I offered the little brother last week... then this arrived... the little brother is impressive... making this... well... SUPER!
So... why buy one over the other? They are both spectacular wines... but don't simply buy the Origines because it is "better". Ask yourself when you are going to drink them. I think the "regular" offering will be at its best 2015-2020. The Origines more likely 2020-2025... so, if you plan on drinking earlier, I would say save your $ and get the regular Chateauneuf. It will taste better younger. Make sense?
Additionally, the Origines is aged in 100% new oak, while the regular sees only neutral oak and stainless steel. So, stylistically, they are different as well. If you don't like new oak with your Rhones, then perhaps the Origines is not for you, while the regular will completely blow you away!
Enough already... here's the wines!
I'm putting the regular first, then the new offer after.
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape "Regular" 2010 – Sale $44.99 net
90-93 pts Wine Advocate / 90-92 pts Int’l Wine Cellar
Another home run from one of my favorite Rhone producers. Actually, if each year is a home run, then this is a Grand Slam! I’ve had every vintage since 2000, each multiple times, many from 375mls and 1.5 Liters… some at wine dinners where I’ve tasted 8 or so bottles to ensure no corked bottles… in all, I’ve probably tasted/drunk Veneur Chateauneuf at least 60 times. Maybe more.
I’ve not had one that has impressed me as much as this one.
Veneur manages to capture the ripeness of fruit associated with the “modern” style, all while showcasing the unique terroir that is unmistakably Chateauneuf du Pape. 70% Grenache, destemmed and matured in a combination of neutral oak and stainless steel ensures a bright and pure expression of fruit – black cherries and raspberries explode from the glass, swirling with intoxicating floral and spice aromas. Classic Chateauneuf notes of thyme, lavender and sage combine on a smoky, anise laced finish that lingers for nearly a minute.
“Sure, Todd, that’s classic Veneur… what makes this vintage so special to warrant your praise?”
Okay… here’s the thing… the 2010 Veneur is both more powerful and substantial than previous vintages, yet more elegant and refined. Parker picks up on this in his review as well, commenting that the acidity seems higher and the alcohol lower than in 2009. Typically, this reflects a cooler year and results in a more approachable, early drinking style. But 2010 was a fabulous year… and this wine is actually quite a bit tighter and more powerful on the palate than 2009!
This seemingly contradictory nature is nothing of the sort – this 2010 Veneur Chateauneuf simply has everything! Rich, ripe powerful fruit and terroir-laden flavors coupled with fine, firm tannins, all with bright acidity and balanced alcohol. Balance… there’s that word again… it is the hallmark of the truly great wines and winemakers. Sebastian Jaume is certainly elevating his game to be considered one of the best practitioners in the Rhone!
I’ve got a handful of cases arriving this week, with more available to order. Hit reply to order!
“The tight, fresh, lively 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape needs 3-4 years of cellaring (unusual for this cuvee made from 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre). A youthful bouquet of black currants, black cherries, licorice, ink and spice box emerges from this full-bodied, young, primary red. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025. The 2010 Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Papes reveal youthful, crisper, more focused styles than their 2009 counterparts. I suspect their pHs are lower, the total acids slightly higher, and the alcohols perhaps .5 to 1% lower across the board.” WA
“Youthful purple. Deep, rich nose combines dark fruits, licorice, smoke and a floral element. Lush, ripe and deep, but with surprising energy to its blackberry and cherry flavors. Quite powerful for an entry-level wine. Finishes smooth and long, with a persistent dark berry preserve quality.” IWC
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf du Pape les Origines 2010 - Sale $54.99
94-96 pts Wine Advocate
(There are only 4 other 2010 CNDP rated as highly that sell for under $60...)
50% Grenache / 20% Syrah / 30% Mourvedre. Aged 18 months in 100% new oak. "The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Origines is nearly off the charts in terms of concentration. It is a less sexy, flamboyant effort compared to the 2009, but it is noble, reserved and pure with plenty of black and blue fruit notes intermixed with subtle garrigue, graphite and spice box characteristics. Full and rich with high tannins, good acidity and a style built for the long term, this 2010 will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring, and keep for at least 20-25 years."
Gruner Veltiner for folks that love white Burgundy too! That’s the nutshell. Arriving Friday, please reply to order.
Oh… you want more info? How ‘bout this stuff is delish? And it’s hot outside?
More still? Okay…
Lagler Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Burgberg 2011 - $17.59 net – reg. $21.99 - Save 20%
What makes it different from most of the rest of the sub-$20 Austrian wines we see?
Well, it’s from the Wachau, Austria’s most illustrious wine region, and one which normally carries its own tariff.
