Femmes Vignes du Monde

Champagne of the Month


The Robert family has been in the Champagne growing business for well over a century, but it wasn’t until 1961 that André Robert established the family’s own estate brand and production cellars. In 1997, André’s son Bertrand took over management of the operation. Today he farms some 27 acres split into dozens of tiny garden-sized parcels. His vines average between 25-30 years of age with the lion’s share being Chardonnay planted in the Grand Cru of Le Mesnil. Bertrand practices viticulture raisonnée, a protocol that emphasizes natural measures to control pests and rot with chemical treatments used only as a last resort. So once again, as we have seen with other top grower producers, the quality of this Champagne is a natural outgrowth of family pride combined with generations of local knowledge.

Along with high quality, Andre Robert Champagnes are particularly notable for their excellent pricing. Indeed, for the past two years their Blanc de Blancs has been our “go to value play” for vintage Chardonnay-based Champagne. Two months ago Bertrand and his charming daughter Claire dropped by to check out our cellar and to preview their 2006 Le Mesnil. At that time we had two thoughts; first, that the ’06 is even better than its predecessor and secondly, Bertrand is going to lower the boom and announce a hefty, albeit deserved, price increase. Well, amazingly enough, he didn’t raise the price so this bottling remains one of Champagne’s rare “too good to be real” deals. For this vintage Blanc de Blancs the family uses grapes exclusively from their older (30-plus years) Chardonnay vines all planted in their famed home base village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. As always, this bottling was raised and stirred for seven months in 225-liter oak barrels with no malolactic fermentation. These practices contribute texture and complexity without sacrificing structure and longevity. For us this vintage shows the ripe character we loved in the 2005 but with more freshness and cut. In the glass one encounters ebullient aromas of apple jelly, Wonder Bread and chalk dust. The palate is at once rich and lively with tangy flavors of apple sauce, pears and honey toned with undertones of Meyer lemons and limestone. Here, then, is a perfectly balanced, multifaceted Champagne that exudes class and rivals vintage Grand Marque Champagnes selling for sixty dollars and more a bottle.

$39.98 750ml [377403] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

Titans of Champagne

During the recent Dog Days of Summer two highly anticipated Champagne releases from the vaunted 2002 vintage quietly took respite in our cool temperature-controlled wine cellar: Salon’s Cuvée “S” and Bollinger’s R.D. In addition to being released, more or less, at the same time, these fabled Champagnes were just accorded virtually perfect 99 Point Scores by veteran wine pundit James Suckling. While hardly inexpensive, demand from collectors for these icons always overwhelms their limited supply because they have long stood as Titans that straddle both the prestige cuvée Champagne and fine wine markets.



JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS -”Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose – plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there’s a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavors give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavors, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Disgorged 22nd October, 2013. Drink from 2016.”

R.D. is the result of Madame Bollinger’s great vision: an expert wine with aromas enhanced by its exceptionally long maturation. Since the 1952 vintage, a tiny portion of the Grande Année production has been held back in Bollinger’s cellars and disgorged at a later time as R.D. (récemment dégorgé, or recently disgorged); in this case ten years after the vintage. This 2002 is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. The cuvée was assembled from 23 crus: 71% Grands Crus and 29% Premier Crus. R.D. is released as an Extra Brut, with three to four grams of sugar per liter, whereas a typical Grande Année will have around seven or eight grams. Only the very best among Bollinger’s vintage Champagnes become Bollinger R.D.: 2002 is, of course, one of the most promising vintages of our generation.

$319.98 750ml [352681] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS - ”The 2002 Salon is phenomenal quality. I tasted it in New York City yesterday. I was mesmerized. It is a subtle and intense Champagne that shows complex character of lilac, minerals, sliced lemon, apple, and white pepper. It is full body and dense yet racy and agile with a lightness and freshness. It has a gloriously long finish. It changes every moment in the glass. It has such clarity. It’s magnificent to drink now, but shows great texture and structure for aging.”

Salon’s uniqueness stems from the fact that is always one varietal (Chardonnay) from one (superior) vintage sourced from one village: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This 2002 is only the 38th vintage of Salon released since 1905. Salon Delamotte president, Didier Depond, considers 2002 to be the perfect image of Salon, of Blanc de Blancs, and of Le Mesnil. As great as this wine is now he believes it will take another ten years for it to define itself.

$369.98 750ml [375863] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

Rhône Round Up

Château Des Tours - The spirit of Jacques Reynaud, the godfather of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is always present. When the legendary founder of Château Rayas died suddenly in 1997, his wife asked their nephew, Emmanuel Reynaud (pictured above), to take the reins at both Château Rayas and Château Fonsalette. Already making wines at his father’s Château des Tours, Emmanuel agreed.

