High Scoring 2015 Barolos from A Top Estate Elio Grasso Just Arrived!
Our Italian wine buyer just returned from Piedmont, and her picks for the new 2015 Barolos and Barbarescos are already starting to roll into the store! We're excited about these 2015 wines not only because there is a lot of immediate charm to them (the growing season was hot and the Nebbiolo grapes easily reached full ripeness quickly), but also because the best of them will make this a wonderful and distinctive vintage to enjoy for many years as they unwind! A couple of these "best" wines are from the well-known and talented Elio Grasso estate in Monforte d'Alba, earning very high praise in the press. Given that these are also small production wines, we expect them to go quickly!
ELIO GRASSO 2015 BAROLO 'GAVARINI CHINIERA'
JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "Extremely perfumed, showing lots of rose, lavender and dark-berry character. Full body with intense density and chewiness that gives the wine great structure. Lots of flavor and focus at the finish. Needs five to six years to finish."
ANTONIO GALLONI VINOUS MEDIA 97 POINTS - "The 2015 Barolo Gavarini Chiniera is ample, full-bodied and rich on the palate, and yet retains its explosive floral lift and brightness, two of the signatures that are such calling cards of Barolos from this Monforte site. A rush of sweet red cherry, blood orange, chalk, mint and rose petal build in a super-expressive Barolo that hits so many high notes effortlessly. The Gavarini Chiniera is one of the wines of the vintage. Don't miss it."
ELIO GRASSO 2015 BAROLO 'GINESTRA CASA MATE'
JAMES SUCKLING 96 POINTS - "Complex aromas of figs, ripe strawberries and fresh mushrooms. Full body, firm and tight tannins with a solid core of fruit and a long, linear finish. Great length."
ANTONIO GALLONI VINOUS 96 POINTS - "Grasso's 2015 Barolo Ginestra Casa Matè is a dense, full-bodied Barolo that is going to need at least a few years to start unwinding. Dark fruit and a host of mentholated, balsamic notes all run through the 2015. Broad shoulders and tons of depth give the wine its distinctive feel. The Ginestra Casa Matè is usually more expressive at this stage than it is today. Time in the glass soften some of the edges, but the 2015 is a wine to cellar and then drink for the next 20-30 years. There is so much to look forward to."
High Scoring, Value-priced Chardonnay That Way Over-delivers!
Olema wine is a small collection put out by Amici Cellars; a winery known for their high scoring Napa wines. This particular Chardonnay is sourced mainly from the Russian River Valley with 10% coming from the Sonoma Coast. There is a combination of stainless steel and oak aged Chardonnay blended harmoniously together producing a wine of beautiful balance. Over all this wine is on the crisper end of the spectrum with nice minerality. On the palate it showcases classic green apple notes along with some citrusy tones, stone fruits and hints of saline. This wine making team did an awesome job producing such a great overachiever in this price range.
OLEMA 2017 CHARDONNAY SONOMA COUNTY
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The value-priced 2017 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast way over-delivers and has classic Sonoma Coast character, yet it sells for a song. Lots of tart peach, crushed citrus, and some obvious salinity all emerge from this medium-bodied, vibrant, fresh Chardonnay that's ideal for a house white."
JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "A very pretty white with sliced apples and peaches on the nose and palate. Medium body. Bright and beautiful. Bright acidity. Delicious vivacity. Clean. Drink now."
Three Cult Champagnes of Tomorrow!
We have been long time supporters of grower (recoltant) Champagnes because so many of these proprietors are driven by family pride and over deliver quality for the money. More recently, following the lead of Jacques Selosse (among others) there has been a movement by the top recoltants to create bold, distinctive Champagnes that embody a sense of place. One can only look at the terroir-based offerings from cult artisan producers like Olivier Collin, Jerome Prevost, and Alexander Chartogne to confirm this trend. Of course these single vineyard bottlings now cost a pretty penny and are virtually impossible to procure. Fortunately Aurelien Suenen, Aurelien Laherte, and Cedric Mousse have arrived on the scene to fill the gap with some of the most fascinating site-specific Champagnes we have encountered. Here are three of our current favorites.
SUENEN EXTRA BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS OIRY GRAND CRU
The vineyards of Oiry sit on the chalky eastern flank of the Cote de Blancs below Cramant.
JOHN GILMAN 92 POINTS - "...the first of [Suenen's] single cru wines to be released, which is made entirely from his production in the village, so as to highlight the village's terroir more in the finished wine. This was fermented entirely with indigenous yeasts...The wine was finished with a dosage of one gram per liter and offers up a deep and complex nose of apple, nutskin, fresh-baked bread, complex soil tones, gentle smokiness and a nice touch of fresh nutmeg in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full and nascently complex, with a fine core of fruit, lovely soil signature, elegant mousse and a very long, poised and impeccably balanced finish..."
