In This Newsletter:
Perfection from the Golden Bell:
100 Point 2016 Angelus
Birds of Feather:
Averaen Pinot and Chardonnay
Clemens Busch: Mosel Master:y
The Count of Col d’Orcia
Royally Delicous Brunello di Montalcino
Holding Court with Hartford
Grand Port Offer:
Worthy of a Windsor
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Arriving Late November
The de Bouard family, owners and stewards of Angelus, is synonymous with Bordeaux, with family records showing a presence in the region as early as 1544. Over the centuries their reputation for producing some of the best wine on the Right Bank has ebbed and flowed but never budged from the upper echelon. This stellar reputation can be attributed to the family’s acumen for combining tradition with modern technology.
Hubert de Bouard has especially championed this within his family’s holdings. Undertaking massive renovations to their estate and vinification practices, Angelus is now farmed organically and uses gravity-feeding during fermentation. Hubert borrowed techniques from Burgundian producers like de-stemming by hand, fermenting parcels separately and extended contact with the lees with elevage in 100% new French oak.
The 2016 vintage is legendary in Bordeaux, with Roger Voss of Wine Enthusiast entitling his vintage summary “The Perfect Bordeaux?”. The vintage is often compared to her sister 2015 in terms of being consistently warm throughout the summer but with a luxuriously wet spring allowing for ample water supplies within the soil. Combined with a long and dry summer, Angelus was able to deliver exceptional purity, elegance and freshness in spades. After seeing the critical reception, we secured an allotment of magnums.
Arriving Late November:
Chateau Angelus Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2016 1.5L ($1049.95) $899 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Chateau Angelus Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2016 1.5L ($5999.95) $5099 pre-arrival special (That’s only $849.83 per bottle)
Wine Enthusiast 100 points “TOP 100 Cellar Selection In 2019. This is a rich, perfumed wine, with dense tannins and intense layers of black plum and spice. The palate is firmly built yet broadened out by plump dark-fruit tones and honed by a solid, dry core. Drink from 2025. -Roger Voss”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98+ points “Sporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2016 Angélus erupts from the glass with powerful notes of blackberry pie, ripe black cherries and juicy black plums with an undercurrent of star anise, rose petals, chocolate mint, pencil shavings and woodsmoke plus a waft of allspice. The palate is pure decadence. Medium to full-bodied, rich and generously fruited, this wine is by no means heavy—it positively glimmers with freshness and vivacity, lending an ethereal nature to all that richness and power, beautifully framed by velvety tannins and finishing with epic length. The generosity, layers and plushness make for an absolutely DELICIOUS drink right now, but I’d suggest waiting 3-5 more years for the fireworks to really begin.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 97 Points “The 2016 Angélus has an intense, powerful bouquet with copious black cherries, boysenberry, orange pith and iodine scents that threaten to overwhelm the senses. The medium-bodied palate offers supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity, a dash of black pepper and impressive detail and persistence on the finish. This is an outstanding Angélus that clearly requires several years in bottle to realize its full potential. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “The 2016 Château Angélus is incredibly elegant and finesse-driven, with a soaring perfume of crème de cassis, white flowers, crayon, forest floor, and spice. Compared to the 1996 by the Angélus team, it has a deep, layered style, its oak is beautifully integrated, there are ample tannins, and despite leaning toward the finesse-driven side of the spectrum, it has thrilling depth of fruit and length. It’s a brilliant wine from this estate that will benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 30+ years or more. The blend of the 2016 is 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, brought up all in new French oak.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This goes for the gusto, with a deep and broad swath of well-roasted tobacco, espresso and loam out front. The core of dark currant and fig fruit will have to catch up, but this red has the energy and juicy drive to eventually do so. When it melds fully, this will be a smoky, alluring, tobacco-fueled wine. Best from 2024 through 2040. 8,333 cases made. — JM”
Shop our Red Bordeaux selections in stock now and arriving soon!
Averaen Pinot and Chardonnay
You’ve heard of Banshee and their cult following out of Sonoma County, but did you know they also had a project in the Willamette Valley? Founded in 2015, Averaen has established itself as one of the best values on the market. As a negociant or merchant, they source Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the entire valley as opposed to a singular estate, which allows tremendous creative freedom not unlike painting with different sets of colors.
