NV Étienne Doué ‘Cuveé Sélection’, Brut Champagne, Aube
This is a great example of a grower Champagne and a fine expression of sensory experience for your palate. Lush and fruit driven, with a keen chalky mineral edge. Give in to indulgence!
NV Cazé-Thibaut ‘Naturellement,’ Pinot Meunier, Extra Brut, Chatillon sur Marne
The still wine is aged in equal parts stainless and barrique which suits Pinot Meunier perfectly!
NV Pierre Paillard ‘Les Parcelles,’ Pinot Noir/Chardonnay, Bouzy, Montagne de Reims
Bouzy is home to Grand Crus for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This highly sought after combo provides a broad shouldered Champagne with a striking tone of finesse.
Sparkling – Other Countries
NV Red Tail Ridge ‘Perpetual Change,’ Brut Nature, Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York
“Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel...” Nancy Irelan’s masterpiece blend of mostly Chardonnay (57%) and Riesling (32.5%) low dosage and one of the most unique bouquets and flavor profiles I’ve ever had in a sparkling wine. Oh! And, a Velociraptor!
2010 Movia ‘Puro,’ Pinot Noir, Goriška Brda, Slovenia (Rosé)
Aleš Kristančič developed a sparkling wine that begins its life where Champagne’s ends in the aging process. By being left upside down, the present yeasts left in the bottle can keep the wine alive for years! The result is a color closer to orange than pink, and a boldness to the fruit. Pairs better with hearty foods than just an aperitif. (Note: due to the live yeasts in the bottle, the bottle must be opened under water)
NV Divella Gussago ‘Blanc de Blancs,’ Chardonnay, Franciacorta, Italy
This wine blew my mind. I pushed the Franciacorta rock in this business far too long to zero effect. My first thoughts upon tasting this? Alessandra Divella is producing Blanc de Blancs on par with the two Jacques (Selosse and Lassaigne, in Champagne) at a fraction of the price!
NV Cruse Wine Co. ‘Tradition,’ Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, California
Since “Ultramarine” has ascended to astronomical heights in popularity, price, and scarcity, Michael began producing his own version.
2000 Recaredo ‘Turo d’en Mota’ Cava Brut Nature, Penedes, Spain
After nearly a decade on lees, this single vineyard Xarello is the finest Cava currently available & could easily rival great Champagnes.
2010 Bisson ‘Abissi’ Spumante, Portofino, Liguria, Italy
One of the world’s sparkling wine treasures, this is matured on its lees 200 feet under the sea, emerging from the water with barnacles and seaweed intact on the bottle; a gentle wine of total saline-edged finesse.
Sparkling – Pétillant Naturel • Méthod Ancestrale
2018 Cruse Wine Co., St. Laurent, Demming Vineyard, Napa Valley, California
There’s St. Laurent in California? I guess so. The guy behind cult sparkling “Ultramarine” also is a genius producing stunning Pet-Nat!
NV Anne et Jean-François Ganevat ‘Mon Luc,’ Pinot Gris/Poulsard, Jura, France
Relentless in its flavor spectrum and everything you would expect from the Ganevat’s. €30 a bottle in France. Damn you, tariffs!!
2020 alfredo maestro 'perdigon,' pinot noir/garnacha, castilla y leon, spain (Rosé)
Young vine Pinot Noir is blended with old, bush vine Garnacha that is already used for Alfredo's "Amanda" rosato. Don't be fulled by the jolly rancher aroma, this drinks nice and dry.
French Whites – Loire Valley
2008 Domaine de la Louvetrie (Jo Landron) ‘Le Fief du Breil,’ Melon, Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine
The indelible, Jo Landron, is a master of Melon. I’ve been fortunate to taste several back vintages of “Fief.” The 2009 is as fresh and expressive as others in their current vintage! The secret is out, popularity is at an all time high, back vintages are becoming scarce.
2018 CLOS TUE-BOEUF 'BRIN DE CHEVRE,' MENU PINEAU, TOURAINE
Menu Pineau is closely related to Chenin Blanc, but, I feel, resembles a more palatable style of Sauvignon Blanc. It's a rarity to be offered Thierry Puzelat's "Brin de Chevre." Exceptional texture from six months in old Burgundy barrels, precise acidity, and intense length on the finish.
2020 Olivier Lemasson ‘bois sans soif,’ Menu Pineau/Chenin Blanc, Touraine
It’s with great sadness that we lost Olivier this year. He embodied everything that his wines express.
2019 Ludovic Chanson ‘Gavroche,’ Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, France
Ludovic Chanson’s vineyard sits on the highly desirable limestone, flint, and silex soils sought after in the Loire. His Sauvignon Blanc is rich and weighty, without the high-toned pyrazine smell commonly associated with the varietal.
2017 Beatrice et Pascal Lambert, Chenin Blanc, Chinon
Lovely humans produce lovely wines. Beatrice and Pascal farm vineyards with varying soils along the Loire River, in Chinon. Texturally precise, with a blanket of fresh apple and linden. We don’t have a river in Logan Square, but the sounds of traffic, with this bottle is still quite soothing.
2017 Domaine du Closel ‘Belle Dame,’ Chenin Blanc, Savennières
Before you get into the serious stuff from Closel, you can check out this delightful expression.
