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The "E" cuvee is from the upper slope of Sommerberg, on decomposed granite with mica, usually the more purely mineral of Boxler's Sommerberg rieslings. In 2005 there is a lovely richness to the fruit but the aromas have an aspect of stony acids mingling with the exotic yellow fruits, flowers and lime. Very complex aromas, to describe them would be a bit ridiculous. The palate is dense, but not heavy, round and supple but with good acidity. A gorgeous riesling from a ripe vintage that's delicious now and will age beautifully.
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
Michael Gindl currently works 8 hectares of Demeter-certified vineyards in the Weinviertel, about 30 km northeast of Vienna. The Buteo “twelve” is made from Grüner Veltliner grown on loam and loess soils on gently rolling hills outside of his home village of Hohenruppersdorf. The grapes macerate for ten hours on the skins, are gently pressed, naturally ferment in barrel, and then age on the lees for 12 months in 700L Acacia barrels made with wood sourced from Gindl’s own forest. Unfined, unfiltered, with no SO2 added, the wine is very floral and herbaceous, with vibrant acidity and a pleasantly savory tone. 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
An alternative to Gamay on your table (or plays nicely alongside one), this biodynamically-grown Blaufränkisch is juicy and fresh, medium-bodied, with notes of ripe red cherries, strawberries, raspberry seed, plum skin, a touch of earthy pepper and just enough structure to remind you to serve with all sorts of Thanksgiving menu items: from cornbread stuffing, to roasted mushroom gravy on pillowy mashed potatoes, turkey of course, and hearty root vegetable gratin with rosemary and thyme. (arrives Tuesday, 11/14) Cari Bernard
A complete about-face from the rest of Ott's traditional, stainless steel based production. The wine is a revelation, taking Grüner Veltliner to stunning places it's never been before both aromatically and on the palate. Fans of Gravner, Radikon, et al, must give this wine a try. -jfr From the importer, the good folks at Terry Theise Selections: "The wine is almost entirely sourced from the Rosenberg, de-stemmed without crushing and placed whole-berry into amphora ranging in size from 500 to 2,000 liters. The amphoras are buried in the soils of Rosenberg and Bernhard ages the wine, untouched, for 6 months before the wine is racked clear. The grapes are never crushed, helping retain the purity of the wine and not allowing it to become clouded with over extracted tannin. The wine is then bottled without filtration."
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
Claus Preisinger's first vintage was in in early 2000s, after stints working in California as well as with Hans and Anita Nittnaus in Burgenland, where his vineyards are also located. His 19 hectares of vineyards have been certified Biodynamic (Respekt) since 2008. The Kalkundkiesel white is a blend of approximately 50% Weißburgunder, 30% Grüner Veltliner, and 20% Chardonnay, from different vineyards grown on chalk/limestone (kalk) and pebbles (kiesel). The grapes can spend up to eight months on the skins, but for this vintage it was closer to four to six. The wine then spends 14 months in neutral, small barrels (a mix of French and Austrian oak), before being bottled with no added sulfur. Incredibly clean and soft, the palate has complexity, but not the tannic texture one often expects on a white wine with months of skin contact. Savory notes mix with yellow apple and peaches on the nose, the wine has rich flavors of saffron, yellow apple, and fresh green pear with a floral overtone. Cari Bernard
The Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers" is consistently one of our favorite Beaujolais, coming from a high-density vineyard of 60+ year-old vines adjacent to Moulin-a-Vent. The wine is always quite elegant, even a bit austere in it's youth, due to the less extractive winemaking of the Chignards. The 2014 is a bit more expressive and full-bodied on opening, showing intriguing aromas of ripe strawberry, blackberry, plum, citrus and earth with hints of white pepper and spice - really lovely. There is fairly dense blackberry fruit on the palate with earth and mineral notes and firm acidity with berry fruits and mineral notes lingering in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. This is a potentially great mature Fleurie, best perhaps 2019 to 2025. Hats off to Cédric Chignard for his two beautiful 2014s!
Georges Descombes, one of the finest producers in Beaujolais, captured the lush fruit of the 2015 vintage with moderate alcohol (13%), lovely aromas and silky, supple fruit on the palate. Blackberry, red currant and violet aromas with hints of meat and chocolate; the palate is quite ripe and pretty with nice balancing acidity and freshness - we miss the more delicate, complex fruit of the 2014, but this is a delicious Morgon in a riper style that will drink beautifully over the next five years. Serve with charcuterie, grilled pork and roast chicken, slightly chilled. DL
This delicious Regnié shows a vivid red/black color and lush aromas of blackberry liqueur with hints of violet, bitter chocolate and citrus. Ripe, supple berry fruits coat the palate, which is quite well-balanced for a 2015, blackberry and black cherry with lovely length of fruit lingering in the finish which is lifted by firm acidity. This is a great success for the vintage and will provide joyful drinking for the next five years! DL
While the “regular” Morgon is aged entirely in concrete vats before release, Tradition has an extended elévage in neutral barriques before release (think Griffe du Marquis from Alain Coudert). This serves to add depth to the wine, while also softening and rounding it, making for a very unique expression of the Pignards’ terroir. Exuberant on the nose with bright red and black cherry fruit, red licorice, brown spice, and strawberry compote rising from the glass. The palate is broad and supple with bright red fruit flavors along with a hint of fresh cream, tangerine peel, ample minerality, and fine-grained tannins. This wine is definitely structured to age, probably best in 5-10 years, but is lovely now in its energetic youth paired with steaks, game birds, or pork. Tim Gagnon
Jean-Paul Brun's Côte de Brouilly, from Domaine des Terres Dorées, is always a lovely wine, showing unique and very pretty aromas in a medium-bodied style. In the very ripe vintage of 2015, the wine shows elegant red currant, tart cherry and blackberry aromas with hints of earth, meat, citrus and pepper. Blackberry and black cherry fruit continue on the very earthy and mineral palate. Jean-Paul's Burgundy vinification seems to have suited the vintage, as the wine is well balanced, though certainly darker and more structured than usual. Serve cool with a steak or grilled pork and lamb, or cellar for three to five years as the wine will definitely benefit from aging. DL
Jean-Pierre Boyer makes Margaux that resemble the wines of the distant past. His 2000 shows a slightly maturing red/black color with bright aromas of red currant, cassis and raspberry with cedar, rose, citrus and earthy sous-bois notes, really lovely and complex. Relatively light for a Margaux, the palate is deep and velvety with firm tannins under lovely blackberry and cassis fruit with earth, licorice and mineral flavors. It's delicate and powerful at the same time and very long. Delicious now with three to four hours in carafe or after another ten to twenty years in the cellar. David Lillie
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)
Château Massereau, an estate located in Barsac, has been farming organically since its acquisition by the Chaigneau family in 2000. The estate is fully committed to natural winemaking and it shows in the quality of the wine. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented in concrete vats and then aged in neutral barrique for 18 months with minimal addition of sulphur at bottling. Made from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, planted in alluvial soils, the wine displays a bouquet of dark berries and plums with dried green herbs, menthol notes and a hint of violet, tobacco leaf and cedar notes. This elegant wine has a beautiful structure with firm acidity and smooth tannins. A great wine at a beautiful price, this wine will pair fantastically with racks of lamb, kebabs, steaks or pork chops, and it would be a crowd-pleasing choice for Thanksgiving! Caroline Coursant
