Biodynamic. Zweigelt. Eiswein. Under $40. Matthias Hager works 12.5 hectares of vines in the Kamptal (Demeter certified since 2010). The vines for the eiswein are 25 years old on average, grown on a mix of clay and stone soils. The harvest for the 2013 vintage started one night in November and then a spike in warm weather that morning meant they would have to wait until ideal conditions returned in January. Frozen grapes go directly to press, the juice ferments with native yeasts, and ages for one year in neutral oak. On the nose comes the sharp notes of botrytis: saffron, marmalade candy, ripe mango with a piquant intensity. The palate has a distinctive broad texture and richness balanced by intense acidity bolstering the vibrant flavors of raspberry, honey, and citron with a whisper of graphite and flower stems. A unique eiswein to sip with assorted cheeses and fruit- or chocolate-based desserts. Cari Bernard
The Zweigelt from Angela & Werner’s “Graupert” series – wines made from vines that are left to grow totally wild without pruning or trellising – is an absolutely unique expression of the grape. These vines produce fewer bunches of thicker-skinned, smaller, and more concentrated grapes, which combined with an indigenous yeast fermentation and no fining, filtering, or added sulfites give a totally pure expression of terroir. The palate is sapid with dark fruit and umami notes: plump cherries, sweet black-skinned plums, tamari, stewed tomatoes, freshly-cracked black pepper, and damp, loamy soil. On the fuller side of medium-bodied, this vibrant and complex natural wine would pair beautifully with braised lamb or beef stew, tuna, or an aged Gouda or cheddar. Karina Mackow
This is the first Gemischter Satz from Bernhard Ott: a field blend of Welshriesling, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc from newly acquired vineyard plots. Harvested together, carbonically macerated, and aged in stainless steel together, they form a chorus of vibrant, refreshing acidity, great tension and texture, with floral notes on both nose and palate, along with white cherry fruit, brisk minerality, and a touch of the savory. Cari Bernard
Claus Preisinger's first vintage was in in early 2000s, after stints working in California as well as with Hans and Anita Nittnaus in Burgenland, where his vineyards are also located. His 19 hectares of vineyards have been Demeter certified Biodynamic since 2010. The Kalkundkiesel white is a blend of approximately 50% Weissburgunder, 30% Gruner Veltliner, and 20% Chardonnay, from different vineyards grown on chalk/limestone (kalk) and pebbles (kiesel). The grapes can spend up to eight months on the skins, but for this vintage is was closer to four to six. The wine then spends 14 months in neutral, small barrels (a mix of French and Austrian oak), before being bottled with no added sulfur. This is not your normal orange wine: incredibly clean and soft, the palate has complexity, but not the tannic texture one often expects on a white wine with months of skin contact. Savory notes mix with yellow apple and peaches on the nose, the wine has rich flavors of saffron, yellow apple, and fresh green pear with a floral overtone. Cari Bernard
Unusually slender for a red wine bottle, the Puszta Libre! bottle shape takes its inspiration from vintage soda bottles, a cheeky nod to how chuggable this wine is; and if that's not enough we are also instructed by the label to 'drink cold'! Mostly Zweigelt with Sankt Laurent fermented in stainless steel and aged in large (600L to 1000L) used oak barrels; fans of refreshing Loire reds, take notice! A touch funky upon first opening, there are black raspberries and dark, ripe plums that take hold shortly thereafter. The palate is juicy with tart red plums, blackberries, green herbs, and delicate tannins on the finish. A delightful option to sip with this slightly warming weather and on into the Summer! Cari Bernard
Made in the same method as the Grüner Veltliner, with 12 hours of maceration with the stems followed by spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel tank. White peach, black plum, and Valencia orange. Moderate viscosity but held in place with bright acids that enhance the terrific mineral detail. 6 g/liter residual sugar and 7 g/liter acidity. Extremely delicious example of the purity and balance that can be found in Austrian Riesling. Jonathan Kemp
The Stagard 2015 Handwerk is a wine that shows the serious side of Grüner at a great price point. The nose is fragrant with white and yellow florals, leading notes of yellow peaches and Cara Cara oranges with just a whiff of white pepper. The palate is vibrant with juicy orange and stone fruit giving way to white pepper and a strong mineral character. Full-bodied but balanced by bright acidity, it would pair well with herbed chicken, grilled shrimp, or a board of soft cheeses. Andy Paynter
Damien Coquelet has made an elegant, balanced and quite mineral tasting Chiroubles in this frequently over-ripe vintage. The aromas are a bit earthy and floral with black fruits and hints of spice and citrus. The palate is dense and saline with blackberry and black cherry, quite restrained and earthy for a 2015, and with only 12.5% alcohol. Give this wine some time to open up and serve with any grilled meat, roast chicken and charcuterie.
The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are always among out favorite Beaujolais, and we're very hapy to finally have the lovely 2014s in the store! A difficult growing season that was saved by good weather at the end of summer, 2014 produced beautifully balanced and very expressive wines in Beaujolais. The Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes shows floral, spiced strawberry and blackberry fruit, with hints of graphite, earth and citrus. Bright plum, strawberry and black fruits on the palate with rose and citrus, textured and mineral with nice length of berry fruits, bright acidity and earth in the finish. This is a lovely, beautifully balanced Chiroubles, at 12.5% alcohol, that is delicious now, best perhaps 2020 - 2025. DL
This delicious Regnié shows a vivid red/black color and lush aromas of blackberry liqueur with hints of violet, bitter chocolate and citrus. Ripe, supple berry fruits coat the palate, which is quite well-balanced for a 2015, blackberry and black cherry with lovely length of fruit lingering in the finish which is lifted by firm acidity. This is a great success for the vintage and will provide joyful drinking for the next five years! DL
Sourced mainly from younger Merlot vines planted in the gravelly, sandy soils of Macau, with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc; this is a fresher, softer wine from Michel Théron. This cuvée sees a bit more new oak than his other wines, which tempers the dark, terroir-driven berry fruits and allows for hints of spearmint, cocoa, and damp earth to shine through. The palate is rather silken, showing dark fruits and minerals with great structure. Pure, unadulterated, and unbelievably delicious Bordeaux with a bit of bottle age (the current vintage is 2013) makes me very happy. Tim Gagnon
Michel Théron moved to Bordeaux in 1988 from the Languedoc in the south of France to study winemaking. His original plan was to complete his studies there, and then move back to the Languedoc to take over the family estate, but love prevailed when he met his Bordelaise wife. Not long after, the couple purchased a small parcel in the village of Cantenac in the Haut-Médoc in 1993 and produced their first vintage in 1994. The estate is now certified biodynamic and covers 7 hectares in Cantenac, Arsac, and Margaux on soils of gravel, sand, and some clay. This beautiful Haut-Médoc is a classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, with sumptuous red berry fruits, a hint of smoke, cedar, and fresh tobacco on the nose. The palate is rather lifted, showing vibrant fruit and a touch of earth, and it is very approachable. It has great structure that hints at its aging ability, but it is more than ready to pop open at your next dinner party. Tim Gagnon
A magnum of incredibly delicious Bordeaux! Michel Théron moved to Bordeaux in 1988 from the Languedoc in the south of France to study winemaking. His original plan was to complete his studies there, and then move back to the Languedoc to take over the family estate, but love prevailed when he met his Bordelaise wife. Not long after, the couple purchased a small parcel in the village of Cantenac in the Haut-Médoc in 1993 and produced their first vintage in 1994. The estate is now certified biodynamic and covers 7 hectares in Cantenac, Arsac, and Margaux on soils of gravel, sand, and some clay. This beautiful Haut-Médoc is a classic blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, with sumptuous red berry fruits, a hint of smoke, cedar, and fresh tobacco on the nose. The palate is rather lifted, showing vibrant fruit and a touch of earth, and it is very approachable. It has great structure that hints at its aging ability, but it is more than ready to pop open at your next dinner party. Tim Gagnon
The Hubert family are owners of Chateau Peybonhomme-les-Tours in Blaye and Chateau La Grolet in Bourg. The farming here is among the best in Bordeaux, certified organic and biodynamic. The vineyards are a fantastic oasis of greenery compared to the rest of Bordeaux, and are located on slopes of clay over limestone giving the wines good concentration and firm minerality. From 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec. Natural, wild yeast fermentations. Extraordinary quality here for the price. The 2014 Cote de Blaye Cru Bourgeois is a bit more forward than usual, showing deep cassis and red currant aromas, pure and ripe with hints of coffee, prune and spice. The palate is supple and deep with blackberry fruit, chalky minerals and terrific length. Serve slightly cool with anything from roast chicken to steak and full-flavored cheeses. Did we say this is a great value?
