October 29, 2016

October 29, 2016

Greetings & Autumn Cheers!

Our Holiday Season commenced with a double surprise when a few long time cellar clients asked me to help restock their showpiece wine cellars while eight others hired me to design and fill their new cellars.

In one case we all had a big chuckle when one wine purchase exceeded $60,000 and the credit card company declined the approval. Since the credit limit for that card apparently was in the mid-6 digits, the client calmly called his assistant to look into the matter. A few minutes later we learned that his wife had made a large purchase at the same time elsewhere. Without any sign of upset he asked me to resubmit the charge and it was promptly approved. When we delivered the van load of cases into his cellar a short time later, the couple was savoring life to the fullest…

Such acquisitions may seem mind boggling to some, but not to us because many of our highly intelligent, successful clients have heeded my advice about stocking up NOW in order to ride out at least 6 years of small crops of mostly modest quality (2010 – 2016). A European wine magazine just calculated that the prices of Burgundies have doubled in the last 5 vintages despite their mostly mediocre reviews. Several visiting winemakers from Europe also confirmed that the climate change there has been traumatic. Very reminiscent of their horror decade of the 1970s when I started in the fine wine trade.

On the upside I am delighted to announce the new crop of diligently curated arrivals from across the globe that are certain to dazzle your senses.

The 2014 white Burgundies fared very well (B+) in the hands of top talented producers, but the pricing ranges from attractive to insulting unless you have an expert screener. Here are some of our top value recommendations:

  • 2014 Domaine Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis (deliciously crisp bargain) $24.97
  • 2014 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay (delightful sipper, spritely) $32.97
  • 2014 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey (tiny allocations of our favorite shadow sites)
  • Many more are still arriving, but react promptly due to their small production.

White Bordeaux bargain of the vintage:

  • 2014 Clos des Lunes (marvelously vibrant citrus aromas, silky) $28.97 (Yes!)

White Rhone Rising Super Star:

  • 2015-Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cailloux Blanc (better than our best selling 2014 vintage this summer, wonderful opulence and minerality) $52.97

Italian Reds from Tuscany reached new heights in 2010 due to their voluptuousness and dramatic flavor exuberance, a milestone vintage not to be missed:

  • 2010 Le Ragnaie Brunello di Montalcino $88.97
  • 2010 Podere Brizio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva $99.97
  • 2010 Podere Il Poggione Vigna Paganelli Brunello di Montalcino $138.00
  • 2010 Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva $129.97
  • A real bargain gem is one our long-time favorites for casual pasta dishes: 2014 Le Volte dell Ornellaia (little brother to Ornellaia for a song) $31.97

The 2013 vintage in Napa has earned superlative reviews, but with very limited availability:

  • 2013 Continuum (Tim Mondavi’s legacy flagship, superbly elegant) $232
  • 2013 Joseph Phelps Insignia (a classic rendition of hillside bravura) $268 2013
  • Opus One (perhaps their best vintage rendition yet!) $278 ($148/half bottle) 2013
  • Dominus (a real serious and brooding athlete with brain appeal) $298

Top bargain:

  • 2012 Silverado Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Half Bottle (a real steal!) $22.97

We are receiving scores of cases every week to stock up for the near future as the drought in California continues to take its toll. We urge diligence and caution as the market returns to the minefield of painfully expensive mistakes again due to speculators and fraudsters stoking the “pump & dump” schemes! There are many more exciting stories and arrivals to tell, but a visit to the shop or a phone call would be far more relevant and efficient for you to identify the prospects vs. suspects.

We are also working diligently on our new Gift Service Program that will feature gorgeous custom fabricated gift boxes, unique accessories and sophisticated treats for cosmopolitan gourmets. You can learn about them in our next issue.

Wishing you a fun and safe Halloween!

Johnson Ho and the Pantheon Wine Team

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