Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two Year Anniversary

MILLESIME will be officially 2 years old in January of 2006. I'd like to thank everybody who made it possible! I continue to seek out and represent excellent exclusive wines, untouched by multiple middlemen - just me! Thanks to your support and good wishes, I enter my third year in business bigger and better than ever.

To those who for whatever reason haven't yet done business with MILLESIME - I've made it this far for a few important reasons:

The wines are good
The wines are great values
The wines are unique and not national brands!

I fully understand the reluctance to deal with small distributors when so many go under after only a brief time in business. While there may be 30-40 wine distributors in this market (some obviously more viable than others) there are very, very, few who do only imports, let alone all of those direct from the producers. MILLESIME is no flash in the pan, and I thank you for your support.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

BUG WINES - presold out!

Well almost, there is only one of the 3 still available: the Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel Rouge
For those who missed out on the **** 18/20 2003 RASTEAU "LA PONCE" and the 2003 "SASSIRA" there will be another shipment of these wines sometime in Spring.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

New French Container

New French wines are coming to Millesime! They will be here in time to celebrate our 2 year anniversary, and I'm not afraid to say that there are some real winners here - some of the wines are already presold out! There is something to please most everyone.


After superb 2002s, extraordinarily successful 2003s, we are back to form with the more classic 2004s. This team of brothers produces exquisitely racy floral and mineral laden wines.

2004 SANCERRE BLANC - Balanced, fruity, floral and mineral effort. This is easily the best Sancerre Blanc available in Seattle for the price.
2004 POUILLY FUME - Weightier than the Sancerre, this qualifies as a 'screaming deal' - a stunning example priced well below market. ** in the 2006 Guide Hachette with the best qp/r.
2004 SANCERRE ROUGE - Love them or hate them, global warming has been good to Sancerre Rouge. Delicate, but in no way wimpy, hight-toned fruit with great class.


Speaking of a return to the classics, the 2004 Saumurs fit the bill. Lots more acidity than 2003, but still plenty juicy.
I have also procured the last 25 cases of 2003 single-vineyard Saumur Champigny - the "Vignolles".

2004 SAUMUR BLANC RESERVE DES VIGNERONS - More like the 2002, but the trend is to riper and richer
2004 SAUMUR ROUGE RESERVE DES VIGNERONS - This is much more typical than the 2003 which was something of an oddball. Very good color and concentration nevertheless in this medium-bodied example.
2003 SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY "LES VIGNOLLES" - This wine like the "Poyeux" was reviewed in the WS. The Poyeux got 90, the Vignolles 89, not surprising considering that the Vignolles is more elegant, while remaining plenty rich and juicy. The last of the very desirable 2003 single vineyard Champignys available anywhere.


I 'discovered' this estate back in 2000 at a Bordeaux satellite trade show in France. Bertrands wines are always dark, lush and quite delightful examples. The Chateau's regularity of quality over the years is really quite exceptional.

2003 PREMIERES COTES DE BLAYE ROUGE "TRADITION" - Those of you who enjoyed the 2000 and 2002 will find a lot to like here in this lusty claret, composed of 70% merlot and 30% Cab. Franc. Very deep, with cassis and other dark fruits.


Millesime was the first to bring quality French 'box wine' to Seattle, and we had good success with the 2002 version of this lusty Nimes red.

2003 COSTIERES DE NIMES ROUGE - 70% syrah, 30% grenache this box has an opaque, inky purple color. Rich and intense with suave tannins, this one to always have on hand in the kitchen, for the cook and the guests!


The Vinsobraise Co-op has really made a turnaround. Known in the past for hard, lean, uninteresting wines even by Vinsobres standards, nowadays they are making wines that are standouts among all CDRVs including the most expensive. Earlier this year we offered their Hachette 'coup de coeur' Cuvée des Terroirs 2003.

2004 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES VINSOBRES ROUGE "MEDAILLE D'OR" - Deep and spicy with very fine tannins and 'gobs' of fruit. This is the kind of bottle that empties fast. The name of the cuvée refers to the medal won at the Concours General de Paris.

