Weekend VinopolPick 3-22-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Wine Spectator’s #3 Wine of the Year

Featured New Arrival: Coche-Dury

Two Vintages of Cayuse Bionic Frog

New Arrivals
Including Ameztoi Rubentis,
Goodfellow, Cristom, Mignon,
Do Ferreiro, Owen Roe and More!

Lisini – Champion of Classic Brunello

Just Arrived de Montille at National Best Pricing

Library, Ex-Cellar Pessac-Leognan

Delas: Secret Stars of the Northern Rhone

A Best Selling, Best Value Bordeaux Returns


Wine Spectator’s #3 Wine of the Year

The Sought After Volpaia Riserva

Volpaia makes some of the most sought after, powerful wines in Chianti.  Their 2015 Riserva may be the best wine they’ve ever produced and that’s no secret—this was the #3 wine of the year in this past Wine Spectator Top 100.  We’ve been working to secure a parcel ever since the issue came out and have a limited quantity arriving at the end of next week.  Act quickly—this was very tough to find.

Arriving Next Friday:

#3 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Though saturated with black currant and blackberry fruit and backed by opaque tannins, this red is pure and balanced. Thyme, iron, leather and tar notes give this complexity, while the finish goes into overtime. Best from 2023 through 2040. 2,500 cases imported.”


Featured New Arrival

The Rare Wines of Coche-Dury

The wines of Coche-Dury are some of the most precious in the world.  A true master of the craft, the wines (especially the whites) are some of the most profound experiences you can have in the gastronomic world.  We’ve got one bottle each of Corton-Charlemagne and Meursault (village) arriving on Friday and are giving you, our newsletter subscribers, first crack at them.  These are some of the most scarce wines out there (especially the Corton-Charlemagne) and will likely disappear quickly.

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Only one bottle available
Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2013 750ML ($3999.95) $3319 special
Burghound 97 points
“An incredibly densely fruited nose also only grudgingly offers up notes of stone, tangerine peel, white flowers, green apple and plenty of spice and soft wood nuances. There is an almost painful intensity to the equally concentrated and overtly powerful broad-shouldered flavors that brim with dry extract that simultaneously coats the palate while buffering the extremely firm acid spine on the incredibly long finish. This is a breathtakingly good CC but note well that it will be largely pointless to open one of these rare beauties before it is at least 7 to 8 years of age. As an aside I would add that I was so taken with this wine that I could still taste it the next day. A ‘wow’ wine if there ever was one.”

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That’s a difference of over $480 per bottle!
Only one bottle available
Coche-Dury Meursault, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($749.95) $649 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
“(from Narvaux, which was not affected by frost and yielded close to 48 hectoliters per hectare): Pale, bright yellow. Aromas of lemon, lime and stone. Firm on the attack, then sharply chiseled but not at all hard in the middle palate, with lovely fruit intensity and classic Meursault citricity. Tightly coiled yet somehow pliant, this village wine shows terrific citrus lift and cut. Finishes pure, fresh and long. Raphaël Coche told me that this wine, along with his Meursault Perrières and Corton-Charlemagne, “are what 2016 could have been.”

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Just Arrived

Two Vintages of Cayuse Bionic Frog

Cayuse produces some of the most coveted wines we sell and the most sought after is their top Syrah, Bionic Frog.  Very little needs to be said about these wines, but Bionic Frog is one of the great wines of the world, up there with any top bottling from France, Italy or California.

Only two bottles available
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($419.95) $379 special
#57 Wine Of The Year – James Suckling Top 100 In 2018
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Always one of the most unique in the lineup, the 2014 Syrah Bionic Frog is phenomenal stuff any way you look at it. Cold fireplace, charred meat, tapenade, shiitake and loads of dark, earthy fruit all emerge from this full-bodied, tight, backward and beautifully concentrated Syrah that readers just need to taste. Incredibly long, elegant, building and heavenly juicy, don’t miss a chance to get some of this! It needs 3-5 years of cellaring and is going to blow you away over the following two decades.”
James Suckling 99 points “Deep fruit presence from the outset. Dark plums and purple cherries with abundant slate and graphite, dark chocolate and orange zest. The palate has impressive power and detail, superb purity and clarity. The palate glides effortlessly. A sexy finish. Drink or hold.”

