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Frick made two versions of the GC Steinert Riesling in 2012, one with filtration and the addition of a small amount of SO2 at bottling, and a second with no filtration and no sulfites added. He took great interest in watching my father and I taste the two, and the anticipation of our response was accompanied by a touch of childlike excitement. I think I remember him being quite pleased that we both preferred the second version. Truth be told, I like them both. The first had a bit of residual sugar, and was very classic, but I ended up preferring the second because it was drier, and had a subtle salinity to it that carried the wine on the palate in a much more interesting way. There's a touch of honey dew melon, lemon, and saffron, and is a bit fleshy on the palate. The Steinert parcel is oriented East, on a terroir of limestone, with relatively dry soil. A great wine to have over the course of many days. Eben Lillie
Bergweingarten is a vineyard of brown limestone, with South-East exposition in the middle of a hill. Pierre says there's a touch of sandstone influence, which dons a type of crystalline freshness and structure to the wines from this site. There's some stone fruit here, and a nice level of ripeness, with hints of mandarin orange, almond, and spice. Aged on the lees for 11 months in large 100 year old barrels, with 19g S02 total. I wouldn't call this a completely dry Sylvaner - even though the residual sugar is only 1.4g, it's ripe and flavorful and has some lingering fruit in the finish. A very tasty wine, and quite versatile with a variety of foods. Eben Lillie
Frick's Pinot Auxerrois 'Carriere' is the first Auxerrois I ever tasted, and a wine I always look forward to tasting each year with Pierre. The 2014 is crisp and dry, with 0 grams of residual sugar, and no sulfites added. Carriere is a parcel on limestone with a good amount of sandstone, which Frick says gives the wine a "claquant" character. Truly not an easy word to translate, a wine that is claquant (from claquer- to clap) has a kind of lip smacking freshness and acidity, and is energetic and lively on the palate. Frick also refers to the wine as "tendu," which is the French word for tense, but here I believe expresses how lean and focused the wine is. Apparently the French love this wine with sushi and sashimi, and I can see why. There's very subtle white stone fruit on the palate, but no softness or fruitiness whatsoever, and the finish is clean and mineral. Drink over several hours, as the wine opens up and reveals a bit more texture with some time open. Eben Lillie
Though it seems like a relatively new category, it turns out winemakers in Alsace have been making skin contact wines for some time. The first may have been Bannwarth, who experimented with qvevri (georgian clay anforae). Then, along with the Fricks, JF Rietsch, Patrick Meyer, and Bruno Scheuller. From the Grand Cru Vorbourg vineyard, this is Pinot Gris with 12 days of skin contact with no sulfites added. The color is a deep auburn/ruby in the glass, almost reminiscent of a light red. On the palate, it's balanced and clean, with faint tannin, peach fuzz, and subtle red fruit. Eben Lillie
Double zero stands for zero dosage and zero sulfites added. This Cremant d'Alsace is a blend of Riesling and Pinot Blanc, and is typically aged 3 years sur latte before disgorgement. It's dry and refreshing, and has a remarkable rejuvenating effect. Subtle on the nose, but very complex on the palate, with a long, mineral finish. -Eben Lillie
Riesling from a mix of smaller plots closer to the village of Oberloiben (Dürnstein). This was one of the line up that was a touch tight upon tasting at the estate this past June, but it shows great promise to be an electric, brisk Riesling! Lean and light with notes of peach and apricot, lemon zest, and sour orange. Cari Bernard
Riesling vines for the Smaragd bottling grow in meager soils in a high altitude, amphitheater-shaped vineyard where most of the sun-exposure ends at around 3 in the afternoon, making for a cooler microclimate in contrast to some of the other south-facing sites on the Loibenberg, where a more Pannonian (warmer) climate prevails. The cooling influence is reflected in the high minerality in balance with a creaminess and clarity of fruit--peach blossom and stone on the nose gives way to stone fruit and just-ripe mango with a spicy intensity and long, saline stony finish on the palate. Cari Bernard
Mühlpoint is located on the gentle slope below Steinertal, with higher levels of loess and loam, more suited to growing Grüner Veltliner. Rich and textured with notes of warm apple, spiced pear tart, and creamy orange melon--elegant yet still maintains a level of mirth and vibrancy. Cari Bernard
Hollerin has larger terraces, with loam and Gfoehler gneiss; Leo Jr. calls the wines from this vineyard "charming" with good fruit and structure, a contrast from the more intense mineral cut on the wines from the Höhereck vineyard just on the other side of the hill. Delicate aromas of white strawberries, and floral-scented face powder on the nose, the palate boasts great texture and lift with notes of peach candy, green strawberry tops, and white grapefruit.Cari Bernard
Grüner Veltliner from vines planted in 1959 on a mix of clay, gravel, and limestone soils, aged in stainless steel for five years before bottling.
100% Roter Veltliner planted in 1979 near the top of Gaisberg (Zöbing side). Known more for being a top site for growing Riesling than Roter Veltliner, Martin and Anna Arndorfer purchased this vineyard in 2010 (after being warned not to do so by relatives). The primary rock up there (300+ meters, south facing) is predominately Gfohler Gneiss along with Mica-Schist. Both 2012 and 2013 had very similar vinifications: few hours of maceration, aged in a mix of oak and stainless steel, with ten months on the lees and no fining. We are very lucky to have two different vintages to choose from, ultimately showcasing the influence of the vintage. Reflecting some similar development on the nose as the 2012 (salted toffee/brown butter), there is also a brighter note of Seville orange zest, and the palate reveals a higher acidity, with tangy orange/lemon oil, and brighter vegetal tones alongside the pear and apple fruit. Not austere by any means, but the 2013 does come off as stonier and edgier than the 2012. Cari Bernard
Vines up to forty years of age grow on a mix of mica schist and brown sandy soils in a terraced, southwest-facing parcel on the Gaisberg, near the village of Strass in the Kamptal. Farming is Biodynamic using soft pruning methods, harvest is by hand, and the wine ferments naturally then ages in a mix of stainless steel and large, neutral oak casks. Although 2015 was a warm vintage, this wine fresh and very crisp, with green and stone fruit notes on the nose and palate. Green apple, slightly underripe nectarine, white peach, salted lemon juice, with intense mineral cut and precision--decant if serving for the full experience! Cari Bernard
Heiligenstein is legendary: born of the Bohemian Massif it is home to a myriad of soil types, and Johannes Hirsch is a venerable scholar of Kamptal terroir. His dedication and love for the region is felt in his commitment to uncompromisingly farming biodynamically, utilizing soft-pruning techniques in the vineyards, and the care taken in the cellar to let the wines ferment spontaneously and at their own speed in a mix of stainless steel, acacia, and oak barrels (all used). The Hirsch Heiligenstein vineyard is on the Zöbing side, curving from south- to southwest-facing in aspect, with a mix of silt, conglomerate, and colored sandstone along with gravel, volcanic soils, and in some portions, loess. Aromas of fresh wildflower stems, clover, and white pepper on the nose, the palate has fantastic cut, with fruity yet tart tangerine, salty mineral structure with green apple and underripe apricot. Cari Bernard
The top billing of the Steiner Hund vineyard delivers in spades in this gorgeous 2010 Riesling. The nose is mesmerizing with aromas of limewood, Doyenne du Comice pears, chestnuts, licorice, tarragon, and allspice. The wine floats effortlessly on the palate and is held aloft by a refined minerality that offers notes of Granny Smith and fresh ginger through to a bitter orange finish. A stunning apéritif! - David Salinas
Twenty-five year old vines on loess soils grown on the rim of the valley in the Wagram, of Ott's Grand Cru vineyards, Spiegel is a perennial favorite. Delicately mineral on the nose, this Grüner is dynamic on the palate: notes of Meyer lemon, lime zest, green apple candy, mango, white cherry, pineapple, peach skin with vibrant acidity and a lingering finish. Very young and powerful, yet balanced, this wine will age beautifully! Cari Bernard
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. The 2016 is cool-toned and finely structured, at 13% it's showing less density than the 2015 and calling to mind the balance and bright minerality of the 2014 vintage. The wine shows deep ruby in the glass, intense aromas of red fruit, violets, fennel, smoke, and black pepper. The palate is creamy and floral on the attack then develops vivid flavors of blueberry and crushed strawberry layered over earthy spice, game, and stone on the grippy mid-palate. The finish is long and mineral and ends on a slightly bitter citrus note. An elegant and age-worthy vintage from Alain. Drinking now, but should develop beautifully with a few years of bottle age. Amanda Bowman
Alain Coudert, who took over from his father in the late 80s, produces some of the finest wines in Fleurie. Originally classified as Moulin-a-Vent, the Clos de la Roilette vines produce a somewhat more structured wine with more black fruit aromas than a "normal" Fleurie. The 2015s here, as in much of Beaujolais were high in alcohol and extremely ripe, a bit awkward in their youth and needing a few years to calm down. The 2016 Clos de la Roilette has returned to form showing a bright red/garnet color and aromas of crushed raspberry, violette and brown spice with hints of blackberry, citrus and earth. The palate retains the floral character with creamy raspberry fruit and hints of spice, leather and greens, with nice sappy length. Delicious now and quite easy to drink, although it will benefit from decanting. Serve with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork dishes and mild cheeses. As always the Coudert Clos de la Roilette will benefit from 3 to 5 years or more in the bottle as well.