Just entering maturity, the 2007 Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux has a perfumed nose with aromas of violets, cassis, wild blackberry, and cedar. The mid-weight palate offers good freshness, fine-grained tannins, and flavors of ripe black currants, hedge fruits, and graphite, with notes of cocoa on a velvety, lingering finish. There is beautiful interplay between the sweet, savory, and structural elements. Lovely now with a bright upside over the next 10-15 years. John McIlwain
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
A magnum of incredibly delicious Bordeaux! It has great structure that hints at its aging ability, but it is more than ready to pop open at your next dinner party. Tim Gagnon
Looking for something new to try before or after your dinner? How about a Pommeau? Pommeau is the traditional blend of Calvados and unfermented apple cider that hardly ever makes its way out of Normandy. Very similar to Cognac’s Pineau des Charentes, Pommeau combines the fruity unfermented apple sugars spiked with a touch of aged brandy. In the fall it makes a wonderful apéritif, but for those afraid of sugary pre-dinner drinks, it would be delicious with cheese, and out-of-this-world with deserts featuring apples. Camut makes what is likely the best Calvados in the grand Cru “Pays d’Auge,” so it’s no surprise that their Pommeau is the best we have ever tasted. John Rankin
This is the “new” release from one of our favorite estates in Bas-Armagnac. Ravignan spares no expense in creating France’s premier brandy. French oak barrels are air-dried for a full seven years before being filled with a spirit distilled to the very low 50% alcohol. After almost 30 years the spirit reduces in strength to about 42 percent, but gains in complexity and develops a beautiful flavor of roasted hazelnuts, wood smoke and a touch of prune. Perfect for 1985 birth years! John Rankin
Sea spray, green apple, white flowers, fine stony detail on palate; cool lifted, slightly herbal finish. Plenty of flint in the tank still. Drink and hold. John McIlwain
White flowers, orange peel, bergamot, chalk on the nose. Fine bead, bright acid, salted plum, citrus oil, and fine line of stone on the supple and rich palate. Power, tension and suave finish. One heck of an Ambonnay and a fine bottle of Beaufort! (Disgorged June 2017) John McIlwain
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)
Emmanuel Brochet, produces Champagnes of particularly mineral character from the clay and limestone soils of a single lieu-dit called Le Mont Benoit located in the northern part of the Montagne de Reims. The vines are date from 1962 and 1984 and have been farmed organically since 2005 and certified since 2008. The current disgorgement of Le Mont Benoit Extra Brut is based on the the 2013 vintage with reserve wine from the 2012 vintage. The cepage is 39% Pinot Noir 37% Pinot Meunier, and 24% Chardonnay fermented in barrel with native yeasts and bottled with a dosage of 4 grams/L. Newly arrived, the wine is a bit aromatically reticent, though with air reveals pear skin and stony notes. The palate is quite chiseled and vinous, high-lighting a denser rather than chalky minerality or overt fruit. And while powerful, this is quite elegant, if coiled and shows quite long and dry, though not quite austere. Within this structure are lovely notes of blood orange peel, salt, and apricot with hints of autolyse. This is quite young, but has great energy within and will reward mid to longer term aging. John McIlwain
Though famed for their reds and the eponymous rosé, Riceys produces far more Champagne than still wines from its vineyards bordering Burgundy. And though the Kimmeridgian soils mean Pinot Noir in the Aube, they also make a convincing case for the underappreciated Pinot Blanc grape. Sourced from all eight of his terroirs, Olivier Horiot's Métisse, a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Blanc, is based on the 2013 vintage with the balance made up of reserve wine from a perpetual cuvée stored in foudre. The nose is delicate and spritely upon opening with generous notes of white peach, lemon curd, and cool herb tones, opening to reveal aromas of brioche and ginger. On the palate, there is a sense of volume with generous stone fruit flavors underlain with a broad, stony character which lends drive to the long, lingering finish. This would be lovely with pan-roasted scallops, though there's certainly enough texture to accompany risotto with wild mushrooms, or roasted chicken. (Disgorged 3/15/2016, Dosage 2g/L) John McIlwain
60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay that doesn't go through malolactic fermentation, along with 10% Pinot Noir. There is a delicate red fruit quality — pale plums — but otherwise the high-toned Chardonnay comes through with a delightful lemon tone. Earthy salinity and minerals lead to a dry, mouth-watering finish. A large percentage of Meunier gives this Champagne a broad, rich, earthy character that matches very well with Beau Soleil oysters and Caviar. MSB
Mouzon-Leroux in the grand cru village of Verzy on the northern slope of the Montagne de Reims makes Champagnes of great finesse and precision through good farming (they've been working biodynamically since 2008) and astute wine-making. Made from 100% Pinot Noir and macerated for 16hours and aged in a combination of tank and barrel. With soft mousse, fine bead, and pale salmon robe, the 2012 L'Incandescence rosé saignée offers aromas of strawberry, watermelon, Rio Star grapefruit, and sea spray. The broad saline palate shows flavors of wild berries, citrus peel, and red currant on a mid-weight, succulent, persistent finish. There's a subtle background spiciness here, which makes me think this would be a fabulous Champagne for the Thanksgiving table. John McIlwain
Jane and Sylvain have done it again! Another beautiful Passetoutgrain from 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Gamay, grown near Gevrey-Chambertin, organically farmed and quite delicious! The 2015 shows ripe aromas of tart cherry and raspberry liqueur with earth and violets. The palate is lively and bright with morello cherry and raspberry with stone, tobacco and citrus, quite vibrant and long. Really a refreshing and delicious wine, perfect for picnics and barbecues, served quite cool. This is a fantastic value and highly recommended.
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
The Niedermenniger Herrenberg is in full bloom in this weighty and balanced, barely off-dry Riesling. A wonderfully expressive nose offers aromas of honeycomb, papaya, and orange zest. The palate is broad and mouthwatering, gliding along with notes of peppermint and tarragon before a crystalline clean green plum finish. (A.P. Nr. 3 525 672 2 15) - David Salinas
Top vintage Kabinett from the immensely talented young Oliver Haag. Fruity and lightly sweet but chiseled, balanced and delicate. Haag's wines always have lots of character and finesse and this is no exception. -jfr
Linear wine with crystalline purity and lovely elegance. Red fruit flavors and so lively on the palate die to great acidity. Cuts a deep swatch across the palate. Killer, concise and pure. What I have come to expect out of Keller. Loved it. LF
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
This is the wine formerly known as "Kupp 56" due to the fact that it comes from a mid-slope parcel of vines planted in 1956. Now it's Lauer's one GG that comes from the actual Ayler Kupp (Schonfels and Saarfeilser are both individual sites overlooking the Saar). The Kupp produces exceptional feinherb and sweet wines (see Stirn, Kern, Neuenbersch and the prädikat wines), but this is one of the finest, most mineral dry wines Florian's ever crafted from the slope. We love Lauer! -jfr
For those who like a more opulent style, this wine is intensely perfumed with a tones of honey, peaches in light syrup and and white flowers. Beautiful, focused acidity provides the framework for the sweetness, which does not overpower the tangy blast of slate, mineral and white pepper notes. If you insist on drinking it now, decant for maximum enjoyment. RSG/JR
A fantastic new gin from our friends at Neversink Spirits in Port Chester, NY! Made from a base spirit of apples, wheat, corn, and barley that is distilled in-house; the ingredients include 11 different botanicals. These range from the traditional ingredients of juniper, orris root, and angelica root to provide a bitter, earthy backbone to elderflower, cinnamon, and three types of fresh citrus peel to give it uncompromising lift and freshness. On the nose it is heady and fruit-forward with a botanical persistence and underlying earthy tones. The palate is fuller-bodied and pleasantly viscous with juicy apple character backed by a citrus tang with minerals and a kick of juniper on the finish. This is perfect sipped neat, over ice, and as the basis for many gin cocktails. Tim Gagnon
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.