What's atypical about this delicious wine? It's a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc rather than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, giving the wine a more supple palate and quite different fruit character. The 2015 has lovely, deep blackberry and cassis aromas with red currant, cassis and cherry on the supple, lush palate, with hints of earth and smoke. More "forward" than most Bordeaux, and showing the ripeness and beautiful fruit of the 2015 vintage, this versatile wine will pair beautifully with almost any beef, pork or lamb dish and is a fabulous value!
Catherine and Jean-Luc Hubert's estate on clay and limestone soils in the Côte du Blaye is certified Biodynamic. For Le Blanc Bonhomme, whole-clusters of grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts before being pressed into concrete vats where it will continue on, and ultimately finish, its journey to becoming a beautiful wine. Their white cuvée is an elegant blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Sémillon. Wonderfully aromatic with white peach blossom and slight hints of tangerine rising from the glass. A deep, chalky minerality takes over on the palate and is accompanied by white fruit and a citrus-tinged acidity. It would pair well with numerous dishes and is very generous enjoyed on its own. An excellent value for an outstanding wine. Tim Gagnon
Montreuil is a collaboration between Calvados importer and guru Charles Neal and Patrice Giard – heir to the bucolic Giard estate in the hamlet of Montreuil. Cows (primarily used for their milk) provide the majority of the farm’s revenue, but the property has made quite a name for itself for their library of aged Calvados still in barrel that will be released under the Giard label. The Montreuil label represents barrels averaging 7 years old that provide rich, apple fruit with a touch of wood vanillin and toffee sweetness. A great value for sipping, but also not too dear to use as a stand-in for American applejack in classic cocktails like a Jack Rose:2 ounces apple brandy or calvados, ¾ ounce lime or lemon juice, and ¾ ounce grenadine; served up. John Rankin
Patrick Piuze, one of the youngest stars of Chablis, offers nicely balanced wines with this 2015 vintage. This wine comes from a parcel called Des Couverts which is adjacent to the 1er cru Vaulorent, on the north-facing side of the Grand Cru hill. The vineyard is usually harvested last due to its cooler location. 2015 was a warm vintage in Burgundy and the wine shows it. The fruit components on the nose and palate have a touch of tropical notes, as you can taste a hint of pineapple juice, followed by ripe red and yellow apple and citrus notes. Ginger spices with some vanilla accents are quite prevalent on the nose and more subtle on the palate. The acidity and minerality (limestone) are good considering the warmth of the vintage. This is a “big” Chablis with a good length and I would recommend serving it cold with a nice dinner of roasted chicken or with some cheeses. Caroline Coursant
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2014 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine! Yields of 18 hl/ha, giving a racy, stony wine with hints of white fruits, spice and honey, the palate is silky and crystalline - all mineral with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
For its striking blood orange/copper color and for its vinous character, Beaufort's 2010 Rosé is one of the most compelling Champagnes on our shelves. 100% Pinot Noir from Beaufort's Polisy vineyards, there are geographic and stylistic similarities to great Rosé des Riceys. Aromas of cherry compote, cinnamon, spearmint, and butterscotch give way to gingerbread and herbal notes. The palate is broad and balanced with a juicy core of cherries, tangerines, and red plums before a lengthy mocha and mulberry finish. One of Beaufort's best rosés to date! (*Disgorged 10/2016) Tasting notes Jan 2017 "Absolutely super, in the end the wine of the night. Transparent, super light but dense and complex, long and unfolding in waves..."
From the En Valingrain lieu dit, this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc makes a compelling case for the gôut de terroir of Riceys. The soils are a combination of marls and Kimmeridgian limestone, akin to the soils in nearby Chablis. A pale green gold robe, lemon oil, tangerine rind, rain water and sea spray on the nose. The mid-weight palate has a tangy, nearly briny, sense of minerality, with citrus flavors taking a back seat to the stony detail on the long, persistent, pungent finish. I love the energy and drive on this wine and would love to pair it with raw tuna and citrus or grilled swordfish with capers. John McIlwain
Though there are fewer than 20 growers of Rosé des Riceys, we tend to think of the wines as a coming from a single terroir. By vinifying separately two different lieux dits, Olivier Horiot shows the possibilities of expression within the appellation. En Barmont is a warm site, whose southerly exposure and marls interspersed with Kimmeridgian limestone produce a ripe Pinot Noir with a broader character than nearby En Valigrain. The 2012 En Barmont has a darker garnet/copper robe, effusive and floral on the nose with wild cherry, cherry blossom, and Red Delicious apple aromas. On the palate, vivid, racy acidity, bright red fruits with hints of crushed herbs, and a fine dusty minerality on a broad expansive finish. This is quite pretty with a generous ripeness and exuberance. John McIlwain
If the Rosé des Riceys from En Barmont is generous, verging on sensuous in nature, En Valingrain offers more linear, bordering on cerebral, pleasures (both are fantastic, I hasten to add). A pale light garnet robe, with hints of copper on the edges; the 2012 En Valingrain displays high-toned red fruit aromas, wild strawberry, cranberry, and rose hips, with a hint of brambles in the background. With air, the nose becomes more perfumed with pretty notes of wild roses, tangerine peel, and sandalwood. The palate is a bit reserved, in comparison to En Barmont, but has a fine mineral core and nervosity with wild strawberry and red cherry flavors giving way to a pungent earthiness. The finish is long and linear with an admirable persistence. Decant now or cellar for a few years to allow the elements to integrate. This is a lovely wine in the making and a fine expression of Rosé des Riceys! John McIlwain
Though famed for their reds and the eponymous rosé, Riceys produces far more Champagne than still wines from its vineyards bordering Burgundy. And though the Kimmeridgian soils mean Pinot Noir in the Aube, they also make a convincing case for the underappreciated Pinot Blanc grape. Sourced from all six of his vineyards, Olivier Horiot's Métisse, a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Blanc, is based on the 2013 vintage with the balance made up of reserve wine from a perpetual cuvée stored in foudre. The nose is delicate and spritely upon opening with generous notes of white peach, lemon curd, and cool herb tones, opening to reveal aromas of brioche and ginger. On the palate, there is a sense of volume with generous stone fruit flavors underlain with a broad, stony character which lends drive to the long, lingering finish. This would be lovely with pan-roasted scallops, though there's certainly enough texture to accompany risotto with wild mushrooms, or roasted chicken. (Disgorged 3/15/2016, Dosage 2g/L) John McIlwain