Only two bottles available
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($349.95) $299 special
Wine Advocate 97-99 points
“I think the best of the Syrahs is the 2013 Syrah Bionic Frog, and while I’ve liked other single vineyards more than this cuvee in the past, it seems a solid step up in both 2012 and 2013. The 2013 offers incredible notes of roasted herbs, beef blood, mushrooms, scorched earth and sweet black fruits in a full-bodied, gorgeously concentrated, structured, serious style. Short-term cellaring should be the name of the game here, and while it should offer plenty of pleasure around age 5-6, I’d put money on it still singing at age 20.” JD

Looking for the new project from Cayuse’s winemaker, Christophe Baron? Check out Hors Catagorie—a wine that’s already considered one of the best in Washington.

In Stock Now:

Only two bottles available
Hors Categoire Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($349.95) $319 special
Wine Advocate 99 points
“The first vintage for this new vineyard (they made a 2013 but kept it all in magnum… if you get a bottle, call me), the inky colored 2014 Syrah is a huge, unctuous effort the exhibits crazy notes of Asian spice, soy, shiitake mushroom, blackcurrants and tar. Tasting like a young Hermitage la Chappelle from Jaboulet (from a great vintage), with lots of tannin, blood, minerality and smoke, a huge mid-palate, and tons of tannin, it’s a tour de force in Syrah I wish I could pour for every reader. Forget bottles for 4-5 years and drink over the following two decades or more.”

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New Arrivals

The cult classic Rosado returns!
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
The long-awaited and lightly fizzy pink from the Basque region in Spain! A staff favorite. Always light, bright, fresh, salty and fun. The perfect aperitif wine for spring and summer.

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95 points and in a convenient half-bottle format!
Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay, Ribbon Ridge 2014 375ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2014 Chardonnay Richard’s Cuvee knocks it out of the park with a nose of ripe apricots, pink grapefruit and guava underscored by fresh ginger, baking bread, beeswax and yeast extract hints with a waft of jasmine. Medium-bodied, the palate is very elegant and refined, with incredible freshness and depth wrapped in a lovely satiny texture, finishing with long lasting mineral and spices layers. Wow!”-LPB
Winery note “Dry-farmed chardonnay from a 1-acre parcel at Whistling Ridge, hand-picked, whole-cluster pressed. After a brief period settling the wine is racked into large French oak vessels. Fermentation and elevage lasts about 21 months on the gross lees. The shallow marine sediment soils and windy environs at Whistling Ridge produce a Chardonnay that is mineral, deep and long with chalky citrus fruit.”

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This is a top value in Willamette Pinot every year.  2017 is no exception.
Cristom ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvee’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Winery Note
“Mt. Jefferson Cuvée is a blend of the Cristom estate Pinot Noir vineyards along with exceptional fruit we source from neighboring vineyards in the Willamette Valley. These contributing sites have been thoughtfully selected over the years, and are planted on a variety of soil types, elevations and aspects, representing the Willamette Valley Appellation as a broader whole. Each of these vineyards are farmed by committed winegrowers we are proud to partner with, with each site adding to the character, fruit, and structure of the wine, giving “Mt. Jeff” its deserved reputation as one of the most stylistically consistent Pinot Noirs in the world. After multiple tastings of every lot of the vintage, it is the “Mt. Jeff” blend that our winemaker crafts first. Whole-cluster fermentations by native yeast and extended aging in French oak are the hallmarks of the Cristom winemaking style. This wine ages in barrel for twelve months, and can stylistically be the most fresh and approachable of the Cristom Pinot Noirs in its youth”

