, pear nectar, candied ginger and toasted brioche flavors that become more lively on the back half. Distinctly powerful yet lithe as well, finishing with noteworthy energy and lingering floral and mineral flourishes.”
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Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Fontaine Blanc, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Vivid straw-gold. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe pear, candied orange, smoky minerals and chamomile, along with a deeper suggestion of honey. Energetic, palate-staining citrus and orchard fruit flavors show outstanding clarity and slowly put on weight and spread out with air. The mineral note reappears on the finish, which shows a noteworthy combination of richness and sharply defined, bright, filigreed character.”
The Beloved Cascina delle Rose
Rising Star of the Piemonte
“Cascina delle Rose is without question one of the emerging estates in Barbaresco. Readers who have not tasted these wines should make a point of doing so, as they encapsulate everything that makes Barbaresco so alluring.”– Antonio Galloni
When coming up with a list of the “most beloved” Piemontese estates, Cascina delle Rose would definitely be on it—to the surprise of many who aren’t familiar with the estate. Cascina delle Rose does fly under the radar—that’s for sure, but those who know the wines love them and buy them year in and out. The love for the wines is easy to understand once you taste them—they’re soulful elegant renditions in an elegant style. The grace the wines display is hard to come across in a region increasingly warming and concerned with critical appeal—they’re wines for a set, not for the masses.
To be sure, the Cascina delle Rose wines aren’t for everyone. If power is your primary concern, you might look elsewhere in Piemonte (perhaps at the nine different bottlings from Sottimano, in stock now). These are wines that are striving for beauty and achieve it without sacrificing their drinkability and the ability to satisfy. The winemaking here is extremely traditional, verging on natural and the vineyard management fully organic. This is a true family estate doing all the right things. The next release arrives Friday, just in time for winter drinking.
Cascina delle Rose A Elizabeth Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Wine Advocate 89 points “Showing dark and ripe fruit nuances, the 2016 Barbera d’Alba is a chewy and succulent wine that is packed tight with black fruit flavors. This was a relatively cool vintage, but despite that fact, you are treated to a brief moment of cherry sweetness on the close.”
Cascina delle Rose Nebbiolo Langhe, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Wine Advocate 90 points “Here’s a warm vintage loved by the Barbera grape. The 2015 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Donna Elena is very smooth and silky in texture with lots of dark fruit to accompany your senses. Despite the exuberance of the fruit, this remains an elegant and subdued expression of Barbera to pair with chicken with rosemary and roasted potatoes.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2015 Barbaresco Rio Sordo is darker and more muscular than the Tre Stelle tasted alongside it. Powerful and virile in feel, the Rio Sordo is a super-expressive, classically austere Barbaresco that is going to need at least a few years in bottle to come into its own. A host of dark, spiced, balsamic-infused notes develop in the glass, but the Rio Sordo remains reticent. Potent tannins add to an impression of gravitas. There is plenty to look forward to.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “Cascina delle Rose is a winery that deserves your attention. It is specialized in very classic, elegant and fine expressions of Nebbiolo executed according to local tradition. The 2015 Barbaresco Rio Sordo walks with delicate footsteps. In a vintage that shows many overripe wines from this appellation, Cascina delle Rose gets it right. You do, however, feel the 14.5% alcohol on the finish.”
King of Gevrey
Rare Library Wines from Rousseau
Burghound 96 points “This is completely different from the Bèze aromatically speaking as here the nose is brooding and recalcitrant and only aggressive swirling liberates fresh scents of spice, wet stone, game and dark berry fruits. There is outstanding richness to the powerful and impressively scaled flavors that possess an abundance of dry extract that imparts a velvety quality to the mid-palate while also buffering the tightly wound core of firm tannins on the driving mineral-inflected and hugely persistent finish. This is a stunner of a wine and one of the great wines of the 2011 vintage.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2009 750ML ($1,299.95) $1,199 pre-arrival special, only 2 bottles available
Burghound 93-96 points “Don’t miss! Outstanding! Discreet but not invisible wood spice adds breadth to the otherwise perfumed, elegant and ultra pure stone-infused red berry fruit nose. The detailed and strikingly intense medium-bodied flavors exude dry extract that effectively pushes the firm tannic spine to the background on the palate staining and massively long finish. This is a potentially great Clos St. Jacques that could rival the 2005 and potentially even the best vintage that I have ever tasted, the (presently) peerless ’62.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “Rousseau’s 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques takes things into the stratosphere. A model of extreme purity and grace, the Clos St. Jacques leaves the room speechless, and understandably so. Here the fruit is impossibly sweet, perfumed and resonant. If there is one wine in this tasting that encapsulates what makes Burgundy so compelling, this is it. In a word: magnificent!”