The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are always among our favorite Beaujolais, and we're very happy 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 is an extremely pretty Morgon, showing subtle high-toned black raspberry and tart cherry aromas with plum, violet, citrus and brown spice, really lovely. The black and red fruits continue on the palate with complex notes of blood orange, earth, mint and spice. The wine is dense and structured but bright and balanced, finishing with refreshing acidity and mineral flavors. Delicious now, this should be superb in three to five years, and should drink well till 2027. DL
The 2015 Descombes Brouilly shows a deep red/black color, with aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry liqueur, with violet, black pepper and citrus - quite lush and pretty. Dark and earthy black fruits on the supple, velvety palate, with good length of sappy fruit that is balanced by refreshing acidity in the finish. This is certainly one of the prettiest and most balanced of the 2015s, really quite delicious in the riper style of the vintage. DL
Julien Guillot's 2015 "Les Pierres Bleues" is a gorgeous Beaujolais combining elegance and structure with beautiful fruit, for current drinking and medium-term cellaring. The vines are more than 100 years old, located in the commune of Bully on an ancient volcanic rift. The subsoil is limestone with sandy clay and dark blue metamorphic rocks, giving a strong salinity to the wine. The vineyard is in organic/biodynamic farming and the wine is produced in the Vignes du Maynes carbonic method with zero sulfur added. Deep red/black color: slight reduction then bright blackberry fruit, violet, graphite, earth, licorice and citrus. The palate shows lush blackberry and raspberry fruit, creamy and sapid but backed with firm acidity, with violet, earth and citrus notes that continue in the long supple finish. Really delicious and nicely balanced for a 2015 at 12.5 % alcohol - drink now or cellar for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience. David Lillie
Isabelle and Bruno Perraud make lovely natural wines on their small estate, certified organic in 2002, with vines in Moulin-a-Vent at "Au Vieux Bourg" in Chenas on granite soils that are high in manganese. They also make wines from purchased organic grapes from other appellatons. The 2015 Moulin-a-Vent is at 12% alcohol, very low for the vintage, and shows pretty aromas of blackberry and tart cherry, earth and citrus, lifted by bright acidity. The palate shows very earthy and bright flavors of black fruits with a firm mineral component. The volatile acidity seems a bit high, which sometimes happens with a zero sulfur wine, but gives the wine a brightness that will pair well with charcuterie and grilled foods. "Bottled without sulfur, without additives, without filtration or fining, Living wine."
A Margaux like no other, more akin to a 19th century claret than to a modern Bordeaux.The 2004 from Jean-Pierre Boyer shows a lovely deep garnet color and smoky red-currant aromas with earth, violet, licorice, spice and citrus peel. The palate is dense and mineral with firm structure, but showing velvety blackberry, cassis and red currant with earth and mineral flavors and a bit of bitter licorice. The finish is long and firm. Suspend your ideas of Bordeaux and enjoy this complex and Burgundian Margaux. Carafe four hours in advance or cellar ten to twenty years.(On day 2 the wine has deepened and softened into a lovely Burgundian Bordeaux)
The Margaux is always the most serious and age-worthy of the wines in the Clos du Jaugueyron line-up. Sourced from older vines (some even passing the century mark), this cuvée is a true vin de garde. The 2010 vintage offers aromas of black fruits, cassis, ash, dried thyme, graphite on the nose. The dense palate offers layers of dark cherry, blueberry, and damson plum flavors, with hints of crushed herbs and chocolate. There is good underlying structure and sense of energy with fine-grained, but firm, tannins and fresh acidity framing the long rising finish. Decant 3-5 hours ahead if drinking now or hold 10-15 years and drink from there. This is lovely old school Bordeaux! John McIlwain
Amaury Beaufort, with help from his brothers, is making superb natural wines in Tonnerre on steep hillsides with Kimmeridgian soils near the village of Junay. (Northwest of the city of Tonnerre) Cête de Junay is a steep parcel requiring all vineyard work by hand. Yields are about 15 hl/ha, at 11.5% in 2015. The wine shows delicate but complex aromas of lime-flower, dried white fruits, almond and stone with hints of chamomile and dried herbs. The palate is crystalline and bone dry with citrus, stone and dried pear - light, but with great density and length and finishing with stone, anise, pear and lemon peel over saline minerals. No added SO2. Congratualtions to the Beauforts for this unique and scintillating wine! Serve with oysters, sushi, fresh goat cheeses, grilled sole or cod.
From 1 HA of vines planted in 1985 by Claude de Nicolay’s mother. In addition to Chardonnay, there are 6 rows of Pinot Blanc. Something of a rarity as Ile des Vergelesses is considered by most to be the finest red wine climat in Pernand Vergelesses, the Blanc from Chandon de Briailles also features Pinot Blanc adding an extra layer of aromatics to this Pernand blanc. Floral on the nose with aromas of honeysuckle, apple blossom, and bosc pear. The palate is generous with notes of lemon curd, tropical fruit, and stone on the midweight, pretty, energetic, and forward palate. Delicious now and a true rarity! Enjoy with roasted chicken, turkey or guinea hen, broiled swordfish, or strong cheeses. John McIlwain
The 2015 Meursault shows a degree of the ripeness of the vintage, though it manifests itself in a layered density, rather than softness or weight. The nose offers aromas of ripe pear, honeysuckle, and orange oil, with just a hint of reduction which blows off with some tine in the glass. The palate is ripe, lush and shows good concentration, framed by a pungent minerality and acidity. Tasting the 2014 and 2015 vintages side by side in the cellar, it was remarkable how much energy was inherent in the wines in each. John McIlwain
Though duly famous for his Meursaults, Jean-Philippe Fichet makes one heck of a Puligny-Montrachet. His 2015 Puligny 1er cru Les Referts is just beautiful with a nose redolent of white flowers, lemon blossom, white apricot, lemon, and a cool sweet green note, reminiscent of sugar snap peas. The flavor profile matches ripe white fruits with a clinging stoniness on a lifted, energetic, and long finish. This is fabulous and displays more Puligny class than vintage ripeness. John McIlwain
From a north-facing parcel fairly high on the slope next to Meursault Les Vireuils. Subtle, rather delicate aromas of lime-flower and citrus, with white fruits, stone and honeysuckle. The palate is fresh and bright with mineral flavors predominating, with pear, lemon peel and herbal notes, quite pure and refreshing. The opposite of an oaky fruit-bomb, this is a light and lovely Chardonnay of terroir that will accompany shellfish, sole, flounder, cod and young goat cheeses.
The 2014 Sainte-Geneviève is a superb Champagne method sparkling wine made with 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay grown at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes. The wine shows lovely aromas of white and red fruits, spiced pear and blood orange with hints of cinnamon. The palate is creamy and full, with pear, a hint of red currant, honey, stone and brown spice with fabulous length. This is a beautiful living wine from soils that have never been treated with herbicides, pesticides or modern fertilizers. Highly recommended.
Mineral is a vintage-dated blend of Chardonnay from two particularly chalky lieux dits within the grand cru villages of Cramant and Avize, with the grapes from Bionnes (Cramant) vinified in demi-muid and Le Champ Bouton (Avize) vinified in tank and blended in equal parts.
Dusty wild blackberry fruit, wild strawberry, violets on the nose. Fine blend of hedge fruit and red fruits on the lighter mid weight palate. Bright acidity, good elemental sweetness with a hint on sous bois on a vibrant lingering, chalky finish.
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! 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..." (Current stock disgorged June, 2017)
This full-bodied and robust Rosé Champagne is expressive of Pinot Noir character as well as natural and chemical-free winemaking, a rare combination, especially in Champagne. The nose offers ripe sour cherry, cherry pit, quinine, almost Burgundian earthiness, and an ever so slight note of bitter herbs reminiscent of amaro. Cherry fruit carries through the mid-palate to the finish, which is downright tannic, in the best possible way. There is some dosage here, giving the wine a compelling balance of acid and sweetness. It's a fairly serious Rosé Champagne, one that could accompany a meal, but it doesn't present itself as austere in any way. Unique within our selection of Rosé Champagnes and well-worth trying. (Lot 11A. Disgorged 10/2016.)
