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Wine Varietals

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1995 Chave Hermitage Cathelin

The 1995 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin is another magical wine from this family estate that’s drinking brilliantly today. Its vivid ruby, semi-opaque color (classic mature Hermitage) is followed by an incredibly complex bouquet of red and black currants, Asian spices, scorched earth, beef blood, and obvious smoky minerality that’s the essence of the les Bessards lieu-dit. Deep, concentrated, and powerful on the palate, yet at the same time incredibly seamless and elegant, with an almost Burgundian ethereal texture, this smoky, meaty, mineral-driven Hermitage is fully mature today yet I will have no problem evolving for another two decades or more. It’s pure class.Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JDA unique wine that floats like a cloud on the palate but tastes of a garden in full bloom, of freshly plowed earth, of a stable of horses and worn leather saddles. Extraordinary marriage between fresh acidity and full-bodied, voluptuous texture, this is the sort of wine you’ll never tire of drinking and one that should age for more than a decade. Silky finish with grilled meat, animal-like accents. Have I said enough? It’s just brilliant. Drink now through 2015. 250 cases made.Wine Spectator | 98 WSThe 1995 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin, only the third vintage of this offering, is less aromatic than the cuvee classique. Rich and powerful, with a formidable tannin level in the finish, it possesses a saturated purple color, great purity of fruit, and considerable mouthfeel and length, but what a full-bodied, awesomely-endowed baby! Much less evolved than the 1990 and 1991 were at a similar stage, it will require a minimum of 10-12 years of patience, and will last for 30-40+ years.Robert Parker | 97 RPDark ruby-red. Brooding but vibrant aromas of cassis, blackberry, licorice and spice. Extremely dense and concentrated, with urgent blackcurrant and pepper flavors complicated by a spicy oak component. Despite its supple texture, this has shut down since the last time I sampled it and is likely to call for extended patience.Vinous Media | 95+ VM(Hermitage “Cuvée Cathelin”- Chave) Given my very real and profound respect for the young titan of the 1995 regular Hermitage, I had great hopes for the ’95 Cuvée Cathelin which I had not crossed paths with before this. On the nose there is nothing at all here that fails to excite, as the wine soars from the glass in a blaze of black and red raspberries, grilled meats, gourd pepper, hot Hermitage stoniness, and a kaleidoscope of exotic spices. On the palate the wine is medium-full (nowhere near as concentrated as the regular 1995) and quite complex, with lovely focus, plenty of tangy, red berry fruit at the core, and a finish that is not quite capable of completely supporting the high percentage of new oak that the wine is expected to carry. The final notes here are of a bit of wood tannin. Once one tastes this wine, it is clearly understood that much of the magical spice tones on the nose are derived from the new oak, and though they are indeed captivating, they come at the price of modest depth of fruit on the palate. It seems pretty clear to me that this wine dried out a bit in the new oak, and though it is not a bad wine by any stretch of the imagination, it is not a patch on the regular 1995 Hermitage. 2007-2020. 90-93+ (depending on how well the fruit can carry the wood as time goes by). (Drink between 2007-2020).John Gilman | 90-93+ JG

As low as $7,745.00
1995 d'Yquem

Served from an ex-chateau bottle. The 1995 Chateau d’Yquem is moving into its secondary aroma phase. A deep golden color, it has a dense and almost Barsac-like bouquet with tangerine, apricot, acacia and melted candle wax. It displays good intensity, unfolding beautifully in the glass. The palate has a strident opening, with a slight bitter edge that lends this Yquem great tension. One can discern layers of marmalade infused with honey fruit, with a powerful, spicy finish that lingers long in the mouth. This is drinking perfectly now, but will surely age with style over many years. Tasted March 2014.Robert Parker Neal Martin | 95 RP-NM

