The Magical, Undiscovered Volnay of Pierrick Bouley
Staff Pick New Arrival –A Piemonte Gem
Newly Arrived 2017 Dönnhoff
Rosé of the Day: Confusing Name, Fantastic Wine
New Reviews from John Gilman and Grapelive
New Gerard Boulay Sancerre, Red and White
July Sale Roundup
of Pierrick Bouley
Pierrick is the fifth generation of his family to make wine from Volnay and its surroundings and he seems to have absorbed the cumulative knowledge of the previous generations. Stylistically, his wines are notable for their finesse, polish and elegance—Volnay in a nutshell. There’s very little new wood, minimal manipulation and a striking purity to the flavors and aromatics.
As far as the vintage goes, we couldn’t be happier about our first offer of these wines. 2016 is an excellent, classically-styled vintage that plays to the strengths of Pierrick and Volnay as a whole. Our only complaint is that the wines are in short supply due to frost damage across the Cote de Beaune. We’ve secured all we could, but most of the top wines are only available in small (1-2 case) quantities. They arrive this coming Friday, though if you’re a savvy Burgundy buyer, you’ll pre-order them to secure an allocation.
Arriving Friday, July 12th:
Pierrick Bouley Volnay Premier Cru Clos Des Chenes, Burgundy 2016 750ml ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Fine Wine Review 92-95 points “49 hl/ha. Here, too, the vines are younger than most of the estate’s other vines, being only about 30 years-old. The nose is stony and pure. The mouth shows dark fruits and it is sleeker than that of the Champans. The wine shows excellent energy and penetration and one can feel the limestone in the vineyard. The wine also shows good minearlity and length. It should age well.”
Fine Wine Review 90-94 points “10 hl/ha. Bouley owns the only part of the Grands Champs that is classified as premier cru. The nose is powerful with red fruits and some spiciness. The mouth is medium light with elegance, good length and spicy red and dark fruits. ”
Fine Wine Review 90-94 points “26.7 hl/ha. No SO2 yet added. The nose shows spiced blackberries. The mouth is dense with good structure, very deep blackberry fruit, and overall balance. It is a very good representation of wine from the Santenots vineyard.”
Fine Wine Review 88-92 points “5.25 hl/ha here. The nose shows ripe crushed blackberry fruit. The mouth is dense and pure with good structure to support the wild blackberry fruit. If this wine were available in any quantity, it would be a no-brainer.”
Fine Wine Review 89-91 points “The yield for this wine is 8.3 hl/ha. So far, there’s been no SO2 added to this wine. The nose and mouth both show red fruits. In the mouth, the wine is long and salty with good density and balance.”
A Piemonte Gem
Within the hierarchy of the Barbaresco, most buyers (myself included) tend to focus on the wines that make producers famous—Asili and Rabaja for the Produttori, or Ovello in the case of Cantino del Pino. That’s all well and good, but this past week I was reminded that the “lesser” wines can often offer profound experiences with the proper amount of age.
That reminder came in the form of a bottle of Cantina del Pino’s “normale” from 2004—a wine that at 14+ years of age was just stunning. After about an hour open the aromatics were captivating and the wine was at that magical moment when bottle development provides complexity but the primary fruit and vivacity of the wine is still there. While we don’t have any of the ’04 in stock, we do have the next best thing—the fantastic 2015, just arrived and ready for a 10 year sleep in your cellar.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
Cantina del Pino Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Barbaresco by Cantina del Pino starts off gently with delicate notes of wild berry, red rose, toasted spice, licorice and camphor ash. The wine offers all the complexity and elegance you get with Nebbiolo but presented on a slightly lower intensity scale. This wine is geared for near- or medium-term drinking”
As good as the wines are every year, they might have outdone themselves in the 2017 vintage. On the whole the ’17 has very high highs and Dönnhoff is very much in the tip-top of the class. The Nahe, which naturally combines the zest of the neighboring Mosel with the depth and gras of the Rhein, has been on a roll recently, but the nature of ’17 seems to play to its strengths, with intense powerful wines that are buttressed with ample acidity.