2017 Hodgson (Mai et Kenji) ‘Les Aussigouins,’ Chenin Blanc, Anjou
The wine I’ve been waiting to for to arrive in Chicago! Ex-pat, Canadian’s, Mai and Kenji are crafting “oh-so beautifully flawed” Chenin? Maybe to an MS. For me, it does not get any better than this. Special pricing for you to experience for yourself. Or, I’ll buy it all!
2017 L’Ange Vin (Jean-Pierre Robinot) ‘Cuvée Bistrologie,’ Chenin Blanc, Chahaignes
The High Priest of minimal intervention winemaking, in the Loire. Robinot’s Chenin is just as enigmatic as he is! Minute quantities available.
2019 Ferme de la sansonnière 'le lune,' chenin blanc, Anjou
If any wine reminds me of the Chenin Blanc's that made Vouvray a household term, it's Mark Angeli's "Le Lune." Be forewarned, the residual sugar level is much higher than any of the above Chenin's, but again, reminiscent of classic vintages from Huet or Baumard.
2018 Ferme de la sansonnière 'les fourchardes,' chenin blanc, Anjou
Mark Angeli's monopole of 45+ year old Chenin Blanc vines on clay and schist soils. The wine rounds out the hard edges from 2 years in double barrique.
French Whites – Burgundy
2015 Gille, Côte de Nuits-Villages
Stunningly fresh and weaves a soft patchwork on the palate. You can have the best of Burgundy at this price point.
2015 Dom. de la Vougeraie, Savigny-lès-Beaune
Sometimes families can work together. The Boisset’s own several parcels in Burgundy. This Savigny-lès-Beaune over delivers in style.
A Selection of Wines from Alice et Olivier de Moor:
2014 Chardonnay ‘Coteau de Rosette,’ Chablis 115
2015 Chardonnay ‘Coteau de Rosette,’ Chablis 120
2017 Chardonnay ‘Coteau de Rosette,’ Chablis 120
2019 Chardonnay 'l'humeur du temps,' Chablis 85
2019 Chardonnay, Bourgogne Chitry 75
2019 Aligoté 55
“Le Vendangeur Masqué”
Over the course of the past four vintages, the de Moor’s suffered severe crop losses due to frost and hail. They called upon the assistance of several vigneron friends, all of whom farm organically and biodynamically, and purchased fruit from them. The wines are made by Olivier, and certainly possess the style he achieves with his estate bottlings. The name “Le Vendangeur Masqué” stems from a French law that requires producers to buy the fruit through a different company-hence a different name.
2016 Viognier/Chardonnay/Clairette/Roussanne ‘En si Belle Compagnie Meridionale,’ Southern Rhône
French Whites – Jura
2013 pinte, savagnin, Arbois
Rare to find a Jura domaine where Savagnin is over 50% of the production. A lengthy Savagnin that incorporates the assets of long barrel aging into shining undertones of Meyer lemon and honeysuckle. Smashing!
2014 Michel Gahier ‘Les Crêts,’ Chardonnay, Arbois
The Gahier family has been in the Jura since 1525 and Michel learned from his friend & neighbor, the very talented Jacques Puffeney. This shows less of the oxidative notes associated with the sous voile method of winemaking; driven, elegant and high-toned.
2011 Overnoy-Crinquand, Chardonnay, Arbois-Pupillin
Mikäel Crinquand, a distant relative to Pierre Overnoy, is the vigneron of this delightful offering of lemongrass, walnut, and brown butter.
2016 Dolomies ‘Les Boutonniers,’ Chardonnay, Côtes du Jura
Texturally fascinating to the point you may not want to swallow your sip. Rocky, marl filled, with deep limestone soils command a presence.
2016 Labet ‘Vin de Voile,’ Chardonnay/Savagnin, Côtes du Jura
Fermented under veil, or flor, for 24-48 months creating nutty, brown butter notes with exceptional length and acidity. Pure delight!
2016 Labet ‘En Chalasse,’ Chardonnay, Côtes du Jura
En Chalasse sits on Bajocian limestone, from the Jurassic period. A subtle intensity hallmarks this gold class offering from Julien Labet.
2012 Marnes Blanche ‘Empreinte,’ Savagnin, Côtes du Jura
‘Empreinte’ are the terrior driven, sous-voile (a flor cap develops during the fermentation process) wines from Pauline and Geraud
Fromont. Nutty with high toned acidity. Think brown butter and lemon.
2016 Philippe Bornard ‘Les Gaudrettes,’ Chardonnay, Côtes du Jura
Various varieties of marl that make up the vineyard creates a distinct minerality commonly found in wines from this area. Gaudrettes is Bornard’s Chardonnay masterpiece. Deftly intertwining citrus and stonefruit, marzipan, spice, and hazelnut. Exclusive!
2016 Ganevat ‘Kopines,’ Chardonnay/Aligoté, Jura, France
Jean-Francois’ ode to his time working in Burgundy (where part of the Chardonnay comes from) with Aligoté, and Chardonnay, from Jura,
aged one year in oak casks. The result is a broad spectrum of brown butter notes (Ouillé), lemon curd, macadamian with a mile long finish!
2016 Ganevat ‘La Flandre,’ Chardonnay, Arbois, Jura, France
A perfect introduction into the wines of Ganevat. Nicely spiced with ginger and cinnamon notes, with the hallmark “nuttiness” that separates Jura wines from the rest of the world. I drank my way through France usually with a bottle of Ganevat. The food pairing potential is endless.
