November 15, 2014
Bruno Giacosa’s Wines of Piedmont
Born into the family wine firm, Bruno Giacosa started his career at the tender age of 15 as a grape buyer, sourcing fruit for his father and grandfather, and then for many of Barolo’s large houses. In 1960, he started his own company and,
with a profound passion for Piemontese wine handed down for three generations, became famous for crafting some of the most prestigious single-vineyard Barolos and Barbarescos in all of Piedmont.While Bruno was one of the first in the region to fully understand the importance of site selection – he began bottling his crus separately in 1967 – he didn’t own any property until the early 1980s. His first purchase was his long-revered Falletto vineyard in 1982, and, by the late 1980’s, Giacosa’s search for the best vineyard sources initiated the process of acquiring 22 hectares of vineyards throughout Serralunga d’Alba, La Morra, and Barbaresco. With a wide breadth of some of the best vineyards in the area, Bruno Giacosa produces an extensive range of high-profile bottles. Starting in 1996, Giacosa has divided into two winery names based on whether the grapes are estate grown. The “Azienda Agricola Falletto – di Bruno Giacosa” labels represent the estate vineyards (Barolo Falletto, Barolo Rocche del Falletto, Barbaresco Asili, Barbaresco Rabajà), while the “Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa” labels are used for wines produced from grapes purchased from historical grape growers(Barbaresco Santo Stefano, Barbaresco Gallina, Barolo Villero). Prior to 1996, all his wines were made under the “Casa Vinicola Bruno Giacosa” name. Today, the only cru Barbaresco he makes from purchased fruit is Gallina, slowly eliminating the other wines from his lineup starting in 1996; 2011 will be his last vintage for Santo Stefano. 2005 was the last vintage for Giacosa Rabajà for a very different reason; with his Rabaja vineyards recently re-classified as Asili.
Bruno Giacosa’s winemaking philosophy combines a respect for tradition and conservative winemaking with the selected use of modern technology to obtain the best expression of each vineyard’s terroir. He is convinced that great wines begin in the vineyard with the production of grapes cultivated by experienced growers. With a true belief that wines were better in the past, Giacosa focuses on simple and traditional methods of winemaking, managing to bring out a richness of flavor and an intensity of character that has secured his spot as one of the most respected Piedmont producers.
Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Asili 2003 ($219.95) $99 SALE-A-BRATION special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Medium red. Very ripe aromas and flavors of strawberry liqueur and smoke. Surprisingly sappy and fresh, with a sexy sweetness leavened by lively acidity. There’s a liqueur-like quality to this 2003 along with a creamy richness of texture. Features a rising, fresh finish rare for the vintage and fine, granular, building tannins.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The average listed price is over 35% higher at $138/ bottle
Bruno Giacosa Barbaresco Rabaja 2005 ($219.95) $149 SALE-A-BRATION special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2005 Barbaresco Rabaja is the densest and richest of these 2005 Barbarescos. Because it is aged in a slightly smaller cask, the wine shows an explosive personality along with some oak nuances that require bottle age to settle down. This muscular Barbaresco resonates on the palate with layers of spiced, mentholated dark cherries, minerals and licorice. It remains a dense, structured and primary wine in need of serious bottle age for the firm tannins to melt away. This, too, is a sublime wine from Bruno Giacosa. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2025.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The average listed price is over 30% higher at $197/ bottle
Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto 2003 ($179.95) $99 SALE-A-BRATION special
Stephen Tanzer & Wine Advocate 91 points “Moderately saturated medium red. Reticent nose hints at red fruit liqueur and marzipan. Sweet on entry, then quite firm in the middle, with fresh acids giving definition and penetration to this rather inexpressive wine. Today this is less rich and sweet than the Barbaresco Asili, but there’s enticing ripeness here and excellent lift on the firmly tannic finish. This really went into a shell in the glass and would appear to need at least five or six years of bottle aging.”ST
This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The average listed price is over 45% higher at $144 / bottle
Bruno Giacosa Barolo Falletto 2005 ($249.95) $149 SALE-A-BRATION special
Wine Advocate & Stephen Tanzer 94 points “The 2005 Barolo Falletto offers up a gorgeous bouquet of red cherries, flowers, spices and menthol. This is a relatively delicate, elegant Barolo Falletto yet it offers gorgeous balance, tons of inner perfume and a long, refined finish. It is one of the overachievers in 2005. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”WA
This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The average listed price is over 40% higher at $144 / bottle
Chateau Cap Leon 2010
Owned by the same family since 1810, the Cap Leon Veyrin estate is now run by Alain Meyre. His son Julien is the vineyard manager and his daughter Nathalie, who trained in California and Australia make the wines from vineyards. Cap Leon Veyrin is located in Listrac, a commune between Saint-Julien and Margaux, right next to Moulis. More distant from the river and from the ocean than any of the other Bordeaux communes, this relatively cool climate, together with its windy location close to the forest, gives a slow, even ripening process. The soils are principally clay-limestone soils and as a result the wines tend to be more rustic and heavier than their counterparts in the gravel soil closer to the Gironde. The 2010, offered here today, is a blend of 57% Merlot, 40% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot , fermented in stainless steel to retain fruit character and then aged for 12 months in 25% new oak.
