In Today’s Newsletter:
Ciacci Piccolomini’s Brilliant Brunello
Big Scores from Vinous for 2016 Beaujolais
New: Flat Rate Shipping to DC Through April!
New Arrivals From:
Montevertine, AJ Adam, Orin Swift and More
—plus the start of Rosé Season!
(Ye) Old (Very Old) Dessert Wines
One Week Left for the March Clearance Sale!
Featured New Arrival
The Brilliant 2011 Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello
Ciacci Piccolomini is a top tier Brunello producer—there’s no doubt about that. They produce wines that are sought after by serious connoisseurs—they have power, grace and ageability (in short, all the things you would look for in good Brunello). That’s without regard to price, as well—even if the cost of the bottles doubled overnight, there would still be significant demand for the wines. At the current pricing, especially at the deal we got for the bottles that arrived today, these are no-brainer buys for anyone who loves the wines of Tuscany. We received less than 10 cases, so these will disappear quickly (a good chunk of those sold on pre-arrival as well).
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($49.95) $36.60 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is fabulous. In 2011, proprietor Paolo Bianchini bottled just one Brunello. That commitment to quality comes through loud and clear. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco and licorice all flesh out in an effortless, incredibly inviting wine. The warmth of the vintage and the natural generosity of these vineyards in Castelnuovo is evident, yet the 2011 possesses remarkable balance to match all of that intensity. I don’t expect the 2011 to make old bones, but is gorgeous today. Readers should expect a flamboyant, decadently full-throttle wine built on voluptuousness and generous, racy fruit. Bianchini gave the 2011 three full years in cask.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a very beautiful wine that shows a fraction of good things to come. Very fruit-driven at the moment, it should flesh out further with time. Evident fruit underlines the warm growing conditions of this vintage. You get dark cherry, raspberry, dried strawberry and plum. The bouquet doesn’t feel overripe per se, but you definitely get a taste of the warm growing season. Delve deeper, and this Brunello begins to reveal spice, herb, cola, tar and black licorice. These elements form the base of the wine’s budding complexity. As nice as this wine is to drink now, I look forward to trying it five years from now.”
If you haven’t read the full account from Vinous on the 2016 Beaujolais, know this: it’s a worthy follow up to 2015, but in a very different style. Where ’15 was all about power and richness, the 2016’s are, to quote Josh Raynolds, “built along more classical lines, emphasizing lively, sharply delineated red fruit, floral and spice qualities and offering succulent early drinkability.”
That’s music to our ears and we’re very excited about the vintage on the whole, based what we’ve tasted. Over the past week we’ve highlighted a few of our selections to receive some high scores and are excited to present the final segment of those high scoring wines, in stock now.
Coudert Pere ‘Clos de la Roilette’ Fleurie Cuvee Tardive, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Coudert Pere ‘Clos de la Roilette’ Fleurie Cuvee Tardive, Beaujolais 2016 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Lurid magenta. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes ripe boysenberry and black raspberry, along with pungent floral, spice and herb notes. Coats the palate with sweet red/blue fruit, candied violet and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily with aeration. Conveys a suave blend of richness and energy and finishes extremely long and nervy, displaying harmonious tannins and resonating florality.”
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Vivid ruby. Sexy, high-pitched red berry and floral aromas are complemented by suggestions of Asian spices and succulent herbs. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering juicy raspberry liqueur and lavender pastille flavors that are given spine and lift by a zesty mineral flourish. In a seamless, expressive style, finishing sappy, sweet and very long, with just a hint of silky tannins and an emphatic floral note.”
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Lurid violet. A suave, mineral-accented bouquet evokes fresh red/blue fruits and potpourri, and a spicy element adds urgency. Bright, focused and appealingly sweet, offering concentrated yet lithe raspberry and boysenberry flavors that deepen with aeration. Distinctly graceful in style, finishing gently tannic and impressively long and leaving a sexy lavender pastille note behind.”
Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly, Beaujolais 2016 3L ($189.95) $159 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points “Light bright ruby. Intense, sharply focused aromas of raspberry liqueur, lavender and succulent herbs carry a zesty mineral overtone. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering nervy red berry, blood orange and floral pastille flavors that are underscored by suggestions of licorice and allspice. At once powerful and elegant, finishing with excellent tension, persistence and harmonious tannins. The interplay of power and finesse here is quite impressive.”
