The Radically Brilliant Bruno Cormerais
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(Affordable) Back Vintage Burgundy from Ch. Chorey
First Offer: 2017 Peter Lauer
The Incredible 2006 Lopez Tondonia
New Releases from CameronLast Call for Pre-Release Pricing
Cameron holds a special place in the heart of anyone who loves Oregon wine. Winemaker John Paul has been making some of the best wines to come out of the Willamette Valley since 1984. The wines have Burgundian sensibilities, in that they age extremely well and have impeccable balance, but they are as ‘Oregon’ as they come. If you were to ask a selection of winemakers here who their top 5 wineries are; Cameron will be in every list.
There are two main vineyards, Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge, both in the Dundee Hills AVA. The Clos (named after the electric deer fence that surrounds the property) makes slightly more powerful wines, while Abbey Ridge (at higher elevation) produces wines with a little more acidity and structure. The whites are complex and intense as well.
Cameron is also notable for being the leading member of the Deep Roots Coalition—an organization of wineries that are committed to dry farming and for being one of the most thoughtful farmers in the valley. In every measurable respect these are some of the finest wines made in the US today, and we’re proud to announce a few new releases from the master.
Arriving Mid-November and On Sale Now:
Cameron Winery ‘Abbey Ridge’ Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: The Clos Electrique is Cameron’s estate vineyard, named after the electric deer fence that surrounds it. This is planted to a mix of clones and is vinified traditionally—no racking and all in older barrels. This is crisp and coiled, with distinct minerality and a lot of power in a lithe frame. Like most vintages of the Electrique Blanc, this is pretty good now but will be stellar in a few years.
The next best price is $69.99
VinopolNote: Abbey Ridge is one of the most hallowed sites in the Willamette Valley. Planted in 1975, the Pinot Noir here is own rooted and at one of the highest elevations in the Dundee Hills. The elevation and classic Jory soils give the wine an intense personality—high toned, elegant and tensile, with good power and a strong voice. This bottling has been one of the defining Oregon Pinots since John Paul started making it.
The next best price is $75.99
VinopolNote: Named after the electrified deer fence surrounding the vineyard, the Clos Electrique is the estate vineyard surrounding Cameron’s winery. Located just up the road from Maresh vineyard, on Worden Hill Road, it’s in the promised land of the Dundee Hills and the wines deliver. This is always the meatiest, most primal Pinot of the Cameron lineup. We love it for its intense savoriness and quiet power—every year this is an absolute treat to drink.
The next best price is $69.998
The next best price is $46.99
Winery Note “This complex white wine, inspired by the field blends of Northeastern Italy, expresses notes of lemon soufflé, spearmint and sea air. It has luscious, round, rich, mouth filling flavors of marzipan, peach and apricot with a slight bitter almond on the back of the palate. Oyster eaters, this is your wine! A blend of Friulano, Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris with a dash of Muscat.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points “Limpid yellow. Anjou pear, Meyer lemon and chamomile scents, along with hints of fennel and sweet butter. Dry and sharply focused in the mouth, offering dried orchard fruit and citrus marmalade flavors; a late suggestion of melon adds succulence and depth. Finishes with very good cling, leaving bitter citrus pith and pear nectar notes behind.”
VinopolNote: Abbey Ridge sits high atop the Dundee Hills; a collection of vines planted on their own roots in the mid-70’s. It’s unquestionably one of the most special sites in the Willamette Valley and though it’s better known for Pinot Noir, the Abbey Chard is fantastic. This is the most limited of the Chardonnay bottlings from Cameron and isn’t produced every year (there was no 2014 version).
VinopolNote “This wine sees the same elevage as the two single vineyard Chardonnays. With no new oak to hide behind, the character of the two vineyards its sourced from (Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique) are in full force. It shows a little less complexity than the single vineyard offerings, but is nonetheless one of the best values in Oregon Chardonnay.”
