Felsina- Chianti Classico and Toscana

Fattoria di Fèlsina has long been one of the great names in Tuscany. Based in the Chianti Classico region, Fèlsina produces one of the finest ranges of ageworthy and complex Sangiovese bottlings in all of Italy.

In 1966, Dominic Poggiali Fèlsina took the courageous leap and bought the estate at a time when Italian viticultore was struggling. He chose to invest in the quality of the wine and the expertise of a young team. In 1976, Giuseppe Mazzocolin married Poggiali’s daughter, Gloria Poggialli, in the chapel on the Felsina estate. From that day on, the role of the dedicated Latin and Greek school teacher quickly changed from educator to agricultural artisan.

Mazzocolin tookthe helm of the estate in the early ’80s, and changed the winery’s course to focus on more Sangiovese. With the help of talented wine consultant Franco Bernabei, Giuseppe tried and tested new methods and vines and determined that the southern estate was a natural breeding ground for a unique, richer Sangiovese capable of producing more full-bodied wines that could retain the traditional elegance of the grape. 

At Fèlsina it is widely recognized that the fame of Tuscan wines is based historically on the compelling character of wines produced from Sangiovese, and the estate continues to champion this great varietal using only old “massale” selections cultivated from cuttings from their top old vineyards. Their elegant yet intensely flavored Chiantis place them firmly among the top handful of Chianti producers in terms of complexity and potential for longevity. In addition to their distinct bottlings of Chianti Classico, Fèlsina also produces one of Italy’s top Vino di Tavola’s (or IGTs), called Fontalloro. First produced by Mazzocolin in 1983 along with the Rancia wine, Fontalloro is also Sangiovese-based, and the wine is sourced from old vines in top vineyards that straddle the border of Chianti : “Classico” and “Colli Senesi”. It is produced from vines that are in excess of fifty years of age, and aged in small French oak barrels for fifteen to eighteen months prior to bottling. Because parts lie outside of the Classico borders the Fontolloro will never be labeled Chianti Classico, but rather a Super-Tuscan or IGT wine. Mazzocolin deliberately took the vineyard outside the zone because he felt that the mixture of soils provide the wine with a distinctive flavor.

With Giuseppe and his oldest son Giovanni Poggiali at the helm, Felsina continues to wine accolades year after year. With the 2000 vintage the cru select Riserva Rancia, a dark, powerful union of three different vineyards, stole the Tre Bicchieri award from Fontalloro, and the two stellar wines continue to compete for critical acclaim.


Felsina Wines- Available Now

Felsina Chianti Classico DOCG 2011 ($24.95) $19 special                                   Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2011 Chianti Classico is absolutely impressive and is one of the best base Chianti Classicos I have tasted from 2011. You feel the ripeness and heat of the vintage, but this wine also delivers surprising finesse and complexity. Black cherry and baking spice mingle on the bouquet. Soft tannins wrap around the palate. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”

Felsina Chainti Classico Riserva DOCG 2009 ($34.95) $29 special                           Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva is stunningly beautiful. It boasts a great core of dark red fruit, licorice, spices, new leather and herbs. The 2009 impresses for its mid-palate density and sheer power. This is a great showing. The 2009 can be enjoyed today, but it is rather muscular, and is probably best suited for aging a few years. This is a terrific showing. A recent bottle of the 1995 was stunning in its beauty. The Riserva is 100% Sangiovese aged in a combination of casks and smaller French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.”

Felsina Chianti Classico ‘Rancia’ 2009 ($59.95) $39 special                                      Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2009 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia emerges from the glass with freshly cut roses, sweet red berries, licorice, spices and tar. This is a mid-weight, silky Rancia that impresses for its textural beauty and finesse. The Rancia emerges from a high-altitude site planted from 1958 through1982 with Sangiovese. The wine is aged in French oak barrels, but the oak is never noticeable, even when the wine is young. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029.”

Felsina Fontalloro Toscana 2009 ($69.95) $49 special                                             Antonio Galloni 94 points “There is a lot to like in the 2009 Fontalloro (Sangiovese). For starters, the wine is rich, broad and ample on the palate. Hints of tobacco, savory herbs, licorice and menthol all add complexity over time. The over juiciness of the fruit is nicely balanced by clean veins of underlying acidity that give the 2009 much of its freshness. This is another wine endowed with superb balance and class.”

Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2007 ($59.95) $49 special                                          Wine Advocate 92 points “Felsina’s 2007 Maestro Raro (Cabernet Sauvignon) issimply beautiful in this vintage. A host of grilled herbs, plums, cassis and earthiness emerge from this distinctly Tuscan Cabernet. The fruit is soft, dark and opulent, but never heavy. A soft, caressing finish rounds things out nicely. This is a terrific effort from Felsina. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.”

Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2008 ($59.95) $49 special                                      Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2008 Maestro Raro is beautiful in this vintage, a year in which Cabernet Sauvignon varietal character reigns supreme. Plums, cassis, wild herbs, leather and licorice all come together gracefully in this gorgeous, expressive wine. The 2008 impresses for its length and striking, pure finish. This is a great showing. Maestro Raro is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Malvasia vines that were grafted over beginning in 1984. The 2008 is understated and classy, but it’s all there. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2009 ($59.95) $49 special                                      Wine Spectator 95 points “Black currant, cherry, cedar, olive and coffee aromas and flavors are intense, yet match the refined structure in this classy red. The tannins are assertive and ripe, providing grip and focus. The finish evokes black currant, herb and spice notes. Best from 2015 through 2030.”

Felsina Maestro Raro Toscana 2010 ($59.95) $49 special                                           James Suckling 95 points “This is extremely structured and powerful with currants, blueberries and minerals on the nose and palate. Full body yet structured and very toned. Very muscular. Give it four to five years of bottle age but revel in its youth and beauty now. Best pure cabernet sauvignon ever from here.”

Felsina Vin Santo Chianti Classico 2004 375ml ($47.95) $36 special                      Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2004 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico is fabulous. A reference point wine for the region, the 2004 captures the heart and intellect with its superb balance and pure pedigree. The style is moderately sweet and oxidative, in the best of the Vin Santo tradition. Savory herbs, dried flowers, leather and lightly burned sugar add complexity on the finish. Vin Santo? Felsina remains one of the 2-3 reference points, it’s as simple as that. As for the 2004, well, it is utterly majestic.”

Felsina 2010 – Arriving Late June

Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special   James Suckling 93 points, Antonio Galloni 92+ points “Classicists, on the other hand, will flip out over the 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva. Black cherry, plum, smoke and menthol notes all jump out of the glass. The 2010 is translucent yet also rich, powerful and impeccably balanced. Ideally readers should cellar the 2010 for at least a few years, but that is going to be difficult considering how beautiful the wine is today.” AG

Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Rancia 2010 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special                                                                                                           Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG Rancia 2010 1.5 LITER ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special                                                                                                          Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2010 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is cool, inward and reserved at this stage. Much less expressive than it was from barrel, today the 2010 appears to be in a closed phase. There is so much tension in the glass, though, and I can hardly wait to see where the 2010 goes over the coming years. A burst of mineral and floral infused fruit lingers on the polished, nuanced finish. Today, the 2010 seems to bring together the finesse of 2004 with the structure and power of the 2010. A pretty magical combination, if you ask me.”

Felsina Fontalloro Tosacana IGT 2010 ($59.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special         Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2010 Fontalloro (Sangiovese) is impeccable. A sweet, open bouquet melds into expressive red fruits. Compared to the 2010 Rancia, Fontalloro is a decidedly more delicate, feminine wine. All the elements are very nicely balanced. I expect the 2010 will enjoy a fairly broad window of drinkability. Today I give the 2010 a very slight nod over the 2009, only because I think the 2010 will age a little longer, but both are striking.”

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Wine Spectator’s Top 100 of 2013

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wine Spectator’s Top 100!

As typically happens every year, many of these top wines are sold out before they are awarded their place. For all of you Vinopolis shoppers, we have pulled together a comprehensive list of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 in stock now and available for purchase:


Chateau Canon la Gafelliere St. Emilion 2010 ($179.95) $149 special

Wine Spectator 96 points “This takes the power of the vintage and puts it in its pocket for later, preferring instead to let mouthwatering briar, loganberry, mulberry and blackberry fruit strut its way forward, enlivened with roasted wood spice and supported by suavely but thoroughly embedded iron-tinged structure. Should cruise for two decades. Best from 2016 through 2035.”

Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine shows wonderfully exotic tapenade, licorice, Christmas fruitcake, cedar wood, blackberry and sweet cherry notes in its strikingly provocative aromatics. On the palate, the wine is dense and full-bodied, with stunning concentration, purity, texture and length. It is full-bodied, silky smooth and seems to have more in common with the 2009 than one might expect, although the freshness and tannin levels are slightly more elevated. Drink it over the next 20+ years.”


