The top cuvee from one of our favorite producers is finally here. Only 250 cases made it to the US, and we’ve got 6 coming tomorrow, please reply to order.
St. Damien Gigondas Souteyrades 2009 - $27.98 net (matches best online price!) – (91-93+) pts Wine Advocate / 91 pts Wine Advocate
This was impressive from the get-go, inky and opaque purple in color, massive and rich with concentrated kirsch, smoke, and blueberry notes. It needed some air, so I took it home to pair with a pot roast, and after being opened for an hour, it became wildly expressive. Aromas run the gamut from wildflowers to charcoal to blackberry compote, with intense fruit married to a hot stony character.
Souteyrades is their best parcel, from vines at least 60 years old, with some 70-100+ years. this is potent juice, with layers of dark and spicy fruits, and a broad, savory mouthfeel with a bit more tannin than their other bottlins, but they are ripe, sweet, and complex, and I bet this is the best bet for aging 7-10+ years. The finish is impressive for its length and complexity. And yet all the power comes from perfectly farmed and ripe fruit, not a hint of new oak!
St. Damien’s vineyards La Baumette, a “hot” corner of Gigondas, not only have terrific exposure allowing for maximum ripeness, but also the same famed galets roulees like neighboring Chateauneuf du Pape. Baby Chateauneuf for $28? Yeah, no wonder this juice rocks…
A marriage of rich fruit and traditional winemaking, no punching down and no new oak, aged in cement tanks for 6-8 weeks after fermentation, and then transferred to large, used oak foudres for 12 months before bottling unfined and unfiltered. What that does is allow the wine to breath, unlike stainless steel, and soften, without adding toasty, oaky flavors.
For me, few wineries capture the wild, earthy side of Cotes du Rhone like St. Damien. Always in balance, the wines offer loads of voluptuous fruit, for sure, but there is always an earthy undertone that evokes memories of Rhones gone by. There is just a savory weight to the wine that truly separates it from the pack, and elevates it.
Uh, can you tell I heart this producer? Well, so does the press, and with only 250 cases for the country, this is bound to go fast. We’ve got 6 cases coming today, please reply to reserve.
"The top cuvee is the 2009 Gigondas Les Souteyrades, which also comes from 60+-year-old vines and is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre. Again, it is all aged in old wood foudres and bottled unfined and unfiltered. This wine plays it closer to the vest, and one can see that there is a level of density and richness that might eclipse the other two wines, but there is also more tannin and a striking near-liqueur of minerals in this wine. It is very reserved and restrained, but super-concentrated, full-bodied, and incredibly impressive, with much of the character of the La Louisiane but tighter. It may have more up-side potential that any of these wines, but will probably need 1-3 years of bottle-age and then drink well for at least 15 years.
Proprietor Joel Saurel, backed up by the inimitable Philippe Cambie as his consultant, has transformed this estate into one of the greatest in Gigondas, rivaling the two top producers, Yves Gras’ Santa Duc and Louis Barruol’s Saint Cosme. This estate made mind-boggling 2007s, and has followed that up with top-flight 2009s…In the top vintages, Saurel’s practice is to produce three cuvees of Gigondas. In 2009, these all tip the scales between 14.9 and 15.3% natural alcohol. They are made from very low yields of 20 to 25 hectoliters per hectare, and are aged for at least a year in old wood foudres before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. All of Saurel’s vineyards are in their second year of biodynamic farming, for those who consider that an issue.” WA
“This is rounded and fresh, but shows good persistence, as damson plum, red currant and blackberry fruit glides along, laced with hints of sandalwood, black tea and roasted tobacco. A loamy edge adds some heft to the finish. Drink now through 2016. 250 cases imported.” WS
Psst. Wanna know a secret? There are some pretty talented winemakers who make some really good stuff. Ok… that’s not the secret. The secret is many of them do work for other wineries on the side… same talent… different label.