French Whites – Other Regions
2018 Romaneaux-Destezet (Hervé Souhart), Roussane/Viognier, Northern Rhône
From Hervé’s vineyards directly across the Rhône River from the storied hillsides of Hermitage. Tropical fruits, pear, stone, and a hint of oak
2019 Dard & ribo, marsanne/rousanne, crozes-hermitage, Northern Rhône
A rare treat to be offered the white wine from luminariers, Rene-Jean and Francois. You'll probably have this introduced to you if you're search includes "something from Burgundy."
2017 Leon Barral, Terret Blanc & Gris/Viognier/Roussane, l’Hérault, Languedoc, France
Didier Barral is the 13th generation vigneron, and champion of the biodynamic movement. Grapes are co-fermented and macerated for 3-4 hours. Scarcely available, but what a treat! Blossoming peach and orange flower.
2018 Clos Ste. Magdeleine, Marsanne/Clairette, Cassis
The gorgeous fishing village of Cassis has been hailed as one of Earth’s modern paradise. Clos Ste. Magdeleine is one of the few producers in the area, and possibly the best. This blend of grapes provides the nuances of white Bordeaux, with the subtle strength of white Rhône.
ITALIAN & Spanish Whites
2019 Montenidoli, Vernaccia, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Elisabetta Fagiuoli’s white wines are just as stellar as her reds! Incredible floral notes and unmatched silky texture. Pinot Grigio is canceled.
2019 Ermes Pavese ‘Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle,’ Prié Blanc, Vallée d’Aosta, Italy
The iconic “squat” bottle is recognizable to anyone that has had the privilege to experience this great grape, Prié Blance. The vineyards are some of the highest in altitude in all of Europe creating a racy, austere and lengthy profile. Sounds a lot like White Burgundy, no?
2018 Do Ferreiro, Albariño, Rias Baixas, spain
We’ve always loved these wines, but our visit to the winery in 2017, solidified how great this winemaking family is! Now, if we could just get some percebes...
2019 Litrona, Albariño, (from Bodegas Albamar), Rias Baixas, Spain (1 liter)
When is a liter too much wine?? NEVER!! Especially when it’s finely crafted Albariño, that encapsulates the spirit of Galicia. This is not the bubble gummy, peachy version that’s become ubiquitous. Albamar’s is lean, salty, lemony, and soft like a kiss from a mermaid.
2012 Can Ràfols dels Caus ‘El Rocallís,’ Incrocio Manzoni, Penedés, spain
After a visit to the winery, legendary Elisabetta Foradori fell in love with this grape, and this wine, she planted in her vineyards, in northern Italy. There is a reason this wine receives such high praise. For the discerning Burgundy hound to explore.
2017 Clos Figueras ‘Font de la Figuera,’ Viognier, Priorat, spain
Viognier from Priorat? A unique story of its planting has lead to one of the most texturally stimulating white wines I have had in years.
2004 Lopez de Heredia ‘Viña Tondonia,’ Viura/Malvasia, Rioja, spain
The wines of Lopez de Heredia are so universally known, there’s probably higher education courses dedicated to them. Expect oxidized, nutty, brown butter notes here. 2004 IS the current release. These wines age glacially which is why they become so highly sought after.
2018 Brooks ‘Ara,’ Riesling, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Comprised from the best pieces from the vintage and the blending of grapes from both marine sediment and volcanic soils, “Ara” sets a high bar for domestic Riesling. And, I know from first hand experience, ages extraordinarily.
Skin Contact Whites (‘Orange’)
2017 Filipo Manetti 'Menis,' Albana, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Albana spends nine months in amphora that aren't underground, but packed in dirt. Reminiscent of the great Oslavian "orange" wines.
2018 Matassa 'cuvée Alexandria,’ Muscat d'alexandria, Rousillon, France
Tom Lubbe has the ability to make me snort laugh and excite my palate with stunning wine. This wildly aromatic wine has such impressive structure, that I was initially puzzled. A short, 15 day stay, whole cluster, in barrel adds a touch of Indian spice laced around tangerine and honey. A rare find.
A collection, and introduction, from venerable “orange” wine producer: Azienda Agricola Škerk
Škerk is located near the Italian-Slovenian border, in Italy’s, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This region is famous for their utilization of the ancient winemaking technique to ferment white wine grapes on their skins, culminating in its final color and texture. Father and son, Boris and Sandi Škerk, insist on low- yield, high-density vineyard management. This, in turn, allows the Škerks to reduce treatment to the bare minimum and produce pureness of fruit. These are wines I would travel to New York City to seek out due to the lack of presence here in Chicago. Now, I get to present them to you! – CS
This Slovenian native grape resembles Ribolla and is often mistaken for it, the most unique of these three that exemplifies attributes of classic skin contact wines from both Oslavia and Slovenia.
2018 Malvasia Istriana
Malvasia Istriana has historical roots from Greece, yet is very much entrenched in Friuli, Croatia, and Slovenia. Elegant and aromatic, quintessential Collio Malvasia on par with legends Gravner and Radikon.
2018 “Ograde” Equal parts Vitovska, Malvasia, Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio
At first glance, you may think since “Ograde” is a blend, it will be an “entry level” wine. On the contrary, I see Ograde as the experiment of co-fermenting grapes on their skins for 10 days and the final result is shear brilliance. This is no easy task. Countless aromatic features await you, with the ability to pair with every single dish on our menu.