As always, Dönnhoff’s two best off-dry wines are from the Niederhauser Hermannshole and Oberhauser Brucke and we just received the Spatlesen from both. These are a brilliant blend of fruit sweetness, minerality and rippling acidity to keep everything light and refreshing. The dry wines are powerful and mineral (and breathtakingly complex). Most of our ’17 allocation sold out pre-arrival, but we have limited quantities of these four available. If you wanted to get any of these, now’s the time.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
Weingut Donnhoff Roxheimer Hollenpfad Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 94 points “This is no top GG for its weight or power, but it’s got enormous, herbal intensity and super minerally acidity that keeps pumping out the flavors at the very fresh finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
Grapelive 93 points “The 2017 Hollenpfad Trocken is gorgeous and mineral driven with radiant yellow fruits, perfumed and classically stony in nature[. T]his is the essence of Dönnhoff and a tribute to Cornelius’ talent in the vineyards and his cellar…. Anyone that has recently tasted Dönnhoff understands this instinctively and these last three vintages have been absolutely outstanding, with both the trockens and sweet(er) wines excelling, especially bottling like this dry Hollenpfad Riesling….The Erste Lage Roxheimer Höllenpfad is a very famous, steep, south-facing vineyard of weathered red sandstone, and the old name Höllenpfad translates into English as “path to hell” and was likely named for the red sandstone soils, an anomaly in the Nahe, and maybe the hard work required to hand tend this vineyard. I actually find this wine more of a pathway to heaven, it is a beautiful and striking example of crisp dry Nahe Riesling with layers of fresh apricot, peach and tangy tangerine fruits, driving, but smooth acidity, steely class that reminds of Chablis along with a touch of tropical fruit, lime blossoms, saline, an almost meatiness, seductive rosewater and a hint of ginger and clove spiciness. This vintage is wonderfully expressive, refreshing and shows subtle depth and density/extract and it gains in textural form with air, highlighting this vineyard’s Premier Cru class and complexity. This is a serious effort and rivals some very expensive GG’s, but it is also a young wine that can be enjoyed now with much less quilt for popped the cork as it is a great value. This 2017 Hollenpfad can be and is remarkably flexible with cuisine choices and can be a porch pounder as well, it’s a fabulous Summer white, don’t miss it.”
The next best price is $37.98
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 98 points “A star is born! Stunning white-peach and herbal nose, then a sensational combination of ripeness and freshness that whips this forward like a jockey driving a racehorse towards the winning post. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. This has enormous aging potential. Drink or hold.”
Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 99 points “Most people who drink wine know what a ripe peach tastes like. However, this wine gives you a completely new appreciation of the meaning of the word “peach”. Beyond that, it possesses subtlety that is extremely rare anywhere in the world of food and wine. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Absolutely delicious now, but could be held for decades.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 95 points “Lily perfume on the nose of this Hermannshöhle reminds me both of the corresponding 2016 and of this year’s Kirschheck. That is accompanied by ripe, fresh and high-toned, distillate-like notes of pear and quince. The glossy palate is lusciously fruited, billowingly perfumed, as well as seductively glossy and creamy in texture. Piquancy of pear pip and hints of anise add counterpoint, while fresh grapefruit and white peach contribute welcomed bright juiciness en route to a ravishingly-sustained, impeccably-balanced finish. The covering term “mineral” will for now have to serve the strikingly transparent finish, which becomes more intriguing the longer the wine takes on air.”
Case-6 Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2017 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 96 points “So light and filigree with such a delicate white-peach note. Yet, behind the almost weightless exterior is enormous depth and an almost savage mineral freshness at the finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 93 points “Ripe pear, quince and raspberry, honeysuckle and peony combine for a seductive nose and palate, the latter polished, glossy and billowing with inner-mouth perfume. But the characteristic brightness of Brücke really shows in the animation of a superbly-sustained, luscious yet, focused finish that delivers less sense of overt sweetness than was harbored by this year’s Krötenpfuhl or Leistenberg Kabinetts, let alone by the corresponding Kirschheck Spätlese.”