Luckily, you know a Guy… (and Gal)… and we know some talented moonlighters…
The wines from Roth are made under the direction of David Ramey. Yep, that Ramey, he of the ridiculously high-rated Cabernet and Chardonnay… and Routestock Cab is made with Wayne Donaldson, winemaker of the Louis Martini Cab we have been crushing over the years… the Pinot comes from the fine folks at Ponzi…
Roth Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Alexander Valley, California) - $14.99 (Special Best Price - $11.24!) – Impressive for its distinct tropical aromas and flavors. Zingy and vibrant, this wine delivers more bang for the buck than any Cali Sauv Blanc we’ve had in years.
Roth Chardonnay 2010 (Sonoma Coast, California) - $21.99 (SPB - $16.49) - barrel fermented in French oak with only a touch of new oak to maintain true varietal expression. It displays aromas of citrus zest and vanilla accompanied by focused and concentrated flavors of melons, apricots, pineapple and other tropical notes.
Routestock Pinot Noir 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon) - $19.99 (SPB - $14.99) - Cinnamon, clove, rose petal, tobacco and ripe raspberry aromas lead to a mouth of fresh red cherry, sasparilla, and a focused middle of high-toned fruit leading to a spicy finish and fine tannins.
Routestock Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Napa Valley, California) - $21.99 (SPB - $16.49) - The highly aromatic nose showcases a variety of dark fruits with hints of leather, tobacco and violets. On the palate the wine delivers a rush of plum, currant, black cherry and anise, with a subtle oak structure and soft, approachable tannins. Vanilla and kirsch make an appearance in the finish, which is long and complete.
Even better, we’re gonna offer you some seriously special pricing…
20% off for the night of the tasting… but if you mix six or more bottles, we’ll give you 25% off!!!
Of course, if you want to order some, you can do that as well! Click here. Or hit reply.
I first visited this wine in January. January 5th to be exact. Not exactly the best time for selling wine… everybody is, well… recovering…
But the simple facts of the wine are pretty compelling to beg for a sample. Of the thousand plus California wines reviewed by the Wine Advocate in December, only two Cabernets scored 93 points or higher and sell for under $45. We already cleaned the distributor out of the other one (Snowden)…
So… the highest-rated Napa Valley Cali Cabernet available under $45?
Sounds like a winner to me!
Philip Togni 2009 Cabernet Sauvingon, Tanbark Hill Vineyard - $43.49 net – 93 pts Wine Advocate – Philip Togni is a legend in Napa Valley, having crafted epic wines at Chappellet in the late 1960s and 70s before starting his eponymous winery in 1981. The vines, re-planted in the 1990s, now at 20 years of age, are producing ridiculously concentrated fruit. Hard to believe quality could get any better, seeing as he has been garnering 94+ pt reviews for the past 20 years, but with this new Tanbark selection, he seems to have done it!
Pouring into a decanter, the wine’s aromas were so explosive my wife called out from the family room, “What are you pouring??? Are we celebrating something?”
Anise, spice and smoky earth notes carry a wealth of dark, black fruit – currants, black cherries and blackberries. Yet despite its obvious charms and forward expression, there is a remarkable balance to the wine. With air, the flavors expanded and grew in intensity, yet were matched step for step by finely integrated tannins and vibrant acidity. I intended to follow this wine for a couple of days, but after an hour I knew there was no hope! I just had to keep coming back for more, following the wine on its journey, only too happy to tag along.
For the price, this is a ridiculous bargain. As tasty as it is now, it is only going to improve – the winery estimates up to 15 years, and I have no reason to doubt them! Truly an exceptional wine and an exceptional buy for Cabernet.
“The 2009 Tanbark Hill is a rich, voluptuous wine graced with layers of expressive fruit, smoke and tobacco. It shows quite a bit of depth for this bottling. Licorice, crushed flowers, spices and mint wrap around the plush, inviting finish. This is all elegance and class. In 2009 one-third of the production was bottled as Tanbark Hill.”