We’re pleased to welcome the exceptional wines of Averaen to Vinopolis—at more than exceptional pricing. We were able to secure an allotment of their reserve cuvee, sourced from two vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills. Stylistically, they share a richness of fruit and an oak framing that makes them feel distinctly more premium than their prices would suggest. Lovers of Archery Summit, Domaine Serene and Penner-Ash should take note—these are alternatives that deliver real value to those brands.
In stock now:
Averaen Flood Line Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Averaen Flood Line Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($479.95) $249 special, (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points “Deep brilliant red. Mineral-driven raspberry, cherry and potpourri aromas show very good clarity and pick up hints of cola and Asian spices with air. Palate-staining, sappy red fruit and spicecake flavors are given lift and spine by a core of juicy acidity. Densely packed but lithe in style, finishing very long and spicy, with smooth tannins lending gentle grip. (30% whole clusters and 40% new French oak)”
Averaen Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($29.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Averaen Chardonnay Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Paul Gregutt-Wine Enthusiast 92 points “It would be hard to find a better Chardonnay at this price. A blend of grapes from two AVAs, it’s been given reserve-level care, including aging in 10% new French oak. Toasty, tasty and well balanced, it offers ripe apple fruit accented with nut butter and caramel.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points “Light, glistening gold. Spice- and smoke-accented pear, melon and tangerine on the nose, along with a building hint of vanilla. Silky, palate-coating citrus and orchard fruit and fennel flavors smoothly blend depth and energy. Shows strong tenacity on the incisive finish, which features subtle vanilla and bitter citrus pith qualities.”
Looking for Grand Cru Chablis but want to pay Premier Cru pricing?
Much like her sister Burgundy, the vineyards of Chablis can have Premier and Grand Cru sites within a stone’s throw of one another. Also like in Burgundy you can have one producer’s row of grapevines average in the hundreds of dollars per bottle, with the next producer being a fraction of that within same vineyard. The differences are usually minor, especially in light of climate changes effect’s on viticulture.
The Montée de Tonnerre is one such example, with an ancient Roman road dividing the vineyard from the Grand Cru Blanchot. When comparing the two vineyards you find that Blanchot produces the lighter and less fruit driven wine than those of Montée de Tonnerre which exhibits more ripeness as a result of the greater sun exposure. Both vineyards feature layers of fossilized seashells and white clay, with Blanchot’s name being derived from the name “White hill”. If you’re a fan of Chablis that’s weightier and more textured than the Montée de Tonnerre is for you, especially in the hands of Samuel Billaud.
Samuel Billaud Montee de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points “The 2016 Chablis Montée de Tonnerre, which underwent 15 months in barrel, has a lovely dried honey and beeswax scented bouquet that gains intensity with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, fresh and vibrant with a tangy, saliva-inducing saline finish that feels very persistent. Excellent.”
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 90-93 points “The 2016 Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre comes from two parcels, one in the titular vineyard and the other in Chapelot, not far from Raveneau. It has quite a stern, focused, flinty bouquet that needs coaxing from the glass. The palate is (again) well balanced with a fine line of acidity. There are subtle notes of white peach and orange zest in situ, although perhaps not quite exuding the persistence of the Mont de Milieu on the finish. Still, this will merit three or four years in bottle.”
Clemens Busch: Mosel Mastery
In the same way that Neuschwanstein Castle is the face of Bavaria and German architecture as a whole, the Mosel Valley is the face of the Rhine and German wine. Unlike other German wine regions that see a diverse assortment of grapes under cultivation, the Mosel produces Riesling almost exclusively along the banks of the river. The confluence of slope and refraction create a richer and fuller bodied style of Riesling that defines the area and also acts as a measuring rod for the rest of the country. These vineyards feature vast percentages of the trademark blue and gray slate which also aids in ripening, and contributes a clean slate-like character to the wine.
The more favorable growing conditions allow for the entire spectrum of Riesling to be produced ranging from dry to lusciously sweet (Sometimes from the same vineyard). With so many options available it’s rare to find a producer like Clemens Busch who can deliver quality at every tier of the Prädikatswein ladder. The most tantalizing thing about their wines is how they taste perceptibly much drier than they are, on account of the high acids across the board. There are a number of possible factors that can be attributed to this, with the considerable vine age and generations of meticulous farming being the most likely.
Clemens and Rita Busch are the 5th generation of their family to farm their estate with many of their fermentation vats (Or Fuder as their known in Germany) being over 100 years old. Converting the estate to biodynamics in the 1980’s, Clemens and Rita are considered leaders of the movement in Germany and the European Union as a whole. Considering their average vine age of 45 years old, unique sites and remarkable winemaking talent this is a great introductory producer or a new favorite in German Wine.
