Showing 13–21 of 21 results

  • Marco de Bartoli Bukkuram Padre della Vigna Passito di Pantellaria 2014 (500ml)


    “Marco de Bartoli has long been one of the best wine estates not just in Sicily but in all of Italy. Sadly, Marco, a very likable man who did so much for Marsala production, is no longer with us, but his son Renato has followed brilliantly in his footsteps, expanding the winery’s portfolio and promoting research of old local vines. For example, de Bartoli’s is the first Catarratto bottling made exclusively from the Lucido biotype (not a clone) of Catarratto Comune , of which there are three: Comune, Lucido and Extralucido. Although generations of growers has repeated the received wisdom that the last two gave the best wines, until de Bartoli came along with his Lucido bottling nobody had bothered to see if that was really the case. Those consumers who have never found a Marsala wine to like owe it to themselves to try the ones by made by de Bartoli.”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (12/15)

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  • Marco de Bartoli Bukkuram Sole d’Agosto Passito di Pantellaria 2021


    “Marco de Bartoli has long been one of the best wine estates not just in Sicily but in all of Italy. Sadly, Marco, a very likable man who did so much for Marsala production, is no longer with us, but his son Renato has followed brilliantly in his footsteps, expanding the winery’s portfolio and promoting research of old local vines. For example, de Bartoli’s is the first Catarratto bottling made exclusively from the Lucido biotype (not a clone) of Catarratto Comune , of which there are three: Comune, Lucido and Extralucido. Although generations of growers has repeated the received wisdom that the last two gave the best wines, until de Bartoli came along with his Lucido bottling nobody had bothered to see if that was really the case. Those consumers who have never found a Marsala wine to like owe it to themselves to try the ones by made by de Bartoli.”

    Ian D’Agata, Vinous (12/15)

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  • Marco de Bartoli Marsala Superiore 1988 (500ml)


    “If I were permitted only one producer on the island of Sicily to introduce readers to, it would be Marco de Bartoli. When the average person thinks of Marsala, they think of a cheap cooking wine that is the last-minute errand you run right before starting to prepare a meal. What they don’t understand is that Marsala has a deep, rich history of creating wines designed to compete with the best Madeira and Sherry. The problem is that this history was buried deep beneath decades of mass production, a muddling of grape varieties and unnecessary fortification. Marco de Bartoli turned a passion for tradition into a vision of the future, and his heirs, have held the line, learning from their father’s teachings while keeping an innovative eye on new practices and trends. Today, de Bartoli continues to release purely traditional-style Marsala, using only estate-grown Grillo, the Solera barrel aging system (which uses oak and chestnut vats of various sizes) and, in the case of the Vecchio Samperi, no fortification. The Superiore wines do see a light fortification with grape brandy when removed from the Solera system, and they are then aged oxidatively in oak vats until bottling for release. Simply stated, a Marsala from Marco de Bartoli can compete with the greatest Ports, Sherries and Madeira. However, this house is no longer just about Marsala. The current generation, made up of Marco’s children Renato, Sebastiano and Giuseppina, began to experiment with dry whites produced from Grillo, Zibibbo and Catarratto in the 1990s. Today, these wines have really come into their own, showing exceptionally well, and they are true standouts in my recent tastings. What’s more, this experimentation has now evolved even further with the next level of dry whites in the Bartoli lineup, Integer. Both the Zibibbo and the Grillo for Integer are spontaneously fermented without temperature control, spend 10 days macerating with zero sulfur added, and then go through malolactic fermentation and rest for 10 months on the lees in large botti, with a small percentage of the juice spending five months on skins in clay amphora. The resulting wines are unique and stretch the imagination, yet they are also amazingly pleasing, and with notable cellaring potential.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (06/21)

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  • Oremus Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)


    Review to follow

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  • Oremus Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2013 (500ml)


    Review to follow

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  • Szepsy Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2017 (500ml)