Confusing Name, Fantastic Wine
The Delicious Saint-Ser
Arriving Friday, July 12th:
Domaine de Saint Ser Cotes de Provence Tradition Rose 2018 750ML ($19.95) $16.60 pre-arrival special
“A unique blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and a touch of Rolle grapes give this wine an unusually complex aroma. Each grape variety contributes its own note: a red-berry aroma from the Grenache, the finesse of the Cinsault, the intensity of the Syrah, and a hint of citrus from the Rolle.”–Winery Notes
Pax North Coast Syrah, California 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2017 Syrah (North Coast) is a new wine in the range that essentially replaces The Hermit. Ripe, open-knit and expressive, the North Coast is made in a radiant, inviting style that can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring. Moreover, it is a real overachiever, as Pax only bottled the Armagh as a vineyard-designate in 2017. Vineyard sites in the North Coast Syrah are Nellessen Vineyard, Castelli-Knight Ranch, Griffin’s Lair, Walker Vine Hill, Alder Springs Vineyard, Montgomery Road Ridgetop, and Majik Vineyard.”
Winery Note “Here is a wine that comes along only every so often. Driven by Mother Nature rather than market forces, this 100% Syrah is a blend of all of our favorite vineyards. Just because they are our favorites doesn’t mean that they don’t disappoint in some years. 2017 was one of those years that made it very difficult for us to carry out our desire to bottle these vineyards on their own as vineyard designated wines. So for 2017 you get all the great terroirs blended together to make one very compelling and over delivering bottle of Syrah.”
F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Liebenberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2015 750ML ($69.95) $48 special
Wine Advocate 93-94 points “The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg comes from 70- to 80-year-old vines on a rare calcareous slate soil. The wine displays a very clear and pure, pretty open and lovely spicy, crystalline and flinty bouquet with ripe pip fruit aromas. Very distinguished and rather coolish in its expression. Full-bodied, round and elegant, with tension, salt and grip in the finish, this is a charmingly ripe and juicy but also challenging mineral and piquant Veltliner from one of the most exciting terroirs. The finish is powerful and complex but also fresh and stimulatingly piquant. Pichler has bottled this wine since 2010.”
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut Millesime, Champagne 2011 750ML ($179.95) $108 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Always a light, ethereal style of wine, this is also very fresh and still young. It will age with its taut minerality from the Chardonnay in the blend. A softer background will become toasty over the next few years. The vintage date on this bottle is 200 years after the foundation of this producer. Drink from 2021.”
The Chateauneuf hit of the summer, so far.
Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($499.95) $389 special (that’s only $64.83/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “As I predicted last year, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Guigasse has smoothed out considerably and seemingly absorbed the stemmy elements I noted previously. Still not yet bottled, it now offers wonderful fruit purity and intensity. Raspberries and cherries are delivered on a full-bodied, rich and creamy palate that somehow avoids any sense of heaviness. It looks to be a stunning example of 70-year-old Grenache from the sandy lieu-dit of the same name.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “Made from 100% Grenache in the La Guigasse lieu-dit, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse boasts a deeper ruby/purple color as well as a sensational bouquet of kirsch and black raspberries, spring flowers, rose petals, and exotic spice. This beauty builds on the palate, with terrific concentration, yet it always holds onto the more ethereal, elegant, seamless style of this estate.”
Carignan in the right hands makes perfect bistro reds.
Domaine Lafage ‘Tessellae’ Carignan Vieilles Vignes, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points “Moving to the reds, the 2017 Côtes Catalanes Tessellae Carignan (100% Carignan) comes from the Agly Valley and was brought up all in tank. Blackberries, leather, dried herbs, and licorice notes all emerge from this spicy, medium-bodied, silky Carignan that has terrific purity and elegance. It’s another wine from Jean-Marc that over-delivers. Drink it over the coming couple of years.”