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
From 25 to 30 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils over clay near the Vienne river. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudy has gotten more and more "serious" as the vines age, giving a wine that is delightful to drink young, but that shows surprising complexity and mineral character as well. The wine shows aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with hints of earth, stone, pepper and herbs. The palate is quite mineral with firm stony acids underlying lush berry fruits, and is beautifully balanced at 12% alcohol. Quite structured for "les Granges," this is delicious now, served cool, with roast chicken, white meats, charcuterie and mild cheeses and will imporve with 3 to 5 years of aging.
This "poil dur" is wagging its tail in 2016, showing juicy aromas of leafy blackberry, rose, spice and citrus. It's Gamay and Grolleau in this vintage, with a nice density of bright blackberry fruit, a bit floral and spicy. Quite refreshing with good length of berry fruits and citrusy acids in the finish. Serve a bit cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork - just delicious! David Lillie
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
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
2015 is a beautiful vintage for the superb Savennières of Domaine du Closel. La Jalousie shows subtle, complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, almond, stone , lime-flower and honeysuckle which follow through on the perfectly balanced palate. The fruit is lush and ripe but there is great acidity and minerality as well - the wine is elegant and very delicious in its youth, - serve with fish in sauce, scallops, monkfish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
50% Pinot Noir and 50% Grolleau grown by Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation on their organic estate in Anjou. This unusual blend of Pinot Noir and Grolleau is sensational in 2016 showing a bright red/black color and lush aromas of ripe blackberry aand raspberry with dark chocolate, violet, brown spice and citrus. The palate is supple and juicy with deep berry fruits backed by bright acidity - a great combination of ripeness and bright refreshment. The finish is long and lush. Serve this super-delicious wine quite cool with charcuterie, mild cheeses, chicken and pork dishes - just about anything. Drink happily over the next 2 years, highly recommended! Did we mention that it's a fantastic value? DL
This is a beautiful and economical choice for Thanksgiving - Cabernet Franc goes nicely with turkey and this young Bourgueil is just wonderful. (Be careful, however, with lovers of California Cabs, who might find it too acidic) When we started with Stéphane Guion, selling the 2005 Cuvée Prestige, we referred to the Revue Vin de France article on this unknown domaine - "These are not fashionable wines, due to the dynamic acidity, but for those who love the flavors of terroir they are a priority discovery that are a credit to the Loire." Indeed, organic farming going back to 1965, and a regimen of shallow plowing that keeps soil ph low, gives Stephane's wines a unique bright acidity and high mineral content underlying the beautiful fruit of his old vines. And in 2015 there was gorgeous fruit in Chinon and Bourgueil, despite the late rains that softened the wines at some estates. The 2015 Cuvée Prestige, from forty to eighty year-old vines in parcels around Benais, is a vibrant, joyous wine that shows a bright deep garnet color and elegant, ripe aromas of strawberry and red currant liqueur with hints of violet, dusty stone and black pepper. The palate is sapid and ripe but lifted by refreshing acidity, with lush berry liqueurs, saline minerals and citrus. The finish is long with lingering sappy fruit, earthy acidity and spice. Thanks to the Guion family for this soulful and delicious wine! (Aging potential of twenty to thirty years, but it's so delicious now that leaving it in the cellar will be difficult.) David Lillie
From 15 to 40 year-old vines on clay/limestone soils in Benais, in organic agriculture since 1965. The 2016 vintage shows quite deep red/black color with bright aromas of ripe black raspberry, black cherry, pepper, earth and clove. The palate is sapid and bright, with the firm acidity always present in Guion's wines. The black raspberry and red currant fruit is light and bright, at 12% alcohol, and the finish is refreshing and mineral. This young and vibrant wine will benefit from decanting well in advance (or opening the night before). Serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork chops and burgers. Thanks to Domaine Guion for two generations of organic agriculture and natural winemaking! DL I am a big fan of this vibrant Cabernet Franc. Pair it with your Thanksgiving dinner, it will be delicious with your glazed ham, roast leg of lamb with rosemary, and stuffing. Caroline Coursant
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...
One bottle per person, please
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.
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
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
The Chinon "Les Deuzelles" from Patrick Lambert is 100% Cabernet Franc from 20 year-old vines on a mix of gravel, clay and sandy soils over limestone. Fermentation with wild yeasts is followed by 6 to 8 months aging in cuve, stainless or cement. Despite being from the very warm 2015 vintage, the Lambert "Deuzelles" is a quite earthy old-fashioned Chinon showing aromas of strawberry, red currant, citrus and earth. The palate is similarly earthy with red fruits, citrus and soil flavors balanced by bright acidity. This is a fabulous value and should be served cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie and mild cheeses.
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
Vera Cruz is a new cuvée from Luneau-Papin, from 40 year-old vines on a terroir of schistes and gneiss "a deux micas" in Vallet, farmed with organic and biodynamic methods. A wine of terroir rather than fruit, even in the ripe 2015 vintage, the wine shows elegant aromas of pear, grilled almond, stone and citrus. The palate is dense and very mineral, showing more flavor of earth than fruit, with a lovely finish of stone, minerals and white fruit that coats the palate. Perfect now with fine oysters, grilled dorade, sole, cod and scallops with lemon. Or cellar - this wine should be very interesting in 5 to 15 years. Label inspired by Mondrian and the varied terroirs of Muscadet. DL
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, arrives 10/24/17.
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.
Jean-Noel Millon took over this 13 hectare estate from his father in 1998, the seventh generation at La Source du Ruault. Farming here has been organic since 2007 with biodynamic preparations used in the vineyards as well. 2010 is a great vintage for reds in the Loire Valley and the Clos de la Cote is a gorgeous young Saumur-Champigny. From 50+ year-old vines on a hillside vineyard of clay over turonian limestone. After a long fermentation, the wine is aged in new and one year-old barrels. The wine shows dark red/black color with deep aromas of blackberry, black cherry, violet, chocolate and licorice that are quite fresh and pure. The tannins are already quite integrated into the black fruits, earth and spice flavors backed by the firm acidity typical of 2010. Quite delicious now, this will age beautifully into a very complex mature wine, peak drinking 2020 to 2030+.... David Lillie
This crowd-pleasing Quincy is an economical and delicious Thanksgiving option - at $15.99 it's better than many Sancerres and it will accompany everything on the table. Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Quincy at least since the 15th century and produces a particularly distinctive wine on the gravel and silex soils of the Domaine de Villalin's vineyard "Les Grands Vignes." The estate is clearly the finest in Quincy, farming with mostly organic methods, plowing (sometimes with horses), harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts. The 2016 is a bright and refreshing Sauvignon, showing subtle fruit aromas of peach and pear with almond, lime-flower and citrus. The palate shows lovely pear, apricot and almond flavors with lemony minerals in the long finish. This is a refreshing, stylish wine to serve quite cool this spring and summer with seafood and poultry dishes, asparagus, crudites and mild cheeses.
Our friend Hervé Villemade made a gorgeous "Les Ardilles" in 2015. Made from 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Gamay grown on clay over limestone in Cheverny with yields of only 15 hl/ha. There was a 20-day maceration with light extraction followed by aging in large old barrels, with no added SO2 during vinificaton. The wine shows a lovely light red/garnet color with aromas of red currant, raspberry and pomegranate, with hints of rose, earth, citrus and spice. The palate is sappy and dense with a beautiful melange of red fruits and cherry liqueur, brightened by firm citrusy acids, and continuing with saline minerals in the finish. Superb wine - serve cool with charcuterie, chicken and pork dishes and mild cheeses. Highly recommended! David Lillie
Hervé Villemade's 2016 Cheverny Blanc is a lovely and versatile wine, made from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay grown on flinty sand and clay soils. The wine shows pretty aromas of pear, citrus, almond and stone with hints of boxwood and fine herbes. The palate is supple with white fruits, citrus, a bit of anise and herbal flavors and is nicely balanced with firm acidity. This is a delicious everyday white that will accompany most seafood dishes, chicken, white meats and goat cheeses. David Lillie
Made from Gamay Petit Grains grown on a parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 1954, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. 2012 is a great vintage here, giving wines of firm acidity and great purity of fruit, although in tiny quantities. The 2012 Manganite shows slight reduction, then lovely strawberry/raspberry aromas with citrus, brown spice, violet and earth. Intense fruit on the palate, but light-bodied with red and black fruits, blood orange and soil, firm acidity and a long very mineral finish. This is a superb and not typical Gamay — a delicious living wine from living soils. Serve cool.
