Only Five Days Left in the May Sale
Rosé of the Day! A Sancerre Benchmark
Killer Keller—New Reviews from VinousNew Arrivals From:
Reynvaan, Masson, Pradeaux, Germain,
Gour de Chaule, Muga and More!
Rugged Roussillon: Powerful Wine and Pretty Prices
Hot Wines for Warm Weather (Trending)
3 x 15 = More Winners from Felsina
The 98 and 99 Point Oreno(s)
Featured New Arrival:
Back Vintage Biondi-Santi
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: We just secured a small parcel of Biondi-Santi Annata, including the legend-in-the-making 2010 and two back vintages. Oh? You haven’t heard that one? To be fair, we hadn’t either—the Biondi-Santi wines are hard enough to come by at release, much less as back vintage bottles from good years. These just arrived and are a bit of a coup (if we’re allowed to pat ourselves on the back). The Biondi-Santi wines are hard enough to come by at release, much less as back vintage bottles from good years. These are wines to pay attention to and to stock up on while they’re available.
Biondi-Santi makes Brunello that other estates are judged against. Their estate, Il Greppo, occupies some of the most hallowed ground in the Brunello appellation, in the heart of Montalcino. Their standards are high (they rarely release riservas) and their style can only be described as classic. The wines are powerful, but not overwrought, elegant but emphatic. These are the wines that Brunello lovers dream about.
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007 750ML ($199.95) $139 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino is gorgeous. The estate’s preference for picking on the early side is one of the factors that help balance some of the fleshiness of the vintage. This is an especially silky, supple Brunello from Biondi-Santi. The overt personality of the year comes through, but not at the expense of the house’s style. Floral notes reappear to frame the elegant, expressive finish.”
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2008 750ML ($199.95) $139 special
Ian D’agata 94+ points “(13% alcohol): Good full ruby-red with a garnet rim. Brooding nose opens slowly with aeration to offer delicate hints of lively red cherry, underbrush and flint. Rich, dense and suave, with outstandingly precise red berry and mineral flavors complicated by delicate notes of licorice, chestnut and underbrush. Finishes extremely long and pure, with a seamless quality to the classic sangiovese flavors. A knockout: this is Brunello 101 for anyone wishing to understand–or to make–a great sangiovese wine. Brunello doesn’t get much better than this in 2008. Another very fine addition to the legacy of Franco Biondi-Santi, who passed away this year.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Biondi-Santi is a benchmark for great Brunello. The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Annata does a great job of presenting classic Sangiovese characteristics in the context of a classic vintage. This wine shows extreme finesse and elegance with a silky approach that is nudged gently forward by delicate tones of wild berry, dried blueberry, pressed rose, wet earth, grilled herb and toasted almond. The acidity is beautifully balanced and the tannins are firm but silky. This wine benefits from the right DNA for long aging potential.”
May Clearance SaleOnly Five Days Remaining!
There are a lot of great wine deals that will disappear as the calendar moves from May to June! If you’ve been procrastinating know that once June comes, you’ll be too late. We’ve got a few highlights picked out, but you can click here to see the full list of May (and June) Clearance wines in our web store.
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($89.95) Was $59, Now $53.50 Clearance Price, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($519.95) Was $336, Now $299 Clearance Price (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Il Poggione is a Brunello superstar and a vintage like this reveals every reason why that affirmation is true. From the second the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino pours into the glass, you know you are in for something special. The wine is darkly saturated and rich in appearance. Absent are those slightly amber or browning hues you often get with Sangiovese in a hot vintage. Nor does the wine show flat or tired characteristics. Instead, the quality of fruit is vibrant and rich. This is a healthy, generous and exuberant Brunello with dark density and succulent fruit flavors that are followed by integrated spice and tobacco. The balance is impressive and one thing you get here is fresh acidity. This is not to be underestimated, because the acidity quota in the 2012 vintage across the appellation is not as high or evident as usual. This is one of the year’s best Brunellos.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 93+ points “Good full red. Medicinal red cherry, raspberry, sweet spices and mint on the fresh, precise nose. Bright and sweet, with a penetrating, austere quality to its flavors of red fruits, minerals and medicinal herbs. Harmonious acidity nicely frames the pure, long, youthfully tight finish. Lovely young Brunello that will repay cellaring.”