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Mingon’s “entry level” wine is anything but.
Christophe Mignon Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
Grapelive 94 points
“Of Champagne’s new generation of natural/biodynamic winegrowers, Christophe Mignon is one of my favorite grower producers. His latest Brut Nature is a gorgeous sparkler. It comes from a blend of 2013 and 2014 vintages with no dosage. Christophe Mignon is an absolute Pinot Meunier specialist. He comes from a long line of family farmers in the Le-Mesnil-le-Huttier area….[This] terroir suits the Meunier and allows for complex ripe flavors, which makes it easier for him to use almost non dosage on all of his dry offerings. These are beautiful and detailed Champagnes with finesse, elegance and yeasty brioche notes that are not severe in style. They are wonderfully pleasing examples and show Pinot Meunier at its finest. Mignon is guided by holistic farming and follows the lunar cycle in working the vines and in the cellar, [and] he ferments in temperature controlled epoxy lined vats. Each terroir parcel is vinified separately at each sites’ perfect ripeness in a fermentation that lasts up to 30 days. This Brut Nature [was] aged 24 months in bottle, raised with lees, and as mentioned with no dosage. This… 100% Pinot Meunier and is drinking great right now with lovely white flowers, subtle red berry aromas and toasty notes along with layers of lemon, golden figs, hazelnut and white cherry elements all lifted by vital acidity and a luxurious, but vigorous mousse that delivers a divine textural or vinous mouth feel and lingering finish. This is brilliant grower fizz [has] a perfectly balanced sense of density/body and vibrancy. It finishes with a grip of dry extract making this an enthusiast all Meunier bubbly that is sublime with cuisine, but also opulent and easy to love on its own. Very impressive again from Christophe Mignon.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The NV Brut Nature Blanc de Noirs Pur Meunier is a fabulous wine that captures the essence of Christophe Mignon’s style. Rich and resonant on the palate, the Pur Meunier exudes creaminess. This is an especially weighty expression of Meunier, and yet all the elements are very nicely balanced. Red fruit, dried pear, smoke, menthol and hazelnut notes slowly open up in the glass adding further shades of nuance. Expressive mineral notes extend the finish while providing an attractive counterpoint to the dense, pliant fruit. The current release is a blend of equal parts 2014 and 2013. Mignon’s Pur Meunier is one of the most distinctive wines being made in Champagne today. Don’t miss it. Disgorged: March 2017 and bottled with no dosage.”

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This is one of the best values in Spanish whites.
Vina Mein Blanco, Ribeiro 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 91+ points
“I tasted the 2016 Viña Mein, which is from different vineyards in the Avia Valley, mostly Treixadura, Godello and small percentages of the other white varieties. This fermented with indigenous yeasts, and the vineyards have been stripped of chemicals and herbicides, each plot fermented separately. There are some notes of white fruit, and it feels quite primary and undeveloped, with balsamic aromas (bay leaf, fennel and aniseed) and something lanolin-like that I associate with the baby fat of such a young white. The tropical aromas from yesteryear have disappeared; it’s a lot more serious with a touch of moss, river stones, more austere. The palate is medium-bodied with still some white fruit flavors and balanced acidity but with the texture and nerve provided by the granite soils. This is the finest regular Viña Mein I remember tasting ever. 72,000 bottles were produced in 2016.”

A monumental bottle that outclasses white Burgs at twice the price.
Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“There is another phenomenal vintage in the 2017 Albariño Cepas Vellas. This is a very regular vineyard that delivers very complex wines year in, year out, and according to Manuel Méndez, “in difficult years, it behaves better than any other vineyard.” We’re talking about ancient, ungrafted, pergola-trained vines around the winery—1.5 hectares of gnarled, incredible vines that are up to 150 years of age. This is very complete, and there is a touch more complexity and depth when tasted next to the 2016. The nose is quite similar and is both undeveloped and young, with notes of freshly cut grass, white flowers and wet granite. It has an electric palate with tasty flavors and a saline, tasty finish. This should make beautiful old bones. I tasted the 2011 next to it, and this wine has years ahead of it. 8,000 bottles were filled in September 2018.”