2018 Cirelli, Montepulciano, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Italy
After six hours of skin contact the must is separated and transferred into clay amphora. After 30 days, it’s racked and returned to amphora, after which it will spend the rest of its time in amphora on its lees. Did I mention this rosé is influenced by amphora??
2020 FRANK CORNELISSEN 'SUSUCARU,' MT. ETNA, SICILY
One of the best vintages I've tasted of this perennial favorite. It's heady field blend that channels volcanic intensity into wild fruit.
French Reds – Loire Valley
2020 Olivier lemasson, 'Poivre et Sel,' Pineau d'aunis, touraine
Named in regards to Pineau d'Aunis' "peppery" profile and balanced by Gamay. The union creates expressive floral and dried berry notes.
2017 Brendan Tracey, Pineau d’Aunis, Côteaux du Vendômois
120 year old vines, carbonic maceration of whole, undamaged grapes in fiberglass for 30 days, followed by 11 months in 15 year old oak barrels. I’ll never forget the first time I had this wine, how it made me feel, and how I never wanted that day to end.
2018 Laurent Saillard ‘la pause,’ Gamay, Touraine
Laurent employs a tronconic vat and ferments the grapes whole cluster. Crisp, savory, and crunchy. Just the way I like my Gamay!
2019 Château Yvonne ‘La Folie,’ Cabernet Franc, Saumur Champigny
We don’t just put any old Cab Franc on our list. Yvonne is a relatively unknown, but this will change. Expect the raw expression of the grape.
2014 Olga Raffault ‘La Picasses,’ Cabernet Franc, Chinon
From one of the loveliest couples in the wine world. The 2013 is so forgiving and precise. Archetypal Cab Franc, from Chinon. These wines
should be monumentally more expensive. The lesson here, lovely, beautiful people aren’t greedy.
2013 Domaine Roches Neuves ‘Terres Chaude,’ Cabernet Franc, Saumur-Champigny
Arguably no one in the Loire is producing Cabernet Franc quite like Thierry Germain. Pro tip for the insiders: this wine comes from the lieu-dit “Les Poyeux!” I’m talking to you, Clos Rougeard hunters.
French Reds – Beaujolais
(Gamay)(Crus listed from North to South)
2019 Chateau Cambon, Gamay, St. Jean d'Ardieres
What started as a partnership between Marcel Lapierre and Joseph Chamonard, 40 years ago, still stands as "The Gang of Five's" last truly affordable Bojo that represents what these vignerons set out to produce from Chauvet's organic and biodynamic teachings. OG!!
2018 Jérôme Balmet ‘Barber Rousse,’ Gamay, Vaux-en-Beaujolais
The highly anticipated wait for the return of Jérôme’s beloved wines has ended! “Barber Rousse” is his selection that sees time in old oak
barrels, rounding out the rough edges and balance out the acidity. Highly recommended!
2016 Cédric Chignard, Juliénas
I’m always elated to continue to find 2016’s for the menu. Juliénas is Beaujolais most northern cru, and somewhat forgotten. Chignard’s
adherence to traditional Beaujolais farming and winemaking, continually produces Gamay’s that, dare I day, compete with most Burgundy.
2017 Anthony Thevenet, Vielles Vignes, Chénas
Old vine Gamay, planted in 1940, from a relatively flat site on decomposed granite. Red and dark fruits, with mineral muscle.
2017 Dutraive ‘Le Pied de la Rue,’ Fleurie
Jean-Louis wanted to produce a wine from the Chanudet family’s hillside climate, “La Madone.” The vines face south at a 40 degree slope
on pink granite. Neary a ha’p’orth was produced. Stocks are limited.
2016 Jean Foillard ‘Les Chaumes Eponym,’ Morgon
The legend, Jean Foillard! Charmes Eponym comes from a lieu-dit composed of schist, granite, & manganese. Power and grace personified.
2020 Marcel Lapierre, Morgon
Marcel was a leader in the ‘natural’ wine world and member of the famed “gang of four.” His children (Mathieu and Camille) carry on this
tradition. I adore this wine for it’s perfectly focused and refined expression of Gamay.
Also available in magnum!
2017 Alex Foillard, Brouilly
Jean’s son, Alex, is sprinting with the family torch in non-intervention farming, minimal intervention, and bonkers good Bojo.
2018 Pierre Cotton, Côte de Brouilly
I gush with glee regarding Pierre’s wines and thrilled to finally see them come to Chicago! I begged. A LOT. See why. Available en Magnum!
French Reds – Burgundy - Jura - savoie
2019 Domaine de la Cras, Pinot Noir, Coteaux de Dijon
Marc Soyard won the “golden ticket” when the city of Dijon purchased this property and took proposals from would be vignerons, to tend to the vineyards. Marc adopted the same minimal intervention techniques he learned at Domaine Bizot and the results have been stellar.
2015 Dom. de la Vougeraie, Pinot Noir, Gevrey-Chambertin
A vintage that lends itself to having the ability to drink now! What we call a “restaurant vintage.” Beauty and power from Gevrey.
2016 pinte, trousseau, arbois, jura
Roger Martin took over the domaine in 1953, moved to organic farming in 1999, and biodynamics in 2009. Look no further if you're searching something a little like Gamay, and a little like Pinot Noir.
2016 Ganevat ‘Y’a bon the Canon,’ Gamay+, Savoie, France
Due to devastating loss of grapes in multiple vintages, Jean-Francois reached out to his sister, Anne, as well as friends throughout France, to innovate and create a blend that could only be achieved by such a legend! 50% Gamay, 50% “Vin de France” = 100% sublmity.
