Weekend VinopolPick 11-1-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

The Best Cristal Since…

Your New House White

The Perpetual Favorite, Coutier Blanc de Blancs

Staff Pick: A Star Montepulciano

Chateau Simone’s Iconic Rosé

Gatinois: The Glory of Äy

Trending Wines of the Week

2005 Defaix Chablis Returns

A New Review for a Syrah Value

Delas: Sleeping Giant of the Rhone


The Best Cristal Since…

The 2008 edition of Cristal is a wine that needs little in the way of further hype.  It’s easily the best vintage since 2002, more likely the best since ’96 or 1990.  It’s a stunning wine, which was further evidenced when we tasted it in a lineup of other ’08 Tete du Cuvees.  It was easily the best in class, even among other wines in its prestige category. We’re clearly not the only ones that feel this way, too—the wine has three 100pt scores plus an emphatic 98+ from Antonio Galloni (the only wines from the vintage he scored higher were ’08 Salon and ’08 Cristal Rose).

We’re offering a very special case-6 price on this because it’s a wine that any collector is going to want to stock up on.  It’s incredibly vibrant and engaging now, but this is also clearly a wine that’s going to go the distance.

Arriving ETA November 8th:

Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($339.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML (1999.95) $1,439 pre-arrival special (that’s only $239.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 100 points
“Top Cellar Selection. This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Roederer’s own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Drink from 2020.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2008 Cristal is a perfect wine, and Champagne simple does not get any better. This incredible wine offers a beautiful perfume of clean, crisp fruits, layers of complexity in its toasted spice and white flowers, and an utterly seamless, yet powerful style on the palate. This is a rich, decadent expression of Cristal yet it’s still crystalline and elegant, with no sensation of weight, and it just glides over the palate. Haut Couture at its finest and this majestic, profound, legendary Cristal can be drunk anytime over the coming 2-3 decades.”
James Suckling 100 points “Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2008 Cristal is a wine that takes over all the senses and never lets up. The brilliance and cut of the Chardonnay finds an extra kick of resonance from the Pinot Noir to carry the mid palate and finish in this stunningly beautiful, chiseled Champagne. Lemon oil, almond, flowers, dried herbs and Mirabelle plum are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop as the 2008 shows off its pedigree. The 2008 is a regal, towering Champagne from Roederer. That’s all there is to it.”
Decanter 98 points “Cristal 2008 is on a roll to yet higher levels of exquisite purity and precision of fruit in a paradoxical balance of weightlessness and depth of flavour, permeated with minerals and a salinity reflecting the greatest terroirs of the Roederer estate. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon believes that 2008 is his best effort to date, and it’s easy to see why. It’s from a cooler, maritime vintage that came right in the end, with one of the longest harvests ever, running from mid-September to early October. The colour is a stylish pale gold flecked with green. Aromas of white flowers are joined by a cleansing citrus vigour and richer tones of peach and mirabelle. The palate is still quiet, but a tender creaminnes shows through, and there’s so much concentration to come if you drink if after 2021. The greatness of the wine owes everything to the influence of organic and biodynamic precepts in the field – and Lecaillon’s sleepless perfectionism in the cellar towards finer fruit and a careful brake on too much yeasty expression. The acidity is vibrant but better integrated in the 2008 than in the 1996. Magnificent. Dosage 7.7g/l.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 97+ points “Let’s start describing the 2008 Cristal technically first. It is a 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 36 plots in seven grands crus: Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Avize and Cramant for the Chardonnay. Twenty-five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 16% underwent malolactic fermentation to moderate the fresh acidity of the 2008 vintage. The assemblage was bottled in May 2009. After 8.5 years on the second lees (longer than any Cristal before), the first release was disgorged in September 2017 with a relatively low dosage of 7.5 grams per liter.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “There’s a sense of focus and vibrancy to the overall structure, while the palate is all grace and charm. A fine, lacy texture carries a tapestry of ripe white cherry, toast point, blood orange zest, honey and ground ginger notes, with a minerally, mouthwatering finish. A stunning Champagne with a long future ahead of it. Drink now through 2033.”