Weingut Leo Alzinger Durnsteiner Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2015 750ML ($44.95) Was $36, Now $29 Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 91 points “From the bottom of the Loibenberg and preselections of the single-vineyard Rieslings, the 2015 Riesling Smaragd Dürnsteiner opens with a very clear, intense and aromatic bouquet of crushed stones, smoke, herbs and white fruits. Medium to full-bodied, cool and fresh on the palate, this is a very mineral but also aromatic and fruit-driven Riesling with great elegance and finesse and a long and salty finish with purity and stimulating grip.”
The next best price is $35.94
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Eggo Blanc de Cal is pure Sauvignon Blanc from two different vineyards in Gualtallary. The full clusters are pressed and the must was fermented and aged in contact with the lees for nine to ten months in their famous egg-shaped cement vats. This is more subtle and earthy, less Sauvignon, with the fruit expressing itself in a lower-pitched voice, more of a baritone. It’s also has a little wider, pungent and powerful character in the mouth. This is only around 13% alcohol, and even though in 2014 it didn’t go through malolactic fermentation, it’s still a very light and fresh wine. Groundbreaking Sauvignon. 4,800 bottles were produced, fruit of two eggs.” LG
Wine Advocate 98+ points “The star of the show in 2013 is the 2013 Ermitage le Pavillon. Coming from the west and eastern edges of the Bessards lieu-dit and aged in 30% new French oak, its sensational black/blue color is followed by the awesome bouquet of cassis, smoked earth, graphite and caramelized meats that could come from no other terroir in the world. Full-bodied, massive, dense, sexy and with a liquid rock-like character that comes out with time in the glass, it has sweet tannin and a blockbuster finish that keeps you coming back to the glass. It needs 5-6 years of cellaring and will have 30-40 years of more of ultimate longevity.”
The next best price is 10% higher at $209
The average price is over 50% higher at $323!!
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points “This blend from numerous sites (not rendered in vintage 2014 due to paucity of fruit) brims with luscious, juicy white peach and grapefruit, and its combination of citricity, green herbal pungency and stony underpinnings puts me as much in mind of Riesling as of Grüner Veltliner. Silken and enveloping on the palate, it retains its sense of energy and brightness through an invigoratingly peach-kernel-inflected, tinglingly stone-infused and mouthwateringly salt-tinged finish. Despite harboring 13.5 percent alcohol, the wine also conveys a subtle and attractive sense of lift.”
The next best price is $34.99
Wine Advocate 93 points “The terrific 2013 Pézenas l’Origine shows the hallmark spice-laced perfume of this appellation. Lots of red fruits, crushed flowers, spice and violet nuances give way to a medium-bodied, elegant and sweetly fruited 2013 that has fine tannin and a seamless, sexy texture. Drink this beauty anytime over the coming 5-6 years.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “While the classic Châteauneuf can be described as traditional, the same can’t be said about the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Terre d’Abel. Made from a blend of 50% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 20% Syrah that’s aged all in small barrels, it offer loads of chocolate-laced dark fruits, roasted meats, wood spice and licorice to go with a structured, tannic and medium to full-bodied profile on the palate. Regardless of whether it’s typical or not, it’s a smoking bottle of wine that will have 15 years or more of longevity.”
Just click here to head straight to a list in our webstore!
Rosé of the Day!Benchmark Sancerre Edition
Sancerre is easy to sell but often under-delivers, unfortunately. This very much includes the rosés from the AOC, which can coast on a wave of insipidness, using the name of the region to ensure they head out the door. When you drink a good bottle, though, you’re reminded why the wines get so much love—and there is no Sancerre rosé better than Lucien Crochet’s.
The Crochet wines (in all colors) are characterized by bright, steely backbones and his rosé is no exception. This is an intense, dry and powerful bottle of Sancerre rosé with palpable minerality and incredible energy. As you might expect, quantities are limited, but our allocation for the summer just arrived.