We love Gamay on Thanksgiving and the Vignes du Maynes Manganite is one of the very best. No added sulfur - more purity, less headaches! Made from Gamay Petit Grains planted in 1953, grown on a limestone parcel high in magnesium, in the Clos des Vignes du Maynes in Cruzille, organic since 900 AD, now certified biodynamic. The energetic Julien Guillot vinifies his reds without sulfur or additives of any kind, producing complex, mineral, elegant wines that transcend their appellation. The 2015s here are extraordinary, showing the elegance, purity and balance typical of the estate with the wonderful ripeness of the vintage. The wine shows gorgeous red and black fruit aromas with cranberry, earth, stone and musk and hints of mint, chocolate and spice. The palate is bright and intense with balckberry, citrus, stone and earthy flavors, that continue on the very long mineral finish. Always one of the greatest Gamays produced anywhere, the 2015 Manganite is a young wine that will benefit from decanting or five to fifteen years in the cellar. Highly recommended! DL
Archil Guniava operates his small winery with his family in Kvaliti, Imereti. The 1.5 hectares are planted to several rare native varieties, including the black-skinned Otskhanuri Sapere and yellow-skinned Tsolikouri, which he raises in qvevri buried in the yard outside his family home. Archil's blend calls to mind a Syrah from the Northern Rhone with savory black pepper aromatics, heady floral notes, and hints of saddle leather. The palate is mouth-coating with flavorful bursts of under ripe blackberries, pine forest, and spiced plum. The tannins from the Otskhanuri Sapere bring firm acidity and age-worthy structure, while the Tsolikouri rounds out the finish with creamy melon, acacia honey, and delicate florals. A bottle with serious aging-potential, decant if drinking now and serve with roasted lamb shanks, or spicy eggplant with garlic and herbs. Amanda Bowman
Les Perles du Mont Blanc is made from the Belluard's biodynamically planted Gringet in the alpine village of Ayse. Fermentation for the base wine is done with indigenous yeast; the second with Champagne yeast and there is no dosage added, making for an exquisitely dry wine with fascinating complexity. The autumnal aromas of pine forest, baking spice, and toasted hazelnuts give a festive quality to this wine. On the palate it is rich, with creamy flavors of bosc pear, wildflower honey, nutmeg and green apple. The invigorating acidity makes this a very versatile, food-friendly wine to pair with potatoes au gratin, green bean casserole, or cheese this Thanksgiving. Amanda Bowman
Clos Ste. Magdeleine is located on the slopes of the dramatic Cap Canaille just east of Cassis, where vineyards date back to the ancient Greeks, and the vines grow on stony limestone soils. The current estate was founded in the late 19th century and has been in the same family since 1920 - the estate is certified organic. The Cassis Blanc is made up of 40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette and 5% Bourboulenc. The 2015 shows lovely aromas of dried pear, almond and stone with floral and herbal hints, with a bit of candied citrus and exotic fruit. The palate is round and supple and quite elegant with ripe pear, apricot and almond, citrus peel and marzipan. The finish is long and balanced with firm acidity and mineral flavors. (This would be a great option for Thanksgiving dinner, being elegant and dry but with enough weight and fruit to pair well with turkey and all the sides. A crowd pleasing choice...)
This special and striking Altesse comes from one of the only recognized "crus" in the Savoie: the very steep, south-facing slope of Marestel. A rich, powerful, and oxidative wine, the nose offers ripe apple, caramel, fennel, anise seed, and some sweet aromatics that are reminiscent of Riesling. The palate is broad, honeyed, but well-balanced and long with a firm, dusty mineral finish. Even with a few years of bottle age, this is only the beginning of this wine's life. MSB
The 2010 is expressively aromatic with notes of wildflower, papaya, toasted hazelnuts, and hints of bergamot. The palate is rich and giving with heady flavors of smoked pineapple, herbs, honeycomb, and citrus. Firm minerality carries the fleshy tropical fruit flavors through an extraordinarily long finish. Powerful and finessed, this bottle deserves a place on your dinner table alongside shellfish, grilled fish with creamy herb sauce, or a traditional raclette. Amanda Bowman
In 2007, the energetic and talented Thomas Finot discovered the terroirs of the Coteaux Grésivaudan - a valley with steep mountainsides extending northeast from Grenoble, just north of Savoie, Here he is rescuing local grape varieties such as Verdesse, Persan and Etraire de la Dhuy and also making delicious and affordable vin de soif from other grapes - in this case the Tracteur Rosé. Made from Gamay, the wine shows a pretty light pink color and aromas of red currant, raspberry, watermelon and rose. The palate is light and lovely at only 11% alcohol with subtle mixed-berry fruits and hints of spice backed by mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. Serve well-chilled all year-round with salads, charcuterie and white meats. Quick facts: Destemmed, into cuve, kept cold for 24 hours, then to the press... Doing a maceration of about 24 hours gives the rosé more material, and color. It's the way Thomas likes his rosés! - Eben Lillie
"Bottle Neck" is equal parts Syrah and Grenache on sandy loam soils in Saint-André near the Pyrenees. Vinified in carbonic maceration for 15 days, pressed, then aged in barrels for six months and bottled without S02. Aromas of game, earth, violets, and redcurrants. The tannins are gentle, with an almost effervescent effect from the carbonic maceration. Flavors of red cherry, saddle leather, spiced blueberries, and a yeast-y note on the finish. A playful, vin de soif perfect to serve chilled alongside grilled burgers, lental dal, or on its on. Amanda Bowman
Primarily Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault and Cabernet, this biodynamic red from Provence shows deep plum and blackberry fruit aromas with earth, citrus and Provençal herbs. The palate is ripe and supple with dense black fruits, prune and brown spice lifted by bright acidity. In some vintages this wine can be a bit austere and tannic when young, but the 2014 is bursting with fruit and absolutely delicious for current drinking. Serve with grilled meats and stews, a daube niçoise perhaps, and full-flavored cheeses. Great value!
