Three 2017 Chateauneuf Stars
Just Arrived: 2017 Clos Erasmus
The Secret Reynvaan Second Wines
Collector’s Corner: The Just-Arrived 2016 Masseto
Piper Heidsieck’s 2002 “Rare”
Antonio Galloni Publishes More Barolo Reviews
Collector’s Corner, Continued: Rougeard with Perfect Provenance
Cadence’s Bordeaux-Inspired Washington Wines
Charvin is the most resolutely old-school of the bunch, making wines that demand age but reward it with classically mature flavors and aromas. Ferrand and R. Usseglio both make wines that are significantly more friendly young—delicious bottles that have rich fruit and succulent textures. Across the board, these are wines that are excellent values, as well. The 2017’s just arrived and they mark yet another successful vintage for the southern Rhone.
If you’re looking for a vintage to drink now, look very hard at the ’17’s. They remind us of 2015 with softer tannins and gloriously ripe fruit. It’s rare to find a vintage of this quality that’s also this open and accessible young—generally you get one, but not the other. This set of wines is really something and you should buy them accordingly.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Imperiale, Rhone 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Imperiale (from vines planted in 1902) is firm and structured to age magnificently. Roses, black tea and red raspberries all appear on the nose and palate, framed by fine-grained tannins. I suspect it will close down shortly, but there is terrific material here, and the wine will drink well for two decades.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvee Imperiale kicks the intensity up a notch and offers rocking notes of black cherries, garrigue, ground pepper, and incense. More expansive, full-bodied, concentrated, and pure, it’s a brilliant, brilliant wine that stays tight and compact at the moment yet has beautiful concentration, present tannins, and a great finish. It has everything, but it needs 4-5 years or bottle age.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A special cuvée made for American importer Peter Weygandt, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Girard includes a bit more old-vine Grenache, and it shows in the wine’s increased elegance. It’s more floral than the regular bottling, with scents of tea and roses, but it’s also darker and richer, with black cherry fruit, a velvety mouthfeel and a long, layered finish.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape checks in as 90% Grenache and the rest 3% each of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Bourboulenc, with a splash of Cinsault, brought up all in tank. It has a deep, layered, powerful yet elegant style as well as notes of black raspberries, crushed violets, blueberries, ground pepper, and earth. With a rounded, sexy texture, no hard edges, fine tannins, and a beautiful finish, it’s a fabulous wine in the vintage.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape is an awesome wine from Laurent, and while it shows the sunny, ripe, sexy style of the vintage, it never loses the elegance and purity that’s the hallmark of Charvin. Lots of kirsch, graphite, dried flowers, garrigue, and ample minerality flow to a medium to full-bodied, silky, incredibly well-balanced red that has a stacked mid-palate, building tannins, and a great finish. Give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age and it will cruise over the following two decades.”
Just Arrived: 2017 Clos Erasmus
Clos Erasmus represents her finest wine and a truly spectacular example of what the region is capable of. Rich, bold and powerful, the wine is quintessential Priorat through and through and is one of the truly iconic bottlings of Spain. She also produces a second wine, called Laurel, which displays all of the style and panache of the estate at a very approachable price. These just arrived, perfect for winter drinking, either this year or over the next decade.
Clos Erasmus, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($219.95) $199 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The just-bottled 2017 Clos Erasmus is a blend of Garnacha with 25% Syrah that fermented with indigenous yeasts in oak vats and matured in 228-liter oak barrels (40% new). It feels very aromatic, expressive and open, floral and elegant and surprisingly fresh for the conditions of the year. It’s still young and undeveloped, with the puppy fat still to be rendered, and right now, it comes through as juicy and elegant, with very good freshness and super fine tannins. It’s very aromatic and floral, really impressive for 2017. It seems like the year was much better in the Mediterranean part of Spain than in the rest of the country. 3,000 bottles produced.-Luis Gutierrez”
Case-12 Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’, Priorat DOCa, 2017 750ML ($719.95) $549 special (that’s only $45.75/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Laurel is a blend of the younger vines, some barrels that were declassified from Clos Erasmus and the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon, and in the low-yielding and dry 2017 vintage, it’s 70% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 15% alcohol. The wine fermented mostly in concrete and oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in a combination of oak vats, concrete, used barriques and amphorae for 16 months. They produce this to be approachable from the moment it’s released. The 2017s feel very aromatic, open, expressive and young, quite primary, tender and juicy and surprisingly fresh for a dry, warm year that resulted in a very early harvest. There is a peachy, soft, approachable quality here that I like very much. Surprisingly enough, winemaker and proprietor Daphne Glorian sees reminiscences of the 2013s in the 2017s, and I have to agree. Different from 2016, but at the same quality level. 19,126 bottles were filled in May 2019.-Luis Gutierrez”
Family-owned and -run, Reynvaan is a hands-on operation that dedicated itself from the start to producing the finest wines from some of the region’s best vineyard sites. They own two vineyards: “In the Rocks” recalls the Rhone valley with its rocky ancient riverbed soil, while the “Foothills in the Sun” vineyard enjoys South-Southwest exposure on one of Washington’s highest-elevation sites, at 1600 feet: good ripening in the day, with acidities preserved at night. Once in the winery, the pursuit of terroir and Washington style becomes Reynvaan’s modus operandi.