Fresh, lively and fun.
Ameztoi Stimatum, Getariako Txakolina 2017 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Grapelive 91 points
“The Basque Beaujolais! The Ameztoi Stimatum (Esteemed) is 100% Hondarribi Beltza from vines grown on limestone in the Getaria region of northwestern Spain. Vine ages [range] from 10 to 100 years old. [The wine] is fermented and aged in stainless steel. Grown on an exposed peninsula north of Bilbao, this red was done with native yeasts and bottled with that touch of spritz like the whites usually have, making for a dry, but fruity fresh, easy to quaff wine with low natural alcohol and soft in tannin. This maybe one of the most pleasing, intriguing and fun picnic wines in the world. It’s deep purple/garnet color contrasts with its bright lightness of body. Ameztoi is one of the top producers of Getariako Txakolina with Ignacio Ameztoi being the seventh generation of his family carrying on their tradition of winemaking Txakolina in Getaria. The winery owns 20 hectares of vineyards in the best sites which are from vines that can almost be seen from St. Sebastian, crafting wines that have terroir and the influence of the cool Atlantic Ocean. This 2017 Ameztoi Stimatum, with its skin contact for 20 days, is beautifully dark in the glass and has a spicy and floral bouquet opening to its light/medium palate with crushed violets, white pepper, fresh picked wild berries, black cherry and racy currant fruits along with a zippy acidity, a touch of cinnamon, basil/herb and a hint of almost carbonic creaminess. Those that like Gamay, Dolcetto or Trousseau wines will love this red. It is so drinkable and friendly with a wide range of cuisines, it just makes for huge smiles. Drink this stuff up fresh.”

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Big and powerful yet fresh.
Owen Roe DuBrul Vineyard Chardonnay, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 94 points
“This has some attractive pithy depth: lemons and grapefruit meet yellow nectarines and nougat. Minerally accents, too. The palate holds long and fresh. Drink now.”

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Corvidae Wine Co. Wise Guy Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special
Refreshing and zippy!

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Owen Roe ‘Ex Umbris’ Syrah, Yakima Valley 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 90+ points
“Bright ruby-red. Very fresh scents of blackberry, white pepper, licorice and violet. A juicy, brisk, very pretty style of Syrah with terrific floral lift to its penetrating dark raspberry and spice flavors. Focused but quite tight and backward, showing no easy sweetness. Finishes with suave, fine-grained tannins and lovely sneaky length. David O’Reilly told me he’s shipping this wine this year but that it really needs another year of cellaring. I’d give it two to show its underlying density of material, at which point it may well merit a higher rating.”

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Lisini – Champion of Classic Brunello

Lisini is a classic producer, both in style and in that they were one of the original 25 wineries in the Brunello Consortium.  They’re known for powerful wines that see extensive aging in (large format) cask and bottle before release, which softens their textures and gives them wonderful secondary flavors.  The These are reference-point Brunellos that belong in the cellar of any collector—as does the Rosso, a delightful wine that’s always delicious young (which is useful as a cellar defender for the big guns).

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Lisini Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“Black cherry, blackberry, iron and wild herb flavors mark this ripe, fruity red, which is well-integrated, with dusty tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2024.”

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $48 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Exuding cherry, strawberry and floral flavors tinged with iron, earth ans spice notes, this ripe red is elegant in profile, tightly wound and deftly balanced, ending with a kick of fruit, spice and mineral elements. Best from 2020 through 2037.”

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points
“I have not seen a Riserva from Lisini for a while, so this wine comes as a pleasant surprise. The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva takes us back to one of the warmest vintages in re-cent memory. However, this wine holds nicely with plenty of lush primary fruit to keep it smelling and tasting younger than its years. Dark cherry and dried blackberry rise to the top. Soon to follow are layers of spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel is thickly layered but vel-vety smooth all the while”.

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Lisini Ugolaia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $88 special
Importer Note
: From the superlative Ugolaia cru, a 3.7-acre, southeast-facing vineyard by the same name, planted in 1978 with selected grafts (top grafted onto wild vines by Lisini senior experts). Crops are 1.1 kilo per rootstock, and élevage is 36 months in Slavonian oak barrels (11-20 hl.), followed by 18 months’ bottle age.

Just Arrived de Montille

At National Best Pricing

The Côte de Beaune hardly hosts a better-known name than de Montille. It’s as if the family of archetypical Burgundian vignerons arose from the earth of Volnay centuries ago. The late Hubert de Montille helped make the domaine famous for its classic style of age-worthy Burgundy, and now his son and daughter make the wines. Low yields and partial whole-cluster fermentation remain the norm, but the modern de Montille reds have softer tannins, are more aromatic, and they don’t require as much cellar time as before. Few other wines from Beaune, Pommard, and Volnay speak of their terroir and of Burgundian culture like de Montille wines do.

