Brittan Vineyards Pinot Noirs – Lovers of Great Burgundy, It Doesn’t Get Much Better!

Brittan Vineyards

I’ve been at the Burgundy game for 30 years; tasting my way through every village of the Cote, north to south and back again. I’ve personally visited with vignerons through thick and thin on more than 2 dozen occasions. It’s maddening some times, the elusive bottle of mind-bending Pinot.

Oregon ain’t no picnic either, might be even more frustrating. Pinot won’t be tamed, tricked, cajoled, manipulated, masked. Cabernet? Grow it anywhere; it’ll still show its stuff. Try that with Pinot and you might as well sell it off to the distillery.

Estimates put the top performers – those who garner the BIG points – at less than 1% of all growers.

So imagine the look on my face when reading the headlines in the Wine Advocate,

“Brittan’s wines with low pH and firm acidity (without sacrificing flavor) are sure to send bolts of rapture through lovers of great Burgundy” .

Visions of Mortet went dancing through my head. Let me conclude by saying, any bottles remaining after this pre-sale will find themselves quietly resting next to verticals of Aubert’s best in my cellar.

Don’t dilly dally…

Available for a short time…

Here

And here

2009 Pintia |Vega Sicilia’s “Very Cool” Toro | 94 Points Wine Advocate

Vega Sicilia

A lot has been made of the famous Vega Sicilia. The name itself is undoubtedly the most recognized in Spanish wine loving circles. It holds its own – in more ways than one – alongside the most revered in wine. Its history is legendary.

I wonder, though how many know that Vega Sicilia was once sold as Rioja. Or that the original owner – Senor Lecanda – returning from Bordeaux with 18,000 vines to be planted at what is now called Vega Sicilia, would have the harvest distilled for Brandy.

My, how the world has changed.

Turn the page and meet the real forward thinkers, the Alvarez family, in charge since 1982. What they have done here is nothing short of miraculous. Expanding while perfecting, they have added estates across Spain, including Pintia in Toro, acqPintia 2009uired in 1997.

I asked about the name.

“Short, sweet, cool and easy to remember…” says Pablo.

They’ve tamed the once wild and belligerent Tempranillo of Toro, too. In Pablo’s cellars, deftly controlled by wine-maker Xavier Ausas, this is Toro with no equal. Very cool, very hip, totally unmatched.

The Vega Sicilia of Toro? You nailed it!

Track it down here

Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf 2010 | Vatican’s “Top Wine of the Vintage” RP

Cuvee Vatican

Ah those 2010 Chateauneufs! Wish I had a buck for each request!

Parker made sure the world was paying attention, declaring:

“2010 is a great vintage that is extremely close in quality to 2007”, finishing with: “the two greatest vintages I have ever tasted in thirty-three years of visiting the region [are] 2007 and 2010.”

Prices for the “big 10” skyrocketed overnight. Ferreting out any semblance of sanity in terms of pricing has been nearly impossible. But my perseverance pays off from time to time…

Take this exquisite beauty for example, Chateau Sixtine Chateauneuf du Pape 2010, one of Chateauneuf du Pape’s most ancient estates. Their first estate bottling took place in 1902. This place is a treasure trove of gnarled old Grenache vines, a large section of which are reported to be nearly 100 years old.

The Diffonty family has owned the place for generations, with Jean-Marc (I think he’s a visionary) now firmly in control. Where once there were several cuvees, he is focused on producing only one estate wine – christeneChateau Sixtined Chateau Sixtine as of this brilliant vintage 2010.

And what a profound effort indeed! Black and blue fruits, minerals and graphite that go on for miles. Alas, as limited as you’d expect, too…

Available here

 

Guigal’s Condrieu la Doriane – A Monumental 2012! Vinous Nectar!

guigal-condrieu-la-doriane

As with the Perrin’s Hommage, Laurence Feraud’s Cuvee da Capo and Chapoutier’s Ermitage Le Pavillon – Rouge AND Blanc – Guigal’s exquisite vinous expression (this one in Viognier) is a work of art.

As with the 2010 version, this absolutely irresistible bottle of pure hedonism flirts with perfection – to coin the phrase used so eloquently by Jeb over at the Wine Advocate. Of all the hundreds of variations on Viognier I’ve tried in my career, there have never been any which can summon such verbose discussions as this one.

