Monday Vinopolis Newsletter 11-21-21

In This Newsletter:

Beautiful Beaujolais, by Cru and Cuvée

New Week – New Arrivals

Budget-Friendly Holiday Picks from Piedmont:
Featuring G.D. Vajra

15 Under 15

Watching for New Cayuse? You’re in luck. 

Collector’s Corner: 
Biondi Santi Ultra Rare Releases

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Beautiful Beaujolais, by Cru and Cuvée

Newly Arrived Staff Picks!

In the spirit of Beaujolais Nouveau we tried a selection of newly released Cru’s and Cuvee’s from the biggest stars in the region. From industry juggernauts who created their appellations by sheer willpower, to the small farmers that sparked a revolution; We’ve got a producer for everyone!  

Chateau du Moulin-A-Vent:

Nina: Displaying the broodier side of Gamay, This Moulin a vent has intense aromas of Blackberry and licorice with a hint of smoke. Polished and dark, with deep fruit character of charred strawberry, pomegranate, kirsch and Marasca Cherry with a granitic finish. The acid and tannin are firmly medium, and have a pervasive minerality in both the aromas and finish. The finish is structured yet supple and slightly tannic.  

Chateau du Moulin-a-Vent ‘Moulin-a-Vent’ Couvent des Thorins, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($34.95) $26 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points
“Shimmering ruby. Powerful blackberry, cherry and licorice aromas are complicated by suggestions of smoky minerals and violet. Well-concentrated and broad in the mouth, offering bitter cherry and dark berry flavors enlivened by a snap of cracked pepper. Slowly building tannins frame the finish, which lingers with very good, dark-fruit-driven persistence.”

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The average price nationally is $27

Grant: One of the most famous houses in Beaujolais as one of the “Gang of Four”. Breton took the world by storm with his meticulously farmed and multifaceted iterations of Gamay Noir. The Morgon is especially classic and delivers the typical floral character like rose petals, violets and clover flower against black cherries and summer strawberry.

Bre: This dry, well-structured offering from Guy Breton displays notes of fresh, crushed red berries, cherry cola and anise. Soft tannins, refreshing acidity and a lingering blue fruited finish make this a natural pairing for all holiday entrees and sides. Just pop a bottle in the fridge while you’re waiting for the dinner rolls to rise!   

Guy Breton Régnié, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Shimmering, youthful purple. Mineral-accented cherry and black raspberry aromas are underscored by a spicy element that builds as the wine opens up. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering appealingly sweet dark berry and spicecake flavors along with complicating suggestions of licorice and candied violet. The spice and floral notes build steadily through an impressively long, smooth finish, which is framed by harmonious tannins that fold slowly into the wine’s intense fruit. Many of these vines are over a century old now.”

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Guy Breton Morgon Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($41.95) $37 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Brilliant, bright-rimmed ruby. A highly complex, expressive bouquet displays intense red and blue fruit liqueur, cherry compote and incense aromas, along with notes of star anise, smoked meat and lavender. Silky, broad and spicy on the palate, offering alluringly sweet black raspberry, cherry cola and floral pastille flavors that convey depth as well as energy. Chewy tannins build steadily through the sweet, broad finish, which shows outstanding persistence and leaves behind sappy blue fruit and floral notes.”

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The average price nationally is $43

Jean-Paul Thevenet: 

Trevor: A very bright and fresh Gamay. This has plenty of acid with some lingering spice notes that will make it very food friendly and Versatile on any dinner table. There’s a candied structure to it that should go perfect with a classic Turkey and cranberry sauce dish, cranberry Turkey meatballs for those more adventurous 😉

Jean-Paul Thevenet Morgon Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($39.95) $35.50 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“It’s not easy to raise the bar when your father revolutionized winemaking in a given region, but that is precisely what Charly Thévenet has accomplished with this 2019 Morgon. Building upon the creed of sustainable farming and natural winemaking that brought the “Gang of Four” to the limelight, Charly has brought his own touch, resulting in cru Beaujolais that presents hedonistic pleasure and serious pedigree: chilling the grapes down before fermentation preserves vibrant fruit and freshness, while his decision to forgo punch-downs and pump-overs yields a silky-fine grain without sacrificing underlying structure. Dip your nose into this Morgon for a kaleidoscope of sublime aromas—the spice box perfume could well come from Vosne-Romanée, but no, this is pure Gamay grown in granite, as swallowable as we could ever dream of.”