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2017 1.5L ($79.95) $61.90 special
Importer note “Always among our most coveted rosés (and for very good reason), Gilles Crochet’s 2017 Sancerre Rosé (100% direct-press Pinot Noir) is wonderfully classic in character, with tangy strawberries and punchy chalk on the nose, and a soft, mellow, pale pink color in the glass. The fruit is very cool and pure this vintage, with great drive and persistence on the acid-driven yet scrumptious palate. While Sancerre overall experienced around 15% losses due to frost in 2017, Crochet was thankfully spared completely.”
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
“Made exclusively of Pinot Noir harvested from several parcels … a mix of Oxfordian “caillottes” and Kimmeridgian “marne”. This Rosé is made using the direct press method with the whole berries entering the pressoir. The musts ferment in temperature-controlled cuves (85%) as well as a small percentage in older barrels (15%). The fermentation occurs over three weeks. The wine is bottled in the spring of the following year.”–Importer Notes
Killer Keller!New Rheinhessen Reviews
From David Schildknecht at Vinous
“Without question, Rheinhessen growers have experienced two outstanding vintages in 2015 and 2016, but the latter boasts a surplus of wines that display the imponderable interplay of balance, elegance and charm, which to my palate give them a slight qualitative edge and an at least equal claim on cellar space.
“Rheinhessen – in particular the rolling, only rarely steep hills of its calcareous Wonnegau sector – has been a 21st-century darling among German wine critics and well-heeled German Riesling lovers. Such good fortune is owed in significant measure to the exemplary wines of Klaus Peter Keller and Philipp Wittmann, who are nowadays generally regarded as among their nation’s top six or eight wine growers. (For many influential observers, make that “top three or four.”” – David Schildknecht, Vinous
Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 6 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht- Vinous 90 points “The nose mingles chalk dust and freshly milled wheat with intimations of the crunchy fresh pear and zesty lime that then delightfully dominate the palate. Like last year’s rendition, at exactly 12% alcohol this still manages to combine a sense of stuffing with one of lift. And its animating, bright juiciness is exceptional for a Silvaner. Mouthwatering salinity joins chalk on the lusciously and refreshingly sustained finish. This wine’s actual acidity, incidentally, is (at 7.5 grams) not unusually high for a Silvaner, though its pH is unusually low given that acid level.”
David Schildknecht- Vinous 92 points “Sourced from Kirchspiel and to a much lesser degree from Abtserde, this pungently lime- and bruised-apple-scented offering retains considerable CO2 that enhances a sense of vivacity engendered by crunchy fresh apple, juicy, pit-inflected white peach and zesty lime. The feel is firm and palpably dense, yet low alcohol guarantees buoyancy, while the chalk- and sage-tinged finish displays striking cut and clarity. This amazing ball of energy blows past any previous installment of Limestone that I can recall. And like Keller’s generic dry Riesling, it represents around 14,000 bottles. As he pointed out, “there is typically some fruit from these sites that if turned into dry wine would be inharmonious because the acidity is too high, or I would have had to deacidify it, which is something I don’t want to do. So it’s terrific option to have the option: Kabinett or [for lots suited to dryness] Von der Fels.””Weingut Keller ‘Von der Fels Riesling’ Trocken, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 6 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht- Vinous 92 points “Fresh apple and lime are suffused with chalky crushed stone on a forceful nose and a firm, brightly juicy palate. This finishes with implacable, vibratory grip and features a mouthwatering, crustacean-like alliance of sweet-saline animal and mineral elements, but along with that come chalk, crushed stone, peat and ash. Nor does this multifacetedly mineral libation stint on citric refreshment. Like last year’s Von der Fels, it issues exclusively from vines of some 30 or more years of age, thereby perpetuating a short supply in comparison with the volume of most Von der Fels bottlings prior to 2015. (The vineyard sources for this bottling range across all of Keller’s top sites, though Kirchspiel, Hubacker and Abtserde combined make up close to 90% of its volume.)”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon The Classic has a touch of Pauillac like lead pencil and graphite to go with plenty of ripe black currant fruit, tobacco leaf, and underbrush aromas and flavors. This medium to full-bodied, ripe, seamless Cabernet has sweet tannin, moderate acidity, and an already impossible to resist character. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”
Case-12 Andre Dezat & Fils Domaine Thibault Pouilly-Fume, Loire 2017 750ML ($269.95) $199 special
VinopolNote: The Dezat family name is basically etched into the historical record of Sancerre; municipal records refer to the Dezats as early as 1550. In 1948, André Dezat took over his family’s vineyard holdings and took an active role in promoting the domaine as well as Sancerre-at-large. His sons Louis and Simon joined him in the 1970’s, and in the ensuing years have expanded to now include Sancerre, Menetou Salon, and Pouilly Fume.