Rochegude is the northernmost CDRV, and one of the more obscure. In the days before global warming, it was one of the more difficult Villages in terms of ripeness. This example is exceptional in every way. This wine was first made with the 2003 vintage, an effort that earned **** in the RVF. All of the Quatre Filles wines are certified organic by ECOCERT.

2004 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES ROCHEGUDE ROUGE - ***(*) in the November 2005 issue of the RVF (RVF PDF), Quatre Filles is leading the way for this Village. Superb color, balance and depth.

Interest was so strong on a couple of these that they are SOLD OUT. More will be coming in Spring, but there are still some cases of this rarity:

2003 RASTEAU VIN DOUX NATUREL ROUGE - 100% "Very old" grenache. Deeply colored, rich and unctuous concoction of fruits chocolate and spices. Finish several miles long.

- Millesime is very proud to be the sole US importer of this amazing estate, with some of the oldest vines and best exposures in Cairanne. Like Escaravailles, Hautes Cances skipped 2002 and offers us now some exceptional 2003s. All of these wines are certified organic by ECOCERT.

2003 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES ROUGE - Luscious and stuffed everyday drinker that will leave you and your guests looking for more.
2003 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES CAIRANNE ROUGE "TRADITION" - Those who enjoyed the 2001 will be pleased with this effort, which has plenty of class to go with the concentration.
2001 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES CAIRANNE ROUGE "COL DU DEBAT" - Those of you familiar withe the 2000 will be seduced by the 2001, which has all of the richness with more balance and complexity. For the last 2 years I've been open, this single vineyard offering has been the very best wine that I carry. While there may be other Cairannes that are as expensive, there are none to my knowledge with this level of class.

Monday, November 14, 2005


From the September 2005 issue of Decanter "VALUE RHONE We rate 99 Côtes du Rhône Villages 2003"

Domaine des Escaravailles :
Côtes du Rhône Villages Rasteau « La Ponce » 2003 : **** – 18/20 Highly Recommended

La Ponce was one of only two 18/20 wines on the list which includes some very heavy hitters. The Escaravailles Cairanne "Ventabren" was also in the **** Highly Recommended category with a score of 16.75/20. The bad news is the Cairanne was sold out, but the good news is that I managed to secure a quantity of the "Ponce" Rasteau! In addition, I picked up a couple of 2003 Domaine rarities that were not reviewed: a Cotes du Rhone Villages called "Sassira" which as you may have guessed is 90% syrah, and the Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel Rouge. Millesime has easily the best prices in the Western World on these amazing Rhônes. The 2001 was superb, as those of you who succumbed to the charms of the "Bug Wine" with that vintage remember. 2002 was skipped by the winery and sold off in bulk, the 2003s bring on the juice. They are luscious, extracted examples, yet retain their impeccable breed. These wines arrive in about a month, reservations are being accepted as supplies surely won't last long.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Baby Jesus Info

For those curious to know more about The NINO JESUS Winery, here is a link to a .pdf file that is full of useful information about this amazing MILLESIME discovery!

Estecillo PDF

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Baby Jesus for Christmas

Few wines are more appropriate for the impending holidays than “Baby Jesus!” Yes, that includes Thanksgiving! The white is great with turkey and the rosado is one of very few wines that goes well with ham.
S.A.T. Niño Jésus is an agricultural cooperative in the DO Calatayud in the Aragon region. Cherries are their main business, but the stellar wines are gaining notice fast. They have only been ‘estate bottling’ their wines since the 2000 vintage, so we are on the ground floor of a phenomenon here, and apparently I started a trend.

When I started Millesime, there were no Calatayud wines available in Seattle. I contacted the major players in the summer of 2003 (Viñedos de Jalón, San Gregorio) before the big boys did, and for me it was no contest. Jalon was quite good, and San Gregorio's reserva material is really something worth looking at, but for sheer in your face value I had to go with the newcomer, Nino Jesus. I knew that I had really made an amazing discovery here. Anyway, nowadays there are a few Calatayud wineries available in Seattle from other distributors, but only one without a middleman. Taste them together - I have. Nino Jesus is the real thing.