Burghound 95 points “Moderate amounts of wood frames wonderfully fresh, airy, perfumed and beautifully complex aromas of red currant, warm earth, stone, crushed herbs and spice hints. The excellent depth of the nose continues onto the equally cool and brilliantly refined mineral-inflected medium-bodied flavors that possess outstanding depth of material and simply stunning length. We gave this an hour’s worth of air first and it helped enormously as it was quite closed at first. While I wouldn’t suggest opening a bottle now as there is sitll so much unrealized upside development potential remaining, if you do decide to pop one anytime soon, then be sure to decant it first for at least 30 minutes. In sum, this is a strikingly beautiful CSJ that should live for a very long time.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2010 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques flows across the palate with fabulous depth and richness. Dark red fruit, licorice, smoke and exotic spices all come together in the glass, while the intensity of the fruit covers every corner of the palate. This huge, powerful wine will require considerable patience, but it is impeccable, not to mention stunning in its beauty. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “A heady, exotic Burgundy, the 2012 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques is remarkably vivid for such a big wine, with freakish levels of concentration that are beautifully balanced by insistent veins of underlying minerality. Layers of pure Pinot fruit build through the mid-palate and finish as this voluptuous, racy wine shows off its fabulous pedigree. It simpy doesn’t get too much better than this.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 95 points “Tasted blind at the annual “Burgfest” tasting in Beaune. The 2012 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint Jacques from Armand Rousseau has the most sensual nose of the quintet, perhaps the ripest with maraschino cherries, fresh strawberry and fruits pastilles. This is certainly the most generous nose. The palate is medium-bodied with supple ripe tannin, more modern in style but very pure and harmonious. The oak is a little more pronounced on the finish but that will be subsumed in time, and then it will be a Clos Saint Jacques that you’ll with you could drink every day.”
Burghound 95 points “Outstanding. There is a deft touch of wood to the reluctant but ultra-elegant essence of red pinot fruit, floral elements and wet stone scents. This is splendidly well-detailed with a terrific sense of underlying tension adding energy to the medium weight flavors that brim with a fine minerality before culminating in a balanced and stunningly long finish. This ageworthy effort is the most refined wine among these four 2012s and dances across the palate. In a word, dazzling.”
Burghound 93 points “Ripe and very floral aromas display pure red pinot fruit that is cut with minerality and crushed herbs that introduce earthy and stony middle weight flavors that possess a taut muscularity and excellent power on the beautifully well-balanced and lingering finish. This is a very fresh wine of harmony that should age for decades if well-stored and while it’s not quite at the same level as the brilliant 2005 version, it’s close.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-93 points “(aging in 15% new oak) Bright deep red. Knockout aromas of raspberry, rose petal, spices and blood orange offer lovely tangy lift and purity. Then sweet and silky in the mouth, with terrific verve and energy for the year. A wine of great finesse, showing the spicy, floral side of Gevrey. This cuvee has been getting better in recent years. Rousseau attributes this to the fact that he has replanted about 5% of these vines, and the young vines are now bringing more fruit and perfume.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2010 Ruchottes-Chambertin is an intensely cool, reticent wine. The bouquet recalls the Mazis, but then the firm Ruchottes tannins set in. Ultimately the Ruchottes is built on purity, definition and nuance. The chiseled aromas and flavors possess stunning detail, but it will be some time before the 2010 is ready to drink. Still, I very much like the energy and drive. Bright, floral notes add lift and vibrancy on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045.”Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru ‘Clos des Ruchottes’ Monopole, Cote de Nuits 2012 750ML ($699.95) $599 pre-arrival special, only 1 bottle available
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 94-96 points “The 2012 Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes Grand Cru comes from the domain’s monopole: populated by one-third vines aged around 30-years and the remainder around 65-years old (see December issue for more details.) This year it sees 20% new oak. It has wonderful delineation on the nose with heightened mineralite from the limestone soils. The palate is medium-bodied with a precise opening. There is a wave of pure, clinically defined fresh raspberry and wild strawberry notes that dovetails into quite a stern, very linear finish. This is uncompromising at the moment, an aloof yet compelling Ruchottes-Chambertin that does not quite possess the completeness of say, Mugneret-Gibourg’s, but clearly as the substance to age extremely well. ”
Burghound 92-94 points “This is almost as elegant as the Charmes with its airy and cool yet markedly ripe nose of lavender, black raspberry, truffle and spiced plum scents. The beautifully well-delineated, intense and mineral-driven medium weight plus flavors possess fine mid-palate concentration before terminating in an attractively vibrant, harmonious and strikingly persistent finale. Lovely stuff that should also age brilliantly well.”