2016 Ganevat ‘J’en Veux Encore,’ Gamay/Trousseau, Savoie, France
From 80 year old Gamay vines, fermented in conical wood tanks for 10 months. Only bottled in years when the vintage dictates, think of this wine like a “fist bump” between Beaujolais and Savoie. Crispy, crunchy, bright berries and long, thirst quenching acidity.
2018 Les Matheny, Poulsard, Arbois, Jura
Elise and Emeric Foléat are committed to representing the area from which they were born and bred. Emeric’s eight year tutelage under the great Jacques Puffeney taught him how to harness the salty, yeasty, and piquant terroir that hallmarks the Jura.
2015 Philippe Bornard ‘Point barre,’ Ploussard, Arbois
My level of excitement receiving an allocation of this wine is OFF. THE. CHARTS! Bornard’s wines are prime examples of lively, precise, and artistic expressions. His Ploussard is in another stratosphere and worth every single penny.
French Reds – Bordeaux & Cahors
2016 Cassini, St. Émilion
Don’t be afraid of the age, or the price. Beautifully crafted Merlot from, possibly, the finest terrior in the world. A quiet revolution has begun.
2015 Clos du Jaugueyron, Haut-Médoc
The soils around Arsac, is comprised of clay, which leads to more fruit driven wines. Little oak is used, and not needed. Outstanding!
French Reds – Northern Rhône
2017 Romaneaux-Destezet (Hervé Souhart) ‘Le Souteronne,’ Gamay, Saint Joseph
Gamay? YES! Gamay in the Northern Rhône from the inimitable Hervé Souhart. You can expect the weight of the wine to be that of great Beaujolais, with the dark, bacon-y aromas that are indicative of Syrah’s from this area.
2019 Baptiste Nayrand ‘L’Astrale,’ Gamay, Coteaux du Lyonnais
Just outside of the vibrant city of Lyon sits a small hamlet, Millery. Baptiste only produces L’Astrale in the best vintages, so take advantage!
2019 Baptiste Nayrand ‘Sauvage,’ Gamay + Field blend, Coteaux du Lyonnai
Named “Sauvage” do to the vineyard being left untended, shoots untrellised, these old Gamay vines are combined with a 30% blend of Chasselas and Aligoté. Intense juicy profile with a savory profile common of the great Syrah’s produced a few miles away.
2015 Jean Claude Marsanne, Syrah, Saint Joseph
“Old School” purity and expression due in large part to healthy vines, hand harvesting, and 12 months in barrel in a blend of sizes.
2017 Romaneaux-Destezet (Hervé Souhart) Syrah, Saint Joseph
Popular wisdom would lead you to believe a wine like this would need years to become approachable. Souhart defies this pretense by utilizing subtle techniques to extract purity and finesse. The result is a stunning expression of plum, violets, and bacon fat.
2019 Dard et Ribo, Crozes-Hermitage
Easily one of my favorite producers in the region. Iconoclasts from the outset, René-Jean and François sought to buck the trend of heavily extracted, fat Syrah overburdened by oak. Their wines still exhibit all the savage nature of Syrah with a deft, wild elegance.
2010 Dard et Ribo, Syrah, Hermitage
Do not miss out on experiencing René-Jean and François’ expression from this epic place, and an epic vintage.
French Reds – Southern Rhône
2020 Andréa Calek ‘Babiole,’ Ardèche
Ahhh! Babiole! One of our perennial favorites, from Andréa. This vintage is 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache with the classic minimal intervention, nervy acidity, wild berry with only hints of olive.
2016 Domaine Vieux Lazaret, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Accessible and immediately pleasurable; this is the wine version of wrapping yourself in a warm blanket; elegant, spiced red fruit.
2008 Château de Fonsalette, Grenache/Syrah/Cinsault, Côtes du Rhône
Challenging vintages bring out the best from the best winemakers. What Emmanuel was able to produce from 2008 is nothing short of heroic. I happily accepted my tiny allocation knowing that quality is far more important than quantity.
French Reds – Languedoc-roussillon & Corsica
2018 Domaine le Briseau ‘Enjoy,’ Cinsault, Languedoc
Nathalie Gaubicher Heredia is to be admired for her perseverance through loss and continue to produce remarkably enjoyable wines that are meant to be enjoyed with good friends and good conversation. This wine veers on the natty side of raw, minimal intervention goodness.
2019 Les Serrals ‘Sur le Zinc!” Syrah/Carignan, Faugères
Early harvest Syrah, bearing more resemblance to Beaujolais than Faugères, is blended with free-run Carignan creating a kaleidoscope of fruits, hint of olive, in a an easy, everyday wine from Chloé Barthet and Frédéric Almazor.
2016 Jean-baptiste senat 'mais où est donc ornicar,' grenache/syrah, Minervois
France's wine version of "coordinating conjunctions" would have to be Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault etc. Senat's style is fresh, aromatic, wildly savage, and never heavy.
2018 Matassa ‘Olla Rouge,’ Grenache, Languedoc-Roussillon
New Zealander, Tom Lubbe’s wines have ascended to near cult status. Beaujolais-esque Grenache, from an area known for dark wines.
2017 Roc d’Anglade, Carignan/Syrah/Grenache/Mourvèdre, Gard, Languedoc-Roussillon
At first blush, you’d swear you are drinking upper crust Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Remy Pédréno bucks bureaucracy to create fun/serious wine.
