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Classic Wines & Contemporary Expressions

Since Roman times wines from certain regions were named not by varietal but by the site that yielded them. Today that practice remains throughout much of Europe. Below are a number of wines. Almost all of them are named after its point of origin in the firm belief that each historic site gives rise to classic wines of distinctive character.

2013 Campo Viejo Tempranillo

Spain’s calling card to the wine world, and one of Spain’s two DOCa wines. There tempranillo vines are rooted in a number of soils types as well as varying elevations, yielding not only structured & savory but also aromatic & fruit driven expressions. The 2013 Camp Viejo is a telling example. Wild red cherries, tobacco leaf, orange peel, and wisps of smoke in the background along with fine yet firm tannins - this red displays a breadth of flavors uncommon at its price point.

2014 Josef Leitz Riesling Dragonstone

A bolder, touch more weighty German riesling that nevertheless remains vibrant and fresh. Like the Mosel, the Rheingau enjoys a wealth of river-facing hillside vineyards, where the vine yields especially ripe fruit even in such a cool environment. But the Rheingau is a touch warmer, and often yields more rich wines. The Drachstein vineyard, though, perched high above the village of Rudesheim, yields a more alluringly aromatic style very much like those from the Mosel, as Leitz’s 2014 Dragonstone illustrates. Tart peaches, ripe red apples, pineapple hints, saline notes, and an inner mouth perfume - all you will find in this ravishing rielsing.

2012 Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Phoenix

From one of Australia’s most famous vineyard sites. It is reliably sunny, enjoys a ready supply of groundwater, and is blessed with a cool maritime climate. What distinguishes Coonawarra is its soil and topography - it is a ridge with a red topsoil resting upon free-draining limestone. That is, free-draining soil like that in Bordeaux, perhaps the world’s most famous source for cabernet sauvignon. It’s the key to Coonawarra’s success, a free-draining soil that yields vibrant, intensely flavored textbook cabs like Penley Estate’s 2012 Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a benchmark example: a powerful red whose blackberry, mint, and chocolate notes linger long on the palate.

2015 Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc

The wines from Graves are aptly named, crafted as they are with fruit harvested from gravel rich vineyards. Those beds of gravel not only drain any surplus water that could threaten the health of the vine. They also absorb the warmth of the sun, in turn not only radiating the vineyards after sunset. They also warm the soils and the vine roots, which promotes an early bud break and shoot growth. Such advantages yield some of the world’s finest reds. As well as classic whites like the 2015 Graville Lacoste Graves Blanc illustrates. Imported by wine elder statesman Kermit Lynch, the 2015 GLB offers a wealth of bright citrus fruit, savory herbs, and orchard fruit hints.

2012 Fattoria del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Among Italy’s first four DOCGs, and the most affordable of them. The principle varietal for Vino Nobile is prugnolo gentile (as sangiovese is known within the township of Montepulciano). Like the superior clones of Montalcino, pg yields a dense, more full bodied red that strikes a balance between Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino. And retails for well below the cost of a Brunello. Morello cherries, savory herbs, spices, and leather - all you will find in this muscular Italian red.

2014 Dr Loosen Estate Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett

To many, the lithe and ethereal wines of the Mosel embody the German style - possible only because of both the sunny hillsides and the Mosel itself (which reflects sunlight onto the vineyards), without which riesling would fail to fully ripen. And even when ripe, a Mosel riesling, because of its especially cool vineyards, displays a vibrancy and electric energy above all other German rieslings, as the 2014 Dr. Loosen Blue Slate airily demonstrates. Racy, bright, and vibrant on the palate, with fresh apricots and green apples dominating. Its concentration of flavors mark this as a mid-weight that punches well above its weight class. A graceful and nimble white.

2013 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico

Though NOT among Italy’s first four officially recognized DOCGs, today no one would argue for Chianti Classico’s exclusion. For good reason - after years of trial and error today’s CC proprietors are now cultivating some newly planted sangiovese clones whose fruit are especially fit for fine wine. Those clones are yielding reds as savory as those from the past, but now expressing fresher fruit notes and more polished tannins. Felsina’s CCs are a case in point. Crafted with more modern techniques, they are one of Tuscany’s benchmark cuvees. Dark fruit on the nose, with black cherries, smoke, and exotic spices on the attack. Densely flavored with gamy hints and leather notes unfolding with time, the 2013 CC is a vibrant, deep wine with plenty of years ahead of it.

2013 Chateau Doisy Vedrines Sauternes375ml Bottle $23.99

Patience and fortitude are virtues for anyone crafting Sauternes. Why so? Its telltale flavors and textures - an explosion of orchard fruits or tropical fruits with notes marzipan or honey, and all clothed in the luxuriant feel of cashmere or silk - all come about through the activities of botrytis cinerea, affectionately known as noble rot. Encouraging the attack of noble rot runs counter to the protective instinct of viticulturists safeguarding their fruit. But should you welcome it, what you may have at the end of your efforts is one of the wine world's greatest delights, as the 2013 Doisy Vedrines illustrates. Pineapples, ginger, apricots, oranges, almonds - all you will find in this buxom, honey-textured dessert wine.

