Hello friends. Welcome to our Cyber Monday Sparkling/Sticky Extravaganza, where I throw our normal sense of discipline out the window and offer way too many wines from two of my favorite categories: bubblies and sweeties.
Today we have four sparkling wines, four stickies (okay, technically five, but two are Tokajis from the same producer), and then a fun opportunity to peruse the entire available stock of Kopke/Rocha single-vintage Colheitas, tawny ports ranging from 1937 to 1989. Since this offer is so broad, I’ll try to keep the depth to a minimum, offering just a sentence or two (okay, maybe a paragraph) for each wine.
This has become a list favorite over the years, and it’s kind of a category killer, offering tremendous presence and character at a $15 tag. While a lot of sparkling wine from Limoux (in the Languedoc) is forgettable Mauzac-driven plonk, this is made by Philippe Collin, a native Champenois who moved to Limoux in 1980 and makes his Cremant from 50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir. This disgorgement has a lovely savory character to the nose: melon and hay and sweet corn. Quite dry (6 g/L dosage) and super-intense, this is a mouthwatering homage to Extra Brut Champagne, with the presence of Chenin adding lovely honeycrisp apple and malt-powder complexities.
An exciting new chapter for a classic American (New Mexico to be precise) domaine, this is one of the most exciting sparkling wines I’ve tasted all year. With both packaging and dryness (zero dosage) to suit 21st century palates, Gruet has taken a real modernist step here, and the results are breathtaking. This is electric bubbly, filled with nervy, tooth-rattling acidity and loads of minerality to complement lemon and brioche notes. Lean, clean, and pristine.
Originally offered on October 18, this is our exclusive project partnering with the Griebs of Treveri Cellars to produce a sparkling rosé from 100% Washington Pinot Noir, from a single block of a cool Yakima Valley vineyard. Our low dosage allows Pinot’s mineral and savory complexities to play a major role here, balancing the delicious red fruits (strawberry, cherry) and stone fruits (peach, nectarine) and autolytic notes (bread, almond paste). Pale pink, delicate, charming: this is the starter of parties, loosener of lips, destroyer of worlds.
The second vintage of Washington’s first true grower-Champagne-style sparkling wine. Steven Thompson is farming 7 acres of Pinot Noir in the 1968-planted Atavus Vineyard (Columbia Gorge AVA), and then using that fruit for his Blanc de Noir, giving the Pinot juice a full three-to-four years en tirage, after which it is hand-riddled and hand-disgorged with zero dosage. During David Schildknecht’s one memorable year covering Washington for Wine Advocate, he was completely wowed by this project, calling it “profoundly complex.” This 2011 is just now being released, such that I haven’t had a chance to sample it yet. For orienteering purposes, here are my notes from the 2010: …wonderfully complex, with loads of autolytic croissant notes, lemon and cherry fruit, and terrific savory chicken stock. Bone-dry, super-intense, with lovely bready richness, this coats the palate and lingers, all mouthwatering goodness.
I tasted through a bunch of the Kopke/Rocha multu-vintage tawnies, and for me the 20 Year is the goldilocks, offering the best intensity and complexity for the buck. Salt caramel, buttered pecans, and dried fruits like figs and dates and apricots define the core of this wine, which dazzles with its precise balance of sugar and acid. The finishing lick of marmalade bitters is just right. I’d pair this with a salty manchego or maybe even a duck liver paté if you’re looking for profound decadence.
In addition to this 20 Year, we have a special treat. As I mentioned above, we have the ability to access the entire available stock of locally-warehoused Kopke/Rocha Colheitas, single-vintage tawny ports ranging from 1937 to 1989. Here is a PDF showing an inventory snapshot as of November 25. It’s possible that some of these have changed slightly. If you’re interested in any of these, please just respond to this e-mail with the vintage and the number of bottles requested, and we’ll do our best to bring them in. As birth year wines, these colheitas are tough to beat.
Opulento is as close as to a legitimate Ruby Port as you’re going to find in Washington. It comes from real-deal Portuguese indigenous varietals: 58% Touriga Nacional, 21% Souzao, 11% Tinta Roriz, and 10% Tinta Cao. Aged for 18 months in French oak (20% new), this was fortified with 190-proof brandy up to a finished alcohol of 18%. Inky-dark, it stains the glass and offers a nose of deep cherry fruit, caramel, coffee, and orange peel. The palate is luscious, with rich, liquorous fruit flavors of kirsch and Chambord that hang on and on through the long finish. Another delicious vintage of this lovely wine, just perfect for a good after-dinner chunk of gorgonzola.
Chateau de Suduiraut is one of just eleven Sauternes First Growths (all, of course, bowing before d’Yquem, the “Superior First Growth). Castelnau is the Chateau’s second wine, coming from its younger vines, and as such, represents a fine value in Sauternes. It shows plenty of funky/honeyed botrytis character over a core of bitter orange, fig, and golden raisin fruit. A long, rich, opulent sticky, this is of course the classic foie gras pairing but is also phenomenal after dinner, either with dessert or soft/salty cheeses.
Originally offered in July 2014. All the Aszu wines combined – from 3 Puttonyos (least sweet) to 6 Puttonyos (most sweet) – represent about 1% of Tokaji’s total production. These are rare treasures, and this one clocks in at 11% alc, 203 g/l (20.3%) residual sugar, and 8.0 g/l total acidity. It’s the first 6 Puttonyos Kiralyudvar has produced since the 2003 vintage, and it’s a stunner. Honeyed pineapple, Rainier cherry, salty mineral tang, woodsmoke, botrytized notes of truffle and caramel, fresh lift of eucalyptus: it’s all there, on a dense, achingly delicious frame. Lovely now, but without question this wine’s best years are well ahead of it. A great Tokaji Aszu like this is a singular tasting experience. 95(+?)pts from Tanzer and 95pts from Spectator (Nathan Westley).
This one, however, we have never offered. It is a real rarity, coming entirely from Kiralyudvar’s crown jewel estate vineyard, Lapis. From the winery: [TEXT WITHHELD]. I’m afraid I don’t have tasting notes on this one. It’s just too rare to be sampled.
Please send us your order requests, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. All the wines should arrive in the next few weeks, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.