Case-12 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($339.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Lurid ruby. Bright and sharply focused on the nose, displaying intense red fruit and floral scents and a smoky mineral overtone that builds with air. Appealingly sweet and lively on the palate, offering intense raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors that deepen on the back half while maintaining energy. The floral quality comes back strong on an energetic, silky finish that leaves a juicy red berry note behind.”
Case-12 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($339.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red/blue fruits, exotic spices and floral pastilles, and a zesty mineral nuance builds in the glass. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering concentrated, spice-inflected black raspberry and boysenberry flavors that caress the palate. The floral note comes back strong on an impressively long, energetic finish that’s given shape by silky, even tannins.”Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie les Garants, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Case-12 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie les Garants, Beaujolais TS 2016 750ML ($339.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Vivid ruby. Aromas of fresh dark berries, candied violet and smoky minerals pick up a hint of allspice with air. Sweet and nicely concentrated, offering juicy boysenberry and blackberry flavors and a touch of licorice. Finishes sappy and smooth, showing excellent persistence, lingering spiciness and dusty tannins that sneak in slowly.”
April Flat Rate Ground Shipping Special to DC
Any sized, new, single order shipped through April 2018
$36 for UPS Ground
6 bottles or 600 bottles, all the same shipping cost: $36!
The fine print: Flat Rate Shipping applies to each order of any size shipped singularly to an address within the District of Columbia until the end of April 2018 only. Pre-arrivals that arrive after April, prior purchases, later additions, and multiple order consolidations will incur additional charges. Full or partial orders shipped after April 2018 will incur additional shipping fees. It is the customer’s responsibility to schedule shipment by including a note when ordering, by phone, or by email. Wine is shipped via UPS Ground. Adult signature is required.
New Arrivals: Rosé
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2017 Miraflors Rosé is another beauty that’s loaded with fresh, crisp, vibrant strawberry and raspberry fruit. Clean, pure, textured and elegant on the palate, with gorgeous purity, it’s a rocking rosé that does everything right. The blend is 70% Mourvèdre and 30% Grenache Gris brought up all in tank. Hats off to vigneron Jean-Marc Lafage for another smoking good rosé!”
Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara.
Winery note “[Translated] Dry. Fruity and floral on the nose with notes of green apple, peach, banana, vanilla, rose and geranium. Taste is fresh, dry and mineral.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Light ruby-red. Deeply perfumed aromas of fresh dark fruits, incense and Asian spices pick up a minerally element with aeration. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering sappy blackberry, cola and violet pastille flavors that show very good focus and spicy lift. Conveys a suave mix of power and finesse and finishes very long and smoky, with a hint of vanilla and silky tannins lending shape and grip.”
The next best price is $36
Wine Spectator 93 points “Shows structure and sleek polish, with expressive raspberry and rose petal aromas and layered red plum, black tea and spice flavors that linger toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2024.”
Robert Parker 93+ points “Lastly, the 2013 Forte is rich, full-bodied, concentrated and intense proprietary red blend. It is dense ruby/purple, full-bodied and capable of lasting 30 years.”
The next best price is $69.99
Wine Spectator 92 points “Dark and brooding, and while lacking some of the polish of previous vintages, this packs in plenty of power and richness, plus notes of blackberry, spice box and smoky tobacco. Finishes with big but refined tannins. Petite Sirah, Syrah and Grenache. Drink now through 2027. 22,000 cases made.”
New Arrivals: France – Rhone
Case-12 Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($529.95) $428 special (that’s only $35.67/bottle!)
Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91-93 points “Bright ruby-red. Aromas and flavors of ripe red and blue fruits take on floral and peppery spice notes as the wine opens up. Silky and expansive on the palate, showing very good depth as well as energy and back-end lift. Leaves notes of candied flowers and allspice behind on the gently gripping, subtly tannic, very persistent finish.”Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Girard, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The stunning 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Girard is blended exclusively for the American importer, Peter Weygandt, and bottled unfiltered. It’s about 85% Grenache, with the balance made up of Mourvèdre, Counoise and Cinsault. What makes it so compelling is the combination of fragrant raspberries, sinewy tannins and silky finish, all of which suggest it will age well for 20 years after the vintage. It’s powerful, concentrated and yet feels fresh and lively.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The flagship 2014 Le Pergole Torte possesses striking depth, nuance and pliancy, all in the midweight, slightly slender style of the vintage. Sweet red cherry, plum, cinnamon, dried flowers, mint, cinnamon and pomegranate infuse this super-expressive, sexy Pergole Torte.”