2015 Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat

Spain’s answer to Chateuneuf-du-Pape, and the only other DOCa Spanish wine. Here, grenache thrives upon Priorat’s unforgiving schist slopes, gaining a density and depth of flavors that can surpass even the best wines of Chateauneuf! Rich fruit, exotic spices, floral hints, and a telltale mineral note define the wines Priorat. All you will find in this DOCa red. Ruby to the eye, with dark fruit on the nose. Spice-accented blackberries and blueberries on the palate, with telltale smoky notes and even a bloom of violets in the background. All persist in the long finish. Intense, persistent, yet light on its feet. A stunner.

2010 Chateau Haut Brisson Saint Emilion

To many Bordeaux enthusiasts the wines of St-Emilion are every bit the equal to its more aristocratic neighbors to the west - due in no small measure to the gravel, clay, and limetone soils. There, early-ripening merlot thrives in the less maritime/more continental climate, yielding full-figured reds whose savory berry fruit is surpassed only by the wines luxurious texture. The best examples can command top dollars. Fortunately, the 2010 Haut Brisson is an especially affordable example. Vibrant berry fruit on the nose, with floral inflected raspberries and strawberries on the palate. Cocoa powder and vanilla hints unfold with time. A decadent, cashmere-textured red.

2009 Graham's Late Bottled Vintage Port

From one of Europe’s first officially demarcated zones, the best LBV in the market from the finest Port estate in all the Douro. There, vines endure the heat, yielding remarkably ripe fruit dense with flavor and texture - which, of course, is enriched by the addition of brandy. The best are a blend of sheer power, fresh fruit, rich textures, and a spine of tannin - and Graham’s LBV has all in spades. Black fruit and floral hints on the nose. Black plums, cloves, and violets on the palate. Rich, round, and luxurious, and ready to enjoy now.

2012 La Ferme du Mont Gigondas Cotes Jugunda

The sloped, elevated vineyards and limestone soils of Gigondas instill into its wines brighter and more aromatic fruit notes, a departure from the more black fruit flavored wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. But make no mistake. Gigondas does  so without losing any of the power or intensity that you should expect from grenache. As Stephane Vedeau’s 2012 Gigondas Cotes Jugunda ably demonstrates. Dark fruit on the nose, with black berries, blueberries, incense, and candied flowers on the palate. A tangy note lends a sense of freshness. Ripe and fuller-bodied yet lively and vibrant, the wine displays a clarity of flavors and persistent finish that mark it as an especially fine wine for the price.

2011 Molino di Sant'Antimo Brunello di Montalcino

The youngest delimited site of of Italy’s first four DOCGs, but every bit the equal to the other three. Pioneering Montalcino proprietors had isolated superior clones of fickle sangiovese, cultivating it upon the hillsides of Montalcino. Enclosed at it is, the vineyards not only enjoy favorable aspects that fully expose the vines to the sun, but also arid conditions that encourage dense berries. In turn, those vineyards yield one of the wine world’s greatest treasures: a ripe and dense red very much like the 2011 Molino. Dark cherries, blackberries, exotic baking spices, polished leather, and savory tobacco all find themselves on the palate of this full bodied, chiseled red.

2011 Paitin Barbaresco Sori Paitin

Also among the first four DOCGs, and well deserving the designation. Here nebbiolo thrives. But unlike its more famous cousin, Barbaresco enjoys the advantages of the RIver Tanaro, which encourages ripe fruit fit for harvest earlier than Barolo. In turn, the wines are a touch fresher and more aromatic, as well as less formidably structured. They thus demand less time in the estate’s cellar, and can be released a year earlier than those from Barolo. The 2011 Sori Paitin not only earned 94 points. It is also one of Barbaresco’s best deals. Sweet red cherries, savory cigar notes, fine leather hints, and exotic suggestions of incense - all are telltale notes of finely crafted nebbiolo wine, and all are found in this benchmark Barbaresco.

2011 Domaine Vincent Dancer Meursault Les Corbins
2011 Domaine Vincent Dancer Meursault Les Corbins
2011 Domaine Vincent Dancer Meursault Les Corbins

More chardonnay wines are grown in this commune than in any other of the Cote d’Or, and they have made its reputation. How so? The water table is deeper here than in other villages, which permitted proprietors in Meursault to dig deeper cellars than those of their neighbors in Puligny- and Chassagne-Montrachet. Those deeper and more cool cellars, in turn, encourage prolonged barrel maturation through a second winter, which gives the wines more depth and complexity as they age. A depth and complexity fully displayed in the 2011 Vincent Dancer Les Corbins. Orchard fruit on the nose, with pears, hazelnuts, and wild flowers on the vibrant palate. A saline note in the mid-palate imparts a grace onto the whole. Refined, persistent, and full of seduction.

2011 Vietti Barolo Castiglione

Among the first four officially recognized DOCGs, and unquestionably worthy of the designation. For there nebbiolo thrives upon the hillsides, yielding wines whose broad range of flavors are surpassed by no other. Due largely to two distinct soil types: one younger and more fertile, the other older and less so. The former yields more aromatic and fruit driven wines, the latter more intense and densely structured expressions - like the 2011 Vietti Barolo Castiglione. Red-tone fruit on the nose, with cherries and raspberries on the palate. Asian spices, flowers, and fresh mint notes reveal themselves with a swirl of the glass. A powerful and muscular red that nevertheless displays an uncommon poise and persistence of flavors. A graceful heavyweight.

