Private Collection: around the world, mostly one bottle at a time...

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Ridge 2009 Dry Creek Valley Lytton Springs

Ridge has been the bench mark for years for California Zinfandel. They were the pioneers for exact varietal labeling. This bigger and more tannic version of the Three Valleys has jammy plum fruit and black pepper spice. A classic. TB

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Ridge 2014 Sonoma County Geyserville

Geyserville is Ridge's oldest vineyard, originally planted in 1892 on river rock, shale, and gravel to Zinfandel a supporting cast of usual heirloom suspects, including Carignan, Petite Sirah and Mataro (Mourvedre). Ridge has bottled  a Geyserville vineyard designate wine every year since 1966 - this is a historic site and wine. The 2014 is effusively aromatic, with rich black fruits and wild berry bramble, deep and dark earth, notes of spicy oak, and a trademark crunchy  mineral core that lasts through the long, elegant finish. A stately, serious, and impressive Zin. Ariana Rolich

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Chateau Musar 2006 Blanc (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon)

The Chateau Musar White 2006 is an immensely appealing honey colour with a nose and palate of orange blossom, honey, toasted bread, almonds and basil. A very well-balanced wine with good fresh lemon acidity and a long finish of citrus leaves, vanilla and honey. The style is reminiscent of a dry Sauternes or a mature white Graves: rich and intensely zesty, with very complex, long-lasting flavours. As such, the wine benefits from decanting and is best served at around 15° C (‘cellar cool’ rather than chilled) with fine foods of similar richness: foie gras, rillettes, duck and spicy Asian dishes, goat cheese, baked apple pie/tarte Tatin. (from Chateau Musar website)  // "The 2006 white has a million lessons to teach us. It’s already showing the infinite layers of aroma that can exist in a wine" - Gaston Hochar

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Schaefer, Willi 2018 Mosel Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #10

The AP numbers chosen by the Schaefer family reflect a style rather than a specific vineyard plot, with the #10 often having a bit less concentration than #5 and a bit more lift. This year's #10 is all clover and cantaloupe on the nose, the wine has a mineral water quality and freshness with juicy nectarines, kiwi, Fuji and green apples, fantastic acidity and length, this bottle should age wonderfully!! Cari Bernard 

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López de Heredia 2001 Rioja Tondonia Reserva

75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Graciano and Mazuelo, aged 6 years in barrel and 4 years in bottle. Rich aromas of wild cherry, rose oil, black raspberries, and toasty baking spice, with a full, silky, structured palate of cherry skins, tart cranberry, plump ripe strawberries, wild nettles, sweet tobacco, black tea, orange rind, and warm, woodsy earth. Generous and satisfying in its present youthful stage and an exciting candidate for long-term cellaring. AR

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La Rioja Alta 2001 Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial

This is only the 3rd vintage that the Ardanza has been classified as "Reserva Especial" during the long history of the La Rioja Alta winery. The other two vintages were 1964 and 1973. That being said, this cuvee lives up to expectations and is a testament to a fantastic vintage. Ardanza is full-bodied, sweet, tangy and savory, with strawberry/plum fruit, mushroom, and notes of herbs from the generous helping of garnacha in the blend. On the palate it is well structured with gorgeous velvety tannins and excellent balance and length. As the great wines of Rioja do, this will surely cellar very well and would stand up to just about any food that you could throw at it. I specifically would pair this with game-birds with a sweet and savory sauce. cb

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Burlotto 1996 Barolo Neirane

This is a classic Barolo; it still has some primary fruit, and isn't excessively structured or tannic. A real treat and a great gift for a Barolo lover at a reasonable price.! JW

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Voillot, Joseph 2005 Pommard Vieilles Vignes

Bright sweet fruit on the nose with earth and smoke; rich and quite full-bodied, plenty of ripe tannin and sweet fruit — classic Pommard. JW

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Charvin 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

8.2 hectare of  vines; only one bottling is produced: Grenache 85%, Syrah 5%, Mourvedre 5%, Vaccarese 5%; aged for 18 months in concrete, and bottled unfiltered.