Your New House White:

Stonestreet Sauvignon Blanc

Stonestreet is one of the better premium producers of California wine out there.  Working solely with fruit from their Alexander Valley estate, this high-altitude Sauvignon blanc yet again brings the thunder—at a price that’s half what the winery is charging (or even less than by the case!).  This is an exotic, golden fruited version of the grape, with enough tang and cool green quality to let you know that you’re drinking Sauvignon.  As with some of our previous Stonestreet offers, quantities are limited, so now’s your chance to stock up on your new house white.

In Stock Now:

Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($34.95) $17 special
Case-12 Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($419.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Stonestreet consistently delivers complex, refreshing renditions of Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy on the nose, with an exotic tease of pea shoot, it seemingly vibrates on the palate with lemon, grapefruit and apricot flavors.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $24.99
The average listed price is $32


The Perpetual Favorite, Coutier Blanc de Blancs

The wines of R.H. Coutier are perpetually some of the most beloved Champagnes in the shop.  Based in the Grand Cru village of Ambonnay, the Coutier Champagnes display the power and richness of the village—and at a price that’s unmatched for their town.  We sell a (fairly literal) pile of their “Tradition” bottling every year (and at $33/btl, in stock now, you can start stocking up this minute) but the hidden gem in the lineup might be their Blanc de Blancs.

Combining the natural power of Ambonnay with the lighter, lacier textures of Chardonnay-driven Champagne, this is a wine that manages to fuse to contradictory features in a thrilling way—at a tremendous price.  This is one of the better under-$40 Champagnes every year and while the new disgorgement hasn’t been reviewed, we think Antonio Galloni’s 93 point score captures what we’ve loved about the wine every time we’ve tried it.  We’re able to get a mere twenty cases of this wine, which means it won’t last until the holidays.  Stock up now.

Arriving ETA November 8th:

R.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
No reviews for this disgorgement. Review for May 2018 disgorgement:
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is especially bright and tense in this release, whereas it has previously been a bit more creamy. No matter, this Coutier’s 100% Chardonnay from vineyards in Ambonnay remains one of the best wines in the range, as well as a hidden gem in Champagne. Lemon peel, mint and freshy cut white flowers add energy to a gorgeous Champagne loaded with both character and distinction. This release is 60% 2013 and 40% reserve wines. Dosage is 6 grams per liter. Disgorged: May 2018.”


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Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002) with a shipping date and we’ll get you on the schedule!


Staff Pick
A Star Montepulciano

There are many reasons to pick a wine: hype, price, curiosity, desperation… Sometimes I’ll pick a wine based on sentimentality. My wife and I served Montepulciano at our wedding as a crowd pleaser, and it was being served (at a great price) at the Italian restaurant where we had our service and lunch. There are humble wines from this region, and some gutsier, well made versions that really stand out from the crowd. The wines from Tiberio have the humble price tag, but definitely drink on the serious side.

We opened it expecting a pop and pour experience, but found the wine needed at least a good splash of air to get it jump started. The year was quite warm, and the vines were stressed, resulting in fruit with a ton of concentration on the nose; dark spices and a pleasing forward ripeness. Not what I usually expect, but it was a pleasant surprise, earthy and full of dark, spiced fruit. The wine wasn’t heavy, but it was intense. We paired it with roasted vegetables and a slow cooked meat sauce. A very easy meal, and the wine’s delicious dark cherry note, good tannic edge and easy finish was a great pair. Even better the second night with leftovers. This is an easy pick to have on hand as the weather turns cooler and you’re raiding the root cellar and firing up the slow cooker for hearty meals.

In Stock Now:

Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($24.95) $18.50 special
Case-12 Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($269.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Ian D’agata – Vinous 92 points
“Vibrant red. Captivating aromas of red currant, dark plum, blueberry, licorice and Oriental spices. Broad and ripe on entry, then luscious in the middle, finishing with a riper mouthfeel than is usual for this wine, but in keeping with the 2017 vintage (dry and hot). Finishes long, with serious, building tannins and noteworthy sweetness. This is a real miracle considering the vintage’s less-than-stellar growing season; timely rainfall at the end of September provided much-needed liquid refreshment for the Montepulciano, allowing the vines to recover from the summer drought and heat and benefit from longer hang times. On a side note, wine lovers have something else to look forward to, as the 2018 vats of Montepulciano I tried during my cellar visit were absolutely superb; they are undoubtedly the best entry-level Montepulciano wines Tiberio has ever made, so there’s something to really look forward to here.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Chateau Simone’s Iconic Rosé

Chateau Simone makes a truly iconic rosé.  Although they produce red and white, when someone says “Simone,” their rosé is the wine we think of—for good reason.  This is a brooding style of rosé, perfect for winter drinking and/or a few years of aging.  They go for decades, picking up savory nuance and silky textures along the way.  The 2018 is one of the most powerful versions the estate has made and is a perfect wine to go with all sorts of heartier foods—it’s surprising how versatile this wine is.