As low as $510.00
1995 Guigal Cote Rotie La Landonne

One of the treats when tasting through the profound Côte Rôties made by Marcel Guigal was the opportunity to taste all of the bottled 1995's. Reviewed in previous issues, they are even better from bottle than they were during their upbringing (a characteristic of many Guigal wines). The 1995 Côte Rôtie la Landonne is the stuff of legends and is every bit as compelling as readers might expect. This single vineyard wine will have at least 2 decades of longevity.Robert Parker | 99 RPDeep ruby-red. More sauvage aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, tar, mocha, minerals, mace and roasted game. Superconcentrated and powerful, with a near-solid texture. One of those rare wines that seems almost too big for the mouth. Finishes with huge, toothfurring-but-ripe tannins and great persistence.Vinous Media | 97 VMA full-bodied Syrah in an international-style that's complex and seductive, layered with cinnamon, toasted oak, plum, game, smoke, mineral and black fruit flavors. Turns massively tannic on the finish. Balanced and elegant despite the obvious richness, it's tempting on release, but needs a bit of time to tame the tannins. Drink now through 2015. 1,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WS

As low as $725.00
1995 Krug

A very youthful ’95. Delicate. Intense aromas of ginger, citrus, candied berry and multigrain bread turn to honey, roasted almonds and graphite on the palate. It’s all underscored by a precise structure and creamy texture. Its structure keeps it persistent through the long finish. A picture of precision and intensity. Drink now through 2025. 1,700 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 98 WS(Krug, (Magnum), Champagne, France, White) The grand finale to Olivier Krug’s awe-inspiring masterclass was the fabulous 1995 vintage, poured from magnum. It is one of four Krug vintages from the 1990s and it was one of the last wines which Olivier tasted with his father and grandfather. Today it is still going strong, with a primary and savoury nose of apricot and toast. On the palate this remains vigorous but mature, with oxidative notes of walnut oil, nougat and umami, as well as gingerbread, cappuccino, toast and candied fruits. There’s lots of finesse and freshness and great length – a joy to drink now and for another 15 years at least. (Drink between 2017-2034)Decanter | 96 DECA mature, honeyed nose shows how rich and open this beautiful wine is. It is rich and toasty, with layers of citrus and very ripe, almost honeyed, fruit. It is lively and fresh, with excellent structure. Ready to drink.Wine Enthusiast | 96 WE(Krug Vintage Brut (Reims) served from magnum) The 1995 Krug in magnum is really starting to drink with style and grace, but it remains a wine that has just reached its plateau of maturity and has years and years of life still ahead of it. The lovely and quite classic nose wafts from the glass in a constellation of apple, peach, caraway seed, a lovely base of minerality, a touch of walnut, rye bread and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and complex, with a wide open attack, a fine core, elegant mousse and really lovely length and grip on the focused and classy finish. Fine juice. (Drink between 2016-2045)John Gilman | 95 JGThe deep golden color implies just how rich this wine will be. The 1995 vintage provided a baroque canvas of flavors that seems weightier and more robust than a classic Krug, but no less fascinating. The wine is downright huge, aggressive in its savory power, in its aching acidity and persistent minerality. Brusque and mouthcoating in its richness at 11 years of age, this will begin to mellow as it turns 15 or 20.Wine & Spirits | 95 W&SI have a preference for the 1995 Brut Vintage, as it shows quite a bit more freshness and verve than the 1998. Mint, dried flowers, truffles and bright fruit are some of the nuances that flow from this precise, focused Champagne. The vibrant, refreshing finish makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Among recent vintages, the 1996 has rightly received a ton of attention here, while the 1995 is likely to remain an insider’s wine that is available at more favorable pricing.My visit to Krug earlier this year was fascinating, as I had a chance to taste a number of 2009s and reserve wines. A tank sample of the 2009 Clos du Mesnil was one of the most exciting, viscerally thrilling wines of the trip, and remained etched on my mind for several weeks. I also had a chance to glance over newly found, hand-written original records that document the exact village breakdown of all the grapes Krug purchased in each vintage going back to 1928. This year I tasted a number of fabulous wines from bottle. Unfortunately I can’t include my impressions on Krug’s NV Champagnes because of the house’s insistence on not providing disgorgement dates for those wines. I was reminded of the importance of this information when I tasted a fabulous, utterly spellbinding bottle of the NV Rose. It was a truly beautiful Champagne, but owing to its recent disgorgement it needed at least a few years on the cork. Of course Krug gives a general indication of the disgorgement dates for their wines on the corks, but by that time, readers may have opened a bottle that needs more bottle age. Without this information it is impossible to give readers any reliable indication of when the house’s NV wines might start drinking well. With a retail price over $300 a bottle, opening a bottle of Krug’s Rose can be a very expensive learning experience. Krug fans will want to keep an eye out for my upcoming article on Clos du Mesnil, featuring complete notes back to the inaugural 1979.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPThe 1995 Krug is gorgeous. I chose it because one of my guests loves Krug and I thought the 1995 would have the right amount of complexity to pair beautifully with the smokiness in Saison’s caviar. Although the 1995 Krug is not a truly epic wine, it is in a sweet spot right now.Antonio Galloni | 94 AG(Krug Brut Villages Champagne/Sparkling) Moderately deep golden color. There is a mildly oxidative character present on the toasty, yeasty and apple cider-suffused nose that offers excellent complexity. The fine depth can also be found on the delicious flavors that are definitely full-flavored and relatively powerful, all wrapped in a citrusy finish that, like the nose, reflects a hint of oxidative character. This is borderline post-mature and I would be inclined to be drinking up. (Drink starting 2018)Burghound | 90 BH