Also available… in case you have a few ducats laying around is the flagship bottling…
Philip Togni 2009 Cabernet Sauvingon, Spring Mountain - $97.99 net – 95+ pts Wine Advocate - “The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is stunningly beautiful and seductive in its red fruit, mint and tobacco. This is a surprisingly accessible vintage for the Cabernet Sauvignon. Today it looks like an excellent choice for readers who want to explore the wines of this iconic producer – as long as it doesn’t close down in bottle. Togni’s 2009 is notable for its exceptional elegance, finesse sexy and radiant for such a young wine. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029. “
“This is a breathtaking set of wines from Philip, Birgitta and Lisa Togni. Philip Togni hardly needs an introduction to lovers of fine Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Since his epic 1969 Cabernet Sauvignon at Chappellet, Togni has crafted a series of impeccable, breathtaking wines. It is amazing to consider that Togni’s wines remain so reasonably priced when an endless number of new wineries with no track record seem to pop up every day with first releases well over $100 a bottle. The estate’s Tanbark Hill is a second selection made from the barrels that don’t go into the Cabernet Sauvignon. All of the wines see approximately 40% new oak from four different tonneliers.”
My thrilling reference point for Soave, at the best price we’ve ever been able to offer it. When I told Todd our deal price by ordering direct from Italy, he quickly suggested doubling our order…which may not be enough…
Inama Soave Classico 2010 – reg. $16.49
Buy 1-5 bottles, and we’ll knock off 15%, or $13.99 per bottle.
For half-a-case or more, it’s 28% off, and the best price in the country at $11.99 net!
We tasted an advance sample back in February, and I’ve been waiting anxiously for this baby to arrive! Super aromatic on the nose, with tons of apple blossom, almonds, ripe orchard fruits, and a hint of honey.
This wine sees no oak, but is aged for 6 months in contact with its lees (dead yeast cells), a process which adds a gorgeous creamy texture to the mouthfeel, which is full of golden apple and pear fruit, with hints of savory herbs.
Inama’s vineyards are in the heart of the Soave Classico zone, with some of the grapes for this wine coming from their famed Monte Foscarin vineyard. These hillside vineyards have less humidity and cooler nights than the vast amounts of Soave that is produced from the valleys, and allow for long, slow ripening. The result is wonderfully complex juice, full of juicy fruits, spices, and a racy underlying acidity, reflecting the volcanic nature of the best Soave soil.
The founder’s son Stefano now runs this winery, and is considered a dynamic visionary of the regions, and only uses 100% old-vine Garganega grapes for his Soaves - i.e. he doesn’t add any “filler” grapes like Trebbiano to boost production. And he’s worked for years researching the right clones, the perfect expositions, and the proper balance of ancient techniques and modern technology to produce an improved and revamped take on Soave Classico.
I love his quote on winemaking philosophy: “Real wine is not improvised…It is more difficult to work in natural-ness and to make simple things than it is to make complicated ones.”
I take that to mean instead of blending in a touch of Chardonnay, or splashing some new oak on this wine, that he’s worked instead to promote old vines and low yields to coax the most of his indigenous varietal and special terroir.
The resulting juice is absolutely marvelous. I found mine delightful on its own, but you could take a cue from the Veronese and Venetians and pair with some Shrimp Scampi or other seafood-and-pasta combination, especially if it featured some grilled scallops with black pepper, lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, and fresh parsley.
We’ve been working with Wine Traditions, an importer of independent, family-owned wines, based in Falls Church, Virginia, for going on five years now, and their wines have established themselves as staff and customer favorites. Owner Ed Addiss seeks wines with a balance of intensity and delicacy, representing the character of their region.
We’ve selected a mixed case of white and red, covering the Languedoc, Bordeaux, the Southwest, and the Loire Valley. Each of these wines completely over-delivers on their own, and together make for one amazing case offer!
(white) Martinolles Chardonnay 2011 – reg. $12.99 – Bright, clean, elegant and no oak… this is some laser-focused, no-nonsense French Chardonnay that is a terrific value year in and year out. Lots of citrus and green apple fruit are all framed by notes of lemon zest and flint. Pair this with seafood or lighter poultry dishes.