Case-12 Domaine Jean Masson & Fils Savoie Apremont Vieilles Vignes 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Importer note “The VV bottling is the entry bottling, but the vines are over 60 years old, thus the VV designation. He does two bottlings and I always wait for the 2nd bottling so that the wine has more lees time. At the 2nd bottling the wine has spent 8-9 months on the lees. The wine has great texture and mouthfeel, closer to Muscadet than most Jacquere. On the palate you get citrus and herbs.”
VinopolNote: The Massons own some of the highest and oldest vines in the appellation, including some planted by Jean-Claude’s grandfather that are over 100 years old. At a whopping 450 meters above sea level, the family is always the last to harvest in the area. The resulting wines are fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel.
Case-12 Les Hauts de Valcombe Ventoux, Rhone 2015 750ML ($179.95) $142 special (that’s only $11.83/bottle!)
Grapelive 92 points “Sometimes you just need the warm comfort of a nice Grenache based Southern Rhone, with its full flavored and smooth tannin charm washing over your palate and light spicy character holding on the mouth coating finish adding complexity to its sweet fruits and earthy seduction. Yup, that is what was needed and this Valcombe Ventoux Rouge delivered! The “Les Hauts de Valcombe” is a cuvee cepage/blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah from exclusively north-facing vineyards, allowing for less sun to give an extra burst of freshness, even in a ripe year. Even with that much Syrah this wine feels remarkably graceful and Grenache(y) on the palate with a playful and fruity core. Valcombe, near the town of St. Pierre de Vassols, is all organic and this cuvee is all cement vat fermented and raised. It’s an old school traditional wine that displays a wonderful transparency and is terroir driven with the chalky marl soils showing through. With air some of the Syrah savoriness comes through, but the dense fruit always keeps the pleasure levels high. It’s an easy Rhone to love with racy raspberry, plum, boysenberry, sweet cherry and strawberry fruits along with hints of dusty stones, pepper, anise, leather and wild lavender. Chateau Valcombe’s owners Luc and Cendrine Guénard trained under Paul Jeune, former winemaking legend at Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s famed Domaine Monpertuis. [Jeune] transformed this property, with vineyards on the lower slopes of Mont Ventoux, from its humble origins into a serious estate [and the Guénards] have continued in his footsteps, and, in fact, in recent vintages even risen the quality here. This is a winery that almost always over delivers in the price to quality ratio, especially this bottling, which I adore. Drink this dark garnet hued medium/full bodied and textural 2015 “Les Hauts de Valcombe” over the next 3 to 5 years, but there’s no need to wait as it is drinking beautiful and fresh right now. It’s a steal.Chateau Pradeaux Bandol ‘X 10 Ans d’Elevage’, Provence 2007 750ML ($89.95) $74 special
Grapelive 95 points “Done as a special project for an anniversary of Chateau Pradeaux [and] being imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, this Bandol X is an amazing red from one of the regions great producers. It’s unique in it was raised in oak cask for a full 10 years, but it’s what shows up in the glass which is really special here. This Mourvedre based Bandol Rouge is still fresh and vibrant, a wondrous wine of class and length. The Château Pradeaux, founded in 1752, is situated on the outskirts of the town of Saint Cyr-sur-Mer that lies directly on the Mediterranean Ocean between Toulon and Marseilles. There is almost no other place on earth vines would rather be [and] the view of the sea must be heavenly. The estate has been in the hands of the Portalis family since before the French Revolution, with Cyrille Portalis is the current head of the family’s winery… While their lovely Chateaux Pradeaux Bandol Rosé is 50% Cinsault and 50% Mourvedre, the Rouge bottlings are between 95% and 100% old vine Mourvedre as this special X is. The winemaking is traditional with organic grapes, ferments with native yeasts in concrete tanks using whole cluster, and while the regular bottling gets 48 months in large cask, the X went a full ten years in the big French oak barrels. Grown on the regions southern exposures and slopes of clay and limestone soils, the Pradeaux X Bandol Rouge is a magical terroir driven wine that shows a remarkably youthful bright garnet/ruby hue in the glass with a heightened perfume and subtle earthy tone with a hint of animal and dark fruit coming through