07 Apr

 NOW YOU SEE IT, NOW YOU DON’T Whether you are a serious collector seeking critically acclaimed wines for your cellar or a restlessly curious explorer on the lookout for rare bottlings to try, the last few years have unquestionably made the process considerably more challenging. The global pandemic brought a number of interrelated challenges to bear, such as supply-chain disruptions, glass shortages, and sharply rising consumer demand, to name just a few. With shipping delays and customers trading up to better, but rarer bottlings that were already in short supply, buyers began cleaning out allocations of the most sought after bottlings as well as more and more of the undiscovered gems. And it didn’t help that climate factors (wildfires, untimely frosts, hail, etc.) delivered a string of short vintages in many parts of the world, culminating in the disastrous 2021 campaign in Burgundy. Wines that were already challenging to find became nearly impossible to obtain, and allocations shrank to pitifully small amounts, especially for third-tier markets like Maine. But fortunately for you, here at Browne Trading Market we make it a priority to chase down the finest, most interesting, and rarest bottlings we can find. Quantities, however, are lower than ever, which is why I call this category of wines “now you see it, now you don’t!” Here’s a selection of very recent arrivals to check out- while they last… CRU BEAUJOLAIS FROM DANIEL BOULAND Cru Beaujolais from top producers has always been a go-to category for savvy shoppers, and the skyrocketing prices of Burgundy from the Côte-d’Or have only made them more desirable, and consequently, harder to find. Wines from Lapierre, Jean Foillard, Guy Breton, and Jean-Paul Thevenet- Kemit Lynch’s so-called “Gang of Four”- were among the first to achieve cult status and have been on must-have lists for shoppers for at least 20 years. This prompted many buyers to seek out the next great discovery from the region. Amazingly, the wines of Daniel Bouland were relatively unknown until just a few years ago. Even then the wines were not abundant, but at least you could get them. In just the last two years, thanks to the trifecta of short vintages, supply-chain disturbances, and sharply rising demand, they have become almost impossible to get, so the current release in Maine is both belated and painfully small. At Browne Trading Market we have bottles of the Côte de Brouilly Cuvée Mélanie 2018 ($41.00), the Morgon Bellevue 2019 ($41.00), from a parcel of old vines Daniel acquired in 2014, and the legendary Morgon Les Delys 2019 ($49.00), from his oldest parcel, with vines planted in 1926. The Côte de Brouilly is the lightest of the three, but all of them are luminous, textured, and enthralling examples of whole-cluster fermented old-school cru Beaujolais that will easily age 10+ years. CHÂTEAU DES TOURS The home estate of Emmanuel Raynaud, winemaker and proprietor of the renowned and elusive Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine des Tours is located just outside of Vacqueyras. The estate was purchased by the Reynaud family in 1935, and the vineyards are managed according to the same organic practices as Château Rayas, with manual ploughing, long hang times, and hand harvesting. Whole cluster, natural fermentations are followed by aging in concrete tanks and some oak casks. Though not as rare- or expensive- as Rayas, these are among the most sought-after wines in the Rhône. Browne Trading Market was able to secure bottles of the Château des Tours Côtes-du-Rhône Réserve 2015 ($90.00), with 65% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 15% Cinsault, and 18 months in used 600L casks, and the Domaine des Tours Réserve 2015 ($70.00), made from a blend of Grenache, Counoise, Syrah, Cinsault, and Merlot. These are exceedingly rare (bottles from this vintage are selling on auction at Sotheby’s) and our pricing is the lowest in the nation by a wide margin. Domaine du Closel Savennières Les Caillardières 2019 - $58.00 To put it briefly, there is never enough Domaine du Closel to go around. This has rapidly become one of my favorite estates in the appellation, and all of their bottlings are well worth searching out. The Caillardières is a windy plateau of sandy soils over schistous rock, with average vine age of 35 years. The grapes here are harvested later, but the wine is finished fully dry (under 3 g/L of RS), so it is usually one of the bigger wines in the range. The 2019 is a powerful vintage, with notable extraction, tension, and density. These wines age magnificently for decades, but offer immense pleasure even at 5+ years old. Prager Ried Achleiten Riesling Smaragd 2021 - $99.00 To many collectors, the Smaragd-level bottlings of the top crus from the top estates of the Wachau represent the pinnacle of white wine in Austria. These chiseled, dignified wines develop profound textural and flavor complexity with cellar time, while exhibiting impeccable stature in their youth. As such, they have been in startlingly shorter supply with each vintage release. Achleiten, with its steep terraces on complex mixtures of primary rock, yields some of the most coveted Rieslings and Grüners of the region. Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru Extra Brut NV - $159.00 This independent grower-Champagne has gone from being a “best kept secret” among Champagne nerds a decade ago to the highly allocated cult-status wine that it is today. This edition is based on the 2017 harvest, all sourced from the Grand Crus of Ambonnay, Bouzy, and Verzenay in the Montagne de Reims, and aged on the lees during the second fermentation for 48 months. It is one of those Champagne bottlings that is always deeply satisfying and thoroughly reliable from one release to the next.

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