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Charvin 2017 Côtes-du-Rhone Le Poutet

This is what I'd call 'Châteauneuf-du-Pape-on-a-budget'!  Domaine Charvin is a very traditional winemaker with only ~10 hectares of vines in the CdP appellation which he farms organically, and is considered one of the best in the region. The "Poutet" is a very similar blend to his CdP bottling with 81% Grenache, 7% Mourvèdre, 5% Carignan, and 7% Syrah from 40+ year-old vines grown on sandy soils with galets roulés. He ferments traditionally with all whole-cluster fruit and native yeasts. Perhaps less traditionally, the wine never sees any wood, fermented in concrete and then aged in vats.The nose is intense and savory with dried violets, plum, and a peppery spice, and the palate is clean, silky, and leaves you with the taste of dried herbs and crushed cherry. Michelle DeWyngaert

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Baudry 2012 Chinon La Croix Boissée

Mature Chinons from the Baudrys are perhaps my favorite wines (although old bottles of Clos Rougeard Coteaux de Saumur aren't bad either). I'm hoping that my wife will give me some of the 2012 Croix Boissée to cellar - it's a near-perfect wine and will be a joy to drink in 2030! From a small parcel of clay over limestone on a south-facing slope above Cravant. 24 months of aging in 2 to 4 year-old barriques. (Over the years, the Baudrys have moved to a more gentle extraction on this wine and have lengthened the barrel aging, never in new oak) This is a great Croix Boissée, rivaling in a lighter frame, the superb 2010. Brighter and more floral, this is an amazingly beautiful Chinon, lovely, lively and wonderfully balanced, with firm acidity and very pronounced saline minerals. A wine to marvel at, not to write about - thanks to the Baudrys for their artistry! David Lillie

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Baudry 2012 Chinon Le Clos Guillot

Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves with pigeages, 15 months of aging in two to five year-old barriques. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. (Tasted twice from barrel) Beautiful red/black color with elegant aromas of blackberry liqueur, earth, violet and minerals. The supple, elegant palate shows deep black fruits infused with earth and saline minerals with great freshness and fabulous length. A beautiful wine. Needs five years, best perhaps 2020 - 2035.

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  • Organic
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Baudry 2014 Chinon Les Grézeaux

(Tasted in January 2016) From 50 to 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels.  The 2014 is certainly one of the greatest "les Grézeaux" from this wonderful estate! Beautiful deep red/black color, lush, complex palate of ripe dark fruit with perfect balance and fabulous length, with  cool acidity lifting the fruit. As always the "les Grézeaux" is enjoyable young as the gravel soil gives a wine with a silky texture, but it ages beautifully as well, as anyone with the 1989 can tell you. This is a must for any lover of Chinon!

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Guion 2014 Bourgueil Cuvée Domaine

(Last of Stock!) From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Bourgueil, in organic agriculture since 1965. This is always one of the best values in the store and the 2014 happily rivals the 2009, 2010 and 2012 vintages for absolute awesomeness, especially at 11.99! Beautiful red/black color. Lovely deep red currant and blackberry aromas with violets, pepper, earth, bitter chocolate, licorice and leafy notes. The palate is round and supple with deep berry fruit framed in firm chalky acids, earth flavors and saline minerals. Terrific length - this is just a superb young Bourgueil! At 12% alcohol it's beautifully structured and delicious to drink now, and will be even better in 5 to 10 years. Thanks to the Guion family for two generations of organic farming and great wines at modest prices! Serve cool with chicken, pork, charcuterie and full-flavored fish dishes as well...