2013 Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape

The first officially recognized, delimited region in all of France. Its vineyards are famous for the galets - the round stones that not only absorb heat but also drain away any water. But don’t forget the clay subsoil (whose stored water and nutrients nourish the vines throughout the dry and hot southern Rhone summers) and the Mistral. The northerly wind not only whisks away any excess moisture, but also overcast clouds and threatening thunderstorms. In turn, it leaves in its wake sunny and dry days, encouraging grenache vines to yield especially ripe wines dense with flavor. Such as those from Charvin. Perfumed red fruit on the nose. Both red and black raspberries on the palate, with lavender and Asian spices framing the rich yet well delineated fruit. Displays both outstanding power and clarity of flavors. CdP’s most Burgundian expression.

2010 Zenato Amarone

From the hillsides of Valpolicella in northeastern Italy, whose cool yet sunny hillsides not only yield especially ripe and energetic fruit. Those relatively blight free hillsides also permit a process known as appassimento, where dry yet healthy grapes are fermented, forming a wine whose density and richness of flavors are surpassed by no other. Zenato’s 2010 Amarone is a textbook example. Dark fruit on the nose, with cassis, raisins, prunes, and spice cake on the palate. Remarkably rich and cashmere-textured on the palate. A dash of savory Italian herbs lend a complexity to the whole. A decadent red.

2009 Domaine Alain Burguet Gevrey Chambertin Mes Favorites

A fuller bodied, more earthy pinot from Burgundy’s most muscular commune. The pinots from Gevrey Chambertin at their very best are perhaps Burgundy’s most complete, displaying a meatiness that comes with age and a structure that distinguish its wines from all other communes. The very best will cost you dearly - after all, the commune boasts the greatest number of Grand Cru vineyards in the Cod d’Or! Fortunately, the village AOC Gevrey Chambertin is also the Cote d’Or’s largest, and offers a number of fine examples at more affordable prices. The 2010 Mes Favorites is a case in point. Vibrant and fresh black cherries, violets and rose petals, a dash of baking spices, and just a hint of charcuterie - the 2010 Mes Favorites is spot on Gevrey.

2013 Tardieu Laurent Hermitage

The appellation rests upon a tower of granite in a sea of schist, shale, and slate. It is where syrah (at least within France!) finds its most full bodied and deepest expressions. The hillside vineyards known as Hermitage lie within the northernmost border of the vine (beyond which the vine will fail to yield fully ripe fruit fit for fine wine). But on that border and with the assistance of granite (which absorbs heat and warms the vineyards in the evening), syrah gains a richness of flavors and a density of structure that is matched by few other wines, as the 2013 Tardieu Laurent Hermitage illustrates. Blackberries, cherry liqueur, candied violets, spice cake, olive hints - its range of flavors is breathtaking, earning it 94 points from Josh Raynolds (a very high score for this critic!) of Vinous.

Classic Wines & Contemporary Expressions

From time-honored classics to contemporary expressions - there is a wealth of wines to savor and enjoy! Below is a selection of wines. Each either highlights the classic flavors and firmer structure of a varietal, or showcases a range of richer flavors and textures due to more modern techniques in the cellar.

2015 Vigilance Sauvignon Blanc

California sunshine in a glass, and a MODERN take on a French classic. Though Sancerre may be the benchmark for sauvignon blanc, the more lush expressions from California are irresistible, as the 2015 Vigilance sauvignon blanc proves. Golden, with citrus notes on the nose. Lime and ripe orchard fruit on the palate, with white apricots and peaches coming to the fore. A savory hint and squeeze of lemon emerge, while the peach hints intensify in flavor.

2014 Vigilance Cabernet Sauvignon

From sustainably cultivated mountain vineyards in California, this cab has solid structure but no hard edges. A MODERN expression of cab, and one of our best values from the Golden State. Plum to the eye, with black fruit on the nose. Black cherries and raspberries on the palate, with luxurious chocolate framing the abundant fruit. Lush yet vibrant, with only a kiss of tannins to be found. A textbook California cab and an absurd value. Buy a case - you're bound to polish off a bottle before you know it.

2014 Zorzal Terroir Unico Malbec

A more vibrant and persistent take on malbec, a MODERN expression where freshness and floral allure come to the fore. And in large measure due to the elevated vineyards of Argentina, to where malbec vines migrated after languishing in France. To many, Argentina’s contemporary expressions are the very definition of malbec - and the 2014 Terroir Unico is a textbook example. Red fruit on the nose, with bright red cherries and baking spice hints on the palate. Violets bloom in the persistent finish. Polished and silky, this one’s all about pleasure.

2013 Clos La Coutale Cahors

Inky to the eye and more broad shouldered on the palate, a CLASSIC expression of malbec from Cahors, where the varietal first found fame. Which troubled Bordeaux merchants, who found their wines languishing in cellars for lack of demand. They in turn insisted that the malbec wines from Cahors (which traveled via ship downstream onto the Garonne before stopping at Bordeaux for a time) remain at Port de la Lune until Christmas, long after ships with barrels of Bordeaux wine had set sail. Fortunately, malbecs like the 2013 Clos La Coutale are still cultivated in Cahors. Cassis, raisins, tobacco hints - all you will find in this voluptuous red.

