Wine Offerings

2014 Bordeaux PART III, Red & White Pessac-Léognan & Sauternes

This Saturday we will be continuing our tasting series of the excellent 2014 vintage in Bordeaux. Our third shipment takes us across the Gironde Estuary to the “Left Bank” of Bordeaux, home to all of the official 1855 classed-growth wines.

While this tasting will mainly focus on the Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends of Pessac-Léognan, we will also be featuring a classic dry white Bordeaux blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc priced for every day drinking, and the world famous dessert wines from Sauternes.

We’ll have an assortment of wines open to taste this SaturdayAll bottle prices are deeply discounted and based on the purchase of six or more bottles.

Although Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate ratings don’t factor into how we select the wines we carry, we do understand that many drinkers find them useful. You’ll see the ratings for the 2014 vintage of each wine following the text.


White

~$18 Clos des Lunes “Lune d’Argent” (Bordeaux)
Founded by Olivier Bernard, the owner of Domaine de Chevalier and Château Guiraud. Olivier’s son, Hugo Bernard, is currently managing Clos des Lunes. (90)

~$25 Clos Floridène (Graves)
Until very recently, the estate was managed by Denis Dubourdieu, Professor of Enology at Bordeaux University and one of the greatest exponents of White Bordeaux. (89-91)


Sauternes

~$19 Château Bastor Lamontagne (Sauternes) 375ml
Recently purchased by the Cathiard family, who also own Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Pessac-Léognan and Château Beauregard in Pomerol. (90-92)

~$30 Château Guiraud (Sauternes Premier Cru Classé) 375ml
Owned by a dream team of respected Bordeaux producers including Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier and Stephan Von Neipperg of Château Canon-la-Gaffelière and La Mondotte. (93-95)

~$40 Château Rieussec (Sauternes Premier Cru Classé) 375ml
Extending across the commune of Sauternes, with both Château d’Yquem and Château de Fargues as neighbors. Château Rieussec is clearly endowed with great terroir. (95-97)

~$40 Château Suduiraut (Sauternes Premier Cru Classé) 375ml
Owned and operated by a group with several other Bordeaux wine properties including the renowned Château Pichon Baron in Pauillac and Château Petit-Village in Pomerol. (95-97)

~$43 Château Climens (Barsac Premier Cru Classé) 375ml
One of the most popular producers of Sauternes wines. Owned by Lucien Lurton of Château Brane-Cantenac and managed by his daughter Bérénice Lurton. (94-96)

 


Pessac-Léognan

~$25 Château Brown
Led by the well-established Bordeaux family of Mau since 2004. From the start the family have focused their efforts on improving the wine produced by Chateau Brown with the help of famed wine consultant, Stéphane Derenoncourt. (91)

~$27 Château Haut-Bergey (Grand Cru Classé)
Purchased in 1991 by Sylviane Garcin-Cathiard, sister to Daniel Cathiard, the owner of Smith Haut Lafitte. The family-managed estate and all of its wine making facilities were renovated and modernized in 2001. (89-91)

~$36 Château Latour-Martillac (Grand Cru Classé)
For most of the last Century until today Château Latour-Martillac has been run by generations of the Kressman family. (91)

~$37 Château de Fieuzal (Grand Cru Classé)
Purchased by Lochlann Quinn in 2001, Château de Fieuzal underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2012. The wine making facilities have been completely modernized to allow for parcel by parcel vinification. (90+)

~$49 Château Malartic-Lagravière (Grand Cru Classé)
Purchased by the Bonnie family in 1997 and completely modernized in 1998, Château Malartic-Lagravière uses sustainable cultivation techniques and was one of the first major estates in the region to use gravity to move the wine in the cellars. (92)

~$62 Domaine de Chevalier (Grand Cru Classé) (93)
~$110 Domaine de Chevalier (Grand Cru Classé) White (95)

One of the few Graves estates to produce both world class red and white wines. Owned and operated by the Bernard family, originally from Cognac, with Stéphane Derenoncourt, of La Mondotte fame, as consultant winemaker.

