Weekend – Vinopolis Newsletter 3-5-16

Allegro Con Spirito!; Camille Giroud and Burgundy Case Deals; Cayuse New Arrival – Seven Year Vertical; Quilceda Creek; Chapoutier – Best Prices All – Arriving Tuesday; Sneak Preview – Back Vintages of Delas Freres Plus New Vintage!; Chateauneuf Report: Producer Highlights; Willi Schaefer; Bernabeleva; Champagne Aubry; Elio Grasso Barolo

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The wine has the Spirit,
The Sale will provide the quick Tempo,
Hurry- final 16 cases available here now!

Bodegas Allegro con Spirito Monte Hiniesta, Toro 2010 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Case-12 Bodegas Allegro con Spirito Monte Hiniesta, Toro 2010 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The palate is medium-bodied with ripe, succulent, fleshy tannins that are caressing in the mouth. There is plump, ripe red berry fruit, red currant, raspberry and a touch of balsamic at the finish. This is just as good as the succeeding vintage. Drink 2014-2019.” WA

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Just a reminder about our current shipping specials during this season:

We offer flat rate shipping on any size single order / single shipment
-to Oregon for $17,
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California for $25

These rates do not apply to orders held in storage here for any reason.
Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment do not qualify for flat rate shipping.

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Camille Giroud & David Croix

Tradition Preserved & Prodigy is Prologue to Mastery

Burgundy authority Clive Coats has proclaimed Camille Giroud’s David Croix a “genius.” Following a century and a half as a prestigious Burgundy house, the Girouds sold their estate in 2002 to an American group who placed the then 24 year old David in charge of winemaking. Giroud has always been known for wine destined for aging, but Croix, like many of his generation, turns to clarity of terroir above house style. David runs Camille Giroud with a hands-on approach, maintaining the health of the vines and approaching each vintage anew, hoping to encompass the best aspects of each year. This puts Giroud in a small niche of Burgundy producers, as a source of fully aged, traditional Burgundies, as well as current vintage, land-driven, modern styles.

Camille Giroud Bourgogne Rouge 2012 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 11 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 88-89 points “The 2012 Bourgogne Rouge impresses for its clarity of fruit, depth and flavor. Dark cherry, plum, spice and new leather all flesh out in a supple, inviting Bourgogne loaded with sheer appeal. There is a lot to like here, including a level of pure resonance that is rare at this level.” AG

Camille Giroud Ladoix 2012 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 11 bottles available

Camille Giroud Santenay 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 12 bottles available
Case-12 Camille Giroud Santenay 2012 750ML ($499.95) $419 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 89-90 points “Giroud’s 2012 Santenay is striking. Here the flavors are savory and quite powerful. Iron, graphite and minerals add complexity in a dark, muscular Santenay loaded with personality. The 2012 finishes with fabulous length, energy and perfume. About 20% of the Santenay is declassified 1er Cru fruit.” AG

Urban myth, Burgundy is too expensive
More Burgundies, Available at Case Discounts:

Marc Cameron Bourgogne Tonnerre Sagara 2013 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 14 bottles available
Case-12 Marc Cameron Bourgogne Tonnerre Sagara 2013 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 1 case available (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2013 Bourgogne Tonnerre Sagara has light nectarine, jasmine and almond scents on the nose that is nicely defined, though it does not quite have the edginess of the 2014. The palate is clean and fresh, nicely poised with a slightly resinous texture and attractive blood-orange notes interlacing the finish. Drink this more exotic Sagara over the next 4 to 6 years.” WA

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Albert Bichot Savigny-les-Beaune 2012 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Albert Bichot Savigny-les-Beaune 2012 750ML ($319.95) $219 special, 4 cases available (that’s only $18.25/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Winery note “Tasting notes: This Savigny les Beaune has a deep ruby red robe. Fruity aromas of red and black woodland berries, enhanced by aromas of mild spices. With an initial pleasant ampleness , this harmonious wine leads on to a subtle and fruity finish.”

Domaine Gachot-Monot Cote de Nuits-Villages 2012 750ML  ($37.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Domaine Gachot-Monot Cote de Nuits-Villages 2012 750ML ($349.95) $219 special, 4 cases available (that’s only $18.25/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
“The 2012 Cote de Nuits Village comes from 40- to 45-year-old vines. It has a deep, almost broody bouquet with brambly black fruit, hints of wet tobacco and damp soil. The palate is well-balanced with pleasant, quite rounded tannins. The acidity is well judged here, lending this Cote de Nuits Village a natural, refined finish. This is a delicious Burgundy wine, a perfect introduction to the delights of region. Drink now-2017.”–Wine Advocate

Mischief and Mayhem Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011 750ML ($29.95) $16 special, 13 bottles available
Case-6 Mischief and Mayhem Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011 750ML ($149.95) $89 special, 6 six-packs available (that’s only $14.83/bottle!)
Importer notes “Hard work amongst the vines, fine vintage conditions and superb Pinot Noir vineyard sites with an average vine age of 45 years, all combine to produce this classic Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Beautiful pure, ripe fruit, so typical in 2011, light barrel treatment and élevage in stainless steel tank, all integrate to produce a wine of real purity, ripe fruit character, structure and finesse. Aroma: Complex nose of strawberry, raspberry, redcurrant and violets, with notes of vanilla and cinnamon spice. Taste: Lovely texture, good grip, yet supple and round with ripe tannins and soft acidity. Delicious red fruit notes, including juicy raspberry and red cherry with hints of blackberry, mocha, dark chocolate, spice and sandalwood. Soft, pure, and focused finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $26.59
The average price is $28

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Cayuse Times Seven
A Vertical of Cailloux Vineyard Syrah

Planted by Christophe Baron in 1997.  14 consecutive stellar vintages since 2000. Across ten acres of stony vineyards, the flagship “Cailloux Syrah” is grown; these grapes are co-fermented with Viogner to create the only such cuvee from Cayuse. The wines are generally masculine and structured, though balanced out by hugely seductive aromatics, a tough backbone of minerality, and layers of savory-smoky fruit which ages wonderfully.