on the bouquet. The palate is seamless with layer after layer unfolding. This is just stunning stuff right up there with First Growth Bordeaux in substance and style. Its big tannins show a refined velvety class. There’s a lot to admire here. The mouth feel is excellent and rewarding with blackberry, black cherry, dusty plums and strawberry fruits, a touch of leather, well resolved stemmy elements, salted black licorice, dried violets, lavender, graphite, minty basil, cedar and lingering kirsch. This outrageously good and transparent Bandol Rouge is a thrilling wine that has retained vitality with lifting acidity. [It] remains true to its sense of place and history. It’s everything you’d expect and want, and, while this is a rarity, don’t miss their regular Bandol Rouge and especially the Pradeaux Bandol Rosé.”
Grapelive 93 points “Vigneron Stéphanie Bonfils, following her mom’s absolute love of Grenache, continues to craft Domaine de Gour de Chaule’s Gigondas with that focus. 85% of the vineyards [are] planted to Grenache, with about 10% dedicated to Syrah and Mourvedre, along with a tiny amount to Cinsault. This historic estate was started in 1900, but was not selling their own wine until the early 1970’s and not a serious domaine until Bonfils the elder got things rolling in the 1980’s. Since then [the estate] has made a significant impact joining the greats of the region with traditional and authentic wines, joining the classic likes of Saint-Damien, Saint-Cosme, du Cayron, Grapillon d’Or, Montirius, Montmirail, Château du Trignon and La Bouissiere, as well as the new guys on the block L’Ourea and Kermit Lynch’s Les Pallieres. Similar to the more famous Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas is blessed with the sunny Mediterranean climate and clay and limestones soils, but they can be fresher and certainly less costly, with some having higher elevation vines that give a vibrant intensity to these heady full flavored Rhone reds. The average age of the Grenache vines planted within the Domaine de Gour de Chaule plots is 55 years old. Stéphanie uses whole cluster fermentations with cement cuves employed for both primary and malo (secondary) before being racked to used large foudres (oak cask) to rest, for about 18 months prior to bottling unfixed and unfiltered. This 2015 is brilliantly detailed, full bodied and shows the vintage’s depth and concentration perfectly. It delivers a warm rush of Grenache purity and character with sweet strawberry, boysenberry, kirsch and plum along with dusty stones (chalky), light floral notes, peppery spices, classic lavender (garrigue) and anise. This feels rich and textured in the mouth gaining earthy elements and while deeply fruit driven there is a spine of fine ripe tannins that gives a sense of structure that holds the weight in check. It never feels too heavy or dull. It’s a beautiful old school Gigondas that really impresses the palate. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Domaine de Gour de Chaule Gigondas “Cuvee Tradition” is always a treat and a bell weather for the year. This 2015 [is] an absolute must for Rhone fans. Enjoy it for its youth now or put a few away for exceptional mid-term drinking, as it will reward some patience. Best from 2018 to 2026.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points “Brilliant ruby. A heady bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, Indian spices and smoky minerals, along with a hint of candied lavender in the background. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors unfold slowly, picking up a licorice quality that expands on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on a sweet, seamless finish shaped by smooth tannins.”
June Clearance Sale Wine!
100% Cabernet Franc. Biodynamic. Marginale is Germain’s old-vines cuvée, drawn from parcels on the limestone Fosse de Chaintre (lieux-dits of les Dares and Clos Maurice) and from a small parcel of old vines on Turonian limestone in Les Poyeux. Made from the estates oldest and lowest yielding Cabernet Franc vines, the wine is given an extra 6 months élevage. Perhaps more than any other red, Marginale encapsulates the metamorphoses of Germain’s wines from powerhouse intensity to the profound elegance that today defines this domaine’s reds. The wine is now raised in large 25-hectolitre foudre ) for 12 months before finishing its elevage in three-year-old Burgundian piéces purchased from a grower in Vosne-Romanée. Since 2013, Germain has also managed his vines and harvest to deliver ripeness at lower [brix], as well as employing a shorter maceration. The resulting wines have been more balanced and comparatively low in alcohol.