Loreline's Ploussard is the color of crimson tinged leaves in the glass. The second thing you'll notice is the rustic quality lacking in the polite and polished aromas of modern Ploussard. After being open for half an hour, the barnyard smoke lifts to reveal the sweet fragrance of raspberries, forest, fresh cut strawberries, and tangy redcurrants. From Loreline's 30 year-old vines on red, iron-rich clay/limestone in her organic vineyard below the Côte de Feule in Pupillon.Vinified in partial carbonic maceration, the palate is balanced with supple tannins, flavors of morello cherry, anise, sweet raspberry, and bramble fruit. Delicious now, serve chilled with Gruyère, roasted salmon with herbs, or smoked ham. Amanda Bowman
The Trousseau was a standout the first time we tried it alongside the rest of Loreline's cuvees. So much so that I almost doubted my first impressions and decided to revisit, just to be sure. I can confirm that it remains so pure in its Jura-ness that it induces giddiness. From Loreline's organic vineyard of 60 year-old vines on blue and gray marne , the 2015 benefited from the warm, sunny vintage. The bold, earthy spiciness and hint of reduction on the nose place this wine immediately. After being open for an hour, aromas of rose petals, spiced raspberries, and alpine herbs reveal a serious nature. The palate begs for food with dark stone fruit, and grippy tannins that sneak up on the mid-palate and finish with a hint of bitter anise. Serve slightly chilled with salty swiss cheeses, charcuterie, or wild mushrooms. Amanda Bowman
It's almost as if it were meant to be that Maillet left us with this Mondeuse as his last! Typically the most structured and dark of Maillet's red offerings, 2015 provided ideal conditions to fully express the depth and potential of these selection massale vines (many of which are over 100 years old!). In the glass, it looks more like Syrah than anything we typically see from the Savoie. Vibrant wild blackberry aromas on the nose, with black cherry and cola notes on the palate, and a finish with notable tannic structure and mineral length. We'd recommend decanting a bit in advance or holding this wine for up to 10 years. Eben Lillie
Organic and Biodynamic since 1999, Chateau de Mayragues produces beautiful wines from local grape varieties, including this delicious red from 100% Braucol, aka Fer Servadou, grown on clay-limestone terroirs above the Tarn river in Gaillac. The wine is a deep red color and shows lovely aromas of ripe plum, red currant, earth, violets and black pepper. Deep earthy berry fruits on the palate that are lifted by fresh acidity. Full-flavored but not at all heavy at just 12% alcohol. This is a unique and delicious "country wine" - bring on the pâtés, rilletes and rillons, pork chops and roast chicken, full-flavored cheeses, too...
A delicious blend of Gamay and Poulsard from the tiny appellation of Bugey. At 8.5% this delicately sweet pét-nat is the breakfast of champions or an invigorating aperitif to sip on while you prepare your Thanksgiving feast. The nose is absolutely beautiful with vivid aromas of wild flowers, ripe raspberries, and hints of grapefruit zest. The palate offers sweet raspberry and crunchy blueberry fruit on the attack then finishes with thirst-quenching minerality. A purely enjoyable bottle at a great value. Serve chilled alongside pecan pie, dark chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon, or with creamy or tangy cheeses. Amanda Bowman
Finally we've convinced Serge Hondet to send us a little of his lovely Jurançon Sec, made from 85% Gros Manseng and 15% "Laousset," a rare variety with only a few hectares still in production. The estate is certified organic since 1964! The wine shows a very pale gold color with subtle aromas of pear and apple with more exotic fruits emerging and hints of hay, stone and white pepper. The palate is fairly dense and sapid with spiced pear and mineral flavors, raw almond, citrus and hay. It seems delicate and powerful at the same time, with nice length and firm acidity. Serve with full-flavored fish dishes, chicken, pork and mountain cheeses. Lovely wine. David Lillie
Serge Hondet at Domaine Tinou makes a tiny quantity of lovely dry rosé from Cabernet Franc grown on his 3 hectare organic estate in the southern part of Jurançon. The wine shows a very pale pink color with delicate aromas of raspberry and red currant. The palate is light and bone-dry with subtle flavors of red fruits, citrus and rosewater that continue in the long finish. A bit like the Baudry Chinon Rosé, it will accompany terrines and patés, chicken and pork dishes. And while its delicous now, don't hesitate to put some away for next summer... David Lillie
From Stéphane Tissot's Biodynamic vineyard in Arbois, named for Stéphane's father, Andre "DD" Tissot. This is a delicious blend of Trousseau, Poulsard, and Pinot Noir co-fermented in 2000L foudres. 2016 was a difficult and low-yielding vintage that ended on a warm and sunny note for Stéphane. Aromas of violets, spice, and wild herbs usher in redolent notes of bramble fruit. At 12% (a degree higher than last vintage) the palate feels light on its feet, with lush flavors of raspberry, bright, ripe cherry and hints of purple flowers and spice. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy with a variety of cheeses, roasted chicken, or on its own! Amanda Bowman
Bussoletti’s Ciliegiolo di Narni is a fresh, easy going red wine from central Umbria and a perfect example of why I have fallen in love with the grape. More commonly used as a blending partner for Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo produced as a varietal wine gives soft aromatic reds that are a joy to drink. Produced from a 4 hectare plot of younger vines planted facing north to encourage elegance over ripeness, the wine is fermented with ambient yeast in steel tank and bottled after resting for 6 months. The nose is rich with fresh red cherries and deep red floral notes with delicate herbal tones and bit of black pepper spice. Juicy on the palate with restrained acidity and very little tannin it shows more strawberry and raspberry fruit. This is a wine that can lift through richer foods: try it as a foil to turkey, mashed potatoes, and mac'n'cheese on Thanksgiving. Andy Paynter
Fongoli’s Montefalco Rosso is a great example of an Italian table wine in the best sense. Made mostly from Sangiovese, Sagrantino, and Montepulciano, vinified separately and raised for 18 months in 40 hectoliter Slavonian oak barrels. Fresh red cherry fruit comes through on the nose with pleasant notes of rosemary and thyme and a hint of moist earth. The palate is full and smooth with noticeable tannin and good acidity, though it is more overtly fruity showing both cherries and a touch of blue and black berries. The pairing choices are endless: try it with meaty pasta dishes, roast chicken, pork loin, mushroom and Parmesan risotto, and hard cheeses. A beautiful wine for any table! Andy Paynter
This is the most powerful Amaro I have ever tried. To drink it is to experience a brisk and bracing shock of mountain roots and herbs. The flavors are intense enough to make one’s whole mouth tingle, and the experience lasts for several minutes. As a warning, it must be said that this tonic is brutally dry, rich, and smoky. One could tackle a glass neat after dinner, or a splash could go a long way in creating unique cocktails. This tonic is made with botanicals that are smoked prior to maceration, and mountain honey is used (extremely sparingly) as a sweetener. For the adventurous there is nothing else quite like it! JR
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
We love the rich, feral Portuguese variety Baga - the great red grape of the Bairrada DOC, which abuts Portugal's Dão region and enjoys a mild, maritime climate. Sidónio de Sousa's Baga is as good as it gets, from 90-year-old vines, fermented whole-cluster and raised for 12 months in ancient Portuguese oak. Pepper and rose petals on the nose, with wild flavors of black currant, red currant, oregano, and rye combine with pine needles, purple flowers, and funky damp earth. It's hard not to dream of roasted or grilled meat with this wine! Ariana Rolich
I don't normally think of Chateauneuf-du-Pape on Thanksgiving, but this elegant, relatively light-bodied version would be a brilliant choice for your hoilday meal. "Chapelle St. Theodoric is a project between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt. There are two parcels; one in the lieu-dit La Guigasse, which is a pure sand soil and where the vines (all Grenache) range in age of from 50 to 100 year; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The vinification is traditional, that is to say, whole-cluster, such as employed by Jacques Reynaud at Chateau Rayas, Laurent Charvin, Henri Bonneau. In the 2014 vintage, it was decided to put all of the La Guigasse and some of the Grand Pin into Les Sablons, because of the more forward style of 2014." - Weygandt-Metzler. The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Châteauneuf, showing beautiful ripe red currant and black cherry aromas with hints of brown spice, rose, earth and musk. The palate is light and fine but very dense with sappy red fruits, citrus, earth and mineral flavors with hints of licorice and prune. The finish is long and lingering, with firm acidity showing good aging potential. Elegant and delicious now - serve slightly cool - perhaps best 2020 to 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!
The 2015 Charvin is indeed a beautiful Chateauneuf that shows a bright red/garnet color with very floral and sweet aromas of crushed raspberry and strawberry with a bit of tart plum, quite pure and pretty with hints of blackberry, brown spice, earth and roast meat emerging with aeration. The palate is dense and sapid but beautifully balanced with sweet raspberry and black cherry fruit with game, spice, earth, tea and citrus. The finish is firm and long with dense red currant fruit, spicy citrus and earthy flavors that linger on the palate. This is a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape that can be enjoyed immensely now, best to hold about 5 years then drink until 2032 - 2035. David Lillie
50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat. Subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower and stone. Ripe pear, peach, stone, herbal and citrus flavors on the palate. This is a bit brighter and more balanced than the 2015 - really a delicious "food" wine that will pair with a wide variety of full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, white meats, Asian cuisines and goat cheeses.