2015 Abbatucci ‘Ministre Imperial,’ Taravo Valley, Corsica
Crafted this from a range of varietals, most of ancient origin, which Jean-Charles & his father saved from extinction. The most stunning wine to grace my lips, in 2019! Eh-hem. It’s also an absolute steal at this price.
2019 Brand ‘Pur,’ Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany
This is a seriously great bottle of Pinot Noir! You may question its origin, and that’s fine. If you don’t believe, my good friend Crystal Wells will drink it all herself!
2016 Anatolikos, Mavroudi/Limnio, Xanthi, Greece
A rare combination of grapes fermented and aged for 9 months in amphora. Seductively dark, chewy, with tobacco, cocoa nibs and raw power. VROOM VROOM!
Italian Reds – North to South
2019 Foradori, Teroldego, Dolomiti
Elisabetta Foradori is a hero to many of us in the wine profession. Her staunch belief in farming her vineyards holistically was once considered heresy by her peers, now can’t be emulated fast enough. There is but one Teroldego that stands above all others, Foradori.
2018 Fabio Gea ‘Green Palma,’ Barbera, Alba, Piemonte
An unspoken axiom of all lovers of natural wine is looking for Gea’s wines on a list. Brilliant. Stunning. Fun. Captivating. Enchanting. There’s not enough adjectives for the juice Fabio puts into each bottle.
2016 Colombera & Garella, Nebbiolo, Bramaterra, Alto Piemonte
The volcanic soils of Bramaterra lend itself to expressive and lively tones in Nebbiolo. A touch of native Vespolina and Croatina and spice.
2016 Colombera & Garella, Nebbiolo, Lessona, Alto Piemonte
To the west of Bramaterra, sits Lessona. Also known for their Nebbiolo showing distinct orange rind and violet tones with incredible depth.
2017 Castel Noarna ‘Cimber,’ Lagrein, Rovereto, Dolomiti
Marco Zani’s Lagrein immediately struck me as a hit. If you enjoy Pinot Noir’s, or Grenache, definitely check out this stunner!
2010 La Stoppa, Barbera, Emilia-Romagna
Elena Pantaleoni adheres to the mantra of “no wine before its time,” so don’t be intimidated by Barbera with this much age. It’s singing!
2019 Monte dall’Ora, Corvina/Rondinella/Molinara, Valpolicella
I guess it’s fitting that my favorite “Valpolicella” is the elusive Monte dall’Ora. Exceptional example of the area and style.
2018 Montenidoli, Colorino, Tuscany
Known only to “color” Chianti, it was by a dare that Elisabetta started producing this as a single varietal. And, it’s extraordinary!
2019 Ficomontanino ‘Bulgarelli,’ Sangiovese, Tuscany
This is Sangiovese! Not overblown by oak, the true characteristics of the grape are exemplified in this newcomer to the US market.
2018 Poderi Sanguineto, Prugnolo Gentile (Sangiovese), Rosso di Montepulciano
Dora Forsoni’s wines exude her personality: traditional, a bit rustic but altogether charming & balanced; structured dark cherries.
2019 Frank Cornelissen ‘Sususcaru,’ Nerello Mascalese Blend, Etna, Sicily
Formerly known as “Contadino” the name had to be changed due to copyright infringement. Silly, but whatevs. Frank has always produced intriguing thought-provoking wines. However, recently the wines have dramatically improved, shedding their volatile, slightly erratic character. The wines are still unique but now the elegant, vibrant character shows through more clearly.
2019 occhipinti, frappat0, vittoria, Sicily
Arianna Occhipinti's career has a trajectory that only a rocket ship could relate to. Frappato is Sicily's native red grape and exudes a lot of the same characteristics as Gamay. As dynamic, and energetic, as the winemaker herself.
2019 Alfredo maestro 'el rey glam,' Garnacha, Castilla y leon, Spain
This experimental bottling utilizes a bit of carbonic maceration, which can produce a "fizzy, yet fresh," mouthfeel. The grapes come from two different vineyards and produce on of my favorite wines to drink with friends and tell wild stories of the old days.
2017 Bodegas Bhilar ‘Phincas’, Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain
David Sampedro Gil, dogged believer in biodynamics and the harmonious link between Earth, the human being, the cosmos and the vineyards. This wine exhibits the powerful side of Rioja, without needing to add nefarious additives to achieve such results.
2017 Clos Figueras ‘Serras del Priorat,’ Grenache/Carignan/Syrah, Priorat, Spain
Christopher Cannan can be credited with first importing some of the finest wines from Priorat, to the US. This connection to the area enabled him to purchase 10 ha of steep, terraced vineyards overlooking the Montsant River Valley. Cocoa, cumin, and tarragon highlight.
2016 Costador ‘Metamorphika,’ Garnatxa, Conca de Barbera, Spain
Grapes macerated with their skins for 10 months, in clay amphorae, then in French barrels for five months. Epically exciting juice!
Casa Aurora is named lovingly, after the legacy set forth by winemaker, Germán Blanco’s great-grandmother, Aurora Garcia. Besides planting vineyards, making wine at the home of the village priest, Aurora became the first female in the region to work at the local coal mine. Germán is committed to rehabilitating the vineyards his great-grandmother planted and bottling each as an individual expression of their location. We are pleased to offer the following selections:
2018 ‘Clos Pepin’
Field Blend of 80+ year old vines
Single vineyard blend of red and white grapes that include Mencia, Garnacha, Trousseau, Godello, Palomino
North American Reds - Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier,Gamay
2015 Bow & Arrow, Pinot Noir, Vitae Springs, Willamette Valley, Oregon
An exceptional opportunity to experience Pommard clone Pinot Noir planted by legend, Dick Erath, some 35 years ago.
