We have secured a small parcel of extraordinary nectar from a leading producer in the Mosel, Germany. Trockenbeerenauslese (“TBA”), or “selected fully shrivelled nearly dry late harvest individual berries”(!) is the rarest, most intense treat in the Mosel Riesling hierarchy. The berries are almost completely shrivelled dry by a combination of botrytis (a sort of beneficial mould that develops naturally on some grapes), and drying from sun and wind evaporation. Frustratingly tiny amounts of grape juice nectar are extracted from these berries after long gentle pressing, and often a grower's reward for a great deal of effort is just 100 to 300 litres or so of wine. That’s it.
It’s little wonder that leading specialist Egon Muller’s auction TBA sold last year in Trier for 12,000 Euros per bottle!
In Zelting, in the Middle Mosel, there is a producer we like very much who also makes a tiny quantity of TBA in years that can offer it. Kat Lee and I visited Selbach-Oster in September, and were treated to a half bottle over dinner. It was exquisite. The wine is intense, complex, incredibly long on the finish, but amazingly, it also somehow feels light. The fruit intensity is so well balanced with fresh zingy acidity, and the aromas and flavours are fresh. It exhilarates rather than tires the palate. This is also assisted by low alcohol - only around 7%! It is a unique quality of great TBA from the Mosel, and in our view Selbach-Oster is a master of the style.
We are delighted to present The Fine Wine Experience 2014 Burgundy offer.In 2015 our team made two visits to taste 2014s from barrel.
The season had an early start but a mixed summer that delayed development. Fortunately a fine September meant Indian Summer conditions at harvest.
Compared to the ‘13s, that we liked very much, the ‘14s seemed more immediately charming, rounder, fruity in style, yet still showing great delineation between individual terroir, good freshness and balance. These are going to give great pleasure to a broad audience, and at an earlier stage in the cellar than the ‘13s. Just what everyone needs!
One of the great delights we discovered while in Burgundy last year was Château du Moulin-à-Vent. Beaujolais is going through something of a renaissance in the last decade or so with small domaines aiming for exceptional quality and age worthy wines. It’s been a tough job getting the message across. So successful was the earlier marketing effort of this region to associate the name with fresh young cheerfully fruity wine for immediate consumption (Beaujolais Nouveau) that this is what comes to mind for many people when Beaujolais is mentioned.
But the Gamay red wines made in the best villages of the region - so–called ‘Cru Beaujolais’ – are more serious, complex, and age worthy, none more so than Moulin-à-Vent.
We are delighted to present to you wines from Carl von Schubert at the Maximin Grünhaus estate in the Mosel (Ruwer), Germany, shipped by us direct from their cellars.
This estate is right at the front rank of fine German Riesling – one of the leading estates for the last century, and the vineyards here well known back to the Middle Ages.
The Mosel is the best region for Riesling that offers intensity combined with delicacy and elegance. I’ve tasted the Maximin Grünhaus estate wines extensively back to the 1940s and it is the real deal – delicious wines to drink young, but rewarding of cellaring too. They have a distinct expression too, distinguishable from those of the Middle Mosel (like Prüm, Haag, etc). They are a little more on the citrus side, mineral, sometimes stone fruit, and sometimes a refreshing green herbal note.
For the quality, prices are exceptionally reasonable. Even if they were properly expensive I would covet them, and find a way to drink them. Fortunately for those of us – to borrow from Oscar Wilde – easily satisfied by the best, Maximin Grünhaus counts. This was known in 1923 when a 1,000 litre cask of their trockenbeerenauslese Riesling from the 1921 vintage sold for 100,000 gold marks (about 2.5 million Euros). These wines were as fashionable then as Burgundy is today, and now it is not the market’s darling. Our win.
Last night we enjoyed a fine dinner at the Grand Hyatt featuring wines that had belonged previously to well known collector Don Stott. Wines of the night by consensus were a 1938 Clos des Lambrays and a 1982 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny Blanc. You can see what a special collection this is!
Don Stott is known for his knowledge on the subject of Burgundy, for his amazing cellar, and his generosity in serving great bottles.
As a great collector Don has taken very great care with his wines so provenance is top notch.
We’re delighted to offer this superb, substantial collection of leading Super Tuscans at great prices.
These come from a single cellar, professionally stored since original release, so top notch provenance.
This is a great parcel, mostly ready to drink. Note too the large format highlights -
3-litre format of Masseto 1999 and 2008
3-litre format of Ornellaia 2008 and 2010 and a 6-litre of Ornellaia 2005.
These are very seldom seen and were sold to this collector as part of overall large annual allocations. We offer them “untied".
When I look at this amazing list I’m reminded how far fine California Cabernet has been left behind in the price hikes that we have seen in other regions. Moreover, this is a carefully assembled single-cellar offering of impeccable, professionally stored provenance, in what are now mature, ready to buy, open and serve vintages.
In fact, if I was assembling a cellar of fine mature Cabernet from California today, this list is very close to exactly what I would put in it – these producers and these vintages. It’s the sweet spot for producer (classicists making wines of strength and elegance), cellar age (15 – 30 years is about right for this style), expression (1997 is about the turning point, broadly speaking, away from Bordeaux-esque wines and toward the fruit bombs that remained popular from 1997 to very recently) and price (adjusted for inflation they don’t even cost what they used to cost when they were at the height of their popularity in the ‘80s and ‘90s).
If you practice saying the name of this domaine for at least an entire day, you may just be able to pull off sounding like you know French, even if you don’t. We did our best.
Fortunately, it seems this domaine is becoming known by its acronym – Domaine CLF (soon to be found on smart wine lists in TST, LKF and CWB!).
The second hurdle of course is that its not widely known. I first heard the name of this domaine in 2015. There’s good reason why this is so. The quality has shifted gear – significantly – in the past three or four vintages. A lot used to be sold off to negocients, but not so now. With some of the best land holdings in all of Burgundy (including astonishing grand cru holdings), “CLF" is well worth paying attention to.
Here’s eRobertparker.com’s Neal Martin’s recent comment:
“Several Burgundy wine lovers spoke highly of winemaker Thomas Coquard, so when I was afforded the chance to taste his recent vintages in London, I made a beeline for his wines. Thomas is a good friend of Sebastien Cathiard (Domaine Sylvain Cathiard) and you can see a similarity in style between the two winemakers. Thomas actually has six grand crus from vines planted between 1950 and 1985, though I only tasted three here, plus three village crus…in particular with his excellent Echézeaux and stunning Clos-Saint-Denis (although there are just three barrels in 2013.) Hopefully, I will be able to visit the domaine on my future travels to Burgundy because there is clearly a skilled winemaker at work here.”
At a time when seriously great value is a term not easily associated with Burgundy, here is a breath of fresh air. We haven’t seen serious domaine-bottled old vine Burgundy at these prices for years.