Pingus – Ribera del Duero’s Finest
The Return of Petalos
Staff Pick: It Works out in the Long Run
Faiveley’s Top 2016’s:
Les Ouvrées Rodin and other Grand Crus
Back Vintage Cantina del Pino
Domaines Ott: Pride of Provence
Pingus – Ribera del Duero’s Finest
In 1995, he opened Dominio de Pingus, and released the first vintage to rave reviews, making Pingus a true benchmark wine, known and admired wherever great wine is discussed. Peter’s tiny production of fewer than 500 cases of Pingus, which now sells for roughly $700/ bottle, comes from three parcels of ancient, head-pruned Tempranillo vines.
Fortunately for us, he also makes two other wines from these dramatic vineyards. The Flor de Pingus is sourced from a number of small parcels located in the La Horra zone, vines that are all over 35 years of age and have been farmed biodynamically since 2005. Likewise, similar care is taken with the Psi, his “drink now” wine—a perfect bottle for drinking while grilling. These wines are fermented in large wooden vats and, once in cask, mostly left alone until they are bottled without fining or filtration.
Over the past decade, Peter has continually refined his original vision. Since 2001, he has employed biodynamic viticulture to produce healthier vineyards, balancing decadent richness with a rare sense of elegance. Simple discussion of techniques cannot begin to explain the final product, a wine Robert Parker has called “extraordinary” and “one of the most outstanding wines produced in Spain.” We’re excited to feature the two more affordable wines from Pingus, the “Flor” and “PSI” bottlings—both made to the same exacting standards as the flagship wine, just less expensive.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
“This has all the signals to become one of the greatest vintages of Flor de Pingus.”-LG
Dominio de Pingus ‘Flor de Pingus’, Ribera del Duero 2016 750ML ($99.95) $85 special
James Suckling 96 points “Chalky and intense with so much blackberry character. Some smoke, too. Full body. Firm and chewy with lots of fruit, but a tight and linear finish. Chewy and intense. Needs a year or two to open, but already a joy. Better after 2021.”
Luis Gutierrez 93-95 points “I caught the 2016 Flor de Pingus days before it was due for bottling, so what I tasted was the final blend (done after the time in barrel was over) that was just settling in tank before being bottled. The paradox of 2016 is that it was a warm year, but the resulting wines have great freshness, which also happened in 1996 (one of my favorite old vintages of Pingus). The yields were higher, which brought more freshness to the wines; and the wines are airier and not as compact as, for example, 2015. In fact, what they have been doing for some time now is to work in viticulture—the pruning and what you do with the canopy—to achieve slightly higher yields and get the plants to balance, because as you increase the yields, the ripening takes longer. Even though it’s young, this shows amazing perfume that should bloom with a year in bottle. This has all the signals to become one of the greatest vintages of Flor de Pingus. They expect to fill some 105,000 bottles in June 2018. I already look forward to tasting this in my next round, after it has spent a year or more in bottle.”
James Suckling 94 points “The brightness and freshness to this are very enlightening. It’s mostly old-vine tempranillo with about 10% of garnacha. Medium body. Tight and linear with fine tannins. Firm and racy. Lots of bright cherries and berries. Always an excellent red with real character. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez 92-93 points “I tasted the 2015 in bottle and the 2016 PSI a few weeks before bottling, so I tasted the final blend in tank and ready to go into bottle. What came to mind when I smelled this sample was some of the old vintages of Pesquera. All the grapes come from the north and east of Aranda del Duero, from the cooler part of the appellation. The logistics of doing this volume is not easy, and in 2016 they were able to ferment 100% of the volume in their own winery, which gave them more control. The year was naturally fresher, mostly through higher yields, and they also managed the harvest date with more precision. All this translates into a fresher wine with more precision and elegance. They expect to reach 300,000 bottles of this 2016, which is also probably the finest vintage of PSI—finer, longer and sharply focused. According to Sisseck, this is the PSI he always dreamed about. It will be bottled in the summer of 2018.”
A Vinopolis Classic, Back by the Case!
Made from a selection of top vineyards in and around the town of Corullon in Bierzo, this is a richer take on the Mencia grape. It’s a true crowd pleaser and one of our perennial best sellers by the case—which is the best way to buy it. Versatile enough to go with nearly anything on the table and satisfyingly rich enough to be delicious on its own, this would be a perfect house red for summer and fall.