Chateau Cap Leon Veyrin Listrac Medoc 2010 ($29.95) $20.90 SALE-A-BRATION special
Case-6 Chateau Cap Leon Veyrin Listrac Medoc 2010 ($179.95) $114 special (that’s only $19 / bottle!)**
James Suckling & Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Smooth and rich, this showcases both the structure and ripe black fruits of the vintage. It has wood-aging flavors, with a touch of caramel and fine acidity. This is for medium- to long-term aging.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The next best listed price is 33% higher at $28 / bottle
Bodegas de la Marquesa Valserrano
Viñedos y Bodegas de la Marquesa – Valserrano is a family-owned and -operated winery founded in 1880. With vineyards situated in the best of the Rioja Alavessa, Valserrano is dedicated to the production, aging, and bottling of wines from its own vineyards. These outstanding wines are produced in limited quantity and reflect the true elegance of Spain. Although founded in 1880 by the Marquis de Solana, it was not until 1996 that the family-owned bodegas adopted the name Vinedo y Bodegas de La Marquesa. Keeping with tradition, only grapes sourced directly from the family’s 148 acres of vineyards are used to produce Valserrano wines. All vineyards run from the sunny lower slopes of the Cantabrian Mountain Range to the banks of the Ebro River. The vineyards, the average age of which is 25 years, are planted not only with Tempranillo but also some of the least common varieties of grapes in Rioja: Mazuelo, Graciano and Viura. The 2005 Reserva, offered below, is made from 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano grapes, aged for 24 months in new and neutrak oak before bottling in 2008.
Bodegas Marquesa Valserrano Rioja Reserva 2005 ($27.95) $17.70 SALE-A-BRATION special
Case-12 Bodegas Marquesa Valserrano Rioja Reserva 2005 ($299.95) $189 SALE-A-BRATION special (that’s only $15.75 / bottle!)**
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(90% tempranillo and 10% graciano): Deep ruby. Highly fragrant scents of redcurrant, cherry, dried rose and spicecake, with hints of smoke and pipe tobacco. Packs a punch, displaying very good vivacity to the cherry preserve and floral pastille flavors. Finishes sappy, focused and long, with silky tannins and lingering sweetness. This elegant wine is drinking well now but has the balance to age.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA!
The average listed price is $21 / bottle
Few know of Franciacorta, Italy’s best-kept secret from the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Its name derives from ancient history: its towns – curtes-, were exempt—francae—from taxes in the Middle Ages, and so, francae curtes. An oasis in Northern Italy, nestled between the Alps and open plains, Franciocorta is blessed with sinuous slopes, diverse soils, and a mild, breezy climate that ripens the clusters of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that more than a hundred winemakers transform into Italy’s most famed high-quality sparkling wines. Like Cava and Champagne, Franciacorta achieves its elegant effervescence thanks to secondary fermentation in the bottle—the “classic method”—and is limited to a specific geographic territory.
The Franciacorta sparkling style, and the DOCG title under which it is sold, are both relatively recent additions to Italy’s wine portfolio. The first sparkling wine to bear the name Franciacorta was created by the Berlucchi winery in the late 1950s. The wine, which was a conscious attempt at emulating Champagne, was very well received. Other producers soon followed suit, and the style developed quickly. The Franciacorta DOC title was created in 1967, to cover the area’s sparkling wines and their non-sparkling counterparts, and given DOCG status in 1995.
Made very much in the image of Champagne, Franciacorta is a much more complex sparkling wine in comparison to its cousins Prosecco and Moscato. All Franciacorta wine is bottle-aged on its lees, to increase its complexity and flavor integration. The ageing period is 18 months for the non-vintage wines, 24 months for the rosé and satèn, 30 months for the vintage-marked millesimato and an impressive 60 months for the riserva wines. Tasting notes for Franciacorta Brut wines sound remarkably like those of their Champagne equivalents, with frequent references to biscuit, brioche, lemon and lees.
