FRENCH WINE

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  1. CHATEAU BOIS DE BOURSAN 2012 CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE CUVEE DES FELIX

    Item #: i_353005
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    As has always been the case, Versino makes very little Cuvée des Felix—usually about 400 cases in total, a fraction of which make it to the US. Bois de Boursan grows all the 13 authorized Châteauneuf varieties in their multitude of vineyard parcels (27 plots across 10 hectares, all in the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape proper), but this wine is driven by Grenache (65%) and Mourvèdre (25%), with Syrah (5%) and an assortment of other varieties comprising the balance. It is aged 18 months in used French oak barriques and is typically a touch more tannic and tightly wound compared to Bois de Boursan’s estate Châteauneuf bottling (which we offered back in January). Nevertheless, like most Châteauneuf-du-Pape, today’s 2012 is delicious to drink now, thanks to Grenache’s generous fruit. It is downright explosive right out of the gate, with a dark, ruby-black hue in the glass and lots of black fruits on the nose and palate: crushed blackberry, cherry, and boysenberry are layered with black licorice, cacao nibs, wild herbs, lavender, warm spices and leather with faint accents of dried olive and meat stock. It is full-bodied on the palate, its richness checked by a lively jolt of freshness. Think big, but agile: It’s built to age 10-15 years and will show best following a 45-minute decant and a service temperature closer to 60 degrees. Use some big Burgundy stems and pair it with pulled pork cooked “low and slow” in the oven. This pairing is a ‘master class’ in concentrated flavors and a great way to enjoy one of wine’s most enduring classics. Enjoy!
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  2. J. LOUS CHAVE 2012 HERMITAGE

    Item #: i_344271
    Bottle Size: 750ML
    Wine Advocate: 96
    eROBERT PARKER 96 POINTS: "One of the more charming and forward efforts from Chave, the 2012 Hermitage sports a mostly opaque purple color to go with classic creme de cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with notions of lead pencil shavings, violets and powdered rocks. Deep, full-bodied and sumptuously textured, with good freshness, this pure, elegant Hermitage shows more and more definition and cut with time in the glass, but never loses it's more fruit forward, charming profile. I suspect it will drink nicely for most of its life."

    VINOUS MEDIA 95-97 POINTS: "Presented as components from four different barrels: #1, from Beaume: Exotic scents of candied licorice, dark berries and smoky Indian spices. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the middle, displaying superb depth to its bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors. #2, from Peleat: Explosive red fruit and potpourri aromas, with a bright mineral overtone. Silky and sweet, offering vibrant raspberry and cherry compote flavors and a touch of bitter chocolate. The red fruit note echoes strongly on the back half. #3, from Meal: Fleshier and rounder than the first two components, offering plush dark berry and violet flavors that coat the palate. Chewy tannins build on the finish and fold smoothly into the wine's dense fruit. #4, from Bessards: Emphatic mineral and dark berry aromas pick up a sexy floral note and a hint of cola. Sappy, penetrating and sharply focused, displaying an impressive array of red fruit and floral qualities and strong finishing spiciness. Jean-Louis Chave told me he thinks this wine will be "classic Hermitage with an emphasis on fruit, not structure, but not lacking in structure at all--just compared to, say, 2010 and 2005." -- Josh Raynolds
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    $299.99
  3. PIERRE BENETIERE 2015 RIOLLEMENT (VDF-CONDRIEU)

    Item #: i_350619
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Tiny, cultish, producer in Cote Rotie making around 800 cases per year, including a couple barrels of Condrieu.
    Organically farmed vineyards located on the southern end of the appellation in the lieu-dit of "Cordeloux" on steep, primarily granitic soils.
    The Condrieu is nicely phenolic in texture, and avoids the cloying quality that one often finds in this appellation. The richness of the wine is nicely balanced with an underlying acidity (he is clearly picking on the early side).
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  4. XAVIER 2012 CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE CUVEE ANONYME

    Item #: i_351692
    Bottle Size: 750ml
    Wine Advocate: 95
    ROBERT PARKER 95 POINTS: "The top wine from the portfolio, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme offers thrilling purity and focus in its lively dark fruits, roasted meats and underbrush-scented bouquet. Full-bodied, ripe and textured, with fantastic polish and sweetness to its tannin, it has a supple, forward feel, yet will easily evolve for 10-15 years."

    This is another impressive lineup from oenolgist Xavier Vignon, who works with the likes of Raymond Usseglio, Le Nerthe, Marcoux and Grand Veneur, to name a few. These are all negociant wines, but they obviously have access to some serious vineyard, and the winemaking is impeccable. Looking at these latest releases, his 2013s buck the vintage stereotype with their ripe, textured profiles, and his 2012s are certainly up with some of the top wines of the vintage as well. In addition, prices remain more than reasonable here. If you haven’t yet discovered these wines, now is a great time. As a side note, I’m halfway through a case of his 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape, with every wine showing brilliantly. These can drink nicely in their youth, yet age beautifully as well.
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