The fall Pre-Arrival Season is now wrapped up...
We've been offering all of the goodies Scott found in Burgundy and Champagne over the last few months, and all the new arrivals will be here in for shipping and pick-up in October. The fall pre-arrival season is now over, but we'll be back with more offers before the end of the year. Watch your email for info on our upcoming tastings and pick-up events (and join our mailing list if you're not already signed up), and you'll get first notice on all of the next wave of Burgs and Bubbles headed our way. Scroll down to see some examples of past offers...
Jérôme Coessens - a "Champagne Supernova"
SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
The hardest Champagne to find on the planet is from Georges Laval in Cumiéres (we offered those here on pre-arrival a couple of weeks ago and they sold out in a heartbeat.) The 2nd hardest to find just may be these beauties from Jérôme Coessens (koh-sawnce) down in the southern reaches of Champagne in the tiny village of Ville-sur-Arce.
Jérôme has just 5 acres, all in one single vineyard that's known as "l'Argillière." "Argile" is the French word for clay, referring to the high level of clay in this parcel, mixed in with the Kimmeridgian limestone that that runs throughout the southern-most tip of Champagne. His vines were all planted in the 1970s, so at 40+ years of age the yields are extremely low for Champagne, at 3-3.5 tons to the acre.
The clay brings power and intensity to the wines, and the same limestone that makes Chablis so flinty and crisp brings a magnificent mineral edge to the 100% Pinot Noir bubblies Coessens produces. Making these even harder to find is the fact that he sells some of his fruit, keeping only what he considers the very best for his own production. (The grapes he sells go to Champagne's biggest rock star - Selosse, whose top bottles routinely sell for north of $300 these days.)
Jérôme's already a buzzing star in France, and well-known to our Champagne Club members over the last few years. If you've bought these wines before, you know how great they are. If you haven't, snap some up asap, or you'll never know what you're missing.
"I like my Champagnes to be like me - bold, full of character, and round!" Jérôme Coessens in his l'Argillier vineyard...
The Pre-arrival offering - Champagne Coessens:
1. NV Blanc de Noirs - $49.99
All of Coessens' wines are Blanc de Noirs, as he has only Pinot Noir planted. All of his wines are single-vineyard, single-grape and single vintage, though the vintage is generally not indicated on the label (except in the case of his extremely rare vintage-dated bottlings.) This is from the lovely 2010 vintage. 4 years on the lees prior to disgorgement in November 2014 for his "biggest" cuvée - a whopping 583 cases were produced.
Power, fruit richness, and a limestone edge - all pulled nicely together by a deft dosage of 6.5 grams. I'll drink it all if you don't buy it.
Pre-arrival price $49.99 per bottle. Limit 12 - Only 86 bottles available.
2. NV Brut Nature - $59
Jérôme only produces a Brut Nature in years that gave him exceptional ripeness and balance, allowing the wine to stand on its own, pure and naked, with zero dosage.
This is from 2010, and it full-on blows my mind. Five years on the lees, adding notes of yeasts and grilled nuts to the laser-like purity of perfectly ripe Pinot fruit. A scant 130 cases were produced. I snagged the last few cases for you. If you get some, please invite me over to share!
Pre-arrival price $59 per bottle. Limit 12 - Only 72 bottles available.
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Domaine Thibert Père et Fils
SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
The elusive Great White - now under $20!
For over a decade now, the Domaine Thibert St. Véran Champ Rond has been the single best-selling wine in our entire portfolio of Burgs and Bubbles. Its success all boils down to this: Year in, year out, it is consistently delicious and delivers maximum enjoyment for a great price.
When we couple the current exchange rates with our no-middle-man model, we can now get this killer white Burg in your hands for just under $20. Yes, please! If you missed out on the Huber-Verdereau Bourgogne offer a couple of weeks ago, you should grab some of these. We won't have any more available until the fall - so speak now if you want a good stash of a rockin' great summer white on hand for the season.
2013 St. Véran, Champ Rond - $19.99
From a single 1 hectare (2.5-acre) parcel in the Champ Rond vineyard, in the sweet-spot of the St. Véran appellation. Vinified and raised in barrel, with less than 15% new oak for this cuvée. Fruit richness, with the distinct honeyed notes that are the hallmark of St. Véran, and a nice mineral backbone - it's a complete crowd-pleaser. 88-91pts BH.