LAHERTE FRERES 2014 EXTRA BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS "LES GRANDES CRAYERES"
Laherte is located in the Coteaux Sud d'Epernay not far outside of the city. Here the topography is hilly with a variety of aspects and soil types. This micro cuvee is drawn from Chardonnay vines planted on a west facing slope with thin top soil over a deep bedrock of Campanian chalk.
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Here in its first release, the 2014 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Grandes Crayères is another fabulous wine from Aurelien Laherte. Powerful in the glass, the 2014 possesses striking textural depth and resonance. This is an especially potent, structured expression of Chardonnay. I loved it. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. Disgorged: February 2018."
MOUSSE 2012 EXTRA BRUT "TERRES D'ILLITE"
PETER LEIM TWO STARS - "Named for the clay crystalline mineral found in the area around Cuisles and Joncry, this is a blend of 95 percent Meunier and 5 percent Pinot Noir. It’s ripe and concentrated in the style of the 2012 vintage, yet the heaviest influence here is that of soil, which infuses the wine with a distinctively stony, umami-tinged minerality. While it’s youthful and brisk, needing more time to settle down and bring its components into harmony, it feels superbly expressive, and promises to become even more so with time in the cellar. Last tasted: 3/17."
We Love These Wines and the Critics Agree!
We love the wines of Raul Perez, not only because they walk the appetizing line between fruity and savory, but because they are like impressionist landscapes of their home. Over the last 15 years Raul Perez has gained a strong following because of his prolific 'vinography', including wines that explore the growing areas near his hometown of Valtuille de Abajo in the region of Bierzo. Bierzo is a departure from the inland valleys and Mediterranean coast as it's distinctly cooler and wetter due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, though well protected from storms, nestled in a mountainous amphitheater. Naturally, distinct varieties of grapes thrive here, dominated by Mencia for red wines, whose style roams the spaces between Cote de Nuits Pinot Noir, Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, and Northern Rhone Syrah depending on the character of the vintage and site.
Mr. Perez's winemaking philosophy is very classical, involving harvesting from old, mixed variety vineyards in which he practices organic farming, with native yeast fermentations that proceed leisurely as the whole grape clusters slowly break down; he then leaves the juice in contact with skins for long periods (a total of 1-3 months!) to gently extract the right amount of flavor and texture for the desired style. Aging takes place in older, used barrels that provide slow oxygenation without covering those carefully developed flavors with oak. Raul also avoids adding sulfites, a risky choice in winemaking, but for him it's a requirement.
We have a limited quantity of these whiles so get them while you can. First come, first served.
RAUL PEREZ 2017 ULTREIA 'ST. JACQUES'
This is a great introduction to the wines of Bierzo and Raul Perez and is priced to buy a case of while it lasts! Decanter gave this wine 93 points and describes it as having "bright, fresh blueberry and cranberry fruit with a rasp of tannin and a savory, saline sign-off". A perfect wine to serve cool as the weather warms!
WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The clean, floral and 2017 Ultreia Saint Jacques comes mostly from old vineyards from different soils in Valtuille and Villadecanes fermented in stainless steel and oak vats with part of full clusters and matured in used barriques for one year. It's produced in a fresh and very drinkable way. This is one of the best values from Bierzo and Spain, and a great introduction to Bierzo. It's a more serious wine than what the wine was when it was first produced, fresh and elegant. It's very reliable and a great value."
LA VIZCAINA 2016 'VITORIANA'
La Vizcaína is a newer line of wines based on old family vineyards, and the small 'La Vitoriana' vineyard is the oldest of those at 130 years! A step up in richness and complexity, with more mineral, spice and roasted notes from barrel aging. This is the wine to drink over the coming years with your protein-rich meals!
WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The vines at La Vitoriana are from a north-facing part of the vineyard and are extremely old, and the grapes show their best between 13% and 13.5% alcohol. The maceration of the 2016 La Vizcaína La Vitoriana is the longest of all wines from La Vizcaína wines, and it always has very strong balsamic notes. It's subtle and elegant with a velvety texture, with lots of energy and inner strength. Pérez selects about half of the vineyard, and he feels 2016 is the year that best represents the character of the place. I'd add it's probably the best vintage so far. 3,000 bottles produced."
RAUL PEREZ 2016 ULTREIA DE VALTUILLE
This flagship wine is made from a single vineyard, 'Las Villegas', planted at the end of the 1800s. This is the darkest and richest of the wines, with black fruits and tobacco, showing oak influence through its woody & cocoa aromas, and herbal-balsam notes that he describes as reminiscent of an apothecary. This is the wine to age if you're so inclined!
WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "There are only 1,000 bottles of the 2016 Ultreia Valtuille (the new name, as all labels have been simplified and cleaned up, and some of the names have even been shortened). The crop was greatly reduced because of mildew, and the grapes are a lot more concentrated, with more tannin and structure, and they had to do a much longer élevage, up to 24 months in barrique. Despite its concentration and power, it has great freshness and perfume. You don't find excess tannin, and it seems like the time in barrel has really polished the edges. It's really outstanding."
Unbelievable Price on Shocking Chateauneuf that Rocked our World!
The 2016 Maison La Berthaude is without a doubt our greatest value from Chateauneuf du Pape. When we tasted this wine we immediately knew it had a place in our store. After the price was revealed, we knew we had to grab as much as we could. We taste a lot of wine from the most famous appellation of the Southern Rhone and this wine competes favorably with wine two to three times its price of $24.99.
The Wine Advocate is also a fan and gave this wine a 92 Point rating, noting it is a "big, rich wine."
Last year, our customers scooped up the "Tradition" bottling of this wine by the case. That wine was absolutely delicious, but this is a step up in quality. This Chateauneuf is a special old vine cuvee from Berthaude which showcases the brilliance of the 2016 growing season in the Rhone Valley. It also shows the incredible mid-palate persistence one gets from low yielding old vines. Its depth of flavor and generosity of perfectly ripened fruit had us asking for more!
Xavier Rolin is the 5th generation of winemakers in his family and he is a cousin of the famous Perrin Family of Chateau Beaucastel. His family domaine is based in Chateauneuf du Pape in the district of the Berthaude, thus the name Maison la Berthaude.
Berthaude's Rhone blend is comprised of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 15% Mourvedre. The vines are planted on two types of soil. The first is clay and limestone subsoil covered by the famous galets roules (large riverbed rounded stones). The second type of soil contains more sand and fashions wines with higher toned aromatics and finesse. Some of the vines are more than 100 years old and the average vine age at the domaine is about 60 years old. These old vines result in low yields and increased concentration of flavors.
This has to be the best Chateauneuf available anywhere at this price. It is a fantastic wine that is a definite crowd pleaser which completely over delivers and would be a great one to grab by the case.
MAISON LA BERTHAUDE 2016 CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE VIEILLES VIGNES
Bright ruby in color. The aromatics alone make this wine compelling with expressive notes of violets, fresh red and black cherries, black raspberry, vanilla and baking spice. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied and lushly textured with layers of fruit enveloping the palate. Richly flavored Kirsch, black raspberry, vanilla, licorice and gentle spices merge and culminate in a long, satisfying finish that showcases the amazing fruit of the vintage.
ROBERT PARKER 92 POINTS - "Hints of cedar and baking spices add modern touches to the full-bodied 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes. It's a big, rich wine, filled with cherries and red berries, turning a bit tannic on the long, cinnamon-dusted finish."
Explosive Wine from One of Central Coast's Prized Vineyards!
Dierberg has been on a roll the past few years! Other wineries have sourced fruit from this prominent vineyard and received high scores for their superbly crafted wines. Dierberg still sells much of their fruit, but they have begun to keep some of the better sections for themselves. That being said, their own label hasn't skipped a beat, and is receiving the same high scores as their customers!
Located 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean in one of the coolest wine-growing corners of California's Central Coast, Dierberg Vineyard is on the western edge of Santa Barbara County's Santa Maria Valley appellation, which is world-renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their vineyard is planted to newer "Dijon" clones, as well as other "heritage clones"; heritage clones whose roots go back to the Burgundy area of France, offering a clonal diversity unlike almost any other Pinot vineyard in California.
DIERBERG 2015 ESTATE PINOT NOIR SANTA MARIA VALLEY
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard is a real standout. Plush, dark and expressive, the Dierberg is an explosive wine that shows this Santa Maria site off at its best. Floral and spiced notes wrap around a core of intense inky blue/purplish fruit. Time in the glass brings out a more delicate side. There is just so much to admire in the 2015."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "The 2015 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard comes from the estate vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley and was aged 14 months in 25% new French oak. Medium ruby-colored, with notes of cherries, mulberries, forest floor, and spice, it's silky, lightly textured, and elegant on the palate, with the charming nature of the vintage balanced nicely by plenty of tannins and acidity."
A Fantastic Italian Red at a Great Price!