We just received our allocation of their genius 2016’s.  2016 is another standout year in Burgundy and these treasures are some of the best wines the new generation at de Montille have produced—the only issue is the quantities involved.  The best wines in Burgundy are always scarce, but the combinations of crop loss due to frost and hail means that the 2016s are even harder to come by than usual.  The wines will be sold first-come, first served (and don’t say you weren’t warned!).

In Stock Now:

Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special

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Domaine de Montille Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 special
Burghound 92-94 points
“This too is exceptionally pretty with its perfumed aromas of essence of plum, violet, earth and once again a gentle application of wood influence. The rich, full-bodied and succulent large-scaled flavors possess a beguiling mix of power, vibrancy and delineation that also characterizes the beautifully long and balanced finish where the only nit is a forgivable trace of warmth. Good stuff though again, patience advised.”
Neal Martin 93-95 points “The 2016 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru is one-third whole cluster, less than in recent years according to winemaker Brian Sieve, with almost 50% new oak. It has a beautiful bouquet with scents of blackberry, raspberry coulis, crushed strawberries and seams of wet limestone underneath. The oak is seamlessly integrated here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very focused and taut with pure black cherry and crushed strawberry on the tensile finish. This is a very stylish, quite ambitious Clos de Vougeot. Excellent.”

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The average listed price is $210
Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special
Burghound 91-94 points
“A beautifully fresh, airy and even perfumed nose speaks of various dark berry, violet, earth and a discreet hint of oak. The equally refined, cool and vibrant big-bodied flavors possess a taut muscularity while displays plenty of minerality on the sappy, balanced and impressively complex finale.”
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points “(these 65-year-old vines escaped the frost; vinified with two-thirds whole clusters and aged in 50% new oak): Healthy full red. Aromas of cherry and currant show a chocolatey ripeness. Plush and silky in the mouth, but more about volume today than flavor intensity. Red fruit and savory mineral flavors are accented on the broad back end by notes of licorice and herbs; one is aware of the whole clusters here. The dusty tannins reach the front teeth. This wine has a tendency to absorb its wood and stems quickly, noted Sieve, which probably explains why it’s a bit out of sorts right now.”

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The average listed price is $190
Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($169.95) $136 special
Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($349.95) $289 special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
“(from the north side of Pommard above Les Grands Epenots on active limestone soil; vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in one-third new oak): Good dark red. Tight aromas of black cherry, redcurrant and rust (there’s a bit of iron in the soil here as well), lifted by a floral quality. Savory and fine-grained, with red berry flavors enlivened by saline minerality. Not a big wine but offers an attractive blend of sweet, savory and acidic elements. This minerally, salty wine finishes with big, mouth-dusting tannins.”
Burghound 90-92 points “Today there is enough reduction to push the underlying fruit to the background. Otherwise the middle weight flavors possess a similar mouth feel to the Taillepieds with fine delineation and more subtle minerality on the mildly austere finish that flashes a hint of dryness though I doubt that it will last.”
Neal Martin 90-92 points “The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles is one-third whole cluster fruit. Around half the vineyard suffered frost damage in this year. There is more red fruit here than other cuvées from de Montille: raspberry, wild strawberry and a touch of Bing cherry. The palate is well balanced with fine and slightly chalky tannin. There’s also a fine line of acidity, then the finish clams up for now and says, “Revenez plus tard.” Give this 4 to 5 years in bottle.”