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Coudert (Clos de la Roilette) 2014 Fleurie Cuvee Tardive

From eighty year-old vines on clay and granite soil in Alain Coudert's beautiful Clos de la Roliette, just over the border from Moulin-a-Vent. By "Tardive," Alain Coudert implies that one should wait for this wine to mature, in this case probably about 5 to 7 years, although those unable to wait will certainly enjoy drinking it now. In the cavalcade of great Cuvee Tardives, the 2014 weighs in at 13% and shows a more weight and flesh than the racy and wonderful 2012, and a bit less structure than the 2010 (our favorite of recent vintages) and is brighter and more balanced than the monumental 2009. In other words, it's a fabulous wine that should be in the cellar of any lover of Beaujolais! The wine is a deep red/black color and shows fresh, high-toned aromas of blackberry liqueur, strawberry, violets, brown spice, licorice and grilled meats - really quite lovely. The palate is framed in stone and mineral flavors with firm acidity, with earthy dark fruits and an almost bitter finish of saline minerals and black fruits. This is a superb Tardive, very expressive of the manganese-rich soils and a lovely combination of beautiful floral/fruit aromas and a dark mineral-laden palate. Wait five to seven years, drink until 2030?

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Coudert (Clos de la Roilette) 2015 Fleurie Cuvée Tardive

From eighty year-old vines on clay and granite soil in Alain Coudert's beautiful Clos de la Roilette, just over the border from Moulin-a-Vent. By "Tardive," Alain Coudert implies that one should wait for this wine to mature, in this case probably about 5 to 7 years, although those unable to wait will certainly enjoy drinking it now. We're happy to report that  the 2015 Cuvée Tardive, though undoubtedly higher in alcohol than the 2014, is a big, supple, and relatively well-balanced Beaujolais that should age beautifully and is surprisingly delicious now, especially if steak or pork chops are on the menu.  The wine shows a deep red/black color with intense aromas of black raspberry liqueur, dark chocolate, violets and earth - deep but bright and very complex. The palate is dense and focused with blackberry and raspberry liqueur, cocoa, stone and citrus, with fabulous length and grip in the finish. This is showing superb potential for aging, with the higher alcohol of 2015 absorbed by the dense fruit and firm acids. Best perhaps 2020 to 2030, but delicious now as well. Bravo to Alain Coudert!

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Dutraive (Domaine de la Grand Cour) 2015 Fleurie Clos de la Grand Cour

Certified organic since 2009, the Dutraive family's Domaine de la Grand Cour produces subtle, traditional wines from their 9 hectares in Fleurie and a small parcel in Brouilly. Harvested by hand, the grapes ferment with wild yeasts in carbonic maceration, without addition of sulfur. The "Clos de la Grand Cour" is aged in a combination of cuve inox, barrels and foudres. The 2015 shows penetrating aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry with pepper, iris, violet and earth. Elegant blackberry, plum-skin, licorice and earth on the palate, very deep and long, framed in firm acidity and quite powerful at 14.5% alcohol. This will be quite delicious now, served with steak, grilled pork, duck and strong cheeses, but should benefit from a few years of aging, best perhaps 2018 to 2022.

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Roses de Jeanne (Cedric Bouchard) 2013 Champagne Blanc de Noirs Côte de Béchalin (La Parcelle)

Côte de Béchalin (formerly known as La Parcelle when part of the Inflorescence lineup) comes from a meticulously farmed .73 hectare parcel in Celles-sur-Ource. Where previously Bouchard sold wines made by the former owner, he later vinified the wines in those cellars. 2007 was the first vintage where the wines were made completely in Cédric's cellars. While these Champagnes have seemed to have a broader palate with more exotic fruit, they maintain poise with pinpoint acidity. One can certainly enjoy this now, but some time in the cellar to further knit the elements of structure and fruit should pay off handsomely. -John McIlwain  

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Collin, Ulysses 2010 Champagne Extra Brut Disg 2014 Blanc de Noirs Les Maillons

Olivier Collin's "Les Maillons" bottling is an arresting and unique bottle of wine. Unlike Collin's other single vineyard wines, which come from close to his winery in Congy, Les Maillons is half an hour away by car, and these 40+ year old vines are planted on dark, clay rich soil. As always with Collin's Champagnes, the grapes are harvested at low yields and very ripe, resulting in a rich, complex finished product that is packed with intense, stony flavors. Les Maillons is faintly pink in the glass, and offers vivid red fruit aromas of sour cherry, red currant, and cranberry. The wine is unapologetically dry on the palate and fleshes out with time open. Don't serve it too cold! -Sophie Barrett

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