As Spring is springing and the cherry blossoms are blooming, we naturally think of the wines of Musella from the Valpolicella region in Northeastern Italy. In fact, we're featuring the 2016 Musella Valpolicella Superiore as our 2nd Wine of the Month for April since it's such a great introduction to the quality level of the winery, especially at $16.95! The red wines of the Valpolicella region are made in a range of styles using local varieties, from the wines that are made in the usual fashion from "fresh" grapes to those made with varying amounts of air-dried grapes, culminating in the richest style using all dried grapes, the Amarone della Valpolicella. For their Valpolicella Superiore, made in the "fresh," undried style, Musella uses the local varieties Corvina and Corvinone with a little Rondinella and Barbera blended in.
Since 1995, Musella has been a family-run affair, led by founder Emilio Pasqua di Bisceglie, his daughter Maddalena, and winemaker nephew Enrico Raber. The vineyards are farmed according to biodynamic principles (certified by Demeter), making use of the natural relationships among the plants, animals, and soil and avoiding the use of synthetic and inorganic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in order to create a naturally and sustainably healthy vineyard! They hand-pick the grapes, which ensures that the best clusters make it to the winery in good shape, and ferment using the native yeast of the area, which helps in creating a wine of its place.
In addition to the Vapolicella Superiore, we also carry Musella's "Ripasso" and Amarone, which we also highly recommend! While their wines might differ in the details of their richness and flavor nuances, they all share a clear signature style: a purity of fruit, smoothness of texture, and a brightness that cleans and refreshes the palate.
MUSELLA 2016 VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE
The purity of fruit and brightness on the palate is mirrored by its clear and brilliant appearance, with the ruby hue and violet tinge of youth. The aromas are not reticent, with raspberry and cherry jam driving, followed by fresh flowers (like cherry blossom!) and spicy hints of ginger and cola. In the mouth, the wine is rich in flavors that are faithful to the nose. There is a tension between the gently warming vinous richness and bright acidity, resulting in a medium-bodied wine that is substantial without being cloying. As the wine opens, there is a seamless flow from fleshy, juicy fruit to a clean, soft-but-dry finish due to a similar play between the residual sugar (just under 4 g/L) and the fresh acidity. Completing Musella's signature style of flavor richness and purity is the soft, satin & velvety texture, with light, fine-grained tannin. Truly a wine for Spring!
Continuing the Family Legacy with a 99 Point Napa Valley Red!
Continuum celebrates the ongoing legacy of the Mondavi family's proud history in Napa Valley. It represents a new beginning, and reaffirms their longstanding commitment to winemaking excellence. At the helm is Tim Mondavi who led the winemaking team at Robert Mondavi Winery for 30 years. He is joined in guiding the vision and direction by his sister Marcia, his children Dante, Carlo and Carissa Mondavi. Carissa, Dante, and Carlo are the fourth generation to join the winery. Carlo and Dante have since shifted focus to their own project called Raen which we highly urge you to check out as well.
CONTINUUM 2016 ESTATE PROPRIETARY RED NAPA VALLEY
The wine comes from the family's vineyard atop the Vaca Mountains that run along the eastern side the Napa Valley. This mountainous region is home to other illustrious wineries such as David Arthur, Ovid, Bryant, Chappellet, and Gandona. This year's blend is 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot, and 5% Merlot. The wine was bottled with fining or filtering, to preserve much of the complexity of the wine.
WINE ADVOCATE 99 POINTS - "The 2016 Proprietary Red is blended of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it emits an incredible array of seductive floral notes—violets, lavender and rose hip tea—with a core of warm cassis, redcurrant jelly, dark chocolate, cigar box, tapenade and crushed rocks plus hints of bay leaves, beef drippings and yeast extract. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with vivacious black fruit sparked by red fruit, herbal and mineral accents. It is framed with a rock-solid line of firm, grainy, super ripe tannins and finishes with fantastic fragrance and freshness. Wow!"
Big Onetime Savings on Tiny Bubbles!
As we finally swing into spring and look ahead to months of relaxed outdoor entertaining, it is high time (sorry pun intended) to stock up on bargain patio quaffers like this frothy Washington state gem.
For nearly 40 years, Domaine Ste. Michelle has crafted traditional French-style sparkling wines using premium grapes from the Evergreen States's Columbia Valley.
Price is good while supplies last. First come, first served.
DOMAINE STE. MICHELLE EXTRA DRY
This bubbly is a nifty blend of 63% Chardonnay, 19% Pinot Noir, and 18% Pinot Gris. It is finished with a slightly sweeter dosage, not unlike an Italian Prosecco, but with a finer effervescence wrought by the traditional Methode Champenoise-as opposed to the less costly Charmant process. Here one is treated to delicate aromas of orange and lemon zest followed by appetizing flavors of green apples, Bosc pears, and Meyer lemons. Warning, be sure to have a chilled back up bottle at the ready because this is a real crowd pleaser that will quickly have your guests begging for more. This is a fine value at twelve dollars so we know our offer may seem a little too good to be true. Trust us it’s not, we are selling only freshly corked inventory bearing the winery's newly redesign label.