2014 Charles Smith Wines Boom Boom! Syrah

Playful name aside, this Washington red is boom boom delicious. Originally from the northern Rhone in France, syrah has found a home not only in Australia and California, but also in the Pacific northwest. Washington state’s long, sunny, desert-dry days yield more modern, fruit driven syrah wines. Those of Charles Smith, though, are something more: a blend of classic and modern, and spot-on syrah tasting of black cherries, lavender, and spice. You won’t find a better introduction to NEW WORLD syrah.

2009 Chateau du Moulin Rouge Haut Medoc

A CLASSIC cab blend from Bordeaux - medium bodied on the palate, whose flavors refresh as much as they delight. From one of Bordeaux’s finest four vintages in the last 35 years, this vibrant blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc is one of our best deals from Bordeaux. Great vintages benefit not only the Grand Cru estates but all others as well, yielding wines that can be as good as some of the top estates but for a fraction of the price. The 2009 Moulin Rouge is a textbook example. Opulent black fruit on the nose. Ripe blackberries and plums on the palate, with fine tannins providing backbone for the opulent fruit. Wondrously light on its feet given the density of its flavors. A bargain, and ready to enjoy now.

2015 Domaine Auchere Sancerre

Cool, crisp, and savory, a TIME-HONORED expression of sauvignon blanc from Sancerre, which to many yields the definitive take of this noble varietal. There, sauvignon blanc is rooted upon limestone rich soils, which yield crisp whites whose punchy, savory flavors have come to define the more classic expressions of this French varietal. Auchere’s Sancerre is an excellent introduction with its grapefruit hints and gooseberry savor. Enjoyable on its own, the Auchere is ideal with lighter dishes - from salads to grilled chicken or white fish.

2014 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Champs Royaux

A cool climate CLASSIC, a more crisp and savory expression of chardonnay. Acquired by the late Joseph Henriot, former CEO of LVMH, and restored to ts former glory, Doamine William Fevre spares no expense in either the vineyards or the cellar. The estate employs both steel and wood fermentation vessels to preserve both the vibrant flavors and to add just a touch of body. With its crips green apples, lemons, limes, and a hint of savory herbs, the Champs Royaux serves as an excellent introduction to the region.

2013 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Knight's Valley

Broad shouldered and rich, and with a riot of flavors that can overwhelm the senses, this is cabernet at its most MODERN and ripe. Due largely to the advantages that northern California enjoys: cool bay breezes and morning fogs, as well as southeast and southwest facing hillsides (rare in the plains of Bordeaux) - all which in turn yield thoroughly ripe and full-bodied wines with an envious ease. Beringer’s 2013 Knight’s Valley cab is a case in point. Orchard fruit on the nose, with red and black cherries on the palate. Savory mint suggestions emerge with time in the glass, with a kiss of fine tannins unfolding in the long finish. A full-bodied, voluptuous cab, ready to enjoy tonight..

2006 Chateau Teynac Saint Julien

Polished and poised, a CLASSIC expression of Bordeaux. Between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south, St-Julien and its wines strike an intoxicating balance between the two. More a midweight compared to the bruisers from Pauillac, with aromatic suggestions reminiscent of Margaux, textbook St-Julien wines capture everything that is best in Bordeaux. Black fruit on the nose, with blackberries and plum on the attack. Spice notes and floral scents emerge with a swirl of the glass. Medium bodied, with moderate tannins in the mid-palate and long finish. This one is all about balance.

2012 Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco

ICONIC OLD SCHOOL Barbaresco, from one of the Piedmont’s finest producers. Long fermentations and elevage in ancient oak casks - such techniques owe their origin to the modest way of life that once dominated the Piedmont. Impoverished farmers had precious little time to manage fermentation or to rack barrels of wine throughout elevage. The results were often a crapshot. But when the harvest yielded ripe fruit and the cellar enjoyed cool autumn weather, the resulting wine was a revelation. There is no better - and more affodable! - introduction to an Old-School nebbiolo wine than those from Produttori. Red cherries, savory tobacco, licorice, game, and rose petal hints - all you will find in this stunning red.

2012 Chateau Labegorce Margaux

Vibrantly flavored and with an intoxicating fragrance, a cabernet blend that reveals the more graceful and sensual side of Bordeaux. Though Margaux also enjoys gravel beds, the commune itself and its vineyards are comprised of less clay. In turn, Margaux’s clay-poor/gravel-rich soils warm more quickly, encouraging an early harvest (earlier than other communes) of fine fruit overflowing with fresh flavors and aromatic allure. Dark fruit on the nose, with black currants, plums, licorice, and graphite on the palate. With time, a bouquet of violets emerge on the long finish. Medium bodied with silk-soft tannins, this red reveals the more sensual side of the Left Bank. CLASSIC Bordeaux!

2014 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30

Wildly rich with blackberries-and-cherries, with a spice rack of flavors coming to the fore as violets AND gamy hints emerge with age - CLASSICALLY EXPRESSED syrah delights not only with its sheer power but also with its heady perfume. Yet classically expressed syrah demands a cool yet sunny site for such flavors to emerge - and the northern Rhone hillside known as Cornas is by all accounts one of the finest sites in all the world for for the noble varietal. The 2014 Cornas Granit 30 from Vincent Paris is an especially alluring example with its floral fruit notes and svelte body. Cherries, cassis, licorice, smoke-tinged herbs, lavender, and peppery overtones - all you will find in this energetic red. Make sure to set aside a few bottles to enjoy five years from now, when violets and game will make themselves known.