James Suckling 96 points “A transparent wine with flowers, dark fruit and citrus fruit on the nose. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a bright and fresh finish. I love the dynamic cherry and vivid floral character. Mineral, too. Bright acidity. This is one of the best wines of the 2014 vintage in Tuscany. Auguri. Drink or hold.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
David Schildknecht – Vinous 91 points ““There isn’t much [village-level] Dhroner this year,” explains Adam, “because some of these vines were in bad shape” after trying to fight off peronospora incursions from neighbors’ parcels. As with this year’s generic bottling, residual sugar near the upper end of what is permitted for legal Trockenheit supports the succulent fruit while engendering no impression of outright sweetness; but an older age of vines and 50% share of cask make themselves felt here in greater richness and an almost creamy palate impression. Persian and muskmelons mingle with winter squash on the nose, reconvening for a luscious, subtly musky and earthy palate performance, but – again as in the corresponding Gutsriesling – an influx of citrus lends welcome brightness, guaranteeing that the buoyant, generously juicy finish delivers ample refreshment. Neither does this want for appropriately stony underpinnings or a saliva-liberating hint of salinity.”
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “The 2016er Dhroner Trocken was harvested at 85° Oechsle from fruit in the Hofberg and was aged for equal parts in stainless steel and large oak cask. The wine delivers a superb nose of grapefruit, vineyard peach, ginger and white flowers. It proves both smooth and focused on the palate and leaves one with a great feel of minerals, citrusy fruits and a hint of slate in the great finish. This “simple” Village Riesling will give many GG a good run for their money: It is that good! While enjoyable now, this will still improve and gain in complexity with age. 2019-2031.”
The next best price is $32.38
(Ye) Old (Very Old) Dessert Wine
The thrill of celebrating with a truly old bottle of wine is unmatched in the world of wine. There’s something so magical about drinking something that’s been around as long or longer than you. It’s a feeling that’s impossible to get any other way—you know that this bottle has wine in it that’s been around through war and peace, good times and bad and now, finally, it’s going to get opened.
We stock as much old, cool stuff as we can, but sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle. After all, the hot new thing is never the old, old thing, so it’s a little understandable. That said, many of these wines offer really incredible drinking experiences at incredible prices (especially once you factor storage costs in). These are all in stock now, but like most old and rare wines, we’re unable to get more, so if something looks special, now’s the time to grab it.
First off, a selection of very old PX sherry that dates back to before the Spanish Civil War.
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles 1929 750ML ($459.95) $299 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points “The extreme 1929 Don PX Convento Selección is a thick, dense and unusual, rare sweet beast. It is very dark with a green border, dense, oily and serious full-bodied palate with the profile of a PX from Jerez. With 500 grams of residual sugar per liter, it is a little monolithic, a little heavy and not so easy to drink. Still it is an impressive, very sweet wine that is really unique”
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles 1931 750ML ($399.95) $279 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 98 points “If someone told you they kept a wine for 84 years in barrel before bottling, you’d think they are nuts, right? Well, that’s what the folks at Toro Albalá in Aguilar de la Frontera – in the province of Cordoba, part of the Montilla Moriles appellation – did with their 1931 Don PX Convento Selección. This is part of what they call ‘vinos olvidados,’ which means ‘forgotten wines.’ The border is amber, with green tints that denote very old age. Such old age provides an array of unusual aromas and flavors, including iodine and salt that compensate the sweetness (403 grams) and even the alcohol (18%). It’s terribly balsamic, with notes of dry herbs and spices, cigar ash, carob beans (algarrobas), incense and noble woods. The palate is very, very sweet and concentrated, unctuous, dense, with a chewy texture. This goes beyond a glass of wine, a drop of it is like having a piece of cake. I don’t think this reaches the complexity and depth of the 1946, which remains the benchmark for these old sweet PX, but it’s truly terrific!… bottles were filled in June 2015.”
