The Sancerre (Red + White) of Gerard Boulay
New Reviews for N. Rhone Favorites
Rosé of the Day: It Comes in Magnums
New Weekend – New Arrivals
Including Bonneau du Martray,
Fuligni Riserva, Vietti ’15 Crus,
Schafer-Frohlich, Thörle and More!
La Fortuna – An Overlooked Top Terroir
Return of a Vinopolis Classic: Olivier Hillaire
July Sale Highlights and Roundup
The Sancerre (Red + White) of Gerard Boulay
Gerard Boulay makes some of the best white wines in France from his vineyards in Chavignol. Chavignol is the true beating heart of Sancerre and the host of all the best names in the region (Vatan, the Cotats, Boulay, etc.). Boulay owns some of best located sites in some of the best vineyards in the town. From his parcel in La Grande Cote to Monts Damnes to the famed Clos Beaujeu, all of his wines ring with terroir and the unique minerality that’s inherent to Chavignol.
We’ve got two new fantastic bottlings that just arrived the entry level Sancerre and Boulay’s rare Sancerre Rouge. The entry level wine is a fantastic representation of what makes Chavignol so special within Sancerre at a significant discount relative to the single vineyard bottlings. It’s done entirely in tank and captures the flinty depth of the village’s wines in an approachable, drink-now fashion.
The Sancerre Rouge (named Oriane, after his first grandchild) is a stunning wine, reminiscent of Gevrey in this warm 2015 iteration. Bright, fresh and deeply savory, it’s a wine that will age well, getting even more profound over time. As the region has warmed, red Sancerre has emerged as a strong alternative to red Burgundy and this is one of the best examples out there.
Just arrived, in stock now:
Gerard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol, Loire 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Importer Note “Gerard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Boulay is certainly among the top examples of the appellation, including Boulay’s neighbors (Cotat Bros., Vatan). These are gorgeous, highly complex wines that are a clear step above “regular” Sancerre, and can age easily for 10-20 years or more. Of the 9ha owned by Gerard Boulay, 8 of the hectares are on the slopes of Chavignol on Kimmeridgian or “terre blanche” soils (similar to the soils in Chablis), which he works manually and has farmed organically since 1990. The youngest vines at the domaine were planted by Mr. Boulay in 1972 and the average vine age is approximately 45 years old. The wines ferment naturally in tank and the Chavignol tradition is also aged in tank. Gerard adds no yeast and little to no SO2 during vinfication. He describes his role as one of “surveillance” to make sure nothing goes wrong. In general he works by instinct, “au feeling” because he wants to “let the wine live” and tries not to interfere with the natural process. “C’est la nature qui fait le vin” (Nature makes the wine).”
Importer Note “Boulay makes tiny amounts of still red Pinot Noir from these same vineyards as the rose, which are 35-40 year old Pinot Noir vines located on the steep hillsides in front of the his home in Chavignol. Aged in used 300-liter casks.
Gerard Boulay Sancerre La Cote, Loire 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Importer Note “Boulay began farming the steeply sloped Mont Damnés vineyard in 1982. His plot has an average vine age of 45 years. Mont Damnés’ reflective soils and south-facing exposition make it one of Chavignol’s warmest sites. Overall, Gerard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Boulay is certainly among the top examples of the appellation, including Boulay’s neighbors (Cotat Bros., Vatan). These are gorgeous, highly complex wines that are a clear step above “regular” Sancerre, and can age easily for 10-20 years or more. In fact, we have had them all the way back to the 1959 which was magnificent! They confirm Boulay’s place in the top ranks of Loire Valley vignerons.”
Importer Note “One of Chavignol’s most historic vineyards, Boulay’s parcel lies within the original Clos of the vineyard, established by the monks of Beaujeu in the Middle Ages. The walls of the Clos are no longer standing as they were originally built from clay and hay, and did not withstand the test of time. Boulay farms a 0.75 hectares plot of 30- to 60-year old vins where the soils are pebbly, lime-rich and strewn with fossils. Along with the 60% gradient for much of the vineyard, the rocky soils make this parcel very difficult to farm. Clos de Beaujeu is the source of some of Boulay’s deepest, most structured wines and savory, spicy examples of Chavignol that are built to last. ”
In Stock Now:
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cote Rotie, Rhone 2017 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93-94 points “Deep, bright-rimmed magenta. Expressive dark berry, cherry, olive, peony and smoky bacon aromas are sharpened by cracked pepper and smoky mineral flourishes. Juicy blackberry, cassis, cherry preserve and floral pastille flavors show very real energy and becomes sweeter with air. Rich, but energetic in style, showing solid finishing thrust and building tannins that add shape and youthful grip.”