2012 Paolo Scavino Barolo
2012 Paolo Scavino Barolo
2012 Paolo Scavino Barolo

A MORE MODERN, more polished, and vibrant nebbiolo wine that nevertheless displays the broad range of flavors that only Barolo can display. Which is no easy task. Stainless steel, temperature controlled fermentation tanks and a handful new barrels comprised of French oak encourage fresher flavors and rounder tannins, while well-maintained older casks ensure that the telltale flavors of nebbiolo from Barolo shine through. Enrico Scavino’s 2012 Barolo is a textbook example, a more fresh flavored and more polished wine that nevertheless expresses the breathtaking range of flavors that fine nebbiolo wines can display: exotic Asian spices, fine tobacco, polished leather, red cherries, and a bloom of roses in the finish.

2013 Lucien Boillot Et Fils Volnay

From one of Burgundy’s famed village AOCs, an ethereal pinot that best exemplifies the single quality that defines a CLASSICALLY CRAFTED red from Burgundy: power without weight, where persistence on the palate matters more. Volnay’s vineyards see more limestone and less clay, which in turn yield svelte reds defined by satin, silk, and perfume. Strawberries, cherries, and rose petals dominate the palate, and possess a weightless quality that lingers into the long finish. A slow seduction..

2013 Evening Land Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard

More full-bodied than its more classic Gallic cousins, a MORE MODERN expression of pinot whose alluring perfume will seduce even the most jaded palate. Some say Oregon is this country’s answer to Burgundy - and the 2013 Evening Land Pinot Noir makes a strong argument for it. Cool, overcast, unpredictable - Oregon seems an unlikely place to cultivate the vine. Yet here pinot noir thrives, yielding, at least in this instance, a heady and aromatic expression of this tantalizing varietal. More full-bodied than a pinot from Burgundy, and overflowing with raspberries, cola hints, and exotic spices. Svelte tannins emerge with time in the glass, as well as a floral hint that frames all. A sexy, seductive red.

2013 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa

Full figured, honey textured, and overflowing with ripe orchard fruit, a top notch Napa chard is undoubtedly every bit the equal to any Grand Cru expression from Burgundy. As the 1976 Tasting in Paris resoundingly proved. Which was no surprise to pioneering producers who discovered that the sunny yet cool hilltops of Napa Valley yielded especially ripe yet energetic chardonnay fruit.  Pahlmeyer’s 2013 Chardonnay is a MOST MODERN take on the French varietal. Deep and rich, with lemon hints, exotic tropical fruit, and a creamy texture, this chard has all the glamour of a Hollywood star.

2013 Domaine Monteillet Cote Rotie Fortis

Grown upon one of the northernmost limits of the vine (beyond which syrah will fail to fully ripen), a vibrant red whose flavors and aromas express both the savage and sensual side of this noble varietal. No easy accomplishment. Crafting such a red demands back breaking manual labor upon some of the wine world's steepest slopes, which fully expose the syrah vines to the sun. Yet to wine critics and enthusiasts the resulting wines of Cote Rotie are well worth the arduous effort. As the 2013 Cote Rotie from Domaine Monteillet proves. Perfumed black fruit on the nose, with creme de casis, black raspberries, and violets on the palate. A sexy red, but very primary now. Enjoy a bottle now if you must, but with time a more savage side will reveal itself. An intoxicating red, and a CLASSIC northern Rhone syrah.

2013 Antinori Tignanello

The very definition of MODERN Tuscan wine. A blend comprised not only of sangiovese (80% of the total blend) but also cabernet sauvignon and a splash of cabernet franc, and a more polished and fuller-bodied red that still displays the herbal savor and tannic grip that all Tuscan reds should display. Cooler fermentation temperatures, delestage, and malo in barrique ensure a more supple and fresh flavored red, without sacrificing any of the savor and floral hints that fine sangiovese can display. An iconic expression of MODERN sangiovese, from one of the world’s oldest winemaking families. James Suckling, former wine critic for Wine Spectator, awarded this red 97 points: “"This is amazing on the nose with blackberry, black truffle, dried cherry and hints of tobacco. So complex on the nose. Almost no need to taste it. Full body, soft and velvety tannins, and a persistent, fabulous finish. The mouthfeel is magic."

2010 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Paganelli

One of Montalcino’s best Brunellos - no, one of Italy’s finest reds! - and as OLD SCHOOL as they come. Il Poggione was among the first to focus upon the quality and suitability of their sangiovese vines, and to this day take themselves to task on their hillside vineyards to ensure ripe fruit dense with flavor. In the cellar, Il Poggione is one of the few estates practicing cappello sommerso and deploying large, venerable casks - both ensure that the fresh and floral fruit notes earned in the vineyards remain. The Riserva from Il Poggione is a cellar treasure. Plums, black cherries, cloves, pressed violets, savory tobacco - all you will find in this powerful and brooding red. CLASSIC WITH A CAPITAL C. The Wine Advocate gave this wine 98+ points,

