January is the month in which our Burgundy 2017 En Primeur campaign really gets into gear with the majority of domaines releasing their wines to market for the first time. Stay tuned for releases from Liger-Belair, Hudelot-Noëllat, Jean-Marie Fourrier, Groffier, Lamarche, Tortochot, Gros Frère et Sœur and many more coming up this month.
But January is about much more than just Burgundy. It is full of exciting releases from all over the world including some top releases from the likes of Bruno Giacosa in Barolo, Agrapart in Champagne, Mas Doix in Priorat and Paul Hobbs' top wines from his Viña Cobos estate in Mendoza.
Discover our pick of the Wines to Watch in January 2019...
Viña Cobos is one of Argentina’s greatest wine estates founded by the enigmatic Paul Hobbs - the man who introduced the idea of the single varietal Malbec to Argentina in 1994. After working with Nicolás Catena at Catena Zapata he went on to set up Viña Cobos in 1998 with the intent of producing the very finest Malbec on the planet. Historically very little of the wines have been released onto the international market due to such small quantities being produced, with most of the production being sold to keen followers, direct from the winery. 20 years down the line and this month sees his top two single vineyard 2015s released for the first time via FINE+RARE. We tasted the wines last month and were completely blown away by the wines' tannin structures, density of flavour yet supreme elegance. These wines are sublime!
Of the Cobos Chañares Estate Malbec, Luis Gutiérrez of the Wine Advocate states: “...the wine has remarkable complexity and depth for such young vines. This is a wine that marks a new era in the Viña Cobos history, with more weight from the Valle de Uco and less intervention in the winery, and it has more freshness and transparency and less new oak. It has a dry palate with fine-grained, elegant tannins and a long, tasty, somewhat mineral finish. It should develop nicely in bottle.” 96 points.
There are two very exciting releases in Champagne in January to look out for. Dom Pérignon 2008 is one of the most talked about Champagne releases in recent times and it is set to hit the market later this month. The exact date is still under wraps, however as soon as we have any news, you will be the first to know.
Awarding it 98+ Points, Antonio Galloni of Vinous describes the 2008 as: “fabulous… Bright, focused and crystalline in its precision… Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the 2008 its chiseled, bright profile. Several recent bottles have all been magnificent. What I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions.”
The other top release from Champagne in January comes from the single vineyard sites of Agrapart. Agrapart is undoubtedly one of the top growers in the Cotes des Blancs and a leading light in low-yield, minimal intervention, terroir-driven Champagnes. The quality of the wines has resulted in a loyal following and the 2012 Grand Cru cuvees released this month will undoubtedly prove popular amongst true Champagne aficionados.
“The 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru L’Avizoise is another riveting wine from Pascal Agrapart. Here, too, the interplay of textural richness and finesse is utterly captivating. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint and orchard fruit all develop, but it is the wine's feel and stunning balance that make it impossible to resist a second taste, and then a third.” 96 points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous.
Italy is also abuzz with some stunning releases this month. The late, great Bruno Giacosa (the estate has been managed by his daughter Bruna since 2006) is set to release their Falletto Barolo Vigna Le Rocche 2015 in January. Falletto Vigna Le Rocche is made from the oldest vines in the top part of their cru Falletto vineyard. The wine is the equivalent in stature to Conterno’s “Monfortino” and the 2015 vintage is set to be one of the top Italian releases of the year.
James Suckling gives the wine a near-perfect 99 Points: “Subtle and complex aromas of roses, rose stems and meat. Highly perfumed. Extremely pretty, subtle fruit, yet a solid core of tannins holding it all together. Full-to medium-bodied with a chewy mouth feel and a long and persistent finish. Lots of black cherries and walnuts in the aftertaste.”
Another top Piedmont release this month is the range of nine single vineyard 2014 Baberesco Riservas from Produtturi del Barberesco. Enjoying a wonderful vintage in 2014, the estate continues to produce exceptional quality Nebbiolo at a fantastic price. As Galloni explains, this is a release not to miss in 2019: “Piedmont fans will want to be on the lookout for the 2014 Riservas from Produttori del Barbaresco when they are released... I can't think of too many wines that offer this level of quality for what remain incredibly fair prices.”
Finally, don’t miss the inaugural vintage from Mas Doix of their 1903 Centenary Grenache, made of 100% Garnacha from 100+ year old vines and coming from the 2015 vintage. They will also be releasing the 2015 vintage of their 1902 Centenary Carignan – which is their iconic 100% Cariñena release, made entirely from 100+ year old vines from their top vineyards in Priorat. If you missed our article on Mas Doix and why Priorat is so unique - click here. The production of these wines is miniscule (just 295 numbered bottles of the 1903 will be released and 961 bottles of the 1902) and the wines are completely unique and special.
Of the 1903 Centenary Grenache, Gutiérrez states: "It's a bit of a heady Garnacha, an intoxicating wine, showy, open, expressive and impressive... I cannot wait to taste future vintages...". Watch this space.