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The average price nationally is $42

Staff Favorites In Stock Now:

Gamay Noir is considered the apex of Thanksgiving reds, with Dubois making some of the most “glou-glou” or easy drinking in the whole region. Plus, if you’re gonna stick a chicken on the label, make it a flock.
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Cocottes, Beaujolais 2020 750ML ($35.95) $29 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Cocottes, Beaujolais 2020 1.5L ($99.95) $69 special, 5 magnums in stock now
Importer note
“Starting with the 2015 vintage, Anne-Sophie has decided to release a different side of her Fleurie. Up until then, all of her Fleuries were 100% destemmed and fermented in a Burgundian-style. In stark contrast to her usual style, she is making Les Cocottes with 100% whole cluster and using carbonic maceration. It is released the spring after the vintage and is intended to be fruit driven and drunk early & often. The label was drawn by Anne-Sophie herself. (She’s really into art.)”

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The crown jewel of Yohan Lardy’s estate is an inherited parcel that was planted in 1903. Hand farmed and without any synthetic inputs whatsoever, this is an incredibly transparent example of Moulin a Vent’s terroir. The heat waves of the vintage were considered worrisome for younger vine parcels, but older vines were able to cope and ripen to unprecedented levels. The result in Lardy’s bottling is a “Cabernet Lover’s Gamay” with a persistently jammy and candied fruit character.        

Yohan Lardy Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes de 1903 Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Yohan Lardy Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes de 1903 Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($219.95) $175 special (that’s only $29.17/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Saturated magenta. A deeply perfumed bouquet evokes ripe, spice-tinged red and dark berries, licorice, violet and smoky minerals. Palate-staining black raspberry, bitter cherry, blueberry, floral pastille and succulent herb flavors turn sweeter as the wine opens up. Shows impressive power and sharp definition on the subtly tannic finish, which leaves cherry pit, allspice and floral notes behind.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Cellar Selection. Exceptional in its density, this wine comes from 116-year-old vines that yield small berries with concentration. The wine is dark and firm, with a great structure, packed black fruits and spice from the wood aging. Drink from 2023. -Roger Voss” 

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $34

Consistently a Burgundy-hound’s favorite Beaujolais producer and a gem in the cellar. Stun your friends that think Beaujolais is spelled “N-O-U-V-E-A-U” 
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($41.95) $34.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Glistening ruby. Mineral-inflected red/blue fruits on the assertively perfumed nose, along with incense, exotic spices and fresh flowers. Alluringly sweet and penetrating, offering intense boysenberry and raspberry flavors braced by juicy acidity. Fine-grained tannins add spine to a wonderfully long, sappy finish that strongly repeats the floral and mineral notes.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $39

Love Beaujolais? You’ll adore the charming Willamette Valley wines from Vincent Fritzsche:

“This is an exciting winery to start following, joining a ever expanding set of new generation labels in Oregon that are hand crafting wines of passion and terroir.” –Kerry Winslow, Grapelive

Vincent Gamay Noir, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($21.95) $18.50 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 90 points
“the Gamay has loads of personality and very naturally styled with zesty pure fruits and a touch of raw savory tones with fresh strawberry, plum, cranberry and macerated cherries leading the way on the light and tangy palate. Vincent Fritzsche…has a delicious collection of wines, all of which are incredibly well priced, especially this one. This unfiltered ruby hued Gamay, best served with a chill, opens nicely with floral detail, some blue fruits, earthiness, a herbal crunch and an almost old work funk, reminding me of Clos de la Roilette Fleurie, impressive, less fruity and fun stuff that goes well with simple cuisine….Fritzsche employs a natural and traditional winemaking with all of his wines, with his Gamay seeing partial whole cluster, vintage dependent, non carbonic fermentation with gentle pigeage and all native yeast, allowing things to get going before doing daily punch downs and a light wetting of the cap during the maceration. Once dry, usually after 18 to 24 days the wine is pressed and settled for close to three days before going into well used barrels, some up to ten years old, with the elevage lasting about a year in the oak. Very little is done in the cellar, except for ultra small doses of sulfur for stability as these wines are bottled without filtration.… This is an exciting winery to start following, joining a ever expanding set of new generation labels in Oregon that are hand crafting wines of passion and terroir.”