Founded in 1955 by some of Italian wine’s most inventive minds, Guido Berlucchi and his partners, most notably winemaker Franco Ziliani, proudly produced the first bottle of classic method sparkling in Franciacorta. The winery has since grown into a powerhouse under the leadership of a new generation, Franco Ziliani’s children, Cristina, Arturo, and Paolo. With property including the landmark 15th Century Palazzo Lana Berlucchi, the Berlucchi vineyard in Franciacorta comprises six hundred hectares of estate and growers’ vines, an impressive viticultural holding that is managed with precision agricultural practices. High-density vineyard plantings, together with spurred-cordon pruning, careful cover-cropping, and pre-harvest cluster-thinning, ensure a low number of high-quality grape clusters. The Berlucchi ’61, offered, is 90% Chardonnay with 10% Pinot Noir, expect apple and pear flavors with “appealing notes of citrus,” according to the winery’s notes.
Berlucchi ’61 Brut Franciacorta DOCG NV ($29.95) $16 SALE-A-BRATION special
Case-12 Berlucchi ’61 Brut Franciacorta DOCG NV ($299.95) $149 SALE-A-BRATIONspecial (that’s only $12.41 / bottle!)**
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “This fresh, creamy Chardonnay-based sparkler is making waves thanks to its crisp acidity and full-bodied mouthfeel. The balance is spot-on, with delicate aromas of apricot, baked bread and sweet citrus that are backed by smooth and persistent perlage.”
Berlucchi ’61 Brut Rose Franciacorta NV ($34.95) $18 SALE-A-BRATION special
Case-12 Berlucchi ’61 Brut Rose Franciacorta NV ($359.95) $179 SALE-A-BRATION special (that’s only $14.91 / bottle!)**
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “A delicate pink color sets the stage for feminine aromas of pink rose, yeasty baked bread, small berries, savory forest and pine nut nuances. A fresh citrus note brings life to the finish and helps to enhance the wine’s sharp and lively perlage.”
GD Vajra Barolo
Arriving Next Friday
“I try to make wines that give people joy. In the past wine was a food, it was necessary for sustenance. Today that is not the case; we choose to drink for pleasure. I want to make wines that bring people happiness.” ~ Aldo Vajra
The estate of G.D. Vajra, situated in Vergne, the highest village in Barolo, was officially established in 1972 by Giuseppe Domenico Vajra, though the Vajra family dates back over two centuries from the Barolo. Milena and Aldo are the current owners, both having worked the vineyards since the early 1970s and Aldo inheriting the vineyard from his grandfather. G.D Vajra consists of 40 sustainably farmed hectares spread across Bricco delle Viole, Fossati, La Volta, Coste di Vergne, the jewel of the estate the 65 year old vines in Bricco delle Viole planted by Aldo’s grandfather. Planted with Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera at elevations between 350-400 meters, G.D. Vajra produces distinctive and aromatic wines. The wines are traditionally driven with longer macerations and using primarily Slavonian casks for aging, but Aldo does not use ‘traditional’ to describe his style. He is not conservative in the winery and allows himself to evolve and makes decisions based on the vintage and what the grapes that year deliver.Today Giuseppe, Aldo’s son, is the winemakers assistant to his father and is full of the same passion and drive that Aldo has, remaining faithful to the traditional wines of Piedmont.With the 2010 vintage, Vajra has introduced a new wine, the Ravera, whose inaugaral bottle is offered below along with Vajra’s classic Barolos. (Pictured Right: Vajra’s recently acquired Ravera vineyard)
Arriving Next Friday
G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe 2010 ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2010 Barolo Albe has begun to close down in bottle. Today, the tannins dominate over the fruit, although from time to time the wine’s personality begins to emerge. Rose petal, mint, sage and licorice meld together in a supple, racy Barolo endowed with both tons of near-term appeal and the potential to develop beautifully in bottle. Vajra crafts the Albe to be accessible young, but 2010 is a vintage in which a few years in bottle will only help. The Albe is one of the very finest Barolos in its price range.”
G.D. Vajra Barolo Ravera 2010 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “Vajra’s 2010 Barolo is striking. Freshly cut flowers, mint, crushed rocks, pine and aromatic spices all take shape in the 2010 Barolo Ravera. Vibrant and pulsating to the core, the 2010 impresses for its pure tension. Freshly cut flowers, mint and sweet spices add lift, but ultimately the 2010 is a dark, brooding Barolo that is going to require cellaring. There is so much to like here.”
G.D. Vajra Barolo Bricco Delle Viole 2010 ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2010 Barolo Bricco delle Viole is going to need quite a bit of time to fully come together. Dark cherries, plums, tobacco and spices burst from the glass in an intense, structured Barolo that hits all the high notes. Next to the Ravera, the Bricco delle Viole is more floral, lifted and finessed, especially with time in the glass. Rose petals, savory herbs and sweet spices add the last nuance of complexity. The 2010 is fabulous; it’s as simple as that.”
