The Domaine des Nembrets is what Denis Barraud calls his estate on the slope of the Roche de Vergisson. The Roche is a giant Basalt outcropping in the Macon. This is what makes the site an exceptional place for Chardonnay. The “Roche” are soils of highly folded and well-drained Limestone, and depending on the specific soils, the wines of Pouilly Fuisse, Saint Veran, or Macon Vergisson all call this home. This vintage has already been praised in the press, and after trying these wines you’ll see why. They have the poise and definition of the 2004s while possessing richer, riper fruit and more concentration. Denis does not like to chapitalize, and in this vintage there was no need to. These wines have become some of the best values we have from Burgundy, and we proudly support this artisanal wine maker. 2005 Domaine des Nembrets Saint Veran ($14.99) A mixture of stainless steel and a small percentage of oak; only the oldest vines that are capable of handling the oak go into barrel. The wine exhibits good weight and length. More open than in previous vintages, with aromatics and flavors that range from bright citrus, soft floral, to soft pear. The fruit is framed with good acidity, and a soft minerality plays out on the surprisingly long finsh. 2005 Domaine des Nembrets Pouilly Fuisse “Les Chataignieres” ($19.99) This is what Pouilly Fuisse should be! It sees more oak, battonage and longer aging than the previous wine. The fruit is dominantly citrus, with hints of vanilla and spice. On the palate the wine sparkles with a richer texture, crisp acidity and intense minerality. 2005 Pouilly Fuisse “Les Folles” Vieilles Vignes ($21.99) Not as rich as the La Roche but just as structured, this wine has more drive and focus. Its juicy fruit balances the mouth-watering acidity, yet it has plenty of concentration so it is not tart nor lean just Chardonnay grown over Limestone! 2005 Pouilly Fuisse “La Roche,” Vieilles Vignes ($24.99) From the rockiest parcels of the estate, this is serious white Burgundy! It begs comparisons to more expensive wines from the Cote d’Or! It is rich, focused and elegant, with every facet—oak, fruit, leesiness and minerality enhancing the next. Seriously good wine! —Kirk Walker
2005 Marco Porello Arneis ($12.99) Pale yellow with a hint of green on the edge, and aromatics are of grass, herbs and some citrus zest. This all explodes on the palate, medium-bodied (packs a punch) pears with almonds, white peaches and honeysuckle and wonderful freshness, crisp and yet showing a long finish. A charming aperitivo or try sipping with ripe Bartlett pears, also a good companion to shellfish. 2004 Abtei Muri Sudtirol “Weiss” ($21.99) This is a blend of 70% pinot bianco, 30% pinot grigio fermented in stainless steel, then aged in oak with a batonage every two weeks. This has a light fruitiness with green apples, vanilla and a mouthful of minerality with a touch of oak. A very elegant wine for something completely different. 2004 Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d’Alba ($13.99) We have had this wine in for a month now, and I am just getting around to writing it up now, because it was very tight just coming off the ship. Showing dark ripe black cherries and plum now, full-bodied with some minerals and dust on the very long and well integrated finish. Just put a straw in this baby and go. 2004 Sesta di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino ($19.99) This is truly “Baby Brunello.” For those folks who missed out on its big sister (the 2001 Brunello), here is a wine that packs a wallop! Aged in French barriques, plus three months in the bottle. Give this rosso about an hour to open up, and stand back! On the palate you will find strawberries and cherries and a little toasty vanilla with fine tannins and a hint of Montalcino dust. User friendly on the wallet. Salute! —Mike Parres
The René Collard Cuvee Ultime Ultra Brut ($39.99) is the 52nd and last harvest from one of Champagne's true greats. Mr. Collard made his first Champagne in 1943, in the middle of the war. The Ultime is 100% 1995, although not labeled as a vintage. During that time Mr. Collard's methods have not changed; he has never used chemicals in the vineyard, never allowed the wines to undergo malolactic fermentation and never used stainless steel. The juice was fermented in a combination of one-third enamel vats and two-thirds large oval barrels. All of the vines are very, very old and a combination of 10% chardonnay and 90% meunier. Sadly Mr. Collard's health has put future availability into question. If you are a fan of Champagne and have not tasted his wine, please do not miss this opportunity. The Champagne is not for everyone. It is vinous and complex, stalwartly dry (there has been no dosage at all added) and doughy at the same time. I think it is one of the best in our stock, and to fans of Krug and Bollinger I would give extra encouragement to sample this wine. Our stock is dwindling. On another subject, my email list needs some maintenance. Many of you have written me to get notification on rare Champagnes, news from the region and closeout announcements. If you have not heard from me in a while I might not have your current email address. Please send me your current information at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please don’t hesitate to join if you have not already! A toast to you! —Gary Westby
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