This is one of the best Champagnes I've ever had. No joke. From old vines grown on very dry chalky soil between Bouzy and Tauxières, the wine is equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, made without dosage or sulfur, all from 2009 fruit. There are very few producers in Champagne who make a bottling totally without added sulfur. It's a risky thing to do, however in this case the results are absolutely breath-taking. Super aromatic with rich, mouth-filling and very sensuous fruit, the wine shows fully as much intense, taught minerality as it does succulent and voluptuous fruit. It's a wine that will change constantly as it's open, and deserves attention as it unfolds. Peter Liem has descrived the 2008 Violaine (the first vintage of this wine) as "one that speaks to the emotions as much as it does to the intellect." I'd say that's an apt assessment. (disgorged 1/13) -msb
This is one of our favorite, if somewhat unknown, estates in Burgundy. Jean Lafouge and his son Gilles make classic, balanced, beautiful Burgundies at affordable prices and their village level Auxey-Duresses is always lovely and a great value. The 2014 is slightly riper than usual with lovely aromas of strawberry and tart cherry, with violet, rose, citrus and spice. Medium-bodied, with citrusy red fruits on the palate with great balance and refreshing acidity, the wine shows hints of earth and mineral that will develop nicely with time. Lovely now, especially if decanted well in advance, and a great pairing with poultry, white meats and mild cheeses. This has the weight and structure to cellar well, best perhaps in 5 to 8 years. David Lillie
This wine is named in reference to the soils rich with Quartzite and oxidized Devonian slate that are found in this region of the Mosel. The grapes come from a handful of sites, including some from the sides of the Bremmer Calmont. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, the Quarzit-Schiefer trocken is salty and lush, redolent with scents of delicate magnolia and gardenia, the palate shimmers with nectarine, pineapple, and freshly cut flower stems around a core of stony minerality. Cari Bernard
Gernot’s part of the Ellergrub lies just to the left of Weiser-Künstler’s parcel, which is great because they also work without chemicals in the vineyards. The 2.2 hectares of vines are 80 years and older and are ungrafted. The 2013 is having a moment right now, (re-tasted in 03/2017) showing development on the nose with deep honeysuckle notes, mirrored on the palate, along with ripe juicy peach, wildflower honey, and dark stones, managing to be both ethereal and powerful. Cari Bernard
C.A.I. stands for Carl August Immich, owner of the estate in the 19th century, who used gunpowder charges to blast out part of the mountainside in order to plant vines. Lemon oil, stones, salt spray on the nose, this wine is dry and crisp, with notes of yellow apricot, lemon zest, nectarine and white blossom. Cari Bernard
A cuvée of all Grand Cru vineyards boasting mostly ungrafted vines with a minimum age of 60 years. The 2015 is not tropical like 2014 Escheburg was, this vintage is bright with shimmering acidity, showing more peach and apricot notes on the palate, clover blossom and orange oil on the nose. Cari Bernard
Andi Knauss is making beautiful wines in Württemberg-Remstal, near the Black Forest in southwest Germany. His dedication to quality and focus in the vineyards and cellar is clearly reflected in his wines. His Sekt Brut Zero is sourced from vines grown on limestone, made in the Méthode Champenoise with no dosage and no added sulfur. Chalky and bright acidity, with an aggressive mousse and notes of tart apricot with yellow and green apple skin, this wine is a stunner. Cari Bernard
Grey sandstone and pebbles mark the Steinacker vineyard, which sits just across the road from the Saumagen vineyard, Koehler-Ruprect's grand cru site. Grapes grown in the Steinacker lend themselves well to the off-dry style of wines. Rich citron and white blossoms burst forth on the nose and palate, the wine has great balance with silky sweet peach, punchy acidity, and a lingering finish. Cari Bernard
A mix of different vineyard sites from Kallstadt and Bad Dürkheim in the Pfalz, with average vine age of twelve years, aged for 24 months in a mix of old barrels and one 2500L new barrel. The new oak isn't obvious on the nose, with notes of high-toned red cherry skin and rich soy sauce, almost vegetal at first smell. On the palate the oak is finely integrated: juicy cherries and red flowers are softly balanced with just a touch of sweet spice and structure. Should be stellar with roasted chicken, duck and earthy mushrooms, a vast range of cheeses, you name it! Cari Bernard
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Forget what you know what you might think about Barbera: that they are all simple, grapy, fruit-driven wines without any character. Instead, consider the savory and complete Barbera Ronco Malo from the Bera’s organic farm in Asti. We first met the Beras through their phenomenal Moscato d’Asti – a phrase we don’t say often — but now have a new tableside companion for risottos and other Piedmont specialties demanding red wine. Native fermentation and a lack of filtration produce a wine with robust aromatics of black cherry, earth, spice, and herbal flavors and a long finish of minerals and black fruits. JR
We will taste Ai Valloni Boca 1999 and 2001, and also Vallana 1961 Spanna Campi Raudii, Antoniolo 1964 Gattinara, Nervi 1964 Gattinara, and Nervi 1964 Ghemme; Dessilani 1978 Fara, Cantalupo 1978 Ghemme, Travaglini 1985 Gattinara, and Sella 1986 Lessona.
From an estate that dates back to 1785, the Bera family farm organically and make wine in a low-interventionist manner. This white is made from Favorita, Arneis, Cortese, and Sauvignon Blanc. The 2015 is ripe and complex with lovely aromas of lime-flower and honeysuckle, with white and yellow fruits and almond. The palate is supple and pretty with the lush fruit balanced with refreshing acidity. Really a lovely and versatile wine that is a delicious aperitif and will pair well with fish and chicken in sauce, Asian foods and mild cheeses.
The 2014 Pinot Grigio from Ronco Severo is a beautiful wine that challenges neat and tidy wine categories. Technically it is an orange wine made from late harvest Pinot Grigio, which is fermented on its skins for about a month, gently pressed, and then raised on the lees for an additional 23 months. However, because Pinot Grigio has much more pigment in the skins than other white grapes, the extended skin contact causes it to look and drink like a very light red wine. Lightly ruby in the glass with a touch of orange at the rim, the nose shows startling complexity with layers of burnished red fruit, nectarines, soft yellow florals, citrus zest, and slightly nutty tone. The palate has some density with very soft fine tannins and lifted acidity with red apple skins, mandarin oranges, and considerable minerality. Definitely not a simple Pinot Grigio! This wine would pair well with traditional Thanksgiving fare, especially mashed potatoes and gravy or green bean casserole. Don't be afraid to try it on day two with a turkey sandwich if there is any left after the feast. Open early and serve with a slight chill. Andy Paynter
Grolleau from Agnès and René Mosse! This is an all around fun and unique wine, with a vibrant nose, lots of character, and very light body. There's a bit of natural CO2 tingle , which seems to serve the wine well by lifting the bright fruit and preserving the freshness, a touch of pepper and a long mineral finish. We recommend a light chill and an open mind. Eben Lillie
The 2010 Le Clos from Vincent Careme is a superb off-dry Vouvray (20 grams/liter of RS) that is a bit softer than the wonderful 2008, showing brilliant aromas of lime-flower, white and yellow fruits, spice, lemon and stone with a hint of marzipan, really lovely! The palate is very mineral with stone, lemon, honeysuckle and herbal flavors with firm acidity and a long creamy finish. This is a great young Vouvray to serve with fish or chicken in sauce, foie gras and mild cheeses, or cellar for twenty years for a mature experience...