When we put a few rosés on the table at Thanksgiving, they're the first to disappear, and this wonderful Gigondas is outstanding! This beautifully poised rosé from our friends at Clos du Joncuas is a textbook example of a powerful wine wearing a velvet glove. Its weight and 14% alcohol are balanced out by lively acidity and a persistent minerality that folds itself seamlessly into a long and textured finish. The nose and the attack on the palate is all ripe fruit: tangerine, kumpquat, passion fruit, orange zest, and a hint of honeydew (but the part right up against the rind.) Then the bright acidity kicks in and the wine dances across the palate with vibrant energy. As it resolves, a note of wet granite lingers. Pair it with salade Nicoise or hot dogs, or shout "So What" like P!nk and drink this delicious rosé by itself all summer long, any day, anytime. Oskar Kostecki
"Les Iris" is made from organically tended Viognier vines just south of the Condrieu AOC. The 2015 is elegant and balanced with a powerful minerality. Pale lemon in the glass, the nose offers opulent aromas of peaches, nutmeg, and cut lime flowers. Creamy flavors of peach, touches of brown spice, and lemon zest develop into more tropical notes of mango, tangerine, and stone on the long finish. Forget what you think you know about Viognier and pair this one with chicken, fish or mild cheeses this summer. Amanda Bowman
A great Beaumes-de-Venise from Guy and Thomas Julien at La Ferme Saint-Martin. The estate has been working with organic methods for many years, with natural fermentations and minimal use of sulfur. The Costancia 2015 is from old vines of Grenache and Syrah grown at 1,500 ft in Suzette, on limestone/clay soils. Deep red/black color. Blackberry aromas with red currant, earth and bitter chocolate lifted with cool menthol and floral notes. The palate is deep and ripe with blackberry, coca, citrus and earth with firm acidity and ripe tannins. This is a beautiful Rhône red to serve now with grilled foods, stews and tagines - or hold for 5 years then drink until 2032, as this will age beautifully. A fantastic value and highly recommended. David Lillie
87-95% Grenache, 5-13% Syrah, Mourvèdre, Bourboulenc, Cinsault from sandy soils with some galet stones, hand harvested, 90% de-stemmed, from 45 year-old vines in the La Gardiale and Cabrieres vineyards, and the other half from vines planted in 1904, 1910 and 1920 in the La Guariguette and Les Jaumes vineyards. Harvested by hand, selection on the sorting table with de-stemming done more or less depending on the vintage. No acidification, no sulfites. Aged in concrete vats and stainless steel tanks. The 2015 shows a pretty red/garnet color, not too dark, with aromas of mingled black and red fruits, a bit less "sweet" than the Charvin, with hints of violet and garrigue, a bit of pepper, quite pretty. The palate shows lovely ripeness and density with black cherry, bright plum and raspberry, lifted by firm acidity and citrus flavors. The finish is quite long and sapid, with lingering red fruits and mineral flavors, showing the alcohol a bit (15%). This is a lovely example of the 2015 vintage, certainly fun to drink now, best to wait a few years and drink until 2030-2035. David Lillie
Thomas Finot, who is resurrecting forgotten vineyards and varieties in the Isère, is also making brilliant wines from his tiny family vineyard in Crozes-Hermitage. He has 1.8 hectare of old vines in Larnage on a hillside with granite and limestone subsoils under interesting soils of white clay (kaolin). It's a great terroir, and the Cuvée Claude, homage to Thomas' uncle, is a superb Crozes from old vines showing a deep red/black color and elegant aromas of pure black fruits with hints of graphite, earth, bitter chocolate, menthol and clove. The palate is dense but not heavy with blackberry and red currant fruit, showing a bit of oak with citrus, mineral and pure fruits in the long finish. Delicious now, the wine will benefit from 4 to 6 hours of decanting, or cellar for a few years then enjoy until 2030. David Lillie
From 50-65% Grenache, 15-20% Syrah, 0-10% Carignan, 5-15% Mourvèdre from stony clay-limestone soils on Bois Lauzon & Coudoulet at Courthézon. The vines are on average 45 years-old. The wine ages in concrete tank and old barrels, and is bottled unfined and unfiltered. This is an outstanding Côtes-du-Rhône Villages that shows very dark red/black color with lovely aromas of lush blackberry and red currant with dark chocolate, citrus and spice. The palate is ripe and dense with round, lush berry fruits, earth and mineral flavors backed with firm citrusy acids. This will be a big hit this summer with grilled foods and will be even better after decanting or a few years in bottle. DL
This is a beautiful Viognier from our friend Jean-Pierre Monier in the hills near Saint-Desirat in Saint-Joseph. A true "garagiste" Jean-Pierre's tiny estate produces sensational Saint-Josephs and three Vins de Pays that are truly delicious. The 2016 Viognier shows a bright pale bronze color and elegant, delicate aromas of white flowers, dried pear, stone, orange peel and almond, really quite pretty. The palate is stylish and light, with good density ad length, with pear, citrus, tea and mineral flavors; the finish is long with lemon, pear and stone flavors lingering on the tongue. This is an elegant and food friendly Viognier that will accompany grilled fish with herbs, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses - and it's perfect sipped by itself... David Lillie
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, a cool, late-ripening terroir with clay, sand and stones over firm granite. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. Although normally overshadowed by the Rousset's superb Crozes "les Picaudieres," the 2015 Saint-Joseph is a great wine of terroir and one of the better Saint-Josephs we've tasted from this vintage. The wine shows a dark black/red color with deep aromas of blackberry and blueberry liqueur with plum, earth and smoke - quite ripe but with nice brightness as well. The palate is quite dense and supple with ripe black fruits and hints of blueberry, dark chocolate, black olive and roast meats which continue in the long finish with pronounced mineral flavors and firm acidity. The Rousset Saint-Joseph is normally somewhat austere and tightly structured when young, but the 2015 will be quite delicious as a young wine if decanted for a few hours. Despite the more forward aspect, there is plenty of structure here for aging, best perhaps 2020 to 2030. David Lillie
From 70-year-old Syrah vines located on the west bank of the Rhône on granite soils that had been farmed exclusively by a protestant religious order known as D’Arbistes. There has never been a chemical introduced into this vineyard. The wine shows conplex, earthy aromas of blackberry, rose, black pepper and graphite with animal and smoky notes. The palate is dense and sapid with blackberry, prune, citrus and earth with a long finish with black fruit and mineral flavors. This is a bold and earthy Syrah (?) reflecting the granite terroirs and M. Texier's superb farming and natural vinifications. "The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered (this) cuvée surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional." - Eric Texier. Decant or open the nightr before if drinking now, best perhaps 2022 - 2030+. DL
From the peninsula of Campbeltown comes the historic Springbank. Campbeltown once was the thriving center of Scottish distillation, now Springbank is one of the few left. A truly artisanal operation that employs their own floor maltings. Springbank uses a light peating for a smoky island character. The malt is actually distilled two and a half times, so there is a lightness that, when combined with the rugged terrain, creates a complex scotch that is very unique. Most of the malt was raised in Bourbon barrels for a pure, dry expression. (46% ABV) JR
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