Pre-arrival price $19.99 per bottle, limit 24 until we run out.
Champagne F. Cossy
SOLD OUTSOLD OUTSOLD OUT
Since we started working with Sophie Cossy five years ago, her wines have consistently been our fastest selling offerings. Yes, they're beautifully priced Champagnes, but they're also flat-out gorgeous wines.
Sophie's wines always have a distinctive elegant and graceful nature. These are not bubblies based on power - they tend to be floral, ethereal, and immensely seductive. I was drawn to partner with Sophie to produce my own Caveau Extra-Brut because I felt she understood a critical element that seems to be lacking in way too many Champagnes - finesse.
Sophie in her vines in Jouy-lès-Reims.
If you've been looking for more of Cossy's basic NV Brut - the time is now. We've got a new shipment on the way direct from her cellar. As always, quantities are limited, so don't snooze. There won't be any more of these around until the fall.
On Pre-arrival Now:
NV Brut "Éclat" - $31.99
Sophie's basic NV Brut is always one-third each Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, all from the family estate in Jouy-lès-Reims and Pargny-lès-Reims. (Essentially the same base blend we use for our Caveau bottling.) This is based on the 2010 vintage, with 25% reserve wines from '09, '08 & '07.
Dosage on this one is 7 grams. It was disgorged in September 2015, and is ready to rock on arrival. Éclat is a great French word that can mean many things, including brightness, a shine, or an exciting burst - all of which describe this wine perfectly.
Pre-arrival price $31.99 per bottle, limit 12
Introducing Champagne Janisson-Baradon
It has been a few years since we’ve added any producers to our Champagne portfolio. I’m not especially in the hunt for new estates, but I taste at dozens of new places every time I’m in the region. It’s mostly to stay on top of what’s going on out there, and to have first-hand experience with the wines and producers other people are talking or writing about. I find most of what I taste to be decent enough, but rarely do I find anything exciting enough to make me want to do something about it.
I was turned on to Champagne Janisson-Baradon by our producer and friend Jérôme Coessens – he said his buddy Cyril in Épernay was “getting very serious” and starting to make some great stuff. The city of Épernay is home to the dreaded Moët et Chandon and dozens of the famous large negociant houses, but it’s rare to find a good grower-producer based there. I was intrigued to say the least.
Cyril Janisson (above) and his brother Maxence are the 5th generation of the family to run the estate, with Cyril taking over in 1997 and Maxence joining him in the cellar as of 2004. Together they make wines from their 22-acre estate, which is almost exclusively on the hillsides surrounding Épernay. In 2014 they opened up a tasting room and retail shop on the Place de la République (below) in the heart of Épernay, and their wines are quickly getting very well known in France and by the hordes of European tourists who descend on the city all year long. The wines are a great secret outside of Europe and have been harder to find than hen’s teeth in the US. I’ve managed to snag a small allocation for you, and I’m proud to add Janisson-Baradon to the Caveau family.
The soils surrounding Épernay have heavy concentrations of clay mixed in with the chalk, and the resulting wines tend to be on the bigger, more powerful end of the spectrum. The Janisson-Baradon wines always show a deep fruit expression and are rich in body. There is a fair amount of older reserve wines in most of the cuvées. The reserve wine is all aged in older oak barrels, which adds some heft and texture and brings the wines into a beautiful balance.
I tasted with Cyril multiple times over the last two years before deciding to start importing his wines. I have chosen my favorite bottling from the lineup to introduce you to Janisson-Baradon – which may soon become your new house bubbly (did I mention it’s only $32?)
Janisson-Baradon – NV Extra-Brut
- 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay, all from the family estate
- 70% from the 2011 harvest, 30% reserve wines from 2010 (aged in barrel)
- Dosage 2 grams per liter
- Disgorged May 2015
Cyril makes several different wines from this same base blend – the Brut Sélection (which gets 7 grams of dosage), the Grand Réserve (which gets an extra year on the lees), and a Non-Dosé (the Grand Réserve with no dosage). Of them all, I like this Extra-Brut the best. It’s got great boldness of flavor, but with a lot of style, finesse and grace. Nice fragrant notes of pear and orange peel dominate the nose at first, followed by darker cherry fruit. The light touch of the 2 g/l dosage highlights the inherent minerality nicely, and it finishes with a refreshing and lively acidity. This is what I want to drink on a daily basis – Honey, make room in the cellar!