The Domaine du Closel "Caillardières" is a demi-sec Savennières that we have enjoyed immensely in the past - we're glad to see it back in the US and we can't wait to try it! "The grapes are harvested later ; the berries are golden, producing wines with aromas of baked apple, exotic fruits, raisins and toasted almonds. That terroir gives the wine a very silky texture, characteristic of these sandstone schist parcels. This wine is vinified and aged in barrels (French oak, 12 months) and reveals through natural micro-oxygenation this slightly bitter aftertaste that will give an interesting body to the wine. Rather smooth on the palate this wine has character. It pairs very well with artichokes or asparagus, other vegetables difficult to pair with wine. It is also popular with sweet and savory dishes such as veal stew with orange, monkfish with honey and cider vinegar, roasted pork with pineapple." - from the Domaine du Closel website.
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
50% Pinot Noir and 50% Grolleau grown by Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation on their organic estate in Anjou. This unusual blend of Pinot Noir and Grolleau is really lovely - it's a bit riper and fuller than the 2014 version with lush aromas of blackberry and plum. The palate is round and supple with cool blackberry, cherry and raspberry fruit - quite ripe but lifted by fresh acidity. Serve a bit chilled with chicken, pork, vegetable dishes and mild cheeses. DL
This Sauvignon Blanc comes from biodynamically farmed grape vines very close to the more famous appellation of Sancerre in the eastern Loire Valley. A far cry from the crisp and facile Sancerres that have given the appellation and the grape their reputations, this wine offers complex aromas of lemon thyme and lemon balm, a delicious melding of citrus and herbal aromas, and nice density in the mid-palate.
This Brut Nature from Domaine les Grandes Vignes is a blend of Gamay and Groslot in Biodynamic farming, naturally vinified with zero sulfur added. Dark pink garnet color; lovely aromas of red currant, candied strawberry and violets. Soft bubbles with ripe red currant and berry fruits - quite rich but dry and balanced, really delicious! Serve as an aperitif or with a meal - perect at a picnic with chicken or veggies. Bravo to the Vaillant family for great farming and natural vinifications.
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
This is a Methode Ancestrale sparkling white of Grolleau Gris, Chenin Blanc, and Chardonnay. Disgorgement is after about 6 months on the lees, and the wine is made without added sulfur. It's dry and delicious - a great aperitif and a really versatile sparkler that will pair well with a wide variety of foods and is equally enjoyable and charming on it's own. Eben Lillie
Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in amphora with no sulfur added. It's not a common occurrence, but we're very happy to have the opportunity to share this unique wine. The nose is floral, and stony, with hints of stone fruit, but the really fascinating aspect of the wine is the texture. Just letting the wine sit on the palate, I experienced earthiness (possible, but rare for a white wine), crystalline acidity, density in the mid-palate, and a long, mineral finish. Highly recommended for Chenin aficionados and those who are interested in the growing category of amphora wines. Eben Lillie
Cabernet Franc with 6 weeks maceration in clay amphora, followed by 12 months of aging in amphora. Though it's a new experiment for the folks at Grandes Vignes, it's already a great success. Aromas of black cherry, dried herbs, and roses, with a broad and enveloping palate. With some time open, some smokey notes emerge, lending another dimension to the wine. Drinking this wine over the course of a few hours really broadened my understanding of the versatility of Cabernet Franc, and further convinced me of the great talent for wine making that the Vaillant family has. Eben Lillie
This is Anjou Cabernet Franc from gravel/schist and sandy clay soils. The grapes undergo 3 days of maceration followed by aging in 2-3 year-old barrels, and the wine is bottled without filtration or added sulfur. It's quite funky on the nose, almost deceivingly so, as it's totally pure on the palate. Plenty of red fruit, spice, eucalyptus, and earth... really classic Cab Franc in many ways, but with a little edginess. Eben Lillie
Yum! This is a very gulpable Cab Franc from the folks at Domaine les Grandes Vignes. This has very little tannin, and a healthy amount of acidity and ripe red fruit, so it's a shoo-in for the chillable red category. There's nice density and richness, which can be missed with some Loire Valley natural wines (always good to have a medium bodied option in that category). There's no funk here, just pure fruit, so it's an easy fit for the dinner table, even for less "adventurous" palates. Eben Lillie
Up until this vintage, the only rosés available from Les Capriades were off-dry, but now there is finally a bone-dry cuvee! Made entirely from Gamay, it strikes a perfect balance of fruit and minerality which results in a zesty, refreshing wine awash in red berries, flowers, tangerine zest, and tart cranberries. This is the perfect sparkler to ring in the new year with. Tim Gagnon
One case of this lovely old Muscadet is available -not a great vintage to be sure, but a fascinating wine just the same and a testament to Jo Landron's great farming and natural vinifications. Open one to two hours in advance. Aromas of citrus peel, ripe yellow fruits, marzipan, almond and pepper. The palate is dense and full with ripe peach, stone, candied lemon, burned caramel and pear. Very high acidity combined with ripe mature fruit. A wine to sip with langoustines in sauce, monkfish with fennel, a full-flavored raw milk cheese...DL
Domaine Louvetrie "Les Houx" (formerly known as "Hermine D'Or") is from a great parcel of thin sandy clay soils, rich with silica, quartz and iron, over a bedrock of gneiss and clay. Kept on the lees for 12 months. Normally one of the most scintillating and mineral of Muscadet, the 2015 is riper and rounder but equally delicious in a fuller-bodied more forward style. The wine shows lovely aromas of ripe pear, stone and anise that open nicely with aeration. The palate is round and supple but framed in firm acidity with ripe white fruits, citrus, stone and licorice and there's a nice mineral kick in the finish. Delicious now, this will develop nicely over the next few years, and will accompany oysters and grilled seafood, from flounder to monkfish, roast chicken and mild cheeses. David Lillie
One of the very few domaines in Pouilly-Fumé to be certified organic, Jonathan Pabiot is making lovely, balanced wines with subtle fruit, firm acidity and good minerality in the finish. The 2015 is a blend of all three terroirs found at the estate: Kimmeridgian marl, chalky Portlandian, and clay-silex on flint. The vines average 30 years of age, and are planted very densely at 10,000 vines per hectare. The grapes are harvested by hand and machine, fermented with indigenous yeasts and minimal SO2 is used. The wine shows subtle aromas of pear and peach, lime-flower, stone and boxwood. The palate is well-balanced with white fruits, citrus and stone with a bit of smoke and mineral flavors. A versatile and very food-friendly wine - serve with almost any seafood dish, chicken and mild cheeses.