Mascarello Barolo Monprivato 2008 ($119.95) $99 special

Wine Spectator 95 points “Detailed and fragrant, offering floral, strawberry, cherry, licorice and spice flavors, this is elegant and underlined by a strong mineral streak. Well-proportioned, picking up intensity and complexity on the long, savory finish. Extremely fresh and classy. Best from 2016 through 2035.”

 Wine Advocate 94 points “Readers will have to be especially patient with the 2008 Barolo Monprivato, a wine that has none of the early appeal of other recent vintages. Still very much closed in on itself, the 2008 possesses serious depth, power and structure, but those elements are suppressed by the recent bottling. Dried rose petals, crushed berries and mint are some of the nuances that flesh out on the powerful, imposing finish. I don’t think the 2008 will ever match the 2006 or 2007, but it is going to be fun seeing how close it gets. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2048.”


Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reservee 2010 ($119.95) $95 special

Wine Spectator 97 points “Intense, with the tarry, bittersweet cocoa-fueled grip of the vintage running through a well-endowed core of crushed plum, blackberry paste and braised fig. The muscular finish picks up notes of brick dust, pepper, warm chestnut leaf and smoldering charcoal. A throwback profile, with a hyperripe core of fruit—and it works. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and others. Best from 2015 through 2035.”

Robert Parker 98 points “Looking at the 2010s and a brilliant vintage for Laurence, the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape offers up classic Pegau aromas and flavors of ripe dark fruits, garrigue, cured meats, tobacco leaf, saddle leather and hints of game. Full-bodied and beautifully concentrated, it offers a seamless, layered profile on the palate with thrilling mid-palate depth, sweet, yet substantial tannin, and a blockbuster finish that stays fresh and beautifully focused. Quite polished by this estates standards, it nevertheless screams southern France and I doubt it’s possible to have too much of this beauty in the cellar. It will absolutely thrill over the coming 2-3 decades”

And the rest of the Top 100, listed below: 

#13- Croft Vintage Port 2011 ($79.95) $69 special 2 bottles left SOLD OUT
Wine Spectator 97 points “Effusively juicy, rich and concentrated, showing plenty of snap to the crisp and well-spiced flavors of wild berry, dark currant and plum tart. Orange-infused chocolate notes linger on the exotic, mocha-filled finish. Best from 2020 through 2045″

#22- La Rioja Alta Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserve 2004 ($34.95) $30.90 special 
Wine Spectator 94 points “Cedar, tobacco and spice hints frame dried cherry, berry and vanilla notes in this silky red. The flavors mingle nicely, framed by juicy acidity and light but firm tannins. The wine has a lovely, weightless intensity. A fine example of the traditional style. Drink now through 2020.”

#32- Bodegas Hidalgo Gitana Manzanilla Jerez La Gitana NV ($19.95) $14 special 3 cases left
Wine Spectator 91 points “Bright, with saline, sunchoke and blanched almond notes backed by a piercing, chalk-framed finish. This is all precision and cut. Drink now.”

#65- JJ Prum Riesling Mosel Graacher Himmelreich Spatlese 2011 ($41.95) $32 special 16 bottles left
Wine Spectator 93 points “Features a savory aroma, with flavors to match, showing good acidity to the juicy apple, pear and white currant flavors. Curry notes extend on the finish, displaying plenty of cream. Powerfully structured and deep with spice. Drink now through 2032. 1,000 cases made”

#84- Miraval Jolie-Pitt Cotes de Provence Rose 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special 6 bottles SOLD OUT
Wine Spectator 90 points “Refined and elegant, offering pure and concentrated flavors of dried red berry, tangerine and melon. The focused finish features flint and spice notes, with a hint of cream. Drink now.”

#92- Chateau Larcis Ducasse St. Emilion 2010 ($179.95) $149 special 18 bottles left
Wine Spectator 94 points “A rich, tongue-coating style, with loamy structure and dense plum sauce, roasted fig and warm dark currant confiture notes, all inlaid with espresso and graphite. Still tightly drawn now, this needs a bit more cellaring to unfurl fully, but there’s beautiful polish and lovely fruit worth waiting for. Best from 2016 through 2030. 2,900 cases made.”

To buy these wines, click the ‘Shop Vinopolis Now’ button to the upper right of this page.