Finca La Emperatriz ‘Cepas Viejas’ Garnacha, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 95 points “An intensely herbal and floral nose displaying raspberries, cherries and hints of cloves. Mint, too. Medium body, ripe and juicy tannins and a very long, citrusy and savory finish. Made from vines over 65 years old. A wine that boasts superb finesse and style. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The wine that won my heart this time was without a doubt the 2014 Finca la Emperatriz Garnacha Cepas Viejas. This wine is sourced from the Rioja Alta subzone, not quite the classical Garnacha place, from the only old-vine Garnacha plot they have in the estate. It displays a captivating nose of sweet Garnacha fruit akin to cherries in liqueur, but keeping the freshness in a coolish vintage like 2014. The uncrushed grapes fermented in open-top stainless steel vats and 500-liter oak barrels with indigenous yeasts after five days of pre-fermentative maceration, and it matured in 500-liter oak barrels for ten months. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, delicious fresh flavors and very good length, ending with a tasty, almost salty note. 8,966 bottles and a bunch of magnums were produced and filled in November 2014.”
Perhaps the finest California (style) Chard in the land.
Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2016 Hartford Court Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard leaps from the glass with exuberant notes of green mangoes, yuzu, mandarin peel and pink grapefruit with touches of baker’s yeast, pie crust, beeswax and oyster shell. It’s medium-bodied with a very, very taut, intense and refreshing palate, sporting incredible tension and layers and finishing very long and very minerally. 327 cases produced.-LPB”
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “In the same league as the 2015 and flirting with perfection, the 2016 Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard comes from a ridgetop vineyard located at 1,150 feet above sea-level, just west of the town of Occidental. It was fermented and aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. Salty sea breeze, lemon curd, white flowers, beautiful minerality, and hints of toasted bread all flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich, powerful Chardonnay that has awesome purity, building density and depth on the palate, and bright acidity that carries through the finish. It’s straight-up awesome.”
“As readers will recall, Florian Lauer likes to use cask numbers for his wines, and hence almost of them are listed on the label with their “Faß” number, rather than the name of the village, vineyard and Prädikat level. Happily, Katharina Lauer had a sheet prepared for me that outlined each “Faß” number for me and it was quite easy to keep the wines straight, but I would have a hard time doing so without my “cheat sheet”. I am sure this approach is preferable for Florian, as it allows him to make each cuvée in a general style of dry, off-dry or sweeter wine, without having to try to push a vintage into a given box such as Trocken and get the residual sugars down under ten grams. In certain vintages, one can have a beautifully balanced dry wine at twelve or thirteen grams of residual sugar, and by labeling each wine with its own “Faß” number, one does not need to push a dry wine with a touch more sugar down below the official Trocken threshold. As the Lauer family has significant holdings in the beautiful Kupp vineyard in their home village of Ayl, their practice is to bottle different historic sections of this vineyard on their own, rather than make larger blends from different sections of the Kupp. A few examples of these sectional names within the Kupp would include Stirn, Unterstenberg and Kern.” – John Gilman, A View from the Cellar
Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Fass 2 Riesling Extra Trocken, Mosel2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
John Gilman 90 points “The 2017 vintage of Faß 2 comes in at 12.5 percent octane and is quite dry, as mentioned above, at just over one gram of sugar. The wine is youthful, but shows lovely promise, with the nose wafting from the glass in a mix of pink grapefruit, orange peel, plenty of smokiness, a fine base of slate, wild yeasts and a nice hint of Saar herb tones in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, racy and nascently complex, with great focus, cut and grip and a long, poised and perfectly balanced finish. This will need a year or two longer in the cellar to start to stir than the 2018 version, but it too is going to be an excellent bargain. 2023-2055. 90.”
John Gilman 92 points “The 2017 Unterstenberg Riesling “Faß 12” from Florian Lauer is an outstanding wine. This is twelve percent octane in 2017 and hails from a parcel that is at the foot of the hill in the Kupp. It jumps from the glass in a fine aromatic constellation of pink grapefruit, green orange, salty elements, dried flowers, lovely slate undertow and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and nicely reserved out of the blocks, with a fine core, excellent acids and grip and a long, primary finish that closes with excellent mineral drive. First class juice and essentially dry in profile, no matter what the sugar numbers might indicate. 2023-2065. 92.”