We’re thrilled to offer today a limited number of wines representing a seven-year-long vertical, providing a rare glance at the progression of this landmark cuvee from 2006-2012.

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2006 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The deepest colored of the lineup, as well as the most powerful and concentrated, the 2006 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard is Hermitage-like with its dark, meaty core of fruit, iodine, chocolate and mineral-laced aromas and flavors. Not harvested until mid-October and aged in 15% new French oak barrels, this full-bodied, decadent and concentrated Syrah has another handful of years before hitting full-maturity, and will have 25+ years of ultimate longevity. It’s a tour de force in Syrah from Washington State!.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Plush and polished, this brims with cherry and blackberry aromas and flavors that are nicely shaded with streaks of mineral and green olive. Supple, harmonious and expressive as the finish keeps sailing on and on.”

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2007 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2007 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard might be the greatest vintage from this vineyard to date, although I think the ’06 and ’10 will be longer-lived. Seeing 4-6% Viognier and around 50-60% stems during fermentation, it’s a blockbuster effort that exudes notions of iron, dried blood, pepper, Asian spice and sweet red and black fruits. Full-bodied, supple and sexy on the palate, it has extraordinary purity, a layered, full mid-palate and beautiful depth and tannic structure that comes through on the finish. It’s far from unapproachable today, and I’d happily drink it anytime over the coming decade or more.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Tar, hot stone and licorice notes weave through the rich, dark plum, mulberry and currant aromas and flavors. A complex, beautifully knit wine that lets its flavors sail through a long, compelling finish. Best from 2012 through 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2008 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Wine Advocate 97 points “A vintage that saw rain in late September, the 2008 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard is a co-fermented blend of 90+% Syrah and the balance Viognier, that wasn’t harvested until October 10. Hitting 14.1% natural alcohol, it’s drinking beautifully today and offers a meaty, iodine, peppery and plum-pit bouquet to go with a full-bodied, refined and elegant feel on the palate. It shows more and more floral and rose petal qualities with time in the glass, has plenty of mid-palate depth and will have no issues evolving for another decade.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Polished, refined in structure and exuberant in flavor, bursting with cherry, smoke, paprika and tar character, finishing with a mineral edge. This has a steely balance behind the open texture, and the finish just rolls and rolls. Drink now through 2020.”

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2009 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Polished, effortless and juicy, with blackberry, currant, black olive and tar flavors, beautifully balanced to rotate all its facets as the finish keeps spinning. Harmonious and expressive. Drink now through 2019.”
Wine Advocate 96+ points “A hot vintage that has the grapes harvested mid-September, the 2009 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard offers lots of pepper, dried herbs, white flowers and black and red raspberry fruit to go with a gorgeously ripe, layered, full-bodied style on the palate. Slightly closed at the moment, with lots of structure, give it a few years and enjoy bottles through 2029.”

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “Coming from a cold, late vintage where the Syrah didn’t ripen until the first part of October, the 2010 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard showed spectacularly in the retrospective. Inky purple in color, it gives up classic floral qualities intermixed with ample olive tapenade, black raspberry, lavender, orange blossom and pepper on the nose. This gives way to a full-bodied, sexy, seamless and yet always elegant Syrah that has juicy acidity and ripe tannin kicking in on the finish. This was the first vintage where they moved part of the élevage to foudre, and this spent 16 months in roughly 15% new French oak.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Dark and smoky, with bright blackberry and plum lighting up the core, balanced by black olive and stone overtones. This red matches intensity with sleek balance. Drink now through 2020”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2011 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2011 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard is the only Syrah to incorporate a splash of cofermented Viognier, which in some vintages, can be as much as 10% of the blend. Including 5% in 2011, it has a fabulous perfume of crunchy black fruit, crushed rocks, smoked earth and layers of violets and crushed flowers. Straight-up awesome on the palate, with full-bodied richness and a seamless texture, it opens up in the glass, has superb concentration and blockbuster length. Give it another 2-3 years and enjoy bottles through 2026, although it will certainly evolve longer as well.”

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 96+ points “The only Syrah to be cofermented with Viognier, the 2012 Syrah Cailloux Vineyard (which sees mostly second-fill barrels) is one of the more serious, age-worthy examples of this cuvee I’ve tasted. Offering up lots of black raspberry, orange blossom, peach pit (these are no doubt due to the Viognier) and violet notes to go with almost searing minerality, this fabulous Syrah hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, concentrated, tannic mouth feel and a great finish. Give it 2-3 years and enjoy over the following decade or so.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Firm, focused, supple and expansive, but not heavy, splaying out the currant, plum and chalky flavors on a silky frame, lingering easily on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2025.”

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Quilceda Creek

“This line up was one of the highlights of my trip through Washington and without a doubt, this awesome estate, which is run by Paul and Alex Golitzin, is producing some of the top Cabernet Sauvignon blends in the state, and I would venture the world. While all of the wines are incredibly age-worthy, the tannins are so well managed and the textures so polished, they dish out immense pleasure even in their youth.” –Robert Parker

In 1979, Alex and Jeannette Golitzin founded Quilceda Creek. It was only the 12th bonded winery opened in Washington State since Prohibition. They had spent several previous years making small batches of Cabernet before their first commercial release. In 1992, their son Paul Golitzin took over was winemaker. In 2004, they opened a state of the art winery near their home in Snohomish, WA. Since their beginning, they have won numerous awards and garnered a superb reputation among wine critics. Robert Parker recently honored them as the only Washington winery to be featured in his book The World’s Greatest Wine Estates.

