Best Price on Santa Barbara Syrah

92-point, sub-$15 Chateauneuf-du-Pape as Deal of the Week

Last week we had the 3rd in the pecking order (Vacqueyras) of Southern Rhone’s royalty. This week, it’s the 1st - Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine du Vieux Lazaret.

The origin of the name Vieux Lazaret dates back to the 18th century when there existed in the center of the village a hospice or Lazaret. This offered comfort and shelter for the poor and infirm, provided by the Lazarists, who were a silent order of monks founded in 1625 by St Vincent de Paul to look after the sick and the needy in the French countryside. They took the name Lazarists from the Priory of St Lazare in Paris, where the original order had been formed in 1632. The Lazarists in Chateauneuf-du-Pape played a major role in taking in and looking after the sick during the 1720 epidemic that wiped out a third of the population in 1720. In the 19th century, the Quiot family purchased the site, modernized it and made it the center of their vast winemaking operation.

This Chateauneuf-du-Pape is composed of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan. This cuvee is made from 38 different parcels spread across Chateauneuf and grown on 3 major soil types: rolled pebbles; stony terraces with sand and gravel; clay formed from limestone mother rock.

Tasting Notes
Pale plus dark red with clear purple rim. The nose is warm and beginning to show an attractive complexity characterized by understated red fruits and spice along with leather and tertiary notes. The palate is composed and lighter weight, again exhibiting a measure of bottle development in an appealing mix of red cherry and spice notes. There is a fine, balanced structure. This is an elegant, not heavyweight style expressing Cinsault and Grenache in particular, with the emphasis on finesse rather than power.

Dom du Vieux Lazaret, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2017 (375ml) - From $20.99 to $14.99

92 points Wine Spectator
“This has a nice mix of loganberry, damson plum and black cherry compote notes that work well against a backdrop of garrigue, sanguine and mineral details. The fruit holds sway through the finish, with the secondary notes adding contrast. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2032.”

Dom du Vieux Lazaret, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018 (375ml) - From $20.99 to $14.99

92 points Wine Spectator
“A high-pitched style, with red currant, Bing cherry and raspberry coulis notes racing through, turning darker on the back end, with hints of mulled spice and licorice. Good juicy energy runs underneath. Drink now.”


Sub-$50 Puligny-Montrachet as Deal of the Week
Chavy Martin, Puligny-Montrachet 2012 - From $69.99 to $49.99

Puligny-Montrachet is an appellation within Cote de Beaune, in the middle of Burgundy. The commune of Puligny, on the south slope of the Mont Rachet’s hillside is home to the most commended grand cru, Montrachet, and premier cru vineyards that surround it. Making outstanding wines here for centuries. Combination of limestone soil, climate and Chardonnay enable the production of white Burgundies with unparalleled quality. The structure and character of the wines are marked by a full body with a mineral core and rich aromas of elegant fruit.

The names Sauzet, Carillon and Leflaive have become synonymous with Puligny, but one local clan has remained under the radar. The Chavy family has had roots in Puligny for almost 200 years. In 1976, after years of selling grapes to negociants, they began to bottle wine under their own label, and their domaine, Gerard Chavy et Fils, soon established itself as one of the finest domaines in the village. However, in 2003, after a family dispute, the estate was dissolved. The brothers Jean-Louis and Alain Chavy, who had jointly run the domaine, went their separate ways, each determined to build his own legacy.

Alain Chavy is the owner of Chavy-Martin and has some pretty incredible holdings. In addition to the prestigious plots Les Folatieres, Le Champs Gain and Les Pucelles, the domaine owns a precious parcel in Le Clavoillon. Les Pucelles and Les Clavoillons sit adjoined on the slope, but Chavy-Martin is one of only two cellars in Burgundy where you can taste them side by side. Domaine Leflaive owns the vast majority of the 5.59 hectare Le Clavoillon, but the Chavy brothers each claim a small portion, preventing it from being a monopole. Alain farms just under half a hectare of 50 year old vines in Les Clavoillons, and from it he produces a wine of great depth and minerality. This wine emphasizes precision and laser-like acidity, as well as notably rich fruit and great energy.