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The average listed price is $158
Domaine de Montille Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special
Domaine de Montille Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($399.95) $349 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(one-third vendange entier; 40% new oak; just racked following a very late malo): Healthy medium red. Compelling aromas and flavors of redcurrant, iron, rose petal and minerals. At once silky and penetrating, with its sweetness perfectly balanced by harmonious acidity. Shows captivating rose petal perfume throughout. The seriously tannic, floral finish displays real length and grip. This wine should age beautifully but even today there’s no hardness. The crop was reduced by about 30% due to the frost, noted winemaker Sieve.”
Burghound 91-93 points “discreet but not invisible application of wood surrounds overtly spicy and floral aromas of plum and dark currant that flash plenty of earth characters. There is first-rate punch to the delineated, muscular and mineral-inflected broad-shouldered flavors that terminate in a saline, youthfully austere and impressively persistent finish. Patience will clearly be essential as this will need time.”
Neal Martin 92-94 points “The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens Cuvée Hubert apparently had a very late malolactic that did not finish until September or October. Similar to the previous two vintages, it comes from the lieu-dit “Les Rugiens-Bas.” It has a complex and inviting bouquet with black cherries, crushed rose petals and undergrowth aromas, just a suggestion of dried blood emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied, the 40% new oak is absorbed by the fleshy red fruit, and it is adorned with a lovely, ferrous finish. Drink over the next 15 or 20 years.”

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Domaine de Montille Les Champans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 special
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points
“(this vineyard features more clay than most Volnay premier crus, but the crop level was very uneven in 2016 owing to the frost, with the bottom of the vineyard wiped out, the middle portion missing 30% of its normal fruit and the top “overloaded,” according to Sieve; vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in one-third new oak): Healthy medium red. Reticent but ripe scents of black cherry, licorice and musky chocolate. The dark chocolate element carries through on the palate but the wine also shows surprising acidity and lively notes of licorice and herbs. Saturates the tongue and palate on the aftertaste, with the tannins rather suave but serious. This wine is typically more about texture than minerality as the tannins soften, noted Sieve.”
Burghound 89-92 points “A moderately toasty nose frames brooding and restrained aromas of various dark berries that also reflect plenty of earth characters. The exceptionally rich and attractively textured flavors possess notably firm tannins on the wood-inflected finish, indeed this could be fairly described as a robust Champans.”
Neal Martin 89-91 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Champans suffered frost damage on the lower reaches and 50% damage on the mid-slope of the vineyard. It includes one-third whole cluster and matured in 30% new oak. It has a surprisingly broody and more introverted bouquet than recent vintages, defined but certainly holding everything back. The palate is well structured but bullish and rustic, quite rough tannin at the moment, a broad shouldered and square-jawed Volnay that will require several years in bottle.”
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That’s a difference of over $11 per bottle!
The average listed price is $149
Domaine de Montille Les Mitans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 special
Domaine de Montille Les Mitans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($319.95) $279 special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
“(two-thirds whole clusters; one-third new oak; the sand on top of the limestone here typically yields relatively soft tannins, according to winemaker Brian Sieve): Good dark red. Cool black cherry aroma lifted by a stony quality. A step above the preceding samples in both juiciness and finesse; in fact, a real high-wire act of captivating sweetness and bright acidity. Very fine-grained, serious wine with excellent grip and length. These 45-year-old vines avoided the frost but yielded very little fruit, as they were very sensitive to rain and wind during the flowering.”
Burghound 90-93 points “As is usually the case, this is more aromatically elegant still with is airy array of intensely floral dark pinot fruit and spiced plum scents. The wonderfully refined and lilting flavors are shaped by notably fine-grained yet firm tannins on the focused and balanced finish that firms up considerably on the youthfully austere finish. This is textbook Mitans and lovely stuff.”
Neal Martin 90-92 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Les Mitans includes two-thirds whole cluster fruit and around 30% new oak. Around one-quarter of the vines suffered frost damage here. It has a more charming bouquet than the Champans, the whole bunch neatly disguised and lending discrete definition and focus. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin and well-judged acidity. It’s quite structured like the Les Champans; however, I discerned more grace and finesse here.”