Superlatives are lacking to describe these wines. The white – 100% macabeo, is an oily, nutty, blockbuster. The rosé – 100 garnacha, a vibrant, spicy fruit bomb, with more weight and character than some Tavels. The ‘young red’ – 75% garnacha, 25% tempranillo combines gobs of fruit with oodles of spice. The ‘Legado Old Vines’ – 100% garnacha, is about as much wine as you can pack into a bottle for anything approaching the price. The crianza – 85% garnacha, 15% tempranillo shows off additional complexities!

With the dollar doing well the prices are better than ever, some of the best values I have seen in 15 years in the business.
For the first time ever available, two new wines: a carbonic tempranillo that is a ‘cherry pie in a bottle’, and a grenache syrah blend (Calatayud-du-Rhone if you will). Please call 206.624.1701 to inquire if you are not already a convert.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rumors, Part Deux

Rumors are pretty amazing. A new one has come 'swirling' my way, that MILLESIME is "out of business." Sorry, naysayers! The only end MILLESIME is approaching is its second year IN Business!

Thanks to everybody who has done their part to support my efforts, and also to those who have attempted to sabotage them. My message to both factions: I wouldn't be here without you!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Saumur (red) is for Summer

Dear Friends,

Here as promised is today's "Wine Pick of the Week" column on our SAUMUR ROUGE :


Wine Pick Of The Week: 2003 Cave de Saumur, Saumur Rouge ($10)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Saumur rouge may be the perfect summer red. It is rather light in body compared with those brawny, high-alcohol, teeth-staining purple wines that got us through the cold weather. And its straightforward style makes it just right for those seasonal casual meals when we just don't want to do much sniffing and swirling. Still, there's plenty going on to keep our interest beyond the first glass.

In France, the small city of Saumur, in the middle of the Loire Valley's wine country, may be best known as the center for a sparkling-wine industry that rivals that of the Champagne region to the north. This area has uncanny similarities to the Champagne area, including very distinctive, if not unique, soils. In Champagne, it is the chalk soils that make the wines inimitable. Saumur sits on a chalky stone called tuffeau blanc, which was quarried to build those magnificent chateaux along the Loire River. Huge caves were created from the quarrying process, which now serve as caves for aging wines, breeding mushrooms and even as homes. This soil also is perfect for growing the cabernet franc vine, which is the main ingredient in all Saumur rouge.

I was introduced to today's Saumur at a recent Loire Valley trade tasting that featured some astounding wines of all stripes. Still, this little red held its own among all that august company, which I found impressive. It is made by a well-regarded cooperative called Cave de Saumur, just south of the city in the heart of cab-franc country. It displays aromas of mixed ripe red fruit and a hint of minerals and a soft texture from lots of gentle tannins. Go ahead and cool it down. Not so it's icy cold, but just cool enough to refresh. Serve it with the fatty spring-run salmon or grilled chops, sausages and vegetables. To find the wine, call Millesime Fin Vin at 206-624-1701.

-- Richard Kinssies

Richard Kinssies is a freelance wine writer, director of the Seattle Wine School and owner of the Wine Outlet downtown. He can be contacted at 206-652-1311 or richardkinssies@msn.com.

© 1998-2005 Seattle Post-Intelligencer"

Hey, don't forget the 2003 Saumur Blanc is part of our May French lineup, due to arrive in Seattle next week.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

French Arrivals in May

French wines are arriving in May, and this is the best group that I have so far assembled. From bread-and-butter brands to numerous "coup de coeur" and gold medal winners, these wines will appeal to all. The container is scheduled to arrive in Seattle May 18th. There will be a tasting to the trade on Monday, May 23rd.

VIGNERONS ARDECHOIS - After a very long hiatus, the "Vignerons" are back in Seattle. I've kept it simple: a white and a red.