    “The Szepsy family is synonymous with Tokaj wine, their viticultural roots stretching back centuries to the golden age of Hungarian wine. That is just one reason why they are so revered. More importantly, the wines of Istvan Szepsy can be astonishing. In some ways, Istvan is the eminence gris of Mad, working alongside his father until branching out with his own vines in 1987. In 1999 he produced Tokaji’s first late harvest wine. “People will never forget the sweet wines of Tokaji, even though dry wines are becoming popular,” he remarked. “But if I could make one wine, it would be the Szamorodni. I cannot see why people produce 3 or 4-Puttonyos wines.” I visited him at his home not far from the Royal Tokaji Company, but before entering his modest abode, we stopped to examine a collection of rocks and fossils that litter his porch, a demonstration of the multifarious geological formations that occupy Tokaj. Szepsy farms around 49 hectares scattered over 22 different plots within six villages. His dry vines now constitute around 60% of production sourced only from 30+ year-old vines. In 2013, he has commenced single vineyard cuvees that are bottled after about eight months with some batonnage and no added yeast. He uses a glass closure because he believes natural cork is not reliable (although he was the only person who espoused this viewpoint in what is a region loyal to cork.) Another new move is that in 2013 he started aging in tank as well as barrel. Readers should check out my video with Istvan for further information. Suffice to say, his dry Furmints are probably the best that Tokaji has to offer, culminating in his dazzling “Urban” label, though be warned, they are extremely limited in production. I would caution that one or two cuvees, his “Szent Tamas 45” seemed to be burdened with too much new oak, which was merely highlighted by the spectacular performances of his cuvees with less new wood.”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (210)

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  • J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2015


    “A faint, yeasty veil needs to clear. Ripe apple and quince are garlanded in honeysuckle and lily and met by a hint of mango more predictable at this level of ripeness than were the tropical effusions harbored by the corresponding Kabinett. Strikingly creamy as well as delicate, the midpalate adds bright lime juiciness, apple seed piquancy and bittersweet vanilla bean, all of which go on to inform a lusciously ripe yet vibrant and refreshing finish. This is lovely, but it does illustrate what the Prüms consider typical youthful Wehlener Sonnenuhr behavior, insofar as it’s not quite as expressive or possessed of the same intrigue today as are the corresponding Zeltinger Sonnenuhr or (despite its initially veiled nose) the Graacher Himmelreich. Drinking window: 2018-2040. 93 points.

    This estate has been under the direction of Manfred Prüm (grandson of Joh. Jos. Prüm’s eponymous founder) since 1969, and scarcely needs much introduction to Riesling lovers, having already become a Mosel icon during the nearly five decades during which its namesake’s son Sebastien was in charge. Katharina Prüm has been active alongside her father since early in the new millennium, and the two of them perpetuate a house style that has itself become a Mosel archetype: wines of delicacy and restrained sweetness, often strongly marked in youth by yeasty and otherwise fermentative aromas, and tingling with dissolved CO2. Their longevity is legendary, and the Prüms personally don’t care to drink their own wines – even the Kabinetts – with less than a dozen, and more usually many more, years in bottle. (Bearing in mind both these wines’ penchant for temporary “Mosel stink” and their track record for very long, slow maturation, tasting notes – let alone scores – must be read with care.) That fermentation here is entirely spontaneous is obvious from the aromas of youthful Prüm wines, and élevage in tank allows for retention of CO2 as well as for bottling that, although it usually takes place 10 or 11 months after harvest, can sometimes (especially for selected upper-Prädikat wines) be delayed for years. In copious vintages, there are sometimes multiple bottlings of eponymous Kabinetts or Spätlesen, but experience confirms the Prüms’ insistence that in such instances the differences are minor, which is why in the frequent instances where samples are proffered without labels, the Prüms seldom divulge their registration numbers to the taster. Most years there is an auctioned Spätlese bottling from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr, and although some gold capsule and long gold capsule Prüm Auslese bottlings are sold directly to consumers or the trade, many of them are destined to become memorable features of VDP-Grosser Ring auctions, as are the majority of Prüm BAs, TBAs and occasional Eisweine.