Deal Ends Sunday

30% OFF on 10-Year-Tawny

Ferreira, Dona Antonia 10 Year Old Tawny Port

What is Port? A Portuguese wine that is made by adding distilled grape spirit to a wine base. The addition of the high-alcohol spirit stops fermentation and “fortifies” the wine. Made in Portugal’s Douro Valley, only wines that are produced in this region can be labeled Port. The soils of the Douro consist predominately of schist and granite. The region is divided into three zones that sit west to east hugging the river: The westernmost, Baixo Corgo, gets the most rainfall and has the coolest temperatures. Grapes grown in the Baixo Corgo are used largely for tawny Ports. Tawny Port is made from wine aged in wooden barrels. The wood contact allows both evaporation and oxidation, which changes the color of the wines. They appear rusty or tawny, rather than bright red. Oxygen also introduces secondary, nutty flavors to these wines. Once opened, they can stay opened for months.

Ferreira family has been making wine since 1751. They are the first Portuguese-owned Port house and the only great Porto Wine house to have always remained in Portuguese family hands. The estate’s history is intertwined with the evolution of the Douro region.

Tasting Notes
Brick in color with reddish tints, the aroma showcases the balance between the quality of the original grapes and the wine. Floral tones and notes of well-ripened fruit with aromas of spices and dried fruits. This wine is balanced on the palate with a persistent finish. Once opened, preserves its characteristics for 2-3 months. Goes perfectly with nuts, caramel rich desserts and strong cheeses.

91 points Decanter
“Markedly low acidity here contributes to a voluptuous, sweeter style and seemingly fuller body: ripe, rolling, figgy and expressive – very pleasant indeed.”

91 points Wine Spectator
“It has a deep tawny hue with red hints. Its aroma is characterised by an excellent balance between the quality of its original grapes and wine (noticeable in its floral and ripe fruit aromas) and its ageing through oxidation in wood (which gives it spicy and nutty aromas). In the mouth, the classic and fresh style of the Ferreira brand is conspicuous, achieving a fine balance between the different sensations in the wine body and in the long final in the mouth.”

91 points Wine Enthusiast
“This rich wine is balanced and ripe with spice, sweet sultana and raisin fruitiness and a light shot of acidity. The aftertaste brings out fresh red fruits that are cut by the spirit and acidity to leave a full feeling in the mouth.”

Jancis Robinson
RS 104 g/l.
Mid-deep tawny. Smoky minerality, with a touch of herb stems. A spirity lift to macerated wild strawberries and clove spice. Sweet attack, with spicy, macerated cherries, strawberries and blackberries. Rich and intensely flavoured, with a fairly long, spicy finish and only a touch of alcohol warmth. (TJ)” 16.5/20 points.

Deal Ends Sunday

20% OFF Rafael Palacios’ Godello

Rafael Palacios, Louro Godello 2020

Rafael Palacios is a scion of a renown Spanish wine family - this almost makes his hard work and achievements seem fated or predetermined. If one were asked to rank the indispensable white wines from the old world, there would be very few on the list originating below 45º in latitude. Yet, in a little over a decade in Valdeorras, it is becoming apparent that Rafa can make wines from warmer climates that have the potential to rival Hermitage Blanc, Corton-Charlemagne, the Mosel or the Wachau.

Godello, potentially great white wine from Valdeorras region, rarely reaches the level of richness, balance, and complexity as it does in Rafael Palacios’s hands. Having left his family’s estate in Rioja in 2004, Rafa settled in the Val do Bibei, a rugged, weathered, and off-the-beaten-path sub-zone of Valdeorras. Bordering Ribera Sacra, the Val do Bibei is a landscape of granitic, terraced slopes dotted with hard-to-reach and hard-to-farm vineyard plots. Whereas most of the rest of the region is at a lower elevation with limestone and schist soils, Rafa works exclusively with Godello planted on granitic soils at much higher elevations - so high that late Spring snow and frost are ever-present dangers to his low yields. The farming is minimalist since the sub-zone has free-draining soils and warm, dry summers. All the vineyard work is done by hand, including harvesting. The Louro is a blend of Godello with a small amount of Treixadura from parcels located in the villages of Chandoiro, Lentellais, Outardepregos and Santa Cruz. This is a great alternative to Chardonnay.

92+ points Wine Spectator
“The 2020 Louro is a little riper than the 2019 and has a softer palate. The process was the same as always, fermentation in 3,500-liter French oak foudres, where the wine matured with lees for four months. It has 14.1% alcohol with a pH of 3.26 and 6.6 grams of acidity. It feels very young and a little closed, reductive perhaps. It’s quite fruit-driven, and there is a sensation of a little more ripeness here, more balsamic. It’s quite round and gentle but with a nice mineral background.”

