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Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2016

Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2016

A winsome blend of 60% White Grenache and 40% Clairette grown in clay lime soils, the 2016 Ferraton Pere & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc has a subtle nose of pear and dried yellow apple, followed by a lilting top note of jasmine. It's soft on entry, with flavors that match the nose, save for a suggestion of lees and lemon zest that wends its way through to a long, mouthwatering finish. Biodynamically-farmed. 13.5% ABV | Sample Ferraton Pere & Fils 8.9 Points ...

Château de Monbazan Grand Vin de Graves 2015

Château de Monbazan Grand Vin de Graves 2015

From Garagiste, a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec—in this case from a biodynamic producer (something of a rarity in Bordeaux), the 2015 Château de Monbazan Graves Rouge is plush on the nose and palate. The first impression is one of cherry pie, followed by vanilla, baking spices, and the merest suggestion of violets. It's easy going on the palate, with no hard edges. And while it lacks the earthy, leathery soulfulness that Graves is known for, it has charm. Drink now. 13.5% ABV Château de Monbazan 8.8 Points...

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Longitude Premier Cru NV

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Longitude Premier Cru NV

Pierre Larmandier's wines are pure and terroir-driven. This superb bottling of the Longitude Premier Cru Extra Brut is composed of 100% Chardonnay sourced from Vertus, Oger, Avize, and Cramant, with 40% of the blend coming from 2010 reserve. Poached pear, baked apple, lemon sorbet, and chalk are slowly released by a clinquant mousse. In the mouth—buoyant shards of fractal light—it's very subtle, with length held in suspension by limestone, seafoam, earth, and nuanced pear. Sample Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 9.1 Points ...

Domaine La Tour Vieille Rimage Banyuls 2012

Domaine La Tour Vieille Rimage Banyuls 2012

'Tis the season for fortified dessert wines, and Banyuls is, of course, no exception. This budget-friendly Kermit Lynch import from Domaine La Tour Vieille offers up a welcome bouquet of plums, prunes, sultana, and dark chocolate shavings. Composed of 45 year-old Grenache and Carignan vines grown in schist soils, it's full-bodied and somewhat one-dimensional on the palate. Even so, at a price point that's less than $25.00, there's ample drinking pleasure crammed into the bottle. 500 ml | 16.5% ABV Domaine La Tour Vieille 8.8 Points...

Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie

Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie 2014

Crushed raspberries, pie cherries, cranberries, and underbrush waft from the glass. Beguiling secondary notes of dried violets, lilacs and potting soil lend perfumy complexity. It's a light, nimble Gamay—classic Fleurie—with lifted red fruit tightly wound round a mineral vein of iron ore followed by loamy soil, and bay leaf. 13.0% ABV Domaine de Roche-Guillon 8.8 Points  ...

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Vieille Vigne de Cramant Grand Cru 2006

Larmandier-Bernier Champagne Vieille Vigne de Cramant Grand Cru 2006

Walnut skins, curling yellow parchment paper, roasted yellow apples, poached pear, and honeysuckle. Larmandier-Bernier's Vieille Vigne de Cramant Grand Cru 2006 always feels autumnal to me and masterfully constructed. Subtle oxidation, ultra-fine mousse and quarried vinosity on the finish makes this a somewhat austere Champagne. One feels compelled to study it, the graceful lines and branching sexpartite ribs, transverse arches, and dappled, dusty sunlight filtered through clerestory windows, it's weightless, timeless charm. 12.5% ABV Champagne Larmandier-Bernier 9.4 Points...

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut Rosé NV

Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé NV

The season of lights continues with this mercurial Cremant d'Alsace from Lucien Albrecht. Glinting copper and rose gold in the glass, it's an expressive wine, trimmed with apricot and quince, red berries and spice—notes that rise and tumble through an alluvion of cascading bubbles. In the mouth, this 100% Alsatian Pinot Noir is fresh and vivid, with concentrated layers of fruit. Highly recommended. Sample Lucien Albrecht 9.0 Points...

Dopff & Irion Crémant d'Alsace Rosé Brut NV

Dopff & Irion Crémant d’Alsace Rosé Brut NV

A luminous salmon-hued sparker, Dopff & Irion's Brut Rosé is composed of 100% Pinot Noir and opens with a cascade of lively bubbles that give rise to a chorus of citrus, raspberry, alpine strawberry, and spice notes. Nice energy on the palate, with acidity that ebbs and flows as it darts through clean layers pink grapefruit pith and nuanced limestone minerality. (For those of you who love sparkling wines and are looking for a good value, Crémant d'Alsace is a region to seek out.)12.5% ABV | Sample Dopff & Irion 9.0 Points  ...

Yves Cheron Les Dentelles Côtes du Rhône 2015

Yves Cheron Les Dentelles Côtes du Rhône 2015

I wanted to find a little more concentration of fruit at the core of this otherwise easy-drinking blend of 65% Grenache and 35% Syrah from Yves Cheron. The 2015 'Les Dentelles' sports a classic Southern Rhône profile of plums and blackberries couched in garrigue, warm spice, and dried violet. It's bright on the palate, not surprising given that this wine is aged in concrete—a vessel that enhances acidity and minerality, as well as pure fruit expression. It finishes with pronounced notes of iron ore, peppercorn, and dried herbs. 13.5% ABV Vignobles Cheron 8.8 Points...

Gustave Lorentz Crémant D'Alsace Brut

Gustave Lorentz Crémant D’Alsace Brut NV

The color of sun-bleached straw, this charming Crémant D'Alsace from Gustave Lorentz opens with a lively torrent of fine bubbles and inviting layers of baked yellow apple, smokey pear, granulated honey and sea foam. In the mouth, orchard fruit is couched in blithe minerality and weightier layers of marzipan and wet dough. Finishes on a mineral note. Crushed stones, wet shell. 12.0% ABV | Sample Maison Gustave Lorentz 8.9 Points...