Clos Marie Pic Saint Loup – “Detonative” Southern Secrets

clos-marie

 

I’m thrilled to say I finally located these treasures!

My first excursion to the zones of the Languedoc back in the early ’90s was to visit places few had begun to fully exploit; St Chinian, Roquebrun, Faugeres, La Clape… Backwater AOCs with promising futures.

I continued returning, trekking through the zones as the French AOC system began granting grand crus, touring the mountains and valleys, discovering monumental bottlings.

Today, one guy seems to know everyone on the front lines: importer extraordinaire Peter Weygandt – he’s deep in the game, ferreting out selections that blow my mind. Like these.

This is Clos Marie, run by the young and energetic Christophe Peyrus who honed his talents at Clos Rougeard and Dagueneau. When I first arrived to this region, it was simply AOC Languedoc. Today, these vineyards are rightly recognized, elevated to the grand cru of Pic Saint Loup.

Christophe’s vineyards, surrounding the hamlet of Lauret (outside of Montpelier), are terraced vines abutting Montagne de l’Hortus – a grand site, indeed. Everything is biodynamic, when the vines come alive in spring, the aromas are heavenly.

The wines? Staggering, in every way possible. Fruit, balance, and terroir unlike anything you’ve experienced. You’ll want to go there, to that magical Pic Saint Loup, I guarantee it…

 

Available here:

http://www.b-21.com/

(search producer: Clos Marie)

 

Clos Metarie VVClos Marie Glorieuses

Chateauneufs & More from the Incomparable Jaume Brothers – Tops in 2012!

Alain Jaume et Fils

The modern-day Jaume facilities

On one my early trips to the region back in the 1990s, I encountered the wines of Grand Veneur in Chateauneuf du Pape. M. Alain Jaume was still very much in charge, but his sons – Sebastien and Christophe – were eagerly in training. I’ll never forget that day, as it confirmed them as being among the elite of Chateauneuf and the Rhone.

By the early 2000s, I heard that the brothers had taken more control of things, adding their now-famous Lirac, “Clos de Sixte”. A wine which can easily out “Chateauneuf” many CDPs, the debut of that wine added an exclamation point to a history of superb wines.

Originally established in the early 1800s, Grand Veneur was singled out by Parker as

One of the most brilliant estates in Chateauneuf du Pape,”

for their killer track-record.

Along with such overachievers as Janasse, Marcoux, Clos Saint Jean and CGrand Veneur VVlos des Papes, Grand Veneur consistently tops the charts – vintage in, vintage out – with gorgeous and exciting wines.

For 2012, I bought the range. From their Lirac “Clos de Sixte”, to the “Les Origines” (a selection of the best barrels), to the VV, each wine is here for you to explore. And if there was ever a vintage worth exploring to the max, 2012 is the one…

Available here:Jaume Clos Sixte

http://www.b-21.com/searchwine.asp

(search producer: Grand Veneur)

Massolino Barolo | A Towering 2009 from the Family who Lit the Way

Serralunga d’Alba

Serralunga d’Alba

At the end of the 19th century, the tiny hamlet of Serralunga d’Alba needed a spark, quite literally. Electricity had yet to find this corner of Italy. It would be Great-grandfather Massolino, Giovanni Massolino, who would not only establish a family estate but light the village, as well.

Giovanni Massolino’s accomplishments in 1896 established his progeny as the founders of the village; torchbearers for Barolo. His son established the wine-grower’s consortium in the 1930’s, ensuring quality, control and an identity for Baroli. Serralunga d’Alba owes its very history to these pioneers – true vanguards – without the Massolino family, who knows what Barolo might be today.

The founder’s Great-grandson bought the family’s first single Cru, but today’s generation remains focused on the family’s true jewel, their “simple” or “straight” Barolo.

Specially blended from hand selected plots within each single Cru, this DOCG Barolo outshines even the most illustrious single Crus in top vintages.

Massolino Barolo

2009 Massolino Barolo

For 2009, it took my breath away! I simply adore it.

With Spectator’s 95 point endorsement, you can’t go wrong. An amazing wine; from the family who lit the way.

 

Available for a very special price for a short while here

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