(Re) Arriving Next Friday, August 9th:
“as food-flexible as any red wine gets” -JS
Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($279.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92+ points “I tasted two vintages of their entry-level wine because the 2016 Pétalos del Bierzo was sold out and the 2017 has already been released. Depending on the vintage, they use more or less white grapes in the fermentation, and in 2016 it was around 6%. It has an elegant profile, clean, floral and spicy, with a soft palate and subtle acidity that gives it a kick and makes it longer. This is one of the best value wines in Spain, and 2016 is not an exception. Perhaps it won’t be the longest-lived vintage, but it’s drinking beautifully and gives a lot of pleasure. It’s somehow reminiscent of 2013 or 2014, perhaps a tad warmer. There were a whopping 318,000 bottles and 3,000 magnums, which means they had 1,568 barrels of this wine.”
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Deep, lurid ruby. Powerful, mineral- and spice-accented cherry and dark berry aromas, along with a suave violet nuance that builds in the glass. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, cherry-cola and spicecake flavors and a deeper suggestion of candied licorice. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on a long, subtle tannic finish that leaves a bitter cherry note behind.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This savory red offers notes of espresso, black olive and graphite framing a core of black cherry and licorice. Fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity keep this balanced. Harmonious and graceful. Drink now through 2024. 27,000 cases made.”
James Suckling 92 points “In spite of all the blackberry and violet aromas, this wine has great herbal freshness and enormous vitality on the sleek and positively dry palate, with a long and crisp mineral finish. About as food-flexible as any red wine gets.”
It Works out in the Long Run
2011 remains one of my favorite (relatively) recent vintages in the Willamette Valley. It was a cold year with one of the latest harvests in Oregon history—perfect for producing bright, fresh, floral wines that remind me of Burgundy even more than usual. Case in point? Last night I had another bottle of Scott Paul’s 2011 Long Run and after an hour or so of being open, the wine was in full song.
This is a wine that’s clearly from Dundee and clearly from Kelley Fox (who made the wines at the time)—it’s red fruited, floral, bright and tensile in its blend of fruit and earthy flavors. This wine was singing with a steak salad, but I’d image it would be perfect with nearly anything from Salmon to a tomato sandwich. The important thing, for me, was to make sure it was open long enough (an hour was good, two was better). At under $35 (and already cellared) this is a screaming deal, perfect for drinking now or cellaring for up to 5-7 more years.
In Stock Now:
Scott Paul The Long Run Pinot Noir (Nysa Vineyard), Dundee Hills 2011 750ML ($59.95) $33 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(12.9% alcohol; 20% new oak): Light, bright red. Sexy, high-pitched red berry and floral scents, with notes of star anise, underbrush and sassafras adding complexity. Offers intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors, along with notes of rhubarb, candied flowers and orange zest. This lithe, focused, pure pinot finishes linear and very long, with echoing floral and spice notes. Pinot purists should definitely check this one out.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Previously labeled as Les Gourmandises, this is now The Long Run in honor of Scott Wright’s completing his first full-length marathon in 2011. It’s all Nysa vineyard fruit, graceful and delicate, scented with rose water and satin smooth. Cranberry and wild strawberry fruit accents lead into a mouthful of cherry soda, delicate but lingering.”
Les Ouvrées Rodin and other Grand Crus
Produced from some of the Domaine’s oldest vines in a parcel on the Chambertin side of the Clos de Beze, this is a wine that commemorates the family’s relationship with the sculptor Rodin in awe-inspiring fashion. This is up there with any wine from Burgundy—you name it, Faiveley’s top bottling competes with it. Compared to any of its peers (see: Rousseau, DRC, etc) it remains excellently priced. We’re expecting that to change over the next few years, so the 2016 may be one of the last chances to buy this at under $2k per bottle.
In Stock Now:
Only three bottles remaining
Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Beze “Les Ouvrees Rodin” Grand Cru, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,199 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2016 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru Les Ouvrées Rodin is showing brilliantly from bottle, unfurling in the glass with a rich bouquet of cassis, cherries, red berries, grilled game, licorice, spices and smoky new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and expansive, with a deep and intense core of sapid fruit that cloaks its satiny but abundant structuring tannins, underpinned by succulent acids and concluding with a seriously long, penetrating finish. This special cuvée hails from a parcel of vines planted in 1966 on the Chambertin side of Clos de Bèze, and its name commemorates a Faiveley family connection with the sculptor Rodin.”