Just Arrived, In stock Now:

Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe. We import, on average, 1500 bottles per annum for the US market.”



Gatinois’ Glorious Äy Champagne

Äy is an easy village to love in Champagne—and also a place that’s easy to have never heard about.  It’s Pinot country but its biggest and most famous landowner, Bollinger, doesn’t have anything on their labels to let you know where they’re based.  Nevertheless, that richer, more powerful style that everyone associated with Bollinger (and the other big producer in the town, Gosset) is very much the flavor of Äy.  The Champagnes from the village show tons of rich fruit and opulent, impressive textures to match their cepage—there’s no doubt they’re Pinot based bubbles.

Of the producers in Äy, Gatinois might be the most undervalued.  The family farms some of the best land in the town and works with a very high proportion of a massale selection of Pinot Noir called “Petite Pinot d’Äy” that has extremely small berries.  These small berries ensure an exceptionally flavorful base wine that translate into the finished product—Gatinois’ wines are rich, textured and powerful.  We’re excited to carry them again and they arrive in November, in plenty of time for celebratory fall drinking.

Just Arrived:

Gatinois Ay Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($51.95) $41.90 special
Importer Note
“WIth the classic dark cherry notes of Ay Pinot Noir, this Brut Tradition from historic Gatinois family has incredible depth of fruit and a mineral backbone that makes for easy drinking! Estate-owned Pinot Noir (majority is Petit Pinot d’Ay) and Chardonnay grown in the Grand Cru village of Äy. Most of their Pinot holdings are comprised of massale selection Petite Pinot d’Ay: a small-yielding, tiny berried clone that is unique to this village. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Fermentation (100% malo) in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. Tank-aged sur lies for 2+ years; 7 gr/l dosage.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Gatinois Ay Grand Cru Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($57.95) $47 special
Winery Note
” As for all of our Champagnes, the wines selected for the Brut Réserve blend are sourced exclusively from our family’s vineyards in Aÿ. This Grand Cru from Aÿ is a true reflection of the power and elegance of its terroir. Predominantly Pinot Noir from Aÿ (80%) which brings structure and volume. Chardonnay completes the blend with a soft and feminine touch. The champagnes are aged “sur lattes ” (horizontally on racks) for a prolonged period of 3 years before the yeasts are disgorged (compared to two years for the Brut Tradition). Attractive yellow hue with honeyed reflections. The complex nose offers white flowers, yellow fruits and candied citrus. 3 years of ageing in our cellars allows the champagne to develop a rich, smooth texture on the palate, with notes of stewed fruit, brioche and honey complemented by the generosity of Pinot Noir.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending Wines of the Week

A stunning, regal bottle of dry Rheingau Riesling.
Weingut Kunstler Hochheimer Holle Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheingau 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling .com 98 points
” All ripe yellow fruit, but without the slightest hint of exaggeration. Great concentration, combined with power and brilliance. Gigantic finish that doesn’t want to stop, but somehow it remains totally refined. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
Terry Theise note “This Hochheim “GG” seems always to show best in cooler years, when its savory generosity isn’t overbearing. Like now! A first impression of cask is quickly overwhelmed by a seductive palate, a savory malty wine, maple and candy-cap mushrooms; mineral embedded in the sweetest doughiest swoon of charm and loveliness.”

