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Best Wines of the Season
Best Wines of the Season
Who wants to be the bearer of bad news? No-one. We hate to admit that the seasons are changing. We know what’s coming.
To soften the blow, we’re letting festive thoughts creep in. ‘Tis the season to stock up on some seriously collectible wines, for one thing. You’ve worked hard all year, and now’s the time to enjoy and share the fruits of your labour. We’ve combed our portfolio and identified a few special finds to appreciate in the chilly, festive days ahead or lay down in the cellar for a long rest.
Hold on tight: this is a big list. It’s not exhaustive, though. Just a sample of the dozens of critically acclaimed wines we stock.
All of our available wines are listed online, along with producer profiles, reviews, and prices. You can also call me any time to “talk wine”. Hope to hear from you.
Rogers & Company
Manager of Private Client Sales
Champagne Vilmart & Cie
“Coeur de Cuvée” 2009
$171.95 per bottle, cases of 6
10 cases available
A real gem among top-flight Champagnes, Vilmart’s “Coeur de Cuvée” is a must-have. Like Dom Perignon? Let us save you $100 a bottle and broaden your Champagne experience. You’ll simply love this.
“This ’09 is a stunning power-vintage of Coeur de Cuvée, recalling the 2003 and 2006 though rather less sultry than either; this wine is greater than any glass it’s served in; almost overwhelmingly generous yet finesse-ful, salty and spicy (5-spice mix especially). I think this will grow incredibly complex with time.”
Terry Thiese, Skurnik Wines, 2017
“Endless and gentle aromatic harmony. The majority of Chardonnay (80%) immediately establishes its elegance with its notes of citrus fruits, white flowers and exotic fruits, highlighted by a delicate breath barely spicey, eminent signature of the vinification and ageing for ten months in 228 litres oak barrels. The nose becomes a sensual caress, expression of the fullness of the Champagne obtained by seven years of patient ageing of the bottles before riddling and disgorgement. Vertiginous purity at the opening, thanks to the rigorous selection of the juices from the first pressing (coeur de cuvée: 1,400 litres of the 2,050 litres of cuvée), reinforced by the timely stop of the malolactic fermentation of the base wines. Remarkable presence, characteristic sign of the oldest plots of vine of the estate (55 years old), underlined by joyful scents of red and black fruits due to the Pinot Noir (20%). Balanced finish supported by a graceful minerality. Impressive length on the palate.”
“Clos de Hospices” is a single parcel of vines at the base of the famed Grand Cru Les Clos. It is a true Chablisienne treasure and due to its scarcity, I think this is simply one of the most special wines that we carry. Moreau ages a small portion of the wine in new French French oak for four months before bottling, the majority in neutral older oak.
“From one hectare within Les Clos. Firm, rather closed nose, with a touch of oak. Rich, imposing, very concentrated and taut. Nutty and mineral on the palate, with some bracing austerity. Fine balance and potential, with a very long refined finish.”
96 points, Decanter, Feb 2017
“A crystal-clear Chablis, boasting white peach, apple, seashore, spice and lime blossom aromas and flavours. Though young, this is complex and harmonious, with a firm, intense aftertaste.”
“Les Folatieres” is a 17 hectare vineyard just metres north and directly adjacent to the Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet vineyard. We think it’s one of the great values in top-tier Côte de Beaune white, and 2015 is an excellent vintage. Very taut and minerally with nutty, earthy undertones.
“Though light-footed, this white is expansive, filled with flavours of lemon cake, apple tart and white flowers. Vibrant and long, with precision balance and a lingering aftertaste of flowers, honey, mineral and spice. Scintillating. Best from 2020 through 2030.”
This summer, we embarked on an epic road trip through Spain. At Marqués de Murrieta’s Ygay estate, we enjoyed one of the best meals we’ve ever tasted. The Capellania, served with barely-cooked shrimp, was a stand-out pairing and cemented the unique beauty of this amazing white. It is incredibly dynamic. Serve chilled like most whites, or at a slighty cool “cellar temperature” as you would a red.
“From a vineyard on the Ygay estate. Another modern classic Viura: the palate builds with layers of French oak, white flowers and sweet spices. Supple, well rounded, very complex. Murrieta is doing great things with its reds, but don’t miss this.”