I’ll have an open bottle to sample Tue-Thu

Sub-$30 Champagne as Deal of the Week

De Saint-Gall, “Selection” Brut Champagne NV - $38.99 / $29.99

Champagne De Saint Gall is the flagship label of Union Champagne, an Avize-Based “new-generation” cooperative on a meteoric rise to stardom. Historically most of the company’s wine has been sold to the region’s iconic houses to be blended into their top luxury brands, a practice which still accounts for a sizable proportion of Union Champagne’s business. As far as cooperatives go this is without question the wealthiest of its kind, with 615 hectares of Grand Cru vineyard land, 615 hectares of Premier Cru vineyard land, and 135 hectares of “mere mortal” unclassified vineyard land. Most of the firm’s acreage lies in the sought-after Cote des Blancs zone, where they farm more Grand Cru acreage than all other Champagne houses combined.

Now banded together, Union Champagne’s members can be considered the kings of ultra-premium Champagne, as no other firm in Champagne holds close to this amount of elite-level acreage. Their commitment to producing and selling finished wine on their own, is the most interesting thing to happen in Champagne in recent history.

Tasting Notes
55% Chardonnay 25% Pinot Noir 20% Pinot Meunier. Fresh and easy to drink, Selection Brut - toasted cashews, aromas of dried grapefruit and lemon citrus lead to quite a fresh, dry, and crisp palate with apple and pear flavors.

Deal Ends Sunday

25% OFF Vintage Port as Deal of the Week

Cockburn’s, Vintage Port 2015 - $79.99 / $59.99

Cockburn’s was founded in 1815 by the Scottish brothers Robert and John Cockburn. Originally wine merchants in Scotland, their Port house was founded with the objective of securing a supply of excellent wine at its source in Portugal. In the words of Robert Cockburn himself, “the quality of the wine – that is the first thing to be looked to”. They pioneered vineyard development in the Upper Douro Valley, particularly in the remote Douro Superior sub-region, which is Cockburn’s heartland to this day. Cockburn’s was instrumental in recovering Touriga Nacional from almost certain extinction, a grape variety that is fundamental to Vintage Port. They earned great respect and became one of the greatest names in Port.

Tasting Notes
Great vitality and purity of fruit, focused and precise. Exudes freshness, which springs out of the glass. Aromas of fleshy, black plums and eucalyptus fragrance. Flavors of red cherries on the palate. Well-toned and muscular.

96 points Decanter
“Blend dominated by Touriga Franca (41%) and Touriga Nacional (37%). Mainly picked eight days after the mid-September rain: initially deep, ripe and dense on the nose, opening up to reveal a scented berry fruit bouquet. Lovely plum and berry fruit on the palate supported by fine-grained, gravelly tannins and a long, structured finish. Combines depth and finesse in equal measure.”

Jancis Robinson
'This was the Syms’ second vintage port from this house. From 70% Quinta dos Canais and quite a bit from Quinta do Vale Coelho. South-facing vines. 40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca, 9% old mixed vines (350 g of fruit per vine) and a bit of Alicante and Sousão. 3,500 cases – just 10% of production (very unusual in the world of wine).
Blackish purple. Neat and focused and fresh and luscious. Quite sweet and purple and very charming. Tingling on the finish. Very exciting and energetic. Some black-pepper top note on the sweetness. Quite a dry end. Lots of chew. Very long term and ambitious. Hint of Edinburgh rock." 18.5+/20 points.

Deal Ends Sunday

Domaine Houchart, Sainte Victoire Rose Cotes de Provence 2021

Today, Domaine Houchart is owned by Genevieve, the wife of Jerome Quiot, having been originally acquired by her great-grandfather. During the period of the 1850’s, Aurelien Houchart was an energetic proprietor and merchant in wine, and created one of the largest Domaines in Provence. Amongst the friends of Aurelien Houchart was the famous painter Cezanne, who frequently came to visit. They reminisced about their time at school together while enjoying some wine .

Subsequently his Domaine was divided between the five children, with Hilaire Houchart, Genevieve Quiot’s grandfather inheriting 123 acres of vines, the cellars and other agricultural buildings. Because of the size of the Domaine, 197 acres, it is possible to take full advantages of a wide variety of soil types, with predominantly sandy, chalky soil and deeper beds of clay and silt. This allows adequate drainage of rainfall and ensures the vines are able to produce the best possible quality.

