• The Heritage of Bedrock Wine Co.

    The Heritage of Bedrock Wine Co.

    Embracing the heritage of ancient vineyards and ensuring they continue to prosper is the most noble duty of today's California vigneron. Bedrock Wine Co. has used this concept as the foundation of their winery, farming vineyards themselves and continuing to support other growers who work with historic sites. There's no winery in the state that sees such a diverse range of revered vineyards like the guys at Bedrock. The story of place is undoubtedly where it all starts, but the quality of wines from this duo represent the very best that California old vines have to offer. 

    Morgan Twain-Peterson grew up in the vineyards working closely with his father, Joel Peterson of Ravenswood fame. The child prodigy began making his own wine, Vino Bambino, at age five and starting with the 1986 vintage it was poured at top restaurants in New York City. In 2007, after countless experiences home and abroad, Morgan founded Bedrock Wine Co. using a converted chicken coop on the outskirts of Sonoma. 

    Chris Cotrell had worked with Morgan at a small boutique wine shop in New York City's upper east side. A strong friendship grew, and after a decade selling fine wine in NYC and many harvests with Morgan he received a call from his buddy telling him it was time the two made wine together. Upon his move cross country Chris and Morgan founded Under the Wire, a superb sparkling wine project focusing on single vineyard designate bottlings.

    It's common today that old vineyards are torn up each year as producers look to re-plant with varieties like Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon that can demand the very highest prices, regardless if the terroir is ideally suited. Bedrock's commitment to these heritage sites is a huge reason why we're able to drink the most storied history that California can offer.

    Of the long list of terrific wines the duo produces, it's without a doubt that the Old Vine Zinfandel and North Coast Syrah offer the most startling value, as they're sourced from some of the states oldest vines and top sites.

    Antonio Galloni of Vinous sums up these two wines perfectly,

    "The Old Vine Zinfandel and North Coast Syrah are among the best wines readers will come across for the money."

    The wines of Bedrock are allocated each year and quantities are painfully low. I always take as much as I can. Seeing each of the wines evolve over time is one of the highlights, but being connected to vineyards planted in the 1800's is a unique and significant experience that deserves our attention regularly.

    2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel 
    $27 per bottle.
    The 1905-planted Sodini Ranch in Russian River Valley is the base of this blend.

    2015 Bedrock Wine Co. North Coast Syrah
    $29 per bottle.
    From Weill Vineyard, Hudson Vineyard, Griffin’s Lair, Rossi Ranch, and Alder Springs Vineyard. Fermented 50% whole cluster.

    Also available

    2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Ode to Lulu Rosé
    $25 per bottle.

    2013 Bedrock Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Wine
    $45 per bottle.
    Planted in 1890's. A field-blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and others.

    2014 Bedrock Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Wine
    $45 per bottle.
    Planted in 1890's. A field-blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and others.

    2013 Bedrock Monte Rosso Zinfandel
    $49 per bottle.
    18990-planted, 2000 ft. up on Mount Veeder. The name derives from the red, iron-rich soils.

    2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Papera Ranch Heritage Red
    $51 per bottle.
    1934-planted in the Russian River Valley. A field blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Valdigue, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trousseau Gris, Mission, and others.

    2012 Under the Wire Alder Springs Vineyard Sparkling Wine
    $76 per bottle.
    Chardonnay from Mendocino.

    2012 Under the Wire Brosseau Vineyard Sparkling Wine
    $76 per bottle.
    Chardonnay from Chalone AVA.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Baby Bâtard-Montrachet:  2014 Puligny from Cholet-Pelletier

    Baby Bâtard-Montrachet: 2014 Puligny from Cholet-Pelletier

    Burgundy symbolizes the farm-first mentality and humble spirit of vigneron as much as anywhere in France. This is not the land of ascots, majestic chateaux with marketing firms to match. Here, astronomical rises in vineyard prices haven't changed the mind set of those farming them.

    There's no domaine I came across that embody this idea more than Christian, Anne, and their daughter Florence Cholet-Pelletier. The careful study and delineation of Burgundy's vineyards over centuries mean there are secret cuvées to be had if you look hard enough. Their Puligny-Montrachet is precisely this wine, whose magic is realized when you learn of the three vineyards that make its composition.

    The prime source for their Puligny comes from directly below Grand Cru Bâtard-Montrachet, in the lieu dit of "Enseignières". Also blended are two parcels: "La Rouselle" below Premier Cru Perrières, and "Les Levrons" below Premier Cru Referts. The combination of these three elements belies the price tag and "humble" villageslevel designation required due to blending practice. I've had the opportunity to taste this wine going back many vintages at the domaine and the 2014 is undoubtedly its most monumental, and will greatly reward those who cellar.