    Manfred Prüm’s training as a jurist has served him well on occasions when he has felt it necessary to come to the defense of traditional Mosel values, old vines or preeminent sites, all of which he felt were threatened by the recent wholesale vineyard restructuring and replanting (a process known as Flurbereinigung) performed on the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr). In the more recent restructuring of the neighboring Wehlener Sonnenuhr, the Prüms managed to minimize their loss of old, ungrafted vines and optimum sites. Prüm senior makes no secret of his long-standing disinterest in legally dry – or for that matter legally halbtrocken – wines, and his dismissal of the VDP’s Grosses Gewächs project goes beyond disinterest. But nobody is about to threaten this estate’s status quo, not only because of its prestige but because, notoriously, few of the VDP’s dictates in matters of style and marketing apply to non-trocken wines.

    “Certainly the harvest was stressful,” reported Katharina Prüm of 2014, “but we were happy to end up with a good crop of classic Kabinetts and Spätlesen after the limitations of 2013” – a year in which she and her father had insisted that playing to vintage strengths meant waiting to pick and ending up with almost exclusively botrytis-inflected results.”

    David Schildknecht, Vinous (06/17)

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  • Mullineux Essence Chenin Blanc 2012 (250ml)


    Two bottles available

    “The 2012 Essence is essentially the last of two-day pressing, fermented for four years in barrel, 4.5% alcohol with (drum roll please) a whopping 650 grams per liter of residual sugar. It was pressed at around 80 brix! Refulgent amber in color, it has a gorgeous orange sorbet, syrup, fig, Seville orange marmalade and quince-scented bouquet that is very well defined. The palate is, to quote Chris himself, a “complete monster”—a diabetic’s worst nightmare. The senses are bewildered and then seduced by the payload of sweet honeyed fruit, the 14.5 grams of acidity maintaining the balance and freshness. It positively lacquers the inside of the mouth and the finish delivers just a very subtle bitter lemon note that prevents it from being cloying. Outrageous and probably immortal. There are 700 bottles, all 250-milliliters. Drink: 2017-2117. 98 points

    Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines (formerly Mullineux Family Wines) have gone from strength to strength in recent years. It seems a long time ago that their original investor poured their inaugural vintage blind at a lunch in London to the delight of the assembled. Nowadays Chris and Andrea Mullineux have won almost as many plaudits as their friend Eben Sadie, whilst the backing of Indian entrepreneur Analjit Singh has opened whole new horizons, which in a single word you could call Franschhoek. When tasting at their Roundstone winery, I asked Andrea how it all came about.

    “[Analjit] bought the estate and was looking to employ winemakers and this was the same time that Keith [their original investor] was looking to sell his shares. Rosa Kruger was helping him and suggested the partnership with Chris and I. He has no intention to influence what we do. The initial idea was for Mullineux to make Franschhoek wines, but it is a Swartland brand, so we started the Leeu Passant label. We wanted to do something South African, not make an imitation Bordeaux. The idea is that we explore and pay homage to South African wine Heritage, in the mood of the old South African wines from the 1950s and 1960s. We wanted to deconstruct those wines and reconstruct them in a modern way. For the red it includes fruit from South Africa’s oldest vineyard that is leased on a long-term contract. They are actually fenced off.”

    This was a strong set of wines from Chris and Andrea, both white and red. Whether you are making your acquaintance with Cape wine courtesy of their Kloof Street label or seeking terroir-driven wines with their Iron/Schist/Granite bottlings, there is a sense of consistency that has built their reputation in recent years. And their Straw Wine is remarkable. I have tasted all of them since release on a number of occasions and they are brilliant; the concentrated 2016 Straw Wine a contender for the best the couple have ever made. For those whose eyes are automatically attracted to points, you will see my 99-point score for the NV Olerasay, the solera that that had been itching to release for a number of years. I was actually served this blind in London and it just blew me away, therefore I asked Andrea if I could re-taste it. It just seems to have developed an effortless nature that it did not have just after bottling, a sensational wine that to date is the highest score I have given to a recently released South African wine.