Pio Cesare’s top Barolo is from the Ornato vineyard in Serralunga d’Alba. This vineyard’s wines are all about depth and power. This is Nebbiolo of the highest order, so it’s also highly cellar-worthy. To suggest that its prime drinking window is two decades from now is reasonable.
“Extremely complex and showing the terroir of Serralunga with rose stems, wet earth, strawberries and mushrooms. Orange peel to boot. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and bright acidity. Fascinating character that takes everything from the aromas. Light chewy on the finish. Expanding. Needs time to soften with bottle age. Better in 2021.”
98 points, JamesSuckling.com, Feb 2017
“Succulent, moreish, sweet and oh-so sophisticated. This is full of enticing raspberry and dark plum fruits with supporting flavours of violet, chocolate and tobacco. The style has evolved a touch, with less oak in the ’13 and more fruit expression. There is just superb freshness and balance here, with a feeling of weightless intensity on the palate. This is a true terroir wine which is undeniably delicious now, however I’d really want to revisit this during its peak in the next 10-20 years.”
96 points, Decanter, March 2017
“This wine represents a slight stylistic departure compared to past editions. The 2013 Barolo Ornato sees fruit sourced from Serralunga d’Alba from a site that is known for its power and concentration. This wine’s identity is tightly linked to the wide popularity of this more robust taste profile. Pio Cesare opted to use a little less barrique and more delicate punch downs instead of pump overs (that tend to increase tannins and bitterness). They have also opted to increase maceration times by a slight margin. The results are spectacular. This is a wine I have always admired and I’m pleased to say that it just got better. Dark fruit and plum segue to soft spice, leather and licorice.”
95+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, June 2017
Altesino’s most celebrated wine is “Montosoli”. A single-vineyard wine (and a bargain in top-tier Brunello). It is balanced and perfumed, and because the winery doesn’t use new oak for ageing there is a harmonious, gentle feel to the wine even at a young age.
Wine Spectator awarded this wine its second-highest score for the vintage (95 points) and frankly, they may have underestimated this one.
“Fantastic aromas of blueberries, plums, bark and wet earth follow through to a full body, velvety and polished tannins and a wonderful finish. Refined and persistent on the finish. Drink in 2019 and onwards.”
97 points, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2017
“Montosoli is the single vineyard cru Brunello from Altesino, and year after year it is amongst the top wines made from the region, as is the case in this vintage. The 2012 is an utterly compelling wine, which is all about elegance and finesse. As this begins to open it releases striking aromatics of blackberries, strawberries and plums woven together with freshly cut floral, spices, orange peel, leather and hints of fresh white truffle, all taking shape in this stunning Brunello. As mentioned, the silky texture results in an incredibly finessed mouthfeel, as it also displays remarkable balance and wonderful purity leading into the long finish, which is marked by sweet red fruits and exotic spices. Today, even at this young age, Montosoli is extremely impressive and a pleasure to drink, however there is no sense of urgency, as this should thrive in the cellar for years to come. (Best 2018-2032)”
97 points, International Wine Report, Feb 2017
“Balancing power and grace, this wine delivers alluring aromas and flavours of ripe black cherry, raspberry compote, grilled herb, licorice and tar. Vibrant acidity and firm, velvety tannins provide freshness and structure, while a hint of pipe tobacco closes the lingering finish. Drink 2020-2032.”
97 points, “Cellar Selection”, Wine Enthusiast, April 2017
“It is impossible to exaggerate my enthusiasm for this set of new releases from Giovanni Manetti’s venerable Fontodi. I’ll start with the 2013 Flaccianello della Pieve that left me speechless. This is the wine that taught me to love the 2013 vintage in Central Tuscany.”