The winery is careful to note that these are wines that receive the same treatment as their main wines—organically farmed and hand harvested, with native fermentation and choice cooperage (often Taransaud). In short, these are party Reynvaans—perfect for your holiday gatherings or just to have around as a house red. They just arrived in somewhat limited quantities (the winery understandably prefers to put most of its production in higher dollar bottlings) and you’d be wise to stock up now.
Reynvaan Unnamed Series Cabernet, Walla Walla 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Winery Note “80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. Full body, pencil lead, graphite, cassis, licorice, acacia flower, ripe crushed berries, saddle leather on the nose and a palate full of integrated tannins, with a weighty and lush finish.”
Winery Note “Ripe blueberry, wet stone, dried cherry, Herbs de Provence, touch of leather, hint of licorice, cigar box, marionberry, dark chocolate with refreshing, smooth well integrated tannins, and a long finish of crushed rock.”
Winery Note “Black raspberry, saline, blueberry saltwater taffy, bloody and savory meat elements that combine fresh tannins with a long finish, beautiful balance, and flavors of cracked pepper and Herbs de Provence.”
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The Just-Arrived 2016 Masseto
Only nine bottles available
(Ornellaia) Masseto Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($849.95) $759 special
Wine Advocate 100 points “Masseto has pulled off back-to-back home runs. This is the first time that an Italian wine has earned 100 points in successive vintages. The 2016 Masseto is a thunderstorm of emotions, but it manages to keep them under perfect control. Like the 2015 Masseto before it, this vintage is a seamless wine of the highest pedigree. It represents an encore performance, continuing the string of successes that is bringing Italy to the forefront of the wine world. The first thing you’ll notice is the thickness and concentration of the fruit that makes an immediate impact on all the senses, in terms of appearance, aroma and mouthfeel. There is no overstating the sheer power and richness of this iconic vintage of Italy’s groundbreaking Merlot. Despite that considerable mass, this Masseto remains delicate and graceful. You gain better perspective as the wine opens in the glass and reveals deeper layers that were not immediately apparent on first nose: dark fruit, spice, sweet tobacco and black cherry. There is great tightness and laser focus to the fruit. I tasted the 2016 and 2015 vintages together for comparison when I scored this wine, and then I tasted this 2016 edition alone about a month later to confirm my impressions. These vintages are identical twins, two perfect wines.-ML”
James Suckling 100 points “This is so solid and powerful with incredible vertical dense that goes down and down on the palate. Compacted and thick with caressing and polished tannins that are powerful yet refined. Super concentration yet agile and energetic. This is a wine that needs time to come together and resolve all of its amazing components. Reminds me of the legendary 2001. Try after 2023.”
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Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($199.95) $179 special
Wine Spectator 97 points “Impeccably balanced and silky, with finely honed acidity shaping the expansive flavors of toasted brioche, crushed blackberry, lemon preserves and honey, revealing hints of Frangelico liqueur and smoked nut. Rich and vivid, with a lasting finish. Drink now through 2027. 2,500 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The pale gold, greenish shimmering 2002 Rare Millesime – 30% Pinot Noir and 70% Chardonnay – offers a very intense and rich, yet fresh nose of exotic fruit aromas of pineapples, mango, kiwi and passion fruit. On the palate, this is a mouthful of luscious Champagne: powerful and intense, but pure and with the complexity of matured wines. The finish is very exotic in its fruit aromas, but also persistently mineral.”
