More wine from two fine private collections

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It's the wine merchants' dilemma: so much interesting, great wine, so few evenings - and, most importantly, we're supposed to sell it, not hoard it for ourselves.Today I have a yearning for the Littorai Pinot Noirs - wines I've never had a chance to taste - they're supposed to be wonderful. Next time, perhaps... Jamie Wolff

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Beta 2013 Moon Moutain District Monticello Vineyard

An extremely rare thing to find is 50+ year-old, consistently dry-farmed California Cabernet Sauvignon. So when I heard about this very low yielding Monticello Vineyard, my ears perked up. Grown on the west-facing hillsides of Moon Mountain. The winemaker for Beta has been working tirelessly on his own estate vineyards on Diamond Mountain since 2008, and while the vines are not yet mature enough for a full release, he works with his mentor at the Monticello Vineyard on this bottling. Though I have not had the pleasure of trying this wine as it is very highly allocated, it has been described by Antoni Galloni as having "Savory, mineral and ferrous notes abound in a deceptively mid-weight yet explosive  Cabernet Sauvignon."  Michelle DeWyngaert

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Beta 2013 Oak Knoll District Vare Vineyard

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the winemaker of Beta Wines, Ketan Mody. He lives alone at the top of Diamond Mountain dedicating his time to the creation and care of his 10 acre plot that he bought and planted in 2008, farming completely organically, with no tilling, or even mowing. While waiting for these vines to mature he has embarked on making wines from sites he deems worthy and this year's release now includes this bottling from the Vare Vineyard in Napa closer to the valley floor. As this wine is in very limited supply, I am obliged to trust the expert opinion of Stephen Bitterolf and this description from Antonio Galloni with notes of "Licorice, herbs and red stone fruits add nuance on the fleshy, expressive finish". Michelle DeWyngaert

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Vouette et Sorbée 2011 Champagne Fidèle Extra Brut

If you’re looking for a Champagne vigneron who embodies the dynamic portion of biodynamic, look no further than Bertrand Gautherot from Vouette et Sorbée. When he visited the store in October to show us his new vintage his enthusiasm was infectious. Quick with a smile, he poured for the whole staff and explained his desire for the vineyards to speak clearer than the winemaking. The wines from the admittedly difficult 2011 were poised and lovely. Biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir grown in Kimmeridgian soils in Biaunes and Kimmeridgian Marls in the eponymous Vouette vineyard in Buxières-sur-Arce, the wines are fermented with native yeast in barrel, see little sulfur, and are bottled without dosage. Cool-toned, with a peach hue, the 2011 Fidéle is chalky, red-fruited, with herbal notes, and the subtle gingery spiciness I associate with Pinot Noir from the Aube. There is nice persistence and complexity to the finish. This is savory and satisfying. Jonas Mendoza

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