In Stock Now:
Weingut Clemens Busch Marienburg Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2018 750ML ($34.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 92 points “Lightly smoky with some lemon pith and dried spices. There’s some light sweetness here, but it’s nicely balanced out by the edgy acidity. Taut and very precise on the finish. Drink now.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “White peach, apple, honeydew melon and lime are tinged with lemongrass and cilantro on the nose, and with nippy cress on an otherwise polished, lusciously fruited and subtly soothing palate. Nearly 60 grams of sugar manage to come off as entirely supportive, and the lingering finish both soothes and stimulates. (This year’s village-level Busch Kabinett seemed oddly out-of-sorts on the sole occasion – side by side with this Marienburg – that I was able to taste it, so I have left it un-reviewed.)”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Shows yeasty notes at first, with accents of jasmine and hops, followed by electric acidity that fuels the green apple, lemon and nectarine flavors. Balanced and beautiful in terms of texture, exhibiting substance. Smoky details emerge on the well-defined finish. Best from 2021 through 2033. 550 cases made, 60 cases imported. — AZ”
Weingut Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienberg Rothenpfad Riesling Auslese Mosel 2014 375ML ($59.95) $46 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2014 Riesling Auslese Rothenpfad displays a lovely, clear and slate-like bouquet, with herbal and tropical fruit flavors. Sweet and piquant on the palate, this is a rich and very elegant, well balanced Riesling with a great delicacy, and fruit-intense and piquant finish. Very stimulating. The residual sugar of 135 grams per liter is almost blown away by the acidity and minerality.”
Weingut Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienberg Riesling Spatlese Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 32 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points “Rich and exotic, featuring mango, brown spice, slate, smoke and citrus notes. Open and fluid in style, crafted with precision and intensity. The submerged acidity reveals itself on the finish, along with a tactile sensation on the palate. Best from 2022 through 2038.”
James Suckling 95 points “A very impressive Spätlese that’s so aromatic and expressive; it leads with dried apricots, passion fruit, melon sorbet, milk ice cream and earth. Sweet and powerful for this category, but the acidity runs right through the center palate, bringing the stone-fruit and tropical flavors to life and leaving the mouth with wicked resolve. Drink now.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “White peach and nectarine are garlanded in heliotrope, leading to a lusciously fruity and perfumed performance on a soothingly creamy palate. The lingering finish is intensely fruity, with just enough brightness and piquancy of fruit pit to push back against the overbearing sweetness.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2018 Marienburg Spätlese is clear and bright on the nose, offering ripe and elegant fruit. Light, lush and piquant on the palate, this is a stimulating, not all too sweet yet perfectly balanced and salty Spätlese. It doesn’t need to be cellared for decades—it already drinks very well. Tasted from AP 1419 in July 2020.”
Shop our complete selection of 531 German Rieslings in stock now!
Royally Delicous Brunello di Montalcino
The sister vintages of 2015 and 2016 are the kismet vintages you see once in a generation, if not a century. Both are fortuitous, classic and exhibit a duality not seen since Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi. These differences have to be experienced in order to be fully understood, with Col d’Orcia crafting stellar examples of both. The critics agree with us, with James Suckling describing 2015 as “Historic” and one to seek out. The 2016 vintage isn’t without her fans either, scoring 99+ points with reviewer Luca Gardini.
As you can expect with a name that translates to the “Hill overlooking the Orcia River” Col d’Orcia is positioned on a high elevation plateau just under Mount Amiata in Montalcino. Described as an “Organic Island” the estate is the largest organic farm in all of Tuscany and famous for their commitment to producing Brunello in the traditional style.
Being the warmer of the two vintages with a mild winter and spring, 2015 is marked by powerful and ripe fruit character that’s accentuated by violets and terra cotta. These conditions set the stage for 2016’s tour de force, with a waterlogged spring restoring groundwater reserves before a similarly dry and warm summer. 2016 is marked by elegance and structure with a more red fruited character accentuated by refreshing botanicals. Both vintages have decades of life ahead of them in the bottle, with the 2015’s being especially charming at this point in its young adulthood.
