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Dear Friend,

Our first of two releases today is a small 120 case Lot sourced on our trip last January to the Rhône Valley in France. Quite frankly, Sam and I were pretty stunned when this wine was made available to us. Sam rated it a 96+ (but remember folks, he’s a winemaker and decidedly more impressed by small details than the rest of us), but I, the final arbiter of what sells, rated it a meager 94. Nevertheless, we decided there was tremendous value to this offering and decided to move forward, despite knowing we would have to retail the wine for $40. Given that the producer sells their blend for $120/bottle, it stills seems like a great deal to me…particularly if you are looking for wine that could last 20 years in your cellar (though I think this wine will start to give it up and drink beautifully over the next 5-10 years).

When done right, Côte-Rôtie (translated as roasted slope) combines the warm fruit of the Southern Rhône with the power and complexity of great Burgundy. Sourced from one the great houses of the Rhône Valley during what critics almost universally acclaim as one of the best vintages ever in the Rhône, Lot 355 2009 Côte-Rôtie is as faceted and clearly delineated a wine as we have ever offered (though I must warn you that the best is yet to come - probably another 2-3 years in the cellar at a minimum). The nose is practically concave, drawing you down into the dark, arresting nose of blueberry essence, savory meats, fresh lilacs, woodland berries, and pepper. Yes, it’s that complex despite its youth. Full of vim and vigor and almost black in color, this incredibly concentrated wine is simultaneously floral, savory, and fruit-driven, its flavors effortlessly mingling in an incredibly transparent structure. A pitch perfect and stunning wine, but again, patience is required. While the producer prefers a more elegant and finesse-driven blend at $120, our proprietary blend combines power and finesse and is an incredible value at $40.

Up next is Lot 354 2010 Crozes Hermitage, and it is, I have to be honest, our best effort to date in that region. Why? Because we had a hand in this one from the start - controlling the style, direction, and quality. While our costs were about the same, the improvement in quality and style is quite evident. This is a new producer for us (actually the same producer as our Côte-Rôtie, but sourced from Tain-l’Hermitage), and they are simply excellent at what they do.

Traditionally, the wines of Côte-Rôtie were regarded as more feminine in style, while the wines of Hermitage were considered more masculine. Modern viticulture and vinification has brought the two styles closer together, and unlike the rest of us struggling with post-modernity, these wines seem the better for it. Lot 354 hails from 2010 - another acclaimed, classic vintage. The wine is ripe and concentrated, and certainly a more masculine style with an intense nose of plum, spice, blueberries, and black pepper. Simultaneously floral and dense on the palate, with flavors of macerated berries and gamey rose petals. This wine is meaty with tremendous depth, richness, and pitch-perfect balance, sharing much of the transparent structure attributed to our Côte-Rôtie. At $20, it's a couple bucks more than our previous Crozes offerings, but I believe you’ll find the increase in quality more than enough to cover the additional tariff.

Please note that our shipping rates have recently changed in 2013. There is now free shipping once you reach 24 bottles. For full details on our shipping rates, click here.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or need assistance in selecting the right wines for you, please do not hesitate to email us or call 1-800-805-1971.


Cameron Hughes

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