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles 1955 750ML ($379.95) $299 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 98 points “One more single-harvest, old sweet wine, the 1955 Don PX Convento Selección was bottled in September 2014 and it had been aged slowly in very old American oak barrels and getting thick and concentrated through evaporation. It’s 320 grams of sugar are (partially) compensated by 6.5 grams of acidity. It has a nose and palate of chocolate-covered candied orange, spices, molasses. I’d say the dominant aromas in the nose are dark chocolate. It’s very dense, developing notes of very concentrated licorice and balsamic, mint, camphor and evolving notes of petrol with time. Complex, rare and unique.”
We also have a nice selection of wines from Rivesaltes—a classic dessert wine from the Roussillon that can be made from either white or red grapes but always over delivers when it comes to old wine value. We’re down to a single bottle of a bunch of vintages, so those aren’t listed here, but you can see all of them on our website by clicking here.
Domaine Cazes Rivesaltes Collections, Languedoc-Roussillon 1933 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points “The white grape-based Cazes 1933 Rivesaltes smells gorgeously of creme brulee infused with iris, violet and orange blossom; then comes to the palate at once creamy, texturally caressing and expansive, yet also gushing with juicy and zesty evocations of grapefruit and blood orange that took me by delighted surprise. Toasted nuts and haunting, smoke-tinged liquid floral essences help balance and compliment the sweetness in a profound, protracted, and impeccably balanced finish.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 1978 VDN Rivesaltes Aime Cazes is comprised of 80% Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris, and 20% black Grenache, that spent 22 years in cask. Sporting a fabulous light gold color, it burst from the glass with notions of dried plums, fig, toffee and creme brulee. Full-bodied, seamless and incredibly layered and silky, with vibrant acidity keeping it light and downright gulpable, it’s a brilliant Rivesaltes that will probably age forever.”
“Aged 56 years in cask; bottled in 2004. Outstanding wine, with a very long finish. Rich, sweet, carmelized, with lemony acidity. A fleshy wine; its concentration and bitter orange finish makes it a standout.”–Wine Review Online.com
Wine Spectator 98 points “Clearly lives up to Taylor’s superb reputation. Deep ruby, with intense violet and chocolate aromas, full-bodied, with gorgeous fruit flavors, full but well-integrated tannins and an extremely long finish. Amazing balance and finesse. Still needs time.”Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1985 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin’s Wine Journal 95 points: “A very youthful deep garnet core with ruby rim. This has a much more precocious nose than the -83 with ripe blackberry, raspberry coulis, black olives and a certain minerality to it. Very fresh and well defined, the palate is full-bodied, certainly more structured and complex than the previous two declarations. Notes of black cherry, fig, raisin with a hint of savoury fruit towards the finish that has great length and refinement. Still in its youth, this has great potential…” (05/2008)
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “Still going very strong from a bottle via a decanter. (The Robertsons served Fonseca 1985 at their dinner that night to celebrate Fonseca’s bicentenary.) Lovely hazelnuts nose and soft, spicy and sweet on the palate. Tannins fully resolved but still vigorous too.” (6/2015)
Wine Spectator 93 points “Medium ruby. Beautiful aromas of flowers and fresh plum, with hints of stems. Full-bodied and medium-sweet, with gorgeous silky tannins and a long, long finish. This is just starting to come around and offers wonderful flavors. Long life ahead, but ready to try.”
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1977 750ML ($349.95) $299 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Note on condition of bottles: labels and bottles show wear and tear of 40 years in cellar.
Wine Spectator 97 points “Good ruby color still. The nose is fresh, with lots of crushed berry and plum, with a hint of piecrust. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a caressing texture. This delivers loads of complex fruit and spiciness. Medium-sweet. A beauty. Will improve for decades, but why wait? ’77/’85/’97 blind Port retrospective. Drink now.”