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That’s a difference of over $11 per bottle
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!
Domaine de Montille Les Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 special
Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points
“(vinified entirely with whole clusters and aged in 35% new oak; the average vine age here is 65 years and the soil features gravel on limestone): Bright medium-deep red. Deeply pitched, fruit-driven aromas of black raspberry and dark cherry, plus a hint of smoky minerality. Wonderfully plush yet lively, displaying more volume and depth than the Mitans. Lovely silky Volnay without any impression of undue weight. Really fills the mouth and echoes on the finish while maintaining superb vivacity. Here the acidity is ripe and the broad tannins distinctly suave and fine-grained. This is showing beautifully considering that it only finished its malolactic fermentation in September.”
Burghound 91-93 points “This too is intensely floral on the restrained, ultra-fresh and pure nose that blends both red and dark berries together with slightly exotic nuances of spice and tea. The mouth feel of the medium-bodied and overtly mineral-driven flavors is at once refined but powerful with excellent underlying tension suffusing the moderately austere, firm and built-to-age finish. This should be first-rate in time but patience is required.”
Neal Martin 91-93 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds is 100% whole cluster and 30% new oak. This vineyard was not affected by the frost. It has a very intense blackberry and Morello cherry-scented bouquet with hints of iodine and incense developing with time. I adore the controlled opulence here. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin but less rigid than the Mitans, with a touch of salinity, a light marine influence toward the finish. This has very good potential, but it will reward those with patience to cellar 4 or 5 years.”

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The average listed price is $146
Library, Ex-Cellar Pessac-Leognan

From a Classical Old-School Producer

The best wines to drink in Bordeaux these days come from unheralded vintages and/or producers without lots of acclaim.  The market focuses so heavily on 20-30 name brands that there are extraordinary deals to be had, especially if you’re looking for wines that are not going to clean up at auction but will leave quite the impression next to a roast chicken.  Haut-Bergey is a classic example of Pessac-Leognan.  Located just down the road from Domaine de Chevalier, their vineyards are in a prime spot right in the heart of Leognan proper.  Like Chevalier (and Haut-Brion) the Haut-Bergey wines often require a decade to emerge from their initial austerity, putting today’s wine (from the 2007 vintage) in a prime drinking spot.

We’re always on the hunt for older Bordeaux that offers good value.  Generally, we’re looking for wines made in traditional styles from good, but not “epic” years and this 2007 Haut Bergey perfectly fits the bill.  The more famous the vintage, the less likely it is that we can pick up wines for way below their true (drinking) value.  Plus, there are barely “off-vintages” these days—a mid-tier vintage from the 00’s would have been top class in the 80’s due to the change in climate and vinicultural practices.  2007 was a throwback year—a reminder of what Bordeaux looked like before Parker and Haut Bergey produced a delicious, age-worthy wine.  At this sort of pricing, you’re going to want to stock up.

“This wine is a game-changer.  A true knockout epiphany wine for anyone claiming to be allergic to ‘off vintages’ from Bordeaux.   It is an absolutely delicious drinking wine and will likely remain so for quite some time.  We’ve enjoyed tremendous success with many ‘off vintage’ ex-chateau parcels approaching maturity; we’ve also been strong supporters of Haut Bergey and its serious pedigree-to-value ratio.  But this is our first ‘off vintage’ Haut Bergey parcel, and we are pretty stoked to have found and imported this parcel after its restful decade-long slumber in the Chateau’s cellar.  [They] are notorious for rigorous viticulture and being strong luminary figures for organic, natural and conscientiously-made Bordeaux.  All facts which I presume many may already be familiar with.  Haut Bergey’s ~30ha of clay and gravel-based vineyards (planted 55% Cab Sauv / 45% Merlot, though the 2007 has much more Cab Sav in its blend) have been exclusively farmed 100% organically for decades, long before gaining official organic certification in 2017….we are confident this will prove to become one of those textbook off-vintage epiphany wines for many who take the plunge.” – Importer Note

Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Leognan 2007 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Case-12 Chateau Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Leognan 2007 750ML ($389.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Decanter 18/20 – Four Stars
“Inky dark. Nose sooty, mineral, smoky. Palate has sweet fruit and firm tannins. Good concentration of flavour here. Very good fruit sweetness and ripeness of flavour, allied with fresh acidity. Very stylish wine. Long, fruity, mineral finish. Drink 2016-23. 4 stars.”
Robert Parker “A sleeper of the vintage, this constant over-achiever’s 2007 exhibits notes of plum sauce, soy, spice box, and unsmoked, high class cigar tobacco. This round, generous sleeper of the vintage shows good density, medium to full body, and a silky, smooth style. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.”
Stephen Tanzer “Full medium ruby. Wild if subdued aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate, licorice, game and leather. Juicy and intense but a bit youthfully bound-up, with fresh acidity perking up the concentrated, chewy mid-palate. A bit extractive but plenty rich for the year, and not green. The wine’s building tannins call for a few years of patience.”