This breaks new ground for serious, ageworthy Dolcetto.
G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati is a wine of extraordinary and arresting beauty. Intense and yet also remarkably delineated, the Coste & Fossati is a terrific example of the heights Dolcetto can reach in skilled hands. Readers will find a gorgeous, beautifully layered wine endowed with tremendous energy and focus. Dark plum, graphite, smoke, menthol and licorice all build in this super-expressive and nuanced wine from Vajra. I loved it.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
This pairs perfectly with apple desserts.
A.J. Adam Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Auslese*, Mosel 2016 375ML ($69.95) $49 special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points
“The 2016er Auslese * was made from the second pressing of the Eiswein grapes harvested on November 30. This already golden-colored wine delivers a rather ripe and exotic nose of grapefruit, candied passion fruit and backed pineapple. It is nicely balanced on the palate and does not exhibit the usual “Eiswein bite” of such wines but proves more luscious in style. The acidity comes eventually through in the sweet and complex finish. 2023-2036.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 91 points “This “one-star” Auslese represents the later fraction of pressing from the frozen grapes harvested on November 30. Papaya, peach and candied lemon peel on the nose set the tone for a silken-textured, tartly tingling palate. An influx of salinity provides welcome saliva-inducement in a rich yet bright, albeit relatively opaque finish. The sense of invigoration and grip here are highly impressive. And possibly it will clarify more with some time in bottle, though as with most Riesling crushed from frozen grapes, I would monitor this one’s evolution cautiously if I were planning to cellar any.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

It’s hard to find better quality:price ratio in Barbaresco.
Paitin Barbaresco Sori Paitin, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Paitin Barbaresco Sori Paitin, Piedmont 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Sweet cherry and strawberry fruit is framed by earth, eucalyptus, tobacco and tar notes in this rich yet firm red. The assertive tannins suggest a glacial evolution but the lasting impression of fruit shows this wine’s potential. Best from 2022 through 2040. 815 cases made.”

From the former Delille winemaker, this is fantastic WA Cabernet.
Avennia Sestina Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2016 Sestina checks in as 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that saw 21 months in 48% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It shows the purity and elegance of the vintage beautifully and offers classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, crushed rocks, and tobacco leaf. With beautiful balance and that more elegant, finesse-driven style of the estate, it packs plenty of fruit and is a seamless wine that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years.”
Josh Raynolds 93+ points “(includes a good percentage of vines from the 1970s; aged in about 45% new oak): Bright dark red. Alluring violet and rose petal lift to the aromas of dark berries, licorice and black olive. Penetrating, savory wine with terrific saline minerality and lift to its wild berry and licorice flavors. This very concentrated, backward wine finishes with serious tannins but no rough edges. A bit more sharply focused than its 2015 sibling but this wine will need longer for its tannic spine to unclench. Even the Merlot yields were moderate in 2016, noted winemaker Chris Peterson. Following a bit of acidification, this wine finished with a pH of 3.8.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

California classic.
Jordan Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Always made to shine at the table, this crisp refined white is a celebration of lemon zest, green apple and wet stone, integrated in oak and bright acidity. Further flavors of pear and white peach complement the memorable proceedings.”

This blows Numanthia out of the water.
Bodegas Ordonez Vatan Tinta De Toro, Toro 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“Seeing the same élevage as the 2016, the 2015 Vatan offers a slightly more saturated color as well as smoking good notes of blackcurrants, smoked earth, melted licorice, violets, and dark chocolate. Fabulous on the palate as well, with full-bodied richness, flawless balance, ripe tannins, and a great, great finish, it’s a primordial baby at the moment, yet this thrilling wine could compete with wine costing 3-4 times the price.”

The best value in the Cameron lineup? Perhaps.
Cameron Reserve Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
: The ‘Reserve’ level of Cameron Chardonnay is an incredible deal.  Made of declassified barrels of Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge, so without the new oak that the lower level bottling sees, this wine shows facets of the grace and intensity of Abbey and the Clos without the pricetag of those higher end bottlings.

2005 Defaix Chablis Returns

Daniel-Etienne Defaix releases Chablis when he believes the wines are ready. This can mean 10+ years after harvest, in the case of the 2005’s.  We offered these earlier this year and they sold like crazy—which makes sense given their age and prices.  We’ve been able to secure a second round of these excellent bottles, arriving later this month.

They’re not really ex-cellar or library release, but represent the current vintage on offer (and imported by Rosenthal, so you know it’s good).  After spending 11 years in tank, these wines were bottled in 2016 and then only released earlier this year, when Defaix thought it appropriate.  These are magnificent bottlings that have just reached their peak maturity window. What could you possibly expect to pay for such an experience? At Vinopolis – under $50/bottle!

The quantities of each wine are smaller this time, though.  As you might guess, nearly fifteen year old Chablis doesn’t grow on trees, so if you want to restock (or you missed out earlier), time is not your friend. Exactly the opposite of the wines themselves.