Monica Larner on Fontodi, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2016
“The 2013 Flaccianello della Pieve is a commanding wine and a strong protagonist of both the vintage and its territory. Connoisseurs of Sangiovese will be hard pressed to find a wine more authentic, elegant, complex and pristine than this. I am a huge fan of the 2013 vintage in Chianti Classico and the Flaccianello della Pieva is one big reason for this love affair. The bouquet is gorgeous and delineated with wild berry, tangy spice, crushed mineral and forest flower. Yet, the wine’s color is dark, brooding and austere. The wine offers exuberance and energy in the mouth, thanks to its balanced acidity and seemingly never-ending finish. It should age forward for twenty years or more. Congratulations Fontodi.”
98 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2016
Look to 2010 for one of the great Bordeaux vintages of the modern era: superb wines with richness and nicely integrated tannins, classic expressions that are age-worthy and restrained.
Enologist Anabelle Cruse-Bardinet directs Château Corbin. She is the 4th generation of her family to run the winery, one of the oldest estates in Saint-Émilion. The estate borders the Pomerol appellation. This blend is generally 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, a classic “Right Bank” red fermented in cement and aged 17 months in French oak barriques.
“This 2010 is a spectacular wine from Annabelle Cruse-Bardinet from her 33-acre vineyard in the lieu-dit of Corbin (hence the name of the château). Lush, concentrated black currant and kirsch-like fruit, a hint of licorice and some floral notes and subtle background oak jump from the glass of this blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. It is another relatively large-scaled St.-Emilion at 15% natural alcohol, but the good news is that there are nearly 4,500 cases of this wine in the marketplace. The purity, sumptuous texture and seductive nature of this wine will endear it to most readers. It is certainly a sleeper of the vintage, as Corbin has rarely made a wine of this intensity and richness, at least not in many a year. Drink it over the next 15+ years.”
92 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Feb 2013
“Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos (San Román) is one of the leading lights of Toro. Founded in 1997 by former Vega Sicilia winemaker Mariano Garcia Fernandez, they own 60 hectares of vineyard in San Román de Villaester and Hornija, mainly planted with Tinta de Toro and Garnacha…..These exceptional wines were suffused with personality, purity, a life-affirming sense of ‘controlled opulence’ that, to be frank, put many a more expensive Toro wine in its shade.”
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, April 2013
The growing season in Toro is short and intense. Days of 35 to 40ºC are followed by nights 20 to 25º cooler. The heat and light drive phenolic and tannin development in Tempranillo (here called Tinta de Toro), while at night the acids climb. The resulting fruit is balanced and intense. Two years maturation in French and American barriques makes for a powerful, modern expression of Spain’s most famous grape.
“The 2013 San Román was produced with fruit from older vineyards in Toro. In 2012 they started reducing the amount of the new oak in this wine and the change is quite noticeable. There is something leafy and floral showing elegance within the power that the place provides naturally. 2013 was quite different in Toro from Ribera del Duero, here the cooler years are a plus, as they balance the extra ripeness the place provides. In 2013 there was no rain during the harvest and the grapes were very healthy. There are some fine tannins and the profile of a more austere and transparent vintage, a mineral year. But it does have the smokey and slightly wild character of Toro.”
93 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Feb 2017
Peay Vineyards is a personal favourite winery, period. Back in 2009, this three-person family winery earned the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Winery of the Year” award. That’s high praise.
This particular wine was a highlight at our annual Portfolio Tasting last month. It is one of two single-vineyard estate Pinot Noirs Peay produces (Pomarium is the second). Scallop Shelf is intense, yet comfortably medium-bodied. It’s like drinking a cherry-flavoured, satin laser beam of fruit. While we have mixed opinions regarding Galloni’s tasting note below, the score is bang-on. This is fantastic Pinot.
“The 2015 Pinot Noir Estate Scallop Shelf is dense, powerful and also quite tannic. Readers will have to be patient with the 2015, as it is massively tannic and structured. Dark cherry, plum, tobacco and licorice give the wine its personality. This is a distinctly virile vintage for the Scallop Shelf. Time in bottle will help the Scallop Shelf come together, but I imagine it will always retain some of the gravitas it shows today. 2019 – 2029.”
94 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, March 2017
Domaine Serene is arguably Oregon’s top Pinot Noir producer, perhaps one of the United States’ top wineries. The “Evenstad Reserve” Pinot Noir (and the Chardonnay) are their flagship wines, showcasing fruit from their estate vineyards. It is consistently excellent, a guaranteed fabulous Pinot Noir experience.