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Cameron Winery Dundee Hills Rouge de Gris, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Grapelive 94 points “Cameron’s skin contact Pinot Gris is one of America’s best orange wines. It really gets all the pigment from these grapes making for a deeply colored wine, hence the name Rouge de Gris, which means red from grey in French. According to John Paul of the famed Oregon producer Cameron, this wine is dedicated to the late Stanko Radikon, who was one of Italy’s most iconic orange wine producers, and his son, Saša of Radikon Oslavia in Italy’s northeast near the border with Slovenia, who made Paul realize the potential locked up in the Pinot gris grape. Cameron, and winemaker John Paul, is also notable for being the leading member of the Deep Roots Coalition, as are Doug Tunnell of Brick House and Kelley Fox—it’s an organization of wineries that are committed to dry farming and Paul is considered one of the most thoughtful farmers in the Willamette Valley. This Pinot Gris comes from Cameron’s oldest vineyard is Abbey Ridge located high in the Dundee Hills at an elevation range of 500-700 feet, with the first vines were planted here back in 1976. Made to be served chilled the Rouge de Gris is fresh and vibrant showing lovely wild strawberries, minty herb, rose petal and touches of red citrus, peach and tart raspberry in a medium weight wine. It has a striking generosity and perception of lush detail before a subtle grippy savory side comes through that makes you aware of just how serious this wine is. I loved the 2015 version, but this riper vintage really turns this Rouge de Gris into a very complete offering, maybe taking it to the next level, as it is especially well crafted and drinks beautifully and gets even better when paired with fall food choices and more robust cuisine. Cameron, known for their legendary Pinot Noir(s) like their estate Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge bottlings also make some Italian inspired wines as well. [These are] somewhat under the radar and [have] a cult like following, [so] they can be hard to find, but are well worth searching out. Be sure to look for this Rouge de Gris as well as John Paul’s Nebbiolo and his Friulano-based white blend Giuliano, all of which just got released!”
Featured New Arrival
Radically Brilliant Wines from Pays Nantes
The wines of the Pays Nantes, best known for Muscadet, are generally of a type: light, crisp, mineral. At best, they manage to coalesce this rockiness in to a force of flavor that leaves a lasting impression, but generally, they’re fine—serviceable wines to drink with oysters or plats de mer. That’s why Bruno Cormerais (now run by son Maxime) describes their wines as “atypical” wines of Muscadet.
Like with Pepiere and Luneau-Papin, the two giants in the world of exceptional Muscadet, there’s a commitment to organic farming here (which is quite unusual in these parts). What makes the Cormerais wines so special and unusual, however, is their soil (almost all Granit de Clisson) and their commitment to exceptionally long lees aging for their Muscadets.
Whereas most winemakers, even top producers like Pepiere, only age their top wines in take for 12+ months, the Cormerais family ages their base wines for 15 months in tank (and then additionally in bottle) before release. That extra lees contact, while bad for the winery cash flow, is great for the wine—it gives it body, power and depth that most wines at that price lack.
They step their game up even more on their cru wines, aging them three, four, even up to six years on the lees in tank. The natural minerality of the region and grape marries with the gras from the extra time and produces something that rivals good white Burgundy for complexity and style, at a fraction of the price.
When we heard that the Cormerais wines would be imported to Oregon, we grabbed as many as we could. There are a number of different wines, however only three cases of each bottling are available. Lovers of exceptional whites would do well to seek out an assortment of these wines, each of which represents something both special in quality and outrageously good for the price. If you’d like to head straight through to the web store and buy them now, just click here for the full list. As always, feel free to email or call, as well—though if there are specific bottlings you are after, act quickly.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais “Cuvee Bruno” Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Loire 2010 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
VinopolNote: 72 months (!) sur lie in tank, from 40-50 year old vines on decomposed granite in some of the best vineyards in Muscadet. Powerful and rich, but with the characteristic brightness of the grape and region on the long finish. A stunning wine.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais “Cuvee Tess” Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Loire 2012 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
VinopolNote: This exceptional Muscadet spends 72 months sur lie in tank before bottling. The long lees time gives it unusual weight and richness for a wine made from Melon. A sneaky great substitute for leaner white Burgundy.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais Granite de Clisson, Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Loire 2011 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
VinopolNote: 71 months sur lie in tank before bottling, from the Clisson AOC–one of the most prestigious sub regions of Muscadet. This is from the estate’s best vineyards on the special decomposed granite soils of Clisson.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais Granite de Clisson, Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Loire 2013 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
VinopolNote: 51 months sur lie in tank before bottling, from the Clisson AOC–one of the most prestigious sub regions of Muscadet. This is from the estate’s best vineyards on the special decomposed granite soils of Clisson.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais “Prestige” Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine, Loire 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
VinopolNote: A step up from the estate’s VV bottling, this is from 40-70 year old vines in the heart of the Muscadet AOC. Aged 15 months sur lie in a mixture of tank and older barrels for texture, it’s then given an additional 1-2 years of bottle age before release. This has roundness and richness on the palate that’s unusual for a Muscadet at this price, but plenty of intense minerality and saltiness to keep things in check. A deal.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais “Vieilles Vignes” Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie, Loire 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
VinopolNote: The “basic” bottling, this nevertheless comes from 40+ year old vines and rests sur lie for 15 months before bottling, aging and release. It’s a classic Muscadet, crisp and bright, but with extra power. This is as food friendly as they come and an excellent deal.