Quilceda Creek Wines Newly Arrived:

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2003 750ML ($349.95) $299 special, 2 bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points “Another wine I’ve had multiple times recently, the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot) is pure perfection in a glass and yields off-the-hook aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, tobacco leaf, pepper and licorice. Deep, layered and even elegant, with a seamless texture that conceals the sheer wealth of material present, it builds through the mid-palate, possesses huge amounts of extract and masses of polished tannin on the finish. Despite the overall size, it never loses its Cabernet Sauvignon soul and has an almost Bordeaux-like savoriness and tannic frame. Still young (yet gorgeous none the less), it can be enjoyed now or cellared for another 10-15+ years. Drink now-2028. ” RP

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2005 750ML ($319.95) $279 special, 2 bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points “From a hot vintage and incredible any way you look at it, the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon has that laser-like focus of a cooler year, yet the voluptuousness and richness of a warmer year. Smoked black fruits, coffee, truffle and pen ink-like aromas and flavors all emerge from this massive, incredibly full-bodied effort and on the palate, it carries itself perfectly with a weightless, yet decadent texture, masses of polished tannin and blockbuster length. More classic and textbook than the 2007, it is every bit as good. Enjoy it over the coming two decades or more. Drink now-2033.” RP

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2007 750ML ($319.95) $269 special, 3 bottles available
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2007 1.5L ($599.95) $519 special, 1 magnum available
Robert Parker 100 points “A monumental wine in the making, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is one of those wines that presents such an over the top array of aromas and flavors that it’s hard to figure out what you think about it with just a quick glance. It’s only with the second or third sip that you really start to see how special this effort truly is. Offering up perfumed, intense aromas of plum, violets, ink, licorice and black currants, it flows onto the palate with a massive, incredibly full-bodied texture that builds through the mid-palate and carries layers of polished tannins, awesome purity of fruit and blockbuster length. Most likely not for everyone given the sheer size, it is an incredible wine in my opinion. Still tasting like a barrel sample, it will have 30+ total years of longevity. Drink 2017-2037.” RP

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2008 1.5L ($549.95) $469 special, 1 magnum available
Wine Enthusiast 99 points –Editor’s Choice–“The flagship wine from Quilceda Creek offers exotic scents of plum, cassis, loam, coffee and pine sap, a rich and evocative blend. The wine delivers all that is promised and more; it is deep and dense with flavor, polished, focused and persistent. Vanilla, espresso, fine tannins, luscious acids and cascading fruits.”
Wine Advocate 97+ points “More pure and focused than the 2009, with a slightly closer to the vest feel, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon shows the cooler nature of the vintage and has incredible detail, purity and freshness to its aromas and flavors. A blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot that spent 22 months in 100% new French oak, it offers classic black currant, spice box, coffee bean, violets and exotic spices to go with an ethereal, layered and seamless palate that delivers massive amounts of fruit and texture without any apparent weight. I thoroughly enjoyed it now, yet it will age for decades. Drink now-2033.”

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2012 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is brilliant. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, mostly from the famous Champoux Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills, it was aged all in new oak and bottled unfined and unfiltered. It offers a captivating bouquet of black cherry liqueur and cassis-like fruit, Asian spice, coffee bean and lead pencil shavings to go with a full-bodied, ripe, seamless and hedonistic style on the palate. One of the more approachable, opulent examples of this cuvee, it has no hard edges, plenty of tannin and a massive, heady finish. Give it 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2032.” JD

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Chapoutier Unbound

Arriving Tuesday, March 8th

M. Chapoutier Hermitage Chante-Alouette 2011 750ML ($119.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 95 points “Possibly the finest cuvee of this wine I have ever tasted, the stunning, rich 2011 Ermitage Chante Alouette comes from three separate parcels on Hermitage Hill (Meal, Les Murets and Chante Alouette) and reveals plenty of white currant, buttered citrus, tangerine oil and honeysuckle along with hints of such exotic fruits as mango. It is a full-bodied, Montrachet-styled, dry white.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $79.99
The average price is $96

M. Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine Rouge 2011 750ML ($59.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(all grenache): Bright ruby. Red and dark berries, incense and lavender on the highly perfumed, spice-accented nose. Silky and open-knit, offering sappy raspberry compote and spicecake flavors that take a turn to blueberry with air. Closes long, gently tannic and sweet, with bright mineral and peppery spice notes adding lift and cut.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $40.99
The average price is $51

M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage La Petite Ruche Blanc 2010 750ML ($29.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Lush up front, but driven, with well-defined dried pineapple, white peach and melon notes racing through the chamomile-tinged finish. Very pure and long.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $28

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Sneak Preview:
Cellared & New Releases from Delas Freres

Arriving Mid-March

Delas Freres Crozes-Hermitage Le Clos 2004 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 89 points “Medium red. Strong mineral notes accent fresh cherry and earthier tobacco and floral aromas. Solid and firmly structured, with a racy quality to the bright cherry and rhubarb flavors. This should age very well.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Delas Freres Crozes-Hermitage Le Clos 2006 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Very racy, with dark fig and black cherry fruit crushed together, while hints of iron, mesquite and tobacco fill out the finish. Shows great drive and precision, despite its ample toast.”