“A soft and silky Pinot with beautiful dried strawberries, blueberries and hints of vanilla to close. Medium to full body, ultra-fine tannins and a fruity finish. This is all about subtlety and freshness. Drink now.”
95 points, JamesSuckling.com, August 2017
“There is a darker fruit spectrum evident in the Evenstad Reserve, with notes of coffee, smoke, black fruits, a touch of charred wood all worked through, and without damping the core fruit flavours. Those bright flavours spotlight raspberry, plum and black cherry. A light cola flavour pokes through, with ripe tannins and proportionate acids. The barrel treatment is beautifully applied, adding sweet spice to the finish.”
94 points and Editor’s Choice, Wine Enthusiast, July 2017
In 1973 John Shafer went from an executive position in Chicago to teaching himself to drive a TD-9 tractor in Napa Valley. He’d never grown grapes or made wine in his life. Crazy, right? Well, that spirit of risk-taking and adventure has served the Shafer family well, and it still guides the winery today. 2015 marks a turning point at Shafer. The winery will no longer bottle a varietal Merlot. Instead, they introduce TD-9, a Napa red: in 2015 the blend is 56% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Malbec.
“Powerful and finely textured, with concentrated dried cherry, dark currant and roasted plum flavours that are filled with lively minerality. Richly spiced, showing dried herbal notes on the chiseled finish. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Drink now through 2022.”
Montelena’s Estate Cabernet is their finest wine and one of Napa Valley’s blue-chip, never-miss Cabernets. It’s consistently stellar value. (If you’re looking for a great gift idea, this wine also comes in the most beautiful wooden case with an inlaid lid and individually-wrapped bottles.) It is a real collector’s item.
“Winemaker Matt Crafton embraces the winery’s longstanding tradition of elegant Napa Valley Cabernet in this estate wine-a beautiful expression of exotic, savoury characteristics wrapped in a seamless texture. Tomato leaf, meat and soy notes underscore deep layers of black pepper, black cherry and cassis, with grippy, dense tannins. Enjoy 2023 – 2033.”
94 points and Cellar Selection, Wine Enthusiast, Dec 2017
Like towering Cabernet? This one is for you. Mt. Veeder’s miserable soils and brilliant sunshine produce intense, tiny Cabernet grapes with a high skin-to-juice ratio. It tastes of inky, deep blue fruit. Because the wine is 100% Cabernet, it displays precision as well as power. It can be drunk upon release, but will age really well.
“The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and usually my favourite from Betty O’Shaughnessy. She produces just under 1,200 cases of this wine, which has the classic blueberry, blackberry and acacia flower nose that comes from the high elevations of this wild and backward mountain area in southern Napa Valley. Dense bluish/purple to the rim, with loads of blueberries on the palate, big-time glycerin, sweet tannin, low acidity and a long, layered finish, this is terrific wine to drink now and over the next 20-25 years. 2016 – 2041”
96 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Dec 2016
Quintessa is a masterpiece property of 280 acres in the heart of Rutherford. Almost 200 acres of organic vineyards flow over the hills and valleys. In 2014, the Quintessa is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, complemented by Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carmenere. It spent 21 months in 100% French oak barriques, 80% of which were new.
“Aromas of spearmint, sweet tobacco, cigars and blackcurrants follow through to a medium to full body, very polished and refined tannins and an intense finish. Extremely fine and long. Savoury. Extremely long finish. Biodynamically grown.”
97 points, JamesSuckling.com, Jan 2017
“This is probably the best set of wines I have yet tasted from the Huneeus family, who own this beautiful property off the Silverado Trail south of the Meadowood Resort. The three red wines are represented best by the flagship wine, the 2014 Quintessa Proprietary Red from their vineyards in Rutherford. A beautiful floral, black raspberry and blackcurrant nose soars from this dense ruby/purple wine. Medium-bodied, beautifully rich and layered, the emphasis is on discreet yet intense flavours, power allied with elegance, and wonderfully supple, lush tannins. This wine has great balance, purity, and presence on the palate and should evolve beautifully for two decades or more.“
94 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2016