The next best price is $36
The average price is $44New Arrivals: Spain
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva – Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “This is an excellent 2013 with such purity and finesse. Cherry, stone and light cedar aromas follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Hints of cedar. It shows a focused energy. Drink now.”
The Rugged RoussillonThe Best Source for Powerful Red Wine Value?
The Roussillon, in southwestern France, is a wonderful region. Although it’s often affixed to its neighbor, the Languedoc, the Roussillon is very much its own region, with a wilder landscape and more powerful wines that often have a bit of new-world polish to them. They’re wines that we often suggest as gateways from California or Washington to France—they have old-world souls but the approachable textures and plushness of the best of the West Coast.
These are some of our favorite wines in stock—they provide excellent value across all prices—delivering wines that would be considerably more expensive if they were from other places in the world. If you’re a fan of richer, more powerful reds, these are some wines you need to check out.
Chateau de L’Ou ‘Secret de Schistes ‘ Rouge, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-6 Chateau de L’Ou ‘Secret de Schistes ‘ Rouge, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2015 750ML ($549.95) $419 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Saturated black in color, the 2015 IGP Côtes Catalanes Secret de Schistes is reminiscent of Manfred Krankl’s SQN Syrahs with its deep, unctuous, layered profile. Cassis, chocolate, licorice, smoked herbs and ample minerality all emerge from this full-bodied, sexy beauty that just begs to be drunk. Possessing ripe tannin, a stacked mid-palate and a great finish, it will be better in a year or two and keep for a decade.”
Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013 750ML ($49.95) $38 special
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.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Jeb Dunnuck – Wine Advocate 94 points “This wine is almost too good to be true. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache that was brought up in concrete tanks (Grenache) and demi-muids (Syrah), the 2015 Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes reminded me of a mini Syrah from California’s Manfred Krankl (yes I just compared a $14 Syrah to Sine Qua Non). It’s a ripe, sexy, heady beauty that exhibits a deep, purple color as well as killer notes of smoked meats, chocolate, blackberry and black raspberries. Deep, unctuous, open knit and layered, it continues to change in the glass, has a seamless and silky profile, and not a hard edge to be found. It’s a sensational value that needs to be tasted to be believed. Drink it anytime over the coming 2-4 years.”Domaine Lafage ‘Tessellae’ Carignan Vieilles Vignes, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2015 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “A sensational value the readers should snatch up is the 2015 IGP Cotes Catalanes Tessellae Carignan Vieilles Vignes! This full-bodied, ripe, sexy red has incredible purity of fruit, no hard edges and classic notes of blackberries, plums, spice and pepper. It’s a screaming deal.”
TrendingHot Wines for Warm Weather
Importer note “Petillant is a vi d’agulla, the Catalan name for prickly wine. This vibrant and refreshing wine is the traditional summertime quaffer of the Penedès region of Catalonia, and it’s perfect for drinking out of a porrón. Tasting Notes: Bright honeysuckle and almond on the nose. Bracingly dry on the palate, with flavors of lemon peel and a faint brininess.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 90 points “Pale straw-green. Fresh aromas of apple and melon, complicated by hints of grapefruit and kiwi. Then very clean and well-balanced sweet and sour notes that bring grapefruit and vanilla to mind. Finishes bright and pure, if a little less aromatic than some other past Muscat wines from Bursin. An 80% Muscat Ottonel and 20% Muscat d’Alsace; the vines are roughly 70 years old.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2015 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett is deep and smoky on the very clear, refreshing nose with its bright fruit aromas and smoky flavors of crushed stones. On the palate, this is a lush and mouth-filling Riesling with great purity, super grip and lingering salinity. The Schlossberg is surely more complex than the regular Kabinett, but I wouldn’t drink it before 2025. It has 9.5% alcohol and less than 50 grams of residual sugar.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a nice nose of herbs, grapefruit and spices. The wine is gorgeously fruity and elegant on the palate, with some Spätlese presence but also true Kabinett character and lightness. The wine is gorgeously long and elegant. 2023-2040”
Wine Advocate 90 points “From the nine-hectare original vineyard of the Huet family, the 2016 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec shows a citrus color followed by an intense, fresh and chalky-mineral bouquet with lemon and some blossom aromas. Aged in demi-muids and bottled in April 2017, this is a medium-bodied, round, elegant, remarkably lush and delicate Chenin Blanc from calcareous clay soils. The residual sugar of seven grams per liter gives a beautiful exotic fruitiness and balance, the fine tannins a good structure. The 2016 is truly a pleasant Vouvray that already drinks perfectly. Tasted February 2018.”
