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Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello

The 1998 Monte Bello Proprietary Red (a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a ripe nose of sweet oak intermixed with blackberries and cassis. It is firm and medium-bodied, with astringent tannin in the finish. Winemaker Paul Draper's comments on the back label are usually modest, but it would appear he is much higher on this vintage than my notes suggest. The 1998 Monte Bello needs 4-5 years of cellaring, and should develop along the lines of an austere Bordeaux vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020+. Robert Parker.

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3 cases in stock

1998 12 x 37.5cl 3 IB
OC
£535.00
  • €623.28
  • $845.84
  • $HK6,561.24

(approx)

88 Buy
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Château de Beaucastel, Hommage à Jacques Perrin

'Potentially the wine of the vintage, the 2009 Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Hommage a Jacques Perrin had just been bottled two weeks before my visit. A wine of extraordinary density, richness, precision and unreal flavor intensity, it reveals abundant gamey, meaty notes intermixed with smoked duck, Provencal herbs, blueberries, blackberries, kirsch and licorice. This loaded, multidimensional, massively concentrated 2009 is much softer than most Hommages. It should be drinkable in 3-4 years and keep for 30-40 years thereafter. Kudos to one of the world’s great winemaking families! ' - Robert Parker

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1 case in stock

2009 3 x 75cl 1 IB
OWC
£790.00
  • €920.35
  • $1,248.99
  • $HK9,688.56

(approx)

99 Buy
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Bernard Defaix et Fils, Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons

Decidedly more expressive with floral, spicy, pure, relatively powerful and quite ripe aromas of orchard fruit, especially peach followed by delicious, round, supple flavors of good fat and excellent volume if not the sheer class of the Les Lys. A solid effort and with good finishing precision - Allen Meadows, Burghound

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7 cases in stock

2002 12 x 75cl 7 IB
OC
£262.00
  • €305.23
  • $414.22
  • $HK3,213.17

(approx)

89 Buy
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Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

It is good to see this wine showing much better from bottle than it did from barrel, where it had a certain leanness and herbaceousness. There is still a hint of dried herbs in the classy nose of red and black currants, cedar wood, and spice box. The wine has a deep ruby/purple-tinged color, excellent density, and medium body in an elegant style with a hint of road tar and sweet fruit. It should drink well young but age nicely for 12-15 years. Make no mistake about it, it has nowhere near the size, dimension, power, and intensity of the 2003. Of course, this estate is now being run by Bruno Borie, the eldest son of the late Jean-Eugene Borie. He replaced his younger brother, Xavier Borie, who remains fully responsible for Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Haut-Batailley - Robert Parker

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1 case in transit – arriving shortly

2002 12 x 75cl 1 IB
OWC
£935.00
  • €1,089.28
  • $1,478.24
  • $HK11,466.84

(approx)

89 Buy
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Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva

The 1994 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva has an elegant bouquet with light red cherries, orange blossom, mahogany bureau and burnt buttered toast. The palate has a meaty, savory entry with crisp tannins and racy acidity. It displays superb structure towards the finish where one finds notes of bitter lemon, orange peel and sage. Delicious! Drink now-2030+ - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate.

I have adored, indeed occasionally worshiped, the wines of Lopez de Heredia for many years, so I am not ashamed to admit that visiting both their vineyard and their winery was a pilgrimage. Founded by Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Landeta in 1877, it has withstood the tide of corporatization and homogeneity, and epitomizes timeless, artisan winemaking in their own individual, almost solipsistic manner. Technology is noticeable by its absence here. For example, to quote her sister Maria-Jose at a tasting that I subsequently attended in London: “Indigenous yeasts have adapted to high temperatures. To control the temperature during fermentation, we open doors and windows” and “malolactic is the invention of modern winemakers.” I had to check whether this was 2012 or 1912. If you were to award points for charisma, then this producer would be in a league of its own. That would count for nothing if their wines were not distinguished, individual, long-lived and above all, delicious. It is commonly known that if you are seeking bags of fruit and lashings of oak, this is not the place to come. My views and these scores might be irrational to someone with a penchant for lush, voluptuous Rioja. Lopez de Heredia is the apotheosis of traditional, classic wines: taut, fresh, bucolic, utterly charming and amazingly long-lived. I spent two or three hours with winemaker Mercedes Lopez de Heredia, who was celebrating her birthday with, appropriately enough, a bottle of Tondonia Gran Reserva from her year of birth. I urge readers to access the video I took of Mercedes explaining the vineyard in her own breathless style. In the meantime, I will crack on with the wines “Wines should talk by themselves,” Maria-Jose enthused to her enraptured audience at a tasting in London. “My father was a vine maker, not a winemaker. Each wine is a reflection of a different land that my great-grandfather bought. Our wines respond to the history of Rioja.” I would add to her comments that since these are mainly aged wines, a bottle of Lopez de Heredia is an individual and each time you meet, you may see a different side to its personality. So treat these reviews as they are: snapshots at a given moment. We commence with their white wines and indeed, I know of several connoisseurs who rate these even better than their reds and I can sympathize with that view. “The white wines were made as a copy of Graves and were made to be aged,” Marie-Jose continued. “So they are made like reds and are harvested at the same time. They undergo skin contact for one, two or three days to absorb the preservative from the skins and pips. Viura gives complexity as it ages - Neal Martin, Wine Advocate

