Champagne makes everything better

Is there a better job out there than Professional Wine Advisor? I don’t think there is. We taste 1000′s of wines a year to make sure that we only offer the BEST to our clients. Enjoy a few of the wines from this week that made the cut.

NV Egly Ouriet ‘Tradition’ Brut Grand Cru, Champagne

E869Wine Spectrum 96: A remarkably fresh, unfined and unfiltered, deliciously profound “basic” brut that is leagues above many other comparable bottles.  70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay; from Egly’s finest grand cru, old-vine vineyards in Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy and Versenay.  Warmed crepes drizzled with red fruit compote; pink and white flowers; a touch of vanilla and butter on the expressive nose.  The mouth is electric, with plenty of pepper and fresh ginger—powerful yet elegant, with notes of black and red cherries made frothy and creamy with a hint of bubbles.  A tribute to the greatness of Ambonnay and certainly to the peerless quality of Egly.Disgorged November 2014.

Egly-Ouriet remains one of Champagne’s leading small growers. From top to bottom these wines impress for their inimitable class. A non-interventionalist approach in the vineyards and cellar, old-vine parcels in top vineyards and long lees-aging are some of the qualities that define these sublime Champagnes. ~ Antonio Galloni

2012 Stolpman ‘Hilltops Estate’ Syrah, Ballard Canyon

stolpmanWine Spectrum 95:  The deep and enveloping nose spreads out to lighter notes of Blackberry, sage, and toast.  As the nose opens up, ripe black cherries appear backed by tobacco. On the palate, the flavor profile is high toned and the wine finishes with excitement.  Notes of rosemary behind bright red fruit.  The mid-palate will continue to fill in with age promising a decades-long life. The 2012 Hiltops arrives in the new, custom Ballard Canyon Syrah bottle with the words BALLARD CANYON subtly raised in the shoulder of the glass.  The debut of the bottle, only used by Ballard Canyon grower-producers for Syrah, happens to coincide with the ideal, even 2012 growing season. 550 cases produced. 

2010 Domaine Raphet Clos Vougeot Grand Cru, Burgundy

imagesWine Spectrum 95: A wine for the ages.  It’s easy to find the Raphet family’s vines in this legendary grand cru; Gerard’s father, Jean, has a stone marker set on the vineyard’s downslope wall.  A spot worthy of a pilgrim’s devotion once you get a sense of the greatness of this truly grand cru. A full, sultry wine with good depth and structure; creamy, pure red berries, incense and smoke fill the middle, with a rich, spicy finish. Another gem for the cellar.

BurgHound 92: A pure and unusually high-toned nose of cool and ripe red pinot fruit that is liberally laced with earth and humus scents. There is good volume to the supple and very round flavors that display good verve and excellent intensity on the impressively long and well-balanced finish.

2012 Stolpman ‘L’Avion’ Roussanne, Ballard Canyon

stolpmanWine Spectrum 95:  With a return to moderate, ideal growing conditions after the cooler years of 2010 and 2011, we jumped on the opportunity to craft a L’Avion release of unprecedented quality.  To bring the wine to the next level, we declassified an unprecedented volume into the 2012 Stolpman Roussanne, leaving only 550 cases of L’Avion – the lowest production since 2004.   Held an additional year after bottling, the rich unfiltered white wine stays true to its signature honey-suckle, pear, golden pineapple, white flower seductiveness.  Perhaps the defining factor of 2012 is the brightness the wine carries with it.  Despite the warmth of the year, the 2012 shows fresh and balanced.  The 2012 L’Avion is a more intense, nuanced, and integrated version of the 2012 Roussanne. Rather than refer to L’Avion as the Estate’s “reserve” Roussanne, we choose to call it the “cherry-picked” selection. When sugars approach the optimal window, La Cuadrilla picks only the grape clusters that appear evenly sun-tanned – the namesake “Rousse” or rust color.  The golden skin color denotes concentration of ripe flavors.  Being the first clusters to hit the sweet spot, the grapes bound for L’Avion retain acidity to add a naturally zesty finish.  The bottle age allows the fruit to flesh out further, and the oak recedes from the nose to the back of the palate. Once again to play into the richness of the wine, we bottle L’Avion unfiltered.  In short, 2012 L’Avion reflects our proudest effort in the realm of 100% Roussanne.

2012 Wren Hop ‘Mortal Coil’ Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

Mortal-Coil-2014_013Wine Spectrum 95: Mortal Coil exhibits a brooding deep ruby color with rich mulling spice aromatics on the nose. Mocha, black cherry, Assam tea and earth drive the mid-palate. There is an exceptional long, energetic finish to this wine. This Wren Hop Pinot Noir has all the hallmarks of former standouts. Truly a wine that will not be ignored, this bottling amplifies even more after a short decant. Steak Au Poivre will be waiting patiently for an introduction in the kitchen. 258 cases produced. 

Robert Parker 94: My favorite of this quartet of Pinots is the 2012 Pinot Noir Mortal Coil, which comes from the Phendler Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Made from Dijon clones 777 and 115, it exhibits a deep garnet color as well as a big, sweet bouquet of black cherries, blackcurrants, plums, forest floor and spring flowers. Rich, full-bodied, round, juicy and complex, this Côte de Nuits-like 2012 Pinot can be consumed over the next 7-8 years.

2010 Novaia ‘Corte Vaona’ Amarone della Valpolicella

novaia_corteWine Spectrum 94+: An abundantly spicy Amarone from one of the more legendary vintages in Italy; a medley of baking aromas and serious character set this decadent yet chiseled wine apart.  Plush yet balanced flavors of freshly cracked black pepper, and soft approachable dark fruits such as cassis, blackberries and dried black plums slather the palate.  The finish is more spice and plenty of mineral energy and soft tannins.  A stunning example of the greatness (and almost magical potential) of fine Amarone.

2013 Cordella Rosso di Montalcino

attachmentWine Spectrum 93: Cordella’s Rosso highlights the delicate aromas and flavors of which Sangiovese Grosso is capable. Freshly picked fruit with notes of citrus and cranberry reveal sweet, tangy summer plum and cherry flavors and silky tannins. Cordella wines have gained a following in Italy for a reason: the family’s hands-on approach to winemaking stands in stark contrast to the industrial focus of the “establishment” in Brunello, with its common formula of over-extraction and poor barrel choice producing muscular, alcoholic wines with dried-out tannins.

With the family’s fields of grain, olive trees and grape vines tucked away in what seems a forgotten corner of the appellation, winemaker Maddalena Cordella is making wine in the context of running a modest family farm, a way of life that the bucolic hills surrounding Montalcino have supported for centuries. 

2013 Courtault Petit Chablis

attachmentWine Spectrum 92+: A perfect wine for a relaxing afternoon; this embodies all the citrus pep and energy that is so invigorating in  classic Petit Chablis and is a perfect pair for fresh seafood. Wild flowers and fresh herbs mix with crushed stones and lemon zest on the nose; the mouth is clean, precise and pure, with lime and lemon zest, fresh and energetic. A classic Petit Chablis with low alcohol and perfect balance.


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