Domaine Bruno Cormerais Methode Traditionnelle Brut, Loire NV 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Domaine Bruno Cormerais Methode Traditionnelle Brut, Loire NV 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
VinopolNote: Mostly Folle Blanche, from an assortment of terroirs in Muscadet. Aged 2-3 years on the lees in bottle before disgorgement, low dosage.
Trending Wines of the Week
Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Nick Stock-jamessuckling.com 98 points “There’s a beautiful purity of fresh, mixed berries, dark plums, deep spices, as well as a gentle, coal-smoke edge. The palate has an effortless, fleshy, fine-grained texture with long, majestic tannins and a long, black-cherry finish Such purity and depth, pulling a lot of flavor with perfectly balanced acidity. Equal parts of old and young vine parcels here. No wood. The real deal. Drink now or hold.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape offers more depth and richness than the 2015, with slightly darker fruits (blackberry, black raspberries), garrigue, smoked earth and licorice all emerging from the glass. It’s ripe, voluptuous, and beautifully textured, with sweet tannin, and is going to be a smokin’ good 2016 that’s going to have a long life. As always, this cuvée is a un-oaked blend of mostly Grenache (3% each of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Bourboulenc, with a splash of Cinsault) that comes mostly from clay soils, partially destemmed, and will be bottled with no filtration.”
Domaine Jean Masson & Fils Savoie Apremont La Dechiree 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Importer note “Shows high acidity with a long finish. The interesting minerality intertwines with notes of tarragon, verbena and orange.”
Winery note “[Translated] A very atypical wine, the Dechiree comes from a hill at the highest point in Apremont. The vineyard is surrounded by brambles (mulberry and raspberry), and the vines offer a powerful wine with a cascade of complex and pronounced aromas. This wine has a nice minerality highlighted by a rich texture. It pairs well with fish in a cream sauce, roasted poultry and lobster.”
Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points “This shows serious density and balance with a blackberry, licorice and blueberry character. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Sleek and racy. Structured yet wonderfully polished. Drink in 2021.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This red is savory and fruity, offering black cherry, blackberry, plum, leather, spice and underbrush flavors, matched to a firm matrix of tannins. Just a bit on the rustic side now, with beefy tannins, yet balanced overall. Sangiovese. Best from 2021 through 2035.”
Monchhof Urzig Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2015 750ML ($29.95) $16 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2015 Ürzig Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett is very clear, spicy and slatey on the nose. Wonderfully delicate and lush on the palate, with clear and exotic fruit but also great finesse and elegance, this is a perfectly balanced and enormously stimulating Kabinett whose finish reveals an exciting salinity and lightness. Analytically sweet for European palates but rather medium-dry for Americans.”
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “This offers a nice nose of minerals, cassis, white and yellow peach, pear and melon. The wine delivers a gorgeous feel of delicately exotic fruits on the palate and leaves a clean and elegant feel in the long and rather airy finish. This nicely racy expression of Riesling proves nicely enjoyable in a light-bodied style. 2025-2040.”
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Bow & Arrow Gamay Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($21.95) $17 special
Winery note “The Gamay Willamette Valley is our touchstone wine. This is the wine we’ve been making the longest and the one that embodies what we are about. It’s sourced from three Willamette Valley vineyards and then made in the old Beaujolais method of semi carbonic maceration. What does that mean? It means that it’s fucking electric and juicy and cranberry crunchy. As Gamay should be, in our opinion. Just a gorgeous version of this wine.”
New Wine Advocate Reviews
For Northern Rhone Stars
“There are few visits I look forward to more than tasting with Jean-Paul Jamet at his cellars above Côte Rôtie. Even though he and Jean Luc split the family domaine several years ago, he still has 25 parcels in 19 lieux-dits, making barrel tasting here particularly educational. There’s very little new oak in the cellar, and a high proportion of whole clusters for the Côte Rôtie (95% is the figure Jamet likes to cite). Bottling doesn’t occur until after the harvest, so the 2016s were still in barrel at the time of my visit. Jamet said it’s a vintage of “less sun, but well balanced and elegant, if less rich.” It’s certainly more approachable than the blockbuster 2015s, which are reviewed out of bottle.… For folks looking for lower prices and more immediate gratification, don’t overlook Jamet’s IGP Collines Rhodanienne and Côte du Rhône offerings, which offer a taste of Côte Rôtie without the same outlay of time or money.” – Joe Czerwinski
In Stock Now:
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Joe Czerwinski – Wine Advocate 96+ points “Significantly more closed and muscular than it appeared from barrel, the 2015 Cote Rotie is a long-term proposition. It’s not showing a lot of charm or elegance at this juncture, but it’s massively rich and ripe, with plenty of weight on the palate, chewy tannins and a long, long finish. Like I wrote last year, it might start to drink well at age 10, although it might need even longer.”
