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With the James Bond movie Spectre being released today, no time could be better to drink Bollinger. The most suave spy in the world has been sipping on Bollinger since Moonraker in 1979. While we can’t all drive a fully loaded, customized machine gun having Aston Martin, we certainly can chill down a bottle of Bolli! The 2004 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne ($109) is as good as Champagne gets; all barrel fermented and full of masculine, Pinot Noir power and high class elegance. We even have a few bottles of the limited 2009 Bollinger "James Bond 007" Brut Champagne ($195) in stock for the diehard fan of Bond & Champagne!

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Wine Wednesday: 2005 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino

After the brouhaha over controversial 2004 Brunello di Montalcino (producers were allegedly slipping in some unauthorized varietals to give the wines a boost), a little uneven ripening in the vineyards is a pleasant respite. If nothing else, it's much easier to negotiate. The 2005 vintage was good in Tuscany, if not cooler than usual, with some rain during the summer. This led a number of producers to drop fruit and to be incredibly selective during harvest. In some cases, this meant putting all the best fruit into the a regular Brunello and forgoing a Riserva for the vintage. But in the warmer parts of Tuscany, and the most exposed sites, the wines that resulted are excellent and ageworthy.

We recently received our first shipment of 2005 Brunelli, as well as some samples of wines that should be arriving this fall, and we were quite impressed. One of the wines that stood out the most--for its approachability despite its youth, its crossover appeal and its fantastically affordable price--was the 2005 Tenuta di Sesta Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99). Giovanni Ciacci's family has owned Tenuta di Sesta, located at the southern edge of Montalcino, for more than 150 years. Giovanni's father, Giuseppe Ciacci, bottled the winery's first Brunello in 1966, the same year Brunello was first recognized as a DOC. We started bringing the wines in as part of our Direct Import program last year, and we haven't regretted it for a second. The 2005 has an elegant nose full of kirsch, espresso and spice. On the palate, its high tone cherry fruit and spice offset by incredibly polished and well-integrated tannins. Take this home if you want something spectacular and sexy tonight (with a little decanting), though this lovely Brunello will age well too.

Leah Greenstein

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