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Vincent Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML $(24.95) $22.75 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Like the Ribbon Ridge bottling, the Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills reflects what is special about its appellation. The wine is fruit from Zenith, Bjornson and Temperance Hill vineyards, blended and bottled after 10 months of aging in older French oak. A signature element of the Eola-Amity Hills is the wind. Each afternoon during the growing season, ocean breezes come through the coast range and cool the western valley including the Eola-Amity Hills. This translates in the wines as structure – acid from the cooler afternoons and nights, and tannin from the grapes growing just a bit tougher in the wind. They’re subtle differences, but you can taste them. The 2019 is classic Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir, with red raspberries fruit, all the red fruit sweetness with the tang of a proper raspberry. The aromas are a bit lifted in the 2019, giving a drive to the fragrance of the wine. Where the Ribbon Ridge is a touch broader, the Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir has just a bit more nerve. Good now and for several years. Four barrels produced.”

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Vincent Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2020 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 12 bottles in stock now
“There’s a devoted cult following for Vincent Fritzsche’s graceful Pinot Noirs but the outside world seems blithely unaware of the consistent quality here. Fritzsche sources fruit from some of the Willamette Valley’s most esteemed vineyards and then pretty much leaves it alone.” – Josh Raynolds, Vinous

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $26.99

Shop our complete inventory of Beaujolais and Oregon Pinot Noir on our web store now!

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New Week – New Arrivals


Built for the long haul, An exceptionally bold, structured and colored Pinot Noir.   
Zena Crown Vineyard Confier Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2018 70ML ($89.95) $69 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Offering verve and persistence, this Pinot is taut at first but slowly blooms into dynamic blueberry and black cherry flavors that are accented by forest floor and spice tea. Best from 2023 through 2031. 334 cases made. — TF”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $79


An exceptional vintage that’s drinking beautifully now yet will reward further cellaring. 
Cardinale Estate Red Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($379.95) $319 special, only 6 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that spent 22 months in 81% new French oak. It’s a wonderfully complete, borderline perfect wine that shows the class of this estate as well as the vintage, revealing a seamless, full-bodied style that carries lots of blackcurrant, graphite, lead pencil, and tobacco aromatics, a deep, layered mid-palate, ultra-fine tannins, and flawless balance. As with most of Chris’s 2018s, it’s a wine that builds slowly with time in the glass, offering a layered, singular character. It’s a gorgeous 2018 that can be drunk today with ample pleasure, but it will ideally be given 4-6 years of bottle age, at which point it should evolve gracefully for 30-40 years.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98 points “Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step. 5,107 cases were made.”

Lush and exuberant Cali Cab:
Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 36 bottles in stock now 
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mt. Brave is fabulous. Inky, rich and explosive, the 2018 possesses tremendous depth and tons of personality. Graphite, blue/purplish fruit, blackberry jam, bittersweet chocolate, sage, lavender, menthol give the 2018 tons of character to match its explosive feel. The brooding, backward wine is going to need quite a bit of time to unwind, but boy is it gorgeous.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “Lots of cassis and black raspberry fruits as well as classic Mount Veeder notes of lavender, violets, bouquet garni, and rocky, mineral-like notes emerge from the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon. A deep, full-bodied mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, it has a plush, layered texture, beautiful tannins, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, and a great finish. Another head-turning wine from this label, it’s a candidate for the best Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon out there at the price point.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 95+ points “A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 1.5% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder was aged for 22 months in oak barrels, 82% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it springs from the glass with vibrant crème de cassis, baked plums and Morello cherries scents, followed by nuances of sautéed herbs, clove oil, mocha and scorched earth. The full-bodied palate is densely laden with layers of black and blue fruits, sporting a rock-solid backbone of grainy tannins and great tension, finishing long and minerally. 6,753 cases were made.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $100

France – Champagne

Philipponnat’s portfolio is “one of the finest in Champagne,” to quote Peter Liem, with exceptional history and mastery of their craft.