Stephen Tanzer 95-98 points “(like the “regular” Clos de Bèze, this special cuvée from 60+-year-old vines on the Chambertin side of the cru was totally destemmed): Dark red-ruby. Less expressive but slightly riper aromas of purple and black fruits and pungent spices. Then utterly seamless and suave on the palate, offering a lacy, feminine texture with great energy and sophistication. The penetrating red berry and white pepper flavors are amplified by the wine’s mineral underpinning. The endless rising finish combines serious power and refined tannins. Ultimately a bit less expressive and tight-grained than the classic Clos de Bèze but this is even deeper.”
Burghound 94-97 points “(a selection of the oldest vines in one of their 3 parcels). This is aromatically similar to the regular cuvée save for being even spicier and displaying a bit more wood influence. There is almost painful intensity to the super-sleek big-bodied flavors that possess a positively gorgeous mouthfeel due to a mid-palate that brims with sappy dry extract that coats the mouth on the hugely long and impeccably well-balanced finale. While this may change given that these are barrel samples but based on the two that I tasted, this is actually slightly less structured though I emphasize slightly. Either way, this is a seriously impressive effort that should age effortlessly. (94-97)/2034+.”
Other Faiveley Grand Crus, In Stock Now:
2016 was a very good year for Faiveley. It was an excellent year across Burgundy, but for the venerable Burgundy producer it was exceptional, as Erwan Faiveley continues to transform the estate into one of the best producers in Burgundy by any measure. Historically (under Erwan’s father) Faiveley was known for stern wines that took a long time to come around. These days, the wines have more fruit and are approachable young, but still have the bones to age for a long time.
Erwan is moving the estate towards becoming a true Domaine and is shifting all the farming to organics. These changes, combined with more care in the cellar, mean that the jump in quality for 2016 has been huge—and critics have noticed, as well. Stock up while you can find these (especially these Grand Crus), because Faiveley is a house that’s going places.
Only twelve bottles available
Domaine Faiveley Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Burghound 92-94 points “(from Charmes proper; from yields of only 18 hl/ha). Much more subtle though by no means invisible oak sets off beautifully layered aromas of plum, spice, earth and a whiff of underbrush character. There is terrific richness and density to the velvet-textured and voluminous flavors that possess a real sense of mid-palate density thanks to the abundant level of dry extract that also buffers the moderately firm tannic spine. This is at once a relatively elegant version of the appellation yet it is also altogether serious. (92-94)/2028+
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points “(partly from purchased grapes and the rest from a 60-year-old massale selection in both Charmes and Mazoyères–the same “Magnien selection” as the Lavaux Saint-Jacques; 100% destemmed; aging in 60% new oak and 40% once-used barrels): Dark red. Ripe, slightly high-toned aromas of almost liqueur-like dark fruit salad. Juicy on entry, then dense, sappy and dry, displaying lovely definition and cut. Very firm but with an element of perfume that makes it approachable now. Finishes complex and long, with supple tannins. Technical directly Jérôme Flous says that this is “the closest in style among our wines to Rousseau’s.” There’s certainly an element of softness to it.”
The average price is $240
Domaine Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($449.95) $379 special
Wine Spectator 98 points “A rich, powerful version, backed by flashy oak and beefy tannins that sandwich the flavors of black cherry, blackberry, licorice, iron and tobacco. Concentrated, yet vibrant and long. Best from 2024 through 2050. 500 cases made.—B.S.”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru is also showing superbly, offering up aromas of cassis, grilled meats, pungent spices and a savory bass-note reminiscent of oyster sauce. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, rich and fleshy, with velvety structuring tannins, succulent acids and a long, expansive finish. It isn’t quite as multidimensional or complete as this year’s spectacular Ouvrées Rodin bottling, but it’s a very fine Clos de Bèze.”
Stephen Tanzer 94-97 points “Bright, dark red-ruby. Knockout sappy nose combines black raspberry, crushed rock and white pepper. Boasts remarkable intensity and clarity–not to mention class–to its flavors of raspberry, spices and pungent minerals. Wonderfully sappy and dense but almost magically light on its feet. This sharply delineated wine finishes with ineffable rising perfume and outstanding length. This wine manages to combine the best traits of Faiveley’s other Gevrey grand crus–not to mention the finest qualities of the 2016 vintage–in an utterly weightless package.”
Stephen Tanzer 95-98 points “Bright ruby. Fruit-driven aromas of crushed black cherry and dark raspberry convey outstanding pungent lift. Incredibly concentrated, sappy and primary, conveying outstanding juicy purity and compelling thickness to its dark fruit and violet flavors. At once hugely powerful and utterly seamless, this wine finishes with great spicy length and lift. A real essence of Burgundy–and likely to evolve gracefully for 25 years or more.”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Corton Grand Cru Clos des Cortons Faiveley is another cuvée that is showing superbly from bottle, revealing an attractive bouquet of ripe red berry fruit, orange rind, wood smoke, espresso roast and dark chocolate that’s framed by a deft touch of classy new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, satiny and lavish, with a deep and layered core, excellent concentration, vibrant acids and a long, beautifully defined finish. This is one of the finest rendition of the Clos des Cortons Faiveley produced under the new regime.”