Our friends Francois and Julien Pinon produce sensational Vouvray at their estate in Vallée du Cousse and the 2015 Silex Noir is another superb example. From approximatley 40 year-old vines on soils of clay and flint over limestone in the vineyards of Terné and Batailleries. The wine shows beautiful aromas of white fruits, citrus, wildflowers earth and honey. Chalky white fruits, earth, lemon and stone on the palate with nice finishing acicity and mineral flavors. A bit of residual sugar brings out all the best in this lovely Chenin Blanc, delicious now - decant a few hours in advance if possible - or cellar 20 to 30 years. Serve with rilletes and rillons, fish in sauce, lobster, langoustines and scallops, chicken in cream sauce, too... DL
The Olga Raffault "Champ Chenin" has always been one of the great white Chinons, often needing 10 years of aging before it would reveal its mysteries. Happily, the wine is now made in a more approachable style, without losing the intensity and ability to age of this lovely Chenin. The 2015 shows striking aromas of pear and apple liqueur, dried herbs and white pepper with hints of exotic fruits. The palate is elegant and firmly structured, with subtle white fruits, citrus peel and stone flavors. The finish is long, with lemony acids, stone and saline mineral flavors. This is a lovely and very distinctive Chenin Blanc that will accompany grilled fish, roast chicken and mild cheeses - or hold for five to twenty years and serve with fish or chicken in sauce. David Lillie
Made from Gringet grown at 450m in elevation, this is serious stuff. It spends three years on the lees which results in a rich and textured wine, with delicate aromatics. It is quite powerful, and would give any Champagne a run for the money in terms of complexity. Tim Gagnon
Called Le Feu (The Fire) for the bright red, iron-rich clay that litters the incredibly steep vineyards, this is Dominique’s top wine. It is his only single-parcel Gringet cuvée and the vines are situated at 450m in altitude. Tim Gagnon
This cuvée is made with Gringet sourced from two parcels, one being rich in yellow marl and the other with more broken-down limestone. It spends about six months aging in concrete eggs (separated by each different terroir) before being blended together in stainless steel tanks. Tim Gagnon
Carbonic Malbec! Grown on a mix of limestone, clay, and small galets (pudding stones), the grapes go through a six-day carbonic maceration, and élevage is in cement tank for six months before bottling with a nominal amount of sulfur. The nose is bright with a mix of fresh strawberries, red cherries, and raspberries and just a touch of sweet spice. The palate is lightweight with integrated tannins and juicy red fruit. Would be great served with a slight chill! Cari Bernard
From 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Maccabeu and 30% Rolle (Vermentino) grown on granite soils in Eric's high-altitude organic vineyards. Very pale bronze color. The wine shows intriguing aromas of stone, dried pear, citrus and almond that deepen on the palate. Quite dense and backed with firm acidity and stone flavors, this is a real wine of the mountains, echoing the granite soils of Muscadet. This intriguing young wine will drink well over the next three to five years - it's an everyday white of great character that will accompany a wide variety of seafood and chicken dishes, goat and sheep cheeses as well. A fabulous value and highly recommended!
Another delicious wine from the affable and talented Eric Laguerre, from organic Syrah, Carignan and Grenache vines grown on granite soils high in the mountains of the Roussillon. Lovely pink/garnet color, aromas of raspberry, red currant, blood orange and spice. Beautiful bright red fruits on the palate with citrusy acids in a very firm, mineral frame and good length, really delicious! This is a real rosé of terroir that will gain complexity over the next few months and drink well through 2017. Perfect with a salade niçoise, grilled fish, chicken and pork and great to sip by itself. Highly recommended!
We always have a bottle or two of good rosé on the Thanksgiving table, and it's funny how they're the first bottles to disappear! We're very proud of our rosé selection at Chambers Street - all fermented with wild yeasts and organically farmed, giving distinctive wines that pair beautifully with the autumnal flavors of Thanksgiving. We love the Les Fouques, but there are many more and all priced for a holiday crowd - try Ferme St Martin, Laguerre, Peybonhome, Fresche, Madonna Grazie, Romeo del Castello and many more...The 2015 Rosé La Londe is a beautiful wine and a real rosé of terroir! Made from 70% Cinsault and 10% each of Grenache, Syrah and Vermentino, the 2015 La Londe is a lovely pale pink/orange color with subtle aromas of peach skin, citrus, brown spice, raspberry and rose petal. The palate is light, balanced and long with red currant, raspberry and yellow fruits, blood orange, spice with saline mineral flavors and creamy fruit in the long finish. Drinking beautifully now, it will improve over the next year or two and accompany an elegant ceviche, grilled tuna or chicken, salads, mild cheeses and berry desserts. Great sipped by itself as well - really delicious and highly recommended!
Biodynamic since 1999, Chateau Mayragues makes beautiful wines from the local grapes, such as this distinctive white from 100% Loin de L'Oeil. Quite ripe in the 2015 vintage, the aromas are of dried pear, almond, honeysuckle and citrus peel. Nice full white fruits on the palate with ripe pear, apple, anise, floral and citrus flavors, really quite lovely. This is a beautiful summer aperitif and will accompany a variety of seafood dishes, terrines, mild cheeses and Asian foods. And it's a fabulous value!
100% Braucol from the Geddes family, who have been working biodynamically since 1999. My father and I tasted this and the dialogue went a bit like this: DL: "mmm.. tart rasberries, red currant, even some cranberry..." EL: "Jolly Rancher!" DL: "Nope" (but when was the last time he had a watermelon Jolly Rancher?) DL: "Well we can all agree it tastes and smells like roses." EL (nodding): "That's for sure." Now I've had the bottle open for several hours and the fruit is opening up a bit, showing even some strawberry notes on the palate. Dry it is, but mostly in the finish, which is particularly mineral and sharp, to me a perfect complement to the intense bright red fruit encountered in the attack. The folks at Mayragues waited on this wine, their 2015, which had a production of only 1,800 bottles, as they wanted it to be harmonious and balanced. We're glad they did. It's a lot of fun and complexity in a bottle for only $13.99! -Eben Lillie
From old-vine Carignan, Grenache and Syrah grown in Thierry Navarre's beautiful mountainside vineyards in Saint-Chinian. The 2014 is particularly lovely, showing deep ripe aromas of blackberry, plum, coffee and spice. Full, soft palate of spicy red and black fruits, earth and dark chocolate, with good density and supple, palate-coating texture lifted by nice acidity. Perfect for grilled foods or steaks, stews and strong cheeses all year. A sensational value!
This is a really lovely alternative to Champagne and a great value. Montagnieu is a village south of Cerdon, in the Jura, with premières côtes overlooking the Rhône valley. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Altesse and Mondeuse and has complex herbal aromas, nice lemony ripeness on the palate and a long, dry finish. Franck Peillot works well in the vineyard and naturally in the cellar. Well worth a try!
Our Biodynamic friends, the Hubert family at Chateau Peybonhomme-les-Tours, have finally made a dry rosé and it's quite delicious. Subtle aromas of strqwberry, peach and citrus on the nose that continue on the round but dry and refreshing palate. This gains weight with time (better on the second day) and has surprising length for a rosé. This is a versatile wine to serve as an aperitif or with grilled tuna, melon and prosciutto, grilled chicken or pork and mild cheeses.