2003 VIN DE PAYS DES COMTES RHODANIENS CHARDONNAY - The "Vignerons" are the source for the Louis Latour Ardeche Chardonnay and they are indeed a good source. 100% stainless steel - all wine no wood. Very rich and Macon-esque, with plenty of zip.
2001 VIN DE PAYS DES COTEAUX DE L'ARDECHE PINOT NOIR - While their syrah is quite well thought of, and the Merlot and Cab are good sturdy examples, for my money their most interesting red is the Pinot Noir. It is simply the best Pinot Noir at anything approaching its price and will sell fast. The winery made a mistake and shipped 2001 instead of 2003. Their mistake will be your gain as I got them to lower the price.

COSTIERES ET SOLEIL - These wines have acquired quite a local following for their consistent and affordable quality. All colors, and yes more "box wine". If only these wines had "Cotes du Rhone" on the label, I wouldn't be able to keep them in stock. As it is, they are extremely solid wines that are worth much more.

2003 COSTIERES DE NIMES BLANC "PETIT ROMAIN" - Beeswax and white flowers in a cheap white? believe it. Clairette and grenache blanc.
2003 COSTIERES DE NIMES ROSE "PETIT ROMAIN" - Delightful 'fraise de bois' notes in this crisp rosé. 75% grenache 25% syrah
2003 COSTIERES DE NIMES ROUGE "PETIT ROMAIN" - The 2002 was a big seller, and the 2003 is a deeper, fleshier example. 75% syrah 25% grenache
2002 COSTIERES DE NIMES ROUGE "CH. DES ALOUETTES" - Seattle's first French Box Wine is back. 75% syrah 25% grenache

CAVE DE SAUMUR - One of France's most reputable cooperatives. An excellent introduction to the meaning of Chenin and Cab. Franc from the Loire. Anjou-Saumur is the Loire region giving true expression to these noble varietals. Sauv. Blanc and Gamay are absent in this region, making these monocepage wines great examples of varietal typicity.

2003 SAUMUR BLANC "RESERVE DES VIGNERONS" - The 2003 has more weight and richness than the 2002, with stunning opulent fruit. Still, you won't confuse it with a new world chenin, decent acids make this one more than interesting.
2003 SAUMUR ROUGE "RESERVE DES VIGNERONS" - This wine was an 87 point "Smart Buy" in the WS, as well as a "Pick of the Week" by our local critc Richard Kinssies. Global warming has contributed to the marked increase in the quality of this wine. Red Saumurs used to be extremely vegetal or at least grassy, This 2003 has none of that, just lots of dark plummy and brambly fruit. WS pdf
2003 SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY "LES POYEUX" - This wine was a 90 point "Smart Buy" in the WS. One of the cheapest Champignys available, it is also one of the most pleasant to drink. Smoky and powerful with fabulous natural acids. WS pdf

CELLIERS SAINT MARTIN - Some of you may remember the 2001 Roche Noire Corbieres in the quaint six packs. I've got a complete line of Corbieres this time for your delectation. The 2003 reds are mindblowing, there is a most interesting rose, and finally a top cuvee that has won the important prizes.

2003 CORBIERES ROSE "ROCHE GRISE" - Very mineral, medium weight rose, bone dry and plenty rich.
2003 CORBIERES ROUGE "ROCHE NOIRE" - Mostly Grenache with a mourvedre backbone, this is a very serious, large-scale wine for the price.
2003 CORBIERES ROUGE "BIB" - This will be only the second French Bag in Box wine to arrive in Seattle. This is the larger 5 liter size, always good to have on hand.
2001 CORBIERES ROUGE CH. ROQUEFORT ST-MARTIN – This wine may not be cheap, but the pedigree is awesome. Gold medal at the Paris Concours, *** coup de Coeur in the Guide Hachette. 90% mourvedre, 10% grenache, in the manner of a Bandol. Bandol should be as great as this example, which is vinified and aged by cult combo Tardieu Laurent. GH pdf

DOMAINE DU CORNE LOUP – This gold medal winning estate makes its first trip to the USA. The domaine’s name derives from the dark days when a villager was designated to signal the arrival of wolves by blowing a horn.

2004 TAVEL – While Tavel is one of France’s great rose wines, it need not be one of the most expensive. A more classic and balanced example than 2003, excellent weight and acidity.
2003 LIRAC ROUGE – Deeply colored, smoky and plummy fruit, silky texture and superb length of finish.