Vineyard Tour Part 1:
Located in the Middle Mosel region of Germany, the twin cities of Zeltingen and Rachtig are home to a wide area of grape growing spread over three notable vineyards: Zeltinger Sonnenuhr (“Sundial”), Zeltinger Himmelreich (“Heaven Empire”), and
Zeltinger Schloßberg (“Castle Mountain”). Decomposed blue Devon slate is the hallmark of the soil in the area. The area was inhabited as early as 3,500 BCE, with evidence of a Celtic population. Written records of the villages date to 1020 CE.
Sonnenuhr, considered the top vineyard, is to the south. It is named for the sundial built in 1620 by the Himmerod Abbey. The vineyard is a continuation of the Wehlener Sonnenuhr from the south. Its south-facing slopes are quite steep. The soil is fast draining and consists of large pieces of blue Devonian slate on top of a shallow subsoil of decomposed slate. Schlossberg is also a steep site with medium sized chunks of Devonian slate on top of decomposed slate and loam. The Himmelreich vineyard is named in reference to its high elevation. It faces west and lies to the east of the villages.
Available Here Now
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Anrecht 2011 ($39.95) $31.90 special 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The block-picked, lightly-botrytized Selbach 2011 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Anrecht leads with a gorgeous though subtle amalgam of apple blossom, chamomile, sweet lime, pear nectar, and quince preserves, all of which reconvene on a silken-textured, subtly creamy and oily yet admirably juicy and utterly transparent palate, through which shimmer stony, smoky and saline notes. Allying a Kabinett-like sense of levity, primary juiciness and mineral interaction with the richness of flavor typical for a great Auslese – at just 7.5% alcohol yet not dominated by its sheer sweetness! – this perfectly illustrates precisely the point of block picking that captures all of the sorts of ripeness that are out there and layers them on the palate to render a masterpiece of counterpoint and harmony. Expect this to be worth following for a quarter century, though who can really tell, absent any recent track record for such a wine.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Himmelreich Anrecht 2012 ($39.95) $31.90 special 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “($38) Golden yellow. Expansive aromas of caramelized apple, candied peach and lemon curd. The succulent flavors of honey and apricot pith are kept vibrant by refreshing acidity. The long finish, offering complex notes of tangerine and toasted nuts, tastes almost dry.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Schlossberg Auslese** 2010 375ML ($44.95) $36 special 10 half bottles available
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Schlossberg Auslese** 2010 750ML ($79.95) $66 special 7 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points “Surprisingly, the ashen smokiness and cyanic apple-pit piquancy that I so often associate with Schlossberg come out in the nose of Selbach-Oster’s “two-star” 2010 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese to an extent unequalled by any other wines from that site in this particular collection. Dense and chewy, this suggests cider with lots of residual apple skin and laced with char, crushed stone, apple pips, and cinnamon. A brown butter savor adds compellingly to the striking complexity of a gripping finish. I would expect this to be worth following for 20-25 years.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Schlossberg Schmit 2012 375ML ($37.95) $28 special 23 half bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “($54) Pale golden yellow. Rich bouquet of candied apricot, ginger and nut oil. Succulently juicy pineapple and crisp slate animate the supple, creamy texture. The seductive finish is only slightly sweet. Boasts excellent balance and considerable promise.”
JJ Prum Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese Goldkapsel 2012 ($99.95) $69 special 11 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “Made exclusively from the parcel forming the original Sonnenuhr, this delivers a great fresh nose of bergamot, quince and mango which turn into more botrytized and homeyed flavors of exotic fruits including passion fruit and pineapple on the palate. The zesty and fruity finish makes one magically go for another sip. This is gorgeously made. 2022-2042.”