From old vines, 30-50+ years old, planted to limestone-rich soil in terraced vineyards, and allowed to age with its lees for 4 months to add a wonderful, creamy texture to the mouthfeel.
Mostly it is the fantastic depth, concentration, and complexity. Aromas run the gamut from green apple to melon fruit, with candied lime zest, white pepper, and anise.
The palate’s full of potent, ripe apple and citrus-tropical fruits, and has an interesting smoky minerality too.
This would make a homerun pairing with tons of cuisine, from Thai spices to Schnitzel, but my pick would be some grilled sea scallops, kept simple with some sea salt, fresh pepper, and squeeze of lemon.
The Wachau is Austria’s westernmost sub region, and while it only produces 3% of the nation’s wine, it is home to some of the best vineyards. Along its 12-mile stretch, there are over 900 named vineyard sites! The climate here is more continental than most winegrowing regions in Western Europe, with hot, dry summers and severe winters. Luckily there are cool, northern breezes at night to cool the grapes and maintain their acidity, and the vineyards are planted along the Danube River, which also helps to mitigate the heat.
Karl Lagler’s family has been growing grapes in the Wachau since the late 1700’s, but it was only in the 1970’s that they started bottling their own wines. Lagler emphasizes natural winemaking to allow the terroir to shine through, which means hand-picking only the best fruit from top vineyards, with old, low-yielding vines. In the cellar he uses wild yeasts, with no temperature control. The resulting long fermentation makes for more complex, layered wines, and 4 months of aging on the fine lees in stainless steel accounts for some of the rich, creamy texture.
Next up from Keenan Winery… my favorite… Cab!
We crushed it with their 2007 Cab last Fall. You may recall the story from last year’s Corks for Kids… we accidentally poured the Napa Cab in place of the Reserve for a while… not only did nobody notice, the “regular” Cab actually outshined a handful of 90-95+ pt Cabs!
As good as that one was, this is even better…
Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District 2008 – $46.99 net
94 pts Wine Advocate
From a QPR standpoint, you can’t do any better than this. There are only two other 2008 California Cabernets rated higher that sell for under $50 – Hall and Ramey – and those are both sold out. If that’s enough for you, just hit reply and order… but there’s more to the story…
You see, I still think this wine is underrated… for those who may have missed the ’07 offer, your key clue is in the name – “Spring Mountain”. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I feel “mountain” wines are consistently underrated. In fact, if you look at such wines and compare their barrel scores with their finished bottle scores in Wine Advocate, you will find compelling evidence supporting this – the wines overwhelming score better in bottle than in barrel.
Why? I can’t put my finger on the technical reason, but “mountain” Cabs simply are deceptive. When first opened, the Keenan expresses itself very clearly and elegantly. Perhaps it has to do with the relative alcohol content – at 14.3% this isn’t low, but certainly not the behemoth 15.5% you find from Valley floor Cabs. But with aeration, this Keenan, as I suspected, began to grow and expand.
That’s the unique nature of this wine. Whereas your typical “cocktail” Cab softens with aeration, the Keenan grows and grows, getting bigger, richer and more profound with time. Of course, when ratings are given, the wine hasn’t had this opportunity. Hence – underrated.
Stunning when you consider its lofty rating… but not surprising for those at the tasting event with Michael Keenan last week… compared side-by-side with the 97 pt rated 2008 Reserve Cab, Michael, Brent and virtually everyone in attendance were hard pressed to tell the difference! For the money, this is at the top of the list for quality California Cabernet. Certainly enjoyable now, it will sing for another 15-20 years. Comparable to Cabs at $85+, this is a great value to boot. For a lover of Cabernet, I cannot give this enough of a thumbs up recommendation.
“The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 76% estate fruit and the rest from Napa’s Pope Valley. Its black/purple color is followed by abundant aromas of cassis, licorice, underbrush and graphite. Full-bodied and impressively endowed with stunning concentration, this may be the biggest, richest regular Cabernet Sauvignon Keenan has yet made. It should age effortlessly for 15-20 years. “WA
I’ve now been here over five years (Todd, I believe the gift theme is Wood…) and am pretty sure we’ve never offered a Red Burgundy with a 90 point rating under $20, at least in my time. And this from the highly-touted, and immediately pleasurable, 2009 vintage!
The only catch – there are just 20 cases left of this vintage, and once folks get word of the deal we’re offering, I have a feeling it’ll be gone by mid-week. I’ve got my notes below, but if you want to act fast, reply to order before it disappears.
Cave des Vignerons de Buxy Mercurey Buissonnier 2009 - $16.99 net – reg. $24.99 – Save 29%!!! – 90 pts Wine Spectator
Average price for a 90 point Red Burgundy from 2009 – how about $74.27?!