The 2012 Les Marnieres is a lovely Trousseau from the beautiful organic vineyards of Jean-Charles Maire, this parcel, "les Riantes," on scree on the slopes of Mont Poupet, as opposed to the Kimmeridgian limestone present in his other vineyards. Very pale garnet color. Lovely aromas of prune, rose, red currant, morello cherry and citrus peel. The palate is light but with good length and density, showing red currant, earth, spice and mineral flavors, finishing with tart cherry and saline minerals. Lovely wine! (Will keep a few more years but best consumed the day opened, very easy to do...)
From a 1/2 hectare parcel on Kimmeridgian limestone in Marnoz, northeast of Arbois. 11% alcohol. Very pale garnet color, really a rosé. Austere nose with subtle aromas of red-currant, strawberry, earth and beach rose. The palate is tart and light with red-currant, earth and stone, very crystalline and long. This is a wine of contemplation and definitely not a fruit-bomb! DL
This is a beautiful Savagnin from the organic vineyards of Jean-Charles Maire, on Kimmeridgian limestone near the Mont Poupet, at Marnoz, northeast of Arbois. (Elevage is sous-voile.) Opaque pale gold color. Oxidative aromas of dried pear, lemon zest, dried hebs, beeswax, stone and earth. The palate is full and dense with sharp acidity showing dried fruits, citrus, marzipan and stone flavors, with a long intensely mineral and citrus finish. Serve with fish in sauce, chicken with morels, mountain cheeses. Delicious now but five to ten years of aging seems possible, wonderful after three days open.DL
From old vines in "le Calise" on a hillside in Marnoz on a typical Jura "marnes" soil. The wine shows bright garnet/black color with earthy/meaty blackberry and tart cherry aromas with hints of citrus and spice. Bright blackberry fruit on the palate with nice density and firm earthy acidity, with minerals and blackberry/cherry fruit and a bit of tannin in the finish. Lovely now with grilled Charolais, charcuterie, young goat cheeses. Best after three to five years. DL
This is a delicious wine from Stéphane Tissot’s Biodynamic estate in Arbois! It is a blend of Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir that ferments and ages in 100-year-old, 2,000L foudre. It doesn’t see any SO2 at any time during the fermentation, and at 11% alcohol it is incredibly pure and fresh! Lots of red berry fruits mingle on the nose, and there is ample minerality on the palate accompanied by more berry fruits and a surprising amount of structure. Serve slightly chilled, and pair with summery foods of all kinds! Tim Gagnon
The 2009 Chardonnay from Villet is certainly a contrast to the more straightforward 2011 bottling. Where the 2011 is ready to go, the '09 is a bit more contemplative and needs time to breath. There's a bit of gas, and it is slightly toasty upon opening, but this blows off eventually to reveal aromas of baked apples and spice, with creamy lemon in the mid-palate, and white stone fruit in the finish. This is a richer Chardonnay, one that sits longer in the mouth, and lingers longer in the finish, but it is still marked by a pronounced mineral quality and sharp acidity that are a trademark of the Villet style. Eben Lillie
This is a charming and comforting red from our friends Luc and Marie Michel of Zélige-Caravent, in the Pic-St-Loup appellation of the Languedoc. Primarily old-vines Grenache, with a touch of Syrah and Cinsault, it's full-bodied and silky, with crushed dark berry fruit and subtle grip. This is truly a satisfying red, and the perfect remedy for a cold winter night. Smooth enough to be enjoyed without food, this will shine with roasted meats, stews, spicy foods, or any hearty meal. Eben Lillie
Cos Pithos Rosso is always one of my favorite wines to drink during a big meal with plenty of courses. Made from 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato raised in amphora, the 2014 is stunning, showing dark fruit, vibrant herbal tones and lift on the palate. The nose is very aromatic, led by bay spice and lavender with ferrous earth followed by rich dark red fruit. Medium weight on the palate with soft tannins and great acidity, it is more fruit-driven than the nose with dark red plums and red florals over a crisp mineral tone. Despite having great depth, the Pithos Rosso is ultimately a refreshing wine, perfect to cut through the richness of a Thanksgiving table; pair with herbed stuffing, game birds, turkey, or roast pork loin with wine sauce. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy. Andy Paynter
Fongoli’s Montefalco Rosso is a great example of an Italian table wine in the best sense. Made mostly from Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Montepulciano, vinified separately and raised for two years in 40 hectoliter Slavonian oak barrels. Fresh red cherry fruit comes through on the nose with pleasant notes of rosemary and thyme and a hint of moist earth. The palate is full and smooth with noticeable tannin and good acidity, though it is more overtly fruity showing both cherries and a touch of blue and black berries. The pairing choices are endless: try it with meaty pasta dishes, roast chicken, pork chops, mushroom and Parmesan risotto, hard cheeses. A beautiful wine for any table! Andy Paynter
Arianna Occhipinti turns the usual Cerasuolo di Vittoria ratio on it's head with her everyday Rosso, opting for 70% Frappato and only 30% Nero d'Avola. Inverting the traditional blend in favor of the lighter Frappato grape gives a unique freshness and lift, while 10-15 days of maceration on the skins ground the high-toned elegance with a subtle counterpoint of satisfying tannic grip. Fermentation is with indigenous yeast, followed by six months in concrete vats before bottling unfiltered. A pure, floral nose leads to bright red berry fruit on the palate with grace notes of hallmark Sicilian earthiness and spice. Karina Mackow
An approximation of Signor Carpano's original 1786 recipe, many call this the Cadillac of red vermouth. Intense flavors of raisin and vanilla meld over a note of anise in the background. Upon further investigation, flavors of orange peel contribute to the rich medley of caramel and fruits. Raise your mixed drinks to the next level, or just relax with a touch of this and an orange peel. JR
Here we have a very amaro-esque bitter with a Teutonic twist. The botanical recipe skews toward rich and soothing, and to create the complex, spicy flavor gentian root, juniper, coriander, vanilla, angelica root, star anise, clove, violet root, lemon balm, cinnamon bark and orange peel are macerated for four weeks in a sugar and beet alcohol solution. Forest is the perfect stand-in for an amaro or brandy at the end of a meal. The complexity and slight sweetness also make it a fantastic ingredient in cocktails calling for red vermouth. John Rankin
Mauro Vergano started making Chinato as a hobby. A few years ago he turned pro, and now we can buy his elixirs here in the States. The Americano features Grignolino grapes supplied by one of our favorite Piedmont producers, Cascina 'Tavijn. Mauro serves this apéritif with sparkling water, ice and a slice of orange peel. We suggest that you do the same. JR
Simply put, Colheita is a vintage-dated, Tawny Port. Infantado’s Colheita is unique as all the grapes come from 100% “class A” vineyards. In addition, the minimum aging in very old 500 liter casks, is for seven years before bottling. This Colheita is made through gradual oxidation and concentration, resulting in a golden brown color and complex nutty flavors. The wine will keep for months after opening. Tasted in October of 2016, the wine was remarkably complex, soft and elegant with lovely aromas and flavors of prune, tea, burned citrus, brown spice, nut and dried flowers - just delicous. This would be a perfect ending to a Thanksgiving feast, served with the pies, nuts and cheeses. Highly recommended!