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Montepeloso- Wines of Suvereto

Suvereto, one of the warmer micro-climates on the Tuscan coast just south of Bolgheri, is an area that is relatively new to many. Despite its long winemaking and farming history going back as far as 1000 AD, the Suvereto DOC was only officially recognized in 2000. Set in the fertile Val di Cornia, clay soils and proximity to the sea give an intensity to the flavors, producing ripe and direct wines typically made from Cabernet, Merlot, and the local Sangiovese.

In 1998, Fabio Chiarelotto purchased the Montepeloso estate. Though the vineyard was already well-renowned, Chiarelotto saw the potential of the site and chose to take the necessary steps to make the vineyard even better. Retraining, pruning, and even re-grafting many vines, Fabio was committed to perfection, pulling up thousands of low quality vines and replacing them with varietals more suited to the windy warmth of Suvereto. 
Chiarelotto admits that it’s “easy to produce concentrated wines in such a hot climate but it’s much harder to achieve elegance and finesse.” Experimenting with blending every vintage, Montepeloso wines are made with many of the common varieties found in Tuscany. The Gabbro is composed of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, while the Nardo, Eneo and A Quo include many local and rare varietals such as Montepulciano(an indigenous Italian grape), Alicante Bouschet(a dark-red grape cultivated from Grenache and Petit Bouschet), and Marselan(a Southern France varietal cultivated from Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache). With these blends, offered here today, Chairelotto has found a mix of varieties that he feels express the spirit of Suvereto and Montepeloso.
Montepeloso A Quo Suvereto Toscana 2011 ($24.95) $17.70 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “Once again, Montepeloso’s entry-level A Quo is fabulous. I expected to find a rich, powerful wine given the year, instead the 2011 A Quo is fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. Hints of raspberry jam, rose petals and sweet spices literally jump from the glass. The 2011 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. This is a terrific showing from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($44.95) $33 special

Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2008 Eneo literally sparkles on the palate with vibrant red fruit, freshly cut flowers and spices. It shows remarkable tension and delineation all the way through to the resonant finish. This is a striking wine in every way. Floral notes reappear on the finish, along with iron, smoke and ferrous notes, all of which add considerable complexity. This is a dazzling effort from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto. It is composed of 40% Montepulciano, 35% Sangiovese, 15% Marselan and 10% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($49.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 95 points ”The 2009 Eneo is impressive for its sensual personality and overall finesse. Dark red cherries, flowers, licorice, tobacco and flowers all come together beautifully in the glass as this refined, elegant wine shows off its pedigree. Layers of flavor build to the textured, suave finish. This Sangiovese-based red has maintained considerable freshness and vibrancy. Sweet floral and spiced notes linger on the understated finish. The blend is 45% Sangiovese, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Marselan and 5% Alicante Bouschet. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.”
Montepeloso Eneo Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points ”One of the great wines of this vintage, the 2010 Eneo is dazzling. Subtle hints of earthiness, new leather, smoke, bacon fat, tobacco and savory herbs meld into a core of expressive dark red/black fruit. Nuanced and delicate, yet immensely powerful, the 2010 Eneo has it all. The 2010 keeps getting better and better in the glass. I imagine it will be spectacular in another few years. Actually, it already is. Eneo is the largest production of Montepeloso’s three top reds, which will make it easier to find. Readers will not want to miss the superb wine. Montepulciano and Sangiovese are the core of Eneo, while dollops of Alicante and Marsellan round out the blend.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2009 ($179.95) $139 special 
Wine Advocate 94 points ”The 2009 Gabbro (Cabernet Sauvignon) is impeccable and refined from start to finish. This isn’t a vintage built on structure, as has been the case in the recent past, but rather a wine that impresses for its silky tannins, expressive aromatics, and overall finesse. The 2009 is quite feminine and gracious in style, but there is plenty of underlying tannin and fruit. In exchange, the 2009 should drink well earlier than some of the other, more important vintages that precede it. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”
Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($199.95) $149 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2010 Gabbro, Montepeloso’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is all about texture. Today the flavors are completely unevolved, instead it is the wine’s towering presence and sheer personality that stand out most. With time in the glass hints of melted road tar, graphite, smoke and incense gradually being to emerge. An exotic melange of savory herb nuances melt into veins of salinity frame the finish. Readers will have to be patient with the 2010, but it is a jewel of a wine.”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2008 ($139.95) $109 special
Wine Advocate 96 points ”The 2008 Nardo explodes on the palate with wild dark cherries, spices, licorice, cassis and leather. Dark and powerful, yet supremely elegant, the Nardo impresses for its exceptional balance and purity. The fruit literally wraps around the palate in a stunning, radiant expression of pure class. Sweet mentholated and floral notes add the final layers of depth and complexity in this superb wine (45% Montepulciano, 45% Sangiovese, 10% Marselan). Anticipated maturity: 2015- 2028”
Montepeloso Nardo Toscana Suvereto 2010 ($149.95) $119 special 
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “A wine that conquers all the senses, the 2010 is also massively structured. Still, the potential I sensed from barrel is all there in the glass. Rich, dark and powerful, the 2010 Nardo is one of the more intense wines in the range and is likely to require considerable patience. Dark red/black fruit, melted road tar, tobacco, licorice, cloves and cracked pepper linger on the potent, brooding finish. The Eneo is distinguished in the range for its firm, nervous tannin. Give the 2010 another few years in bottle, then drink to age 20, perhaps beyond. Nardo is 50% Montepulciano, 30% Sangiovese and 20% Marsellan.”
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Alvaro Palacios and Descendientes de J Palacios