Philipponnat Blanc de Blancs ‘Grand Blanc’ Extra Brut 2009 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Aromatic with spring blossom and pastry dough notes, this creamy Champagne backs flavors of ripe yellow pear, grilled nut and star fruit with a firm spine of fresh acidity. Minerally finish. Disgorged July 2019. Drink now through 2027. 1,643 cases made, 25 cases imported. — AN”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2009 Extra-Brut Grand Blanc shows the natural radiance of the year in a supple, racy personality. Hints of tropical fruit, pineapple, butter, pastry and vanillin notes all run through this super-expressive, inviting Blanc des Blancs from Philipponnat. The 2009 is a terrific choice for near and medium-term drinking. The Grand Blanc is a blend of fruit from Grauves, Trepaille, Avenay-Val-d’Or, Vertus and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. Dosage is 4.25 grams per liter.”
Importer note “Grand Blanc—pure Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims, including a small part from Clos des Goisses—beautifully combines minerality and richness.”

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Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut NV 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“This is the nonvintage Champagne from this producer. With its richness and high percentage of Pinot Noir, it reflects the house style. Touches of spice and a light structure give shape to the white fruits. Drink now. -Roger Voss”
Wine Spectator 92 points “A fragrant element of lightly toasted hazelnut is a rich base note in this fine and creamy Champagne, layered with finely meshed flavors of baked white cherry, lemon curd, spun honey and pickled ginger. Plush in texture, with a fine spine of lemony acidity providing focus and definition.”
Decanter 92 points “Always open in the exposition of the origins of its wines, Philipponnat has upped the stakes of late by not only adding foudres to its vinification armoury but also increasing volumes from two separate Réserves Perpétuelles. The result is impressive; Pinot power writ large in red fruit and biscuity complexity, with resonance on the back palate, the ensemble still harnessed by disarmingly energetic freshness.”
2016 base 

France – Alsace

Made only in the best of vintages making this a truly special wine 
Trimbach Riesling Selection de Vieilles Vignes, Alsace 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“#2 WOTY 2020. Initial smoky notes of reduction make way for a pervasive, subtle but luminous lemon freshness on the nose of this wine. The palate shows exquisite concentration in lemon freshness. It’s bone dry, vivid and fresh. Drink until 2045. -Anne Krebiehl MW”
James Suckling 95 points “Solid white with density and searing dryness and minerality that is very impressive with sliced apples, lemons and white peaches. Super energy. Drink now or hold.”

Italy – Veneto

A small, family-owned estate which has been producing delightfully drinkable Amarone wines for 100+ years.
Farina Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Veneto 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 24 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 93 points
“A nose of redcurrants, plums, spices, nuts and mocha. It’s medium-to full-bodied with chewy tannins. Balanced and focused with a nice structure and a creamy texture on the palate. Flavorful finish with delicious length. Supple. Drink or hold.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 91 points “The 2017 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico opens up with an inviting yet somewhat understated mix of peppery florals, cherry liquor, plums and sage. Here I’m finding silky textures offset by tart wild berry fruits, salty minerals and brisk acids in an expression that is much more savory than sweet. A coating of fine tannins lingers, along with a note of baker’s chocolate. I have to give Farina credit for creating such a versatile and balanced expression of Amarone.”

Italy – Tuscany

Villa Cafaggio Basilica del Cortaccio Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT 2015 750ML ($49.95) Was $33, Now $27 super special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Villa Cafaggio Basilica del Cortaccio Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT 2015 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $24.83/bottle!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points
“From a special 4.2-hectare plot of Cabernet Sauvignon in Panzano in Chianti, the 2015 Basilica del Cortaccio is very true to this French grape. The wine’s appearance is darkly saturated and rich, with little light breaking through. The bouquet offers full-force black fruit with shadings of spice and cedar. The wine’s Tuscan side is also very apparent thanks to those Mediterranean aromas of summer cherry and Italian rosemary and dried oregano. The tannins are soft and well-integrated into the thick fiber of this medium to full-bodied Tuscan red. Open it alongside a tomato and basil tortellini. Some 25,000 bottles were made. Cafaggio farms 30 hectares of vines in Panzano positioned at an ideal 350 to 420 meters above sea level. The estate completed its conversion to organic farming in 2017.”