Bérêche's Campania Remensis is a consistently fascinating rosé champagne, in a category fraught with uninspiring wines. The 2013 base is 65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, and 5% still red wine from Ormes on the western side of the Montagne de Reims. This year the robe is salmon pink, verging on copper. The nose is redolent of wild strawberries, red currant, and pomegranate, with citrus peel and spicy top notes. The mid-weight palate displays a fine tension between ripe red fruit and an agile mineral precision. The balance here is impeccable and the finish textured and nuanced. Every year Bérêche makes a compelling case for rosé champagne and the 2013 base is an especially delicious example. John McIlwain
Of Bérêche's single vineyard wines, Le Cran is the richest and most powerful. Sourced from mid-slope parcels in Ludes and comprised of equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Le Cran is a convincing argument for the distinctive terroir of the village. The vines are farmed organically, the base wines fermented and aged in wood, and the secondary fermentation done under cork rather than crown cap. The 2009 has a pale golden robe, a soft mousse, and fine bead. The nose is a melange of biscuity, autolytic aromas, with ripe tropical and orchard fruit notes giving way to scents of citrus peel and wet stone. The ample palate offers flavors of fresh golden apple, lemon curd, and mirabelle plum with a spine of salty minerality framing the ripeness. This is a powerful champagne whose richness is perfectly counterbalanced by its underlying structure and should gain nuance with 5-10 years in the cellar. Bravo! John McIlwain
Les Beaux Regards is a blend of two parcels of Chardonnay in Ludes on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims planted in 1964 and 1970. The loamy clay soils produce a Champagne more vinous in character, rather than exclusively taut and chalky. The 2013 displays floral and stone fruit aromas with lemon blossom, brioche, and nectarine giving way to citrus peel and green apple. The palate is distinctly chalky and racy, with overtly mineral flavors, cool notes of mint and quinine, and a long tangy, sapid finish. (Dosage 3g/L) John McIlwain
100% old-vine Pinot Meunier sourced from the lieu-dit Le Misy, located in Port à Binson on the southern bank of the Marne river. Fermented with native yeasts in barrel and aged under cork, Bérêche's 2013 base edition of Rive Gauche makes a convincing case for champagne made from the oft-underestimated Pinot Meunier grape. The old vines restrict the sometimes overly exuberant quality of the variety, and while the wine shows lovely ripeness, there is a fine, bracing minerality framing the generous fruit. The nose shows lovely aromas of stone fruits and white flowers: white peaches, Rainier cherry, and russet apple, along with notes of honey and orange oil. Similar fruit notes appear on the medium-bodied palate, with a layered mineral complexity lending structure and energy, not to mention a fine sapidity on the lingering zesty finish. A fine apéritif and with charcuterie, but better still at the table with rare tuna, veal tartare, or for a bit of old school fun, clams casino. John McIlwain
Based on a perpetual cuvée dating from the 1980's, the wine combines the vivid, nervy fruit of a recent vintage with the burnished, textural and aromatic complexity of the aged wines which make up the 'solera.' The secondary fermentation under cork rather than crown cap adds an additional layer of finesse with a delicate bead and soft mousse. Reflets is 2/3 reserve wine and 1/3 from the 2012 vintage. The current release has a golden yellow robe and a super fine bead. The nose features aromas of shortbread, ripe apple, orange zest and baking spice. The palate is round and broad with an underlying mineral tension and a cool, vibrant, rising finish. Better served in a white wine glass to allow the aromas to develop. A fine pairing with richer seafood dishes, roast poultry, or enjoy with a fine Comté. John McIlwain
For holiday celebrations, Champagne is a must. Not just for the festive association of bubbles, but also because it is truly one of the most versatile wines to grace one's table. The inherent acidity of the wine cuts through the richness of the foods, while the bubbles and moderate alcohol invigorate the palate rather than tire it. One of my favorite Champagnes for the table (not just Thanksgiving or Christmas) is Bérêche's Reflets d'Antan. Based on a perpetual cuvée dating from the 1980's, the wine combines the vivid, nervy fruit of a recent vintage with the burnished, textural and aromatic complexity of the aged wines which make up the 'solera.' The secondary fermentation under cork rather than crown cap adds an additional layer of finesse with a delicate bead and soft mousse. This will pair beautifully with most of the foods on your holiday table (skip the marshmallows, please). Better served in a white wine glass to allow the aromas to develop. John McIlwain
In many ways Bolorée is as much an expression of Cedric Bouchard's aesthetic as it is an expression of terroir. It is made in tiny quantities from 50-year-old parcel of Pinot Blanc planted on chalk rather than the typical argilo-calcaire (clay and limestone) of the Aube. And while Pinot Blanc can be a bit vapid in some cases, Bouchard's has a taut, mineral, and nervy architecture beneath the richness of the fruit. John McIlwain
Olivier Collin has been producing Champagnes of poise, power, and terroir since 2004. His "Pierrières" bottling derives from a 1.2HA plot of 30+ year old vines in Vert-Toulon southwest of Vertus. The soil here is very thin and comprised of chalk and black silex. The aromatics are spicy and savory while the palate is trim and elegant. If you could call any of Collin's wines precocious, this would be the one. The 2011 edition contains 30% reserve wine from 2010 and is just a touch more forward than previous years.The nose offers a combination of yellow fruit, sea spray, and crushed herbs. The palate, while somewhat sinewy and almost startlingly flinty and chalky, evolves to show layers of complex ripe fruit and spice notes on the long and quite detailed finish. Patience will certainly reward the Champagne lover who squirrels away a bottle of two of this beautiful blanc de blancs. 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
This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier, with some of the Chardonnay in the blend a rare strain called Chardonnay "Muscaté," which is marked by the exotic flavors of the Muscat grape. These vines of Chardonnay "Muscaté" are very old and massale selected, planted by Aurélian Laherte's grandfather. This wine offers delightful notes of anise, citrus zest, and foxy white flowers on the nose, yet it's a subtle wine with the chalkiness of the soil speaking loudly on the finish, which shows citrus pith and an intriguing note of cherry red fruit. Bottled as an Extra Brut, the wine receives 4 grams dosage. (disgorged 2/12) MSB
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Sourced from the grand cru village of Cramant in the Côte des Blancs, La Côte Grand Cru 2007 is beginning to display the aged character of Champagne from the famed village, a balance of mineral precision with the burnished fruit character of long aging sur latte. On the nose lemon oil, honeycomb, and brioche aromas overlay hints of seashell, and stone. The palate shows hints of halzelnut, brown butter, Seville orange, salt, and crushed herbs on a creamy, rich, rounded, finish with fine bead and good persistence. (4g/L dosage, disgorged 01/16.) John McIlwain
An organically-farmed Blanc de Noirs from the eponymous lieu-dit in the premier cru village of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. The wine is a notable expression of this terroir, as Fabrice Pouillon reveals by vinifying with only the natural sugars from perfectly ripe Pinot Noir, in addition to only utilizing the indigenous yeasts present in the must. He accomplishes this by chilling unsulfured grape must in tank to a temperature low enough to prevent spoilage or fermentation. This must is then used for the secondary fermentation, as well as the dosage after disgorgement, rather than cane sugars or MCR. The resulting wine is layered and supple with a fine bead, displaying red fruits, blood orange peel, and spices, expressing the vinous character of Pinot Noir grown in the clays of the Grande Vallee de la Marne. John McIlwain
Located in the hills above Essoyes, Ruppert-Leroy's vines are a study of polyculture, in contrast to most of the vineyards of Champagne. All are adjacent to forest, with dozens of herbs, wildflowers, grasses growing between the rows. In the Spring, there is a riot of color between the vines. Martin-Fontaine is 100% Chardonnay, fermented with native yeasts, bottled without dosage as of the 2013 vintage sees no addition of sulfur. We are lucky to be able to revisit the 2011, which is in a beautiful place at the moment, with a nose redolent of shortbread, lemon curd, and wet stone. The palate is stony, saline, and quite savory with umami notes vying for attention with pure flavors of ripe white orchard fruits. Quite pretty and detailed, this shows the potential of the terroir in this part of the Aube. John McIlwain
We have waited all summer for the no sulfur added Fosse-Grely "Autrement" and it's finally here! Sourced from organically and biodynamically grown grapes in the chalky/clay soils of single, north-west facing, amphitheater-shaped parcel, this wine is 100% Pinot Noir and brilliantly golden in color with a finely beaded mousse. The nose offers aromas of Cortland apples, hazelnuts, anise, toffee, and lime blossom. While the palate is alive with a powerful minerality that carries notes of Jonagold and Granny Smith apples, fenugreek, and linden blossom through to a hazelnut finish. Finely balanced and delicious! (Disgorged 4/2015) - David Salinas
While today we tend to think of most wines in terms of fruit or mineral descriptors, some transcend those notes with profoundly savory character. Ruppert-Leroy's 100% Pinot Noir Champagne Les Cognaux hits this sweet spot with loads of minerality, pure fruit, and a rich sapid character which makes it a natural for the table. Here's a wine that will stand up to all manner of savory dishes, while leaving the palate refreshed. A visit to the vines with Bénédicte Ruppert of Ruppert-Leroy is an illuminating experience. There’s a world of difference between the Aube and the Vallée de la Marne. Not only are the soils different, (Kimmeridgean limestone vs. chalk), but the undulating landscape itself is wilder and less manicured. Often the vineyards abut forest rather than village, which in the case of biodynamic growers is especially desirable to insure a biodiversity according to Bénédicte. Between the vines is a riot of vegetation and flowers, as Ruppert-Leroy has 30 different plants and flowers sown in the vineyard. One such vineyard is the Les Cognaux whose grey marl soils are planted to Pinot Noir and when we visited in the Spring was aglow with yellow flowers. (These flowers are made into a tissane by Bénédicte to treat the vines for mildew.) The wildness of the countryside is reflected in the wines which are energetic, exuberant, and vibrantly mineral. The 2013 Les Cognaux shows red fruit, peach skin, orange peel, and see spray aromas with notes of daishi and fond. The palate balances lush, ripe flavors of apricot, peach, and Rainier cherry with crunchy acidity, compelling umami character and a pungent sense of minerality. The finish is vibrant and luminous. As of 2013 Ruppert-Leroy vinifies and bottles without SO2. John McIlwain