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“[These wines are] what I call “analog,” that is, marked by a certain warmth in contrast to the chiseled surgical clarity of other kinds of wines “-Terry Theise
Terry Theise, noted wine importer/wine philosopher, draws an interesting line between white wines that he describes as digital and analog in style. Digital wines are bright and clean—extra precise. Often they’re made entirely in stainless steel, in a bit more reductive style. As you might expect, then, analog wines show the other side of winemaking technique and are a bit “warmer” in tone—a bit of softness around the edges of flavor.
That’s not to say that these wines lack acidity, cut or lift, but rather that they show a generosity to them that makes them especially versatile at the table and in the glass. That sort of flavor profile makes these wines perfect for cooler season drinking—when the seafood is pristine but you want a wine that nurtures rather than lectures. Austria is already the source of some versatile white wines and these are especially so. As with most Austrian wine, the quality to price ratio is fantastic up and down the price ranges.
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Nikolaihof im Weingebirge Smaragd Gruner Veltliner, Wachau 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points “An intriguing, ethereal nose suggests iris, ginseng, moss, beet root and a hint of blond tobacco. Beet, turnip and kohlrabi inform a plushly textured, expansive yet for Smaragd amazingly buoyant palate. Alkalinity, stoniness and tincture of iodine lend cut and a certain austerity to a finish that flashes back to the complexity of the wine’s bouquet. Those with a predilection for Nikolaihof wines (such as I) are going to appreciate this bottling more than my score might suggest.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 89 points “This soft and (at only 12.5% alcohol) full-feeling rendition of Neuburger emphasizes that grape’s inherent nuttiness, though the usual resemblance to white asparagus still applies. A faintly smoky piquancy adds an intriguing counterpoint to an otherwise soothing finish.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Features a honeyed, floral aroma, with rich, decadent flavors of baked apple, licorice, dried pineapple and slate. Dried basil and mango notes linger on the complex and powerful finish. Drink now through 2018. 38 cases imported. “
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Wine Advocate 97 points “Aged for 17 years in a domestic 3,500-liter cask before it was bottled in August 2014, the 1997 Riesling Vinothek is the best part of the regular 1997 Riesling Smaragd Im Weingebirge, which was bottled and marketed in late 1998. The aged Vinothek version offers a fascinatingly clear, bright, deep and multi-layered nose with iodine and ripe as well as intense white-fleshed fruit aromas. Full-bodied, full of finesse and elegant, this dry, transparent and mineral Riesling develops a great intensity, complexity and power on the palate, but never leaves its silky road of purity, finesse and transparency. There is a lot of Spiel and tension here, but the most exciting characteristic trait is the intense and very mineral, almost endless finish. How youthful this wine is! And its further aging potential is still terrific. The wine reminds me of certain sherries, white Riojas and Jura wines, although it is not less oxidative. But it spent a long time in cask and has the freshness, complexity and thrilling taste of those. It’s a great, unique and stimulating wine that was bottled with 12.8% of alcohol, 6 grams of residual sugar and 6.5 grams of acidity.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 97 points “This successor to the almost supernaturally ethereal and haunting 1995 also has to live up to the reputation of a vintage-of-the-half-century. It manages, though! The bouquet is unearthly in its complex amalgam of bittersweetly floral (iris, gentian, buddleia), pungently nutty, subtly smoky (black tea) and elusively mineral (sea breeze, wet stone, faint fusel oil) components. Considering the secondary development signaled on the nose, a surprising intensity of pure white peach, apple and grapefruit emerges sumptuously on the silky palate. The buoyant finish, more tightly clinging and less ethereal than that of the 1995, represents a long, harmoniously undulating interaction of liquid floral perfume, diverse minerality and succulent fresh fruits. I tasted this shortly before its mid-2014 bottling (a rare exception to the Nikolaihof rule against unveiling wines from cask) and did not review that note before tasting seven months later. My first spontaneous word each time was “unearthly.” And happily, my impressions that followed demonstrated that this wine’s amazing personality, including its aromas and textural allure, had made it to bottle scarcely altered. The source vineyard here, incidentally, is the Im Weingebirge whereas the 1995 was from Vom Stein.”