Arriving ETA February 2019:
“The annual tasting session at the Chapoutier offices in Tain l’Hermitage is a half-day marathon, this year covering 50 wines under the M. Chapoutier label, plus others in various partnerships. It’s a testament to Michel Chapoutier’s dogged determination to wring the best out of his various vineyard holdings by delving down into micro-vinifications of various parcel selections, not just in Hermitage, but in the other Northern Rhône appellations as well. Yet while drilling down, Chapoutier keeps the big picture in focus as well…” – Joe Czerwinski
M. Chapoutier Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonniers, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Joe Czerwinski – Wine Advocate 94 points “Grown on the western-facing portion of the Hermitage hill, on the same underlying granite as les Bessards, the 2016 Crozes Hermitage les Varonniers makes a mockery of most Crozes-Hermitages, coming across more like Hermitage itself. Aged in a mix of barriques and demi-muids, it frames cassis fruit with hints of pencil shavings and crushed stone. Full-bodied and concentrated, it shows granite-like reserve in its powerful expression and long, dusty finish.”
Domaine du Chateau de ChoreyAn Assortment of Back Vintage Gems
In Stock Now:
Domaine du Chateau de Chorey Les Vignes Franches Vieilles Vignes, Beaune Premier Cru 2006 750ML ($79.95) $45 special
Burghound 90-92 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. A very floral and exceptionally fresh nose of rose and violets introduces detailed, fine and sweet middle weight flavors that are supple, pure and complex, all wrapped in a balanced, long and refined finish. This is an understated wine of harmony and style.”
The next best price is $69
Burghound 90 points “Outstanding. Discreet touches of wood spice and forest floor also add nuance to the slightly riper and very fresh fruit aromas that lead to rich, full and sweet flavors that are both delicious and serious as well as unusually concentrated for the vintage. Very solid quality here and worth a look.”
David Schildknecht-Wine Advocate 92 points “From the sixty year old vines rooted I chalk and flint that in my experience here (since 1985) nearly always give the most memorable but also the most austere Germain wine of a vintage, their 2006 Beaune Les Cras Vieilles Vignes displays formidable concentration and grip. Ripe black cherry and purple plum with their pits; roasted meats; peat, chalk and stone; bittersweet herbal extractions and nippy spices are the building blocks of this unusually structured 2006. There is also a juiciness of rare meat and fresh berries and a resinous sappiness to compliment the austerity of this wine’s adamant mineral expressions. The feel is firmer and the chalkiness far more pronounced than with any of the other Chateau de Chorey 2006s, but at the same time this is purest in fruit. I would plan on following this for at least a decade.”
David Schildknecht-Wine Advocate 91 points “The Germain 2008 Beaune Teurons displays aromas of roasted chestnut, cassis, nutmeg, cinnamon, blond tobacco, and vanilla, which follow on a palate of considerable friskiness and berry-freshness, underlain by notes of chalk, moss, and other aspects of forest floor. The piquancy of brown spices is especially prominent in a palate-staining finish that in no way betrays this energetic wine’s over-14% alcohol. Look for at least 10-12 years of fascination.”