JJ Prum Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese 2012 ($47.95) $33 special 19 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “($51) Pale golden yellow. Lively aromas of peach pit, honeysuckle and candied lemon. Bright and spicy, with sweet, plush papaya fruit showing a velvety texture and a note of creaminess. Herbal essences heighten the pleasing finish. Not a show reserve, but a lovely auslese.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zelting Sonnenuhr Auslese* 2010 ($59.95) $39 special 14 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “Honeysuckle, lily and heliotrope; apple and white peach essences ravishingly scent the Selbach-Oster “one-star” 2010 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*, then reconvene on a creamily-textured yet insistently juicy palate that conveys an irresistible sense of tenderness, delicacy, caress, yet at the same time vibrancy. The savor of browned butter, salt, and deep nut oils here are like catnip to the salivary glands. This glorious epitome of its great site finishes with extraordinary, multi-layered, and in the end almost ethereal persistence. The berries here were still largely green-gold, freckled, but only delicately (“perhaps 20-25%”) botrytized, relates Johannes Selbach, and this seems to me entirely recognizable in the glass. I would hope to follow and be spoiled by some of the 2,000 liters of this for the next quarter century.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zelting Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2011($34.95) $24 special 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points “The Selbach 2011 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese mingles caramel, honey, marzipan, quince preserves and vanilla cream with lightly-poached apple for an exceedingly ripe, nearly confectionary, and texturally soothing and buoyant performance. Its actual sense of sweetness, though, is quite modest. Incursions of lime and fresh apple lend welcome refreshment in the finish but are, for now at least, not entirely in harmony or synergistic counterpoint with the wine’s creamy, confitured, and near-confectionary aspects. It will be fascinating to see how this impressively persistent Spatlese evolves over the coming decade or two.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zelting Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2012($34.95) $24 special 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Lovely floral, peach and hazelnut aromas, with a twist of acacia blossom. Delicate apricot on the palate, enlivened by a bracing citrus character. Finishes alluringly, with slate, lemon oil and a hint of clove and excellent length.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese 2009 ($49.95) $29 special 14 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points “The Selbachs’ 2009 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese smells complexly of spiced apple, lily, narcissus, sassafras, musk, and white raisin. It may give up something in elegance, refinement, textural allure, or finishing juiciness vis-a-vis typically exemplary performances chez Selbach of this site and degree of ennoblement, but it offers a dynamic, interactive multiplicity of flavors with pungent penetration and exotic intrigue. Look for 20-25 years of fascination.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese 2012 ($49.95) $29 special 3+ cases available
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Beerenauslese 2005 375ML ($149.95) $99 special 12+ half bottles available
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2005 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese smells intensely honeyed, with nut paste, apple jelly, citrus oils, and a hint of molasses as well. In the mouth, this offers a most amazing combination of jellied viscosity and caramelization of fruit, a nut-brittle character of almond and hazelnut, and along with all this, the clarity and purity of a stream of fresh fruit. An intensely esterous, billowing finish carries apple, white raisin, and toasted nuts on waves of caramel, fruit jelly, and a persistently refreshing core of fresh fruit that only Riesling can deliver under circumstances this ripe and nobly rotten. It’s hard not to get carried away on these waves and with this wine.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay 2010 ($49.95) $39 special 8 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The remarkably nuanced, savory complexity as well as the combination of creaminess with vivacity and elegance that characterize this site at its best certainly accrue to the Selbach’s block-picked (at 140 aggregate Oechsle!), Pradikat-free 2010 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay, just as in this year’s corresponding Spatlesen and Auslesen. Nut paste, honey, citrus cream, dried apricot, and brown spices are among the layers to be found densely packed yet coursing with almost electric energy and citricity (at 14 grams acidity!). Its hold on my palate is equaled by that on my imagination. Following this over the next two or more decades will be an adventure, and I suspect that it will unfold its layers and its sheer dynamism will turn to captivating dance.”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay 2011 ($59.95) $48 special 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 91+ points “Carob and toasted nuts inflect baked apple and vanilla on the nose of Selbachs’ block-picked 2011 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay, which comes to the palate expansive, creamy, and buoyant (at 8.5% alcohol), its apple joined by almost overripe Persian melon. Hints of pip and botrytis bitterness add interest, but there is not the subtle interaction of flavors or the layer of primary juiciness that rendered the corresponding Anrecht bottling so memorable, but instead a more dominantly honeyed, soothingly rich personality. This long-finishing beauty may well – as its author suggests – just need some time to reveal its multiple layers. ”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr TBA 2007 375ML ($249.95) $219 special 2 half-bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 95 points “Rich golden yellow. Smoky bouquet features mango, lemon candy and nutty botrytis scents. Glazed apricot and honey flavors give this a glyceral texture, and yet it remains refreshing, buoyant and pure. Crisp slate accents dominate the long finish. Hats off!”
Selbach-Oster Riesling Zeltinger Kabinett Trocken 2012 ($24.95) $16 special 3+ cases available
Importer notes “”Great wine, more like a dry Spatlese””
Arriving last week of November
JJ Prum Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spatlese 2007 ($44.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points “There could scarcely be a more dramatic contrast than that between the Prums’ 2007 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese and their Bernkasteler Badstube Spatlese. Whereas the latter-for all of its delicacy-is energetic, bright, and invigorating, this Zeltinger is a soothing, creamy essence of liquid flowers, accompanied by orchard fruit essences, vanilla, malt, and nut oils. Naturally-this being archetypal Mosel-there is something here too that one is practically compelled to describe as “stone”. If this wine doesn’t put you in a dream state, then you must suffer from genuine agitation!”
JJ Prum Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese 2013 ($51.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wines of Burgundy
William Fevre Chablis Vaillons Premier Cru 2007 ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Burghound 89-92 points –OUTSTANDING--“This is almost as ripe as the Mont de Milieu with a fruit compote nose that displays a hint of exoticism that merges into extremely rich, full, frank and overtly powerful flavors that possess excellent volume, punch and vivacity on the exceptionally pure and driving finish. The acid backbone is firm and despite the ripeness of the fruit, this finishes quite dry and with a seductive texture.”