$102 Château Smith Haut Lafitte (Grand Cru Classé)
Since purchasing Smith Haut Lafitte in 1990, owners Daniel and Florence Cathiard have modernized and implemented techniques to bring the estate into the top tier of all Bordeaux. (93)

~$110 Château Haut-Bailly (Grand Cru Classé)
The modern era for Château Haut-Bailly began in 2000 when the cellars were completely renovated and modernized. The estate is managed by Veronique Sanders, the fourth generation of her family associated with Haut-Bailly. (94)

~$110 Château Pape Clément (Grand Cru Classé)
Owned and operated by the same family for the past eight decades. Today it is French wine magnate Bernard Magrez at the helm, continuing Pape Clément’s reputation for excellence. (94)

~$66 La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion (Second Wine) (88)
$289 Château la Mission Haut-Brion (Grand Cru Classé) (95)

Owned and managed by the same group that owns Château Haut-Brion. La Mission Haut-Brion is widely considered the greatest estate in Graves behind Château Haut-Brion.

$136 Le Clarence de Haut-Brion (Second Wine) (91)
$544 Château Haut-Brion (Premier Grand Cru Classé/First Growth) (96)

Out of all the great wines from the Classification of 1855, Château Haut-Brion is the only one from outside the Médoc region. This estate represents wines that are the pinnacle of Bordeaux, and the world.

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Posted on 2017.05.18 in Bordeaux, France, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

Mother’s Day Special: Crowd-Pleasers from Italy’s Abruzzo & Spanish Sparkling Rosé

It’s amazing to watch Cristiana Tiberio’s star rising so fast. She has only been fully responsible for the winemaking at her family’s 74 acre estate in the Cugnoli area of Pescarese (one of the four zones of Abruzzo) since 2011. Yet she is already mentioned among the top producers of the region, consistently being awarded the coveted “Tre Bicchieri” (Three Glasses) by Gambero Rosso, the world’s leading authority on Italian wine. Indeed, Not only was her 2015 Pecorino given this honor, it was also deemed Gambero Rosso’s best value of all Italian wines for the current annual edition.

You can read a bit more detail on Azienda Agricola Tiberio from when we featured, and quickly sold out of, Cristiana’s wines last year. While Cristiana Tiberio is rapidly approaching cult status, for now the prices remain reasonable given the quality and clarity of her wines.

All bottle prices are based on the purchase of six or more bottles.

 

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo (2016)
~$22/bottle  

Don’t call it a rosé. Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is an official denomination and appellation to cover the cherry-red (Cerasuolo roughly translated means cherry-like), brightly flavored wines of Abruzzo made from the free-run juice of the Montepulciano grape with a short maceration prior to fermentation apart from the grape skins. Cristiana’s Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo is rich and fleshy, with aromatics of flowers and orange peel, ripe raspberry flavors, lip-smacking acidity, noticeable structure, and a lengthy finish. While light in color, it’s a big enough wine to handle Abruzzo’s traditional grilled lamb (Arrosticini Abruzzesi) yet light enough for porch sipping. And we’ve tested it for both.

 

Pecorino (2015) white
~$24/bottle 

Despite its name, there is no direct link between the Pecorino grape and Pecorino cheese. According to local legend, Pecorino gets its name from the sheep (pecora) who would snack on the grapes in the vineyards. The variety was thought to be extinct until it was found growing wild just north of Abruzzo in Marche and began a revival in the 1980s. Tiberio’s seven acres of Pecorino vines are planted on 20 foot deep limestone soils over clay and compacted sand and are some of the oldest in the region. The vines are naturally low yielding with a high total acidity so the wine shows a thrilling combination of rich texture and energy, green grass, flowers, salt, stone, and sunshine.

 

“Fonte Canale” (Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2015) white
~$43/bottle

The foremost wine of the Tiberio offerings from a six acre plot of Trebbiano vines with an average age of 60 years. Tiberio’s Trebbiano Abruzzese vines are especially noteworthy as they are not just amongst the oldest in Abruzzo but because true Trebbiano Abruzzese is rare. Much of Abruzzo’s vineyards are actually planted to Bombino Bianco, Mostosa, and Trebbiano Toscano which were until very recently routinely confused with Trebbiano Abruzzese. While the four share similar features, they are distinct varieties. Trebbiano Abruzzese is the most noble of the four, producing wines that while delicate and light bodied have greater depth and complexity. Many have likened “Fonte Canale” to a Grand Cru Chablis with its stony citrus characteristics. While the comparison is flattering, Cristiana would rather you think of it as a great Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. This wine should develop in a proper cellar for a decade or more.