(white) Chateau Magneau Graves 2011 – reg. $14.99 – If you haven’t discovered the joys of great White Bordeaux, this will be the one that converts you. From 45% each Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, the former brings bright grapefruit and lime zest aromas and a clean, zippy citrus finish. The Semillon comes through on the palate, with ripe apricot and peach fruit and a lush, rich texture. 10% Muscadelle adds an extroverted floral aromatic profile. Those bordelaise and their blending, I think they’re on to something! Delightful with any kind of shellfish, I’d love to have this with some simple grilled scallops, or maybe a chili-lime marinated shrimp skewer.
(red) Jouclary Cabardes 2009 – reg. $12.99 – This southern French red is the perfect table wine - ripe, warm and mouth-filling, spicy and savory. An interesting blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Cot (aka Malbec), Syrah, and Grenache, with crazy wild berry and earthy/umami aromas make you want to hop on a plane to France! In fact Cabardes, a wine region recognized in 1998, requires a minimum 40% of “Atlantic” varietals like Cab and Merlot along with 40% or more of the “Mediterrean” Grenache and Syrah. Easy drinking with lots of blackberry and raspberry aromas and flavors with wild herbs and rustic earth. Pair with roasted chicken aside fried squash blossoms and orzo laced with butter and parmesan cheese.
(red) Verdier-Logel Gamay Cotes du Forez 2011 – reg. $12.99 – 100% Gamay, but not from Beaujolais. This little gem hails from the Loire Valley, an area not widely know for its red wines but because of their obscurity, these cult wines are hidden bargains! This has all of Gamay’s brightness and finesse, but with a little more stuffing and earthiness than its Beaujolais brethren. Black cherry fruit, white pepper, and a lovely balance of juiciness and acidity—a classic bistro wine, and a perfect red to take on a picnic. Drink with a slight chill for porch sipping, or pair with mild soft cheeses or a Croque Madame – a French hot Ham & Cheese with a fried egg and Mornay sauce!
The Deal – Normally a mixed case of 3 bottles of each would run $161.88. For this case offer we’ll knock off 20%, to make it $129.50, a savings of $35.61, or an average of $10.79 per bottle for some knockout French juice.
Want all-red or all-white, no problem, just let us know, same 20% off!
We'll even give you a half case option - 15% off 6 bottles.
These wines are in store now.
Click here to order. Or hit reply. Or call us. Make sure you specify what you want.
Simply the best winery self-description I have ever read…
“Grey Stack Cellars makes distinctive, food friendly wines from unique sites in Bennett Valley. Honestly, and without a lot of BS.
Grey Stack does not make: Intellectual wines, grown in obsessively farmed vineyards each berry polished by a virgin using a shammy made from sustainably farmed baby seal skins.”
I love it! Hope it made it past your spam filter...
Truth is, they have put quite a bit more thought than it would appear into their vineyards and winemaking, as evidenced by their extensive, and quite interesting website.
But let’s just cut through the murk and stick with the basics, as they suggest.
From the unique Bennett Valley appellation within Sonoma Valley, Grey Stack’s vineyards are heavily influenced by the cool marine air of the Pacific Ocean. The tough soil conditions and cool maritime influence make it perfect for Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, of which they are arguably the best domestic producer. Here’s what we’ll be pouring:
- 2011 Rosemary's Block Sauvignon Blanc - $35.99 – arguable California’s Finest!
- 2010 Bennett Valley Cuvee Pinot Noir - $38.99 – very aromatic and intriguing
- 2009 The Folly Grenache/Syrah - $29.99 - 90pts Wine Spectator – fun stuff!
- 2009 The Muldoon Grenache/Syrah - $44.99 – 92 pts Wine Spectator
- 2008 The Narcissist Syrah - $56.99 – no review – previous vintage 95 pts Wine Advocate!!!