Fayolle Crozes-Hermitage Rouge Cuvee Nicolas is made from 100 percent Syrah.
Deep ruby red color. Nose of red and black currant fruits, pepper, spring flowers, new leather and mineral/earthy nuances. Medium bodied palate of red fruit and spice. Nice balance. Long finish and velvety.
"Boasting even more striking aromas of blueberries, violets and peppery spice than the La Rochette bottling, the 2018 Crozes-Hermitage La Cuvee Nicolas is almost Côte-Rôtie-like. Medium to full-bodied without seeming at all heavy, ripe without being overdone, silky and fine from start to finish, it's a real beauty and a testament to the potential of the commune of Gervans - a small granitic outpost within the Crozes-Hermitage appellation. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (May 13th 2021), 93 pts
Bellevue Cotes de Bordeaux-Castillon Cé Ma Cuvée is made from 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc
The wine is made with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. Average age of the vines is 50 years old (everything is between 40 and 60 years old).
Cé Ma Cuvée is a tribute from Michel Lydoire to his 2 daughters:
Cé is for Céline. She is like the Merlot grape varietal. Pleasant and calm.
Ma is for Marina. She is like the Cabernet Franc grape varietal. Tough and with a lot of character.
The color is deep and inky.
The nose is spicy, fruity and oaky with some nice vanilla and coconut aromas.
The mouthfeel is complex, with ripe red and black fruit flavors. Some spiciness and integrated oak flavors.
The wine starts as the Vieilles vignes, but some wine is aged in 500-liter American Oak Barrels for 18 months.
They are using a mix of different toastiness for the barrels. Some high toast and some are medium toast.
This is a fun wine that can be enjoyed with any food, charbroil burgers, grilled vegetables, cheeses ... or even with dark chocolate desserts.
Bellevue Cotes de Castillon Cuvee Vieilles Vignes is made from 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc. Aged in mostly new oak barrels (90% French oak and 10% American oak), and some Château Haut Brion 2nd Barrels.
The wine offers a rich and intense bouquet of blackcurrant, blackberry and strawberry. It is smooth and full in the mouth with a velvety texture. Acidity combined with firm but well-integrated tannins are a fine supporting cast to the black fruit flavors at the end.
When the founding fathers of the Napa Valley carved out new sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in the 1980s, Soda Canyon Ranch was not yet on anyone’s map. The vineyard is neighbored to the northwest and west by the winegrowing districts of Stags Leap District and Oak Knoll District, respectively, which were among the early pioneers of California Cabernet Sauvignon to attain global fame. To the northeast and southeast—and further off the beaten path—were Atlas Peak and Coombsville, thought to be the next frontiers for the emerging wine-producing region.
With richness and depth of flavor, the 2018 Timeless Napa Valley is the embodiment of patience and attention to detail. Decades of experience at Soda Canyon Ranch allow winemaker Nate Weis and team to highlight the individual merits of each block. Combining the strongest lots from each resulted in a refined and harmonious bottling.
In 2018, the diurnal shift at Soda Canyon Ranch produced a darker, lusher fruit profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. Simultaneously, the overnight recovery periods resulted in expressive and refined Merlot, giving the wine a pleasant profile of bright, red fruit. With an extended harvest window, the signature, plush density and structure of Petit Verdot is also prevalent in the final blend. Cabernet Franc thrived in 2018 with its predilection for the cooler soils and the climate of blocks 5, 6, 16, 20 and 21—areas we call the Transition Zone and Hardpan Alley. The variety’s floral and tobacco-like aromatics are accentuated, and its more aggressive nature for back-end tannins tamed.
Once blended, the 2018 vintage rested in French oak barrels for 16 months, developing flavors of vanilla and baking spice. Velvety tannins dance across the palate of bright and lingering cassis. With a smooth finish, this is a comforting wine of elegance and depth—a sophisticated expression of the sedate summer.
This is a little old-school and shows lots of dark berry, chocolate and dried fruit. It’s full, dense and layered with fleshly sensibility. Velvety texture.
-James Suckling 93 Points
High gloss metallic paint with a forged iron big-block under the hood - our 2018 Hillstone Vineyard is a real show car. Deeply fruited with hi-tone huckleberry from a prime hillside site in Rutherford, the wine has a thick powerband with crushed stone and coffee bean, retaining polish and precision straight through the tail pipes.
Lots of pure cassis and blueberry- like fruits as well as licorice, graphite, and crushed rock-like minerality, emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillstone Vineyard. It's a full-bodied, opulent, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that doesn't pull any punches on the fruit or texture scale, yet has ripe, present tannins, a light, elegant texture, and a great finish. Give bottles an hour in a decanter if drinking any time soon, or better yet, hide bottles for 2-3 years. It's going to evolve for 15+ years in cold cellars.
-Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant Cuvee Oumuamua is made from 52% Grenache, 35% Cinsault, 13% Syrah.