Alvaro Palacios is not exactly a new face in the wine scene  – he has helped revolutionise the Spanish wine industry by making rich, complex wines from Priorat and is considered, along with Peter Sisseck of Pingus, to be one of the most important winemakers of Spain’s modern era.

One of nine children from the esteemed Rioja winemaking family Bodegas Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios interned in Bordeaux at the side of Christian Moueix, the celebrated winemaker of Pomerol château Pétrus. He credits his tenure under Moueix for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him “the importance of great wines.” Upon his return to Spain he decided against getting involved in the family business and instead pursued his own ventures. Strongly drawn to the ancient, abandoned vineyards of Priorat, Alvaro acquired his first vineyard in 1990. Located 60 miles from Barcelona, Priorat had been one of Spain’s important pre-Phylloxera wine regions, planted predominantly with Garnacha, with Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot producing a smaller percentage. Known for its minerally black soil and the powerful wines produced from this terroir, Alvaro believed  he could make a wine that would truly express the unique area.  He was right. His first wine there, 1995 L’Ermita, is what orginally gained him recognition as one of the world’s most inspired and dedicated winemakers.

His success in Priorat inspired Alvaro to search again for something new, this time putting his faith in the potential of Bierzo and the area’s primary varietal Mencia.  In 1998, Alvaro and his nephew Ricardo Perez, who had just finished studying in Bordeaux, opened the doors to Descendientes de Palacios. Purchasing old vine Mencia vineyards, Alvaro and Ricardo hope to bring new life to Bierzo in the same way Alvaro did in Priorat. The winery is dedicated to Alvaro’s father, and Ricardo’s grandfather, who passed away in early 2000, once again drawing inspiration from their families’ long history in Spanish winemaking. 

The wines we have available from the Palacios group include almost everything available, those labeled Descendientes de J Palacios are from Bierzo and wines labeled Alvaro Palacios are from Priorat.


Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat ($21.95) $15.70 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “Bright purple. Aromas and flavors of ripe red berries, cola and spicecake, with a deeper note of licorice emerging with air. Lush and seamless, with very good finishing breadth and spicy persistence. Shows plenty of upfront appeal but this wine has the concentration and balance to reward at least mid-term aging.”

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2008 ($74.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “Deep ruby. Rich, complex aromas of raspberry, Asian spices, smoky minerals and violet. Focused and precise but also lush and sappy, with a texture of liquid silk and strong minerality adding to its intense red and dark berry flavors. Finishes impressively long, with resonating minerality and very suave tannins.”

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2010 ($69.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Bright violet color. Suave, highly perfumed nose offers fresh raspberry, minerals, candied flowers and Asian spices. Sappy and minerally, offering intense, spice-accented red fruit and floral pastille flavors with superb clarity. Wonderfully supple in texture, with outstanding finishing persistence and only a hint of sweet tannins.”

Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses VV 2008 ($39.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “A sexy, highly perfumed bouquet displays scents of candied raspberry, cherry cola, licorice and potpourri, supported by a strong mineral undertone. Juicy, penetrating red and dark berry flavors stain the palate and repeat the licorice note. Dusty tannins add grip and focus to a long, mineral-dominated finish.”