Jancis Robinson 17/20 “Already has the lanolin character very prominently on the nose, then fairly light-bodied fruit with a ripe, tropical citrus character, plus a bit of peach. Perhaps a little brief, but has lovely typical Chenin funkiness. Drink 2017-2022.”
John Gilman 90 points “The 2016 Le Haut Lieu Sec from Domaine Huet is a pretty wine and much less powerful than the 2015 version. The wine offers up lovely youthful aromatics of quince, tart pineapple, chalky minerality, orange peel, lanolin, a whisper of the honeycomb to come with bottle age and a gently floral top note. On the palate the wine is crisp, full-bodied and nicely detailed, with good, but not great depth at the core, sound acids and very nice length and grip on the nascently complex finish. I like the shape of this wine very much, which does not have quite as much in reserve as many recent vintages of this bottling, but which has plenty of complexity and really impeccable balance. It may well age like the 1988 vintage here. 2017-2045.”
Case-12 Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’, Maule Valley 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special (that’s only $10.67/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The super-tasty and gulpable 2016 Aupa Pipeño is a blend of País with some 30% Carignan (and whatever is found in the old vineyards) from a slightly cooler year. It keeps the style of previous vintages with the bright red fruit and the freshness of short macerations. In the dry-farming part of Maule they only saw 30 to 50 millimeters of rain when in the central valley they got 200! These grapes were harvested before the rain anyway, but the wine retains the freshness of a cooler year, fresher than 2015, more in line with the 2014 and 2013.”
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Sexy, mineral-laced aromas of ripe red and dark berries, violet and licorice. Sappy and penetrating, offering bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors that become sweeter as the wine opens up. Concentrated yet lithe, delivering excellent finishing clarity and strong, mineral-driven persistence.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Deep ruby. Perfumed and juicy, offering sweet candied blueberry pie, sweet spices and faded flowers on the nose and in the mouth. Very smooth texture and clean, ripe flavors have pretty floral lift and vibrancy. A knockout NeroJbleo, one of the best in years, in fact.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Three 2015 Classics From Felsina
Champion of Chianti Classico
Felsina is a top-three Chianti producer and a top-ten estate in Tuscany as a whole. The value out of their wines, from top to bottom, is astounding. We’re big fans of their top two wines, Rancia and Fontelloro, but their lower tier wines offer great value. We already sold through the first tranche of the basic Chianti and now have their Chianti Riserva arriving as well—a serious value play that’s a step up from the entry level but still attractively priced.
Plus, we have a new project, Fattoria di Pagliarese, which is a hyper traditional Chianti from an estate that Felsina bought in the mid-nineties. The grapes from Pagliarese had been going into the basic Classico, but Felsina is finally releasing it under its own label. There are now a trifecta of great deals to be had (without counting the relative value of Rancia and Fontalloro, which are tops).
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “A stunning, spatial wine, the 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a wine to buy by the case and savor over the next 20 or so years. All the natural richness of the 2015 vintage comes through in a creamy, voluptuous Chianti Classico that hits all the right notes.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a tight and elegant wine with bright berry notes followed by mineral tones of clay and chalky soil. You really taste those Castelnuovo Berardenga signatures here on the bouquet. The finish carries forward with grace, elegance and determination.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Dense yet rich, this red offers black cherry, earth and graphite aromas and flavors. Needs a year or two to find balance, yet the lingering, tobacco-inflected finish and refined tannins indicate the potential here. Best from 2019 through 2028.”