Two High Scoring Gems from Sonoma!
It's time to fire up the BBQ this Spring Break with these two gems from Quivira Vineyards! Quivira is a family owned and operated winery comprised of 3 vineyards all located in the Dry Creek Valley area of Sonoma. All Vineyards are sustainably farmed using biodynamic techniques with a major emphasis on bio-diversity encouraging animals, birds, insects and plants which are all an integral part of a healthy and sustainable farm. They also utilize a 55kw solar installation, manage their own half-acre compost pile, and are mindful of water conservation. The end result, farming in such a tedious fashion is better quality grapes which in-turn makes better wine!
QUIVIRA 2017 SAUVIGNON BLANC "ALDER GROVE" DRY CREEK VALLEY
White Grapefruit, Key Lime, and a more subtle lemon meringue character all vie for attention. Subtle, yet classic, varietal grassiness emerges along with nuances of vanilla, woodsy spice, and creamy yeastiness. The palate is round and smooth, with viscosity counterpointed by refreshing, totally natural acidity. There is a seamless quality to this wine, where proportion and balance just flow from beginning to end. A vintage hallmark is the presence of mid-palate richness... without losing refreshing acidity. The mild grip from fermentation in a mix of new and used French oak and Acacia counterpoints the acidity, framing this wine in very different way than the Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc's mix of stainless and more neutral wood. With Alder Grove, one is drawn towards flavor and mouthfeel. Immediately deep, complex, and layered with a dominant citrus focus when the wine is first opened.
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "A complex note of dried honeysuckle and a whiff of smoke add intrigue and depth to the core of succulent peach, melon and mango flavors, set on a medium body, with a fresh frame. Shows wonderful purity of fruit and nuances that linger effortlessly. Drink now. 1,370 cases made."
QUIVIRA 2016 ZINFANDEL DRY CREEK VALLEY
The fruit for their Dry Creek Zinfandel is comprised of 80% from their estate vineyards, and 20% from other vineyards whose owners are like-minded. The wine was aged in barrels for 10 months, of which 15% of them were new. Only medium toast barrels that are air-dried for 3 to 4 years.
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Zesty, yet with a sense of refinement, this textbook Dry Creek style offers vibrant raspberry, dried sage and cracked pepper flavors that sprint toward fine tannins. Drink now through 2025."
Sale on High Scoring Crowd-pleasing Winner of a Wine!
The march of time continues unabated as spring starts its sublime sojourn toward summer. Warm days may meet some rain and still-chilly nights as Mother Nature sorts her wardrobe, not quite ready for the full warmth of the sun. As always, our palates, plates and pantries reflect the current climes, reflecting and reacting to how the mercury moves. We strive each month to find a wine that matches the mood of the weather as well as the call of the calendar. And this month, we found a crowd-pleasing winner of a wine that will pair with all of the above.
A blend of Grenache and Syrah (50/50), the grapes are sourced from vineyards on the left bank of the Rhone River, grown on alluvial and gravelly soils.
FERRATON PERE ET FILS 2016 "SAMONRENS" COTES DU RHONE
Mixed red and black fruits fill the nose as secondary notes of incense, cedar and forest floor resolve to hints of rose petal, mulberry and a touch of herbal influence. Dark black fruits, black berries and blackcurrant, are balanced by silky tannins. Layers of dark spices and earth uplift the dark fruits as they crest the wave of the finish, slowly receding yet flavorful still. Pair with spring lamb, Easter banquets, hearty stews or hard cheeses. Remember, it’s never to early to warm up the grill for summer!
JEB DUNNUCK 90-92 POINTS - "The 2016 Côtes du Rhône Samorens is a 50/50 split of Grenache and Syrah that’s completely unoaked and brought up all in concrete. Rounded, sexy and even voluptuous, with terrific purity in its black raspberry, violet and incense aromatics, this medium to full-bodied beauty has no hard edges, silky tannin and a great finish."
Best New History Making Rum from Foursquare!
Light white rums contributed to the explosion of popularity of cocktails like the Daiquiri in the post prohibition era. Unlike the white rums of today, which are often made from neutral or near neutral spirits, the white rums of the past had appreciable flavor.
For the time in history, Probitas is a joint venture between Caribbean distilleries to produce a blended Rum.
Coming from two of the most iconic distilleries in two of the most respected islands in the Caribbean for Rum making - Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados and Hampden Estate in Jamaica.
Distilled, matured, blended and bottled in the Caribbean.