Comte Armand Pommard Clos des Epeneaux Monopole Premier Cru 2006 ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Fine Wine Review 93 points “Benjamin Leroux manages to turn out consistently fine wines, no matter what challenges the vintage poses. The Pommard-Clos des Epeneaux has truffly dark fruit aromas. The wine is smooth and harmonious in the mouth with iodide, dark fruit and plenty of round tannins. I’d expect to wait 5-8 years before drinking and the wine should then hold quite well for 15-20 years.”
Burghound 92 points “In contrast to the reticence displayed from barrel, now that the ’06 is in bottle it is surprisingly open and expressive with a beautifully layered nose of raspberry, cherry and red pinot fruit nuanced by hints of spice, earth, minerals and a dried herb component that introduces intense, balanced and pure flavors that culminate in a serious, mouth coating and well built finish where the tannins are solid but not rustic or aggressive. This will require the better part of a decade to arrive at its majority as the tannins are quite firm and despite the inviting openness of the nose, the finish is on the austere side at present. Comments: Outstanding. Drink: 2014+.”
Dupont Tisserandot Gevrey Chambertin Les Cazetiers Premier Cru 2008 ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “A dark, almost brooding red, whose plum, black cherry and black currant fruit is sweet and permeating. Rich and supple, this picks up spice and mineral notes as it glides to the long finish. Best from 2012 through 2024.”
Gouges Nuits St Georges Les Vaucrains Premier Cru 2005 ($199.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Burghound 93 points –OUTSTANDING--“Extremely primary yet multi-dimensional black fruit and earthy aromas introduce rich, full and massive flavors that are powerful, robust and muscled with so much mid-palate sap that the extremely firm tannic spine is almost, if not completely masked. However, as it always does, the tannins will come out with time and I expect that this will always have a certain chewy quality and will require more than a decade of time in bottle to really begin to round out. Wonderful potential but for the very patient.”
Domaine de la Vougeraie
Officially founded in 1999, Domaine de la Vougeraie represents the uniting of the 91 acres owned by the Boiset family, one of the largest negociant families in Burgundy. Pulling the name from the family’s significant holdings in the village of Vougeot, and indeed Jean-Claude Boisset’s home “Vougeraie”, the domaine was put together from the various vineyard holdings accrued through the Boisset acquisitions of Burgundian houses over the years.
A family estate uniting a collection of the most prestigious, historical vineyards in Burgundy, Domaine de la Vougeraie is comprised of a mosaic of 67 plots over 34 hectares, with two-thirds on the Côte de Nuits, and the remainder on the Côte de Beaune, , including six grand crus (Musigny, Bonnes Mares, Clos Vougeot, Charmes Chambertin, Mazoyères, Corton Clos du Roi and Corton Charlemagne).
Pascal Marchand is the winemaker, and the purity of the Burgundian terroir is due to his diligence at preserving the natural farming and biodynamic techniques of generations past, the winery has strictly adhered to organic and Biodynamic farming as of 2007. Carefully worked land, small yields, concentrated grapes handled with extreme gentleness from their birth through to their metamorphosis and individual vinification and maturing for each plot all contribute to the elegant style and ever-more precise definition of terroir to be found in every bottle.
Domaine de la Vougeraie Pommard Les Petit Noizons 2010 ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Burghound 89-91 points –OUTSTANDING--“This is the first wine to display any significant reduction but here it’s enough to block an evaluation of the nose. The rich, intense and energetic middle weight flavors possess fine precision and plenty of mineral nuances, all wrapped in a firm, mouth coating, dusty and well-balanced finish. Petits Noizons is arguably the best villages level vineyard in Pommard and the quality of this excellent effort merits consideration.”
Domaine de la Vougeraie Vougeot Les Cras Premier Cru 2010 ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91 points –OUTSTANDING--“Mild reduction reduces the expressiveness somewhat of the otherwise brooding nose that combines plenty of stone and soil tones with ripe wild red berries and floral nuances. There is excellent volume to the energetic, intense and overtly muscular medium weight plus flavors that benefit from the presence of plenty of dry extract that buffers the very firm and phenolically mature tannins on the balanced and impressively complex finish. This moderately robust yet lush effort is not without a certain refinement and overall, I very much like the depth of character.”
Catherine Essa Buisson and Patrick Essa, now the fourth generation to exploit these fantastic holdings since Catherine’s father, Michel Buisson, retired.The domaine covers just 12 acres, most of it in Meursault. There are five parcels of Village-level vines, now averaging over 65 years of age (the oldest are nearing 100.) There is a small parcel of Meursault Tessons, one of the great lieu-dits on the hillside above the southern half of the village, and there are tiny pieces of four exceptional Premier Crus, Charmes, les Cras, Goutte d’Or and Bouches-Chères.