Bold and richly textured from five months of lees aging and time in French oak, this is a serious expression of 100% Encruzado from one of the Dão region’s most highly respected certified organic producers. While commonly found in blends, as proven by Quinta do Perdigão, Portugal’s aromatically intense and high acid indigenous white grape has great potential to render star quality varietal wines. Here, chalky minerality and nervy acidity, reminiscent of age-worthy white Burgundy, bring balance and focus while a lively palate of lemon curd and fresh herbs make this wine an excellent companion for hearty fish stews and rich flavorful pork dishes. Sydney Snyder
The Barou family family makes delicious wines, and grows cherries and apricots on their mixed-use organic estate in Charnas, in the northern section of the AOC Saint-Joseph. Their 2015 Vin de Pays Marsanne is a simply superb everyday wine! Light bronze/gold color. Aromas of almond, lime-flower, honeysuckle, lemon peel and hay, really quite pretty. Ripe stone fruits on the palate, primarily peach and dried pear with lemon, spice and saline mineral flavors with good balancing acidity in the long finish. Serve this lovely wine with chicken, full-flavored fish, mild cheeses and Asian foods. This is a unique and delicious wine and an extraordinary value - highly recommended!
"Chapelle St. Theodoric is a project between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt. There are two parcels; one in the lieu-dit La Guigasse, which is a pure sand soil and where the vines (all Grenache) range in age of from 50 to 100 year; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The vinification is traditional, that is to say, whole-cluster, such as employed by Jacques Reynaud at Chateau Rayas, Laurent Charvin, Henri Bonneau. In the 2014 vintage, it was decided to put all of the La Guigasse and some of the Grand Pin into Les Sablons, because of the more forward style of 2014." - Weygandt-Metzler. The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Chateauneuf, showing beautiful ripe red currant and black cherry aromas with hints of brown spice, rose, earth and musk. The palate is light and fine but very dense with sappy red fruits, citrus, earth and mineral flavors with hints of licorice and prune. The finish is long and lingering, with firm acidity showing good aging potential. Elegant and delicious now - serve slightly cool - perhaps best 2020 to 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. The 2012 Gigondas is a bit lighter and brighter than the norm at Clos du Joncuas with high-toned black fruit, mineral, spice and licorice aromas. The palate is elegant and fresh showing deep supple black fruits with hints of graphite, garrigue and brown spice. After three days, recorked in the fridge, the wine has deepened impressively with pure blackberry, bitter chocolate and licorice aromas, great density on the palate with black fruit liqueur, red currant, earth and anise. A beautiful wine! Serve cool and decant many hours if drinking young, or cellar for five to fifteen years.
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
This is a big, beautiful, full-bodied rosé from Dany and Carole Chastan, made from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, always farmed organically. Lovely deep pink color, very pretty aromas of strawberry, red currant, peach, blood orange and stone. The palate is elegant and complex with creamy tart cherry and red currant fruit with citrus and floral notes and a long refreshing mineral finish. This is a superb, well-structured rosé that will drink beautifully over the next three years - serve with grilled tuna, chicken, grilled pork, salade Niçoise, mild cheeses. Highly recommended! DL
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. 2015 is a great vintage for the always lovely Vacqueyras from Carole and Dany Chastan at Clos du Joncuas. The wine shows very deep aromas of blackberry and floral strawberry compote, earth, citrus, violet and spice. The palate is supple and dense, brightened by floral notes and firm acidity, with ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit, framed in juicy acidity with a very long finish of ripe berry fruits and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful and exuberant wine, quite delicious now, served slightly cool, and it will drink beautifully over the next ten years. A joyful wine and highly recommended! DL
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, sandy granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. This "serious" Saint-Joseph shows lush, bright aromas of blackberry liqueur, with blueberry, violet, citrus, spice and roast meats. The palate is a bit tight and quite elegant with red currant, blackberry and blueberry fruit with firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is an elegant, earthy and well-structured Saint-Joseph that will age beautifully - best probably 2021 to 2030, decant if drinking now.
From hillside vineyards in Erome, Gervans and Crozes, mostly granite with some limestone/clay, average age 45 years, aged 30% in foudre, 70% in one to 7 year-old burgundy barrels. This is no "ordinary" Crozes-Hermitage, but a real wine of terroir from great vineyard sites, all on hillsides. The 2014 is aromatically beautiful with complex aromas of red currant, blueberry, violet, musk and citrus. The palate is softer than in the very structured 2013 vintage, showing red and black fruit liqueur lifted by citrusy acids and finishing with nice mineral flavors, floral notes and supple fruit. This is a very pretty Crozes to drink over the next 5 years, and a great value!
Made primarily from 80 to 90 year-old vines of Serine, generally regarded as an old version of Syrah (which evolved from Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza) with smaller berries which survived through massale selection, principally in Cote Rotie. Serine gives a more aromatic and elegant wine that the larger berried modern Syrah. "From our first day of harvest, 2013 is one of our favorite vintages. The younger vines, which proved austère in the months after bottling, are now showing the remarkable definition that each terroir has gifted to both wines: generosity and smokiness from Saint-Julien’s granits, depth and definition from Brézème. The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered both cuvées surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional for both wines, and the Brézème is probably the best expression we’ve obtained from this terroir…and at less than 12% alcohol! 2632 bottles, 120 magnums and 10 jéroboams" Eric Texier
This Junmai Ginjo from the Ibaraki prefecture uses a prized rice varietal of the same name that has not been grown for nearly a hundred years (due to later harvests and pest problems in the 1920s). After obtaining frozen samples of the rice seedlings from the Japanese government and planting them in the late 80's, the Huchu Homare brewery was able to once again produce sake from this heirloom varietal. It is a flavorful sake with hints of anise and a pleasant muskiness. It also possesses faint tropical notes and nice acidity in the finish. Truly a unique sake with an equally special story.
From Equipo Navazos: "Since the 1980s and until very recently, the amontillado soleras of Rainera P. Marín were made of very different soleras labeled within the cellar as “Manzanilla Pasada”: from the third criadera of Amontillado “M. Pda.” all the way to the little shrine of 1/3 “M. Pda. Viejísima”, including solera 1/10 “M. Pda. Vieja” (from where we have sourced our editions number 31 & 61 “Bota NO” of La Bota de Amontillado). After its purchase by the Estévez Group, the greater part of these confusingly labeled stocks was strictly restructured. The finest and deepest butts were selected, their contents refreshed with true (and unfortified) manzanilla pasada (this is a natural amontillado), in order to create an amontillado solera that was slightly over 100-butt strong and located at third and fourth in one same row. This time we have selected fifteen of these butts which shine for their superior freshness as well as intense notes of aromatic herbs, baked sweet potato, and caramel. The resulting blend is a perfect amontillado, extremely dry, long, serious, complex, and still deliciously drinkable. The additional three years of age-compared with the previous release of this wine (La Bota de Amontillado 37)-can be appreciated in terms of additional complexity and maturity. The estimate average age of this wine is around 22 years."