Pre-arrival price $32 per bottle. Limit 24 bottles per person until our allocation is depleted.
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Champagne Marc Chauvet
I sniffed around for seven years looking for the first Grower Champagne producer to add to our portfolio, until I finally found what I was looking for in the village of Rilly-la-Montagne back in 2007. I've been tasting there at least twice a year ever since, and the wines have been the most consistent in the portfolio over the years. Nothing much changes here - Clotilde and Nicolas always bring their "A" game.
On Pre-Arrival now:
Marc Chauvet - NV Brut Sélection - $34.99
This is the brand-new cuvée of the always popular Brut Sélection - a step-up from the basic NV Brut, with added depth and complexity from additional time on the lees.
- Primarily 2011 fruit, with 14% of 2010 reserve wine in the final blend
- 65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir from the family estate in Rilly-la-Montagne
- Tank fermented, malolactic blocked
- Dosage 9 grams per liter
- Disgorged October, 2015
A crowd-pleaser that's been one of our best-sellers since day one. Great as an apéritif and has the weight to go with food. It's ample and rich, with a nice crisp edge that keeps it focused on the delicious, clean finish.
Pre-arrival price $34.99 per bottle. 120 bottles available in the parcel, limit 12 per person.
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Frédéric Gueguen - Chablis
Our most popular offer and quickest sell-out from last year is back – the amazing values in Chablis from Frédéric & Céline Gueguen. Last year we were excited to welcome the Gueguens and their gorgeous wines back to the portfolio after a three-year absence. We’d been working with them since 2006 and their wines were sorely missed! (A family dispute resulted in no wines being produced for two vintages.)
Over the course of 2011 & 2012 they assembled their own new estate, which now totals some 54 acres across the region, and they resumed production in 2013.
From the 2014 vintage they have produced another set of terrific wines, and as a whole they are more classically “Chablis” than the 2013s. The minerality is more distinct, the flavors more finely detailed, the structure more precisely chiseled. I’ve selected three wines for you from the Gueguen range, all of which I find to be outstanding values as well as flat-out delicious. These are definitely wines I grab by the case. Enjoy!
1. 2014 Chablis Vosgros 1er Cru: Vosgros is on the left bank of the Serein, where the wines are typically a little richer and more powerful. Lots of floral notes and stone fruits in this one, with a sneaky minerality lurking underneath and tying it all together. Very long, very aromatic, very fine!
Pre-arrival price $26 per bottle, limit 24 per person. 240 bottles available in this parcel.
2. 2014 Chablis Vaucoupin 1er Cru: This is from the right bank, 40 year-old vines on a south slope above Chichée. A very expressive nose of ripe fruits and almonds, followed by the intense minerality that can only come from the pure Kimmeridgian limestone that is the signature of Chablis. This is rockin’ good stuff…
Pre-arrival price $28 per bottle, limit 24 per person. 240 bottles available in this parcel.
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Caveau Extra-Brut Champagne
It was not quite a year ago we sent out our very first email. We launched Caveau last March with a pre-arrival offer for the first release of Caveau Extra-Brut, the culmination of a long-time dream to produce our own Champagne. Thank you for your amazing response! That initial offer sold out quickly, and we’ve been so grateful to hear that you’ve been enjoying the wine with family and friends.
Working again in collaboration with Sophie Cossy (below, in her tasting lab) at her estate outside of Reims, we have created our 2nd release of the Caveau Extra-Brut. For this new cuvée, we’ve tweaked the base blend just a touch, finally arriving at a composition of 35% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 25% Chardonnay, all from the Cossy family vineyards, from the 2010 vintage, with 25% reserve wines from 2009, 2008 & 2007 in the mix.
Only 100 cases of this cuvée were produced. It was disgorged in December 2015, and will be here for pick-up or shipping in the spring window (late March-early April).
The base wine spent five years in the bottle on the lees, then Sophie and I did dosage trials last fall in her cellar (adding varying amounts of sugar-sweetened wine to the base wine) looking for the precise dosage that would bring the Champagne to its fullest and best expression. We tasted at multiple intervals from 1.5 to 5 grams per liter. It never ceases to amaze me how differently a wine performs at different dosage levels, and how it is often non-linear (meaning that the versions with more sugar added do not necessarily appear sweeter – in fact it can be quite the opposite.) The designation "Extra-Brut" allows up to 6 grams per liter of residual sugar. Most mass-market Champagne is "Brut", which allows up to 12 grams.
