Roederer Cristal 2012, France
Created in 1876 for Tsar Alexander II, Cristal was the world’s first Cuvée de Prestige. Crafted from Grands Crus from the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne and the Côte des Blancs, and the result of a unique savoir-faire and devotion, this rare champagne is the jewel in the Louis Roederer crown.
Symbolic of the perpetual quest for excellence that define Roederer today led by Frédéric Rouzaud, Cristal is also radically different to any other champagne on the market.
“Such attractive, fresh, floral aromas here with fine bread, hints of white almonds and a lemon edge. White cherries and strong, chalky minerals, too. The palate has a very composed feel. Seamless and quite silky texture with effortless length and flow. Very fluid and composed. Very late, warming almond flavors. This is very long and smooth with a velvety finish. Super long pinot weight. Resolved and drinkable, but will age so well.” James Suckling 98 Points
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Guilhem Tournier Rose 2018, Bandol$30.00
The Bandol wine region, located near the coast east of Marseille and Cassis, is one of Provence’s most internationally recognized wine regions. Built around the village of Bandol, west of Toulon, the Bandol AOC covers the production of 8 communes with silicon & limestone soils. Those soils and the warm, coastal climate are ideally suited for the late ripening Mourvèdre grape which is the major variety of the region. For both the red and rosé wines, Mourvèdre must account for at least 50% of the blend, though most producers will use significantly more, with Grenache & Cinsaut usually filling out the rest of the wine’s composition.
People brag about drinking “back vintages” of Tempier Rosé for good reason: It’s a cellar-worthy wine that happens to be a rosé.
The same goes for Bandol Rosé from Château Guilhem Tournier. It has garnered a reputation among sommeliers and retailers for its amazing quality and age-worthiness.
Tournier and Tempier have a few things in common, such as being neighbors overlooking the Bay of Bandol.
They also share heritage. During WWII, Tournier’s grandfather and Lucien Peyraud trekked to Beaucastel and Simone for Mourvèdre clippings to restore their vineyards ravaged by Phylloxera and war.
With such prestigious vines and a very small (4 hectares) vineyard, Tournier makes Mourvèdre the centerpiece of his wines.
You could even call Tournier’s dedication to Mourvèdre extreme. He’s one of the few who use more than 60% in their Rosés—Tournier’s goes to 90%—and even fewer who do it successfully. You can see this in Robert Parker’s ratings of 2018 Bandol Rosés.
Few Bandol producers use as much as Tournier does because the variety is finicky and expensive to farm.
And, when they do use a lot of Mourvèdre, it often comes with a much higher price tag. For example: Tempier’s high end Bandol Rouge, Cabassaou, has 95% Mourvèdre and retails for $135–more than double Tempier Bandol (which has 75% Mourvèdre).
Part of Tournier’s success comes from being a farming purist. Organic and biodynamic, of course; horse and plow. And super light touch winemaking: native yeasts, filtering and fining with plant based material—Vegan.
With all that TLC, no wonder Guilhem Tournier Rosé gets top marks from Robert Parker—even higher than the appellation elite.
91 Points – Robert Parker
Chateau Trapaud St Emilion Grand Cru 2015$36.00
Written by a former buyer for K&L Wines, “When I was an assistant Bordeaux buyer at K&L many years ago, I was so fortunate to learn from the best, Clyde Beffa.
My friends would say, “you call tasting Bordeaux work?” Yes, it was — we’d taste 50+ samples in a day. Finding a Bordeaux that met Clyde’s standards for quality and price was like finding a needle in a haystack.
So when I started importing, I knew I was lucky to find Ch. Trapaud St.-Emilion Grand Cru. This is one of those rare needles-in-a-haystack, offering head-turning quality for only $36.00l. And the 2015 vintage, which just landed, is their best yet.
The French have recognized Trapaud’s quality for many years — you’ll see some of the French retailers on wine-searcher with library vintages going back to ’64.
Reviewers are starting to notice, too. James Suckling rated Trapaud ’15 on par with Ch. Les Grandes Murailles, Ch. La Clotte, and Ch. Grand-Mayne, each of which retails for roughly double.
Behind Trapaud’s rising stardom is the extraordinarily talented and quietly persistent Beatrice Larrabiere, who has been winemaker since winning her father’s confidence in 1997.
She’d worked in Australia and Napa before coming home, and brought a conviction for organic farming even though it was rarely practiced in Bordeaux.
Finally after 10 years as Trapaud’s winemaker, she convinced her father that organic conversion was the right thing to do and she did it. (Certified in 2012 vintage.) That makes Trapaud all the more compelling — being woman-led and organic in Bordeaux’s ultra conservative community is a big deal.
The estate is in the hilly, south-eastern section of St-Emilion, just a mile from Valandraud. Estate plots are all contiguous, a huge farming advantage and somewhat rare in Bordeaux.
So there we have it: Women-led, organic, famous neighbors and incredible value.”
Chateau Trapaud St. Emilion Grand Cru 2015 is 65% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc, 10% Cab Sauv;
25% vinified in cement, 75% in stainless;
unfined and filtered with clay; Vegan
“Impressive concentration here; this smells of dark-berry pastries, plums and fresh cedary wood. Slick and flavor-packed palate with blueberry and deep set plum fruit flavors. Drink or hold.” James Suckling – 92 Points
Domaine Girault Sancerre 2019 Beaux Regards$25.00
France’s most famous region for Sauvignon Blanc is Sancerre in the Loire valley. The region’s rolling limestone hills and semi-continental climate deliver richly textured Sauvignon Blanc wines with ripe gooseberry aromas, bracing acidity, and flinty-smoke flavors. To achieve aromatic intensity, the Giraults press their grapes gently, ferment on native yeasts, and both vinify and age their wines in stainless steel tanks. Redolent of citrus blossom, white flowers and hints of leafy greens, the Domaine Girault Sancerre Beaux Regards 2019 is crisp, wonderfully perfumed and well-balanced with a long, lingering mineral finish.Clear pale gold color. Concentrated nose with notes of citrus and exotic fruits. Aromas full of finesse in the mouth. Fresh and well-balanced final.