John Gilman 93+ points “Happily, there was the 2017 Neuenberg sitting there ready to sample and it was really singing for such a young wine. This wine comes in at twelve percent alcohol and is very, very promising on both the nose and palate, albeit still properly reserved at such a young age. The bouquet delivers scents of lemon, grapefruit, tart peach, salty slate minerality, white flowers and lemongrass. On the palate the wine is crisp, medium-full and very refined, with an excellent core, great soil signature, impeccable focus and balance and a long, nascently complex and classy finish. First class juice. 2024-2065. 93+.”
Also Recently Reviewed, In Stock Now:
Domaine Guillaume Gilles Cornas, Rhone 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
John Gilman 91+ points “The 2015 Cornas from Guillaume Gilles is a lovely young wine that is full of promise. Guillaume Gilles is the protégé of the now retired Robert Michel, and has been given the lease on Monsieur Michel’s fine parcel in the lieu à dit of les Chaillots, as well as use of the old Michel cellars. His style is very traditional, with virtually no destemming and elevage in old foudres and his 2015 is showing fine promise, with the bouquet offering up scents of cassis, pepper, a nice base of grilled meats, plenty of smokiness and a fine, fine base of stony soil elements. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and properly chewy out of the blocks, with a fine core, good focus and grip and a long, soil-driven and youthful finish. This will be very good in the fullness of time. 2025-2075. 91+.”
Remelluri ‘Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de San Vicente’, Rioja 2014 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-6 Remelluri ‘Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de San Vicente’, Rioja 2014 750ML ($179.95) $128 special (that’s only $21.33/bottle!)
Grapelive 94 points “Telmo Rodriguez, one of the most iconic and best winemakers of his generation…. has accomplished himself as a champion of terroir over varietal and employs artisan craftsmanship in the cellar, with his wines hardly ever showing overt oak or aggressive alcohol, they always show distinctive purity and a sense of place, and these secondary wines known as Lindes de Remmelluri are magnificent expressions of Rioja, they are richly flavored and soulful wines crafted from old vine purchased fruit from vineyards that prior had got into the family’s main wine. These two vineyard select wines, Labastida and this San Vincente, coming from vineyards that used to go into the Remelluri Reserva are now separated into these two new single vineyard bottlings that are absolutely stunning values, especially in this 2014 vintage….The beautiful and deep Lindes de Remelluri Viñedos de San Vicente 2014, a field blend of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Garnacha, was fermented using all native yeasts in cool stainless steel tanks and then raised in barrel, 100% French oak, for 12 months before bottling where it is rested a good amount of time as well. San Vincente in the Rioja Alta just to the east of Haro is at about 50 meters up, but hotter than the higher sites at Labastida and at the main Remelluri estate located in Rioja Alavesa which are much cooler, making this wine seem more lush, riper in satiny tannin and with a softer acidity. Grown on hardened clay and calcareous limestone over a firm core of bedrock from organic vines that average at least 40 years of age this wine shows warm dark fruits, blackberry, cherry and plum lead the way along with hints of earthy mulberry and cranberry along with lilacs, cedar/sandalwood, a touch of vanilla and a subtle array of spices. 2014 was a slightly cooler year and that really helps this wine feel alive on the opulent and full bodied palate and it lingers on and on with a echoing aftertaste that is highly impressive. Telmo’s wines are always polished and textural, but distinctly authentic with terruño character and delivering substance along with some flair, which this one shows, it should age well too, I can imagine at least another decade plus with this 2014 San Vincente.”
New Gerard Boulay Sancerre, Red and White
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 arriving this coming Friday: 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.
Arriving Friday, July 12th:
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.
