• Montebello Ridge Magnificence:  Arnot-Roberts Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

    Montebello Ridge Magnificence: Arnot-Roberts Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

    Today, we turn to my prime personal destination for American Cabernet Sauvignon, the Santa Cruz Mountains and the top new release from the rockstar duo of Duncan Arnot and Nathan Lee Roberts.

    Living in St. Helena in 2011 I had the opportunity to drink a wide range of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. From Calistoga south through Carneros, from Howell Mountain west across the valley to Spring Mountain. And everything in between. Of all the young wines opened there's only one that still stays with me, as if it was only last night I was with friends in front of a fire atop Diamond Mountain.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2015 & 2016 Arnot-Roberts Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Also featured is an Arnot-Roberts Discovery 6-Pack featuring a stellar range of Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Ribolla Gialla, Touriga Nacional rosé, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Like the two most historic Cabernets from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ridge's Monte Bello and Mount Eden's Estate Cabernet, Fellom Ranch falls into an ideal landing spot between the styles of Napa Valley's sun-kissed fruit and the gravel and more earthy characteristics common in Bordeaux's left bank. Elevation of 2,200 feet and cool winds racing through from the nearby Pacific ensure gradual ripening and serious freshness in the finished wine. The amalgamation of shale, loam, and limestone soils bring a diversity of terroir, and gives layers of complexity.

    Fellom Ranch is powerful, but balanced with bright acids and a freshness that always makes it emptied quickly - the real litmus test for any great wine. Smoke, graphite, mint, and dried herbs dazzle each vintage, and the 30% use of whole cluster fermentation adds savory, yet bright qualities that make it so distinctive. Duncan and Nathan's fondness for the wines of Marcel Juge and Thierry Allemand of Cornas, to me, make themselves known in Fellom's dark and decidedly savage traits. *(And to see more of their reverence for those aforementioned icons I implore you to take close look at their fabulous Syrahs also listed below).

    Like all the wines of Arnot-Roberts, production here is very limited.  I'm thrilled today to offer a wine that captures the most exciting elements of California Cabernet Sauvignon, and the adventurous spirit of the two friends who've brought this epic vineyard to the forefront.

    For those who find themselves sticking with France primarily, I highly recommend you see the ultimate execution in crafting California wines of place deeply-rooted in French influence.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Anjou's Salted Cotton Candy:  Thibaud Boudignon Rosé de Loire

    Anjou's Salted Cotton Candy: Thibaud Boudignon Rosé de Loire

    If Thibaud Boudignon's Chenin Blancs are the lightning of Anjou, then his rosé of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau brings the thunder. But, this rosé's stainless steel elévage still caries that hallmark Boudignon verve that I crave And, the unusual melding of a cotton candy element with a healthy dose of sea salt make this 2018's most irresistible pink. With annual highs in San Diego often coming well into September, I thought today a great time to offer some discounting on this house rosé of mine.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2018 Thibaud Boudignon Rosé de Loire for $28 per bottle, with special pricing down to $24.99 on 4 bottles or more!

    Thibaud's is the prime example of how Cabernet Franc-based rosés of the Loire Valley can be true to the variety with dark fruit notes, but also find their footing thanks to crunchy, electric tones from a sense of minerality that I often find elusive for the category in these parts. The direct pressing of the grapes keeps this rosé ultra pale, making it as easy and enjoyable to drink as any pink. Provence sees the spotlight when rosé season begins, but no region in France delivers cool-fruit refreshment quite like the Loire can. 

    A June 2016 visit at his centuries old cellar just outside of Savennières impressed a lot upon me. No producer in the central Loire has shaken things up quite like Boudignon, as he's shifted the conversation on everything from aging vessels, to picking dates, to fermentation philosophy. In short, his rosé and Chenin Blancs re-define Anjou.


    Rosé de Loire - 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Grolleau from 37-yr-old vines on shallow grey schist, volcanic rhyolite, and sand. Native yeast fermented and aged in stainless steel. 

    Anjou Blanc - from 35-yr-old vines on shallow grey schist and sand. Aged in sized oak, 30% of which is new.

    Anjou Blanc "A François(e)" - a special selection of the Anjou parcels named for his late mother, Francoise.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Lieu-Dit Lust:  2016 Marc Roy Gevrey Chambertin Clos Prieur

    Lieu-Dit Lust: 2016 Marc Roy Gevrey Chambertin Clos Prieur

    “As I have commented in the past, Roy just doesn’t seem to miss as she’s a perfectionist.”

