Wine of the Week
Champagne Lombard NV Extra Brut
$29.99, 26.99 for Wine Club Members
Only 5 cases available.
We live in strange times indeed if a delicious bottle of true Champagne is selling for under $30. Why would I pine away for "normal" times? Let's keep it crazy. And I'm not going to put this bottle in the back of the fridge waiting for something special to come my way. At this price I'll put a few away for that day but also recognize that this bottle is that "special" I've been waiting for right here and now. Voilà!
Hannah, Sam and I tasted this wine individually and made notes. When we all met up to discuss the flight before us, we unanimously agreed that this was a tasty find and we needed to buy in regardless of the unexpected price. Normally Champagne doesn't start until $40. Occasionally we find one we like just below that, but to find something so enjoyable under $30 is very unusual. I don't want to have to always need a reason to open champagne. Historically that was a price driven association. Here's to new expectations and everyday luxuries.
The nose is bright and youthfully complex, offering scents of yellow stone fruits (apricots, peaches, yellow plums), fresh-baked bread and a touch of smokiness. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and focused, with zesty notes. Frothy mousse and very good length.
Champagne Lombard is a small family owned Champagne estate located in Epernay, just north of the prestigious Cotes des Blancs. It was founded in 1925 by Robert Andrieu, a farmer coming from Southwest of France. His son-in-law, Philippe Lombard, took over the family estate in the 1960’s. His son, Thierry Lombard, currently manages the estate. The Lombard family owns 25 acres of vineyards located in the Montagne de Reims, in the Vallée de l’Ardre and in the Cote des Bars. All of the vineyards of the estate are farmed sustainably, some are even in organic conversion. The family is also sourcing grapes from the best terroirs of Champagne among the prestigious Grand Crus of “Mesnil-sur-Oger”, “Avize”, “Cramant”, “Chouilly”, in the Cote des Blancs, “Verzenay” and “Ambonnay” in the Montagne de Reims. The “Caves” of Lombard that are stretching across two levels and adjoining streets over a 1.5 miles have been carved out of the chalk.
Specialized in Premiers and Grands crus, the Lombard family focuses on expressing the identity of each Terroir with minimal to no dosage. The blend of the Extra Brut Premier Cru is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (West of Montagne de Reims in La Petite Montagne de Reims. The plots are named Gueux, Villedommange, Jouy- Les-Reims, Coulomnes and Sermier) and 40% Chardonnay (Sourced from Grauves and Vertus in Cotes des Blancs) in Premier Cru classified vineyards.
A match maid in heaven
Champagne served with Caviar Sour Cream Dip with Potato Chips
The New York Times
NEW ARRIVALS from Tranche and Corliss
Notes by Hannah Green
Tranche Estate Walla Walla
Tranche Estate, a sister winery to Corliss Estates, occupies a spectacular site in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, east of Walla Walla. The vineyard climbs as high as 1265 feet and provides a heart-thumping birds-eye view of the entire Walla Walla Valley. Blue Mountain Estate Vineyard is home to Tranche’s flagship red wines—Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah—known for their classic varietal characteristics and fine, polished tannins.
The elevation, airflow, moderate rainfall and balanced sun exposure across the vine rows make Blue Mountain Vineyard a unique “sweet spot” in the Walla Walla Valley. These natural factors maximize the growing season, protect against spring frost and winter freeze, ensure physiological ripening, promote acid retention, and minimize the need for irrigation. Tranche farms at low yields to maximize fruit intensity and concentration, and uses sustainable farming methods. The estate’s flock of Old English Southdown “Babydoll” Sheep provides an environmentally-friendly way of maintaining vineyard groundcover during the growing season and improving soil fertility.
Tranche Pape Red 2017
34.99, 31.49 for Wine Club Members
"Dark red with ruby tones. Sexy scents of dark raspberry, plum jam, mocha and olive tapenade lifted by subtle pepper and brown spice nuances. Plush, fine-grained, savory and quite dry; more about spices, tree bark, mocha and pepper than primary fruits today but boasts a lovely creamy texture. Still, I wanted a bit more fruit sweetness and inner-mouth lift. The tannins dust the front teeth. This Syrah-based blend has the concentration and firm structure to age. (fermented in concrete and aged in neutral French oak puncheons for 22 months).”
"90 Points"-Stephen Tanzer, Vinous.
51% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 19% Grenache
Tranche Syrah 2017
39.99, 35.99 for Wine Club Members
"Bright red-ruby. Wild, meaty nose melds black raspberry, candied cherry, blueberry and licorice. Densely packed and silky, offering captivating flavors of black raspberry, black plum, minerals, game and Brazil nut. Most impressive today on the very long, rising, palate-staining finish which shows building tannins and hints of black pepper and black truffle, with some oak spices eventually emerging. "The product of a great growing season: hot but not crazy hot," noted assistant winemaker Spencer Williams. (aged in 30% new French oak for 22 months; all Phelps clone).” "92 Points" Stephen Tanzer, Vinous
Tranche Cabernet Franc 2017
39.99, 35.99 for Wine Club Members
"Moderately saturated bright, dark red. Aromas of redcurrant, raspberry, cocoa powder, tobacco leaf and herbs; the first one of these wines to show a clear pyrazine character. Then plush and fine-grained in the mouth, but at the same time even more backward and serious than the 2015 version, with blue fruit flavors lifted by a floral element. Quite dry and classic but boasts terrific volume. This varietally expressive but still slightly youthfully medicinal Cabernet Franc still needs another year or two of cellaring and should evolve gracefully in bottle. (aged in 40% new French oak for 22 months).” "92+ Points" Stephen Tanzer, Vinous.
Tranche Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
49.99, 44.99 for Wine Club Members
"Dark ruby-red. Expressive Cabernet Sauvignon aromas of crushed blackcurrant, licorice, menthol, tobacco leaf, dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Seriously dense and fine-grained on the palate, with its dark berry, licorice, mineral and dark chocolate flavors conveying uncompromising dryness. Notes of menthol, herbs and Espelette pepper emerge on the back end, with firm tannins spreading out horizontally to saturate the palate and dust the incisors and front teeth. Lay this one down. (Michael and Lauri Corliss are now keeping 30% to 40% of the fruit from their Blue Mountain Estate vineyard, and selling the rest to a half dozen or so wineries; aged in 50% new French oak for 22 months).”
"92+ Points" Stephen Tanzer, Vinous.
Corliss Estate Walla Walla
Michael and Lauri Corliss exercise the highest degree of quality in each state of winemaking, from sustainable, meticulous viticulture, to individual berry sorting at harvest, to slow native yeast fermentation in micro-scale custom oak and concrete fermenters. They follow this with extended elevage in barrel, rigorous selection of the best lots for blending, and over two years of additional aging in bottle before the wines are finally labeled and available for your enjoyment.
Their first Red Mountain vineyard, purchased in 2007, was 33 acres originally planted in 1989 to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. It is located on Sunset Road—a Red Mountain sweet spot that they refer to as ‘the tenderloin’. The fruit from this site has historically produced some of the finest wines from Washington State.
Corliss Red 2015
$74.99, $67.49 for Wine Club Members
"Mostly from Michael Corliss's Red Mountain Canyons vineyard; aged in 65% new oak for 28 months. Bright medium ruby. Aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, licorice pastille and sexy oak convey distinctly warm tones. Wonderfully rich, plush wine with terrific horizontality on the palate; not quite as thick as the 2014 version but sweeter and surprisingly fragrant, showing an element of chocolatey ripeness and a hint of wild herbs. This was actually bottled a bit earlier than usual but is unlikely to be released before 2020. The tannins spread out and build on the long, spicy finish. This dense, very primary wine possesses terrific fruit but is still an infant.” "92+ Points"-Stephen Tanzer, Vinous
Corliss Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
$94.99, $85.49 for Wine Club Members
"Winemaker Andrew Trio added a bit of Cabernet Franc "for its cooling herbaceousness"; aged in 70% new oak for 28 months. Bright, dark ruby-red. Blackberry, licorice, wild herbs and bitter chocolate on the nose, with some complicating savory notes. Fine-grained, glossy and superconcentrated, boasting bulletproof flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate, cocoa powder and sexy Taransaud spices complicated by a subtle savory quality. This very dark, brooding wine is still an infant but already delivers noteworthy sex appeal owing to its velvety claret-like texture. Finishes with big, sweet tongue- and tooth-dusting tannins and terrific mounting length.” "95+ Points"-Stephen Tanzer, Vinous.
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