I’d say this is the best price in the country… and it may well be… but I can’t even find another example online!
Spicy clove and cinnamon aromas, from a kiss of gentle oak-aging, jump from the glass. Like most of the ‘09’s I’ve sampled, there’s nothing shy here, a treat for those of us that want to experience Burgundy without having to cellar the wine for years.
The fruit is incredibly pure and focused, lots of red raspberry, cherry, and strawberry, and from vineyards 230-320 meters in altitude, planted in calcareous, loamy clay soils perfect for Pinot, there’s that marvelous bright acidity running throughout. Balancing the warm vintage’s ripe fruit and structure, you could drop this on ice for five minutes before serving and enjoy with a touch of chill. At this price, it’s a rare Red Burg you can make a picnic wine!
What sets this apart from any other Burgundy I’ve had at this price is the completeness of the package. On top of those toasty aromas, gorgeous fruit, and mineral acidity, there’s also a depth of earthiness here that screams terroir. Forest floor, tobacco, leather, and savory, meaty notes make this uniquely Burgundy, unlike Pinot grown anywhere else. Trouble is, you usually have to pay a premium for it.
The wines of Mercurey, a village in the Cote Chalonnaise section of Burgundy, were profiled in last month’s Wine Spectator as providing exceptional value, and resembling Cote de Nuits in their structure, density, and fruit profile. So, this is a bargain just because it’s Mercurey?
Not quite. Even in Mercury, the other two wines that scored 90 were $56 and $40 a bottle (and with a 1,200 total case production on the former, and only 50 cases imported for the latter). Even amongst its local peers, this baby stands in a class all its own.
Again, we’ve got access to up to 20 cases, please click here to order. This wine arrives Friday.
“Enticing aromas and flavors of raspberry, burning vine cuttings, underbrush and mineral mark this delicate red. Starts out supple, with fine tannins emerging on the finish. A smoky aftertaste lingers. Best from 2014 through 2022. 500 cases imported.” WS
Man oh man, did you miss a good one! Last week’s special event with Michael Keenan was incredible. Sure, he’s gregarious and fun, but the wines… oh, the wines… oh… my…
I am hard pressed to think of another winery that does it as well, top to bottom, from entry level to prestige cuvees. Each of their wines was a home run, but a few were Grand Slams! The Napa Valley Chardonnay, Napa Valley Cabernet, and the Mernet. They are honestly, all spectacular, and all worthy of their own moment in the sun…
So let’s start with the Chardonnay…
Keenan Napa Valley Chardonnay 2010- $24.99 net - Previous vintage 90 pts Wine Advocate –
I tell you, if you haven’t had Napa Chard lately, you are going to be amazed by this little gem! Refined, elegant and balanced, this showcases Napa’s unique terroir and ability to capture ripeness yet retain character.
For starters, the grapes are hand harvested and de-stemmed, then gently pressed. The desire is to capture the essence of the grape, not the green tannins present in the stems and seeds. Fermentation and aging occurred in a combination of French and American oak barrels. But only 25% of the oak was new, so just a hint of spice and oak flavors are present.
The real kicker here, in terms of profile, is the wine does NOT undergo malolactic fermentation. As a result, there are none of the resulting buttery aromas or flavors – nope, this crisp beauty stays focused and vibrant from start to finish.
Pear, green apple and white peaches are complemented by hazelnut and vanilla, all balanced and crisp. This wine is such a charmer on its own, but it shines like a movie star when paired with food. My old standbys are always a good choice – herb roasted chicken, pork loin, or grouper on a bed of lentils. But there is a whole lot of versatility here to experiment with fruit salsas, rich shellfish, cream sauces… hmm…
Bottom line? I’ve been searching for months for whites that make me scream “WOW!” I’ve finally found one!
Hit reply to order… or read on for a little more info…
[Michael] “I gotta admit, when I made the tasting notes for the event, I was in a rush and just cut-and-pasted from Todd’s invitation, and had no idea how much this cost when I first tasted it. Michael (Keenan) said that both die-hard Chardonnay enthusiasts love this wine for its depth and ripe fruit, but also that folks who normally avoid Chardonnay end up falling for its balance and crispness. I flipped for the golden apple and pear fruit, and hint of hazelnut from just 25% new oak, and I glanced over at the sheet thinking I’d see a $45 price tag...after a quick-double take, I knew this one was a winner...”
“A pretty, understated wine graced with plenty of character and personality. Ripe, varietal fruit, flowers and subtle French oak are some of the notes that emerge from this soft, caressing Chardonnay. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.” Wine Advocate on 2009