    – Allen Meadows, Burghound

    As any lover of Burgundy knows, one of the most satisfying aspects of collecting is finding special vineyards that fly under-the-radar due to humble villages designations, yet hang tight with Grand Cru terroir. Clos Prieur of Gevrey Chambertin is one of those secret sites, and Alexandrine Roy of Domaine Marc Roy now defines the heights this lieu-dit (named vineyard) is capable of achieving.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2016 Marc Roy Gevrey Chambertin Clos Prieur for $89 per bottle. 


    Clos Prieur is a very small vineyard located directly east and adjacent to Grand Cru Mazis-Chambertin. Situated on limestone bedrock with high portions of iron and clay, vines organically farmed here by Alexandrine are 60+ yrs old. Stylistically, Roy is known for very concentrated and ripe fruit coming from an unusual collection of nearly all old vines. Purity is front and center with all grapes being de-stemmed, and extraction kept modest. Aging here is 50% new French oak to soften Gevrey's inherently formidable tannins, though in bottle, Clos Prieur is all about silky fuit and exotic spices.

    Alexandrine's Clos Prieur is undoubtedly fruit-forward in style, with black cherry and plum fruit melding with game and forest floor notes that will ensure drinkers are very much in the old world. The real skill, as I see it, is Clos Prieur's finish, always wrapping up dry and full of lingering mouth-watering mineral notes. If there was one lieu-dit and one producer to embody the secrets to be found tucked adjacent to Grand Crus, Roy's Clos Prieur would be atop my list.

    Alexandrine also produces a very rare cuvée comprised exclusively of millerandage grapes clusters - those that are very tiny and result in high skin:juice ratio. This micro-production wine is fermented in small stainless steel vats and is punched down exclusively by foot. Aging takes place in 70% new French oak.

    And, finally, her rare Côte de Nuits Chardonnay from Marsannay's Les Champs Perdrix lieu-dit is a wonderful place to turn to see what the more limited Chardonnay plantings in this Pinot Noir-dominant zone of Burgundy can reveal. More tropical and broad on the palate with a serious dollop of salty inflection make this a great departure from what you may be accustomed to from Côte de Beaune villages like Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, and Chassagne-Montrachet.
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Pierre Yves Colin-Morey:  Pernand Vergelesses, Vosne Romanée, & More!

    Pierre Yves Colin-Morey: Pernand Vergelesses, Vosne Romanée, & More!

    Today, I'm happy to offer the second release of the highly anticipated 2017 white and 2016 Red Burgundy vintages from Pierre Yves Colin-Morey. Pernand Vergelesses, Santenay, Vosne Romanée, as well as a very small allocation of wines from Caroline Morey.

    The vintage as a whole is reminiscent of the 2014 whites. If there's an edge to the 2017's it's in their superb balance and harmony at this early stage. All indications from these early bottlings, as well as my experience tasting in barrel, point to a white Burgundy vintage that is destined for greatness. 

    It will be very exciting to follow the Puligny, Chassagne, and Meursault cuvées arriving later this year, but for now, there's no doubt this second release will bring pleasure right out of the gate!
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • Loire Whites for the Ages:  Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, & Melon

    Loire Whites for the Ages: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, & Melon

    In summer, Loire Valley whites are opened with abandon. And, there's no region in the world for whites that offers diversity and value quite like this stretch from the Atlantic ocean east into Sancerre. Today, I'm focusing on the three varieties from elite producers that offer aging capabilities that will make you think twice about only opening upon release.

    In the right hands and proper terroir Sauvignon Blanc can age with the best of them. Chavignol is always an emphasis of mine in this cellar-worthy category. But, Vacheron's 2016 Les Romains and Chambrates equally embody the best of what's yet to come in bottle development from Sancerre.

    Within Chenin Blanc, cool new kids like 
    Olivier Lejeune (Clos des Plantes), Guyonne Saclier de la Bâtie (Chateau de Bonnezeaux), and Benoit Courault are the best names you've never heard of, and I cannot recommend them enough - Want to know why sommeliers and wine geeks are as excited about Anjou as anywhere in France? It's because of the magic brew these three are putting into bottle. Of course, tried and true names like Nicholas Joly Coulée de Serrant are listed below from 1981 to 2016. And, Thierry Germain's crisp and chiseled Chenins from Saumur are perfectly juxtaposed with Guiberteau's more opulent expression of this limestone slope.

    Finally, you cannot speak of Loire Valley & value without mentioning the Melon de Bourgogne grape and Muscadet. Jerome Bretaudeau is the best name you're not familiar with yet, and if push comes to shove, I'd have to say his "Gaia Cuvée Ovoide" is the greatest bottle of Melon de Bourgogne I've ever had - completely seamless and ethereal, this goes down in a hurry.


    Posted by Alexander Rosen