2014 Domaine William Fevre Chablis Les Clos

Bone dry, with vibrant suggestions of orchard and citrus fruit on the palate as well as a electric minerality that emerges in the finish – this is cool climate chardonnay at its most extreme. Which is no easy task to craft. Through the winter months water aspersion and chaufferettes will safeguard the vines against the very real threat of frost; and the sloped vineyards and limestone soils will more fully expose the vines to the sun and reflect its radiance back onto the vines, respectively. All in the hope to achieve a wine whose almost electric vibrancy and mineral notes are unmatched in all the wine world. Fevre’s 2014 Les Clos is benchmark cool climate chardonnay, and a classic in the making. Citrus fruit on the nose, with lime confit, savory herbs, aromatic hints, and wet stone on the palate. Broad, palate staining, yet utterly seamless and gravity defying. This is a CLASSIC cool climate chard in hi-fi, surround sound. Stephen Tanzer of Vinous gave this wine 96 points - an exceptionally high score for Tanzer.


A Savory Selection

The dog days of summer are behind us! Celebrate and enjoy the cooler weather with fine wine. From more luscious chards to richer cabs, each of the wines listed below display a feast of flavors fit for the cool days ahead of us.

2013 Capcanes Mas Donis

Savvy wine enthusiasts and value seekers, take note! The wines of Montsant often languish in the shadows of neighboring Priorat, whose wines are among Spain’s most coveted. Yet Montsant also enjoys schist hillsides that yield stunningly ripe fruit. But because it is less well established than its more famous neighbor, Montsant and its wines remain one of the wine world’s great values. The Mas Donis Capcanes is as dense and as rich as anything from neighboring Priorat. Black fruit, baking spices, and ground coffee - you’ll find all in this bottle, but for a fraction of what you’d pay for a comparable Priorat.

2014 Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas

From southern France, an outrageously ripe yet fresh red that punches well above its weight class. Comprised largely of old vine grenache cultivated in southern France, whose warm and windswept hillside vineyards yield distinctly dense wines whose concentration of flavors can match even those from the more established appellations of the southern Rhone, but only at a fraction of the price. The reds from Lafage, like the 2014 Cuvee Nicolas, are especially notable. Black raspberries, licorice, crushed violets as well as potpourri, and a kiss of fine tannins on the persistent finish - the 2014 Cuvee Nicolas is as poised as it it is powerful.

2014 Fouquet Vouvray Les Girardieres Domaine Les Aubuisiers

The Loire Valley yields not only crisp and refreshing summer whites, but also full-bodied and luxurious expressions whose rare mix of of precise flavors and decadent textures are matched by few others. Discerning wine enthusiasts swoon over chenin blanc from the Loire Valley, and with good reason. Chenin blanc can expresses an abundance of flavors and textures unmatched by even a top notch chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. From green apples and mineral hints to brioche, quince, peaches and pineapples, marzipan, barley sugar, and honey in its more rich and luxuriant instances - chenin blanc offers a wealth of flavors and textures well worth your attention. XXXXX strikes a balance between more dry and more rich expressions. Perfumed nose of pineapple, with juicy baked apple, spice, anise and hints of honey on the generous palate. Plush, persistent, and precise, a real balancing act of a wine.

2015 Domaine Grands Bois Cotes du Rhone Viognier

A once obscure varietal whose exotic flavors and full-figured body prove irresistible to even the most seasoned palate. Hard to believe that viognier was once languishing in the northern Rhone; in 1965, the appellation Condrieu, where Viognier first found fame, was only 8 hectares in size. An no wonder - viognier even under ideal conditions yields a modest crop of fruit, demands harvest at precisely the right moment to capture not only its lush texture but also its seductive flavors and perfume. Viognier is a labor of love, and the 2015 Grand Bois proves that it is well worth the effort. Yellow gold to the eye, with honeyed yet fresh pit fruits and floral hints on the nose. Lemons, pears, and apricots on the palate, with a spicy ginger note emerging with time. Medium bodied, with just a hint of baby fat, this will pair well with pan seared scallops.

2014 Domaine Vincent Paris Crozes Hermitage

From one of France’s new generation of proprietors, a textbook northern Rhone syrah overflowing with violet scents and meat driven nuances. The nephew of recently retired Cornas legend Robert Michel, co-president of Cornas Vincent Paris is one of the leading lights of the northern Rhone. He takes himself to takes in his vineyards, and adopts a more gentle, Burgundian approach in his cellar, crafting in turn vibrant and polished wines, all the while maintaining the power and muscular body that all good syrah should possess. He not only crafts top notch Cornas but also a more value driven syrah from Croze Hermitage. Ripe black cherries, lavender hints, and wisps of smoke - his 2014 Croze capture both the savage and sensual side of syrah.

2013 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino

One of Montalcino’s best rossos, and as old-school as they come. Il Poggione was among the first to focus upon the quality and suitability of their Sangiovese vines, and to this day take themselves to task on their hillside vineyards to ensure ripe fruit dense with flavor. In the cellar, Il Poggione is one of the few estates practicing cappello sommerso - or submerged cap fermentation, which ensures that the fresh and floral fruit notes earned in the vineyards remain. Moreover, cappello sommerso is a gentle technique that prevents the excessive extraction of harsh tannins (which can happen in more modern cellars). Bright red cherries, smoke, and cured tobacco, as well as floral hints in the finish make this a textbook introduction to the wines of Montalcino.