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Delas: Secret Stars of the Northern 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 wines that are a) delicious and well-made and b) more than reasonably priced.  This combination means that it’s possible to drink your way up and down the Northern Rhone, trying fantastic wines from fabled appellations, and you can still afford your next car payment.  Sure, the wines aren’t collectible, but if you’re buying to drink, rather than to resell, give these a look.  We’re proud to present a broad assortment of their wines here for your future enjoyment and winery-cellared vintages for now:

In Stock Now:

A rich, broad style of Condrieu.  
Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 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 $75.99
The average listed price is even higher!
Hermitage this quality is hard to find under $75, much less at these prices.
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($479.95) $369 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.”

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St. Joseph is one of the best value AOCs in the Rhone.
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
Case-6 Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($279.95) $199 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Inky and concentrated, the 2015 Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon is no easy-drinking Saint-Joseph. It’s smoky, herbal and ashy all at once, yet it’s buoyed by ample black cherry fruit and vibrant acidity. This medium to full-bodied Syrah has plenty of tannins, but they’re ultimately silky and most apparent on the long, licorice-tinged finish. This is approachable now but should be even better in 3 years and should drink well for at least another 10 after that.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Both Saint Joseph releases are brilliant in 2015. The 2015 Saint Joseph François De Tournon comes vines around Tournon, Mauves, Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, and Vion, and is always destemmed and aged in 30% new barrels. This full-bodied, rounded, sexy beauty shows the power and fruit of the vintage. With classic notes of black and blue fruits, violets, incense and pepper, drink this textured, expansive, terrific Saint Joseph over the coming 10-15 years.”

Back vintage Hermitage from a prime parcel.
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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Big, powerful and every bit of 100 points.
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.”

The prestige cuvee from St. Joseph.  This is from a prime lieu-dit.
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Sainte-Epine, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Dark and winey, featuring a deep core of red and black currant fruit steeped gently with anise and apple wood notes. The finish lets a bright iron edge run through. There’s lots to like here. Drink now through 2026. 500 cases made.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95+ points “The 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte Epine comes from the cool, fine, granite soils of the Sainte Epine lieu-dit located just outside of Saint-Jean-de-Muzols. Its deep purple color is followed by a sensational perfume of crème de cassis, black pepper, graphite and crushed flowers. Full-bodied, elegant and seamless, with incredible purity, it’s going to be one of the superstars of the vintage.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Impressively dark and saturated in color, the 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte-Epine showcases its granite origins, boasting scents of crushed stone on the nose, along with hints of plummy fruit and grilled meat. It’s medium to full-bodied, framed by firm yet ripe tannins and classy notes of pencil shavings that linger through the long, silky-textured finish.”-JC

A Best Selling, Best Value Bordeaux Returns

Chateau du Retout has always been a boundary pushing estate, which is why we love it.  Not content to be a “mere” Haut-Medoc wine, the estate continues to make changes to viticulture and winemaking to ensure the highest possible quality wine (even declassifying their white so they could include the varieties they wanted to work with).  On the red side, they’ve found success in increasing the percentage of Petit Verdot, a grape that excels in the warm vintages that France has had over the last decade.  The resulting red is everything we could ask of a sub-$30 Bordeaux, and the fact that it’s almost half that in price makes it even better.

Arriving ETA April:

Chateau du Retout, Haut-Medoc 2014 750ML ($21.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Chateau du Retout, Haut-Medoc 2014 750ML ($299.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“Delightfully ripe, with an inviting core of plum and blackberry preserves, picking up an anise edge on the finish. A solid alder spine runs throughout, adding length and definition. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “With an unusually high proportion (nearly 17%) of Petit Verdot in the blend, this is both darkly structured and dark in color. It is weight, intense youthful acidity and black-currant fruits. It’s also rich, full of tannins and in need of several years.”
James Suckling 90 points “A leafy cabernet nose leads into quite a poweful and tannic palate with the sleek body of a marathon runner. Better in 2018.”

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Thanks for reading!