No sugar, flavor, color nor neutral/multi column spirit added.
Bottled at a higher proof, 47% Alc./Vol., to showcase bold character, especially in cocktails.
Probitas brings a new gold standard to White Rum used in cocktails.
FOURSQUARE PROBITAS WHITE RUM
Probitas is a blend of different rums from different sources, blended by Master Blender Richard Seale. While Blended Rum has existed in many forms this is the first time a Blended Rum has been made entirely in the Caribbean and selected by the rum maker themselves.
Unaged Pot Still Rum from Hampden Estate in Jamaica, selected by Mr. Vivian Wisdom, Hampden's Master Distiller at the time of blending.
Unaged Coffey Stilll Rum from Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados, selected by Richard Seale.
2 Year Aged Pot Still Rum from Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados, selected by Richard Seale.
Spectator Top 100 Bordeaux at Best Price in Country!
"The 2015 Branaire Ducru is a gorgeous, totally sexy wine...Don't miss it" - Antonio Galloni
"This pumps lush fig, boysenberry and blackberry confiture" – Wine Spectator
We are thrilled to have a small amount of the terrific 2015 Chateau Branaire Ducru in stock. This classified growth is an historic estate performing at a high level with the 2015 showing enviable concentration, perfect ripeness and power. We frequently look to this Chateau to deliver outstanding quality at more than reasonable prices. The Wine Spectator awarded this wine 94 Points and named it to its Top 100 list after trying thousands of wines! Antonio Galloni did them one better, dropping a 95 Point score and stating, "The 2015 is a wine of pure and total sensual pleasure."
This historic family run estate was once part of the larger Beychevelle property until it was purchased in the late 17th Century. Today, the Chateau from Saint Julien is run by Francois Xavier Maroteaux who takes advantage of the gravelly soils to grow Cabernet Sauvignon which comprises 65% of the blend. The remainder of the classic Bordeaux assemblage includes Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
This is definitely one of the better values coming out of Bordeaux from the excellent 2015 vintage.
We have a very limited amount of this wine. Grab it while you can. When it's gone, it's gone!
CHATEAU BRANAIRE DUCRU 2015 SAINT JULIEN
#33 ON WINE SPECTATOR TOP 100 WINES OF 2018
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This pumps lush fig, boysenberry and blackberry confiture notes along, pushed by a rather polished but ample structure. Lots of anise and violet details cascade in on the finish, giving this extra aromatic dimension. Best from 2020 through 2038."
VINOUSMEDIA 95 POINTS – "The 2015 Branaire Ducru is a gorgeous, totally sexy wine. Rose petal, lavender, mint, sweet red berry and gently spiced notes give the wine much of its gracious, lilting personality. Precise and nuanced to the core, the 2015 Branaire is all class. It's easy to overlook Brainaire in the context of Saint-Julien, where most of the other important wines are much more powerful. Branaire always speaks with a hushed, discreet voice. Readers who appreciate finesse will find much to admire here. The 2015 is a wine of pure and total sensual pleasure. In 2015, the blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc, aged for 18 months in French oak, 60% new. Don't miss it."
Some of the Best Wines We've Tasted from Chile in Some Time!
We thoroughly enjoyed tasting the wines from Pedro Parra y Familia. The passion put into these wines is as evident and convincing as the terroir of Itata and the amazing flavors and scents found within (the nose and tongue do not lie!). These are some of the best we've tasted from Chile in some time. If you are unfamiliar with Chilean viticulture these will be a splendid introduction; if you remember when Chilean wines first splashed onto the market decades ago, these bottles will showcase not only how far their acumen has progressed but also how much potential and world class quality can come out of their soil and into our glasses-- these are the real deal!
"Pedro Parra y Familia was born in my head many years ago, but it was only after 15 years as a consultant, traveling and working all around, I felt mature enough to begin. The main idea was always the same: make pure terroir wines from Granite soils. Make wines I like to drink, and be free to select and create from several terroirs. But more important, the idea is to start something that I can share with my family, my wife Camila, and my kids Diego, Felipe and Colomba." - Pedro Parra
"After 18 years of terroir work all around the World, I felt mature enough to create my own wines, from what I consider the most incredible Chilean Terroir, Itata." - Pedro Parra
I had the chance to work and dig in Barolo, Burgundy, Montalcino, Oregon, Sicily, Rioja, and worked with the best people." - Pedro Parra
Click HERE to learn more about this fantastic new discovery.