Looking for an even rarer “Rare”? Check out the first ever Rare Rosé, arriving later this month:
Arriving ETA November:
Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2007 750ML ($499.95) $379 pre-arrival special
Case-3 Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2007 750ML ($1499.95) $1,099 pre-arrival special (that’s only $366.33/bottle!)
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “The salmon colored 2007 Rosé Millesimé Rare has a clear, fresh, slightly oaky-nougat and pretty vinous bouquet. It is a rich and slightly sweetish yet pure, refined, elegant and well-structured Rosé Champagne with good grip and tension as well as a long, intensely aromatic and powerful finish. This is great and enormously complex Champagne with an extraordinary, complex finish. The 2007 is based on 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir. Tasted in November 2017.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ points “Another sensational Champagne, as well as the first vintage for the cuvee, the 2007 Rare Rosé (56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir) offers that beautiful complexity and nuance you only get from top rosé Champagnes. Orange blossom, strawberries, spice, dried flowers, toasted bread, and orange peel notes all emerge from this richly concentrated, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured 2007. With a fine, yet layered mousse, incredible complexity, and a great finish, this blockbuster effort will be better with 2-3 years of bottle age and shine for 10-15 years or more.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Toasted brioche and ripe blackberry notes leap from the glass in this lovely rosé Champagne. Glides like raw silk on the palate, with a deftly woven mix of dried white cherry, spun honey, exotic spice and blood orange zest flavors. Long and persistent on the vibrant finish, showing more fruit and a rich pastry character. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases made.”
Antonio Galloni Publishes More Barolo Reviews
He recently published a final set of 2015 Barolo reviews, including some of our favorite estates. These are wonderful wines that are largely in stock now. We’re almost done getting this vintage in, so if there are wines you’ve been eying, your window to buy them is not getting any bigger.
In Stock Now:
Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo Le Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “Rinaldi’s 2015 Barolo Brunate is a powerful, dense wine. Hints of spice, licorice, leather, game and cherry develop with time in the glass. The power and intensity of the year are very much in evidence. But there is also a slightly roasted quality and an aggressiveness in the tannin that I am not used to seeing. Tasted three times with consistent notes.”
Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Cannubbi, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Today the 2015 Barolo Cannubi is an elegant, classy wine. The Cannubi also seems to have handled the heat of the summer more gracefully than the Brunate. Silky and sensual, the 2015 is very attractive today. The aromatics are perhaps just a touch forward, but the 2015 makes up for that with its suave, inviting personality. Crushed flowers, mint, licorice and sweet berry fruit add to the wine’s charm. I wouldn’t push my luck on aging too much, but the 2015 is undeniably appealing.”
Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($59.95) $47 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2015 Barolo is gracious, airy and light on its feet. Sweet tobacco, cedar, dried cherry, spice and licorice are all nicely lifted in a sensual, open-knit Barolo that will drink well right out of the gate. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Rinaldi’s straight Barolo is a terrific wine in its peer group.”
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Barolo Bussia is a wine of power, density and gravitas, all of which come through in its decidedly vertical feel and rather somber expression. A whole range of balsamic-infused notes wrap around a core of dark fruit as this potent Barolo shows off its distinctive personality. The 2015 needs time to be at its best, but it is unquestionably impressive, even in the very early going.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Fenocchio’s Barolo Villero is quite sensual and inviting in 2015, which is probably a reflection of the year, as wines from this Castiglione Falletto site tend to be quite reticent, especially when young. Spice, menthol, licorice, dried flowers and pine grow with time in the glass. The Villero is another impressive, showy wine in this lineup.”
Arriving ETA December:
Paolo Scavino Bricco Ambrogio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2015 Barolo Bricco Ambrogio is terrific. Bold, fruity and forward, the 2015 offers tons of immediacy, not to mention impeccable overall balance. Sweet red cherry, hard candy, spice, mint, licorice and tobacco infuse the 2015 with terrific nuance to match its radiant, supple personality. This inviting, silky Barolo has plenty to offer, including tons of immediacy.”