Aurelien Suenen is one of the bright young stars of the Côte des Blancs, whose Champagnes seem to improve with every new release. His 2014 based Oiry Blanc de Blancs is a beauty. Wines from the village are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees, and are bottled with 1 g/l dosage. The 2014 is brisk, briny, and fresh on the nose with aromas of yuzu, Meyer lemon, quinine, and chalk dominating. The palate is chiseled, taut and very dry with racy acidity and an energetic driving finish. Suenen continues to grow with each vintage and this new line up of village designated Champagnes are particularly exciting. The 2014 will make a fine aperitif and shiny brightly with crudo or sashimi. John McIlwain
A new cuvée from Côtes-des Bar sensation Vouette et Sorbée is cause for celebration for lovers of pure, organic Champagnes. Extrait is a late-disgorge bottling from a single vintage, bottled without dosage. The 2005 is 70% Pinot Noir from the Sorbee vineyard by grower Bertrand Gautherot's house and 30% Chardonnay from the Biaunes vineyard where they source Blanc d'Argile. The wine has a pale gold robe and fine bead. The nose has notes of honey, dried orange peel, fresher red-fruit, and citrus aromas (tangerine, blood orange). The palate shows great energy, with candied orange peel, red fruit, and pungnet mineral flavors with notes of brioche and crushed herbs. Quite dry, but by no means austere, this has good mid-plate density with a hint of burnished character on the long, persistent, punchy finish. This is linear rather than broad and a makes a convincing case for aging wines from the Aube. John McIlwain
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Extrait is a newly-released late-disgorged cuvée from biodynamic grower Vouette et Sorbée. The 2006 is 60% Pinot Noir 40% Chardonnay. It has a golden robe, soft mousse, and a fine bead. The nose shows aromas of Seville orange peel, cocoa, mint, with notes of autolyse. The palate offers flavors of honeycomb, orange oil, sous-bois, and stone, with hints of brine and broth on the broad, verging on muscular finish. This is vinous and comes off richer, perhaps more powerful still than the 2005. The long lees aging adds compelling layers of complexity to an already fascinating expression of Aube terroir. This is a essential drinking for fans of Vouette et Sorbée's Champagne! Disgorged 5/16 and bottled without dosage. John McIlwain
From vines planted in 1939, 1950, 1979 in the limestone and red clays and gravels beneath les Lavières. The Aux Grands Liards is bit muted upon opening, but with 2 hours in the decanter lovely fruit and pungent soil aromas emerge. Aromatically the wine is perfumed and quite pretty with aromas of wild strawberry, red currant, black tea, and brambles. Fine strawberry and mineral flavors build on the mid-weight palate and carry over on an admirably long finish. This is a fine and satisfying Savigny-Les-Beaune and recommended for mid to long-term cellaring. Decant early or hold 3-5 years to allow elements to integrate. John McIlwain
Aux Grands Liards is located beneath the Les Lavières premier cru. Its soils are comprised of limestone, ferrous clay, and gravel. Per the Domaine, the vines were planted in 1939, 1950, and 1979. The 2015 Aux Grands Liards is a bit more backwards than Les Bourgeots on opening. With air, the nose expands to reveal pure wild cherry, black currant, pomegranate, and an array of baking spice aromas, with just enough earthy notes to remind you that this is Savigny. The palate—equally circumspect on opening—also gains expressiveness and complexity with air. Lovely flavors of red and black cherry, hedge fruits, and game are counterbalanced by savory mineral and spice notes on a vibrant and velvety finish, with a sneakily racy acidity, and ripe tannins framing the whole affair. You could certainly enjoy this young, but there is fantastic potential here for aging into something special. One heck of a Savigny-Les-Beaune for those with patience! John McIlwain
The Simon Bize 2015 Savigny Les Bourgeots is higher-toned and more tightly wound than the Bourgogne Perrières. The nose is in a cool register: vine smoke, black cherry skin, wild blackberry cassis, mint, and a hint of brambly wet bark. The palate is tightly wound and nervy, but offers a fine tension between cool ripe fruit and a pungent, sapid mineral character. This needs plenty of air to come together, but the purity of fruit and energy that's implied within the structure is intriguing. Decant now or cellar for 3-5 years to allow the elements to integrate. Should be interesting to follow over the next 7-10 years. Quite enjoyable with pasta and a sausage and mushroom ragu, and should work beautifully with pork in a mustard sauce, or with crispy duck confit and a salad of bitter greens. John McIlwain
From .38 HA biodynamically farmed vines averaging over 40 years old, high on the hillside of Corton. Traditionally the most powerful and stern of the stable of red Corton lieu-dits at Chandon de Briailles. 80% whole cluster fermentation. There’s a fair bit of reduction to this initially, but with a long decant this recedes to reveal aromas plummy black fruit, animale funk, black tea, and fresh-turned earth. In the mouth ripe red/black fruit flavors mingle with pungent minerality on the vibrant mid-weight palate. There is good sap and firm, but ripe tannins supporting the fruit on the long, substantial finish. This has real class and should be sensational after 10-15 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
While the jewel of the premier crus of Pernand-Vergelesses, like Les Lavières, the Ile de Vergelesses vineyard suffered substantially from the hail of 2013. Another in a series of what Claude de Nicolay refers to as “virtual vintages” only half the normal crop was harvested in the 2014 vintage. In light of the vintage character, fermentation was 40% whole cluster with a somewhat shorter elevage to emphasize the beautifully pure fruit. Here the nose shows a blend of black fruits, wood smoke, baking spices, and faint hints of anise. The mid-weight palate features blackberry, cassis, and blood orange flavors giving way to a pungent, nearly saline minerality, which carries thru on the persistent, sapid finish. This has impeccable balance, if not the power of more blockbuster vintages. This is attractive and has plenty of drive and detail to frame the pure, pretty fruit. John McIlwain
The Beaune-Grèves is more powerful than the Aigrots; it is earthier and has darker fruit. There is a lot of mouth-weight and tannin, and that wonderful 2011 acidity that comes out on the finish. Like most of Lafarge's wines, this could age for a long time. A great effort! JBT
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
Upon opening Rapet's Grèves is a bit circumspect: initially showing a lot of hedge fruit, wood smoke, soil notes. Nose and palate open to reveal dark fruits, a bit of bramble, sous-bois, spice, cherry pit, and mineral spice. Some structure here, but with fine poise. There's a lovely sweetness within the tannins which bodes well for some time in the cellar to allow all the elements to knit. Near term patience should be well rewarded. Decant now or cellar for 3-5 years and enjoy over the next 10 years. Made a fine pairing with a salad of frisée, duck confit, toasted pecans, and a sherry vinaigrette. John McIlwain
Ile des Vergelesses is certainly one of the best premier cru vineyards in Burgundy - a perfectly exposed mid-slope vineyard on limestone and iron-rich soils, steep enough for ideal drainage, producing wines that age beautifully for 15 to 20 years - considered by many to be grand cru quality. The 2014s from Vincent Rapet are lovely, beautifully balanced wines. The 2014 Ile des Vergelesses shows very bright perfume of wild strawberry, black raspberry, rose, pepper and licorice. The palate is very dense with elegant, chalky red fruits that coat the palate. This should develop beautifully - it's perfectly balanced at 13% alcohol with firm acidity - well structured for aging. Fun to taste now, especially if decanted or opened the night before, probably best 2022 - 2035. David Lillie
Jean-Claude Rateau's domaine has been Biodynamic since 1979 and produces lovely light-bodied, old fashioned Burgundies. The 2014 Beaune Les Prévoles (a lieu-dit below 1er Cru Chouacheux and les Tuvilains) shows beautiful aromas of cherry and berry fruits with rose, blood orange and brown spice. The palate is chalky, ripe and sapid while remaining light and fresh with berry fruits and tart citrusy acids. This develops nicely with aeration, becoming more supple and round, and finishes with stone, mineral and ripe fruits. Serve this delicious wine a bit cool with any mild chicken or white meat dish and goat cheeses, morbier, tomme de savoie. This should age nicely, best perhaps 2020 - 2026.
Generous black cherry, boysenberry, notes of cherry pit and anise on nose. Ripe mid-weight palate, ripe black fruits, hints of iodine and iron and other soil beneath supple structure. Succulent acidity and savory mineral notes offset the ripeness and lend energy and drive on a rich, palate-coating finish. This has good punch, even if it's more generous than I associate with very young Rateau. The purity of fruit and earth notes are finely balanced and this is an excellent Burgundy for the mid-term. A fine pairing with braised chicken thighs with mustard, tarragon, and shallots. A great value from the pioneer of biodynamic Burgundy! John McIlwain
Red/black fruit on the nose. A bit bosky. Bright acid, succulent fruit good balance of bramble and animale on the periphery. Medium tannins. Fresh, punchy attack, lifted mid-palate, good length. There's beautiful poise here between rustic and suave. Good now. Better still in 3-5 years. As always, Rollin remains a solid value in Burgundy and a worthy addition to one's table and cellar. John McIlwain
Bright and high-toned, red-fruited on the nose. Lovely red cherry, ripe raspberry, and wild strawberry flavors on a velvety, lissome palate with a rising, energetic finish. This is a pretty, rather than powerful expression of La Fussière and a delicious natural Burgundy. Tasty now, should make for immensely pleasurable drinking with a few years in the cellar. John McIlwain
From the vines planted in southern portion of Damodes planted in 1949 and 1956. There are 40cm of brown gravely clay over mother rock. Medium dark robe. The nose is offers an array of dark fruit and floral notes with hints of grilled meat. The palate is distinctly mineral, with salty, reminiscent of iodine flavors giving way to wild blackberry fruit and very fine, velvety tannins. With are the structure builds, but the fruit keeps pace on a long, rising finish. This should drink on the earlier side and pair beautifully with magret of duck or grilled ribeye with herb butter. John McIlwain
From a .17 HA plot of 60-year-old vines in above Perrieres, on a natural wall of calcaire, or limestone. The name Les Poulettes derives from the small game birds found in the area. Christophe Drag notes the site is very warm and sees little wind, so is the first to flower and first harvested. The 2013 shows aromas of blackberry blossoms, dark hedge fruit, and cool herbal notes on the nose. The palate is black-fruited, offering wild blackberry and dark cherry flavors framed by a distinctive mineral edge on a bright, lifted finish. There's a fine balance of structure and fruit and this should drink beautifully in the near term, though I'd wager given time to integrate the elements, there is nice upside for midterm cellaring. Enjoy with mushroom dishes and certainly squab or poussin! John McIlwain