Delas Freres Crozes-Hermitage Le Clos 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93+ points “Similar to the Domaine des Grands Chemins, yet with additional structure, the inky purple/ruby colored 2013 Crozes Hermitage le Clos has lots of minerality in its smoky, meaty, dark fruited profile. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, structured yet balanced, give it 2-4 years of cellaring and enjoy over the following decade or more.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards 2004 750ML ($199.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points “Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $159

Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards 2013 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Closed, tight and backwards, the 2013 Hermitage les Bessards is a big, full-bodied, burly wine that offers first rate purity in its black raspberry, ozone, liquid rock, and creosote-like bouquet. It has plenty of material and density, but will need 7-8 years of bottle age to become approachable. As normal, it comes all from the “Bas de Coteau” portion of the Bessards lieu-dit, was completely destemmed and saw 18 months in 30% new French oak.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $212

Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette 2013 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of the gems in the vintage is the 2013 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, which comes from both the Bessards and Grandes Vignes lieux-dits on Hermitage Hill. Completely destemmed, then vinified in stainless steel and concrete tanks, the wine is aged 18 months in 30% new French oak; it offers terrific notes of dark fruits, graphite and ample minerality in a full-bodied, layered, ripe profile. It’s more approachable than the Les Bessards, yet will still have three decades of longevity.”

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Chateauneuf Report: Producer Highlights

“The best Châteauneuf-du-Papes are among the most natural expressions of grapes, place and vintage.”–Robert Parker

Chateauneuf du Pape is the name for a village in the Southern Rhone and is one of France’s oldest declared wine appellations, established in 1929.  The area once was named after its many limestone kilns.  A summer chateau was built in what is now Chateauneuf-du-Pape in 1320 as a retreat from Avignon.  This building gave the village its new name, which translates to “New House of the Pope.”  Today, little remains of the papal chateau after several battles, but many other historic buildings are well-maintained.

The town is full of winding narrow streets and is surrounded by vineyards speckled with white pebbles.  The soil in the region is made up of quartz stones and sandy red clay from ancient riverbeds.  Its Mediterranean climate is hot and dry.  The mistral wind that blows down through Rhone keeps the region dry and can threaten ripening grapes when it reaches its maximum speeds of over 55 miles per hour.

The style of red wines produce is full-bodied, spicy and typically made with a large proportion of Grenache and often with Syrah or Mourvedre.  Usually these wines are not aged in new wood, leading to a more pure expression of the fruit.

Below, we highlight four esteemed producers from the region:

Cuvee du Vatican

The Diffonty family, makers of Cuvee du Vatican, they began as farmers in the region as far as 1673. Felician Diffonty named the domain Cuvee du Vatican in 1958, with blessings from the pope. Since then the family has played a large role in the community: Félician was the mayor of Chateauneuf du Pape from 1965-1995 and Jean Marc Diffonty, the 4th generation and current owner of the domain, was made president of the Young Winemakers of Châteauneuf du Pape in 1996. Jean-Marc continues the family business today with wife Karine. In 1998, they created the Reserve Sixtine, named after the Sistine Chapel, made from the oldest of their vines and seen as an expression of the land and the Diffonty tradition.

Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee du Vatican 2011 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 17 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points, Rhone Report 91-93 points “Bright purple.  Intensely perfumed red and dark berry aromas are complicated by subtle smoke and floral qualities.  Sweet raspberry and blackberry preserve flavors show impressive depth and pick up a licorice nuance with air.  Closes on an attractively sweet note, with excellent clarity and lingering smokiness.” ST

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Charvin

For the first one hundred years, Domaine Charvin grapes were sold to negociants.  It was not until 1951 that the family chose to produce their own wine in commemoration of 100 years of grape growing and not until 1990 when Laurent Charvin, then the sixth generation, chose to sell the domaine’s wine.  Only one Chateauneuf du Pape is produced from the family’s vines (which average 50 years of age!)  Production is very traditional: the wine fermented in cement vats for three or so weeks and is produced from 80-90% old vine Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre without destemming.

Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92-94 points “Brilliant violet color. Fresh redcurrant and cherry on the seductively perfumed nose, with a smoky mineral quality adding lift and focus. Concentrated cherry, raspberry and lavender pastille flavors display very good vivacity thanks to juicy acidity. Aeration brings up deeper black raspberry and licorice notes that carry through a strikingly persistent, focused, youthfully tannic finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine du Pegau

Domaine du Pegau was founded in 1987 by father/daughter team Paul and Laurence Feraud (the family was formerly bottling the wine under the name of Domaine Feraud).  Their family has farmed the area since the 17th century.  Their Cuvee Reservee is hand-picked blend of 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah, 4 % Mourvedre and 10% other permitted varieties (not destemmed).  The grapes are grown in stony soils with a mix of clay, chalk and sand.  The wine is fermented with the stems in cement vats with natural yeast and without temperature control.  The wine is aged for two years in old oak barrels.

Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2012 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 16 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of my favorite wines, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Réservée is a classic. Beautiful on the nose, with notions of ground pepper, wild herbs, minerality and smoked plum and dark fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has plenty of tannin that comes through on the finish. Similar in style to a lighter-weight 2010, drink this beauty anytime over the coming 12-15 years.” JD

Bois de Boursan

Rosenthal Wine Merchant began importing Bois du Boursan to the US quite recently, on advice from another winemaker in the region.  Neal Rosenthal writes that “the wines were impeccable and very much in the style that we sought … honest, without pretension, rich with the ripe, sweet tannins from the skins and pips of organically-grown grapes.”  The domaine was founded in 1955 by Jean Versino and is now being run by his son, Jean-Paul.  The vines average over 50 years and include all thirteen permitted varieties across 27 parcels.  (No destemming here, either.)  The wine is fermented for at least three weeks and aged in various wood for at least eighteen months.

Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “Deep ruby. Deeply pitched aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, olive paste and smoky minerals, along with hints of cola and licorice. Plush and creamy on the palate, with juicy boysenberry, cherry liqueur and mocha flavors picking up a spicy quality with air. Velvety tannins build through the finish, which lingers with good tenacity and appealing sweetness.”

Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Felix 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 8 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to taste his traditional Châteauneuf du Pape, but the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee des Felix will certainly be outstanding. Still in foudre, it’s a superb effort from this estate with textbook dark fruits, smoke plum, roasted meat and wild herbs to go with a rich, textured and nicely concentrated feel. If you’re looking for classic, old-school styled wines, look no further.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

And arriving late March:

Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Felix 2010 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 95 points “Absolutely magnificent is the opaque ruby/purple 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Felix. Notes of root beer/beet root interwoven with roasted Provencal herbs, black currants and even blacker fruits such as blackberries are prominent in this full-bodied, concentrated wine, which has fabulous fruit, sumptuous, a deep, multi-layered texture and a sensational finish of close to 40+ seconds. Acidity is present and there is precision and uplift to the big, bold flavors the 2010 Cuvee de Felix possesses. Drink it over the next 15+ years.” RP

Other great Chateauneuf du Papes Available Here Now:

Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins 2009 750ML ($379.95) $299 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95-98 points “The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins might be the wine of the vintage and got a big “Wow” in the notebook. Thrillingly perfumed, with kirsch, currants, herbs de Provence, dried meats and spice-like aromas and flavors, it is an absolute knockout on the nose. This is all backed up by full-bodied richness in the mouth, and it possesses terrific mid-palate depth, layers of sweet tannin and a finish that pumps out plenty of sweet fruit. I don’t know when it will be bottled, but certainly, I was blown away by the wine.” WA

Domaine de Ferrand Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92-94 points “Saturated ruby. Complex, highly perfumed scents of fresh red and dark berries, incense and Asian spices, with a smoky nuance gaining power as the wine opens with air. Supple and expansive on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry and floral pastille flavors that display excellent clarity and well as depth. Rich yet lithe wine, with outstanding finishing focus and length and supple, even, late-arriving tannins.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The only 2013 presented (I reviewed his two Côtes du Rhône from barrel last year) and a pretty, perfumed wine from Bravey, the 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape (93% Grenache, 2% Syrah, 2% Mourvèdre, 2% Bourboulenc and 1% Cinsault) offers lots of wild strawberry and darker berry fruits, lavender, underbrush and mint on the nose. Medium-bodied, seamless and elegant with a layered, silky style that makes it already hard to resist, it will still be better with short term cellaring and drink well through 2025.” JD

Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Quartz 2009 750ML ($109.95) $59 special, 22 bottles available
Robert Parker 94 points “The opaque ruby/purple-colored 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah from one of the appellation’s more obscure lieu-dits. This stunning 2009 offers copious floral notes intermixed with crushed rock, wet stone, kirsch and black currant characteristics.”RP

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $95

New Release
Our perennial #1 Chateauneuf du Pape
Arriving Mid-March:

Vignobles Brunier Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2013 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Vignobles Brunier Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2013 375ML ($49.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Vignobles Brunier Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2013 1.5L ($179.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Vignobles Brunier Domaine Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Crau 2013 3L ($449.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Rather perfumy up front, with savory, mint and incense notes leading the way for silky cherry and raspberry coulis flavors. The finish is lined with subtle tobacco, warm stone and floral hints, ending with a light balsam twinge. This should put on some weight with age. Best from 2017 through 2026.” WS
Josh Raynolds 91-93 points “Bright ruby. Intensely perfumed red fruit aromas are complicated by lavender, smoky minerals and white pepper. Spicy and seamless on the palate, displaying vibrant flavors of black raspberry, bitter cherry and floral pastilles along with an exotic touch of blood orange. Finishes with resonating spiciness and smooth, harmonious tannins.”

The 375ML, 1.5L and 3L are all the lowest listed prices in the USA today!

And arriving next Friday:

Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins 2010 750ML ($399.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97-99 points “Schedule to be bottled next week (I suspect it will be in bottle by the time you read this), the 2010 Châteauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins is a sensational effort. Deeper, richer and more concentrated than the Marie Beurrier, it reveals an unusually inky ruby/purple color to go with overflowing notes of kirsch liqueur, roasted meats, crushed flowers, garrigue and just about every other Provençal spice you could name. Full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, layered and a blockbuster-styled effort, it should surpass the 2007 and possibly rival the 1990. This is a tour de force in Châteauneuf du Pape!” JD

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $361

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Crystalline Wein
Willi Schaefer

Winemaker Willi Schaefer and his son Christophe Willi are an elusive pair. They do not have a website or rely on flashy marketing. They instead allow their fine Mosel Rieslings to speak for themselves. Willi Schaefer wines offer consistent quality and approachable prices. This is in part due to their long tradition of family viticulture and winemaking. The family estate dates back to 1121 and is named after the grandfather of the current Willi. With a mere four hectares (about 10 acres), Willi Schaefer is a tiny producer, making a very large impression that involves quite the following (and obsession) of Mosel Riesling lovers. Located in the town of Bernkastel-Graach, the limited parcels are planted exclusively with Riesling, mostly grown on Devonian slate. They are highly sought after, and with such small quantities and no plans of increasing production, now is the time to gobble these wines up before they disappear.

Their distinctly delicious Rieslings and the obscure nature of Willi Schaefer has led to a cult following of their wines.  Terry Thiese explains the difficulty of getting your hands on these wines with the following; “Part of it is they’re so scarce, with no desire to grow. Part of it is the wines themselves; they’re silly with deliciousness. And as crystalline as they are, as ethereally complex and limpidly clear they have a quality of calm; they don’t fuss at you how amazing they are.” These wines are known to be approachable when young with beautiful fruit components, while impressing us with their ability of maintaining their finesse 15+ years from now. There really is only one solution to this sort of ‘problem:’ drink one now and lay the other down.