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3 cases in transit – arriving shortly

1994 6 x 75cl 3 IB
OC
£375.00
  • €436.88
  • $592.88
  • $HK4,599.00

(approx)

96 Buy
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Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande

'Speaking of superior vintages, Pichon-Lalande's 1989, although not as profound as the 1995, 1994, 1986, 1983, or 1982, is a beautifully made wine. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple color, and a sweet, roasted nose of rich cassis fruit, herbs, and vanilla. Lush and round, this medium to full-bodied, nicely-textured, layered Pichon-Lalande possesses low acidity, outstanding ripeness, and beautiful purity and balance. It is already drinking surprisingly well, so owners should not hesitate to pull a cork. It should continue to offer rich, seductive drinking for another 15+ years.' - Robert Parker

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1 case in stock

1989 12 x 75cl 1 IB
OWC
£1,500.00
  • €1,747.50
  • $2,371.50
  • $HK18,396.00

(approx)

92 Buy
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Domaine de Trevallon

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2 cases in stock

2004 12 x 75cl 2 IB
OC
£435.00
  • €506.78
  • $687.74
  • $HK5,334.84

(approx)

  Buy
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Romano Dal Forno, Vigna Seré Passito

'The 2004 Vigna Sere is the perfect conclusion to a vintage that will go down as one of Dal Forno’s most magical. Sweet, silky tannins support layers of super-refined, elegant fruit in this magical sweet red. Mocha, espresso, new leather, raspberry jam and spices emerge with time in the glass, but this is really a wine that shows off textural finesse more than anything else. I have tasted this wine many times since it was in barrel and later in bottle. It has never been anything less than spellbinding. It is one of the most magical sweet dessert wines I have ever tasted. At eight years of age the 2004 remains a an infant. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.' - Wine Advocate

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13 cases in stock

2004 6 x 37.5cl 13 IB
OC
£503.00
  • €586.00
  • $795.24
  • $HK6,168.79

(approx)

98+ Buy
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Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, Ornellaia

'The 2009 Ornellaia caresses the palate with layers of seamless, radiant fruit. Sweet red berries, mocha, flowers, new leather and spices are some of the many notes that are layered in this sumptuous, totally beautiful wine. The 2009 stands out for its silky tannins and phenomenal overall balance. This is one of those wines that will probably enjoy a long drinking window. There is little question the ability to blend grape varieties was a huge help in this vintage. In my opinion, that is the main reason Ornellaia is a slightly more complete wine than Masseto in 2009. In one of my blind tastings, the 2009 made a very eloquent case for itself as the wine of the vintage. The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. In 2009 winemaker Axel Heinz used the highest percentage of Cabernet Franc ever in Ornellaia and gave the wine less time in oak, both with the goal of preserving as much freshness as possible. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.' - Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

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31 cases in stock

2009 6 x 75cl 31 IB
OC
£660.00
  • €768.90
  • $1,043.46
  • $HK8,094.24

(approx)

97 Buy
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Penfolds RWT Shiraz

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2 cases in stock

2009 6 x 150cl 2 IB
OC
£925.00
  • €1,077.63
  • $1,462.43
  • $HK11,344.20

(approx)

  Buy
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Tenuta dell'Ornellaia, Masseto

'With the 1999 vintage Masseto returns to another powerful, fresh and vibrant expression of this wine. Conveying an impression of youth, the 1999 Masseto reveals layers of dark fruit that open in the glass with much persistence on the palate and terrific overall balance. It is stunning vintage for this wine. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019.' - Wine Advocate

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1 case in stock

1999 6 x 75cl 1 IB
OC
£2,600.00
  • €3,029.00
  • $4,110.60
  • $HK31,886.40

(approx)