Arriving in November 19th:
Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 750ML ($59.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Eric Guido – Vinous 95 points “Dusty earth gives way to dried roses, incense, hints of cedar, sage, currants and black cherries in a display that makes the 2016 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino a very special experience. It’s nuanced and perfumed from start to finish, boasting silky textures contrasted by tart berries and minerals, but with sweet tannins that frame the expression perfectly. Its inner sweetness is balanced by bright acids, creating an almost-juicy sensation, right up until the moment you realize that your palate is aching with youthful tension. There’s so much going on and much more to come, making me wonder what the Poggio al Vento might offer in the 2016 vintage. For now, that doesn’t even matter, because the 2015 Col d’Orcia impresses on nearly every level.”
In Stock Now from Col d’Orcia:
Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Eric Guido – Vinous 94 points “At first, the 2015 Brunello di Montalcino is quite closed in the glass, to the point I move on to the wine next to it… However, upon returning to the glass a few minutes later, I come to realize that the 2015 simply needs time to come to life; and once it does, watch out. Here I find a gorgeous and intense display, mixing savory and sweet, as well as, earth and fruit, as dusty cedar and spice give way to ripe strawberry with a hint of citrus, with wild herbs and a hint of animal musk adding further depths. On the palate, silky textures meld into woodland red berry fruits, zesty spice, hints of cedar, savory herbs, saline minerals, and mounting tannins. The finish is long and structured, yet there remains enough primary fruit to balance it all out, as well as resonating acids, intriguing hints of citrus, and spice. This is remarkably balanced, singing already, yet it’s full of potential for the cellar.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This combines the best characteristics of Sangiovese, with cherry and strawberry fruit, earth, leather and iron notes and balsamic elements of wild thyme, rosemary and Mediterranean scrub. Shows a bit of heat on the finish, yet remains fresh and long. Best from 2023 through 2042. 16,600 cases made, 3,000 cases imported. — BS”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The Col d’Orcia 2015 Brunello di Montalcino (made with organic fruit) has a very distinctive aromatic profile with subtle hints of rusty iron and moist potting soil. However, this wine also shows an impressive evolution in the glass with those earthy and sanguine notes lifting to reveal sweet oak tones of vanilla and baking spice that remain pronounced in a second underlayer. To me, Col d’Orcia’s wines are almost always characterized by a medicinal or balsamic element, and the primary fruit is downplayed as a result. This vintage puts on a good show with wild berry, blackcurrant and dried blackberry. That said, this wine is more ethereal and spicy than it is fruity per se.”
Holding Court with Hartford:
The Russian River Valley is world famous for its Chardonnay’s that combine the stylistic ripeness of California, with the acidity and backbone of Burgundy. The 2019 vintage defied all expectations and delivered even higher quality than the year before, with even wildfire season seeming to wait for harvest to finish. Expect the classic Hartford Court style of yellow pome, Jasmine blossom, Shoumei tea and sea salt with a medium body and long finish. This is the perfect wine for someone looking for an richer style of chardonnay that is still acid driven. We carry multiple styles of California Chardonnay in-house including Sandhi, Mt.Eden and Carpe Diem!
Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Russian River Valley Chardonnay Sonoma County 2019 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Russian River Valley Chardonnay Sonoma County 2019 750ML ($359.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Readers looking for a pure, impeccably made Russian River Chardonnay should check out the 2019 Chardonnay Russian River Valley from Hartford Court. It has classic pineapple and honeyed orchard fruits, a rich, medium-bodied mouthfeel, good acidity, and subtle toasty, nutty background nuances. It’s ideal for drinking over the coming 4-5 years.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2019 Chardonnay (Russian River) is a terrific appellation-level wine. Bright and finely cut, the 2019 is so well-balanced. Lemon peel and white flowers grace this enticing Chardonnay from Hartford. Bright acids and floral accents round out the finish nicely.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2019 Chardonnay Russian River Valley was 100% barrel fermented in French oak barrels, 26% new, and aged for 9.5 months. It slips slowly, cautiously out of the glass with crushed rocks and sea spray scents over a core of green and yellow apples and Bosc pears plus a hint of marzipan. Medium-bodied, the palate bursts with apple and pear flavors with a racy backbone and savory finish. 15,000 cases were made.”
Sandhi Zuni Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2019 750ML ($34.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Sandhi Zuni Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2019 750ML ($399.95) $249 special (That’s only $20.75 per bottle!)