Grapelive 93 points “Vincent Paris, whose first vintage was 1997, is one of the Northern Rhone’s great young winemakers. [He] is co-president of the Cornas appellation, where he is based. His small-lot collection of Syrah(s) include Cornas, for which obviously he most famous for, and a selection of Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph bottlings like this gorgeous version. Vincent’s uncle is the legendary and now retired Robert Michel, one of Cornas’ finest ever growers. [Michel] mentored him and helped make his first few vintages, before he stepped out on his own… Vincent’s total rented and owned holdings amounting to a mere 8 hectares… This is such a satisfying Northern Rhone that is high-toned and pure. It has potential to get even better, making it a great buy for the price, even though it is not as thrilling as the more whole-cluster driven Cornas, but still a wonderful wine. Farming all organic and tending steep granite soil sites, Paris crafts bold and expressive wines. [He ferments] in tiny batches and with this Les Cotes Saint-Joseph he uses native yeast and ferments in a combination of steel and wood at low temps to preserve the beautiful aromatics, with this wine seeing a year in barrel. With the Saint-Joesph he uses less whole cluster to focus on elegance and refinement, which this vintage shows especially, but with the vintage’s depth and concentration this is an awesome mouthful of Syrah. After fabulous stuff in 2015 and 2016, these 2017 had a lot to do to match and excite the Rhone enthusiasts’ cravings and it does and then some! This 2017 Saint-Joseph is freshly detailed with classic elements. It’s impressive in the glass with a deep garnet/purple color and layers of blackberry, currant, boysenberry and blueberry fruits along with graphite, anise, cedar and pepper, adding density with air and gaining hints of subtle florals including violets.”
It Comes in Magnums
In Stock Now:
Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois en Provence Rose 2018 1.5L ($34.95) $28 special
Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois en Provence Rose 2018 750ml ($19.95) $16 special
Case-12 Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois en Provence Rose 2018 750ML ($219.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
2019 Best in Show; 2019 Best Value – James Suckling
James Suckling 93 points “The nose here is immediately captivating with its freshness, focus and interest. It suggests sea salt, thyme, freshly squeezed nectarines and a touch of well-executed, lifted citrus. The palate shows some good density and the fruit/acid balance is played out nicely. Medium-bodied and sleek and refreshing. Makes you come back for more. Routas on the money as always. Drink now.”
Want to see all 90+ rosés available for purchase right now? Just head to our webstore to see the complete selection.
Domaine Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($249.59) $219 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2016 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru is showing superbly from bottle, unwinding in the glass with a classy bouquet of crisp green apple, pears, almond paste, fresh pastry and Meyer lemon. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, concentrated and precise, with serious depth, tangy acidity, and chewy structuring dry extract while remaining elegantly textural. Intense and complete, it’s an immensely promising wine which augers well for Bonneau du Martray’s future.”
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Wine Spectator 98 points “Bright and juicy, this is packed with cherry, strawberry, floral and mineral aromas and flavors. Linear in shape and tightly wound, yet very pure, with a long, detailed aftertaste that pulls all the elements together. Best from 2021 through 2040. 350 cases imported.”
Volpaia makes a real case to be considered the top winery in Chianti.
Castello di Volpaia Coltassala, Chianti Gran Selezione 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points “A decadent nose of vanilla, brambleberries, resin, coffee beans, tobacco and hot stones with a touch of citrus and other fresher elements. Full-bodied and very intense on the palate, but the ripe tannins also show plenty of firmness. The bright acidity carries this through to a delightfully long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink in 2021.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine has now been upgraded from Riserva to Gran Selezione status. The 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Coltassala is a beautifully enriched wine that bursts open with a satisfying display of bold fruit, ripe blackberry, tobacco, spice and tar. There is ample muscle and brawn, but the wine shows impressive balance thanks to its soft textural richness and full-bodied approach. The blend is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Mammolo. This is a real beauty that pairs a hot vintage with one of the coolest, high-altitude subzones (Radda in Chianti) in this celebrated appellation. I’m sure this is the best wines I have ever tasted from Castello di Volpaia. Some 12,000 bottles were produced.”