Willi Schaefer Available Here Now

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles available
John Gilman 88+ points “The “basic” Trocken Riesling from Christophe Schaefer is really a pretty wine that year, with a lovely interplay of minerality, pure fruit and excellent acidity. The very bright and stylish nose offers up scents of lime, green apple, slate, bee pollen and petrol. On the palate the wine is medium-full, long and nicely focused, with a very good core, excellent balance and a long, crisp and zesty finish that closes with impressive grip and bounce. Good juice. 2015-2025+” JG
Terry Theise notes “Even commentators friendly to this domain have observed that the dry wines are below the quality level of the sweet wines. I agree—which is why I was so surprised how much I liked this. Still leesy but it seems quite wonderful; mineral, angular, stony but with a curious slinky malic aspect that ameliorates a certain severity; very long and dense with only a teeny nip of botrytis.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Weingut Willi Schaefer Estate Riesling, Mosel 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 31 bottles available
John Gilman 90 points “The Estate Riesling from Weingut Schaefer in 2014 finished off nicely at between thirtyfive and forty percent residual sugar, to balance out nine grams per liter of acidity and is really a beautiful bottle of wine. The bouquet offers up a complex and youthful bouquet of pear, apple, a touch of orange zest, a fine base of slate, petrol and a nice esthery topnote of bee pollen. On the palate the wine is medium-full, pure and bright, with a fine core, vibrant acids and superb filigree and focus on the long and classy finish. I really love the balance of this wine in 2014 and this will be one of the great sleepers to be found in the vintage. 2015-2030+.” JG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $22

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Riesling Feinherb, Mosel 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36 bottles available
John Gilman 89+ points “As I have written in the past, I really enjoy Feinherb bottlings from top producers and wish more of these types of wines found their way to the US market. The 2014 from Weingut Schaefer is very stylish and classy, with about eleven percent alcohol and around eighteen grams per liter of residual sugar striking a lovely balance. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a pretty blend of white cherries, apples, slate, a touch of apple blossoms, orange zest and a bit of petrol in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-full, bright and bouncy, with a good core, zesty acids and lovely focus and grip on the complex and vibrant finish. 2015-2025+.” JG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $22

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #5 2013 1.5L ($159.95) $133 special, 2 magnums available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Lovely discreet and subtle on the coolish/stony nose the 7.5% alcohol 2013 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #5 reveals very fine and flinty slate and precise lime fruit aromas leading to an intense and juicy, sweet and very piquant, very pure and salty palate with aromas of ripe nectarines and structured by its racy acidity. This rather aristocratic wine is so stimulatingly pure and salty, so nicely piquant as well as intense and almost lush in its juicy fruitiness, that it should have an enormous aging potential of 20 or 30 years.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #14 2013 750ML ($109.95) $89 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “Compared to the Domprobst Auslese #11 the 7% alcohol 2013 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #14 displays a more concentrated bouquet highlighted by a flinty slate perfume. Sweet, rich and elegant on the palate this lush and juicy Auslese is structured by its refined acidity and lingering salinity, whereas the long aftertaste displays ripe fruit aromas again and still remains piquant and stimulating. However, the wine still has baby fat and thus is not that perfectly shaped or balanced as is the Auslese #11 at the moment. It just asks for some years of bottle age to polish its edges and achieve more transparency.”RP
Terry Theise notes: “Candied ginger. Rather into BA-territory now. The first of these to taste discretely “sweet.” Already balanced, albeit turbulent, but this is glaringly brassy and brilliant. The customary Schaefer serenity is elsewhere. Impressive finish here, and fathomless miles to go.”

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Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese #9 2012 375ML ($59.95) $44 special, 13 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Delicate and concentrated on the nose, the 2012 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese #09 displays pink and yellow grapefruit aromas along with honey flavors from the botrytis. On the palate this delicious wine is pure and very piquant and seems less sweet than it really is. The finish is thrilling, full of tension, salt and grip. An impressive though very delicate Riesling Auslese.”RP
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “($51) Pale golden yellow. Enticing aromas of raspberry, mint and sassafras mingle with a faint hint of spicy botrytis. Ripe and full yet discreet, this auslese is both dense and light on the palate. Finishes complex and long.” ST

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $47.95

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Beerenauslese 2011 375ML ($209.95) $169 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 points “The Schaefer 2011 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Beerenauslese restores the brightness, vivacity, penetrating and interplay of flavors that characterized the two magnificent Domprobst Spatlesen in the present collection but had receded as one made one’s way through the Spatlesen. Never has Willi Schaefer’s repeated mantra that green-golden ripe berries must be well-represented in a B.A. been more deliciously illustrated. Juicy and candied lemon, apple jelly and fresh apple concentrate, quince paste, white raisin, vanilla cream, and salted caramel all inform a rich yet exuberant palate performance that enervates even as it envelops. This should have half a century of adventure in store.” WA

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More More Enchanting German Rieslings, available here now:

Kruger-Rumpf – Nahe

Stefan Rumpf took over this over 200 year-old winery in 1984.  Rather than continuing the tradition of selling the wines in bulk, he began estate bottling.  His two Grosses Gewächs sites are from the Pittersberg (slate) and the Dautenpflänzer (quartzite and loess-clay) vineyards.  All of the estates vineyards are sustainably farmed and hand harvested to ensure optimal ripeness and no botrytis.  The wines undergo short fermentations as Stefan believes it strips fruit and freshness.  The wines are aged on the gross lees for lengthy times, often into the spring.  The wines show excellent concentration, extract and distinctiveness.

Kruger-Rumpf Münsterer Rheinberg Riesling Spätlese 1998 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Terry Theise notes “(Old-school!) Just 30 g/l rs, gnarly and chewy. “Petrol.” Zingy dry finish. My colleague Sunny Brown said “crushed pretzels.””