Winery note “If you’ve ever sat at San Francisco’s iconic Zuni Café with a plate of oysters in front of you while you wait for the iconic whole roast chicken, you may have had a glass or two of this collaboration between longtime friends Rajat Parr of Sandhi and Zuni wine director Thierry Lovato. The wine is a barrel selection from some of Sandhi’s iconic Sta. Rita Hills sites, (think Mt. Carmel, Sanford & Benedict) with enough own-rooted, 1973 Wente selection Bien Nacido Chardonnay blended in to warrant a Santa Barbara County designation.”
Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Edna Valley 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 93 points “This comes mostly from the Wolff vineyard with some fruit from the Middle Ranch vineyard. The 2017 Edna Valley Chardonnay opens with wonderful aromas of honeycomb, orange blossoms, saline, crushed shell and loads of baked apple and quince with an earthy undercurrent. The palate is medium-bodied, satiny and intense, with seamless freshness on the finish, which lingers with honeyed notions.”
Carpe Diem Chardonnay Anderson Valley 2016 750ML ($24.95) $16.60 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Vivid oaky, earthy aromas lead to ripe firm flavors of apple and citrus in this assertive and well-structured wine. The char and wood-smoke nuances carry over to the palate, along with a nice nip of tannin and firm acidity that help to offset the richness. -Jim Gordon”
Grand Port Offer:
Worthy of a Windsor
The 1994, 2011 and 2016 vintages of Port are considered some of the best years in the past score. No small feats given the unprecedented string of declared vintages especially in recent years, these three are considered the apex of power and elegance. In order for a vintage to be declared it must pass three different evaluations beginning with the individual houses. The next step involves a vote amongst the houses to determine if there’s consensus to declare a vintage. Finally, the houses must submit examples of their vintage to the Institute of Douro and Porto Wines for a tasting evaluation before being allowed to bring the wine to market. Perfect gifts, cellar gems or meal accompaniments for now and years to come you should be running to this offer.
In stock now:
Churchill’s Vintage Port Portugal 1.5L ($199.95) $89 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points “A gorgeous, voluptuous young Port, best Churchill ever. Intense aromas of dark chocolate and grapes. Full-bodied, with powerful, chewy tannins, yet it’s sweet and fruity on the finish. Try after 2010. — JS”
W & J Graham’s Vintage Port Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
James Suckling 99 points “Extremely complex aromas that show the classic Graham character of black-fruit marmalade and burnt oranges. Follows through to a full body with great grip at the finish. Lightly sweet. Chewy and powerful. Such a focus at the end.”
Wine Spectator 98 points “This offers a distilled plum and boysenberry essence, with a racy feel, as spearmint and graphite notes drive through. As the finish kicks in, this turns toward the dark side, with ganache, charcoal and tar elements. Has the showy ripeness of the vintage but is backed by a decidedly dry feel on the finish, imparting a sense of precision despite the heft. Best from 2030 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Cellar Selection. This finely structured wine is powered by fine tannins and rich fruits. A touch of acidity comes through the rich berry flavors and the concentration of the dark tannins. This wine will certainly age, don’t drink before 2028.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a blend of 37% Touriga Nacional, 42% Touriga Franca and various others. It comes in with 115 grams of residual sugar. A bit bigger than Dow’s this year, this is more intense as well. The better wine of these two benchmarks seems to be this Graham’s. Tight on the finish, aromatic and very flavorful, this actually opens rather well and shows off its lovely fruit. The Dow’s will be approachable a bit earlier, perhaps, and this may reward aging even more. As always, Graham’s is wonderfully delicious. That’s one hallmark of the house. I’m not sure this is a truly great Graham’s, but at the moment, it is enticing, with plenty of potential for improvement. There were 6,325 cases produced, plus some bottles in other formats.”
W & J Graham’s Vintage Port Portugal 2011 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer 96+ points “Bright, deep, saturated ruby. Liqueur-like ripeness to the deeply fruity aromas of kirsch, black raspberry and cassis. Thick, sweet and seamless, with a silky texture and great depth to its utterly primary dark berry and spice flavors. Wonderfully pure, intense young port with outstanding finishing sweetness, well-judged oakiness and big, ripe, noble tannins. Leaves behind exhilarating kirsch and violet notes on the extremely long finish, with a note of bitter chocolate emerging with extended aeration. This fleshy beauty boasts beautifully managed tannins and outstanding aging potential.”