CAVE “LA VINSOBRAISE” – Strides continue to be made in quality at many of France’s Co-ops. La Vinsobraise combines improved technique with a legendary vintage to extract the maximum from this northern Village.

2003 COTES DU RHONE VILLAGES VINSOBRES ROUGE “TERROIRS” – This wine received *** Coup de Coeur in the latest Guide Hachette – the only Vinsobres to be so honored. 75/25% Grenache syrah, it is considered a “master stroke” with plenty of “panache”. The price is very gentle. GH pdf

DOMAINE AUX MOINES - I became familiar with this estate during my days working for a broker in France. It answers my desire for a higher end Chenin quite nicely.

2002 SAVENNIERES ROCHE AUX MOINES MOELLEUX "CUVEE DES NONNES" - This wine won a ** Coup de Coeur in the 2005 Guide Hachette. This is the late-harvest or 'moelleux' style with residual sugars tempering the raciness of the Chenin. Citrus, white flowers, and a finish a mile long. GH pdf

CH. MERCIER - Philippe Chéty of Mercier is the originator of the minimally interventionist "culture raisonée" philosophy. The wines are regulars in the various Winner's Circles.

2001 COTES DE BOURG ROUGE "PRESTIGE" CH. MERCIER - Those who missed their chance the last time around will be delighted to discover this fine claret. Gold medal at the Paris Concours Général.

VIGNOBLES JEAN PETIT - I am rounding out my Bordeaux selection with two new AOCs.

2002 COTES DE CASTILLON CH. LA BRANDE - Gold medal winner at the 2005 CNCP Competition. That's the "Cercle Nationale des Caves Particulieres", wines produced under the "Vigneron Independant" label.
2000 SAINT-EMILION GRAND CRU CH. MANGOT - Gold medal at the Paris Concours Général. Looking for a superb SEGC at a great price? look no further.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Italian Arrivals

Italian wines are something new for Millesime. Compared to Spain or even France, one has to look a little harder to find the good deals. I've found three wines to get our Italian book started which arrived safely today!

SCOPETANI - This winery is located in the prestigious Rufina district of Chianti, and produces wines with pure sangiovese character.

2003 SANGIOVESE TOSCANA IGT - This wine is more than a match for many available Chiantis at an incredible price.
2003 CHIANTI - This wine is packed with brambly fruit and plenty of terroir. Priced well below market value.

MASSERIA PEPE - This Puglian winery has turned many heads in the press for their modern, densely packed primitivos.

2003 PRIMITIVO DEL TARANTINO "PORTILE" Easily one of the best primitivos available. Super-concentrated and rich, but with exquisite balance and class. Very high-toned fruit and very elegant which is a major rarity from this region of Italy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

April Arrivals from Spain

Incredible values from Spain have arrived! The wines are all showing well and I invite you all to come to Millesime and taste them on Monday, the 25th of April. There are some old favorites but also some new blood too. Here they are:

NINO JESUS - A US exclusive for Millésime with a real cult following. NJ has some of the oldest grenache vines in Spain, with great natural balance and power! I got in on the ground floor with their second vintage (2001) so am able to offer to offer these incredible wines. 2002 was not up to the winery's standards and was sold off in bulk, but those of you who have tasted any of the 2003s know that they are stellar. This time around, we have:

2003 ESTECILLO TINTO JOVEN - A blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Tempranillo. It has major extraction and depth, with stunning length of finish. There are a number of good wines now available from Calatayud (many more than last year when I started with Niño Jesús), but I don't think any of them are up to the level of this Estecillo.
2003 ESTECILLO "LEGADO" VINAS VIEJAS - Pure old-vine grenache from high-altitude vineyards, the finest block of vines in all of Calatayud create this utterly breathtaking wine. Those of you know and love the 2001 will be blown away by the 2003. The first of several shipments of this truly memorable wine.
2000 ESTECILLO CRIANZA - 2000 was the first ever bottled by the winery, and apparently they had some left as they shipped it instead of the 2001 that I had ordered. The oak is swallowed by intense fruit and spice.