Only six bottles available
Domaine Faiveley Latricieres-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($299.95) $249 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 95 points “One of the more reserved wines in the range, the 2016 Latricières-Chambertin Grand Cru unfurls in the glass with a youthfully reticent bouquet of dark wild berry fruit, licorice, coniferous forest floor, grilled meats and spices. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, with an elegantly satiny attack and a deep, immensely concentrated mid-palate that’s framed by ripe tannins and brisk acids, concluding with a long and expansive finish. This is an understated but profound Latricières which numbers among Faiveley’s best in 2016.”
Burghound 93-95 points “(from a very large 1.21 ha parcel). Here too the wood treatment is subtle yet just prominent enough to warrant pointing out on the cool, pure and notably more sauvage nose of both red and dark wild berry and earth scents. There is a really lovely sense of underlying tension suffusing the much more mineral-driven middle weight flavors that are not quite as rich but notably more precise on the chiseled and wonderfully refined finish. Textbook. (93-95)/2031+.”
Looking for other wines from Faiveley? Check out these selections in stock now or click here for a full list of all 52 available Faiveley wines on our website:
The three crus that the Cantina is famous for are Ovello, Albesani and Gallina (of which only Ovello is made by the Produttori) and all show the brilliant fruit, dazzling complexity and polish that the Cantina del Pino is famous for. Ovello is the leanest and most elegant of the bunch, with wirey tannins allowing it to age seemingly forever. Gallina and Albesani have more power and richness, with Albesani being the most complete wine, but requiring significantly more age to come around.
Somehow, we still have back vintages available of the fantastic cru wines—including some from the legendary 2013 and ’10 vintages. These are stunning Piedmontese cru wines at prices that make them steals for their quality. Anyone who loves classically built, top-tier Nebbiolo ought to be jumping all over these.
In Stock Now:
Cantina del Pino Albesani, Barbaresco DOCG 2010 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Cantina del Pino’s 2010 Barbaresco Albesani is another huge, powerful wine. Black cherries, smoke, licorice and asphalt hit the palate in a powerful, structured Barbaresco that is going to require some time. As always, the richness and depth of Albesani comes through, but in this vintage, there is also plenty of underlying structure to allow the 2010 to age gracefully for years.” AG
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Usually a rich, bombastic wine, the 2013 Barbaresco Albesani shows more finesse than I remember seeing in the past. There is plenty of the power that is so typical of this site, but at the same time, the 2013 is translucent, super-elegant and refined. Another few years in bottle will do wonders for the Albesani, which, despite its obvious appeal, is very tightly wound at this stage. A persistent, striking finish rounds things out in style. At this stage the Albesani is the most complete wine in the range.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2013 Barbaresco Albesani offers a delicate approach with a silky texture and seamless flavors of wild berry, rose hip, spice and cured leather. The bouquet offers complexity and finesse, showing the best side of the Barbaresco appellation in a slightly cooler vintage. Some 3,000 bottles were produced.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94+ points “Renato Vacca’s 2013 Barbaresco Gallina shows a bright and luminous personality. This is a sharp and focused expression of Nebbiolo with linear aromas of wild berry, blue flower and licorice. The wine ages in oak for two years and sees another 18 months in bottle. I loved the silky and enduring nature of the finish.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A generous, powerful wine, the 2013 Barbaresco Gallina exudes power and volume. Dark cherry, plum, spice, leather, smoke and licorice run through this decidedly ample Barbaresco. Gallina, a south-facing site in Neive, tends to naturally produce rich, generous wines. That is exactly what comes through here. The rich, unctuous style will appeal most to readers who appreciate bold, flamboyant wines. Ripeness feels like it is pushed to the limit.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “No one farms the Ovello cru like Renato Vacca. The 2012 Barbaresco Ovello is elegant and poised, unlike some of other expressions from this vineyard that taste very ripe in this vintage. His interpretation brings out the subtle nuances and the evident power of Nebbiolo from this sun-drenched hillside facing the Barbaresco church steeple. Dark fruit segues to spice, balsam herb and polished mineral.”