From Equipo Navazos: 'The very thin skin of the Pedro Ximénez variety favors the fast dehydration of the berries during the asoleo (sundrying) process, which makes it ideal for the production of raisiny sweet wines. The Montilla-Moriles region (especially in Montalbán, Montemayor, and Puente Genil) concentrates today virtually all the production of sweet PX musts that will later be aged in the different Andalusian winemaking areas. Casa del Inca, in Montilla, is the former residence of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, where he wrote most of his literary production. Its present functions—after restoration—are related to the city’s winemaking tradition. Late-harvested grapes, several full turns of exposure to the late summer sun, and careful extraction at different pressure levels by means of powerful hydraulic presses are the key to the musts’ original quality. Another key element is the subsequent fortification with top-quality wine-based spirits. Third and last as far as vintage PXs not undergoing barrel ageing are concerned is time: one and a half years resting in tinajas or conos, the traditional cone-shaped vessels used in Montilla-Moriles for centuries now.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'By the end of 2010, on occasion of the fifth birthday of our adventure at Equipo Navazos, we were lucky enough that our friends of Pérez Barquero allowed us to celebrate it with a super limited release: a racy Amontillado from Montilla. An extremely old “NO” wine of exceptional intensity and concentration, and spectacular complexity, sourced from one of the row-end butts that rest in Pérez Barquero’s Los Amigos cellar for many decades. Very few bottles with which we wanted to thank the support and acknowledge the contribution of the friends who walk with us on this fascinating trip. For La Bota de Amontillado Viejísimo 73 “Bota Aniversario” we have revisited the same tonel de cañón number 8 of the bodega Los Amigos, together with its sister the tonel number 3, in order to complete the contents of a whole bota without emptying any of them. It is one of those truly impressive amontillados from Montilla, at the level of the greatest traditional wines from Andalucía. Its average age is difficult to establish, but certainly older than fifty years old. In any event this wine has been sourced from from some of the oldest casks of this producer, belonging to the set of primitive soleras of the house.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'With this release number 74 we are revisiting the same solera in Montilla from where our release number 46 was sourced. Again Pérez Barquero, where Rafael Cordoba, co-owner of Pérez Barquero, has been controlling with exceptional care the vineyards and vintages for decades. He is a master in obtaining truly outstanding musts, both yema (first press) and color (second press). With these second press musts, locally called “vino de color”, the expert winemaker Juan Márquez produces their Olorosos. Very fragrant and strongly bodied wines, wines that very noticeably show the rotundity of the pedro ximénez grape. La Bota de Oloroso #74 “Montilla” comes from a selection of casks from the Solera Diógenes, located in third row at the Bodega El Puente. The main difference is that, this time, all the casks selected belong to the solera itself, while for the release number 46 we picked some vessels from younger criaderas as well. This fact, together with the elapsed time and with the fact that the withdrawals from these casks have been small, explain why this wine is almost five years older than its predecessor, La Bota de Oloroso nº 46. Its estimated average age is therefore close to 30 years.'
From Equipo Navazos: 'Gaspar Florido used to market two very old wines sourced from their soleras at their old cellaring facility at calle Rubiños, in the heart of the "Barrio" in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. When they decided to seize the real estate fever and sell their urban bodegas they had to move those butts to a shabby facility on the road from Sanlúcar to Trebujena. There is where I had the opportunity to sample them for the first time, on a visit with Álvaro Girón to already old Gaspar in June 2006. We were very positively impressed by their quality and consistency, especially in contrast with the lack of distinction--to put it mildly--of the context there and then. There were quite a few butts of the outstanding GF-25 and only a few of GF-30, a very old and absolutely spectacular wine. It is precisely from the latter that this La Bota de Palo Cortado nº 41 "Bota NO" is sourced. Only a few months later, early in 2007, Bodegas Pedro Romero purchased Gaspar Florido, and since then they have remained marketing GF-25 under the usual label "Jerez Viejísimo". In Gaspar's opinion--perhaps questionable but not lacking solid ground--such wines see how the distinctive features of amontillado, palo cortado and oloroso are blurred by their very age. That is why he used to label it simply "Jerez", which after all merely honors the sanluqueña tradition of referring to the local palo cortado as "jerez cortado". It is indeed a very old palo cortado and so we have labeled it as such. Today these butts are stored at the Sacristía of Pedro Romero, back to the heart of the "Barrio" and actually very near their original location. There is where we had the opportunity to revisit them and sample them exhaustively and, ahem, exhaustingly, in order to select our favorites for this edition of "La Bota": it is a truly extraordinary wine for its unlikely balance between sheer authenticity, concentration, and finesse; genuinely amazing, with so much character and personality.'
Valle del Rio is emblematic of the focus and depth of the Casa Aurora project, where idiosyncratic swatches of land, planted to previously unimaginable mixtures of vines, are translated into utterly singular sensory combinations that excite intellectual pleasures as well as hedonistic ones. In winegrower Germán Blanco's words: "From little things, big things grow. If I blend these special things into each other, you can't taste it. And you may not like it... but it's special!" Well, Germán, we like it a lot! Valle del Rio is a .58 hectare parcel of 40-100 year old vines at 820 meters altitude, composed of approximately 60% Garnacha Tintorera, 10% Garnacha, 10% Mencía, and 17% Palomino and the rest Godello, planted on a south-facing slope of red clay and decomposed granite. 2015 is marked by mouth-watering, forward purple berries and violet florals, in balance with the typically dominant notes of crunchy blackberries, damp clay, rocks, and ink. Ariana Rolich
Sumoll is enjoying a resurgence in Penedès. Raw and wild in its youth, but rapturously beautiful when given proper time to integrate, the red wine from Sumoll we love to drink the most is Els Jelipins, which Gloria Garriga and her daughter Berta patiently age for several years before bottling. Manel Avinyó's Sumoll is cut in this mold - fluid and floral, with silky ripe red cherry, hibiscus spice, sweet florals, sea salt, a hint of wool, and lingering mineral length. The label on the bottle is a reincarnation of one of his grandfather's designs from the 1920s. The wine has a similar old-fashioned, unhurried feel to it. Linger with a glass of perfectly resolved Sumoll and enjoy. Ariana Rolich
An ardently autumnal Blanc de Noirs from our friends at Clos Lentiscus, made of 100% Sumoll from a biodynamically-farmed single vineyard planted in the 1930s in the Garraf National Park, just south of Barcelona, on sandy calcareous soils. The second fermentation is spurred by rosemary honey from Clos Lentiscus' estate apiary, which adds a heady, honeyed component (with no sweetness whatsover) to the palate of tart red fruit skins, gently gingery spice, with bold structure and complex umami notes from aging 30 months on the lees before disgorgement with no dosage. Zero added sulphur. Ariana Rolich
It is a rarity to find Ribeiro wines from organically farmed vineyards. Liliana Fernández and Iago Garrido's 2.5 hectares of native Ribeiro varieties are Demeter certified Biodynamic! Ollos de Roque is a deep, minerally, and herbaceous white, a combination of 80% Treixadura, 10% Albarino, and 10% Godello, planted in decomposed granite soils on southeast-facing slopes, and raised in amphora. Ariana Rolich
Listan Negro is ubiquitous in the Canary Islands, but Ignios' rendition is unique. From a one-half hectare, 30-year-old single vineyard planted on iron-rich clay loam on a coastal banana plantation, the 2015 is tart and salty, with herbal raspberry and reductive aromas feeding into flavors of sour cherry, plum peels, red beets, salty soy, pepper, iodine, and smoky, funky earth. This wine evolves wonderfully with air as well as age in bottle. Decanting recommended. Ariana Rolich