    I have included here the debut releases from their Franschhoek estate under the Leeu & Passant label. I like the idea of updating the past, right from the retro-style labeling to the wine inside the bottle. I have a feeling that the warmer 2015 growing season probably did not suit the style of wine they would like in the future and whilst I enjoyed the two whites and red that I tasted, I suspect that a cooler and perhaps more challenging growing season is going to push these wines to a higher level. If all these developments were not enough (and God only knows how the couple find time to bring up their young family), there is the maiden 2012 Essence, which as the name suggests is based on the namesake Tokaji, delivering a mammoth 650 grams per liter of residual sugar. There are just 700 “diddy” 250-milliliter bottles. It is totally outrageous and totally delicious, doubtlessly destined to last as long as those legendary immortal 18th century Vin de Constance.”

    Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230)

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  • Quintarelli Recioto della Valpolicella Classico 2007 (375ml)


    “The 2007 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico A Roberto coats the glass with glycerol-like richness while displaying dusty dried flowers, incense, cloves, pine resin, quince and a lifting hint of camphor. It’s silky in texture yet enlivened by bright acidity, as ripe red fruits give way to hints of grilled orange, exotic brown spices and cocoa. While this is certainly sweet, clocking in at 65 grams per liter of residual sugar, it’s also wonderfully balanced and vibrant from start to finish, tapering off remarkably fresh and perfumed with a bitter twang of coffee and dark chocolate. The 2007 is a thrill-ride rendition of Ouintarelli Recioto, which may not last through long-term cellaring, but it will wow collectors over the next 10 to 15 years. The Recioto A Roberto is the only wine in the portfolio that undergoes spontaneous fermentation, and it is also matured completely in small oak barrels. As this was the favorite wine and passion project of Roberto Ferrarini, Giuseppe Ouintarelli’s enologist who passed in 2014, the family decided to dedicate the 2007 in his honor. Drinking window: 2021-2035. 95 points

    Quintarelli, located within the Valpolicella Classica region on the hills above the town of Negrar, strives to respect the legend and traditions established by Giuseppe Quintarelli over a career that spanned 60 years. During that time, Quintarelli oversaw the work of many of the region’s best modern-day winemakers. For vineyard managers, cellar assistants, and enologists, time spent within the hallowed walls of this winery and cellar was like a golden seal of approval in the winemaking circles of the Veneto. It was with this in mind that the current generation set forward, after Quintarelli’s passing in 2012, to continue to work with the teams of winemakers and assistants that had gained knowledge under his guidance and that of Roberto Ferrarini, the estate’s trusted enologist, who also passed away in 2014. As readers can imagine, the loss of these two prominent figures meant that the current generation, led by Fiorenza Grigoli (Giuseppe’s daughter), needed to quickly get a handle on all of the intricate details and practices that went into creating this portfolio. While speaking with Francesco Grigoli Quintarelli (Giuseppe’s grandson), the assistant manager of the property, he spoke in detail about how they only wished to make slow and careful changes, which started to take place in 2009. These included a reduction in oxidation, better control over the use of sulfites and lowering the average percentage of alcohol in the wines. The goal was to create a crisper, more vivid expression of fruit. Otherwise, practices have remained the same. Vineyard management can be described as natural yet practical, intervening only when the vintage demands it; and while passive air-drying of the grapes is preferred, the family is also prepared to use mechanical means if necessary to safeguard the health of the fruit. As for the current vintages, they show terrific purity of fruit and also come across cleaner. That said, Grigoli told me that his next goal is to bring back a bit more of Giuseppe’s character to future vintages.”

    Eric Guido, Vinous (02/21)

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