It was very clear to me that the version with a scant 2.4 grams per liter addition was the most in-balance and harmonious. It presented the fruit more fully, while retaining the crisp, citrus-y edge on the palate and a lovely faint floral note on the nose. At lower levels of dosage the wine showed an intense minerality, but little else. With more than 2.4g/l the floral elements stuck out more and the fruit seemed exaggerated. I tried all the versions again blind, and was happy to find that once again I preferred 2.4g/l. Voilà – we had our final blend!
As with the original cuvée, Caveau Extra-Brut is available on pre-arrival only and can be ordered in 6-bottle increments. The price remains the same as last year, $39.50 per bottle – a superb value for hand-crafted top-class Champagne. (Industrially produced crap-ola that masquerades as “luxury” Champagne is $65-$150 these days – yikes!)
Caveau Extra-Brut, cuvée #2
35% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay
75% 2010 fruit, 25% reserve wines from 2009, 2008 & 2007
Disgorged December 2015
Dosage 2.4 g/l
100 cases produced
Pre-arrival price $39.50 per bottle, available in 6-bottle increments only. Limit 24 bottles per person.
To ORDER - Send us an EMAIL
Domaine Marc Roy
The superb 2014s from Domaine Marc Roy
My first stop on my most recent visit was directly to the cellars of Domaine Marc Roy in Gevrey-Chambertin. Alexandrine Roy has been running the domaine and making the wines since 2005, and she was in great form on this visit - full of energy and excited about her 2014s.
Her enthusiasm is well-warranted. Nature was relatively kind to the Côte de Nuits in 2014. Poor weather during flowering however did leave them with a small crop - some 30-40% less than normal. That said, the quality chez Roy is once again absolutely superb. There simply are no better Village-level wines from Gevrey-Chambertin at any price.
From all of my tastings of the 2014s up and down the Côte this week, there is a beautiful thread emerging. The 2014 reds have an impressive freshness and a very pure, refreshing minerality - coupled with a nice touch of fruit sweetness. These are wines with big flavor impact, but are never heavy or "big" in any way. This is a vintage I love a lot, and I'll be putting a bunch in my cellar, for sure.
The Marc Roy wines have been the quickest to sell-out in our portfolio every year since we started working with Alex. If you'd like some for your cellar, get your order in asap. Quantities are extremely limited. We'll take orders until we run out. Read on...
The Pre-arrival offering - the 2014s from Domaine Marc Roy:
SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
The tiny 10-acre estate consists entirely of "humble" Village-level vineyards - the Roy family does not own any of the exalted Grand Crus or 1er Crus in Gevrey-Chambertin. Each of Alex's wines over-performs their appellation of origin. I'd go as far as to say that these Village wines have a lot more to offer than many of her neighbors' 1er Crus. Perhaps that's why they sell-out in a heartbeat every year.
1. Gevrey-Chambertin, "Vieilles Vignes" - From five meticulously-farmed parcels spread across the village of Gevrey, a true cross-section of the terroir. This bottling is generally very seductive and delicious right on release, and that's definitely the case here. Ready to enjoy right now, and will improve in the bottle over the next 5-7+ years easily. More silk than velvet, with lush dark cherry fruit that delivers pure pleasure.
Only 60 bottles are available. Pre-arrival price - $59.99 per bottle. Limit 12 per person
2. Gevrey-Chambertin "La Justice" - from a single parcel just below the winery - new to the estate since 2012. This one is more muscular and powerful, blackberry fruit and earth intertwined in a nicely balanced package. Darker on the nose, brighter in the mouth than the VV.
Only 60 bottles are available. Pre-arrival price - $67.50 per bottle. Limit 12 per person.
3. Gevrey-Chambertin "Clos Prieur" - from a tiny parcel perfectly situated just below the Grand Crus. This one adds more spice notes and red fruits to the mix - rich cherries along with the Gevrey signature black fruits and earth. It's also more refined and elegant and longer.
Only 60 bottles are available. Pre-arrival price - $67.50 per bottle, limit 12 per person.
To ORDER - Send us an EMAIL