Roger Voss-Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection. Deliciously sweet and perfumed, its powerful plum fruit flavors make this wine already accessible. In the background are the tannins—solid and concentrated—and the acidity, creating a nervous tension that confirms the wine’s aging potential. Hold for many years. “
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2011 Graham’s comes from the five quintas that have been the source for many years (Malvedos, Tua, Vila Velha, das Lages and Vale de Malhadas). It represents a selection of the 131 pipes from a total production of 1,454 and is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 31% Touriga Franca, 6% Sousao and 23% mixture of very old vines. It has a more “serious” bouquet compared to the Dow, with beguiling scents of blackberry, wild hedgerow, tobacco and cloves. Straight-laced, very well-defined and compelling, the palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins and supremely well-judged acidity. It is utterly harmonious, with a pure core of ripe black cherries, damson, marmalade, clove and spices, and the finish lingers long in the mouth. The separation of “The Stone Terraces” vines certainly does not appear to have detracted from a great Graham’s. 5,000 cases declared. Tasted May 2013.”
Other Ports in stock now:
Fonseca Vintage Port Portugal 1985 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points “A hard, take-no-prisoners Port, extremely powerful and still closed when last tasted. Deep inky color, with concentrated blackberry and raisin aromas, full-bodied, with massive raisin flavors, a superb backbone and a very long finish.”
Cockburn’s Vintage Port Portugal 2017 750ML ($99.95) $74 special, 18 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points “Insane aromas of crushed berry, flowers and lifted ester like a fermenting lager. Full body, tannic yet so finely grained in texture. Extremely long and beautiful. It goes on for minutes. 2,500 cases. Try in 2026.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Packed with creamed blueberry, açaí berry and boysenberry fruit and carried by waves of velvety structure and warm fruitcake notes, this is showy in style, featuring an embedded graphite spine, alluring spice details and a flash of floral nuance through the finish, imparting superior range and length. Best from 2032 through 2050.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Cockburn’s Vintage Port, picked from August 28, comes mainly from Quinta dos Canais (74% of the blend.) It sports an iridescent purple hue. It has an irresistible nose with black plum, raisin, vanilla and blackcurrant, super-concentrated but managing to maintain superb delineation. The palate is medium-bodied and full of tension. I must admit to being shocked how tense and agile this Cockburn’s is showing. It is a live-wire young Port, brimming over with energy and bridle and with an almost citrus-fresh finish that leaves the mouth tingling. The name might be synonymous with the more commercial end of Port, however, recent vintages testify a fortified wine that should be taken very seriously. Superb. Total production is 2,500 cases.”
Decanter 95 points “Mostly sourced from Quinta dos Canais, this is a blend of 52% Touriga Nacional and 30% Touriga Franca, backed by Sousão and Alicante Bouschet. It’s a well priced example and looks to be one of the best value wines of the vintage. This is one of few wines in 2017 showing a touch of warmth on the nose, with opulent, heady floral fruit. The palate is sweet and fleshy initially, with ripe berry fruits and solid, spicy tannins. It’s classically structured with lovely concentration and a powerful finish, perhaps not showing the freshness of some other ’17s but still very impressive.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 94-96 points “The terroir and the vintage combine to make this a wine that seems at the moment a bit bigger than Dow’s this year. Unlike in 2015, however, it also maintains its balance well. This has velvet for texture, fine aromatics and a long finish, but it is always elegant, never jammy. It is still concentrated, and aeration proves how well it can evolve. It finishes with some pop and power, but it will be approachable relatively young. Relatively is the key word there, as it shows plenty of power. Like the Warre’s, a Symington sibling this issue, it seems to be a cut above this year, the best in the brand for a while, and superior to both the 2016 and 2015. It is able to hold up to some of its more famous siblings in the Symington stable this issue. There were 2,500 cases produced. The 2017 Vintage Port is a blend of 52% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca and small portions of Sousão and Alicante Bouschet bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in seasoned vats. However, I actually tasted a pre-bottling sample because there was some fear of bottling shock. This is sourced from south-facing vineyards in Douro Superior that have a higher proportion of Touriga Nacional. It comes in with 107 grams of residual sugar.”
Dow’s Vintage Port Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 98 points “This packs a lot of fun, with a wallop of blackberry, fig, boysenberry and açai berry compote flavors working together, laced with a mouthwatering licorice snap note and driven by a fresh, well-detailed finish. A roasted apple wood accent is integrated as well, lending textural contrast through the vivacious finish. Best from 2030 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Very floral, intense and ripe, this is a wine that is based around big black fruits as well as fine acidity. It is obviously destined for long aging with its powerful dry tannins and perfumed acidity. Drink this wine from 2028.”