NAVARRO LOPEZ - A Millesime discovery from Valdepeñas. Those who remember the excellent 1999 will be pleased to see the wine back in stock with a better vintage.

2000 LAGUNA DE LA NAVA CRIANZA - A radical departure from the 1999, more color, intensity and extraction.

PEREZ CARAMES - Millesime gets in on the Bierzo craze.

2002 CASAR DE VALDAIGA TINTO DE MENCIA - This extremely pretty wine shows off the 'pinot' side of the mencia. Very bright and pure, with a box that has to be seen to be believed.

BODEGAS BLEDA - Millesime is again ahead of the curve with this awesome Jumilla winery.

2003 CASTILLO DE JUMILLA MONASTRELL - This is the best entry level mourvedre wine that I have ever seen. The proof that southern Spain is best suited to this 'difficult' varietal.
2003 MONTESINOS SYRAH - Those who remember the 2002 will be very happy with the 2003 - better color, more depth and richness. Simply the best syrah for the price that I've come across. The French can't do one this good for the price.
2002 DIVUS MONASTRELL - The high end wine from Bleda is I think the finest expression of the mourvedre for the price. I have never had a Bandol that I liked better than this wine.

BODEGA VIRGEN BLANCA - This Co-op produces the best "Merlot" that I have ever seen for the price.

2003 MERLOT "LERIN" - There is no merlot from anywhere that is more for the money! The color is a completely opaque black, and the fruit is utterly decadent.

CAVAS HILL - These cavas can easily stand against many available Champagnes at a fraction of the price. They are toasty, doughy, very rich, and bone-dry!

RESERVA ORO BRUT NATURE - This stands up to champagnes more than twice the cost.
2001 RESERVA ATESANIA BRUT NATURE - The vintage version offers up even more 'Bolly' style dough with an incredible creamy texture.

Friday, April 01, 2005


Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that to be an "importer" means that you IMPORT the wines from out of the country, not as is so often the case that you purchase IMPORTED wines from some agent or broker in America. Perhaps they should call themselves "import distributors" to differenciate themselves from those of us who do it the hard way. I am proud to proclaim that Millesime sells only wines that it purchases directly from the people who make it. Please look at the importer information on the bottle when you shop or dine out, usually grouped with the government warning on the back. On every import bottle that I sell, you will see the name Millesime. This means that I do the work of finding the wines to buy, not some agent. I do the logistical and legal work of getting the wine to Seattle, not some broker. What this means for you is that those agents and brokers don't have their hands in the price of these wines. It will remain that way until I decide to devote my energies to being an agent or broker myself (hey a guy has to make a living)! Come to think of it, it would still be my name on the back of the bottle...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hautes Cances VV in Pacific

An article by Paul Gregutt on 'Old-Vine' wines appeared in the March 20 edition of Pacific NW Magazine (click on the title to go to the story). The Hautes Cances "VV" Cairanne was one of five reds selected, and it was the only French one, the only grenache, and not least importantly it was the least expensive. The fact that this wine stood out enough to be included in a group including Australian shiraz and zinfandel is a testament to its quality. Millesime is the sole US importer of the Domaine les Hautes Cances.


Rumors. I appreciate some good gossip as much as the next guy, but they really have a way of getting out of control. Take for example the swirling rumors concerning the circumstances of my departure from Riservati in 2003. I quit Riservati for many reasons, but to keep is simple - it was, and remains a toxic environment. It was not an easy decision, as there were a lot of dependency issues at play. I love my Father, and respect his achievements. Hopefully someday he can learn to respect mine. The money to launch Millesime came from a home equity line of credit, and later an SBA loan that I was able to land after only a few months in business based on a strong business plan and stronger numbers. I scraped by for most of 2003 on unemployment before my first sales in January 2004. Everyone should have books as clean and as transparent as Millesime. That I have survived my first 15 months in business and succeeded in spite of attempts at sabotage that can only be described as, er, sour grapes is due to several factors, the most important of which is that I offer interesting, excellent-quality wines at great prices. I compete with lots of companies, not only Riservati, yet the rumors seem to come from only one source... The facts remain, sour grapes are just that, and Millesime has great wine!