The Vietti 2015 cru bottlings are epic, Brunate is always special.
Vietti Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 95 points “The Barolo Brunate was not made in 2014 because of hail damage. Instead, all the fruit was diverted to the Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco instead. This newest release, the 2015 Barolo Brunate, definitely makes up for the lost ground. This is an explosive and absolutely exuberant expression of Nebbiolo from a vineyard site in La Morra near M. Marengo’s property. Vietti farms two parcels here, a higher side of the vineyard and a lower one (near Damilano and Ceretto). These lower parts of Brunate perform very nicely in the cooler vintages. Instead, this warm vintage expression puts a lot of its fruit depth and personality upfront in a confident and no-fuss manner. You absolutely know what you are getting here, even at the first sniff of the bouquet. The wine proceeds to open and blossom before your nose, offering dark fruit, rose, spice and a very linear mineral tone at the back. That linear flinty note is just terrific. Some 3,600 were produced.”
James Suckling 95 points “This has a rather reserved nose with dried-herb, rosehip, potpourri and light cedary aromas, ahead of fragrant dried cherries. The palate has quite dense and smoothly rendered, ripe tannins that deliver a long, composed and approachable Barolo. Drink or hold.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2015 Barolo Brunate is powerful and dense in the glass, with plenty of Brunate tannin that enshrouds the palate. Iron, smoke, grilled herb, menthol and spice notes add complexity to the dark, sepia-toned fruit. The 2015 is a baby. It will benefit from several years in bottle and then drink well to age 25-30, perhaps beyond. This is the first vintage made from Vietti’s expanded holdings following the acquisition of a parcel that formerly went to Andrea Oberto.”
Vietti Lazzarito, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96+ points “Opening to a beautifully floral bouquet, the 2015 Barolo Lazzarito delivers fragrant tones of violets, wild rose and a touch of orange blossom. As is the norm at Vietti, I tasted this wine and then wrote this review based on impressions gained from two samples—one opened several hours before my tasting and one opened at the moment of my review. Those floral notes came forth with increased intensity and clarity in the bottle that had been opened longer. The bouquet continues to surprise with touches of black fruit and freshly milled white pepper. However, like many wines from Serralunga d’Alba, this expression from Lazzarito reveals a pretty inner paradox. Those ethereal and balsamic aromas cede to a dense and rich mouthfeel, characterized by structure and power. Those two sides of the wine reach beautiful parity and lasting harmony.”
James Suckling 96 points “This is a very youthful Barolo that has attractive, fragrant perfume with freshly picked roasting herbs and a strong, central thread of ripe cherries and red plums. The pure and concentrated palate frames intense plum and cherry flavors in long, unwavering tannins that deliver rich, strong and seamless into the finish. Exceptional quality and built for aging. Try from 2025.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Barolo Lazzarito is one of the highlights in this range from Vietti. The power and gravitas of Serralunga come through loud and clear in a deep, beautifully resonant Barolo loaded with character. Iron, smoke, sage, menthol, licorice and rose petal give the Lazzarito its beguiling aromatic complexity. The massive tannins need time to soften, but there is a lot to look forward to once that happens.”
Vietti Rocche di Castiglione, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
James Suckling 98 points “A hauntingly complex and finely detailed nose that touches so many different characters. Roses, dried wood, cedar, fine brown spices, light earthy notes, warm stones, mountain herbs and leaves. All here – very complex. The density and weight is exceptional, as is the fine, firm weave of tannins. The length is staggering and the tautness and balance are captivating. One of the stars of the vintage! Try from 2025.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96 points “Along with the Ravera, the 2015 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione has a very fresh feeling (they are both grown with less direct sunlight). Indeed, there are many similarities between these two prestigious Barolos from Vietti, but the differences start with the vinification methods. While the Ravera sees malolactic fermentation in stainless steel, the Rocche di Castiglione completes that phase in botte. To continue the comparison, these two wines are certainly more closed than the other Barolo crus from this producer, the Lazzarito and the Brunate, which blossom and open more quickly. Even though it is a bit shy, the defining characteristics of herbaceous rosemary and balsamic notes show up well in this vintage of the Rocche di Castiglione, a vineyard site that prizes elegance above all else.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione is incredibly inviting from the very first taste. Silky and aromatic, the Rocche shows plenty of the classiness that is such a signature of this Castiglione Falletto site. As with all of these 2015s, readers will have to be patient. The 2015 gains striking volume and resonance with time in the glass, but a few years in bottle are an absolute must for the wine to show at its very best.”