Emphasis has very much remained on elegance, purity and potential for ageing with Patrick and Catherine under control. Regardless of their appellation all the vines of the domaine are treated in the same way; at the vines, yields, during elevage and the amount of wood – Patrick says that terroir that should determine the differences, not how the wine is made. Vinification follows very traditional methods, with slow vertical pressing, barrel fermentation with minimal use of new oak, no lees stirring, and late bottling practiced in order to infuse the wines with the characteristics of their terroirs. His whites are some of the most exciting Burgundies out there at the moment, with the nature of the vintage allowing for enjoyable early drinking and the sheer quality that allows them to age gracefully for decades.
Buisson-Charles Meursault Bouches Cheres Premier Cru 2008 ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Burghound 93 points –SWEET SPOT OUTSTANDING–“As elegant as the Goutte d’Or is, the Bouchères goes it one better with its mélange of white peach, spiced pear and dried rose petal aromas that slide gracefully into precise yet quite densely textured flavors that brim with dry extract and superb length. This is an explosive wine that finishes bone dry and manages to combine impressive power with balance and focus. I actually prefer the delivery of this to the Goutte d’Or but at present at least, it doesn’t quite have the same degree of complexity. A qualitative choice but both are worth considering.”
Buisson-Charles Meursault Bouches Cheres Premier Cru 2009 ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Burghound 93 points –SWEET SPOT OUTSTANDING--“Here the nose is slightly more elegant with a pretty array of saline, citrus, floral and spiced pear aromas that are in keeping with the lightly mineral-inflected, textured and ultra-pure middle weight flavors that culminate in a linear and driving finish. This is extremely dry, indeed it is unusually dry for the vintage and while it will undoubtedly put on weight and flesh as it ages, it could at present pass for a fine Chablis.”
“These wines showed vibrancy, excellent acidity, genuine vineyard character, and they tasted damn good too! …In every case, the Boillot wines served as excellent representatives of the fundamental character one has come to expect from these vineyards.” –The Wine Advocate
The Boillot family has been farming in Burgundy since 1855, making Henri a 5th generation vigneron in the Cote d’Or. In 1984 he left his family’s property (Domaine Jean Boillot) to pursue his own negociant business. Stylistically, he wanted to produce more powerful and concentrated Pinots and Chardonnays than that of his father and grandfather. He soon received rave reviews from the press, and also impressing his grandfather, decided to rejoin the estate. In 2005 he bought out his brothers and sisters, quickly changed the name of the winery to Domaine Henri Boillot to eliminate confusion of his brothers estate, Domaine Jean-Marc Boillot. Today, Henri Boillot’s consistency and classic style has made his wines, red and white alike, some of the most enjoyed and sought after in the Cote de Beaune.
Henri Boillot Beaune Clos Du Roi Premier Cru 2009 ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points “Saturated medium ruby. Deep aromas of kirsch, smoke, minerals, flowers and earth are reticent but pure. Big, rich and broad, with harmonious acidity framing the black cherry, chocolate and leather flavors. This classic, complete Beaune wine spreads out to saturate the palate, with lush tannins reaching the front teeth. Quite thick in the style of the vintage but without any excess weight.”
Henri Boillot Volnay Les Chevrets Premier Cru 2008 ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points “Bright ruby-red. Expressive, very ripe nose combines black cherry, wild herbs, leather, smoke and earth. Wonderfully sweet and silky but bright, with a creamy small-berry character to the intense flavors of black cherry, iron, dark chocolate and minerals. For all its density, this conveys a juicy quality and considerable elegance.”
Henri Boillot Volnay Les Fremiets Premier Cru 2008 ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Good deep red. Black cherry, licorice and herbs on the nose, given punch by strong peppery spices. Sweet, supple and nicely concentrated if a bit less complex and high-pitched than the 2009 version. Lovely black cherry fruit displays a tangy sweetness. The very long finish features dusty, fine-grained tannins. The crop level here was just 18 hectoliters per hectare, according to Boillot.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau
Domaine Armand Rousseau is revered as one of the grand old domaines of Burgundy, with 14 hectares (half Grand Crus), noble old vines, and a long history of fantastic winemaking. Armand Rousseau founded this famous Burgundy domaine, located in Gevrey, in the 1920s. He quickly established the domaine as one of the greatest in Burgundy, while continuing to expand his vineyard holdings.
Eric Rousseau, his grandson has taken over wine making responsibilities since 1982, along with many younger members of the Rousseau family. The simple principle of old vines and restricted yields dictates the Rousseau style and Eric has changed little in the cellars since taking over, producing finely structured wines of great elegance and longevity. Under the helm of Eric, Domaine Rousseau offers consistent quality across the range, including their three most rare and sough after wines: Chambertin, Chambertin Clos de Bèze and Gevrey Chambertin Clos St Jacques, which are considered among the greatest wines in Burgundy.