From Equipo Navazos: "In the wine cellars owned by La Guita on the road to Jerez outside Sanlúcar de Barrameda there are several Amontillado soleras identified by the number of butts that exist of each one, and by the legends “Manzanilla Pasada”, “Manzanilla Pasada Vieja” or “Manzanilla Pasada Viejísima”. All those soleras have survived practically untouched since La Guita rearranged its stocks in 1980 and moved most to the cellars on the road to Jerez. Among them, the Solera 1/10 of “Manzanilla Pasada Vieja” which actually is an exceptional Amontillado, very old and elegant, that shows the typical character of Sanlúcar. It is precisely from that solera that we have sourced the present release: La Bota de Amontillado 61 “Bota NO”. It is the second time we come to it, since in 2011 there was a release with the same name and source numbered as La Bota no. 31. Due to its evident age and depth it can be sipped as a midmorning drop on quiet leisurely days, or after a meal. It also displays a harmonious palate that makes it especially appropriate for intense dishes such as a hearty stew, arròs de muntanya, or lobster bisque, and also of delicate pieces of sushi with a dash of wasabi. Come to think of it, at a lower than usual temperature, this amontillado can be sipped successfully side by side to a refreshing ajoblanco or gazpacho."
Xurxo Alba makes some of the most interesting wines in Rias Baixas today. A descendant of a long line of Albariño growers, his instinct and respect for the grape shine through. His elegant, expressive cuvée from the Finca O Pereiro Vineyard stands out each year and seems to reflect equally the unique site as well as character. Pereiro's low-yielding Albariño vines were planted in 1984 on clay-heavy, sandy soils just 50 meters from the sea. Subtle aromas of chamomile, salty minerals, and graphite contrast with the steely, acidic palate of grapefruit, lemongrass and a hint of smoky mineral tone. Leaner and longer than ever, 2015 Finca O Pereiro is a supremely elegant and pure example of the Albarino grape. Ariana Rolich.
La Palma native Victoria Torres makes this lively, taut, minerally red wine with her family's large Roman press of Canarian pine that dates back to the 1800s. Her Negramoll vines come from a variety of vineyards, both in the fertile north of La Palma island at very high altitudes (up to 1400 meters), as well as in the warmer, lower southern zones, which is responsible for the alluring fruit profile in this wine. Victoria vinifies each parcel separately and blends them precisely, with expressive results. It is easy to be drawn in by mysterious aromas of bitter ashen soil,smoke, and funky fruit skin, familiar perhaps to lovers of volcanic wine regions; dusty black cherry, damson plum, roses, and lots of volcanic earth and salty minerals drive the light/medium palate. A refreshing expression of a complex Canary Island terroir and a versatile red for grilled fish and vegetables, with a fine, herbal finish. Ariana Rolich
55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
Bow and Arrow winemaker Scott Frank delights with this extremely drinkable blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Gamay (40%) from Willamette Valley's Johan Vineyard. One of the cooler areas in the Willamette Valley, Johan Vineyard shines in warmer, drier vintages like 2014 and 2015. On the nose, black cherry skin, dried herb, and licorice stick notes; on the palate, bright, tangy acidity frames the red raspberry, tart black cherry, and meaty flavors. Pair with a hanger steak or by itself. Jonas Mendoza
Winemaker Chris Brockway makes Brea Cabernet from Margarita Vineyard in Paso Robles, the same site behind the delicious and popular Broadside Cabernet. The 2013 is riper and more fruit-forward than the previous year's vintage, leaning more toward California than Bordeaux. Juicy black cherry, black currant, and ripe black plum flavors delicately interweave into dried thyme, sage, and compacted earth undertones. Jonas Mendoza
A Merlot that one doesn't have to look "Sideways" at. Ripe red plum and cherry compote flavors are underscored by vanilla and cloves notes and lifted red floral aromatics. Sourced from the famed Margarita Vineyard in Paso Robles. Jonas Mendoza
Fans of Broadside's delicious Margarita Vineyard Cabernet, take note! This 2013 Paso Robles bottling is one of the most graceful wines we've tasted in the under $20 price range, combining 50% Margarita fruit with two other sustainably farmed Paso Robles vineyards. It is substantial and refreshing, with full flavors of sweet purple plums, spicy citrus oil, brambly black and blue berry fruit, and balanced, grippy young tannins. A truly fantastic value! Ariana Rolich
Inconnu is the project of winemaker Laura Brennan Bissell, who impresses us with her commitment to making affordable, delicious, low alcohol California wines with plenty of interest but no pretension. We agree as well with Laura's love of Merlot, which she amusingly refers to as "the romantic grape." From organically farmed vines up to 45 years old in Carneros, it is fresh, pure, and pretty, with floral purple fruit, sultry perfume and spice, lively acidity and a tickle of tannin. Serve with a light chill. Ariana Rolich
Hank Beckmeyer and his French wife, Caroline Hoel, had been working in Germany in the music business, and had caught the wine bug while traveling throughout Europe. Influenced by the ideas of Japanese farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka and Austrian philosopher-spiritualist Rudolf Steiner, they moved to the United States and purchased a property in California’s Sierra Foothills in 2001. La Clarine Farm’s winemaking approach is minimalist: neither industrial yeasts, sulfur dioxide, nor new oak are used in the cellar. Cedarville Vineyard is organically farmed, lies upon a south-facing exposure on decomposed granite soils, similar to those in the heartland of the Northern Rhone. With a light yet sinewy texture, this Syrah impresses with dried and stewed black cherry, crushed herbs, leather, and cinnamon stick flavors. -Jonas Mendoza
The Stella Maris vineyard in Southern Oregon's Applegate Valley AVA has been a traditional source for Minimus' Sauvignon Blanc wines (SM1, SM2), but winemaker Chad Stock sourced Syrah here for his Experiment #15. Fermented whole-cluster and aged in acacia wood, the Syrah draws immediate references to Cote-Rotie, with black cherry skin and fruit, bresaola, and sage flavors. The acacia wood imparts delicate and perfumed floral notes to the wine that balance the brooding dark fruit notes and firm tannins. Jonas Mendoza
Renaissance wines have become a cult favorite among California Cabernet drinkers for their uncompromising expression of Sierra Foothills terroir and depth of character that can only be found in beautifully aged older wines. Gideon Bienstock (now owner of Clos Saron) took up winemaking for the estate in the early 1990s. He immediately focused on Bordeaux blends and Rhone varieties and converted the entire property to organic viticulture. The wines were matured for long periods in time in the barrel and in the bottle before release. The 2001 Cabernet is still quite fruit-forward and youthful with blackberry, black cherry, and cassis flavors. Smooth and silky, this is drinkable now or can age for another 10-20 years. Jonas Mendoza
2004 Granite Crown is a unique blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Syrah from Renaissance, the pioneering estate in the Sierra Foothills where Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron got his start in California. Aromas of rich and refreshing red and black currant, blueberries, and mocha, with smooth and juicy mouth-filling flavors of sweet plum, tart cranberry, green peppercorns, wild berry, fine-grained tannins and loads of minerals. Lush and satisfying right now, but Renaissance builds their wines to age so don't be afraid to cellar a few of these as well! Ariana Rolich
From a single clone, this barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc has notes of pear and peach candy, with ripe and rich orchard fruit flavors and dried herb undertones. For those expecting lean-and-mean, cookie-cutter Sauvignon Blanc, they're bound to be disappointed by this wine's aromatic complexity and rich, leesy texture. We'll soon run out of them in 750ml, but brought some back in magnums. Jonas Mendoza