2019 Brooks, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Jimi Brooks (1966-2004), his sister Janie, and winemaker, Chris Williams, have long been dear friends to Webster’s, as well as many wine directors throughout Chicago. The name and the wine means a great deal to many of us. This bottling is more reminiscent of classic Oregon.
American Reds – cabernet sauvignon/merlot et al.
2018 Sleight of Hand ‘The Conjurer,’ Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington
Jerry Solomon and Trey Busch developed a masterful partnership producing some “magical” wines. The label is, wait for it, “legen-dary.”
2014 Enfield Wine Co. ‘XB 01/Unbound,’ Merlot, Napa Valley, California
Winemakers John Lockwood and Amy Seese, focus on producing wines that tell a unique story rather than provide “cookie cutter”
characteristics. Unbound is a fresh look at Merlot. Highlighting its true fruit characteristics without masking them in a ton of oak.
2017 Inconnu, Merlot, Napa Valley, California
Laura Brennen Bissell is utilizing beautifully farmed Carneros grapes, elaborating them with grace, and crafting rock star status Merlot!
2014 Arnot-Roberts, Cabernet Sauvignon, Clajoux Vineyard, Sonoma, California
Sourced from just 12 rows of vines in a rocky, volcanic, cool-temperature site in the Mayacamas, this is a masterpiece for Cabernet: essential, memorable flavors unfurl in a slow development on the palate.
American Reds – Fun Grapes
2019 Vinous Obscura ‘Blaü-Ökör,’ Hungarian red grapes, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Winemaker Jeff Vejr, I met through a mutual friend, John House, and was blown away by his project. He found a vineyard, a first for Oregon, planted to native red and white Hungarian grapes. Don’t panic, they make great wines. This is a light wine with lots of blue fruit profile.
2018 ‘Combe’ by Stolpman Vineyards, Trousseau, Ballard Canyon, California
In partnership with Rajat Parr, this Trousseau combines the light color and high intensity of Jura Trousseau, with the freshness, and a hint of carbonic, for glou-glou.
2018 Absentee Winery ‘Flaws,’ Abouriou, Mendocino, California
“Flaws” refers to Avi Deixler’s practice of hand sanding used barrels to rid the walls of flaws, and other chemicals that would change the profile of his wine. Abourior is an early ripening grape most commonly found in the south-west of France. Think Gamay and Loire Valley Malbec (Côt) crossed their streams and defeated a gigantic marshmallow.
2018 Ridge 'gonsalves,' Mataro, Contra costa, California
I have been honored to be a part of Ridge's "legacy" buyers program for many years. This has afforded me the opportunity to purchase some of the more unique wines this illustrious winery produces outside of Zinfandels and Monte Bello. Mataro is a synonym the Australians use for Mourvedre, the inky dark skins give the appearance of something dense, yet balanced in acidity and tannins. Jump on this gem!
American Reds – Rhône Grapes
Helen Keplinger’s meteoric rise up through the winemaking ranks has seen her at the helm of some prestigious wineries, in Napa Valley. However, her own wine label reflects her love of Grenache, from her days making wine in Priorat, Spain. It’s a rare treat to be able to offer her wines at this price! When I first started working with them, I was allocated 3 bottles each! And, they were expensive. Take full advantage.
2016 Keplinger ‘Lithic,’ Grenache/Mourvèdre/Syrah, Amador County, California
2016 Keplinger ‘Sumō,’ Petite Sirah/Syrah/Viognier, Amador County, California
Southern Hemisphere Reds
2020 Canopus de Sed,’ Malbec, El Cepillo, Valle de Uco, Argentina
Introducing a Malbec that encapsulates the minimal intervention style with the dark fruit notes you’re looking for in Malbec. Wine for everyone!
2019 aslina, cabernet sauvignon, western cape, south africa
Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa's first female head winemaker, has amassed an impressive résumé in her 20 plus years in winemaking. Her training in France, as well as consulting, is apparent. The wine is nothing if not meticulously well crafted. Flavor profiles you would expect from the Medoc that typically costs 3X this much. If this were stock, get in early, because the hype is real!
2015 Koomilya, Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
From a vineyard that you can’t visit, nor even find on a Google maps, Stephen Pannell will only make wines under the Koomilya label, in perfect vintages. This blend is 80% Cab, and 20% Shiraz. It’s the first vintage ever produced. If conditions never equal 2015, it may be the only! Now, that is a pursuit for perfection. And, well worth it!
Emerging, Historic, Not to be Overlooked Reds
2017 Monastery Tvrdoš, Vranac (Vrah-nahts), Trebnje, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Looking for a dark, rich, smooth red, your search is over. Aged for over two years in 100+ year old Monastic barrels.
2016 Tchotiashvili, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia
Saperavi literally translates to paint, dye, or to give color. This brilliant wine is fermented in traditional qvevri which produces a unique flavor and texture that has no equal.
2007 Shavnabada, Saperavi, Kakheti, Georgia
A medieval Georgian Orthodox Monastery that was restored in 1992, and producing wines since 1998. The Saperavi macerates on the skins for two weeks before it goes into qvevri. The 2007 spent EIGHT years in qvevri, never fined or filtered, and expresses power and finesse that is mesmerizing.