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”
Pride of Provence
Arriving Friday, August 9th:
Domaines Ott Chateau Romassan Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($59.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaines Ott Chateau Romassan Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($359.95) $299 pre-arrival special (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 90 points “A smoky note is cast through the poached apricot, ripe melon and white cherry notes of this broad, fresh rosé, with anise, wet stone and herb elements detailing the creamy finish. Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Grenache. Drink now. 23,750 cases made, 2,500 cases imported.”
Casa Castillo Monastrell, Jumilla 2016 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Casa Castillo Monastrell, Jumilla 2016 750ML ($179.95) $128 special (that’s only $10.67/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 91+ points “The first wine in the range is the 2016 Monastrell, which in reality contains some 8% combination of Garnacha and Syrah, cropped from a more continental, cooler and dry vintage. Like all the wines from the property, it fermented with indigenous yeasts, in this case with grapes from different plots, and matured in used oak barrels for eight to nine months. Juicy, primary, incredibly fresh and with a vertical palate, longer than wider, like a hypothetical blend of 2013 and 2015, cool but dry. This is always a great value, even more so in 2016. 160,000 bottles produced from a single blend that is bottled throughout the year.”
Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Jasmine and mustard seed notes lead the way here, backed by a mix of yellow apple, mirabelle plum and citrus oil flavors. Shows good intensity through the finish. Drink now through 2022. 5,773 cases made.”
Winery Notes “Our most important wine aims to reveal the true nature of the vintage and to explore the terroir of lower east Seneca Lake. Due to our focus on this narrow 8-mile stretch of slope on the southeast side which includes 13 of our 14 Riesling vineyards, this is our first labeling under the Seneca Lake AVA. In 2017, we chose not to make our top cuvée, Les Alliés Riesling, and de-classified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in our core wine. Candied lemon, apricot peel, Asian pear, and anise join with salinity to give impeccable freshness. ‘You and I carry within us the genetic characters of all our ancestors, which have mixed together and made us unique, well-rounded, complex individuals. This is how our Riesling is born: it encapsulates the characteristics of all our vineyard sites and of our unfailing, passionate commitment to excellence.'”
Condrieu is always wine for a garden. This is perfect for summer.
Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Plump in feel, with rich, tropical flavors of ripe melon and pear, glazed peach and anise. The broad finish offers a whiff of almond cream. Drink now through 2020.”
The next best price is $94
Eisele ‘Altagracia’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($169.95) $149 special
James Suckling 96 points “Lots of violets and dark berries with sweet underbrush and fresh mushrooms, following through to a medium to full body, soft and silky tannins and a succulent and refined finish. It remains supple and beautiful. Hard not to drink now. Better after 2023.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed.”
Brennan Leighton, winemaker for K, fashions some impressive wines under his own label.
B. Leighton Olsen’s Brothers Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
Case-12 B. Leighton Olsen’s Brothers Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley 2016 750ML ($599.95) $479 special (that’s only $39.92/btl!)
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “The 2016 Syrah comes from a site in the Yakima Valley that was planted by Leighton. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by classic Syrah notes of dark berry fruits, smoke tobacco, olive tapenade, and ground pepper. Medium to full-bodied, with both freshness and richness, it’s impeccably balanced, with beautiful fruit and a great finish. It’s another seriously good wine from Brennon that delivers the goods. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.”
Charles Smith / K Vintner’s Winery Note “Deep, dark, and brooding. Dare I say seductive? Black plum, exotic owers, grilled meats, sage, and wet earth. Finishes bold and lovely with purity. This wine is dynamic!100% Syrah / 100% whole cluster pressed / Native yeast / 39 days on skins / 20% new, 80% once-used French oak puncheons / 19 mo. barrel-aged on lees.”
It’s perplexing to us, but Vintage Port always sells well in mid-summer. This is excellent stuff.
Graham’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
James Suckling 99 points “Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end.”
Wine Spectator 98 points “This offers a distilled plum and boysenberry essence, with a racy feel, as spearmint and graphite notes drive through. As the finish kicks in, this turns toward the dark side, with ganache, charcoal and tar elements. Has the showy ripeness of the vintage but is backed by a decidedly dry feel on the finish, imparting a sense of precision despite the heft. Best from 2030 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Cellar Selection. This finely structured wine is powered by fine tannins and rich fruits. A touch of acidity comes through the rich berry flavors and the concentration of the dark tannins. This wine will certainly age, don’t drink before 2028.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow’s this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham’s. Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow’s will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham’s is wonderfully delicious. That’s one hallmark of the house. I’m not sure this is a truly great Graham’s, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement. There were 6,325 cases produced, plus some bottles in other formats.”