From a .41 HA parcel of old vines next to Chaboeufs on the north side of Vaucrains. The soils are brown, "fat clays make it hard to work the earth" according to vigneron Christophe Drag, with large oolithic stones are the top of the slope. Always the sternest and most majestic of Chauvenet's crus, the 2013 is aromatically dense with layered dark-fruit, game, and spice aromas giving way to pungent soil notes. The palate is similarly complex with pure black cherry, plum, and earthy flavors underlain with distinctively savory, verging on pungent mineral component on a muscular, driving, persistent finish. There are substantial acidity and ripe tannins girding this masculine, but not coarse Vaucrains, which will benefit with time in the cellar. Decant now, better still in 7-10 years when this should sing. A beautiful Vaucrains! John McIlwain
This lovely Gevrey by our organic friends, Jane et Sylvain, is 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2015 shows very pretty high-toned ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with violet, soil, graphite and citrus peel. The palate is dense and balanced, with a mineral aspect missing in most modern Burgundies, with supple ripe cherry and strawberry fruit with citrus and herbal notes. The finish is very long with red fruits, spice, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-fashioned Burgundy that is delicious now and should age nicely, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
A mere 200 meters from Les Essards, Les Plantes Aux Bois has clay top soils overlying the hard limestone mother rock. The nose is generous, perfumed, and dark-fruited with aromas of black raspberry and plum giving way to notes of game and spices. Flavors of blackberry, cassis, and plum dominate on the ripe, mid-weight palate. There is good freshness, with bright acidity providing lift and drive on a long, lingering, cool-toned finish. Lovely with a quick decant, but plenty of material to justify mid-term cellaring. I love the idea of this with a holiday meal. Light on its feet with good freshness to wake the palate, but enough minerality to whet the appetite of the discerning Burgundy aficionado. Delicious! John McIlwain
Les Arvelets premier cru is located on the top of the slope on the Marsannay side of Fixin. It shares more of the high-toned coltish character of that village than the Gevrey nature of the premier crus to its south, with soils comprised of small stones and sand over hard limestone. Planted in the 1950s and 1980s. The 2015 Les Arvelets is black-fruited with ripe aromas of bing cherry and dewberry, brambles, and cinnamon, layered with notes of sousbois, iron, and a kiss of oak. The palate displays a cool edge with a fine bead of minerality offsetting the ripeness of the fruit. There's good balance here and this should blossom beautifully with 3 to 5 years in the cellar. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness in underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
Les Faconnières, planted in 1948, is located beneath Clos St. Denis. 50% whole cluster. This is always the most stylish of Virgile Lignier's premier crus. More floral and denser on the palate than Les Chenevery, with a good deal of the class of the grand crus. The 2015 is effusively perfumed with heady aromas of black and red hedge fruits, wild cherry, and spice. The palate is distinctly mineral, framing lush flavors of sweetly ripe cherry and blackberry, with notes of game and mustard seed on a tense, vibrant finish. As with others of Lignier-Michelot's 2015s, the effusive ripeness is underlain by good structure and bodes well for long-term cellaring. John McIlwain
This a wonderful expression of Les Sentiers, aromatically expressive and layered. There are bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violets, woody herbs, and game on the nose. The mid-weight palate initially shows brambly black fruits, and pungent soil flavors. With time in the glass notes of dark cherry and cherry pit appear along with a savory ferrous minerality and spice notes. The tension between fruit and earthiness is compelling and will gain in complexity with time in the cellar. More expressive on the second day. If enjoying now, decant for several hours or revisit in 7-10 years and enjoy for the decade following. John McIlwain
Situated just above Clos de la Roche, the Magnien's 2014 1er Cru Mont-Luisants shares the grand cru's "inherent lushness" (Clive Coates) in this lovely vintage for Burgundy. The wine shows a deep red-black color with lush aromas of blackberry, plum and ripe strawberry with earth, graphite and citrus. Dense ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit coats the palate with hints of bitter chocolate and soil. Surprisingly round but with nice chalky acidity and a long finish of citrus and pretty berry fruits. Quite delicious now, this lovely wine will offer superb drinking with a little time in the cellar, perhaps best 2020 - 2035. David Lillie
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
From two small parcels in "Aux Eletois" (below Grand Cru Griottes) and "les Epointures" (below 1er Cru Clos Prieur) on the more fine and aromatic side of Gevrey.The 2015 shows a lovely bright red/black color with high-toned aromas of ripe black cherry and strawberry with violet and graphite. The palate is dense and ripe with tart red fruits, very pure and long with hints of licorice and citrus with a chalky mineral backbone. Drink now to enjoy the lush, bright fruit or cellar five to eight years, then drink until 2030. Lovely wine. DL
Organically farmed, spontaneously-fermented Mosel Riesling for under $15. Just off-dry enough, Mosel St. is a go-to bottle for folks looking for fresh and easy Riesling to pair with food and friends. Perfect for everyday drinking, the wine is spritzig upon opening, medium-bodied, with good minerality and fruitiness. Notes of white peach and cherry, lemon juice, tart apricot, come forth with vibrant acidity to balance the residual sweetness and bring you back for another sip. Cari Bernard
A light ruby with rose rim; bright and linear, with a piquant nose of red flowers, paprika, tangy red currants. On the palate this Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is fresh, tart and willowy, reminiscent of a Rosso di Valtellina, with crunchy red fruits--wild strawberries, sour cherries, red currants, cranberries, raspberry seeds; the wine snaps to a slightly drying structure with a whisper of pink roses and cloves on the finish. Cari Bernard
Tasted moments after I arrived at Hofgut Falkenstein on a sweltering day in July, I failed to get notes down on any sort of paper. I do remember being very pleased with the fresh intensity of the mousse, brightness of the acidity, notes of green and yellow stone fruit with a refreshing citrus zestiness and stony minerality...a delightful, dry sparkling Riesling (tasted again back in the states, this all still holds true)! Pair with cheese and salty appetizers, rich pâtés, vegetable gratin, turkey or ham! Cari Bernard
Sourced from a south-facing parcel of 60-70 year-old vines on the Herrenberg. The palate is clean and light with notes of green tea and peach, starfruit and white grapefruit zest, fantastic balance and tension awash with minerality. Cari Bernard
The two different Euchariusberg Spätlese bottlings (AP 6 and AP 14) are sourced from two separate parcels, found further up the Großschock slope from the plots used for the Kabinett wines. Honeyed yuzu and stone on the nose, the palate is ripe and fresh with notes of tangerine and lemon juice, crushed peach, white strawberry and ginger, balanced and elegant! Cari Bernard
Jasmine, pollen, and apricot aromas with just the slightest bit more weight on the palate than Ober Schäfershaus, notes of juicy nectarine mingle with an assortment of citrus: tangerine zest, meyer lemon and yuzu come to mind. An ideal wine to pair with fresh summer salads, fish crudo, oysters on the half shell. Cari Bernard
Weingut Frank John has been biodynamic since their first vintage in 2003, Demeter certified since the 2012 vintage, with a commitment to hand-harvesting, natural yeast fermentation, ageing in wood, and minimal sulfur additions. An incredibly elegant and layered Riesling Brut Sekt, with 41 months spent on the lees and close to 8 grams per liter of dosage. White and red grapefruit, star fruit and burnished peach on the nose, the wine is oxidative and broad, with a creamy mousse and aggressive attack. Powerful and vinous, with rich notes of apple, citrus oils and pith, a show-stopping sparkling wine. Cari Bernard
The Saumagen vineyard is littered with small limestone rocks that reflect heat onto the vines. Though it was expanded in the 1980's, Koehler-Ruprecht's holdings are in the original south-east facing parcel. Glistening notes of lemon, salt, butter, and nuts. A dry Pfalz wine with a lot of finesse, not overly powerful or austere. Great spine of acidity, complex, with depth and length. Will take to the cellar quite well. Jonathan Kemp
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the cooler climate and wind at this altitude makes for a site that is often harvested last. We haven't had a chance to try a bottle yet but will report back as soon as we do! Cari Bernard
Covered in eroded gray slate, Unterstenberg is the site on the Ayler Kupp that has some of the most water retention due to its location at the foot of the hillside. Notes of peach, orange zest, apple compote, and red grapefruit on the nose open up to a rich and fruit-forward palate boasting ripe apricot, yellow apple skin, and pineapple. Spicy and bold! Cari Bernard
Lauer ‘Senior’ is Florian’s nod to making a style of wine his grandfather (Peter Lauer Sr.) would enjoy. His aim is to make a feinherb, weeknight wine from 70-year-old, ungrafted vines on the Kupp. With each passing vintage, Senior always seems to over deliver--for the price, the level of complexity is outstanding. The nose is less fruit-forward than the palate, with notes of oatmeal and stone, herbs, and Fuji apple. The wine is vibrant and just slightly off-dry with a deft balance between fresh green and bold tropical flavors--green fig, underripe peach, and tart green plum with pineapple and white blossom. Cari Bernard
A delicate nose of apricot blossom and grapefruit zest, the Fass 8 Kabinett drinks fairly lean in style, with fantastic balance and elegant integration of the residual sugar. Cooler notes of green strawberries mingle on the finish with fresh nectarine, yuzu, and crisp apple. Cari Bernard
Florian's 'Extry Dry' offering, sourced from the Ayler Kupp. Aromas of melon, apple skin, and tea--all green. A touch tight, but more giving than 2015, the palate is more yellow-fruited, with notes of pear, apple, stone, savory earth, and smoke on the long finish. Cari Bernard
Ripe, golden grapes picked from a range of vineyards on Ayler Kupp. We look forward to sharing notes with you soon! Cari Bernard
Kern is a parcel on the west-facing side of the Ayler Kupp, extending from the top to the bottom of the slope, a cross-section of slate at multiple levels of erosion, warmed by the afternoon sun. A tropical nose of kiwi and passion fruit, the wine has a sharp, juicy attack of white grapefruit zest and kumquat, balanced by notes of green herbs, salinity, and wet stone minerality on the finish. Cari Bernard