Robert Parker 96 points “This house must certainly be the Latour of Portugal. Their ports are remarkably backward yet still impressive when young. Of all the vintage ports, those of Taylor need the longest time to mature and even when fully mature seem to have an inner strength and firmness that keep them going for decades. Their tawnys are also among the very best, though somewhat expensive. The 1977 has consistently been at the top of my list of vintage ports in this great vintage, although the Dow, Graham, and Fonseca are equally splendid. It is a mammoth, opaque, statuesque vintage port of remarkable depth and power, but is should not be touched before 2000.”
W & J Graham’s Vintage Port, Portugal 1977 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points “Graham is another great port house, producing one of the deepest-colored and sweetest styles of vintage port. Along with Taylor and Fonseca, Graham has probably been the most consistent producer of great port in the post- World War II era. Their tawnys are quite good rather than exceptional, but their vintage ports are truly sublime and sumptuous.”
There’s less than a week to go on our March Clearance and Magnum Sales, so consider yourself warned when these prices disappear. These are some outrageous prices on bottles large and…normal. We think the whole list is worth perusing and if you want to see all 60+ wines on sale just for March, just click here to view them all on our website!
If you want the short version, though, here are a few highlights:
Il Poggione Vigna Paganelli, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 1.5L ($249.95) Was $219, Now $199 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli is a phenomenal achievement and a wine that captures not only the spirit of this classic vintage, but the true essence of an age-worthy wine like Brunello. This single vineyard Riserva is sharp, pristine and immaculate. It starts slow and shy, but then blossoms to beautiful intensity and aromatic brilliance. It delivers a very authentic and genuine read of Sangiovese with wild berry aromas followed by pressed violets, wet earth, tobacco and lightly toasted spice. The bouquet is seamless and very long in persistence. The same holds true for the mouthfeel. The wine delivers a fine and silky texture with a good dose of power and personality at the rear.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli is magnificent. Huge swaths of tannin coat the palate as the 2010 shows off its power, breadth and overall intensity. Plum, black cherry, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, licorice and cloves are some of the many notes that hit the palate. The Riserva is dark, powerful and brooding. It will require at least a handful of years before it becomes approachable. These old vines, planted in 1964, confer weight, power and gravitas, all qualitites that come through loud and clear on the huge, explosive finish.” AG
The next best price is $279.99
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Rich blackberry and black-currant flavors give this wine its ripe character. They are already well balanced by the spicy tannins and dry core. The wine will develop well and should be ready from 2019.”
The next best price is $19.99
Robert Parker 95+ points “This is one of the tightest, most backward wines in the Jonathan Malthus portfolio. The grapes come from an old-vine parcel near Angelus and Beausejour-Duffau, and the final product is a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc. Again displaying plenty of minerality, which seems to be a prevailing theme throughout the 2010s from Malthus, the 2010 Vieux Chateau Mazerat is full-bodied, with an abundance of floral notes as well as black currant and blackberry fruit. Impressively endowed and built like a skyscraper, this full-bodied wine needs a good 7-8 years of cellaring and should keep for 25-30 years. Interestingly, the vines were planted in 1947.”
Importer note: Perhaps the consistently greatest white wine from the Bitouzet-Prieur domaine, the “Perrieres” is firmly mineral, quite spicy and more elegant than the Charmes; a great wine of class and breed with remarkable density and a wine of extraordinary potential. Two barrels are reserved for the US market; magnums are always drawn for our use and double magnums are also prepared on occasion. The Bitouzets own 0.28 hectares of vines here in the part of the vineyard known as “Perrieres Dessous” and their vines were planted in 1983.
Wine Advocate 95 points “One of the wines of the vintage is the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de l’Edre. While this cuvee had a rustic edge in the past, today it’s incredibly polished and pure, with brilliant aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, licorice, crushed flowers and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant and balanced, it’s a classic Roussillon that can be enjoyed today or cellared for a decade.”
The next best price is $47.99
Wine Spectator 94 points “Elegant, leading off with perfumed aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper. The profile is sleek, with a solid base of acidity and tannins. Shows terrific length, evoking fruit and mineral on the aftertaste. Best from 2019 through 2033.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “Very deep garnet-purple in color, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, composed of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot and 4% Malbec, is scented of red currants, blackberries and wild blueberries with touches of olives and underbrush. Medium-bodied, tightly wound and packed with tense red and black fruits, it has a fine-grained texture and savory finish. 9,600 cases were produced.”