James Suckling 96 Points “Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and dried flowers plus hints of slate follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a driven and linear finish. Orange peel and dried fruit. Sleek and racy. Ready to try in 2024.”
Dow’s Vintage Port Portugal 2017 375ML ($69.95) $59 special, 22 half-bottles in stock now
Dow’s Vintage Port Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 98 points “The 2017 Dow’s Vintage Port showed a slight reduction and required more time to really open in the glass. Typical of Dow’s it has a more backward and introspective bouquet compared to its peers, scents of blackberry, clove, wild mint, cassis and vanilla, gradually gaining more intensity with aeration. The palate is simply glorious. It is built around a compelling tannic frame that seems finer than any Dow’s I have encountered apart from the ethereal 2011. There is so much energy coiled up in this Port, a sense of symmetry that is enthralling and yet you just know that it needs to be cellared for 15-20 years for it to reveal its full potential. For serious Port-lovers. One of the vintages most cerebral offerings. Total production is 5,250 cases.”
James Suckling 98 points “Pure grape aromas that remind me of fermenting must but then goes to stems and dried flowers. Full-bodied, medium sweet with fine-grained tannins that coat your palate. Powerful and muscular yet remains agile and beautiful. Grows on your palate. Wonderful ripe fruit in the middle palate. Try after 2030.”
Decanter 97 points “Based on fruit from the predominantly south-facing Quinta do Bomfim in the Cima Corgo and Quinta Senhora da Ribeira in the Douro Superior, with Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca making up 80% of the blend. This is opaque and closed in but powerfully ripe with underlying pure berry fruit. It’s seemingly quite introverted compared to some of its peers at this stage, but it’s still full, rich and opulent on the palate. It also shows the latent power of the vintage, made as it is in a slightly drier style (3.4 Baumé), with lovely minty fruit and full, ripe sinewy tannins all the way through the finish. Long and lithe, and very fine.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A dense, thickly textured version, dripping with warm salted licorice, tar and açaí paste notes, while plum and blueberry pâte de fruit, chai spice and chocolate elements fill in behind. Lots of brambly grip flows underneath. Shows a very sappy feel on the finish. Best from 2035 through 2055.”
Wine & Spirits 95 points “This wine seems more accessible than young Dow vintages of the past, perfumed with purple-fruit freshness that’s completely integrated into the wine’s dark tannins. The structural power of those tannins grows more apparent as you spend time with the wine. Though they seem articulate, spicy and grand from the start, they continue to give fruit flavor after the bottle has been open for three days. The details range from cinnamon bark to mincemeat, plum skins and minerals, all of it surrounding the healthy purple-red fruit at the center of this wine. A beautiful and satistfying vintage from Dow, this will develop for decades.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 94-96 points ” Opening with dramatic color, this adds violets on the nose. It retains elegance while seeming subtly concentrated rather than jammy. Then, it finishes with pop and controlled power. For those who remember the powerhouse Dows in the past, that’s not quite this for the most part. It is an accessible and elegant Dow, relatively speaking. Charles Symington said that the higher proportion of Touriga Franca compared to some years contributed to that. That said, this still has the structure to age and develop. It seems wonderfully fresh and lifted all the while, but it’s neither rich, nor intense nor austere. This is a Dow that still needs some time to become more expressive and complex, though. There were 5,250 cases produced. The 2017 Vintage Port, bottled in May for release in the third quarter of 2019, is mostly a 42/38 blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca with old vines and miscellaneous others (including about 8% Alicante Bouschet) for the rest. It was bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in seasoned vats, but the just-bottled sample was not actually used for fear it might be in shock. This, accordingly, was actually a pre-bottling sample. It comes in with 106 grams of residual sugar.”
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “Black core with purple rim. Very different from the Stone Terraces just tasted, sweet and somehow more lifted as if more volatile. Hedgerow fruits on the nose, floral too, and again that real sweetness of fruit on the palate. Intense, firmly built but very generous in its sweet fruit character even if not analytically sweeter. Fine-grained but still grainy tannins with some hints of dried fruits on the finish. When I tasted this a second time on a different occasion, it seemed much fresher and more vibrant so I increased my score and lengthened the drinking window.”