Alvaro Palacios Priorat Gratallops 2010 ($49.95) $39 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Dark ruby. Aromas of cherry, cassis, cocoa, Asian spices and underbrush, lifted by a strong mineral quality. Juicy, sappy and nicely concentrated, with very good density to its flavors of blackcurrant, bitter cherry and candied rose. A lively, sexy wine that finishes with strong mineral bite and impressive length.”

Descendientes de J Palacios Petalos 2010 ($24.95) $16 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(all mencia, as is the case for all of these wines, which are aged briefly in new French oak and then in older barrels before bottling): Dark ruby. Ripe red- and blackcurrant aromas are complicated by anise, cola and sexy oak spices. Soft dark berry preserve flavors gain minerality and firmness with air. Zesty cherry skin and mineral notes carry through a long, gently tannic finish.”

Descendientes de J Palacios Corullon 2010 ($49.95) $37 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Bright violet color. Pungent, youthful aromas of dark berry preserves, cherry-cola and candied violet, with a mineral topnote. Offers an array of sappy red and dark fruit flavors, with spicecake and anise nuances building with air. Silky tannins give shape and grip to a long, penetrating finish.”

Descendientes de J Palacios La Lamas 2009 ($119.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Vivid ruby. Alluringly perfumed nose combines blackberry, cherry-cola, violet, anise and a pungent mineral note. Sweet and lively in the mouth, offering juicy red and dark berry flavors underscored by intense minerality. The sweet, floral-accented finish features a strong mineral quality and fine-grained tannins and clings with impressive tenacity.”

Descendientes de J Palacios Las Lamas 2010 ($119.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Deep, bright-hued ruby. Powerful, spice-accented aromas of red berry liqueur, cherry pit, rose oil and incense, with a bright mineral topnote. Sappy, penetrating raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show impressive energy and punch, picking up floral pastille and spicecake nuances with air. Finishes chewy and very long, with slow-building tannins and insistent floral and spice notes.”

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Cantina Del Pino Barbaresco


 “From the time I was a young boy I worked year round in these vineyards and I understand that without superior grapes you can’t make superior wine. I know how lucky I am. “

– Renato Vacca -winemaker/owner Cantina del Pino



Who wouldn’t want to drink Barbaresco from the first vineyard to ever make the wine? Though Cantina Del Pino has only been producing since 1997, the Vacca family, and their vineyard, have been a part of Italian winemaking for over 100 years. Domizio Cavazzo established the vineyard in 1894, becoming one of the first winemakers to produce Nebbiolo under the name Barbaresco. An advocate for Langhe farmers, Cavazzo’s vineyard was well known, recognizable by the large Mediterranean pine tree he planted on the day his first son was born. In 1912, the Vaccas took over the estate and have been there four generations, becoming known for world class wines from their historic vineyard. They use the pine tree as inspiration for their label, giving the vineyard the name Cantina Del Pino, or ‘winery of the pine’. Like Wine Advocate will tell you, year after year “Cantina del Pino is a great source for top-notch wines from Barbaresco.” 


Available Now:

Cantina Del Pino Langhe Freisa 2011 ($17.95) $14 special

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2006 ($39.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2006 Barbaresco is simply beautiful. Sweet perfumed cherries, flowers and spices emerge from this mid-weight, firm Barbaresco. The wine offers exceptional elegance and class, with delicate Pinot-like notes that linger on the finish. Today the tannins come across as decidedly youthful, so a few years of cellaring seems wise. This is an exceptional 2006 Barbaresco. The Barbaresco is made from parcels in Ovello, Albesani and Starderi. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021.”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2008 ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2008 Barbaresco comes across as quite elegant and Burgundian in this vintage. Sweet dark cherries, spices, mint and crushed flowers are some of the notes that take shape in the glass in this, bright, focused Barbaresco. The 2008 possesses terrific energy and polish from start to finish. This is a beautifully balanced wine from Cantina del Pino. The 2008 was made 50% from an east facing parcel of Ovello in the Morassino district. The other 50% of the fruit was sourced from the west-facing part of Ovello, plus Vacca’s smaller holdings in Starderi, Gallina and Albesani. How’s that for a superb quartet of vineyards? Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco 2009 ($39.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2009 Barbaresco wraps around the palate with soft, caressing fruit. This juicy, up-front Barbaresco is an excellent choice for drinking over the next few years. Renato Vacca has succeeded in giving his Barbaresco considerable finesse without losing the essential Nebbiolo tannins and overall structure. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024. Proprietor Renato Vacca continues to show he has the magic touch. I would be thrilled to drink any of these magnificent wines. Vacca has decided to release his 2009 single-vineyard Barbareschi before the 2008s, as he feels those wines need another year in bottle. I hope readers take the time to check out these fabulous wines. Along with Sottimano, Gaja, Pelissero and a handful of others, Cantina del Pino is one of the very few estates in Barbaresco where every single wine is fabulous”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Albesani 2009 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “The picture of harmony, this red exudes cherry and floral aromas, with plenty of berry, tobacco and balsamic flavors. Balanced and firm, with a lingering aftertaste of spice and mineral. Accessible now, yet will improve. Best from 2014 through 2025″