 

You’ll Never Tire of Drinking this Sparkling Rosé from One of the Top Producers in Spain

 

Raventós i Blanc “de Nit” (cru Conca del Riu Anoia 2014)
Special 6-pack price: $162 ($27/bottle)

Perhaps the most respected sparkling wine producer in all of Spain, Raventós i Blanc is a family operation led by Manuel Raventós and his son Pepe Raventós. Much like the best producers in Champagne, the pair throw heart and soul into creating world-class sparkling wines that express the distinct qualities of the exceptional microclimate and soils of their small Penedès subzone of Conca del Riu Anoia. Indeed, they believe so much in the excellence of this “cru” that they were one of the first of the renowned producers to leave the Cava appellation for not being restrictive enough in terms of quality and geography. They are currently seeking appellation status for Conca del Riu Anoia so as to convey its viticultural traditions and the strength of its terroir.

Biodynamically farmed and rivaling many a grower Champagne in quality terms, “de Nit” is a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada with the addition of a small amount of red Monastrell for complexity and to give the wine its pale pink color. Aged for at least 18 months on the lees before release this is a wine of balance, with subtle minerality. Creamy, with aromatics of flowers, orchard fruits, and almonds, we suggest drinking this sparkling wine from a white wine glass to experience everything it has to offer.

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Posted on 2017.05.11 in Abruzzo, Italy, Saturday Sips, Spain DO  |  Read more...

 

2014 Bordeaux PART II, Saint-Émilion – From Every Day to Grand Vin

This Saturday we will be continuing our tasting series of the excellent 2014 vintage in Bordeaux. Our second shipment stays focused on the Merlot-based wines of the Right Bank, specifically the wines of Saint-Émilion. These wines represent every day drinking to Premier Grand Cru Classé wines capable of decades long cellar development.

We’ll have an assortment of wines open to taste this SaturdayAll bottle prices are deeply discounted and based on the purchase of six or more bottles.

Although Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate ratings don’t factor into how we select the wines we carry, we do understand that many drinkers find them useful. You’ll see the ratings for the 2014 vintage of each wine following the text.


 Castillon

~$25 Château Joanin Becot
Purchased by the Becot family in 2001, the name Joanin is actually a unique “lieu-dit” or vineyard situated on clay and limestone soils at some of the highest elevations along the Gironde. (89-91)

~$25 Château Montlandrie
An ample wine from perfectionist proprietor Denis Durantou, known for his celebrated Pomerol estate Château l’Eglise Clinet. (89-91)


 Saint-Émilion

~$22 Château de Fonbel (Grand Cru)
Managed by Pauline Vauthier. The vineyard is located at the bottom of a slope, not too far from the venerable Château Ausone, which is also owned by the Vauthier family. (88-90)

~$30 Château Fonroque (Grand Cru)
Managed by Alain Moueix, who also runs Château Mazeyres in Pomerol (a hit at last Saturday’s tasting). One of the few Bordeaux estates that is 100% biodynamic. (91-93)

~$31 Château Grand Corbin-Despagne (Grand Cru)
One of the rare Bordeaux estates to have remained in the hands of the same family for over two centuries. Today it is managed by François Despagne, the 7th generation of his family to take charge of the property. (90-92)

~$33 Château Quintus “Le Dragon de Quintus” (Grand Cru)
Previously known as Château Tertre-Daugay, the Quintus estate is owned and operated by Count Léo de Malet Roquefort, who also owns Château Haut Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion. (87-89)

~$35 Clos La Madeleine (Grand Cru Classé)
With recent extensive improvements, including a new vat house and barrel aging cellars constructed in deep limestone quarries, Clos La Madeleine is an estate on the rise. (89-91)

~$40 Château Faugères (Grand Cru Classé)
A recent complete renovation of the wine making facilities makes Silvio Denz’s Château Faugeres one of the most modern estates in the Right Bank. (91-93)

~$40 Château Rol Valentin (Grand Cru)
About 40% of Château Rol Valentin’s vines are placed on sandy soils, north of Château La Gomerie on the way to Château Cheval Blanc. The remaining 60% are planted in the cooler, clay and limestone soils near Château Faugères. (89-91)

~$42 Château Valandraud “Virginie de Valandraud” (Grand Cru)
The second wine of Château Valandraud. This estate is recognized as giving birth to the “Garage Wine” movement, although today they utilize modern cellars and cultivate almost 25 acres of vineyards. (90-92)

~$43 Château Grand Mayne (Grand Cru Classé)
An estate with centuries of wine production history. Today it is run by the Nony family with the help of wine consultant Louis Mitjaville, best known for his work at top tier Saint-Émilion estate Château Le Tertre Rôteboeuf. (91 – 93)