Lauer's portion of Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Kupp closer to the base of the slope. Piquant, with vibrant red grapefruit, tangerine, and apricot notes that continue onto the palate followed by ripe mango, peach candy, yuzu and orange zest with ginger spice on the lengthy finish. Complex and fruity with great tension! Cari Bernard
Lambertskirch is a parcel (not too far from Schonfels) that during its long history has gone from vines to fruit trees and forest overgrowth. The Lauer family rented vines on the hillside until the 1990s, when the owners chose to pull up the vines. Florian purchased the plot in 2010, cleared and replanted the 0.2 hectares in 2012 with old-vine cuttings from five different vineyards. 2016 marks the third vintage (second as Kabinett) from this predominately southeast-facing site where large pieces of gray slate litter the ground between the vines. Wisps of honeycrisp apple, key lime zest, nectarine, kiwi, and tiny white blossoms fill the nose, the palate is young and fresh, with cool minerality balancing the silky lime and kumquat oils, juicy tangerine, bitter pollen and green apple candy on the finish. Cari Bernard
Thorsten Melsheimer has been farming organically in the Mosel since 1995 (certified ECOVIN) and became Demeter (biodynamic) certified in 2013. His top site, the Reiler Mullay-Hofberg is a stunning example of biodiversity and extreme vineyard work. A sight to behold, the Mullay-Hofberg vineyard juts out and cascades down the side of the mountain, a terraced portion switchbacks to just below the top of the slope. Shards of gray and red slate litter the ground between bursts of green vegetation and single-post trained Riesling vines. In a new addition to the landscape, Thorsten's goats graze in the surrounding grassy patches. The history of this vineyard runs deep, with the earliest record of vineyards existing here dating back to 1146 CE. Having only 16 g/L of residual sugar and screamingly high acidity means this drinks closer to a lean dry-tasting style more than a Kabinett: sponti and a touch of petrol on the nose, the wine is angular and stony, with notes of salted sour orange and tart kumquat, green mango, green apple skin, lemonade, yellow apricot and white blossoms on the finish. Cari Bernard
What to serve with all sorts of warming, rich, spiced desserts? Gewürztraminer Eiswein! Grown on loamy soils with limestone and clay in the Haardter Herrenletten, left to freeze in the winter and harvested with an intense level of sugars and acidity. We were lucky to grab some of these from a private cellar, but haven't been able to try them yet! However, all signs point to this bottle being an awesome pairing for the sweeter end of your holiday table! Cari Bernard
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 and minerality. This year's #10 boasts ginger spice with a touch of white flowers on the nose, the wine is both juicy and mineral, with linear flavors of green mango and apple--a bit tight to open now, this bottle should age wonderfully!! Cari Bernard
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 and minerality. This year's #10 boasts ginger spice with a touch of white flowers on the nose, the wine is both juicy and mineral, with linear flavors of green mango and apple-- a bit tight to open now, this bottle should age wonderfully!! Cari Bernard
Beneath a layer of sandy-loam, Pechstein's soils hold basalt or pitched stone, the source of this vineyard's name. Along with the Jesuitengarten this wine was one of the clear stand-outs of Markus' 2014 campaign. It shines a golden honey yellow in the glass and welcomes with aromas of lilacs, chrysanthemums, grilled pistachios, lavender, and cranberries. The palate shows a fine minerality, offering tremendous length with notes of white truffles prior to a linden blossom finish. This is nuanced and impeccably detailed, dry Riesling!- David Salinas
Ungrafted Sylvaner planted in 1934 on a mixture of red sandstone and limestone soils. Evoking thoughts of Chablis with its linear and stony intensity; the palate is bright with tart lemon juice, underripe nectarine, and a chalky minerality. Beautifully nuanced and fresh. Cari Bernard
Let's be honest here: this is basically a Beerenauslese, with 140 g/L of residual sugar and 12.5 grams of acidity! 100% botrytis-affected grapes, this wine can (and should) age for quite some time. The nose hints at peach candy, cinnamon, and button mushroom, on the palate the wine shows both intensity and density, rich with honeyed peaches, orange oil, and apricot preserves. A fantastic bottle for those who wait! Cari Bernard
Wolfer Goldgrube is a steep amphitheater rising above a bend in the Mosel river, south to southwest-facing, with predominately Devonian gray slate (certain parcels variegated with iron-rich red slate). Old vines here are ungrafted and some are over 80 years in age. The wine has a velvety, almost creamy richness with notes of peach, mango, and white flowers balanced by the lift of acidity. We are super-excited to offer Daniel's WG Kabinett en magnum, as we love his wines, and can think of few better ways to enjoy them than in large format with food and friends! Cari Bernard
While I love dry German Riesling and am constantly evangelizing about its virtues, I still love wines with some sweetness more than most Germans and perhaps more than the proprietors of Von Racknitz themselves. That's most likely why this was the first wine I tasted at the estate that got three stars in my notebook (out of a max of three -- it's not a particularly precise system, I admit). As excited as I was by it, the note is somewhat brusque: "Very ripe aromas; concentrated peach and herbs. A lot of depth. Like the sun exploding in my mouth. So succulent. Exceptional!" The vines are over 60 years old, the wines are fermented spontaneously in stainless steel, the yields are absurdly low (30 hl/ha) and it's just an outright delicious, lip-smacking Spätlese. -jfr
From the ripe 2009 vintage, Giacomo Conterno's Barolo Cascina Francia avoids the overly rich character of some of the wines of their neighbors. Perfumes of orange oil, earth, grilled meat arise from the glass. The palate while dense and structured shows fine counterpoise between power and elegance, with sweet fruit, soil notes, and savory notes framed by ripe tannins and buoyed by good acidity for the vintage. This is quite pretty and while drinking nicely with decanting, this will benefit from another 10-20 years in the cellar when the fruit and structure should integrate. John McIlwain
A consistently excellent wine — we've been lucky to get to taste this several times in the last few years. It needs a lot of time to breathe, and then it provides a classic example of fully mature Nebbiolo. Jamie Wolff
This was originally purchased by a wine investment fund called Emprimer; we don't like to discourage any motivation for buying wine, but as so often happens with wine investment schemes, Emprimer failed and sold-off their wine, and that's when our friend bought it. All along it's been properly cellared. In any case it's exactly the same wine as any with the Oddero label.
This Rosso is 90% Barbera and 10% Dolcetto. We will drink some on Thanksgiving – we have a miscellaneous crowd of fellow-orphans, and they represent a wide range of taste and interest in wine, or lack thereof. I am not normally a fan of blends from Piedmont, so it’s surprising to me that I love this wine. There is still plenty of old vine Barbera character, but extra vivacity and complexity from the Dolcetto makes it really delicious and interesting. I anticipate it to be a crowd-pleaser, with enough intrigue for wine lovers, easy drinkability for the drinkers, and a very good pick to play well with the crazy range of Thanksgiving flavors. Jamie Wolff
Mint, balsam, on top of full Nebbiolo aromatics and a lot of minerality; very ripe and firm tannins. This shows that it’s not all about 2010! It’s made from younger vines in Boscareto (see below), usually harvested rather later than the neighbors. Principiano thinks that his organic viticulture has made a huge difference in the health of the vines, even in difficult growing seasons. The wine gets about a month of maceration and then is aged in 20,000 and 40,000 liter barrels. It’s a harmonious and deep wine with a long future. Jamie Wolff
Black cherry and kirsch flavors are underlined by subtle hints of bresaola, dark chocolate, and fresh earth. It's not a powerful vintage, but nevertheless impresses with its lightness, litheness, and elegance (2/28/16). Jonas Mendoza
1974 was a sleeper vintage for the Produttori, and it has definitely impressed on two separate occasions while tasting vertical flights of the cooperative's normale. Ripe red and black cherry fruit flavors mingle with secondary notes of balsamic, dark chocolate, and spaded earth. The medium body and robustness is supported by a quite lithe texture (1/17/17). Jonas Mendoza
Brambly black cherry with undertones of black raisin and sweet dirt. Quite developed with secondary/tertiary notes of hoisin, dried mushroom, and dried meat. After 40 years, it still has plenty of structure and only started to reveal itself after being double-decanted eight hours earlier (1/17/17)! Jonas Mendoza
I couldn't help but make the comparison initially to older Chianti, with flavors of dried red cherry and dried herbs. As the evening progressed, the wine became richer and weightier with darker fruit notes of black raspberry and brandied cherry with intensity similar to the blockbuster normale bottlings of 1971 and 1978. (1/17/17). Jonas Mendoza
Medium ruby color with hints of brick on rim. Black cherry and black tea flavors with prominent notes of hoisin and balsamic. Quite along its development, but still has firm tannins and resonant acidity (1/17/17). Jonas Mendoza
Lovely nose of caramel, wet earth, tar, roses, rainwater and old barrel spice. The color is an octave lighter than the Produttori. Elegant and juicy with vivid cherry fruit and a speherical sense on the palate. Great concentration and gritty tannins. Lovely acidity. Long finish. Totally mature wine. LF
Formerly labeled Cannubi San Lorenzo - Ravera, this is close to same blend / same wine. Early on (from barrel in 2014) the Tre Tine seemed closer in style to Brunate than usual, sharing a dark core of ripe fruit, and very ripe tannin. A year later there was more obvious difference, with the elegance of Cannubi beginning to shine. Out of about 120 Barolos, this is one of the very best 2011s we've tasted. Jamie Wolff
Allowing for the fact that wine is a very subjective experience, I like to think that I call it as I see it. So I believe I’d know if it was a disaster, but otherwise I’m irrational and unreliable on the subject of G. Rinaldi. When I’m there, I wander around in a kind of stupor of infatuation with the wines. My penetrating notes (for 2013 Tre Tine, for example) say things like “super-great” [full stop]. I suppose if I have to have a wine crush, it might as well be on one of the best wineries in the world. Jamie WolffPS: Please don’t shoot the messenger. We don’t make the prices (neither, so far as I can tell, do the Rinaldis, because the wines leave the cellar at very reasonable prices). We’re well into the world of luxury goods here, and all I can do is sigh and make puppy dog eyes at the bottles while they’re in the shop. I do think it’s an objective fact that these are great wines and even if it’s a gratuitous comparison, they are the superior of many far more expensive wines.