PEDRO PARRA Y FAMILIA CRU "HUB" 2017 CINSAULT ITATA
"Freddie Hubbard was the most intense and sharp Jazz trumpet player of all times. His great tune Re Clay was one of my all-time hits when I was a Saxophone player. So, this wine is the more sharp and electric wine I made, coming from a very high elevation vineyard in Guarilihue. The soil is pure Quartz and Iron, extremely shallow bringing mineral reduction to the flavors that I love." - Pedro Parra
Fermentation and aging are both made in non-epoxy concrete tank. For the first year, only 572 bottles were produced. The label is based on a Piano from the great Vinyl Hub Tones, from Hubbard (Blue Note Records) and every layer shows 10 cm of soil/rock, SO THIS WINE comes from a 10 cm shallow very stony red sandy quartzic granite, with dry-farmed 78 years old Cinsault.
Tasting notes - The nose is filled with dark fruits and spices with mixed herbal tones-- dark blue fruits and black licorice are dusted with sea salt. Attractive and fresh. In the mouth, red fruits dominate in a mixed melange of strawberry tea and plum preserves. Sea salt, persimmon and cinnamon lend support as the excellent structure, acidity and firm tannins, keeps the wine uplifted and focused. Stunning.
PEDRO PARRA Y FAMILIA 2016 PENCOPOLITANO ITATA, CAUQUENES
"Pedro Parra y Familia is based on the South of Chile, mostly Bio-Bio, ITATA and Cauquenes appellations. Why? Very simple; this area is in my experience the only place in Chile where I can produce the wines I like to drink: a mix of fresh-acid fruit, with complex flavors of flowers, soil, underbrush and a great granitic, mineral-driven mouthfeel."
The 2016 Pencopolitano is a blend from Itata and Cauquenes. The local environs are rife with cloudy weather and coastal mountain climates resting over red granitic slopes (the soil dates back to the Paleozoic era, around 240 million years ago).
Tasting notes - Lots going on in the nose-- fruit and florals first, raspberry, mint, pepper and salted plum. In the mouth, flavors of cherries and strawberries are bolstered by light brown spices, a dash of garden soil and forest floor, excellent acidity. This is solid, balanced wine and very easy to drink. A field blend of Malbec, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Pais, Carmenere from 60 to 110 year old vines grown in red quartzic granite - Organic - Dry Farmed - Aging in Cement and Stainless steel for 1 year.
O'Shaughnessy's "Brilliantly Pure" 95 Point Cabernet!
O'Shaughnessy's 2014 Howell Mountain Cabernet earned the #3 ranking on our list of Top Cabernets of 2018, and that wine quickly sold out. This wasn't a surprise, as the O'Shaughnessy Cabernets are always in high demand, and the wines are produced in very small quantities. However, we're ecstatic to announce that O'Shaughnessy is back in the house!
O'Shaughnessy's Napa Valley Cabernet combines fruit from their vineyards located in three of the more prestigious areas of Napa: Howell Mountain, Mt Veeder, and Oakville. The wine is made by a talented team lead by Sean Capiaux, whose talents were fine-tuned while working at Peter Michael, Pine Ridge and Jordan wineries.
While our California wine buyer was on a recent trip to the Napa Valley, he was able to taste this wine prior to its official release and to say he was impressed would be an understatement. The quality of the 2016 vintage in Napa is so high that he feels that this Napa Valley bottling is every bit as good as the 2015 Howell Mountain Cabernet...maybe even better! Considering that wine critic Jeb Dunnuck calls it "brilliantly pure", and Antonio Galloni said "don't miss it", we'd say our buyer isn't over-hyping this wine!
O'SHAUGHNESSY 2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA VALLEY
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "Starting with the base 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, it's an interesting blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 3% St. Macaire, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot. It offers a brilliantly pure, seamless bouquet of crème de cassis, toasted spice, new saddle leather, and leafy herbs and lavender. Deep, rich, and multi-dimensional on the palate, it's a full-bodied, layered, awesome entry level wine that can be drunk today with tons of pleasure or cellared for 15-20 years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is blended of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 5% Merlot, 3% St. Macaire, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it reveals notions of scorched earth, tar, tilled black soil and fungi over a core of blackcurrant cordial, aniseed, dark chocolate and espresso plus a waft of tobacco. Full-bodied, concentrated and very earthy in the mouth, the rich, black fruits are superbly framed by firm, grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and mineral laced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is gorgeous. Vibrant and focused, with tons of savory energy, the Napa Valley Cabernet is once again a huge overachiever in this range. An exotic mélange of black cherry, plum, pomegranate, blood orange, chocolate, savory herb, leather and sage builds into the deep, resonant finish. Most of this fruit is young-vine Cabernet from the Wools Ranch on Mt. Veeder. O'Shaughnessy's Napa Valley Cabernet is the hidden gem in this range and also one of the very finest wines in its peer group. Don't miss it."