As low as $1,340.00
1995 La Tour Blanche
As low as $45.00
1996 Brumont Boucasse Vieilles Vignes Madiran
As low as $54.95
1996 Chapoutier Cote Rotie ''La Mordoree''

I was less impressed with the 1996 Cote Rotie La Mordoree from bottle than I was from cask. Michel Chapoutier still believes it is one of the finest examples he has produced, but agrees that the high acidity has left everything in the wine compressed. It is certainly an outstanding offering, but it will require 5-7 years of patience. Made from microscopic yields of 15 hectoliters per hectare, it exhibits a saturated purple color, and a reticent but promising nose of toasty new oak, cassis, black olives, and smoked game. In the mouth, the wine is medium to full-bodied and dense, but the high acidity and compressed, tightly-knit style make it difficult to penetrate. The finish is long, but the wine is backward and unyielding. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025.Robert Parker | 91 RPGood dark ruby color. Complex aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, tar, woodsmoke and game. Thick and complex in the mouth, with enough extract to buffer the bright acidity. The combination of firm, building tannins and lively acidity gives the finish a slight toughness today, but this should develop well in bottle. Quite perfumed on the after taste. Strong juice.Vinous Media | 89-91 VMQuite oaky, but very suave and smooth despite the massive tannins, which are ripe. Lots of blackberry, mocha and toasted bread character. Full-bodied and well made. Best from 2003 through 2010.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

As low as $175.00
1996 gaja barolo conteisa Barolo

The opaque purple-colored 1996 Barolo Conteisa reveals a sweet, ripe nose with an element of sur-maturite given its over-ripe cassis, melted road tar, licorice, and spice-scented bouquet. It exhibits a voluptuous texture, layers of concentrated fruit, and full body. Its tannin is largely concealed by the wine’s glycerin, alcohol, and extract. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2020.Robert Parker | 93-95 RP

As low as $425.00
1996 Guado Al Tasso

An intense, extremely well-structured Tuscan red, showing intense Cabernet character, with currant, spice and mint aromas and flavors. Full in body, with loads of silky tannins and a long, long finish. Finest Guado Al Tasso ever. Best after 2002. 4,000 cases made. — JSWine Spectator | 94 WSGood medium ruby, less saturated than the 1997. Expressive aromas of herbs and Mediterranean brush, with reasonably harmonious oak. Plenty of cassis and blackberry intensity and character, but slightly tough, with a grittiness of tannins. Far from ready today but offers plenty of potential for development.Vinous Media | 90 VM

As low as $249.00
1996 heitz cabernet sauvignon marthas vineyard California Red
As low as $499.00
1996 krug Champagne