Paolo Scavino Bric del Fiasc, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2015 Barolo Bric del Fiasc is dark and imposing on the palate, yet not quite as forbidding as it can be. A Barolo of size and heft, the 2015 has a lot to say, but it won’t be ready to drink anytime soon. Black cherry, smoke, leather, iron, licorice, menthol and graphite notes infuse the 2015 with layers of nuance to complement its brooding, sepia-toned personality nicely. The 2015 is a beguiling Barolo, but it needs cellaring.”
Paolo Scavino Carobric, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Although often slow out of the gate, the 2015 Barolo Carobric is absolutely gorgeous and expressive today. Powerful and dense in its first impression, the 2015 also has a good bit of underlying structure that gives energy and real sense of proportion. I would prefer to give the 2015 a few years in bottle to shed some of its baby fat. There is clearly quite a bit of potential here. Dried flowers, mint, rose petal, spice and dark red/blackish fruit all open up with time in the glass. The 2015 has a bright future. I won’t be surprised if it turns out even better than this note suggests”
Paolo Scavino Monvigliero, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2015 Barolo Monvigliero is undoubtedly a pretty wine, even if it appears to be somewhat of a work in progress. Bright floral notes, spice and sweet red cherry/plum fruit give the Monvigliero considerable immediacy as well as appeal. Even so, my impression is that the best is yet to come for this bottling.”
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Holiday Season Note
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Rougeard with Perfect Provenance
These are in stock now and if you love the wines of Rougeard, you owe it to yourself to jump on these while there are still some left. This is like winning a vinous lottery (if winning the lottery were a result of hard work and careful sourcing). These wines are directly from the cellar of the importer/distributor for these bottles. All were bought on release and carefully stored until now—it’s hard to imagine a better source for these outside of buying directly from the cellar of the estate (and good luck with that). We’re able to offer you excellent pricing as well, as most of these wines are either national wine-searcher lows or very close—and no one else has the sort of sourcing we do.
In Stock Now:
Looking for other Collectible Wine from the Loire?
Check out Vatan’s Sancerre Clos la Neore, also in stock right now:
Clos la Neore, the parcel in Chavignol that the Vatan family owns, may produce the finest Sauvignon Blanc in the world. The wine is spectacular, life-changingly mineral and capable of aging for a long time. It’s in its own class in Sancerre, noticeably more collectible and in-demand than even the top wines from the Cotats. Quantities are extremely limited but we’re finally able to offer it on our web store for open purchase.
In Stock Now:
Vatan Sancerre Clos la Neore 2017 750ML ($299.95) $249 special
Importer note “Some winemakers are producers. A few are truly artisans. And then there are that handful who could perhaps be best described as monastic in their approach-making wine, as their duty, in complete harmony with their creator. With Vatan, I find it preposterous to “judge” vintages. Literally, no matter what the conditions of the year, whatever this domaine creates is remarkable, with amazing consistency from vintage to vintage. When once I asked Monsieur Vatan how he could do this, he replied that it is so simple a matter that it needs no explanation — if you plant low-yielding vines on only the steepest, perfectly exposed slopes, prune severely, provide only necessary and natural treatments, (and as little as possible, forcing the vine down for strength and character), harvesting after all the rest have finished (no problem finding pickers then!) and vinifying according only to the traditional (actually ancient) methods — it becomes a question of comparing the personality of each vintage, not which is “better.” What is this word “ancient” I use? Vinification in old, old barrels — a natural vessel – – but not of new oak, which would interfere with the natural fruit of the Sauvignon and terroir of Chavignol; one racking, and then bottling with no fining or filtration when the conditions are perfect in nature. If this sounds too out-moded to be true, you are in for an experience with your first taste. A unique wine which is unequalled, and only approached in Sancerre by the Cotat Domaine, which is enormous in comparison to Vatan (total production 500 cases, of which we in America get 125). Since the 2008 vintage, Edmond’s daughter, Anne Vatan-Foucault has taken over wine-making and administration of the domaine, and the results continue to be spectacular.”
The next best price is $259
The average listed price is $279
Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
John Gilman 91 points “The 2018 Grüner Silvaner Trocken from Weingut Keller had been bottled only two weeks before my visit, but was showing beautifully. This is 11.5 percent octane this year and offers up a lovely and quite serious nose of tart orange, grapefruit, chalky minerality and a lovely, smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and beautifully balanced, with bright acids and lovely length and grip. Germany’s most popular wine to pair with white asparagus is outstanding this year and a great bargain! 2019-2040.”