Künstler – Rheingau

“There’s a palpable intelligence across the range, and the craftsmanship that results from that intelligence, plus vision, perspective and know-how. In the next life when I’m king, I’ll give this guy a bunch of vineyards from across the Rheingau—most of which are in underperforming hands—and let him show what this region can do.”  –Terry Theise

Künstler Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Spätlese Trocken 2002 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
“Pear, flowers and chalk dust in the nose. Brothy and rich in a Chablis-like expression of chalky terroir, laden with herbs and flowers. The palate feel is so soft and creamy one could almost believe part of the wine had gone through malolactic fermentation. Subtly herbal, milky, pearsy finish. The grapes for this were picked in late October.” –Vinous Media

Von Hovel

The Scharzhofberg vineyard is considered by many to be not only the greatest vineyard in the entire Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region, but in all of Germany. The 69 acre vineyard sits on a steep, south-facing hill of pure slate in one of Germany’s coolest wine-growing spots. Most of the vineyard is owned by the great producer Egon Müller, whose wines have become very expensive. But the outstanding von Hovel estate also owns a small portion of this vineyard, producing small quantities of exceptional wines here. Finer and more elegant than their wines from the Hütte vineyard, von Hovel’s Scharzhofberg is a rare and exceptional wine of profound quality.

Weingut von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “According to Maximilian von Kunow, the flinty/mineral-flavored 8.5% alcohol 2012 Scharzhofberg Saar Riesling Spätlese was made “from 60 or 70% luscious ripe and 30 or 40% noble rotten berries – not too much to keep the precision and terroir expression.” Lovely clear, piquant and very elegant on the palate, the sweetness of this very well-balanced Spätlese does not cover the site character. The aging potential is excellent.”RP
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Aromas of white peach, ripe cherry and apple blossom. Refined and poised, with a mouthwatering juiciness and lush finish. Nice balance and a saline minerality generate an weightless quality. A persistent wine for hedonistic drinking.” ST

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We Believe in Bernabeleva – Join the Party:
You too can become a Bernabelevista

On the eastern edge of the Sierra de Gredox mountains, within the quality-driven San Martín sub-zone of the Vinos de Madrid DO, lies 80-year-old vineyards of Garnacha (Grenache) first planted by Vincente Alvarez-Villamil. He named the estate Bernabeleva (“the bear’s forest”) in tribute to the strong Celtic roots in the area. He was convinced that he had found a profound place to grow Garnacha. The vineyards lie high above sea level with poor, sandy soil made of decomposed granite and strong diurnal temperature swings. Ripeness is achieved while acidity and freshness are preserved. The wines are produced by Marc Isart Pinos, a Catalan winemaker, with assistance from consultant Raúl Pérez, a “master of cool-climate winemaking” according to Kermit Lynch. The wines undergo long fermentation with a hands-off approach before being aged primarily in old oak barrels of various sizes. The resulting wines are richly aromatic, fresh and showing a delicate vibrancy that almost evokes Pinot Noir… all at very palatable prices.

Bernabeleva Wines Available Here Now

Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid 2013 750ML ($16.95) $11.90 special, 14 bottles available
Case-12 Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid 2013 750ML ($179.95) $129 special, 3 cases available (that’s only $10.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “(all garnacha): Bright red. Smoky, spice-accented raspberry and cherry on the perfumed nose, with a bright floral accent building with air. Brisk and racy, offering fresh red fruit and rose pastille flavors and a hint of blood orange. I might have guessed this to be pinot. Finishes taut and clean, with a lingering redcurrant note and lacy tannins sneaking in slowly.” JR

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $12.95
The average price is $15

Bodega Bernabeleva Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid 2012 750ML ($24.95) $16 special, 8 bottles available
Case-12 Bodega Bernabeleva Navaherreros Garnacha, Madrid 2012 750ML ($219.95) $169 special, 6 cases available (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(100% garnacha): Brilliant ruby-red. Fresh, intensely perfumed red and dark berries on the nose, with mineral, camphor and floral nuances building in the glass. Spicy raspberry and boysenberry flavors pack a solid punch but carry no excess weight. Finishes with very good spicy lift, fine-grained tannins and mineral-driven persistence.” JR

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $17.29
The average price is $21

Bernabeleva Arroyo del Tortolas, Madrid 2010 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 1 bottle available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “(all garanacha, raised in small and large oak, 25% of it new):  Vivid ruby-red.  A powerful bouquet offers red and dark berry preserves, minerals, Asian spices and fresh flowers.  Fleshy black raspberry and candied rose flavors are deep and palate-staining, but there’s no sign of excess weight.  Turns spicier on the sweet, gently tannic finish, which clings with superb tenacity.” ST

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Bernabeleva Arroyo del Tortolas, Madrid 2012 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 36 bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92+ points “(100% garnacha): Brilliant ruby-red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes Asian spices, raspberry, potpourri and smoky minerals. Extremely tight on the palate, offering vibrant red fruit and floral pastille flavors and a jolt of blood orange. Opens up slowly on the finish, which clings with excellent tenacity and silky, harmonious tannins. This one should age slowly.” JR

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Positively Aubrydocious…
Champagne Aubry

“One of the most original estates in Champagne.” –Peter Liem, Champagneguide.net
“The Aubry brothers make some of the most unique, singular wines in Champagne.  Understatement and delicacy come to mind when I drink these wines, which is as often as possible.” –Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Champagne Aubry, located in the village of Jouy-lès-Reims, sits on the harmonious hills of Petite Montagne, in the Western sector of the Montagne de Reims.  L. Aubry is recognized as a grower Champagne, a small family producer that grows their grapes and makes their wine exclusively from their own vineyards.  Grower Champagne is often considered analogous to the small, family estates of Burgundy, which speaks measures when considering the quality of the wines.   The big names in Champagne we all too often hear about are negociants, producing millions of cases a year in which all of the grapes are purchased from vineyards throughout the entire region.  The typical Grower Champagne producer makes fewer than 5,000 cases per year.