It’s hard to imagine how a wine of this power can sustain perfect balance. What is now a more nonchalant intensity in the aroma was, in fact, too much to handle when we tasted this last year, as if the wine had no time for mere humans with their limited sense receptors. If you stop to taste ripe pear, ginger spice, apple blossom and butterscotch the wine leaves you lost in random flavor descriptors as it soars off into a vinous glow that lasts for minutes. This may well be the greatest vintage wine of Henri Krug’s career (unless it is challenged by the 2002). It is impossible to predict how long this wine will thrive in bottle, though considering the current fine condition of the 1959 Krug, the first 50 years are a given.Wine & Spirits | 100 W&SA powerful, majestic Champagne. Deep and compelling, with aromas of whole-grain toast, coconut and dried citrus that draw you in. Lean and racy on the palate, with a creaminess that’s yet to be integrated. A classic ’96, with ripe, exotic aromas and a steely structure. Still a baby, with the long, resonant finish confirming its potential. Best from 2009 through 2040. 10,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 99 WSThe real surprise among Krug’s 1996s is the 1996 Vintage, which is drinking beautifully, even among this rarified air of single-vineyard Champagnes. The 1996 Vintage is explosive and creamy, with just the right balance of power, richness and freshness. The mousse is perhaps just a touch less refined than in the 1996 Clos du Mesnil and Clos d’Ambonnay, but it is also perfectly measured with the wine’s exuberant personality. This multi-dimensional, textured Champagne is at the early part of its drinking window and promises to deliver an incredible drinking experience over the coming decades. The take-away from this flight of 1996s from Krug is simple. Although the 1996 Vintage can’t possibly be described as inexpensive, it shows exceptionally well next to its much more expensive brethren and clearly delivers a similar level of quality. Readers who have the opportunity to pick up this wine should not hesitate. It is a gem. No disgorgement date provided. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2036.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98 RPThe 1996 Vintage is magnificent. A towering, explosive Champagne, the 1996 delivers the house’s signature breadth in a full-bodied, structured Champagne with enough pure density and acidity to age well for decades. Warm nutty and spiced overtones add nuance on the finish. The 1996 is just beginning to enter the early part of its mature stage, where it is sure to remain for several decades. Krug’s Vintage is one of the truly epic wines of the year.Antonio Galloni | 98 AG(Krug Vintage Brut (Reims)) I had not drunk a bottle of the 1996 Krug in several years, as I had deemed the wine still in climbing mode and I am not generally in the business of drinking Krug before its time. But, a friend recently opened a bottle and I was very impressed with how the wine is evolving in the bottle since its release. The bouquet is now starting to show some lovely secondary layering of complexity in its blend of apple, peach, a touch of sweet walnut, patissière, a refined base of minerality, caraway seed and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine flavors on the attack echo the nose nicely, with the wine’s full-bodied format sporting excellent depth at the core, still plenty of the vintage’s snappy acidity, great focus and grip and a very, very long and utterly refined finish. Though this remains quite racy structurally, I really like the point it has reached in terms of aromatic and flavor complexity and it is really not a crime to be opening bottles up at this point in its evolution, though it still has room to grow with further bottle age. A great, great vintage of Krug. (Drink between 2019-2060).John Gilman | 98 JGThis is a handsome yellow-gold colour with hints of bronze. Still fresh and vigorous yet with a ripe acidity. Wow, this is something else in the mouth! There is a lot going on - firm and tight one moment, then a panoply of sensuous flavours. Williams pears and glace à l’orange evolve into lemon and prunes. A splendid finale of great length and vigour demonstrates that this ’96 still has years of life ahead of it. Drinking Window 2017 - 2030.Decanter | 96 DEC