Domaine Armand Rousseau Wines
Arriving Late November
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Chambertin Clos-de-Beze Grand Cru 2011 ($1499.95) $1,099 pre-arrival special
Burghound 95 points “A potently expressive nose blends both wood and natural spice together with distinctly cool, pure and ripe wild red berries, earth and underbrush. The palate impression is a gorgeous combination of power and refinement along with flat out superb complexity on the explosively long, focused and beautifully well-balanced finish. The supporting structure is dense but fine and this should prove to be a moderately long-lived example.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($1499.95) $1,099 pre-arrival special
Burghound 96 points “This is completely different from the Bèze aromatically speaking as here the nose is brooding and recalcitrant and only aggressive swirling liberates fresh scents of spice, wet stone, game and dark berry fruits. There is outstanding richness to the powerful and impressively scaled flavors that possess an abundance of dry extract that imparts a velvety quality to the mid-palate while also buffering the tightly wound core of firm tannins on the driving mineral-inflected and hugely persistent finish. This is a stunner of a wine and one of the great wines of the 2011 vintage.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($399.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer & Burghound 89-92 points “(two-thirds from Mazoyeres): Good full medium red. Expressive nose melds redcurrant, mocha, rust, minerals and flowers, plus a suggestion of game birds. Sweet, smoky and nicely concentrated, with a musky quality to the complex flavors of redcurrant, smoky minerality, mocha and game. Finishes with supple tannins and excellent length. Very Gevrey.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is over 35% higher at $341 / bottle
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2011 ($499.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-94 points “An overtly spicy and very earth nose of red currant, plum and wet stone scents. There is lovely richness to the round, full-bodied and highly energetic medium-bodied flavors that exhibit firm tannins on the saline-infused finish. This is excellent and should reward mid to longer-term cellaring.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Clos Saint-Jacques Premier Cru 2011 ($799.95) $519 pre-arrival special
Burghound 94 points “Discreet wood sets off ultra-fresh and airy aromas of red currant, blue berries and plum that are trimmed in hints of wet stone and earth. There is a wonderfully refined mouth feel to the mineral-tinged middle weight flavors that possess an appealing verve along with superb detail on the harmonious and exceptionally persistent finish. This very firm effort is textbook Clos St, Jacques.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 2011 ($199.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Burghound 88-91 points “There is a touch of reduction to the nose that takes out the top part of the red berry fruit and earth aromatic profile. There is a restrained character to the cool and pure flavors that are supported by notably fine-grained tannins on the clean, balanced and ever-so-mildly austere finish.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Lavaut Saint-Jacques Premier Cru 2011 ($399.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Burghound 89-91 points “This is also reduced and here it’s enough to render the nose unreadable. There is plenty of energy and precision to the intensely mineral-tinged medium-bodied flavors that possess an elegant mouth feel on the youthfully austere finish. A classic Lavaut that should reward 8 to 10 years of cellar time.”
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Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($499.95) $399 pre-arrival special
Burghound & Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points “Mild reduction removes the top notes of the otherwise complex and distinctly earthy mix of red and dark fruit aromas. There is excellent power and punch to the lightly mineral-tinged middle weight plus flavors that possess plenty of underlying tension before culminating in a markedly animale finish. This is very Mazis in basic character.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Available Here Now
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2010 ($499.95) $399 special
Burghound 91-93 points “This is much more deeply pitched than usual with notes of earth and violets and while there are traces of red berry aromas, this hails more from the dark berry side of the fruit spectrum. There is excellent volume to the very rich and round middle weight plus flavors that possess a velvety mouth feel on the focused and impressively long finish. This also exhibits more depth of material than it usually does and this is one of the better Rousseau Charmes of recent years.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru ‘Clos des Ruchottes’ Monopole 2010 ($799.95) $619 special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2010 Ruchottes-Chambertin is an intensely cool, reticent wine. The bouquet recalls the Mazis, but then the firm Ruchottes tannins set in. Ultimately the Ruchottes is built on purity, definition and nuance. The chiseled aromas and flavors possess stunning detail, but it will be some time before the 2010 is ready to drink. Still, I very much like the energy and drive. Bright, floral notes add lift and vibrancy on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045.”
Domaine Armand Rousseau Pere et Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru ‘Clos des Ruchottes’ Monopole 2011 ($699.95) $519 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-95 points “Bright, deep color. Wild, musky, ripe dark berries, black cherry and botanical herbs on the captivating nose. Dense and sappy, offering an exhilarating high-wire act of sweetness and acidity. Complex flavors of black raspberry, licorice and game birds. Seriously concentrated, expressive grand cru with great purity and round, mouth-saturating tannins. In its tension and fruit persistence, this is close to a 2010 in style; the same could be said for Rousseau’s Mazy-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche.”