2013 Torbreck Juveniles

Inspired by and served at cult Paris wine bar Juveniles, this Rhone blend proves why Australia’s Barossa Valley is one of the wine world’s greatest treasures. There, you’ll find ancient vines of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre, all which yield especially ripe wines whose concentration of flavors and energy on the palate can rival anything from the Rhone Valley. Red orchard fruit on te nose. Cherry preserves, red currants, and spice on the attack, with black pepper and exotic Asian spices emerging more clearly with time. Almost opulent, and a stunning value given what’s inside the bottle.

2014 DAOU Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Napa isn’t the only place in California where you’ll find sumptuous cabernet sauvignons. In recent years DAOU has emerged as a reliable source for voluptuous California cabs. Brothers Georges and Daniel Daou were debating upon purchasing land in Napa, Knights Valley, even Bordeaux. However, they discovered high altitude limestone-rich plots in Paso Robles that yielded not only ripe fruit but also fruit dense with fresh and energetic flavors. That is, fruit every bit the equal to anything from Napa or Bordeaux - as the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon proves. Black raspberries, cassis, plums, licorice, and smoked herbs - all you will find in this voluptuous Napa -excuse me, I meant to say Paso Robles! - cab.

2012 Numanthia Termes

A flavorful, full-figured red from one of Toro’s benchmark estates. Comprised entriely of tempranillo grown in a recently revived Denominacione de Origen, whose arid conditions, piercingly cold winters, blistering summers, and high altitude vineyards yield some of Spain’s most heady, exotic, full-bodied and formidable reds. The reds of Toro are extreme expressions of tempranillo, as the bullish 2012 Termes illustrates. Dark fruit on the nose, with ripe black and blue berries on the palate. Spice cake notes and and violet hints emerge with time in the glass. Both rich AND energetic, showing a surprising grace and poise for as rich at it is. As much a matador as it is a bull.

2012 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Among Italy’s first four DOCGs (Barolo, Barbaresco, and Brunello di Montalcino were the others), nevertheless to this day Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines are often in the shadow of Chianti Classico. Yet like Chianti, VNdM is comprised of sangiovese, which known as prugnolo gentile in Montepulciano - whose warmer low-altitude vineyards imbue into its reds a weight and flavor approaching the great reds of Montalcino. Yet for only a fraction of the price. Ripe red berries and cherries, savory dry herbs and exotic spices - the breadth and intensity of this 2012 VNdM is mind-boggling.

2013 Tamarack Cabernet Sauvignon

Lying in the rain shadow of the Cascade range, the vast majority of Washington state’s vineyards enjoy an especially dry and sunny climate. In fact, as far north as it is Washington enjoys 2 more hours of sunlight on average than Napa, yielding in turn rich wines overflow vibrant flavors. And at a fraction of the cost as anything from Napa. the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Tamarack is a case in point - a sumptuous cab that would be twice the price were it from California. Savory fruit on the nose, with raspberries, mint, and dark chocolate on the palate. Fine, dusty tannins and herbal hints emerge in the long finish. Would be delicious with grilled meat or salmon.

2014 Ridge Zinfandel East Bench

From one of the wine world’s finest estates, am uncommonly refined zinfandel masterfully crafted under the watchful eye of Paul Draper. Monte Bello, his iconic Bordeaux blend, earned him lasting fame - but most Ridge fans know him for his zinfandels, reds whose power are matched only by their poise and persistence of flavors. His secret? Old vines, wild yeasts, and submerged cap fermentations - all which yield in turn densely flavored yet vibrant reds whose silky polish of tannins lend a refinement rarely seen in other reds. Aromatic fruit on the nose, with violet inflected red and black cherries on the palate. Black peppers and baking spices unfold with time in the glass. Silky and finely structured, the 2014 East Bench is a polished, uncommonly graceful zin.

2012 Paolo Scavino Barolo

A full-bodied, aromatic red from one of Italy’s greatest DOCGs, crafted by one of the Piedmont’s most forward thinking proprietors. Nebbiolo based wines from more traditional estates can be forbiddingly structured and unyielding when young. Fortunately, proprietor Enrico Scavino has adopted a number of more modern techniques - cooler, more well managed fermentations and elevage in smaller barrels - for a more fresh flavored, more polished winet. And all without sacrificing the breathtaking range of flavors that fine nebbiolo wines can display: exotic Asian spices, fine tobacco, polished leather, red cherries, and a bloom of roses in the best examples, like Scavino’s 2012 Barolo.

2012 Grgich Hills Chardonnay

A classically crafted gem from the estate of Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, who first found fame in Paris as the winemaker at Chateau Montelena. His 2012 estate chard is a more muscular expression - very much like that award winning 1973 Chateau Montelena chard that bested the finest from France! Fuji apples, honeydew melon and a hint of cashew nuts in the persistent finish - this 2012 Chardonnay is proof that California chards are still among the world’s best.