    As one can imagine, Enseignières imbues the wine with the power and richness that Bâtard-Montrachet is famous for. With Rouselle and Levrons providing the fine, laser-focused minerality of Perrières and Referts. The sum of the parts is a complete Puligny-Montrachet that delivers the regal frame and saturating depth that's made it the most prized village for Chardonnay on the planet. 

    The winemaking at Cholet-Pelletier is traditional with the real focus on time in the vineyard. Neutral and 2nd year barrels are used for aging to minimize new oak influence. After 1 year in wood the wine is moved to tank prior to bottling to ensure tension and structure remain highlighted.  

    I was fortunate enough to work alongside the family at various points during the growing season before my time had started at Domaine Dujac. It was at Cholet-Pelletier that I was introduced to Bernard Boisson. Like those of Boisson, the wine today is produced in minuscule quantities, and like much of Boisson's wines we are the only listing in the entire US. 

    2014 is a vintage that I've done my best to go deep on, and there's no single wine I've devoted more space to than today's ultimate insider bottling.

    2014 Cholet-Pelletier Puligny-Montrachet
    $49 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Barolo's Royal Family: The Wines of Giuseppe Rinaldi

    Barolo's Royal Family: The Wines of Giuseppe Rinaldi

    I woke up this morning to an email detailing an epic retrospective tasting of the wines from Giuseppe Rinaldi. Antonio Galloni of Vinous had organized this dinner in London complete with vintages spanning 1990-2010. A visit just before harvest in 2012 to the cantina was one of my very fondest memories of travels on the wine route. It was a true privilege to meet the family and taste the wines, including the monumental 2010's still in botti. 

    The first wines labeled under Giuseppe Rinaldi came in 1921 (pictured below). Battista Rinaldi continued the tradition at the estate in 1945, and after his passing his son Beppe returned home in 1992. Beppe's spirit over the last decades has been even more immortalized than the legendary wines he's produced. It was over this span that worldwide attention on Piedmont had gradually increased, and even in the last 15 years pricing and scarcity of the wines has drastically changed. In 2010 Beppe's daughter's Marta and Carlotta began making the wines, continuing in the same traditional fashion.

    Along with drinking the wines of Bartolo Mascarello and Giacomo Conterno, Rinaldis are among the most memorable I've had in Barolo. They appeal to every aspect of the senses and continually remind me that no matter how articulate experiences can be conveyed the true magic of them is a deeply personal one.

    As noted by Galloni, most of the production from this cantina had been sold to private customers. Finding back-vintage wines is not a common occurrence today. I was thrilled to be able to work over the last year with Rinaldi's US importer, Vinifera Imports, to acquire several older wines directly from the Rinaldi estate. 

    Rinaldi is a revered traditionalist, following the techniques Battista and Giuseppe had employed in the early and mid 1900's. Wines are macerated on their skins for a long time, and aging takes place large botti. The results are powerful, deep Barolos that are met with the precision and aromatics that make them incomparable. They offer wild spices, gamey notes, and of course Nebbiolo's tell-tale tar and roses.

    Essentially two Barolos were made, the Brunate-Le Coste and the Cannubi (San Lorenzo)-Ravera. Laws recently changed and now multiple crus aren't permitted on labels. Starting in 2010 the Brunate-Le Coste was bottled with a higher 85% Brunate and just 15% Le Coste (the maximum legal addition). The Cannubi (San Lorenzo)-Ravera began to implement wine from Le Coste and the new name for the bottling is"Tre Tine" (three vats).

    1997 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $339 per bottle.

    1998 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $349 per bottle.

    1999 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $419 per bottle.

    2001 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $299 per bottle.

    2003 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $229 per bottle.

    2004 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Cannubi (S. Lorenzo) - Ravera
    $276 per bottle.

    2005 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $214 per bottle.

    2005 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste 1.5L
    $449 per bottle.

    2005 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Cannubi (S. Lorenzo) - Ravera
    $214 per bottle.

    2006 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $377 per bottle.

    2007 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $205 per bottle.

    2007 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Cannubi (S. Lorenzo) - Ravera
    $205 per bottle.

    2009 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate - Le Coste
    $226 per bottle.

    2010 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barolo Brunate 3L
    $2,629 per bottle.