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Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2013 Riesling Federspiel Vom Stein offers a clear, ripe and well-concentrated bouquet of white stone-fruit aromas along with some nice terroir notes of herbs and stones. Medium-bodied, fresh and elegant on the palate, this Riesling is full of energy, mineral tension and vibrancy and demonstrates impressively, like great Mosel Rieslings do, that great dry wines do not need high alcohol levels to offer an intense, terroir-driven and stimulating taste. Still very young, this pure, piquant and firmly structured Federspiel reveals a good and piquant finish”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points “Caraway and celery root, apple and lemon, hedge flowers and roses: this smells as though somebody blended in Gewurztraminer. A sappy, silky palate incorporates corresponding complexity, with faintly bitter hints of huckleberry and a bite of radish adding stimulation and a suggestion of oyster liquor saliva-inducement to a sustained, infectiously juicy and (at 11.9% alcohol) strikingly buoyant finish.” DS
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Wine Enthusiast 93 points “A tart kind of ripeness recalling zesty orange and crisp yellow apple creates immediate appetite on the nose of this wine. The palate follows through with fizzing lemon and lime zestiness, great concentration and a rich, leesy texture. The finish is dry, lipsmacking and wonderfully refreshing.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91-92 points “The 2016 Zöbing Ried Kogelberg 1ÖTW Riesling opens with a bright, pure, nicely piquant and elegant nose with refreshing mineral aromas. Full-bodied, round and juicy on the palate, this is a nicely finessed and vital Riesling that is not as complex as the Gaisberg or Heiligenstein, but it is vivacious and charmingly fruity. Tasted as a sample in July 2017.”
Terry Theise note “A relatively high-elevation site on mica-schist and amphibolite, the wine is firm and aristocratic, standing at attention. It reminded me of Rüdesheimer Berg, actually. Not so much minerals as rocks and not so much rocks as BOULDERS. It isn’t in the least austere—it has a ton of flavor, grill-marks and shoe-polish and physalis, and for all it’s an upstanding-citizen it is also generous.”
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Bin End Sale !!!
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “The first whiff of this wine, with its concentrated hit of pear peel and citrus pith, spells pleasure. The palate adds a softening, enriching touch of creamy yeast as a backdrop to the rich, fruit-driven flavors: pear, fern, sage and Meyer lemon. The finish is lasting and moreish.”
Terry Theise note “It’s always been the blue-eyed child in a family of brown eyes, a kind of neo-classical structure with Delphic columns and strong muscular lines. This vintage is also stern and serious and powerful, nettle-y and peppery, but right now it’s all yin, and I’m waiting to see if a sweet fruit develops.”
James Suckling 93 points “The nose here heads into tropical fruit territory with mangoes and papaya but also apricots and blossom as well as pink grapefruit. The palate is really dense yet structured and refined with a full body, driven acidity and a long, tangy finish that keeps your mouth watering. Drink now.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points “Hiedler’s 2016 Langenlois Ried Steinhaus 1ÖTW Riesling has a clear, precise and stony-mineral bouquet of bright but perfectly ripe white stone fruits. Pure and fresh on the palate, this is a tight, finessed and stimulating Riesling with concentrated and lingering fruit. The 2016 is straight, elegant, stimulatingly salty and piquant in the finish. In short: a true Riesling classic and at this price a real bargain. Don’t miss it!”
The next best price is $36.99
Etna has become the newest hottest region in Sicily, and for good reason. Jancis Robinson even called it “the Burgundy of the Mediterranean,” which is an apt description of most of the new wines coming off of the high altitude slopes of Sicily’s volcano. There is another traditional style of wine made on Etna as well, though, one that tends to have a foot in Barolo rather than in Burgundy, and its best practitioner is Calabretta. With Burgundy and Barolo prices climbing through the roof, now is a great time to explore those regions that seem to be lost in time.
Calabretta was founded in 1900 and for the majority of the time since then only sold wine in barrel or in demijohns to private customers (who would bottle the wine themselves) or to local restaurants. Since the beginning, the farming has been organic, without chemical pesticides or herbicides—dated for a majority of the life of the winery and suddenly in vogue now. In 1997, the third and fourth generation of the family decided that the future lay in bottling estate wines and releasing them under a family label.
The one thing that didn’t change when Calabretta started bottling was a commitment to old-school vinification and aging. Macerations of up to 60 days are common as is long aging in botti (often up to 6 years for the high end wine). The wines are powerful and structured but, unlike wines from lower altitudes, maintain a freshness and vibrancy to them.
In Stock Now:
Calabretta ‘Cappuccio’ Rosso Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Importer note “Since the winery’s founding in 1900, the Calabretta family has farmed and produced wines from Etna’s ancient indigenous varieties—including Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio—in the mountain’s unique noble vineyards. Historically, the family had sold its wine in sfuso or in barrel to restaurants and to private customers, many of whom travelled long distances to pick up their wine. But in 1997, third and fourth-generation father and son Massimo and Massimiliano Calabretta decided to bottle their best wine under their own label to ensure the winemaking traditions of their family and Etna would not be lost.”