2012 Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol Rouge

From Bandol, a coastal, Provencial red whose whose blackberry and blueberry notes (often with a pinch of baking spices and a dash of aromatic herbs) almost overwhelm the senses. Often it is black as night and sturdy in structure, and even a bit of a beast - and is often tamed by time in the cellar. Yet mouvedre in its prime is almost incomparable. The 2012 enjoys some age, yet remains formidably structured - a perfect red to enjoy with roasted meat. Currant preserves, steeped plums, and mulled blackberry fruit are at thje core, with anise and sunged herbs swirling about the glass. A meaty note emerges in the finish. A savage red.

2013 Lucien Boillot Et Fils Gevrey Chambertin

A fuller bodied, more earthy pinot from Burgundy’s most muscular commune. The pinots from Gevrey Chambertin at their very best are among the world’s finest pinots, displaying not only the orchard fruit and aromatic notes that all fine pinot display, but also a meatiness that comes with age and a weight and structure that distinguish its wines from all other communes. Boillot’s 2013 Gevrey is a textbook expression: black cherries, rose petal hints, and charcuterie, with silky yet persistent tannins emerging in the long finish. A complex, complete pinot noir.

2010 Chateau Clos de Sarpe Saint Emilion

From one of Bordeaux’s very few hillsides, a luxuriant, full-bodied red whose vibrant flavors linger on the finish. No easy task to craft such a wine, yet the hillside of St-Emilion enjoys not only a south facing slope, whose sundrenched aspect encourages especially ripe fruit. Moreover, St.Emilion’s limestone rich soils encourage fresher, more energetic and persistent flavors. Which the 2012 Clos de Sarpe has in spades. Creme de cassis, kirsch, licorice, earthy hints, as well as vanilla and caramel nuances - this massive yet graceful red is a blockbuster.

2014 Chapoutier Chante Alouette Hermitage Blanc

If ever there was an overlooked wine treasure, it is undoubtedly the great white wines of Hermitage; not only are they long-lived wines and fabulously rich on the palate, they can display a finesse and complexity with age From white apricots and orange peel in its youth to dried fruits and honey with age, and displaying a persistence and clarity of flavors that can rival the very best Grand Cru Chardonnays of Burgundy - a classic white Hermitage is truly one of the wine world’s greatest treasures. Chapoutier’s 2014 Hermitage Blanc is a paradigm of its type. Honeysuckle, jasmine on the attack, with acacia green figs, and honeyed apricots on the palate. Full-bodied yet well-defined, as well as long AND energetic on the palate. A life-affirming wine.

2012 Chateau Pontet Canet Pauillac

Pound for pound, and dollar for dollar, one of the finest deals from Bordeaux. Though only a Fifth Growth, Grand Cru estate Chateau Pontet Canet neighbors not one but two First Growth vineyards - those of Mouton and Lafite. And, of course, therefore enjoys the same deep gravel soils. In sum? The wines of Pontet Canet are First Growths in all but name, and sell for only a fraction of the price. Overflowing with blackberries, currants, plums, truffles, licorice, cedar, and tobacco - this massive red is a beauty, and has years of life ahead of it.

2011 Bouchard Pere & Fils Corton Charlemagne

Aptly named, and as regal a chardonnay you’re likely to find anywhere. Comprised entirely of fruit grown upon Corton, whose sunny yet cool hillside vineyards yield some of the wine world’s ripest, most energetic chardonnay fruit. Which in turn is transformed within the cellars of Bouchard, whose gentle take yields a sumptuous yet vibrant chard that is every bit the equal to anything from Chevalier-, Batard-, or Le Montrachet. But for a fraction of the price. Iridescent to the eye, with citrus hints on the nose. Lime, tonic hints, iodine, and lavender(!) on the palate, with white apricots and mineral hints unfolding with time. Dense yet light on its feet, this gripping Grand Cru chard somehow squares the circle. Its persistent flavors suggest a long, long life - it will gain even more complexity with time.


Recent Releases from Alexander Valley Vineyards

“....they are well made, accessible,
all the succulence of Alexander valley fruit, and they are attractively priced.”
Stephen Brook, on the wines of Alexander Valley Vineyards
from his book The Wines of California

And we couldn’t agree more, as Binny’s came to discover while visiting the winery earlier this year. Alexander Valley itself enjoys a warm climate, an ideal situation for the vine. The winery itself, under the decades-long guidance of of the Wetzels, is among the most consistent producers of the AVA. They have minimized the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides, and their newly constructed cave cellar not only saves on costs but also ensures ripe and fresh-flavored wines. The proof? It’s in the bottles below! And all are now on sale.

2015 Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurztraminer

Off dry yet vibrant, with lychee and quince on the attack. A floral hint of rose petals as well as ginger slices and orange peel make themselves known with time. Punchy and persistent, this white is the ideal aperitif, and will pair beautifully with salad or jumbo shrimp.

2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards Zinfandel Sin Zin

A crowd pleaser and Binny's bestseller. Conceived by AVV founder Hank Wetzel and first bottled in 1978, this zin remains as decadent as it was when first released almost 40 years ago. Savory black fruit on the nose, with blackberries and mint on the palate. Black pepper and baking spices unfold in the glass, with enough tannins and acidity to create a seamless mid-palate and finish. Benchmark California zin.

2014 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

A classic California cab. Dark fruit oin the nose, with blackberries, plums, cherries and cassis on the palate. Spice notes and chocolate hints from the generous fruit, which persists through the mid-palate and lengthy finish. Densely flavored yet nimble, this silky cab will excite even the most jaded palate.

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