“These are textural, complex wines that evoke the white Burgundies of yesteryear, and they may confuse consumers habituated to the tart, brittle, processed wines that are often passed off as expressions of region’s “terroir.” Their potential to develop in bottle and their capacity to pair with a thrilling variety of foods, however, make them fascinating, at least to this writer. Much of the production is sold to France’s best restaurants, but what reaches the export market is well worth seeking out.”William Kelley, Wine Advocate

Re-Arriving ETA Mid-November:

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Vaillon, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon is drinking beautifully, wafting from the glass with a pretty bouquet of honey, buttered citrus and confit lemon. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, satiny and bright, with a generous, textural attack, vibrant acids and a charming, open-knit profile that belies its evident capacity to age. It will be well worth seeking out when it’s released.”
Importer Note “The astute reader will notice the singular “Vaillon” instead of the more commonplace “Les Vaillons” on Defaix’s label. The boundaries of this vineyard were extended in 1976 to take advantage of its popularity in the market, but the Defaix family owns a prime parcel of old vines (45 years of age) in the original cru—the Vaillon. The steep 28-degree gradient and iron-rich soils of this southeast-facing site render a wine of spicy richness, and Danny’s 2005 is a real powerhouse. Showing both remarkable concentration and excellent acidity, this wine has a luscious quality that contrasts gently with the more chiseled crus below. At thirteen years old, it still feels downright youthful, such is its density of fruit and commandingly long finish. It’s an authoritative, hugely impressive wine that should continue to blossom for many years to come.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet is more complex than the Vaillon, unfurling with complex aromas of honeycomb, mandarin oil, fresh mushroom, almond paste and oyster shell. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, rich and gourmand, with a satiny attack, a deep, concentrated core and tangy balancing acids. It’s a textural, sapid Chablis that will work well at the table.”
Importer Note “In fascinating contrast to “Vaillon” above, Defaix’s “Côte de Lechet” is a master class in mineral precision. This remarkably steep site (a 45% gradient) with very poor soil produces a wine that Danny describes as embodying “the real, true mineral expression of Chablis,” and even the generosity of the 2005 vintage cannot dull the blade of this limestone scythe. Freshly blasted chalk dominates the nose, with notes of candied lemon, acacia honey, and fresh herbs lurking underneath; still, this is a wine of minerality first and foremost. The palate is strikingly broad, but with a strictness and linearity that carries the intense limestone of the nose all the way through the lengthy finish like an ice luge. This is a wine of immense tension and mouth-watering salinity that, like the “Vaillon” above, also comes across as youthful, but offers a great deal of secondary pleasure at the moment as well. The family owns a 3.5-hectare parcel of 45-year-old vines in this distinctive cru, most of which are planted within a parcel known as the “Clos des Moines.””

Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points
“Dramatic aromas of blanched almonds, beeswax, honey and preserved lemon introduce the 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys, a full-bodied, textural wine that’s rich, concentrated and structured, with a tight-knit core, tangy acids and a stony finish. Like Defaix’s other 2005s, it’s very much in its prime and will be well worth seeking out when it reaches the marketplace.”
Grapelive 93 points “Daniel-Etienne Defaix … continues [his family’s] tradition of wine growing, which has been working the vines around Chablis since the 1500s. He manages 26 hectares planted exclusively to Chardonnay, which most all there vines in a selection of Premier Crus. Defaix, a natural minded vigneron whose family is from Avallon, not far from Chablis, he uses largely self-taught methods to craft his wines with ideas passed down and learned from his own experiences. His severe selections of grapes and his long fermentations highlight his deft and gentle touch in the cellar, which shows here in his latest release of Les Lys from the 2005 vintage. [This] is a gorgeous Chablis with incredible texture, mineral notes, remarkable lively character from this warm vintage and polished depth. This 2005 gives a subtle floral perfume, hints liquid rock, clarified cream, apple, pear and lemon preserves as well as wet stone (chalk), acacia honey, hazelnut and lingering fleshiness of form. It is a seamless Chardonnay of great class and detail. The Chablis 1er Cru Les Lys comes from a monopole plot known as ‘Clos du Roi’ and the average age of the vines is close to 45 years. [The vines are planted] on a sloping hillsides that has a near perfect southwest exposure allowing warm ripe flavors and richness, while the Kimmeridgian (limestone) soils give fabulous structure, acidity and minerallity. Daniel Defaix ferments 100% de-stemmed grapes in stainless steel tank using 100% natural yeasts at cold temps, which takes close to three weeks, and then the wine is rested almost three years on the lees, again in stainless (only) and goes through natural malos, then racked again back to stainless tanks to aged up to ten years before bottling! The results are amazing and this 2005, which shows the benefits of that regime and the age delivers a great performance in the glass with a sexy layered mouth feel and secondary elements beginning to shine through. The ‘Les Lys’ Premier Cru vineyard, part of the Vaillons, is located on the left bank of the Serein River, overlooking the villages of Chablis and Milly, making for an intriguing terroir, one of the most rare in the series of Premier Crus from Chablis and with a stony personality, but with a softer tone than some of neighboring sites. This Defaix version is wonderfully elegant, especially now.”