95 Buy
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Château Ducru Beaucaillou

I tasted the 1996 Ducru Beaucaillou on four separate occasions from bottle in January. The 1996 is long, with a deep mid-palate. It also reveals tannin in the finish. This wine is remarkable. It is muscular, concentrated, and classic. Bottled in late June, 1998, it exhibits a saturated ruby/purple color, as well as a knock-out nose of minerals, licorice, cassis, and an unmistakable lead pencil smell that I often associate with top vintages of Lafite-Rothschild. It is sweet and full-bodied, yet unbelievably rich with no sense of heaviness or flabbiness. The wine possesses high tannin, but it is extremely ripe, and the sweetness of the black currant, spice-tinged Cabernet Sauvignon fruit is pronounced. This profound, backward Ducru-Beaucaillou is a must purchase. It will be fascinating for readers who own the 1996 to follow the evolution of this exceptional vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2035.

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1 case in transit – arriving shortly

1996 12 x 75cl 1 IB
OWC
£1,800.00
  • €2,097.00
  • $2,845.80
  • $HK22,075.20

(approx)

96 Buy
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Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Hermitage "La Chapelle"

'As I wrote last year, the 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle is easily the greatest, most profound La Chapelle since the 1990. Most of this cuvee comes from Le Meal and Les Bessards vineyards, with a touch of Les Roucoules fruit in the blend. It is an opaque purple-colored wine with enormous concentration in addition to an extraordinary bouquet of graphite, creme de cassis, blackberries, licorice, beef blood and a touch of smoked game. Boasting phenomenal intensity, a full-bodied mouthfeel and 50 years of longevity, the only thing that could possibly hold it back is that most consumers should plan on laying it away for 8-10 years.' - Robert Parker

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4 cases in stock

2009 6 x 75cl 4 IB
OWC
£775.00
  • €902.88
  • $1,225.28
  • $HK9,504.60

(approx)

97+ Buy
information

Etienne Guigal, Hermitage Ex-Voto Rouge

'Just being released, the spectacular 2007 Hermitage Ex-Voto exhibits a discrete hint of oak (despite its 42 month aging in 100% new French oak) along with plenty of creme de cassis, lead pencil shaving and blackberry liqueur characteristics. Full-bodied with magnificent concentration and richness, silky tannins and a long, long finish, this remarkable 2007 is the Hermitage of the vintage. It should drink well for 30-40+ years.'

'The following paragraph is taken from issue #193, but I believe it is so important to understand the Guigal philosophy that I am repeating it verbatim. “As I have written many times before, no one in the wine world is better at ‘raising’ a wine (or as the French call it elevage) than Marcel Guigal, who learned the skills from his father, Etienne. Because everyone tends to focus on vintage conditions and terroir, the importance of a wine’s elevage is often overlooked, but Guigal’s unusually long tank, foudre and small barrel aging regime for all his red wines as well as several of his whites results in an array of remarkable wines time and time again. Even the most challenging vintages, which often taste under-nourished, vegetal and thin in their first year or two of life, tend to take on concentration and character, turning out to be some of the finest wines in many of the most difficult Rhone vintages. Moreover, Guigal’s wines always taste better out of bottle than from barrel, which speaks to his honesty and integrity as well as to his brilliance in deciding how long to age a wine in wood or tank, as well as choosing the perfect moment to bottle it. None of this is as simple as it might sound, and that’s why Marcel Guigal gets my vote as the reigning genius in terms of the upbringing of his wines.” Crozes-Hermitage has become one of the Guigal “go-to” wines for value hunters and he has raised the level of this humble appellation dramatically with his recent efforts. Guigal has become a master of red and white St.-Joseph, producing separate cuvees, all of which are usually stunning. Guigal is the appellation’s largest producer of Condrieu. All of his Condrieus are put through 100% malolactic, with his basic cuvee aged in stainless steel (66%) and small oak barrels (34%). Guigal also excels with white Hermitage. In truly great vintages he also produces a limited cuvee called Ex-Voto, which is a blend of 95% Marsanne and 5% Roussanne from two of the most renowned sectors for Hermitage, l’Ermite and Les Murets. Along with Michel Chapoutier’s St.-Joseph Les Granits, Guigal’s St.-Joseph Vignes de l’Hospice is the top wine of the appellation. Guigal purchased this 8-acre parcel of steep hillside vines from Grippat. Aged 30 months in 100% new oak, this wine is extraordinary. Guigal claims the soil is reminiscent of Les Bessards Vineyard in Hermitage Over the last decade, Guigal has dramatically increased his vineyard holdings in Hermitage, purchasing the estates of Jean-Louis Grippat as well as the Hermitage holdings of De Vallouit. He now has parcels in such famed vineyards as Le Meal, Les Beaumes, Les Bessards and Dionnieres. Guigal’s basic red Hermitage (which has been made for over five decades) is generally aged for more than three years in small casks, of which about 45% are new. In exceptional vintages, Guigal will cull out a special cuvee called Ex-Voto, which is aged 42 months in 100% new French oak. One thousand cases are usually made from three separate vineyards (40% from Les Bessards, 40% from Les Greffieux and 20% from Les Murets.)' - Robert Parker