As low as $840.00
1996 Meo Camuzet Richebourg

(Richebourg- Domaine Méo-Camuzet) I have long been a fan of Jean-Nicolas Méo’s 1996 Richebourg and the wine acquitted itself very nicely at our tasting. The bouquet is deep, pure and still youthful, but also stunning in its potential, as it wafts from the glass in a complex array of black plums, red and black cherries, raw cocoa, Vosne spices, a complex base of soil, duck and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and quite refined in profile, with a lovely core, great soil signature, ripe, suave tannins, tangy acids and beautiful balance on the long and moderately tannic finish. Great juice in the making- just add more time. (Drink between 2025-2075)John Gilman | 96 JGThis wine is medium-to-dark ruby-colored and displays a flattering nose of deeply intensely red and black fruits, and hints of mint-laced chocolate. Its magnificent personality has gorgeous definition, a full body, and spectacularly rich and fat cherry fruit. This highly concentrated, profound, harmonious, exceedingly classy, and superbly-balanced wine has a formidably long and supple finish that reveals loads of oak-imbued, juicy, and popping (the French would say croquant) red and black fruits. Wow! Drink this gem between 2004 and 2012.The village appellation offerings from Vosne and Nuits have the lowest pHs (3.35) of Meo’s wines (the rest are between 3.45 and 3.5).Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93-95 RPRipe and balanced, offering wet earth, mineral, smoke and red berry complexity, this is superbly intense on the finish, with a round, velvety mouthfeel. Grows on you as it kicks into high gear, rockets to a beautiful finish. This grand cru from Jean-Nicolas Méo tastes sweeter and more hedonistic than his minerally Clos de Vougeot, but both get the same classic rating. Best after 2007.Wine Spectator | 95 WSLess deeply colored than some of Meo’s other ’96s. Wonderfully complex, perfumed aromas of cassis and bitter chocolate. The sweetest of all these ’96s, with superb violet and dark berry inner-mouth perfume. Lovely balance. Finishes firmly tannic and very long. Seems less tough than the Cros Parantoux and even more charming than the Brulees. Lovely integration of oak.Vinous Media | 93+ VM(Domaine Méo-Camuzet ’ Richebourg Richebourg Grand Cru Red) There is an interesting menthol character to the still agreeably fresh and bright aromas of red and blue pinot fruit that display only the barest traces of secondary development along with wet stone, spice, earth and leather hints. The palate impression is really quite supple yet the hallmark tension and precision typical of the ’96 vintage is very much present and not surprisingly the mineral character is much stronger here than it is in the ’97. The cool, clean and still moderately firm finish is especially intense and persistent with impeccable balance. Overall, this offers good power without undue weight in a refined and elegant style. In terms of maturity, while this is approaching its majority and could certainly be enjoyed now I would advise a few more years of patience. Consistent notes. (Drink starting 2016)Burghound | 93 BH

As low as $4,995.00
1996 montelena cabernet sauvignon estate California Red

The 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a powerful, black ruby/purple-colored wine with cherry liqueur-like flavors, full body, loamy, earthy scents, and a terrific, long finish that suggests 20-30 years of ageability.Robert Parker | 94 RPOpenly fruity and seductive, with layers of cherry, currant and berry; extraordinary flavors and balance.--Chateau Montelena vertical. Drink now through 2012. — JLWine Spectator | 92 WSGood ruby-red. Spicy, roasted aromas of cassis, black plum, toasty oak and pepper. Lush, jammy and a bit undifferentiated; showing its baby fat today. Seems distinctly less lively than the ’95, but the tannins are quite fine for the vintage and there excellent finishing persistence.Vinous Media | 90 VM

As low as $215.00
1996 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Produced from a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc, the saturated, dark ruby-colored 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits sweet cherry, herbal spice, and candied blackberries in its elegant, sexy aromatics. This delightful, medium-bodied, and harmonious wine offers blueberry, cassis, and spice flavors. It is seamless, refined, and possesses a harmony, equilibrium, and delineated finish rarely seen in the New World. Projected maturity: 2003-2018.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPQuilceda makes big, muscular Cabernets, but the power is tightly controlled and never out of whack. Firm cherry fruit is edged with mixed spices from barrel aging. Still young and hard, this is a tannic wine that clearly has the stuffing and structure to age indefinitely, but if drunk now will require many hours of breathing time. Editors’ Choice.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WEBright medium ruby. Aromas of blackcurrant, tobacco leaf, bitter chocolate, smoke and mint. Brooding and powerful; in a drier style but with strong fruit and mineral complexity. Calls to mind both St. Estephe and St. Emilion. Finishes with big, palate-dusting tannins and sneaky length.Vinous Media | 91+ VM

As low as $159.00
1997 Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita Priorat

Irresistible fruit meets immovable structure. It’srare that such a juicy, ripe fruit-bomb, lush withblackberry and blueberry flavors, is also soconcentrated and well structured, but this richred effortlessly marries power and grace. Abenchmark for the appellation. Drink now through 2010. 300 cases made.Wine Spectator | 96 WSBright ruby. Highly nuanced aromas of blackcurrant, pungent minerals and spicy, toasty oak. Large-scaled yet light on its feet. Terrific fruit carries through to a very long, ripely tannic aftertaste. Kept fresh and lively by a flavor of licorice and very good acidity. A great showing for a vintage with a modest reputation for red wine in Spain. Palacios used more heavily toasted barrels following the rainy harvest of ’97, but eschews charred oak in richer years like ’98.Vinous Media | 92 VM

As low as $1,380.00
1997 araujo eisele cabernet sauvignon California Red