The next best price is $34.99
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points “Deep red-ruby. Underbrush, tar and licorice dominate the red fruit aromas and flavors. A hint of shoepolish emerges on the long tactile and slightly warm finish. This big wine has plenty of personality but I would have liked a little more grace. (15% alcohol)”
The average price nationally is $30
Ian D’agata-Vinous 91+ points “Bright dark red. Camphor and herbs complicate red cherry and berries on the nose. Dense and youthfully chewy with brooding flavors of red fruit and spicy herbs. Finishes long and savory with a tactile mouthfeel. This is deeper than the regular (not made from ungrafted vines) Rosso, but is also currently less well delineated. (12.5% alcohol)”
Importer note “95% Carricante, 5% Cataratto & Insolia. From seven hectares of vineyard in the area around Etna. Hand harvested. 1/3 of the fruit for this wine comes from old vines averaging 60-80 years old — some vines even over 100 years old and 2/3 of the fruit comes from a young vineyard planted in 2004. Aged in stainless steel. Practicing organic.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Importer note “95% Nerello Mascalese & 5% Nerello Cappuccio. Aged partially in large botti and partially in stainless steel. The current bottling is a blend of 2005, 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016! Sourced from a mix of young and old vines. Cala Cala means “Gulp, Gulp” says Massimiliano, meaning you should gulp this one down because it’s so tasty!”Calabretta Gaio Gaio Vino Rosso, Sicily 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Winery note “[Translated] A red wine from young, newly planted vineyards in the Calderara district by a rigorous selection massale. Fruity, floral, and slightly spicy. Dedicated to my father when he was a child (Gaio).”
Winery note “[Translated] Pinot Noir: the ‘enfant terrible’ of world viticulture returns to the Etna area… It is planted in a vineyard where the temperature changes between day and night are more than 20 ° C, the wind beats undeterred and the sun warms and illuminates the leaves. The production of grapes per plant is extremely low and the fermentation is cured and studied specifically to better develop the sensory qualities of this wonderful grape.”
First Offer:The Limited 2015 Ornellaia Masseto
Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($819.95) $679 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 100 points “The release of this wine comes at a very happy time for the Masseto brand. The stunning 2015 Masseto is hitting the market just as the final touches are being made to the new Masseto winery. I’m told that Masseto might one day see other wines made under that same roof, so we can’t exclude a future enlargement of the Masseto portfolio. The Masseto vineyard now covers seven hectares (divided into three plots), and the vines range from 30 to 40 years old. The wine is absolutely teeming with sensorial spirit that is transmitted through the bounty of the bouquet and the solid tannins of the mouthfeel. Nothing about the wine goes unnoticed or unchecked. Its many working pieces fit together with precision like a well-oiled machine. The 2015 vintage is characterized by a level of sheer exuberance that also defined the 2004 and 2007 vintages. Yet, it also reveals similar power, directness and linearity that we saw in the 2010 vintage. The 2015 Masseto takes the best of all those past vintages and confines those qualities to this single, spectacular bottle.”
Antonio Galloni 99 points “The 2015 Masseto is simply extraordinary. Soft, silky and seamless, the 2015 possesses remarkable balance and harmony from the very first taste. What surprises me most about the 2015 is how fresh and vibrant the flavors are. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, mint, and wild flowers are all beautifully lifted in this exquisitely perfumed, gracious Masseto. Despite the warm, drought conditions of the early summer, the 2015 is a wine of mid-weight structure, polish and restraint. In this tasting, it positively dazzles. I can’t remember ever tasting a young Masseto with this much pure harmony. Other vintages have been super-impressive upon release. The 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2013 all come to mind. But the 2015 has a level of pure sensuality and allure none of those vintages had when young, with the possible exception of the 2004.”
James Suckling 99 points “The aromas are profound here with a deep and vast character of black olives, cedar, chocolate and berries, as well as vanilla essence and light coffee. Flamboyant. Full-bodied, this powerful young Masseto is chewy, muscular and rich. Dusty tannins, yet wonderfully polished. A wine for the cellar. Try in 2022.”
Wine Spectator 98 points “This red leads off with exquisite notes of vanilla and toast, framing black cherry, blackberry, cedar and iron flavors. Ripe and powerful, yet polished and silky, with dense tannins well-integrated into the structure. The fruit returns in the end, along with a licorice note. A superb young version, showing fine potential. Merlot. Best from 2021 through 2035. 390 cases imported.”