He is somewhat reclusive, and can be found working his vineyards at most any time of day, every day. Emmanuel does not revel in the fame and notoriety that come with making such sought-after and acclaimed wines, but he continues to carry the mantle of his famous forebears, producing hauntingly aromatic wines at his three estates: Château Rayas, Château des Tours and Château de Fonsalette.

Situated in an old house flanked on both sides by tall towers (hence “des Tours”), Château des Tours is Emmanuel’s own family estate, which he took over from his father, Bernard, in 1989. Emmanuel is, at heart, a farmer, and here he grows food for his family, in addition to grapes. Like all Reynaud vineyards, these are tended with the same organic methods, manually plowed, harvested much later than other producers and centered around a reverence for old-vine Grenache. Château des Tours is located in Sarrians, Côtes-du-Rhône, just outside Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Weighty, complex and savory, the wines produced here are among the most well-regarded, sought-after bottles of the appellation.



CHÂTEAU DES TOURS 2010 CÔTES DU RHÔNE $33.99 750ml [333922] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

DOMAINE DES TOURS 2010 VAUCLUSE $21.99 750ml [333923] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



ROBERT PARKER 92 POINTS - “Perhaps the finest Vacqueyras Des Tours has produced since the 1989 and 1990 is the 2007. This powerhouse boasts stunning levels of kirsch, garrigue, pepper and framboise, a big, full-bodied mouthfeel and super freshness, purity and overall equilibrium. It will benefit from another several years of bottle age and keep for 12-15 years."

$54.99 750ml [333921] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button 12 Bottles Available



eROBERT PARKER 91-94 POINTS - “Most likely even better, the 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a classic effort from this estate that could come from nowhere else than the south of France. Garrigue, lavender, pepper, sweet kirsch and blackberry-styled fruits are just some of the notions here and this medium to full-bodied, supple and nicely concentrated 2012 will benefit from short-term cellaring once released. It should have 12-15 years or ultimate longevity. Drink 2016-2027.”

$68.99 750ml [324061] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



eROBERT PARKER 89-92 POINTS - “As a group, the 2012s should surpass the 2011s. A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah and the rest Cinsault and other varieties, the 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a medium to full-bodied, fruit-loaded effort that has beautiful texture and richness. Sweet black raspberry, cassis, leaf tobacco and violets all come together nicely. This beauty should be approachable on release, yet evolve gracefully through 2024. Drink 2014-2024.”

$49.99 750ml [324101] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



eROBERT PARKER 92-94 POINTS - “Moving to Boiron’s 2012s, the straight 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is stunning. Black cherry, ground pepper, bouquet garni and new leather-like aromas and flavors all flow from this medium to full-bodied, textured and seamless effort. While traditional in style, it’s remarkably polished and elegant, with no hard edges and very fine tannin. It should have 12-15 years of longevity and should not be missed. Drink 2015-2027.”

$47.99 750ml [333781] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



eROBERT PARKER 94-96 POINTS - “Looking just as good, with a slightly more approachable profile, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape A La Gloire de Mon Grand-Pere is a field blend of close to 100% Grenache that comes from the Gardiole lieu-dit. Aged all in demi-muid, it is an awesomely textured, seamless effort that boasts knockout aromas and flavors of kirsch, wild strawberries, herbs de Provence and red licorice. Not quite as backwards or concentrated as the Chante Le Merle, it should be approachable at an earlier age and drink brilliantly for 15 years or more. Drink 2015-2027.”

$64.99 750ml [333779] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button 12 Bottles Available

Best Buys


ROBERT PARKER 90 POINTS - “Two outstanding efforts include the 2011 Grignan-Les-Adhemar Montagne de Raucoule, which is dominated by Syrah but also includes a good bit of Grenache. It reveals lots of blackberry, black cherry, licorice and forest floor characteristics, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, gorgeous texture, and a sensual, complex style with impressive purity. Consume it over the next 4-5 years.”

$13.95 750ml [333903] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



eROBERT PARKER 91 POINTS - “Brightness and invigoration from tart skins and crunchy seeds render the fresh blackberry and black raspberry delivered by the Cabirau 2011 Côtes du Roussillon Malgre les Functionnaires proof against any negative effects of its nearly 15% alcohol. Tar, Latakia tobacco and black pepper incisively accent this smoky, rich blend of Grenache with roughly 20% Syrah and 15% Carignan, leading to an infectiously juicy and positively mouth-shaking finish. Here is a wonderful example of the vivacity and energy that can be conveyed by ripe Roussillon fruit, not mention an exceptional value. I expect it to drink well through at least 2017.”

$12.99 750ml [333912] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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