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Looking for something a little more special? How about this selection of Domaine de la Romanee Conti, in stock now:
First Offer:The Incredible 2017 Peter Lauer
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 93-94 points “Still a bit compact and monolithic, but there’s excellent ripeness. A long finish with cool, wet stones and lemons. Better from 2019, but it also shows long-term aging potential.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92-93 points “The 2017 Ayler Kupp Neuenberg Riesling “Fass 17″ offers a deep, pure and flinty bouquet with floral and stony aromas and beautiful mineral freshness. Piquant and lush on the palate, this is a light to medium-bodied, very pure and mineral Riesling with refreshing acidity. The wine has a stimulatingly grippy finish with lush tropical fruit in the aftertaste. Excellent. Tasted March 2018.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Neuenberg Fass 17 comes from this prime Lieu-Dit forming the south-southwest facing, central part of the original Kupp and was fermented down to just off-dry levels (13 g/l of residual sugar). It offers a slightly ripe nose made of mirabelle, vineyard peach, apricot blossom, gooseberry and a hint of licorice wrapped into some herbs and smoky slate. The wine develops the presence of a dry-tasting Auslese with great tension between spicy flavors and a creamy structure on the palate. The finish is multi-layered, smooth, delicately zesty and hugely complex. A hint of power in the after-taste is still in need of integration. 2020-2032.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 95 points “Not for the faint of heart, this has a magical nose of dew-laden herbs and wet stones. A breathtakingly balance of bright mineral acidity, juicy citrus and a slew of herbal character. Amazing intensity at the finish. Better from 2019, but it should hold for a couple of decades.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Stirn Fass 15 comes from the prime south-west-facing, upper-front part of the original Ayler Kupp hill and was fermented down to almost fruity levels (40 g/l of residual sugar). This offers a gorgeous nose of candied grapefruit zest, greengage, mirabelle, herbs and spices. The wine develops the full fruity vibrancy of a light Spätlese on the mouthwatering palate, where zesty acidity mingles with gorgeous citrusy fruits and a nice touch of fruity sweetness. A floral side adds to the elegance and vibrancy of the finish. The after-taste is tart and driven by candied grapefruit and delicately bitter lemon. This only needs a few years to integrate its sweetness and shine. 2022-2037.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “Smoky, but also packed with nectarine and peach aromas. Although this is a concentrated and powerful wine, it shows so much vitality that there’s no hint of heaviness. A long, complete finish with great mineral freshness. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Unterstenberg Fass 12 comes from this prime Lieu-Dit forming the south-southwest facing, front part of the original Kupp and was fermented down to just off-dry levels (13 g/l of residual sugar). It develops a gorgeous nose made of delicately creamy notes of mirabelle, grapefruit, greengage, herbs and spices. The wine is gorgeously complex, silky and multi-layered on the palate and leaves a stunning feel of tart fruits and minerals in the long and persistent finish. A gorgeous floral side emerges in the after-taste and freshens up the whole experience. This beautiful piece of dry-tasting Riesling only needs a little bit of bottle age to shine. 2020-2032.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92-93 points “From the bottom of the Kupp, so on deeper slate soils, and bottled with 12 grams of residual sugar, the 2017 Ayler Kupp Unterstenberg “Fass 12″ has a clear and aromatic bouquet with clayey slate and refreshing citrus aromas. Piquant, pure and fresh on the palate, this is a lush and round yet dry and mineral Riesling with a long, aromatic, powerful yet finessed finish with salty and mouthwatering minerals. Tasted March 2018.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 91-92 points “Although this is a serious Saar riesling for the acid hounds, it has plenty of smoky and candied-citrus character. Generous substance, too. Better from 2019.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 93 points “A stunning medium-bodied dry riesling that’s brimming with herbal aromas. It also has a great structure. A long and intense finish with a pronounced wet-stone character. Better from 2019, but you can also hold and wait.”Peter Lauer ‘Barrel X’ Saar Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “If you ever wondered what a bolt of lightning would taste like, try this one. It is the equivalent of that in the form of Saar riesling. In spite of generous analytical sweetness, dangerously fresh and mineral with an almost dry finish. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ayler Lambertskirch Kabinett Fass 14 was made from fruit harvested at a comparatively low 79° Oechsle in this steep, south-east facing Lieu-Dit overseeing the Saar. It offers a complex nose of pear, ripe apple, grapefruit and slate, all wrapped into a hint of whipped cream. The wine is deliciously pure and delicately zesty on the grapefruit puree and ginger infused palate. The finish develops the full presence of a light Spätlese, but does this with great focus and by leaving one with a gorgeous tart-sweet feel in the after-taste. This is a great fruity-styled wine in the making. 2027-2042.”
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Spätlese Fass 23 develops a magnificent nose of grapefruit, yellow peach, pineapple, pear, ginger, herbs, slate and spices. It proves still rather backward on the gorgeously light-footed but intense palate and leaves an elegant and superbly balanced feel in the very long finish. This is a stunner in the making but one which will need some time to integrate all its elements. 2027-2047.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “Exotic and creamy with a touch of floral honey. The balance of grape sweetness and vibrant acidity is spot on. A long and expressive finish. Drink or hold.”
Lopez de Heredia
The Amazing 2006 Tondonia
Arriving in February 2019