Schafer-Frohlich Halenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2017 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling .com 97 points “Super flinty and spicy, this very concentrated dry riesling is lean and mean. Relentless finish. It just goes on and on. Drink or hold.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 95 points “White currant, grapefruit, almond, struck flint and sea breeze aromatically anticipate the combination of bright citricity, mouthwatering salinity and smoky accents that inform a palpably dense palate. In addition, a sense of crushed stone suffusion and a raw oyster-like animal, mineral and herbal savor add to the dazzling complexity and salivary gland-tugging insistence of this bell-clear, vibrantly-sustained vinous tour de force.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This 2017er Monzinger Halenberg GG is still marked by some residual scents from its spontaneous fermentation. These give however quickly way to delicate scents of almond cream, white flowers, yellow peach, mirabelle and pear. The wine is all about beautiful flavors of gingery spices and grapefruit acidity on the creamy palate. The finish is superbly long and focused, and the after -taste is nicely dry. This is a refined and elegant dry Riesling. 2024-2037.”
Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling .com 96 points “Great harmony and originality, as well as enormous concentration, making this a stunning Spätlese. The mineral freshness at the finish is literally breathtaking. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2017 Bernkasteler Badstube Auslese is very intense and upfront on the reductive, flinty and even coolish nose. Extremely lush and round on the palate, this is a concentrated, silky-textured and incredibly juicy Auslese that you can hardly stop drinking. This 2017 Badstube is a hedonist’s Auslese, and its finish is long, salty, fresh and precise. It’s so rich and so stimulating at the same time. You’ll wish you could take a bath in it. Dangerous stuff. Tasted in March 2019.”
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2017 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese is intense and concentrated on the nose, with raisin, grapefruit and even vegetable aromas at the moment. This is highly attractive and noble on both the nose and palate. The wine is lush and dense on the palate but highly elegant, crystalline and fine, revealing a highly stimulating, salty-piquant and intensely aromatic and complex finish. This is an outstanding wine, and it’s highly digestible. Tasted in March 2019.”
Top Riesling on pure chalk soil.
Thörle Saulheimer Holle Riesling, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Case-6 Thörle Saulheimer Holle Riesling, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($259.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 96 points “Still youthful, but this has a complex stone-fruit nose. Concentrated and racy with great energy at the very long, chalky finish. Great aging potential. Drink or hold.”
Thörle Saulheimer Probstey Silvaner, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 94 points “Still quite yeasty from long maturation on lees, but that accentuates the smoky and herbal complexity of this remarkable dry silvaner. Just a hint of oak in support of the creamy, mid-weight body and long, silky finish. Drink or hold.”
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 96 points “More root and sous-bois character than the other 2016 Thörle pinot noirs. This is so fine and so deep, so cool and so elegant that you might easily assume it comes from the Côte d’Or! Great tannins build like a giant wave and sweep you through the super- long finish. Drink or hold.”
The next lowest price is $59.99
Thörle Saulheimer Probstey Spatburgunder, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 95 points “Still quite closed on the nose, because this has just been bottled. However, on the palate there’s a sensational harmony of fine-grained tannins and perfectly ripe fruit, yet the wine has just 12.5 per cent alcohol. Great, chalky dry finish.”
The next lowest price is $49.99
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 94 points “This has a ravishing black cherry note with hints of leather and smoke. For a pinot noir in this price category, there’s great concentration, polished tannins and a long, complex finish. Drink or hold.”
La Fortuna’s vineyard sits smack dab in the middle of some of the best names in Brunello, just barely west of the town of Montalcino. Casanova di Neri is less barely more than a half mile east on the same ridge and Fuligni is the next address down the road. Luciani and Lazzeretti sit on the other sides of the vineyard, too—by all accounts this should be a Very Famous Estate.
Instead, La Fortuna’s wines represent a bargain for Brunello. The winemaking shows lots of skill, but their humble personalities have kept prices reasonable, at least for now. These are some of the most striking wines in the DOCG, with bold, rich flavors and lots of complexity. Until the secret gets out, these wines represent some of the best opportunities in Brunello di Montalcino to drink fantastic wines (especially the 95 and 97 point Riservas) at below market prices.