A New Review for a Syrah Value

In Stock Now;

“impressive depth and true northern Rhône personality at a great price”
Domaine Vincent Paris Selection Syrah, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2018 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
John Gilman 88+ points
“The Vincent Paris Sélection 2018 Syrah “Collines Rhodaniennes” is an excellent value, as it offers impressive depth and true northern Rhône personality at a great price. The bouquet is deep and loaded with cassis, roasted game, pepper, dark chocolate, woodsmoke and a good base of soil tones. On the palate the wine is full-bodied and impressively well-endowed at the core for its appellation, with a bit of firm tannin, fine focus and grip and pretty good complexity on the long and vibrant finish. The broad shoulders of the 2018 vintage really work to advantage here and this is a simple Syrah appellation that will age very well in this vintage. 2019-2035.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Sleeping Giant of the Rhone

Delas is one of the most notable landholders in the Northern Rhone, with holdings in some of the best vineyards in every major AOC, yet they still manage to be overlooked when people put together collections of wine from the region.  We’d like to remedy that, so permit us a few seconds to sing their praises.

Delas makes some of the most powerful, intense wines in the Northern Rhone at prices that make them one of the superior values in the region. Density and richness are a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup.  We turn to them for big, bold wines that often show very well young—a remarkable trait in their part of France.

For whatever reason, the market has yet to catch up to the quality coming out of Delas’ cellar.  The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest markets in the wine world, with many wineries getting expensive overnight.  That hasn’t happened to Delas—yet.  With the quality of recent vintages and the scores involved, we definitely see it happening soon, though, so if you love these wines now is the time to back up the truck.

In Stock Now:

Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points
“Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”

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The next best price is $94
Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2004 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points
“Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”

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Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points
“The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection! There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2013 750ML ($119.95) $59 special
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points
“Very dark purple indeed. Altogether broader and less focused than the Côte Rôties on the nose. Peppery and subtle. Very glossy, layered, complex and magnificent. I would reproach this only very slightly on the finish but it’s a pretty magnificent wine.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of the gems in the vintage is the 2013 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, which comes from both the Bessards and Grandes Vignes lieux-dits on Hermitage Hill. Completely destemmed, then vinified in stainless steel and concrete tanks, the wine is aged 18 months in 30% new French oak; it offers terrific notes of dark fruits, graphite and ample minerality in a full-bodied, layered, ripe profile. It’s more approachable than the Les Bessards, yet will still have three decades of longevity.”

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The next best price is $79.97
The average listed price is $89

Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “While the Les Bessards gets all the attention, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes isn’t far behind and is unquestionably the value play. Beef blood, cassis, blackberry liqueur and loads of crushed rock nuances all emerge from this ripe, concentrated, full-bodied Hermitage that has a classic, structured profile. It’s well worth a case purchase and will keep for two to three decades. As always, this cuvée comes from two parcels, the lower part of the Bessards lieu-dit and the Les Grandes Vignes located at the highest point on Hermitage Hill. It’s completely destemmed and sees 16 months in 30% new French oak.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Enticing hints of sweet spice, black pepper and bacon fat seduce on the nose of this rich but balanced Hermitage. Blackberry and cherry flavors are fresh and juicy but structured by firm tannins and brisk acidity. A polished wine already, it should intensify its savory, smoky complexities well through 2030.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $87
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