As our story unfolds, we learn that with the 2018 vintage, there has been a fundamental change in the style of Le Cigare Volant. Not that there was anything at all “wrong” with the thirty-four vintages preceding the current one, mind you. For a number of reasons, mostly, alas, drearily fiscal/economical, the older style of Cigare has unfortunately proven to be a not particularly sustainable proposition at least from a financial perspective. The “new” Cigare, with a re-adjustment of the encépagement, by which we have dropped Mourvèdre from the mix and elevated the percentage of the (greatly underappreciated) and quite brilliant variety, Cinsault, creates a style of wine far more approachable and seductive in its youth.
We call this cuvée, “Oumuamua,” (or “scout” in Hawaiian), so named in light of the recent mysterious cigar-shaped object/visitor to our solar system, initially imagined to be some sort of asteroid, but believed by none other than the chairman of the Astronomy Dept. at Harvard University to possibly be a sort of probe, perhaps a solar-powered light-sail, sent on a kind of reconnaissance mission to check us out. (Ok, this last part is a bit of interpolation.) Anyhoo, it has been agreed that this was a very, very strange object that recently came to visit. And it appears that it may have arrived in the very nick of time, to bring a sort of much-needed revitalization to our planet, and by metaphoric extension, to the Cigare brand itself.
The color is a deep, vivid violet-red, owing in part to the lower pH of the wine. On the nose, the wine has a haunting kirsch nose (I suspect that’s the Cinsault), along with associated small red fruit (red and black currant) and perhaps a suggestion of blackberry. My colleague, Nicole Walsh and I toil away at the Cigare blend every year, and while the blend will change (sometimes radically, as it has this year), we share an idea of the Platonic form of Cigare, and the ‘17 certainly embodies that form. It goes something like this: Juiciness, fruit (but not confected or overripe), brightness, exuberance, joy, and not least, a sense of savoriness. I realize I’m not speaking orthodox wine parlance. We look above all for balance and for liveliness, for vinous qi. This wine is still incredibly young and just wants to jump out of its shoes.
INEYARD | PRODUCTION NOTES
The Alta Loma Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey County, was planted years back to one of the earlier selections of Tablas Creek Grenache clones, typically not a great selection for imparting real backbone or structure to the wine, but capable of making a wine that is enormously pretty and fragrant; in cool years, the fragrance of cassis or black currant is almost overpowering; most surprisingly, the Grenache in cool years from this vineyard is profoundly black in color. The Cinsault was sourced from the Loma del Rio Vineyard, a vineyard, under a previous nom de guerre (San Bernabe), we know quite well. This was the first year of production for the Cinsault and it was thinned multiple times both for enhanced concentration and evenness of ripening. The cooler climate gives the Cinsault a wonderful articulation of flavor, but what is most noteworthy is the fact that we were able to coferment the Cinsault with Syrah from the equally cool Mesa Verde Vyd. in the Santa Ynez Valley. Something magical happens when Syrah and Cinsault marry; the healthy tannin titer from the Syrah seems to give more structure to the Cinsault, helps to stabilize the color, and in general, insures that the blend will not evanesce tout de suite into the aetherial plane. The spicy, licorice component from the Syrah is a perfect foil to the Griotte cherry derived from the Cinsault.
Appellation: Monterey County
Vineyards: 48% Alta Loma, 35% Loma Del Rio, 6% Mesa Verde, 6% Zayante, 4% Rancho Solo 1% Lieff
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
TA: 6.1 g/L
Production: 11,500 cases
Cellaring: Drinkable upon release (6/19) with ageability of 7-10 years
Deep cherry red in color with a garnet rim. On the nose, it is intense and elegant, with a base of ripe fruits that blends with the subtle tertiary aromas of sweet spices and cocoa. On the palate, it is balanced, full-bodied but with sweet and pleasant tannins, with a long and very persistent aftertaste.
Dark and deep with a hue of deep bright ruby red. Intense and complex bouquet of red cherry and blackberry intermixed with notes of minerals (graphite, wet river rocks), licorice, fresh blond tobacco and a hint of fresh blackcurrant. Full bodied, the palate is reminiscent of the nose, with a richly tannic yet round frame and with an outstanding finesse. The tannins from both bench and foothill locations create a harmonious ensemble, leading to a long, seamless and elegant finish. Built to age for decades, this collectible wine will open up after a few years of cellaring and is particularly representative of this special side of St. Helena. Morlet Estate features the interaction of the loamy, well drained and rocky volcanic soil, the typical sunny mountain climate and the low-interventionistic Morlet winemaking approach.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Morlet Estate comes from a vineyard just outside of Saint Helena and it’s always a more structured, masculine wine compared to the Passionnement release. Opulent notes of black fruits, chocolate, smoked earth, and some obvious minerality all emerge from this full-bodied, structured, big-boned Cabernet Sauvignon that’s going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 2-3 decades.
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points