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2006 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2006 Barbaresco Ovello, from one of the village’s cooler microclimates, is lighter in color and also a touch more ethereal than the decidedly virile Albesani. Dried flowers, cherries, mint and minerals are just some of the nuances that are woven into the fabric of this finessed, elegant Barbaresco. The Ovello gains considerable volume in the glass, showing exceptional balance and tons of class, but it remains a slightly feminine Ovello with less of the sheer power found in the finest years. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026. “

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2009 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The estate’s 2009 Barbaresco Ovello is gorgeous, even if some of the vineyard signatures are obscured by the year. In exchange, though, the 2009 will drink well relatively young. Rich, fleshy and seductive for a wine of this site, the 2009 possesses terrific balance and plenty of harmony. Juicy red berries, flowers, mint and crushed rocks are layered into the expressive, broad-shouldered finish. This is going to be a fascinating wine to follow. Barbareschi from Ovello are notoriously slow out of the gates, and while that doesn’t appear to be the case here, it is also plausible that the wine is only showing a fraction of its ultimate potential. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2027.”

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Dal Forno Valpolicella

In many wine areas throughout the world, there are a handful of individuals or families who make “the” wine for their particular region – winemakers who define the style of that kind of wine. When it comes to Valpolicella, the Dal Forno family does just that. For more than 30 years, Dal Forno has been producing deeply concentrated Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto. Romano Dal Forno , the current winemaker/owner, took over the farm in 1983. Risking everything, he invested a large amount in 1990 to update the winery and refine Dal Forno’s process. The extremely bold flavor of the Valpolicella Superiore is a great example of Dal Forno’s commitment to perfection and their respect for traditional winemaking. Their Valpolicella Superiore is just short of an Amarone, made entirely with fruit that has been dried, though for less time than that legally required for Amarone. A key to the Dal Forno style seems to be an incredibly low yield from their vineyard, each bottle of Valpolicella taking six vines worth of fruit to produce!

In Stock Now from Dal Forno: 

Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2005 $99 special

Wine Advocate 95 points “Dal Forno should really change the name of his 2005 Valpolicella Superiore. It is really an Amarone for all practical intents and purposes, as it is made entirely from fruit that has been dried, albeit for less time than that legally required for Amarone. Firm, sturdy tannins frame blackberries, blueberries, violets and new leather in the 2005 Valpolicella. This is an especially structured, shut-down wine, even within the context of Dal Forno. The wine’s gorgeous inner perfume and sheer depth suggest that all that is required is patience. With time in the glass the tannins soften just enough to get a glimpse of what is in store for those who can wait a few years. Bittersweet chocolate, graphite and tar are layered into the authoritative finish. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”

Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2006 $269 special

Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Dal Forno delivers one of the world’s most impossibly rich and concentrated red wines. Using grapes sourced from the high-density Monte Lodoletta vineyard, this inky, dark expression oozes with syrupy tones of maraschino, dark chocolate fudge, cinnamon spice, crushed clove and barbecue smoke. In keeping with the wine’s legendary reputation for long aging potential, the tannins are rock solid at the moment.”

Dal Forno Vigna Sere 2004 375ml $149 special

Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2004 Vigna Sere is the perfect conclusion to a vintage that will go down as one of Dal Forno’s most magical. Sweet, silky tannins support layers of super-refined, elegant fruit in this magical sweet red. Mocha, espresso, new leather, raspberry jam and spices emerge with time in the glass, but this is really a wine that shows off textural finesse more than anything else. I have tasted this wine many times since it was in barrel and later in bottle. It has never been anything less than spellbinding. It is one of the most magical sweet dessert wines I have ever tasted. At eight years of age the 2004 remains a an infant. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”


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