~$65 Château Beau-Séjour Bécot (Premier Grand Cru Classé B)
One of the leading Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘B’ properties in Saint-Émilion thanks to modern era improvements to the estate and the consultation of Michel Rolland. (91 – 93)

~$70 Château Larcis Ducasse (Premier Grand Cru Classé B)
With vines abutting the famed estate of Château Pavie, Larcis Ducasse has both prime terroir and the knowledge of dynamic consulting duo Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt. (91 – 93)

~$81 Château Pavie-Macquin (Premier Grand Cru Classé B) 
This estate takes part of its name from visionary Albert Macquin who deserves much of the credit for solving the phylloxera epidemic. Today it is Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt operating this estate at the highest levels. (91-93)

$102 Clos Fourtet (Premier Grand Cru Classé B)
Erected during the Middle Ages as a defensive fort, the property is situated opposite the main entrance to the old town of Saint-Émilion. Currently the estate is owned by Philippe Cuvelier, also owner of Château Poujeaux. (94)

~$212 Château Ausone “Chapelle d’Ausone” (Grand Cru)
The second wine from the venerable Château Ausone. With some of the finest terroir in all of Bordeaux, Ausone is currently operating at the very peak of its form. (90 – 92)

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Posted on 2017.05.05 in Bordeaux, France  |  Read more...

 

2014 Pomerol & Right Bank Bordeaux – From Every Day to Blue Chip Wines

After a string of challenging years 2014 Bordeaux has shaped up to be the best vintage following the historic back-to-back vintages of 2009 and 2010. The long growing season and a glorious autumn allowed for both maximum ripening and maximum concentration. Yet ultimately it was the cool summer weather that has determined the style of the wines, with low pH and good concentration the wines of 2014 Bordeaux will generally show both power and freshness.

We’re looking forward to bringing in literal truckloads of 2014 Bordeaux. With this first shipment we’re focusing mainly on the Merlot-based wines from the clay rich terroir of Pomerol and a few of the “Right Bank” satellite appellations. These wines represent everything from under $20 every day drinking wines all the way to top producer wines capable of decades long cellar development.

We’ll have an assortment of wines open to taste this Saturday. All bottle prices are deeply discounted and based on the purchase of six or more bottles.

Although Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate ratings don’t factor into how we select the wines we carry, we do understand that many drinkers find them useful. You’ll see the ratings for the 2014 vintage of each wine following the text.

 


 

The Satellites

$17 Château Carlmagnus (Fronsac)
The top property owned and run by Arnaud Roux-Oulié. It’s a prime location on the clay and limestone plateau overlooking the town of Fronsac. (90-92)

~$19 Château Mont-Pérat (Premières Côtes de Bordeaux)
Mentioned in the 1864 edition of the famous Feret Wine Guide as one of the jewels in the crown of the Premières Côtes de Bordeaux appellation area. (88-90)

~$24 Château Montlandrie (Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux)
An ample wine from perfectionist proprietor Denis Durantou, known for his celebrated Pomerol estate Château l’Eglise Clinet. (89-91)

~$25 Château d’Aiguilhe (Castillon-Côtes de Bordeaux)
Uniquely located between a plateau and a small valley Château d’Aiguilhe is owned by Stephan von Neipperg, perhaps better known for his other estates of Château Canon-la-Gaffelière and La Mondotte. (90-92)

~$25 Château de Chambrun (Lalande de Pomerol)
Owned and operated by Silvio Denz, known for several high profile estates in Saint-Émilion, including Château Faugères and Château Péby Faugères. (89-91)

~$31 Château La Fleur de Boüard (Lalande de Pomerol)
Managed by Coralie de Boüard. The de Bouard family are well known for their vineyards in Saint-Émilion, including Château Angélus and Château Bellevue. (89-91)

 


 

Pomerol

~$27 Château Mazeyres
Managed by Alain Moueix, who also runs Château Fonroque. Fine terroir that is currently certified organic and heading toward biodynamic in the next couple years. (89-91)

~$45 Château Rouget
An extensive replanting of the vineyards and complete modernization of the wine making facilities from 2001 brings Château Rouget near the top tier of Pomerol estates. (89-91)

~$50 Château Nenin
A large property by Pomerol standards, Château Nenin is run by Jean-Hubert Delon and his sister Geneviève d’Alton, the proprietors of Château Léoville-Las-Cases. (91-93)

~$77 Château Le Bon Pasteur
Previously owned and still managed by legendary Bordeaux wine consultant Michel Rolland along with his wife Dany. (89-91)