    2011 Giuseppe Rinaldi Langhe Nebbiolo
    $79 per bottle.

    2015 Giuseppe Rinaldi Barbera d'Alba
    $66 per bottle.

    2015 Giuseppe Rinaldi Dolcetto d'Alba
    $59 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Old School Iconic Châteauneuf du Pape: Pégau Cuvée Reservée

    Old School Iconic Châteauneuf du Pape: Pégau Cuvée Reservée

    Walking a fine line in Châteauneuf du Pape between elegance and rusticity is a tall task, but Domaine Pégau embodies the precision of this balance like none other. Their progression over the last 10 years to highlight a more lifted style while still maintaining a sense of opulence is a hot topic for lovers of the Southern Rhone Valley. While the estate produces several cuvées, hitting over $400 per bottle, it's their benchmark Cuvée Réservée that fulfills the best value and also provides the very sharpest focus on this fabled terroir.

    Laurence Féraud works with her father Paul in carrying on a steep tradition that was started by their ancestors in 1607. Laurence focuses on the cellar, and Paul is dialed into the vineyards. The backbone of the estate is their old Grenache plantings dating back to 1907 in the famed La Crau vineyard,where limestone mother rock sits below the iconic, round galet river stones.

    Pégau is unapologetic about their traditional approach in the cellar, and never succumbed to pressures in the era of 100-point scores to alter methods. Whole clusters are used for vinification and wines are aged in large foudres crafted 90 years ago. Both elements are crucial in preserving a sense of vibrancy in their Grenache-dominant blends, ones that otherwise could easily show stewed fruit and oaky notes that regrettably mark so many of the appellation's wines today. The Reservée has always been the prime CdP for value, but Laurence's recent move to raise the Grenache and lower the Syrah percentage in the blend has done wonders for it's clarity and persistence. 

    Licorice, dark fruits, woodsmoke, game, and wild garrigue are hallmarks of every bottle of CdP. Pégau captures these notes with an impressive mineral streak and fine-grained tannins that stand out from the pack. A rack of lamb alongside Pégau has developed into one of my ultimate pleasures.

    Truth be told, it was the Southern Rhone that originally pulled me into France way back when I was finishing college, as fascination with wine seemingly expanded daily. Today it's rare that I pull bottles from the region with much regularity. So much of that has to do with producer's chase of power with eyes on points. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to be able to rely on a select group that still produce wines they love to drink, and wines their families before them would be proud of today. Pégau is everything that's sacred about tradition, and should be celebrated as often as possible.

    2013 Domaine Du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservé
    $59 per bottle.

    2014 Domaine Du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservé
    $59 per bottle.

    Special Mixed 6-Pack (3 of each vintage)
    Regularly $354, Down to $336!

    Also available:

    2001 Domaine Du Pegau Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Réservé
    $134 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Arbois Game Changer: Villet's 100% Pinot Noir

    Arbois Game Changer: Villet's 100% Pinot Noir

    Only a handful of tastings in the last few years have left me feeling as if I had stumbled upon a massive secret. (Chambeyron Côte Rôtie being another). On one hand I wanted to shout from the rooftops, and on the other I thought best keep this relatively quiet. In the small village of Arbois Gérard and Christine Villet farm five hectares, only 8% planted to Pinot Noir. And it's this 100% Pinot Noir cuvée that redefined for me what the Jura is capable of, to say nothing of the modest $28 tag. This is a bottle that will hit every mark for every lover of Pinot Noir, and this is the only offering in the US.

    The Villet domaine was started in 1900, but the real turn came in 1988 when the couple converted to organic viticulture. Five hectares covers various soils in and around Arbois, with over a dozen different wines made each year. While the blend of Trousseau, Poulsard, and Pinot Noir is customary in Arbois, coming across 100% Pinot Noir bottlings are rare. Some producers feel the sum of all the parts is greater than each varietal on their own. My personal experience is that's many times the case. Here, however, the singularity of Pinot Noir from this .4 hectare parcel is extraordinary.It validates being bottled on its own, regardless of how little is produced, and saying nothing of the even smaller portion that just arrived to California.

    Jura has long existed in the shadows of Burgundy to its west. Producers have been reluctant to focus on 100% Pinot Noir bottilngs for a multitude of reasons. Some examples I've tried, while delicious, lacked the definition and focus that Burgundy executes across the price spectrum. The Villet's is one that immediately pulled me in with aromatics, and hooked me with a palate presence that was deep with superb clarity and a finish that just would not relent. 

    The warm 2015 vintage was judged brilliantly here. Often these lighter reds from such vintages in the Jura do shine the very brightest. I cannot overstate how thrilling this tasting experience was, and when I learned the price I knew this was also undeniably rare.

    I've created special pricing for orders of 6 bottles or more. I took as much as I could and I encourage you to taste for yourself the magic from Gérard and Christine.

    2015 Villet Arbois Pinot Noir
    $28 per bottle.

    Down to $26 per bottle on orders of 6 bottles or more!

    Posted by Max Kogod