2017 Casa Vieja, Mission grape, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja, Mexico
Mission is the first grape to be planted in the Americas. Brought over by Spanish missionaries to southern Chile, where it is known as Pïas, and eventually working its way north. Casa Vieja is sets itself apart from their neighbors in Guadalupe for their unwavering stance on organic farming and minimal intervention winemaking. In fact, at one time, they supplied Baja darling, Bichi, with grapes because the Téllez family knew they were well farmed correctly and would make great “natural” wine.
Large Format Bottles
2019 Finca Parera ‘FAKing Bubbles,’ Sumoll/Xarel-lo/Garnacha, Penedès, Spain
145 (magnum – 1.5L)
“A kickin’ cool co-ferment, ancestral method wine, from an area in the upper region of Penedès, a little farther inland and higher altitude. Ruben Parera, and father Jordi, farm the land along with cherries, olives, vegetables, and an apiary. Running around this bio-diverse farm is their legendary doggie, Dora. The wine is an ethereal bubbly in which the three grape varietals are co-fermented, and bottled just before full fermentation, as the moon phase dictates (ancestrale). Expect a fresh, tantalizing, and thirst quenching quaffer perfect for every possible occasion! This is the “JUICE” that also happens to come in a big FAKing bottle! In fact, I helped make this juice, so ask me all about it, please!” – Catie O
2017 Alice et olivier de moor, chardonnay, bourgogne chitry, france
150 (magnum – 1.5L)
Olivier de Moor's wines always seem to have a flavor profile touchstone. This was one of the few phenomenal wines that came out of 2017.
2018 Pierre Cotton, Gamay, Côte de Brouilly, Beaujolais, France
140 (magnum – 1.5L)
Pierre, a former motorcycle mechanic, hand harvests these grapes from the Les Mines vineyard, on the lower side of Brouilly, near Odenas. Les Mines sits on pink granite and produces broad shouldered Gamay wines that, I feel compete, with Chambolle-Musigny. Don’t. Miss. Out!
202o marcel lapierre, gamay, morgon, Beaujolais, France
110 (magnum – 1.5L)
Why buy TWO bottles of Lapierre when you can take advantage of the better juice from magnum? I know that's what I would do!
2017 Jean-Yves Péron ‘Vers la Maison Rouge,’ Mondeuse/Gamay, Savoie, France
160 (magnum – 1.5L)
Do not be fouled by this cépage, you are in for a color more reminiscent of rosé due to only five days skin maceration and naturally fermented in oak. Jean-Yves wines are as wild as the sky runs down the slopes of nearby Albertville.
2017 Matassa 'cuvée alexandria,' Muscat d'alexandria, roussillon, France
145 (magnum – 1.5L)
Tom Lubbe's venerable skin-contact Muscat, from Red Schist soils. Age does this wine wonders! Get the friends together and crush it!
2019 Matassa 'Cuvée Marguerite,' Macabeu/Muscat Blend, Roussillon, France
140 (magnum – 1.5L)
Apricot, peach, pink peppercorn, dominate the flavor profile of this cult classic!
2015 Dard et Ribo, Syrah, Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France
180 (magnum – 1.5L)
Iconoclasts from the outset, René-Jean and François sought to buck the trend of heavily extracted, fat Syrah overburdened by oak. Their wines still exhibit all the savage nature of Syrah with a deft, wild elegance.
2005 Brovia ‘Villero’, Barolo
350 (magnum - 1.5L)
This single-vineyard Barolo is just starting to turn a corner; all spicy chai tea, balsamic, licorice, and more.
1990 Leth, Roter Veltliner, Wagram
Proof positive that Roter is built to age, this delight is smoky and briny and umami-ey, w/bonito & mango.
1995 Eyrie, ‘Reserve,’ Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Oregon
These Chardonnay vines were planted in 1966. David Lett’s son, Jason, developed a 21 point certification that is more than an assurance that these wines are sound, free of flaws, and devoid of “cork taint.” This wine should command the attention of any serious connoisseur.
2012 Bernhard Ott ‘Qvevre,’ Grüner Veltliner, Wagram, Austria
This gorgeous rarity spent 8 months in underground amphora on its skins, but isn’t amber-hued; instead, it has a shocking liveliness and clarity, and is one of the most unusual and essential Grüners you’ll encounter.
2003 Gravner, Ribolla Gialla, Friuli, Italy
Hazy in color, finely tropical and lipid in flavor, this amphora-aged wine quickly develops great complexity.
2000 Radikon ‘Fuori dal Tempo,’ Chardonnay/Sauvignon, Oslavje, Venezia-Giulia, Italy
After 35 days with skins, 3 years in barrel & 9 years in bottle, this wine has layered, melismatic textures that strike the palate as polyphonic music does the ear; an unforgettable succession of independent melodies.
2009 Bernard Burgaud, Syrah, Côte-Rôtie
This allocated, small-production, traditional wine will knock your socks off; gamey, dark, unforgettable. Give this one time to open up.
2008 Rene Rostaing, Syrah, Côte-Rôtie
You simply cannot talk about the Côte-Rôtie without mentioning Rene Rostaing. Dogmatic in making wines that only speak to the Côte-Rôtie, not Hermitage, and certainly not New World. His techniques, some modern, some ancient, only assist to accentuate his prized fruit.