~$82 Clos L’Eglise
Owned, operated, and recently modernized by a line of the distinguished Cathiard family of Château Smith Haut Lafitte fame. (90-92)

~$84 Château Clinet
Since 2004, Ronan Laborde placed all his focus on turning Château Clinet into one of the top wines of Pomerol, the estate has been improving steadily since. (89-91)

~$84 Château Gazin
Château Gazin borders Château Petrus and L’Évangile and even sold 13 acres of vines to Petrus back in the 1960s. This wine could be as close as many of us get to drinking Petrus in our lifetimes. (91-93)

~$93 Château Le Gay
One of Bordeaux’s most respected proprietors, Catherine Péré Vergé brought this storied estate back to prominence in the early 2000s. Her son, Henri Parent, now follows in her footsteps. (90-92)

~$127 Château La Conseillante
Owned and operated by the same family since 1874 and bordering Château Cheval Blanc and Vieux Château Certan, Château La Conseillante is top tier Pomerol. (92-94)

~$161 Château L’Évangile
Domaines Baron de Rothschild of Château Lafite is among the most prestigious names in Bordeaux. As majority owner of L’Évangile it’s easy to see why this estate produces some of the most sought-after wines of Pomerol. (92-94)

~$246 Château L’Eglise-Clinet
One of the elite properties of Pomerol thanks to perfectionist proprietor Denis Durantou. If this bottle doesn’t fit the wine budget try Denis’ Château Montlandrie from Castillon. (93-95)

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Posted on 2017.04.28 in Bordeaux, France, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 

Value Premier Cru Red Burgundy from Top Producer in Givry

The Côte Chalonnaise continues as a regular chain of hills along the same lines as the Côte d’Or to its north. But the countryside is much less uniform and turns into a jumble of limestone slopes on which vineyards appear amongst orchards and pasture. Local weather patterns are equally varied, giving importance to long proven zones like Givry, where most all of the production is Pinot Noir.

The Ragot family has winemaking roots that go all the way back to the mid 1700s. Presently it’s young Nicolas Ragot at the helm of this family domaine considered to be in the top tier of all producers in the Côte Chalonnaise. After studying winemaking in Beaune and work in South Africa, Nicolas moved back to the family estate in 2002, eventually succeeding his father Jean-Paul in 2008.

Nicolas manages a little over 22 acres that includes a fair share of 40+ year old vines. Cultivation is approached lutte raisonee, albeit with one hectare farmed organically with plans to expand that across all their holdings in the future. All of the fruit is hand-harvested and only indigenous yeasts are used.

Domaine Ragot “La Grande Berge” (Givry, Premier Cru 2014)
Special 6-pack price: $226 (~$38/bottle)

This Premier Cru is located in the south of the appellation, along a rocky, east-facing slope with excellent drainage. The Ragots have five parcels here, totaling a bit over five acres with vines varying between 15, 30 and 50 years. Aging takes place in French oak (30% new) for between 12 and 15 months. Grande Berge produces wines that are known for their subtlety and finesse and this 2014 is a prime example. A glass is bursting with aromatics, the foremost a heady floral component reminiscent of Chambolle-Musigny. Alongside are fresh berries, red licorice, and baked stone. A sip is simultaneously concentrated and spry, with a long, energetic finish. Drink now or squirrel some away in the cellar for another four to seven years.


Other Wines Available from Domaine Ragot

Domaine Ragot “Clos Jus” (Givry, Premier Cru 2014)
Special 6-pack price: ~$42

Representing the top cuvée from Ragot, the Premier Cru Clos Jus vineyard lies at the very top end of Givry. This bottling comes from a 2.5 acre parcel on a slope of red clay and limestone that faces due east and was planted in 1990. Aging takes place in French oak (30% new) for between 12 and 15 months. This wine will reward the patient drinker after a few years in the cellar and continue to develop for most of a decade.

Domaine Ragot “Teppe des Cheneves” (Givry 2014)
Special 6-pack price: ~$36

A new parcel for the Ragot family. The vines were planted in 2009 in a vineyard that lies along nearly two acres that had been previously covered by forest. After clearing the east-facing slope, the Ragots planted Pinot Noir in high density on clay and limestone soils between 950 and 1,050 feet altitude. This is a wine more forward than Clos Jus and lighter on its feet than La Grande Berge.

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Posted on 2017.04.19 in Burgundy, France, Saturday Sips  |  Read more...

 


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