It's Not Often that an Opportunity Like this Arises!
Occasionally life surprises you with a happy convergence, and the Cerbaiona "Vino da Tavola" is a one of those; it represents the bittersweet last fruits of a Brunello auteur (emphasis on the 'sweet'), is based on two wonderful vintages, and is offered at the completely reasonable price of $29.95! Former proprietor Diego Molinari's traditionalist wines have followed the seasons, allowing for Nature to dictate the character of a given year's release. But he has also been guided by a similar ebb and flow in his personal life and decided to sell his property. The new owners want to take the winery in a different stylistic direction and decided to unload the remaining inventory of 2013 wine with a majority of still-aging 2015 wine, irrespective of whether it was destined to be a Rosso or a Brunello. It's not often that an opportunity like this arises: To taste wine from a beloved small-scale producer of coveted wines based on top vintages at the price of a typical Rosso di Montalcino!
CERBAIONA NV ROSSO "VINO DA TAVOLA"
Already at first site, this is very classical Sangiovese Grosso from Montalcino: Ruby-hued, so clear and reflective, with a subtle garnet rim. Then comes the piercing perfume of dried cherry and cordial, a floral wash reminiscent of peony & herbal lavender, stony (petrichor) notes, and a subtle background of vanilla. In the mouth, there's a striking a juiciness from opening to finish, accompanied by chalky tannins giving the sensation of crushed stone, finishing with a softly drying sensation like hibiscus tea. On opening with air, that juicy fruit takes turns with flavors of blood orange, cherry, and cranberry, accompanied by licorice root, and a reprisal of those stony and herbal notes, including echoes of tomato leaf that is typical of classic Sangiovese. The gently warming alcohol never dominates the aromas or palate, and the wine’s medium-full body with gentle, refreshing acidity makes it extremely drinkable. The tannin builds up as you drink on, ultimately making for a chewy wine, which makes sense since a large portion was intended for longer aging to become a Brunello!
So not only do we suggest holding some bottles to soften up for a few years, but also to do as Italians expect and pair it with food! Well-herbed roast chicken, tomato-driven dishes, rosemary lamb chops, or grilled steak are some great options. Even some cured meats, medium-aged cheeses, and a simple bruschetta would work with this: Top toasted baguette with diced tomato, herbs, lemon, olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt (I even like to dice in fresh anchovy filets).
Salute e auguri (health and best wishes) to Diego Molinari, and to the new team at Cerbaiona!
94 Point Red Blockbuster is a Crazy Value!
"One of those values that almost seems too good to be true." - Jeb Dunnuck
"This estate, which has created these custom cuvees with its importer Eric Solomon, has been on fire, producing gorgeous wines, whether they be white or red." - Wine Advocate
"I suspect, the finest vintage for this cuvee to date." - Jeb Dunnuck
The 2016 Bastide Miraflors by Domaine Lafage has just been released and is unquestionably one of the greatest values in the wine world. We have written several times about how special these wines are and the unbelievable quality to price ratio. We have sold thousands of bottles of Bastide Miraflors, making it one of our best-selling wines in the store. Once again, this vintage outperforms the competition and equals or perhaps slightly betters the fantastic 2015. This is full-bodied with lush, fully ripened dark fruit flavors which are deeply satisfying. It's hard to believe how good this wine is for the price.
Jeb Dunnuck awarded the previous vintage 94 Points as a reviewer for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. After tasting the 2016, he enthusiastically awarded this 94 Points again calling it, "One of those values that seems too good to be true." He further stated Bastide Miraflors possesses, "Full-bodied, layered mouthfeel, sweet tannins, and sensational purity." We are in full agreement here. This wine boasts a profile that epitomizes the term, "crowd pleaser."
Domaine Lafage has created custom cuvees with its importer Eric Solomon and is producing absolutely gorgeous wines. Today, we are able to offer this fantastic, opulent beauty for under $13.00 each! We really enjoy this wine which has become one of our customer's favorite red blends in the store.
LAFAGE BASTIDE MIRAFLORS 2016 VIEILLES VIGNES
This great value is delicious and destined to be your new everyday house red!
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "A wine that almost always over-delivers, the 2016 Cotes du Roussillon Bastide Miraflors is, I suspect, the finest vintage for this cuvee to date (it's in the same league as the off-the-charts 2015). A blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from Lesquerde and Saint Martin de Fenouillet (both in the northern part of the Roussillon), aged all in older barrels and concrete tanks, it boasts rockstar notes of ripe blackberry fruits, spice, dried garrigue, and hints of chocolate. Possessing a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel, sweet tannins, and sensational purity, it's another one of those values that almost seems too good to be true. Drink it any time over the coming 3-4 years."