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Shows tension and brightness. Excellent structure
Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo Toscana IGT Tuscany 2019 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Case-6  Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo Toscana IGT Tuscany 2019 750ML ($219.95) $159 special (that’s only $26.50/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“Sweet berries, flowers and cedar on the nose. Some leather, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with lightly chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Shows tension and brightness. Excellent structure. Drinkable now, but better in 2023.”

Has plenty of its trademark exuberance.
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT Tuscany 2017 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
James Suckling 95 points
“A fresh yet rich and dense red with cherries, berries, light cream and hints of hazelnuts. Full body, soft and layered tannins and a fruity finish. Reserved and tight. Shows balance for 2017. Better after 2021.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 94 points “The 2017 Oreno is an attractive, expressive wine done in a style that is all about richness. Black cherry, mocha, expresso, licorice and sweet French oak infuse the 2017 with notable depth. In 2017, Oreno is not quite as sumptuous as it can be, but it certainly has plenty of its trademark exuberance.”

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.

Tenuta Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 750ML ($59.95) $44 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.”

Iconic Rosso; Blink and you’ll miss it.
Montevertine Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Montevertine Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 1.5L ($199.95) $179 special, 1 magnum in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2018 Montevertine is fabulous. Bright and translucent in the glass, the 2018 is elegant and light on its feet like few, if any, vintages I can remember. Rose petal, mint, lavender and bright red/purplish berry fruit linger. The 2018 is one of the most refined, understated Montevertines ever. Silky, elegant and gracious, the 2018 is an absolute winner.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine celebrates 100 years of family legacy connected to Montevertine’s legendary founder Sergio Manetti. The bottle shows a little logo on the front label to commemorate the anniversary. The 2018 Montevertine follows the traditional blending formula of 90% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo and 5% Colorino that goes through a simple winemaking process that starts off in cement and continues into oak casks for 24 months. Keeping in with the well-established house style, the wine delivers enormous quality and clarity of fruit with bright cherry, rose, cassis and fragrant potting soil. These elegant results capture the promise of Sangiovese.”

Portugal – Port

Unbelievably youthful after eight decades…
Kopke Colheita Port, Portugal 1937 750ML ($999.95) $799 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 1937 Colheita Tawny Port comes in with 156 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is surprisingly fresh and surprisingly elegant for its age. It demonstrates its age when it finishes with power, showing remarkable grip and length, plus all those old Tawny flavors you want, the molasses, baked caramel. There’s a touch of brandy lurking here and there. While this has far more power and complexity than the 1967 this issue, it does lack that wine’s elegance and balance. The hard edge here is pretty hard, even if that intensity is sometimes very admirable. (I suspect it will show better if you come back in three days after opening it. They do change a little after pulling that cork, just a little, after that first rush.) At times, though, that hard edge makes it less attractive. The texture is smooth and unctuous. Overall, this is a fine experience in a blockbuster style. In some ways, I liked it no more than the 1967, though, perhaps less. To be sure, they are very differently styled as this, of course, emphasizes its power and that extra bit of complexity. Don’t drink this too warm—that can make all the difference.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Bottled in 2008, this extraordinary wine is still concentrated. It is also smooth, a velvet texture of richness bordering on opulence. The flavor of wood is there, but more important are the old-time fudge and toffee flavors, rounded with sweet sultanas and edged with acidity. Roger Voss”
[Bottling date will vary]

This is the only listing in the USA today!