Arriving ETA August:
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($99.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points “Perfumed, with wild herb aromas and a subtle mix of strawberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant and dense, with fine acidity driving the long finish. Though elegant, there is intensity and fine energy on the aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2028.”
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($119.95) $88 pre-arrival special
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($619.95) $499 pre-arrival special (that’s only $83.17/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 95 points
James Suckling 95 points “Very attractive and intense aromas of ripe black cherries and plums, leading to a palate that has a quite firm tannin core and finishes with a convincing serving of rich, ripe darker plums and berries. Drink or hold.”
In Stock Now:
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 93 points “Aromas of blackberry and cherry with flowers. Smoky. Hot stone. Medium to full body, firm and fresh tannins and a delicious finish. Beautiful now but needs a year or two to soften.”
La Fortuna Giobi, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
James Suckling 93 points “Some ash and spice undertones to the cherry and berry aromas. Medium to full body, silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Linear and focused. Better in 2020.
Arriving in December
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($599.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand comes from a parcel of Grenache originally planted at the end of the 19th century in a sandy part of La Crau. It’s Hillaire’s flagship, and it merits its status this vintage, where it shines with raspberry fruit and layers of dried spice complexity. It’s full-bodied and rich yet silky, elegant and long on the finish, epitomizing the delicious contradictions that Grenache can present.”
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, spicecake and incense, and a minerally element adds urgency. Impressively energetic on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry compote and lavender pastille flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. The floral note repeats emphatically on the impressively long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves a smoky mineral note behind.”
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($539.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Terrasses is a fine example of old-vine Grenache from a parcel of vines near La Nerthe. Rose petals and black tea accent pristine cherry and raspberry fruit in this full-bodied but silky-lacy, delicate wine. Long, briny and refreshing on the finish, it’s deceptively drinkable but undoubtedly packs a wallop.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Brilliant violet. Lively, mineral-accented red and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of lavender and vanilla. Silky and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry and boysenberry flavors that deepen and become spicier as the wine opens up. Closes sweet, energetic and very long, displaying harmonious tannins and lingering smoke and red berry liqueur notes.”
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 pre-arrival special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points “The young estate has turned out some crazy good 2016s, including the “basic” 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape, a blend of 90% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre and Syrah, all from the lieu-dit of Grand Pierre. Aged in concrete and neutral barrels, it shows terrific balance, matching black cherries and raspberries with hints of garrigue, and ample weight and richness on the palate with fine, silky tannins. Concentrated, flavorful and long, this should be available for around $50, making it a relative bargain.”
July Sale Roundup
Highlights In Stock Now:
Bow & Arrow Le Chenaie Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Eola Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $21.90 July Sale Special
Winery Note “Proof that Sauvignon Blanc made the right way can be terroir wine, the short distance between Union School and La Chenaie belies the profoundly different ways in which the two sites express themselves. We make the two wines exactly the same way but the Eola-Amity Hills highlights wholly different attributes in Sauvignon Blanc. This expression is more sophisticated than its southern brother and incorporates a savory aspect we find fascinating. Texturally is carries more weight and depth without being ponderous. Reminiscent of stone fruit, guava, mint and a whiff of Rum Agricole.”
Winery Note “One of the greatest underdog stories in this region’s wine history. Cynically planted on a north facing slope some 30 years ago it wasn’t even given a name. It was just buried in some big houses Pinot for color and bulk. We came along and convinced the owner to switch to Organic farming and sell us the Gamay block also planted on the site. The Pinot was part of the deal however and despite begrudgingly accepting it the wine has proven to be the best source of this noble variety we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. The most sophisticated wine the cellar produces every year. Always reminds me of cinnamon, hibiscus, raspberry blossoms and black tea.”
Winery Note “Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America. The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard. Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience. Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon. “
Now it’s even lower!
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “A Pomerol look-alike, the 2015 Epinette is mostly Merlot, yet includes 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. It’s another rich, mouthfilling effort and offers lots of darker, plummy fruits, chocolate, and scorched earth aromas and flavors. With building tannin and serious structure, it isn’t for those looking for instant gratification and is going to need a solid 3-5 years of bottle age.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.99
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!
Wine Advocate 93-96 points “It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.97
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
The average listed price is $38