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is a wine of increased depth and power. The bouquet is redolent of dark fruit, dried cherry, grilled herbs and moist clay that has been wetted by rain drops. The wine shows power and determination on the close that gives it momentum and persistence. This wine shows good possibility for further evolution in the bottle over the next five years or more.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva is just beginning to show the first signs of opening in its bouquet, but it is much less giving on the palate. Readers should plan on cellaring it for at least another few years. The 2015 is a terrific example of the wild, feral Chianti Classicos that are typical of Castelnuovo Berardenga and Fèlsina.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 92 points “The 2015 Chianti Classico is a new wine from Fèlsina’s Pagliarese property. For what seems like forever, Giuseppe Mazzocolin has been the ultimate champion of Sangiovese, long before it was fashionable. With Pagliarese, Mazzocolin and Fèlsina return to a super-classic Chianti Classico based on Sangiovese, of course, but with dollops of Canaiolo, Mammolo and Colorino aged in cask. The debut 2015 is fabulous. Bright, red-toned fruit and an array of floral/savory notes are nicely delineated, but the wine’s purity and extraordinary balance elevate it into the realm of the sublime. What a gorgeous wine this is! ”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “Fèlsina’s 2012 Maestro Raro (Cabernet Sauvignon) is a real head-turner, although it is also an infant and in need of considerable cellaring. A bold, dark wine, the 2012 is vivid in the glass, with remarkable detail for such a big wine and exceptional overall balance. The 2012 is sweeping and dramatic in style, with plenty of that year’s exotic fruit and opulence, along with plenty of sweet tobacco, rosemary, sage and cedar notes that add nuance. The 2012 needs time to fully meld together, but it is fabulous, even today.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Gorgeous and soft, the 2013 Fontalloro is another landmark wine from this classic vintage. There is enormous intensity here and the wine is only at the beginning of its long aging trajectory. I suggest you put off drinking it for five to ten more years. There is evident thickness and generosity here, especially in the way those bold fruit flavors are woven between dark spice and leather. There are sour accents on the close that remind you of the wine’s youth. The tannins are fine and well integrated.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of plums, clay tiles and sage follow through to a full to medium body, silky tannins and a linear and racy finish. Love the underlying freshness and brightness to this. Excellent. A little tannic now, so better in 2018”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2013 Fontalloro shows the richer, creamier style of the vintage while maintaining plenty of Fèlsina character. Silky tannins wrap around a core of dark stone fruits as the 2013 shows off its personality. Fontalloro naturally doesn’t have the pure energy of Rancia, but it will drink well with just a few more years in bottle. Fontalloro is the most overt and ripe of the Fèlsina wines with the exception of the Colonia. A hint of French oak shapes the supple, inviting finish.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “A ripe, powerful wine, the 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia offers a level of finesse that balances some of the more overt intensity of the year. Dark cherry, plum, spice, tobacco, menthol and licorice add shades of nuance as this beautifully delineated Rancia opens up in the glass. Because of its mid-weight structure, I expect the 2012 will give up its charms relatively early by Rancia standards, which means around age 15-20. The 2012 is not an obvious or explosive Rancia, rather is a wine built on compelling overall harmony.”
The 99 Point 2016 and 98 Point 2015Oreno
A Tuscan Classic
Arriving ETA June:
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Plenty of blackcurrant, blackberry and dark chocolate character with oyster shell and walnut undertones. Full body, extremely tight and structured with blueberry and light vanilla and coffee highlights. A gorgeous Oreno. Give this wine two or three years to come together.”
Arriving ETA November:
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($599.95) $499 pre-arrival special (that’s only $83.17/bottle!)
James Suckling 99 points “Gorgeous floral and deep, dark berry aromas with hints of spices such as cinnamon and hazelnuts. Full body and ultra-fine and strong tannins that are powerful yet so sleek and beautiful. Fantastic length and texture. Deep, dark and profound. Takes you on a long journey and shows you its true character. Better in 2025. Give it time.”
Thanks for reading!