Aubry is one of the very few producers in Champagne to use the regions indigenous and somewhat forgotten varieties; Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Fromentea (Pinot Gris), and Enfumé, (a supposed mutation of Pinot Meunier).  The estate’s plantings of these rarely used grapes were completed in 1989, coincidentally marking the Aubry family’s 200 year anniversary of cultivating grapes.   Also, many of the vines on the estate are planted “en foule,” untouched and as they were before the devastation of phylloxera.   These grapes are being blended with the more familiar Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, and the use of these seldom seen varieties have been a major factor in putting Aubry on the map, expressing their originality.

Following a philosophy of discipline, respect for tradition and creativity, twin brothers Phillipe and Pierre Aubry have followed the family tradition and are now the current proprietors.  Descendants of a long line of winemakers, the brothers celebrate the tradition by bringing back these varieties their ancestors once used.  They have worked together to express beautiful interpretations of these ancient grapes that impart unique flavors and textures to the different blends.  All vineyards are Premier Cru, with the soils consisting of a deeper type of clay and sandy topsoil, bringing a slightly less austere character to the wines and showing more purity of fruit.   Aubry truly expresses the originalities and complexities of a ‘Grower Champagne’, full of individuality and incomparable character.

Champagne Aubry Wines Available Here Now

Aubry Aubry De Humbert Brut 2006 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 12 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(Made from roughly equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and aged for over more than five years on its lees; disgorged June, 2012):  Pale gold.  Fresh citrus zest, strawberry and quince aromas are deepened by notes of anise, vanilla and musky herbs.  Dusty, gripping lemon rind and blood orange flavors give way to deeper red berries in the mid-palate, picking up a hint of chalky minerality on the back half.  Finishes with firm grip, very good length and lingering strawberry and vanilla notes.”

Aubry Nombre D’Or Sable BDB 2008 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 1 bottle available
VinopolNote: Uses all of the white grapes. 30% Chardonnay, 20% Arbanne, 30% Petit Meslier and 20% Fromonteau (a.k.a. Pinot Gris). The word Sablé is used to designate low pressure (4 instead of 6 atmospheres), and this wine has zero dosage.

Aubry Nombre d’Or Sable BdB 2009 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 5 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Lemon oil, white flowers, mint and crushed rocks jump from the glass in Aubry’s 2009 Sablé Blanc des Blancs, a blend of Chardonnay, Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Fromenteau. The bright, focused style will appeal most to readers who enjoy tense, vibrant Champagnes. This is a stellar showing from the Aubry brothers. In particular, I am impressed with the level of freshness here given the warm, radiant vintage” AG

Aubry Nicolas Francois Sable Rose 2008 750ML ($89.95) $77 special, 8 bottles available

Aubry Premier Cru Brut Cru NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles available
Aubry Premier Cru Brut NV 1.5L ($119.95) $89 special, 4 magnums available
Case-12 Aubry Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($449.95) $349 special, 6 cases available (that’s only $29.08/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(45% pinot meunier, 25% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay, with the rest arbanne, petit meslier and fromenteau; disgorged in April, 2013): Bright straw. Pungent aromas of Meyer lemon, pear and fig, with a gingery accent adding lift. Sappy, penetrating citrus fruit and floral flavors are given a refreshingly bitter character by notes of pear skin and peach pit, with a waxy note coming up on the back half. A smoky nuance lingers on the finish, which shows very good clarity and length. Fifty-five percent of this blend is from 2010 and the rest is reserve wines, mostly from a solera that was begun in 1998.” JR

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Elio Grasso Classico

Elio Grasso transformed his family’s estate vineyard holdings in to a winery in the late 1970s with the guidance of Aldo Contero.  His son, Gianluca, has taken the helm at the winery and developed a new, modern-style reserve wine to compliment the more traditional releases.  The family’s 18 hectares include holdings in the Ginestra and Gavarini vineyards.  The Gavarini Chiniera and the Ginestra Casa Mate wines are made in a classic style from 27 year old vines.  The wines are aging in large Slavonian oak barrels.  Scoop up this stellar find – it is just entering its drinking wine and promises decades more of life ahead!

A Barolo; peer to the best, mostly @ double this cost:

Elio Grasso Gavarini Vigna Chiniera, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($129.95) $99 special, 25 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2008 Barolo Gavarini Vigna Chiniera is flat-out great. Sweet roses, spices, mint, flowers and red berries are some of the notes that emerge from this profound, utterly moving Barolo. The 2008 possesses dazzling inner perfume, endless layers of bright red fruit and stunning overall balance. Fine, silky tannins frame the extraordinarily elegant finish. This is a fabulous wine from Gianluca Grasso and his family. Chalky notes frame an energetic, brilliant finish sprinkled with shades of the 1989.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Hints of coffee and sandalwood mark this rich yet racy red, whose core flavors are cherry, strawberry and underbrush. There’s some muscle and density, firming up on the finish, with adequate sweet fruit for balance. Best from 2015 through 2030. 1,200 cases made.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94+ points “Good bright, deep red. Knockout nose offers pungent flinty minerality, white pepper, rose petal and spices; at once explosive and pure. Wonderfully intense, sappy and spicy on the palate, with a suave, fine-grained texture and great perfumed, floral delicacy. I might have picked this blind as a Chambolle cru. Less plush than the Ginestra Casa Mate but wonderfully tight and vibrant on the back end, in need of extended cellaring.”

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Have a wonderful weekend!