Last May we tried a ton of Dolcetto in the company of two distinguished tasters who kept saying they didn’t like Dolcetto, which tends to put a damper on the experience. Sandri’s, however, made them sit up and take notice, so I give them credit for staying alert and flexible enough to change their minds. It’s bracingly juicy with wild brambly fruit that’s balanced with savoury herbs and chalky stone. Medium-bodied, very lively and lifted, it’s long and complete. I happen to like Dolcetto, but if they were all half as good as this one I might say I love it. Jamie Wolff
Sa’etta is a cuvee dedicated to the best terroir of the Monte Bernardi estate: the oldest vines planted 45 years ago in the distinct compact sandstone of the area known as Pietraforte. The wine made from the best bunches of Sangiovese which are fermented on skins for 4 weeks and aged in used Slavonian and Austrian Botti for at least 2 years. The nose is intense and forward with a deep earthy tone layered with notes of tobacco, thyme, and rosemary followed by black cherry fruit. Full with grippy tannins and plenty of acidity, the palate is quite structured without being heavy or over-extracted leading into a intensely mineral finish. An assertive wine that is all the better without the presence of new oak or other “prestigious” flourishes. Perfect for the cellar, I would recommend decanting if drinking now and pairing with any full-flavored foods. For me it will always be the perfect match for a roasted leg of lamb. Andy Paynter
When Michael purchased the Monte Bernardi Estate in 2003 he was committed to making traditional Chianti without the use of "Bordeaux" varieties even though estate was already planted with French grapes that found their way into so many of Tuscany’s wines. He was already in the process of replanting the vineyards used to produce Retromarcia, so rather than uproot more vines, he diverted all of the French grapes into his own Bordeaux blend: Tzingana. Composed of 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, and 15% Petit Verdot, all co-fermented for 3 weeks and raised in barrique and tonneaux for 2 years, the wine is certainly more dense and smooth than any of his Chiantis. Rich blackberries and cassis are lifted by the smell of black tea and bay spice. Soft texture and smooth ripe tannins are supported by nice acidity, and there is a discernible minerality on the finish. Andy Paynter
This is a fantastic straw hued Soave (Garganega) from the mother-daughter team at Adalia in the Veneto. Crisp and dry with a hint of grassy texture and a long mineral finish. Eben Lillie
Crivella is made with fruit from Bianco’s oldest vines, including some planted in the mid 1800s by Riccardo’s great-great-something grandfather; such old vines are extremely rare, and while they produce very little fruit, it’s impossible for Riccardo to even think about replacing them. At a tasting in the shop a customer said, “Like Sauternes with bubbles!” which was a lovely way to describe the wine and its rich and unctuous character. made lively with fizz. While there’s no botrytis, Crivella is much more complex and detailed than all but the very best Sauternes. I’ve certainly never tasted anything like it — a stunning wine. Jamie Wolff Moscato d'Asti is usually a fairly light and simple affair, but this bottling has gravitas to stand up to the most complex, aged cheeses. If an old Stilton and Port sounds a bit much, try this invigorating Moscato for a bit of a lighter approach. John Rankin
Bettigna Vermentino is a classic example of the grape from a region known for Vermentino (or is it known for Pigato?): the Colli di Luni straddling the border of Liguria and Tuscany. Fairly deep and golden in the glass, the nose is dense with ripe stone fruit and golden apples with subtle notes of honeysuckle and thyme and a whiff of zesty citrus. Medium weight on the palate with real focus, the acidity and mineral tones of the wine make the fruit seem leaner but in a refreshing way with a saline and slightly bitter finish. Fairly bracing by itself, the wine shines with food; it would suit flounder simply fried, skate with pesto, or any delicate fish quite well. Andy Paynter
La Stoppa’s Ageno cuveé is named for the original founder of the estate, Giancarlo Ageno, who planted the first vines here in the 19th century. Those cuttings, originally all french varieties, have since been replaced by varieties indigenous to the region in a process that also saw the estate convert to organic agriculture beginning in the 1990s. While certainly not made with the french varieties planted 100 years ago, the Ageno Bianco is a stunning wine. Primarily Malavasia di Candia Aromatica blended with Ortrugo and some Trebbiano, the wine is macerated for 30 days on the skins, rested for a year in a mix of stainless steel and old barrels followed by two years in bottle. The color is striking, showing deeply bronze and slightly turbid with some sediment, but still quite vibrant. The nose is, as you might expect from a grape called Aromatica, intense with deep ripe Cara Cara oranges, layers of baking spice and mid-bloom apple blossom with hints of honeycomb. The palate is dense, and there is a nice balance of fine-grained tannin with refreshing acidity. The wine is bone dry but not austere or astringent with very ripe citrus fruits, juicy yellow peaches and a long finish. Recently enjoyed with shrimp scampi, this wine would pair well with rich but not oily fish: think scallops seared in butter, monkfish torchon, or squid. Serve very slightly chilled and enjoy. Andy Paynter
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after August 7th.
Timorasso is a golden-colored grape from Piedmont's Colli Tortonese. Aside from Gavi and Moscato, Piedmont is not well known for white wines, and Timorasso has a bit more richness and weight compared to most white wine grapes. There's a bit of spice and an almost nutty character that complements marmalade and orange fruit tones. This wine is very interesting to try as an example of an heirloom variety that almost went extinct, and it is extremely capable at the dinner table for anything from seafood, Middle Eastern food, or rich pastas. John Rankin
Solouva, The side project of Giovanni Arcari with Andrea Rudelli, shows a more opulent side of Franciacorta. The nose shows very ripe fruit with notes of white peach and golden apple alongside guava and passion fruit with a slight brioche note from 3 years on the lees. The palate is fairly dry with good acidity but more than anything it is fleshy with juicy peaches and tropical fruit lifted by an active mousse. A luscious wine to try with grilled peaches and herbed goat cheese, chicken salad, bagels and lox, or rich soups. Andy Paynter
Anjou last year, Vin de France this year (the mystery of the Appellation board!), this is Chenin Blanc from Anjou, whether or not it's on the label. Dense, and crystalline, witn mint flower and and cooked apples on the nose, a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla on the palate. Stones, herbs, and a touch of refreshing salinity in the super long finish. This is truly a young wine, and a big expression of Chenin. A fascinating bottle to have over several days. One really gets the sense that this young Thomas Batardiere is getting very comfortable and connected with his vineyards.Drink now with a proper decant or put it away for a while! Eben Lillie
The Batardiere Clos des Noels is a beautiful Cabernet Franc with vibrant red fruit and light body. Red floral notes are followed by ripe strawberry and cherry with a hint of pine needle on the nose. The wine is more earthy on the palate with some tannin and bright, fresh acidity.
* This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
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, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. In 2014, the Baudrys produced superb wines with perfect balance and lovely, pure fruit. Their precise vinifications, matched to each different terroir, with no new oak, minimal sulfur, and elevage of the right length and in the right barrel, foudre or vat, gave elegant and delicous results. The 2014 Clos Guillot is a black/purple color with red rim, showing intense aromas of red currant, boysenberry, blackberry, fines herbs, citrus and stone with hints of dark chocolate and musk. The palate shows bright, lush, sappy red and black fruits with bright acidity lifting the flavors and coating the palate with citrusy red fruits, saline minerals and wet stone. Beautiful wine! Case quantities are possible, but don't delay. DL
From a tiny parcel in La Croix Boissée, with 15 to 25 year-old Chenin vines on thin sandy clay soils over limestone. Slow fermentation in 500 liter tonneaux until "sec" - under 2 grams per liter of residual sugar. The 2016 shows aromas of green pear, citrus, almond, lime-flower and stone, more subtle than the riper 2015. The palate is dry and elegant with almond and white fruit flavors backed with firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is an stylish young Chenin Blanc that will accompany any mild-flavored seafood dish, or cellar ten to fifteen years for a more complex experience. David Lillie
Tasted twice in February 2016 and 2017, the 2011 Les Perrières has impressed both times with it's structure and complexity, showing dense, deep earthy red fruits with meaty and herbal notes. There is ample tannin for aging, but there is good ripeness that opens up nicely with decanting. This superb Bourgueil will accompany grilled pork and beef and full-flavored cheeses. Decant 3 to 4 hours in advance if serving now, or cellar - best perhaps 2020 to 2030. DL
From 30 to 45 year-old vines on beautiful clay/limestone terroir in Saint-Louans, on slopes above the Vienne. The 2011 Saint-Louans received 30 months of aging in used barrels. This is an elegant wine, very marked by the limestone and rounded nicely by the extended aging. The aromas are complex and lovely with slightly spicy red fruit and earth tones. The palate is balanced with delicacy and power, indicating long aging potential. Carafe if drinking now, best perhaps 2025 - ?
The Clos Sénéchal is a south-facing mid-slope vineyard, with soils of clay and limstone over the Turonian limeston bedrock. The vines are 35 to 50 years old, replaced slowly by massale selection. The grapes are hand-harvested into 20 kilo crates, there is a three-week alcoholic fermentation with wild yeasts, no added SO2. Two year elevage in Grenier foudres with minimal SO2 added before bottling. The 2014 is a superb example of Clos Sénéchal showing a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry and cassis with earth, violet, pepper, spiced citrus and animal notes. The palate is deep and ripe with fantastic density of fruit but perfectly balanced with firm acidity at only 12.5% alcohol. There is a fine-grained, intense texture with pure black fruits, earth, graphite and dark chocolate that continue in the long, focused finish. This is a wine of earth and elegance that is enjoyable in its youth, decanting advised - or hold for 5 to 8 years, perhaps best 2025 to 2040 and beyond. Save your money on C*** R******* and put some Clos Sénéchal in your cellar!