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8 cases in stock

2007 6 x 75cl 8 IB
OWC
£750.00
  • €873.75
  • $1,185.75
  • $HK9,198.00

(approx)

98 Buy
information

Michel Chapoutier, Ermitage 'Le Meal'

'From a warmer micro-climate, the 2006 Ermitage Le Meal blanc boasts extraordinarily intense fruit, glycerin, and tactile impression. Stones, cherries, red currants, quince, and honeyed citrus are all present in this colossal wine that is unctuously textured, very full-bodied, and super-ripe and long. It reveals less noticeable acidity than l’Oree or l’Ermite, and, like Les Granits, it is a wine that can be drunk early, but it should last for 25-30 years.' - Robert Parker

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1 case in stock

2006 6 x 75cl 1 IB
OWC
£450.00
  • €524.25
  • $711.45
  • $HK5,518.80

(approx)

94 Buy
information

Château Mouton-Rothschild

'The beautiful 1999 Mouton Rothschild may be a modern day clone of their 1962 or 1985. Its saturated ruby/purple color is followed by sumptuous aromas of cedar wood, creme de cassis, wood smoke, coffee, and dried herbs. The wine is forward, lush, and full-bodied. It is already complex as well as succulent, fleshy, and long. Tannin in the finish suggests more nuances will emerge in 4-5 years. It is a complex, classic Mouton. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2030.' - Robert Parker

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1 case in transit – arriving shortly

1999 12 x 75cl 1 IB
OWC
£3,700.00
  • €4,310.50
  • $5,849.70
  • $HK45,376.80

(approx)

93 Buy
information

Marchesi Antinori, Tignanello

'The 2008 Tignanello is unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage. The 2008 isn’t a huge or obvious Tignanello, rather it is a wine that impresses for its sublime elegance and precision. Understated layers of fruit caress the palate like cashmere in this impeccable, soft wine. There is not a hard edge to be found. Black cherries, tobacco, smoke and licorice are some of the notes that come through on the finish. The flavor profile is decidedly on the dark side, but the wine’s structure is medium in body and intensity. In 2008 the Tignanello has more energy, focus and length than the Solaia. It is a fabulous achievement! The 2008 Tignanello is 80% Sangiovese aged in 300-liter French oak barrels (1/3rd new), 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc, both aged in 100% new 225-liter French oak barriques. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.

Antinori seems to do everything well these days, from churning out millions of bottles of supermarket wines all the way to turning out superb versions of their many flagship bottlings. This is another impressive set of new releases with a number of highlights. Over the years oenologist Renzo Cotarella has moved away from the super-late harvests of the late 1990s/early 2000s in favor of picking slightly earlier, a decision that has paid off handsomely, especially over the last few years. Antinori’s 2008s, from a vintage that is quite inconsistent across the board, are superb. I remember spending a few days near the estate’s Tignanello and Badia a Passignano estates in mid-August 2008. The days were very hot, but the nights were so cool that a sweater or light jacket was a necessity'. - Antonio Galloni

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1 case in stock

2008 6 x 75cl 1 IB
OC
£340.00
  • €396.10
  • $537.54
  • $HK4,169.76

(approx)

94 Buy
information

Château Mouton-Rothschild

'This wine remains one of the legends of Bordeaux. It has thrown off the backward, youthful style that existed during its first 25 years of life, and over the last 4-5 years has developed such secondary nuances as cedar and spice box. The creme de cassis, underlying floral note, full-bodied power, extraordinary purity, multilayered texture, and finish of over a minute are a showcase for what this Chateau accomplished in 1982. The wine is still amazingly youthful, vibrant, and pure. It appears capable of remaining fruity and vibrant in 2082! Thank God it is beginning to budge, as I would like to drink most of my supply before I kick the bucket. This is a great, still youthful wine, and, on occasion, one does understand the hierarchy of Bordeaux chateaux when you see the complexity and brilliance of this first-growth. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2050+' - Robert Parker

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3 cases in stock

1982 12 x 75cl 3 IB
OWC
£11,800.00
  • €13,747.00
  • $18,655.80
  • $HK144,715.20

(approx)

100 Buy