Chateau Pesquie Ventoux Terrasses, Rhone 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14.75 special
Case-12 Chateau Pesquie Ventoux Terrasses, Rhone 2016 750ML ($199.95) $156 special (that’s only $13/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points “A year in, year out no-brainer is the Terrasses cuvee from this estate, and the 2016 Ventoux Terrasses is no exception. A blend of 70/30 Grenache and Syrah, it offers a terrific perfume of black cherries, wild herbs, dried flowers, and spice. This gives way to a plum, sexy, beautifully textured red that has surprising minerality, medium-bodied depth and richness and fine tannin. I finished a case of the 2005 just last year, and it was still going strong, so while there’s no need to cellar bottle, it will keep nicely for 7-8 years.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “A bit more “serious” than the Edition 1912M, the 2016 Ventoux Terrasses delivers what longtime admirers have come to expect from the estate: ample fruit, complexity, weight and charm. Peppered raspberries and hints of garrigue drive the wine from start to finish, bolstered by fine, silky tannins and balanced acids. This solid value blend of Grenache and Syrah should drink well for 4-5 years from vintage.”
Classy Chardonnay with poise and complexity. Thanksgiving for sure.
Cameron Winery Reserve Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
VinopolNote: 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.
Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Poncié hails from a southeast-facing, higher-altitude site that’s typically quite cool, and that’s reflected in its bright, perfumed bouquet of raspberries, rose petals and Griotte cherries, with suggestions of darker fruits emerging with air. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, pure and nicely concentrated, with fine tannins, a bright line of acidity and good length on the finish.”
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Bright magenta. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red/dark berries, lavender, candied licorice and smoky minerals. Sappy black raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors display a suave blend of concentration and energy and pick up a spicecake nuance with air. Finishes juicy, sweet and long, displaying lingering fruit and floral pastille qualities and discreet tannins.”
Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2004 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Grapelive 93 points “Deep, golden and mature in character, the opulent and beautiful 2004 Münsterer DautenpflänzerSpatlese from Kruger-Rumpf is in a wonderful window. It may just be the peak period for this vintage with layers of apricot, quince jelly, candied pineapple, marmalade notes and vinous textural charm along with nice salinity, mineral, rose led florals and light earthy and petrol fume notes in a classic Nahe Riesling. In recent years I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to re-visit some 2004’s and they have really blossomed, losing the year’s awkward form, going from an almost an ugly duckling into a swan in bottle with age. This is especially true in some late releases by Schlossgut Diel and this Weingut Kruger-Rumpf Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Spatlese, both of which can still be found if you look, a well worth it exercise. The VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, a tiny parcel within Kapellenberg, is set on quartzite and loess-clay based soils, which in my humble opinion highlights fruit detail and brings out a yellow fruit profile along with crystal clear mineral intensity with this wine bringing out baked peach core on the palate with hints of honey, fig and liquid stone. Georg Rumpf is moving towards organic in most of the vines with his vineyards being farmed to sustainable practices with hand harvesting employed to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. There is intense attention to detail here. I was here at harvest in 2016 and saw the team in action as well as the vines, which are steep and well cared for. Rumpf goes for native (spontaneously with ambient yeast) on the cru trockens (dry) and fruity (off-dry and sweeter) Rieslings and he uses large old stuckfass (oak casks) with extended lees aging. This all adds to the wines purity, extract and concentrated depth. This such a steal, I highly recommend searching for a few bottles, drink now.”
Rombauer Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot, California 2014 750ML ($49.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Rombauer Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot, California 2014 750ML ($449.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 91 points “Rich, ripe and full of powerful flavors of Christmas pudding, dark cherry and black currant that are backed by muscular acidity and tannins. Dried mint and slate details show on the dense finish. Drink now through 2021. 5,225 cases made.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Given additional structure from the addition of 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot, this well-made wine shows a wealth of plum and raspberry that’s succulent on the palate. Soft supple tannin provides support and a touch of heat, the finish is awash in cinnamon and vanilla.”