One of our favorite Loire reds, the Breton Nuits D'Ivresse is a selection of old vines on terroirs of clay and limestone. The wine is vinified, aged and bottled without the addition of sulfur, preserving it's lovely fruit aroma. The 2014 Nuits d'Ivresse is simply sensational, showing the depth of fruit, balance and elegance of this great vintage for Loire reds. The wine shows a dark red/black color and gorgeous ripe aromas of strawberry and blackberry liqueur, a bit of musk, damp earth, violet and citrus peel, quite lovely and fresh. The palate is quite dense with meaty ripe berry fruit lifted by bright acidity and herbal notes. The finish is refreshing and long with black fruits, mineral flavors and citrusy acids. Serve cool - absolutely delicious now or cellar five to ten years. Epaulé Jeté! David Lillie
This delicious Bourgueil is from young vines on clay and gravel soils over limestone, harvested by hand into small baskets and vinified to extract the primary aromas. Trinch is particularly yummy in 2015, a sunny vintage bringing wines with lush, supple fruit, and a bit less acidity than the norm. The color is dense red/black with deep aromas of blackberry, violet and bitter chocolate with a hint of roast meat. Intense black fruits on the palate with earthy, saline minerals, musk and citrus, very supple and ripe with a nice bright finish. This is a great thirst-quenching Bourgueil to serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork and full-flavored cheeses.
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic vineyards on their varied terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. The lovely 2012 Chevalerie shows vivid aromas of berry liqueurs, bitter chocolate, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense and supple with ripe blackberry, cocoa, earth and mineral flavors balanced by cool acidity. The finish is long and lush with blackberry, prune, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-school Bourgueil to drink over the next 15 years - delicious now perhaps best from 2020 to 2025.
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
The Chateau de Coulaine has been in continuous production since 1300 (AD, that is) and is now directed by Etienne de Bonaventure who took charge in 1988 and quickly converted the domaine to organic and Biodynamic agriculture. Only available in the US at Chambers Street, the 2014 La Diablesse (named after Marie Madeleine de Vassé, Marquise de la Rochebousseau, known for her nasty temper and the murder of her brother-in-law in the time of Louis the Fifteen) is a beautiful old-vine Chinon from clay/limestone and sandy clay soils near "Les Picasses." The wine shows the beautful fruit and perfect balance of the 2014 Chinons, with a bright red/black color and aromas of ripe raspberry with violet and spice, quite cool and vivid, with hints of earth and musk. The palate is dense and ripe but not at all heavy, at 12.5% alcohol, showing elegant red and black fruits with hints of menthol, graphite and earth; ending with firm acidity and mineral flavors in the long finish. This is a very pretty Chinon showing great depth and balance from the 40 to 80 year-old vines. Decant a few hours if drinking now, and serve a bit cool, best 2022 - 2032. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
This offering from Deboutbertin is 100% Grolleau from a parcel on Schiste and sandstone, from vines that were planted in 1950. The vineyard is tiny, at 25 ares (a bit more than a half-acre), and yields are quite low, at about 20hl/ha. The 2015 is a bit more elegant than the previous vintage, with really fine tannin and a long finish. There's a hint of "barnyard" on the nose, with plenty of the vibrant fruit on the palate, and though it's relatively dark in the glass, at 10.5% alcohol, it's super easy to drink! Serve with a slight chill. Eben Lillie
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
11% alcohol and 160 grams of residual sugar. We'll spare you the breathtaking prose, but judging from prior vintages, this should be a sensational and long-lived wine..... This was a stunner. So rich but with killer cut from the acidity. Tropically fruity and ripe with some light minerality. Holding so much in reserve. A toddler of wine that will be hitting .360 one day. LF
A delicious demi-sec Chenin Blanc from Alain and Christine Bore! Honey-tinged and luscious on the nose with baked peaches, mango, pineapple, lime zest, heather, red delicious apple skin, and tangerine. Mellow and round on the palate, but balanced with exotic tropical fruits, lemon meringue, salty pineapple, honey, and Marcona almond. Tropical fruit and grapefruit endure on the finish, along with a sweetness that is never cloying. Pair with all kinds of dessert, but a summery fruit tart would be best! Tim Gagnon
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
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
Tasted February, 1997: "50 grams per liter residual sugar, 5.65 gr/l acidity. Big creamy, lemon, herbal, honeyed aromas, full on the palate with great acidity and length, perfect balance, will keep" Subsequent years have confirmed the unique character of 1996, a vintage with good ripeness but with very high acidity giving medium-bodied wines with superb elagance and freshness. While drinking beautifully now, this wine will keep for a long, long time...
A great vintage for Huet's sweet wines — lacking the high sugars of 1997 but ripe enough and with perfect acidity which will carry them a long way. The Le Mont 1er Trie is just beginning to open up and would be great fun to drink now, but better yet, put it away for another 20 years and find a reason for living! 67 gr/l RS, 5.9 gr/l acid, 12.5 % alc. ("de très longue garde" says the Huet website!)
Forward and open which is unusual for Constance. Beautifully knit palate and very long with exceptional purity and at least 75 years ahead of it. DL
85 grams/liter RS, 12.8 % Alc 50% Passerillage, 50% Botrytis. A lovely, balanced Moelleux that will age nicely, peak drinking probably 10 to 30 years away. Yummy now if you can't wait, a great wine.
2015 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux: 12.5% alc, 45 gr/l RS. A very graceful wine. Ripe mango, pineapple stalk, candied grapefruit peel, lychee, and a hint of wool rise from the glass. The palate perfectly balances opulent fruit and sweetness with bright acidity and a scintillating texture. Although approachable now, it'd be great in 5-7 years. Tim Gagnon
Typically made from organic grapes that Lise and Bertrand source from the Loire Valley, this vintage of the Exilé blanc is the result of a literal backpacking/grape harvesting mission that Bertrand went on in 2016, when the vines in the Loire were hit hard by frost and hail in the summer. The blend is Chenin Blanc, Mauzac and Chardonnay, with most of the grapes coming from a little known region called Limoux. There's a density and marked minerality that the Chenin blanc provides, with mid-palate weight of the Chardonnay. Herbal notes, quince, and spice and the subtle oxidative notes come from Mauzac. It's crisp at first, then becomes rounder, with notes of apricot, and citrus. Truly a unique wine! Eben Lillie
Christophe Foucher at La Lunotte makes brilliant natural wines on his tiny estate in Coufy, near our friends at Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. He practices uncompromising organic work in the vineyard and vinifies without sulfur and bottles by hand.This is a superb Menu Pineau, combining density of fruit with the unusual high-acid character of the grape. From very low-yielding vineyards above the Cher river, near St Aignan. It's a richer style with more skin contact than those of Puzelat/Tue-Boeuf. Christophe transfers his wines from tank into small barrels as soon as the fermentation is under way, where they stay until bottling by hand without filtration. More of an "orange wine" in 2015, the wine shows complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, peach and almond with dried fruits and brown spice. The palate is ripe and full, with firm acidity, showing candied citrus, hay, ripe pear, apricot and stone with white fruits and minerals in the finish. This is an unusual and delicious natural wine - serve with fish or chicken in sauce, full-flavored sushi, and flavorful cheeses. David Lillie
Warning! This wine is not for everyone, but if you like natural wines that are outrageously delicious, complex and full of character, then you will love the Rossignoux 2015. From vines just east of the Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. Pale gold color. Intriguing aromas of dried pear, quince, ripe melon, hay, lemon confit and white pepper. The palate is dense and ripe with pear, lemon, caramel and mineral flavors backed with firm acidity. The finish is long with citrus and white fuits. Zero SO2 and 100% delicious - another beautiful natural wine from Christophe Foucher! DL
Classic dry Chenin from schist soils up above Rochefort-sur-Loire overlooking the Loire river with the coulees of Savennieres visible in the distance. Liv combines grapes from her oldest vines (planted in 1940) and and her younger 10 year old vines, with great result. There's very pleasant and inviting fruit up-front, and with some time open, the wine reveals an impressive mineral backbone. For only the second vintage of this cuvée, Liv is doing a great job, and we're looking forward to drinking plenty of the Raguenet in the years to come! Eben Lillie
A beautiful L d'Or that shows the remarkable combination of ripeness, balance and great acidity in the 2010 vintage. This wine was surprisingly open and aromatic when tasted in January 2012 but possessed of perfect acidity and loads of saline mineral flavors, reminding us of 2002.
Chenin Blanc for Thanksgiving is perfect and René Mosse makes among the best! This showed beautifully when tasted last winter, with complex aromas of pear, lime-flower, mint, citrus and stone, with a dense and very mineral palate and fabulous length. Can't wait to try it again.
For those who want a dryer style wine on Thanksgiving, this lovely Muscadet is opening up nicely and has the right weight and density to match the turkey and sides. (And the superb new 2015 Luneau-Papin "Vera Cruz" would be lovely as well) The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstnding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
This lovely wine clearly illustrates the difference between the granite and gneiss terroirs in Muscadet. Gras Moutons, a great parcel on gneiss with clay and amphibolite stones, produces lovely, classic Muscadet. A wine to drink over the next 5 to 8 years, it has a more herbal and floral bouquet than the granite-based wines and the palate, although refreshing and bright, is softer and more open. In 2016 the majority of the grapes were lost to frost, but the portion that remained made a beautiful wine showing pretty herbal, citrus, and white fruit aromas. The palate is elegant and bright with pear, quince, lime-flower and lemon backed by silky lemony acidity and mineral flavors. Perfect with oysters, mild flavored fish and chicken dishes and goat cheeses. David Lillie
Another outstanding Vouvray from our friends François