Tasting Notes
From vines on the lower slopes of Mont Sainte-Victoire, this estate’s principal wine is a ripe, full-bodied blend dominated by Syrah and Grenache. It has a dense texture, with rich fruits, touch of pepper but with freshness at the end.

90 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The wine to buy from Houchart is the 2021 Cotes de Provence Sainte-Victoire Rose, a pale flamingo-hued blend of 53% Grenache, 23% Syrah, 11% Cinsault, 9% Mourvèdre and 4% Carignan. Hints of crushed stone help to offset the slightly confected scents of cherries, peaches and lime on the nose, while the medium-bodied palate is juicy and mouthwatering, with just enough texture to give it staying power on the finish.”

Albert Lebrun, Brut Grand Cru Champagne NV - $50.00 / $29.99

Average retail price on the East Coast is $50.

Tasting Notes
An elegant and delicate nose with white peach and citrus fruit notes. Lively and fresh on the palate combining acidity and minerality. Perfect with oysters, scallops or other seafood.

92 points Wine Enthusiast
“The Champagne is mature with some bottle age that has resulted in a rich wine, hinting at minerality and with concentration and fine depths of ripe apple and nutty flavors. The aftertaste has freshness and a fine lift.”

92 points Wine & Spirits
“A hyper-rich Cote des Blancs Champagne, this wine’s brioche scents and spicy jasmine notes have a classical profile, while the bold and generous flavors give it powerful drive. Pour it with meaty snacks in puff pastry, like sauteed wild mushrooms or mini beef Weilllingtons.”

Deal Ends Sunday

Bedrock, Old Vine Zinfandel 2021 - $32.00 / $24.94**

94-point, sub-$25 old-vine zin…sounds like a candidate for Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List.

94 points Wine Spectator
“Spry and briary, this Zinfandel is fun to drink, with lively black cherry, licorice and dried sage flavors, which take on richness and cracked pepper accents toward zesty tannins.”

Au Bon Climat, La Bauge au Dessus Pinot Noir 2018 - $44.00 / $30.94

A classic Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir. It is a wine of great aromatics and character showing cherry/cranberry fruit, rose petal, earth and spice. It has a lavish structure and rich wood scents. The key word is balance. A balance of oak and fruit, a balance of tannin and acid, and a balance elegance and intensity.

91 points Wine & Spirits
“Scents of plush cherry fruit and sumptuous oak lead in this wine, sourced mainly from Bien Nacido, with a small contribution from Le Bon Climat Vineyard. In 2018 it has a lavish structure and rich wood accents, of the sort that will keep this wine sturdy and intact for years in the cellar.”

91 points Wine Enthusiast
“Quite tart aromas of cherry, sagebrush and forest floor duff converge on the nose of this bottling. There’s a fierce herbal streak to the palate, where thyme, sagebrush and eucalyptus leaf elements decorate the tart cranberry and currant flavors.”

Best Price in CA

Larner, “Transverse” Syrah Santa Barbara 2018 - $30.00 / $23.94

Larner’s Transverse Syrah is named after the Santa Ynez Transverse Mountain range that runs east west in Santa Barbara’s wine country. A blend of grapes from select vineyard sites across the valley. This is a bright, fruit-forward wine with bursting tones of red cherry, blackberry, leather and dark chocolate. There are tangy notes of exotic spice that drive up the mid-weight mouthfeel and soft tannic structure.

93 points Vinous
“The 2018 Syrah Transverse is dark, racy and absolutely gorgeous. Black cherry, scorched earth, tobacco, leather and spice bring out the darker side of Syrah. The 2018 is powerful and elegant at the same time, with plenty of forward fruit and tons of allure on full display. Michael Larner sources grapes from various sites for this wine, including Dorigo, Estelle, Shokrian and Donnachadh, in addition to a dollop of fruit from Larner itself.”

92 points Jeb Dunnuck
“Moving to the reds, the 2018 Syrah Transverse comes from a mix of vineyards and was brought up all in neutral French oak puncheons. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a spicy, peppery Syrah offering lots of ripe dark fruits, some cool-climate, gamey nuances, medium-bodied richness, silky tannins, and a great finish. It’s a beautiful wine and a great value.”

Best Price in US