Equipo Navazos is doing very interesting work in Jerez. Their "young" white wine is their flagship. It is produced with in collaboration with the famed Dirk Niepoort. 100% Palomino fermented with wild yeasts in old 600 liter barrels and then aged under the flor yeast for 8 months, it is a downright stunning wine with knockout aromatics of lime zest, herbs, fennel a touch of fleshy apricot. Quite round and elegant on the palate, there is plenty of saltiness, for those that love that (I am one of them), mouthcoating chalkiness, and just a touch of old-barrel funk. This wine sets the stage for other bodegas to consider making younger flor-aged wines to get to the market quicker, and then producing longer aged wines as Reserva Finos and so on. Brilliant 'En Rama' deliciousness. cb
The Serea Albariño is made using Pedralonga's younger vines, but there is nothing entry-level about this wine. The grapes are farmed organically and hand-harvested before being fermented and aged in stainless steel. The 2016 is a bit richer than previous vintages, but still wonderfully balanced. The Serea bursts with notes of white flowers, citrus zest, grapefruit, nectarine, and sea breeze. Coupled with that are richer notes of mirabelle plum, apricots, and a textured, long finish. Pair with grilled fish and autumn salads.This would be a beautiful wine to grace your Thanksgiving table. Oskar Kostecki
This is the first rosé made by Juan Antonio Ponce, who is the master of Bobal in his high-altitude home region of Manchuela. At a recent tasting with Juan Antonio, he explained that this wine was made at the request of his brother, a blend of red Bobal with 10% white Albilla, pressed all together and aged for 6-7 months in neutral barrel. Light and textured, with creamy tropical notes, blood orange, and gritty minerality, Las Cañadas is a beautiful new value in the rosé department. Ariana Rolich
Dominik Huber is a bold and innovative force in the Priorat today, challenging convention and expectations with his steady progress toward lower alcohol and extraction in his fascinating single-vineyard/village/variety bottlings for Terroir Al Límit, centered around his adopted home town of Torroja. Huber's new label, Terroir Historic, offers a macro view of the Priorat by combining fruit from organically-farmed vineyards all around the Priorat's nine villages into a regional wine. Vinification is simple and traditional with whole cluster, native yeast fermentations, six months in large concrete tanks and a minimum of SO2. The white is Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu, from both young and old vines and a mix of Priorat terroirs. Fiesty and bright, with orange rind, bee pollen, honey, and a hint of petrol on the nose; effusive tannins frame the medium-bodied palate, with orange oil, watermelon rind, apricot, and salty mineral notes. An incredibly interesting and delicious wine that will change the way you view the Priorat. Ariana Rolich
This is classic, natural cider from the Basque region of Spain! Plenty of tart citrus and apple flavors with a subtle earthiness are found on the nose and the palate, with a gentle salinity, sharp acidity, and a touch of effervescence. Serve chilled, but not cold, with the following instructions from the Zapiain website: “Once the cork has been removed, pour the cider from a certain, not excessive height of about 20 cm into a tumbler glass, and consume the cider poured into the glass in one go. The glass should be emptied. The cider should be either in the bottle or in our stomach, as the less time it remains in the glass, the better.” Tim Gagnon
I cannot think of a California winemaker working today whom we admire and celebrate as enthusiastically as Steve Edmunds of Edmunds St. John. Displaying a greater resemblance to L'Anglore Tavel than to the typical California GSM blend, 2015 Rocks and Gravel is juicy and generous with invigorating acidity and lots of life ahead. Perfumed and mouth-watering aromas of wild rose, black currant, tea leaves, and wild cherry with a terrifically spicy, bright and balanced palate of black raspberry, cherries and cherry skins, sweet tobacco, juicy young tannins and vibrant acidity. Medium bodied and crystal clear at 13.2% alcohol, this wine opens up beautifully and will reward cellaring. Ariana Rolich
Reminiscent of old-school Cabernet from the 60’s and 70’s, the wine’s supple tannins and lustrous acidity frame sleek black cherry, plum, cassis, menthol, graphite, and licorice flavors. Kenny simply killed it with this inaugural vintage from Bates Ranch, which was planted in the 1970s at 2400 feet elevation in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Electric and bold, with 15% stem inclusion and 25% new oak (and many years ahead), this is a classic Cabernet to pair with grilled short ribs or a juicy steak for your 4th of July BBQ. Jonas Mendoza
Ridge Vineyards first made Merlot in 1974 on Monte Bello; after being initially blended into their famed Cabernet, the Merlot eventually showed enough structure and complexity to merit a separate bottling. Aged nearly 20 months in a combination of 40% new and 60% 4-5 year old American oak barrels, this Merlot displays clove, anise, and allspice aromatics. The high elevation of the Monte Bello vineyard (nearly 2600 feet!) shines through with red plum skin, tart red cherry, and fennel flavors, followed by a sinewy black olive finish. A Merlot to age for the next 5-10 years! Jonas Mendoza
Sky Vineyards has been producing estate-grown and estate-bottled Zinfandel since the late 1970s, but hasn't yet achieved the reputation of other Zinfandel producers like Ridge and Turley. This is a mistake in my not-so-humble opinion. The vineyard's volcanic soil and high altitude along with its warm days and fog-chilled nights produce Zinfandels with great finesse, elegance, poise, and length. There's a panoply of flavors that radiate on the palate: black cherry skin, brambly fruit, pomegrante, steeped tea, dried herbs, garrigue, and black pepper. This wine won't clobber you over the head, but it's quite lithe and sapid with generous dark fruit balanced by earthiness and savoriness. Jonas Mendoza
This is an exciting Washington State Grenache from winemaker Joe Swick. Palest ruby in color, this wine has a sumptuous handful of fresh strawberries on the nose that mix with a touch of baking spice and a dark rumor of black tea. On the palate this wine is lush with red fruit, hinting at wild brambles, and shows great energy. Lighter in weight, its a perfect pairing for turkey, and a great companion for mashed potatoes, or roasted root vegetables. Use as a palate cleanser for anything covered in giblet gravy. Andrew Farquhar
A deep and brooding Washington Malbec from Joe Swick, this wine displays a subtle nose, with a bit of elegant dark fruit emerging from its gentlemanly reserve. Dark notes of spice and some husky minerality are clothed on the palate by a classic tannic grip. There is good structure but also fine integration of its various parts, which make it a wonderful complement for a wide range of foods. This is a great cold weather wine, that will be nice alongside rich cheeses, dark full-bodied sauces, and meats of various types, such as veal, game birds, poultry, and fine cuts of grass-fed beef. Andrew Farquhar
Before founding Clos Saron in the late 90s, Gideon Beinstock took his first steps in winemaking at Renaissance Vineyards in the Sierra Foothills. The same vineyards that he helped plant in the 1970s, in the 1990s yielded very classic, structured but elegant wines with great aging potential. Twenty years later, and with Clos Saron established as a front-runner of the New California wave, Gideon was able to reclaim some of the Renaissance wines of the 90s, and release them under his new label, Taken From Granite. These wines were resting undisturbed in the Renaissance cellars for the past 20 years. The 1997 Cabernet is in a beautiful spot right now, with the nose showing a core of dark fruit, cassis, blackberries and plums. There is a hint of sous-bois, dried violets, cedar, hay and a whiff of scattered pine needles on a craggy cliff side. The palate is very alive, with still-firm tannins and very fresh acidity. Red currants and raspberries intermingle with black fruit. The finish carries a slight menthol quality, along with more cedar and tobacco. Big, yet harmonious, this wine drinking beautifully now, but I wouldn't hesitate holding onto it for a further decade or more. Oskar Kostecki
In addition to perfectly elegant, age-worthy reds, Steve Edmunds produces one of California's lightest, purest white wines from Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Heart of Gold exudes fresh white florals, mineral water, and tingly orchard fruit aromas; flavors are bright and defined, graceful and deeply mineral, with gentle rays of citrus pith and crisp pear, golden apple, and yellow peach. Acidity is abundant and well-integated. Ariana Rolich