The next best price is $36.99
Ben Smith and Gaye McNutt launched their winery, Cadence in 1998 after purchasing 10 acres on the now highly regarded Red Mountain vineyards. In retrospect, being so new to agriculture and winemaking in general, Ben Smith says “that was the most fortuitous decision we made along the way.” Ideally located in the rain shadow of the Cascade range and consisting of sandy loam soils, the Red Mountain AVA has developed a reputation for producing some of Washington’s best fruit, providing grapes for many of the state’s most sought-after cult wines
Inspired by the Old World and an affinity for well-structured wines in general, the couple decided to focus their winemaking production to Bordeaux style blends. The Bel Canto is a blend of primarily Cabernet franc, with smaller percentages of Merlot and Petit Verdot grown on their Cara Mia vineyard that was established in 2004. The Tapteil Vineyard comes from the oldest vines that Cadence works with, expressing a more mineral driven approach and truly showing Red Mountain’s highly acclaimed character. The Tapteil blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (Ben Smith’s favorite variety).
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
Cadence Winery Camerata, Cara Mia Vineyard, Red Mountain 2016 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “This wine is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc. Distinctive aromas of black cherry, graphite, dark raspberry, fresh herb, flower and scorched earth lead to a fresh, flavorful palate packed with fine-grained structured tannins. An extended finish ups the interest. Give it at least 24 hours to decant if drinking in the near term. Best after 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The reserve 2016 Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard (80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc) shows slightly more ruby on the edge (probably due to the longer 23-month élevage) and has a beautiful perfume of spiced red and black fruits, earth, cedar, and dried flowers. This medium to full-bodied beauty has a rounded, layered texture, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. It’s a clear step up over the Bel Canto in this vintage. Give it a handful of years and drink over the coming 15 years.”
The next best price is $59.99
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Cellar Selection. Cabernet Franc (82%) makes up the lion’s share of this wine, with the rest Merlot (12%) and Petit Verdot. It’s tight as a drum out of the gate. Brooding aromas of black and red currant, scorched earth, flower and herb are followed by focused, fresh, lively fruit flavors supported by highly structured tannins. As is typically the case with this producer, it’s much more about the future than the present, with a lot of aging potential in front of it. Best after 2026 with a very long life beyond that.”
Jeb Dunnuck 91+ points “Another Cabernet Franc heavy wine, the 2016 Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard checks in as 82% Cabernet Franc, 12% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot. It offers more mulled cherry and blackberry fruits, plenty of leafy herbs, medium to full-bodied, and a juicy, elegant, spicy style. It doesn’t have the density or grandeur of the Cabernet Franc Old Vines, but it’s a juicy, elegant wine that has enough tannins to warrant 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for a decade.”
The next best price is $59.99
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “From one of the top sites on Red Mountain, the 2016 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard checks in as a blend of 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot, all aged 18 months in 40% new French oak. It’s another deep purple-colored effort and offers a concentrated, focused, firm style as well as loads of crème de cassis, graphite rocks, and graphite. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and balanced, it’s one for the cellar and a good 3-5 years or bottle age will do it well.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Editors’ Choice. Winemaker Ben Smith has made a name for himself making sophisticated, structured, swoonworthy wines. This is another example. A blend of Cabernet Sauvingon (43%%), Cabernet Franc (35%), Merlot (14%) and Petit Verdot, the aromas draw you into the glass, with notes of scorched earth, flower, black currant, anise and herb. Exquisitely balanced, structured fruit flavors follow. It’s a knee buckler with undeniable appeal, drinking well now but beckoning for some time in the cellar.”
The next best price is $44.99
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Editors’ Choice. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot each make up roughly a third of this wine. The scorched earth, black-cherry, dark-raspberry, flower and dried herb aromas are reserved on first pour. The palate is packed tightly, with layered and exquisitely balanced dark-fruit flavors backed by a lot of structure. There a sense of tension and balance that is captivating. It will have a very long life ahead of it. Give it a 24-hour decant if drinking in the near term. Best after 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The 2016 Tapteil Vineyard is based on 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, and 29% Merlot and spent 18 months in 40% new French oak. It reveals a deep purple, mostly opaque color as well as a terrific bouquet of blueberries, blackberries, ground herbs, and graphite. Medium to full-bodied, it’s another elegant, straight, structured wine from this estate that needs short term cellaring but will keep for 15-20 years.”
The next best price is $44.99