Drinking this wine is the liquid equivalent to driving one’s dream car, owning one’s fantasy sailing vessel or discovering one’s perfect obsession across any number of desires. This stuff is that damn good! Aromas of the wildest, perfectly indescribable floral nuances freeze you in your tracks… you don’t want to do anything but smell the stuff. Then the first wave of the most luscious, palate saturating, mélange of exotic wild island fruits blows your palate away, with wave after wave of penetrating complexity. As the wine gains its momentum, the second, third and subsequent tastes waft through your senses, leaving you spellbound in their perfect mysteries. Guigal 2012 Doriane

Sound too good to be believed? You’ll believe me, believe me! This is liquid gold; the likes of which very rarely see the light of day.

This treasure is available HERE

Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 – First Release – Low Yields, Excellent Wines!

CDP

There’s a word you need to memorize: coulure. It’s the French vinous term for a condition which results in low yields for the wine-makers. Grapes fail to develop after flowering, leaving growers weeping. This condition has wreaked havoc across France. Remember the 2010 Burgundies? Well, it’s happened again! But what spells sorrow for growers equates to sheer joy for quality conscience consumers.

Coulure lowers yields and concentrates flavors. Cut to the chase, these 2012 Chateauneufs are packed with flavor! The Grenache harvest alone was cut by 60% at some places, the resulting wines as juicy as I’ve tasted in quite awhile. As reported in Tanzer,

Vincent Avril [of Clos des Papes] quipped sardonically that ‘maybe we need to come up with a new definition of “normal” for yields because this is getting to be sadly consistent.’”

But here’s the downside to all this: allocations will be slashed. One of my suppliers actually laughed when I tried to order 25 cases of our best seller. “I’ll give you 5”, he replied. These are sublime folks. But when they’re gone, that’s it. With that in mind, here’s round one (watch this space for more to come)…    clos-des-papepegau-cdphillaire-cdp-l

First release offers may be found here

 

Tabarrini – The Family Who Placed Montefalco on the Map!

Tabarrini

Tabarrini – “If I Look Back I See the Future”

Umbria – il cuor verde d’Italia – bordering Tuscany and literally the center of Italy, overflows with historical significance. This is the birthplace of St Francis of Assisi, the land upon which the breathtaking commune of Assisi was built 1000 years BC by Umbrians settling here along the Tiber Valley.

Fast-forward to the turn of the 20th century and we meet the family who would eventually – rightfully – place Montefalco (Umbria’s world famous DOCG) on the map. They are the Tabarrinis, and those in Umbria know them well, for they’ve been supplying coveted wine crops for four generations; grape growers extraordinaire in the mold of Giorgio Rivetti and Angelo Gaja in Piedmont.

This is meticulously farmed land, tended vineyard by vineyard, vine by vine, all by hand. The grape is Sagrantino – the Tabarrini’s mono-varietal, raison d’être. A Rosso too is offered; a field blend of mostly Sangiovese along with their younger pickings of Sagrantino and such. Prior to 1990, only the well connected locals could access the bounty from these tranquil sites.

But then Giampaolo Tabarrini – the driving passion behind the family’s modernization – stepped into the future and elected to estate bottle and export his family’s monumental vinous treasures. The rest, as they say, became history.

The Wine Advocate now urges,

“Readers who haven’t checked the Tabarrini wines out in a while will want to take a close look at these fabulous new releases.”

Tabarrini's Beauties

Tabarrini’s Beauties

The future has indeed arrived!

Their treasures await you here

 

Thibault Liger-Belair – Making Monumental Moulin-A-Vents!

thibault-liger-belair

Burgundy, the Cote D’Or. For many, this is the place where it all leads. We begin our vinous journey somewhere else – Bordeaux, Cali Cabs, Italy, anywhere else – but all roads lead to Burgundy. It’s a confusing, confounding, maddening, soul satisfying journey. You’ll spend thousands of hours and even more dollars figuring out the players and the plots, and then, maybe (if you’re lucky) you’ll find nirvana. Generations of men and women dedicate their lives to these nearly desolate hills along a mere 35 mile stretch of vineyards where Pinot and Chardonnay reign supreme.

So why in the name of the Cistercians would anyone now turn to the hillsides of Beaujolais? Why look to places such as Moulin-A-Vent for inspiration? Simply put, the 10 Grand Cru vineyards of Beaujolais – with vineyards as old as 60 to 80 years of age – offer consumers stunning complexity (for absurdly low prices) when handled by a winemaker as deft as Thibault.

I tasted each of Thibault’s individual Crus on two separate occasions last year, more impressed as the wines gained structure in the bottle. These are vinified in the same manner as his Premierthibault-liger-belair-moulin-a-vent and Grand Cru Burgundies – no carbonic maceration for Thibault – and the results are chart topping numbers (year in, year out!) It’s time, folks; discover what every critic has been raving about…

His 2011s are available here