Can’t wait? Check out Boulay’s masterful single vineyard wines, in stock now:
Gerard Boulay Sancerre La Cote, Loire 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Importer Note “Boulay’s parcel in “La Grande Côte,” which is partially owned and partically rented, is one of three designated Crus of Chavignol and is reputed for producing wines of incredible precision. Vintage 2010 was the inaugural release. 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. (referred to by the Cotat brothers as La Grande Cote)”
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. ”
July Sale Roundup
Highlights In Stock Now:
Domaine A. & P. de Villaine Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise La Digoine, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $41.90 July Sale Special
Winery note “La Digoine is a site at the foot of a slope, known for centuries to provide the deep soil and growing conditions necessary for excellent red wine. At first sight, the colour is sustained, intense red. Even if the nose is still slightly shy, it suggests a great wine; this impression is confirmed by the complexity on the palate. A wine fleshy, rich, deep, full of ripe and silky tannins. These wines having been matured and vinified the most natural way possible, we would recommend that you cellar them for a bit and then let them breathe before drinking.”
The average price nationally is $50
Winery note “Fresh with fruity notes that evoke blackberry, red fruits, wild strawberries. The tannins are soft, silky and give the wines, beside a powerful structure, a real aromatic lightness.”
The average price is $42
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling 96 points “Very refined peach, rose hip and wild berry on the nose. Stunning concentration, elegance and finesse make this one of the stars of the vintage on the Nahe. The super-mineral finish almost literally takes your breath away. Drink now or hold.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “From slate and porphyry soils, the 2016 Nahe Riesling Norheimer Dellchen “GG” is very pure, precise and mineral on the elegant, subtle nose, where ripe seed fruit aromas are displayed. Very sensual! Full-bodied, rich and round, this is a highly elegant, intense and dense Riesling with a persistent finish. Very aromatic and sensual, but it needs some time to gain even more finesse.”
Terry Theise note “A conglomerate of slate and porphyry, the site entails the little hollows between cliff-sides; it’s very steep and terraced and quiet, which may account for the wines’ riddlesome nature, wines of pure inference and umami that need several years not just to blossom, but simply to say what they taste like. This is especially true of the dry wines. This ’16 is relatively overt and smoky, but no sequence of descriptors will be useful—it’s just too soon. The texture seems more lush than usual, and there’s an earthy note, and as compelling as it is, I respect the shroud and will wait patiently.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 94 points “Musky hints of peony and iris mingle with sea breeze and scents of ripe white peach on a nose that reflects the floral and marine mineral mystery that seem to be part and parcel of Riesling from this great site. While the texture is silken, there are insistent impingements of mustard seed, peach fuzz and crystalline stones that add to the sense of vibrancy and invigoration conveyed on a superbly sustained finish. The cooling, inhalative sense of floral and herbal perfume hauntingly remains even after the fruit and mineral flavors have finally subsided. This wine reinforces the intuition I had when tasting Schneider’s collection, namely that this vintage of Dellchen will continue in bottle to give Hermannshöhle unusually tough competition.”
Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese, Nahe 2015 1.5L ($199.95) Was $149, Now $133 July Sale Special, 4 magnums in stock now
David Schildknecht-Vinous 95 points ” Buddleia and lily perfume, red raspberry and white peach headily entice the nose – then billow across a subtly creamy palate, set-off by a stony undertone and enhanced by animatingly bright fresh lime, tart apple and jammy but invigoratingly seedy berries. While the sweetness here is rather obvious, it doesn’t interfere with – and perhaps even enhances – the ripeness of fruit flavors in a luscious, refreshingly-sustained finish that is startlingly penetrating, almost as if this were an Eiswein, though in fact it represents a botrytis selection picked-out ahead of the corresponding Spätlese. ”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2015 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese was selected shortly before the Spätlese and is a selection of super ripe and the rarely botrytis grapes. The wine has a super ripe and warm fruit bouquet with some spicy and flinty aromas. On the palate, this is a piquant and generous Riesling with clear definition and lingering complexity and salinity. It has very good grip. (The wine is also available in 375 milliliter bottles for $45 and 1500 milliliter bottles for $180.)”