“seems to linger indefinitely”
Kopke Colheita Port, Portugal 1957 750ML ($499.95) $399 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Baked pear, dried apricot and roasted apple flavors dominate in this mature yet fresh-tasting version. White pepper and lightly smoky notes show on the fresh finish. Rich and complex. Drink now. 200 cases imported.”
Mark Squires Wine Advocate 95 points “The 1957 Colheita Tawny Port was seen before, but it’s worth revisiting in the USA, since it’s a great wine. This is also the new 2015 bottling. It has 127 grams per liter of residual sugar. It is stunning how youthful this is. Lush and rich on opening, it has mature flavors that emerge, easily demonstrating the complexity and concentrated aromatics one expects. Gripping on the finish, this delivers fruit flavor and seems to linger indefinitely. When I first saw this, it was tasted next to even more brilliant Colheitas and a bit overshadowed. On its own, it is even more stunning. It was pretty fine next to some other greats here as well.”
Roger Voss-Wine Enthusiast 95 points “There is a great balance between acidity and impressively fresh fruit considering the age of this venerable Port. Of course there are many flavors from the wood aging, but they are combined with orange marmalade, fig and raisin flavors in a riot of complex flavors that have created a very great wine. It comes from a year that was not generally declared as a vintage.”

Budget-Friendly Holiday Picks from Piedmont:
Featuring G.D. Vajra

G.D. Vajra remains one of our favorite producers in the Piedmont. Responsible for some of our finest Barolos, from top to bottom Vajra’s wines are excellent. These include an array of the best values coming out of Piedmont today. At all price points they are benchmark wines that others are judged against.

The estate has always been good, but seems to have reached another level over the last decade. Delicious, attractively priced, and organically cultivated, anyone serious about their Piedmont wines drinking ought to be stocking up.

Shop our top picks for your table:

With relative scarcity in mind, GD Vajra’s “Kye” Freisa is a unique find. Sourced from a single vineyard in Barolo at 1100 feet above sea level, Kye delivers rustic aromas of turned loam, hyssop and seco tobacco leaf. Flavor profile is similar to Nebbiolo but with more emphasis on botanical and spice elements. There is plenty of room for Kye to continue evolving with more bottle aging, but provides immediate reward for the impatient. Given how this wine is sturdy without being overpowering, Kye is ready for a plethora of cuisine. 

G.D. Vajra Freisa ‘Kye’ Langhe Rosso, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($44.95) $36 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2017 Langhe Freisa Kyé is polished, understated and supremely beautiful. Over the last few years, the Vajras have tamed some of the rusticity of Freisa, but there is still plenty of varietal character here. All the elements are very well balanced. Wild cherry, plum, spice, licorice, tobacco, grilled herbs and coffee abound. I would give the 2017 a year or two in bottle, as there is still a bit of edginess to the tannin. Then again, that is Freisa, when it is made with this level of ambition.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “This wine has developed its own cult following over the years. Named after a local dialectal expression for “who is it,” the 2017 Langhe Freisa Kyè is super intense in this hot vintage. The wine draws upon those vintage conditions to present an extra dark appearance, with aromas of Morello cherry, dried blackberry and spice. I always get a subtle note of black pepper with the popular Freisa grape. The mouthfeel is rich, and you can really sink your teeth into this cheerful and unusual red from Piedmont. 6,000 bottles are hitting the market now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $41

Dolcetto is a charming grape, analogous to a Beaujolais for its zippy acidity and crunch red berry flavors. Looking for something a touch darker? Try the Coste & Fossati bottling, produced in a more full-bodied style.

G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2020 750ML ($21.95) $17.50 special, 12 bottles in stock now

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The average price nationally is $19

G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2018 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati is a gorgeous wine. Usually, the Coste & Fossati is a richer, bigger wine; the 2018, on the other hand, offers lovely mid-palate depth, but in a restrained, perfumed style that is hugely appealing. Dark red cherry, red plum, chocolate, licorice and spice all flesh out in this delicious and inviting Dolcetto from the Vajra family. The 2018 marks the second vintage of the return to submerged cap maceration, an approach the Vajra family used up until the late 1980s.”

A “super-sized Barbera” fit for a feast.

G.D. Vajra Viola delle Viole Barbera d’Alba Superiore, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points
“This wine carries the fantasy name “Viola delle Viole,” when in fact, its fruit comes from the Bricco delle Viole vineyard and the Bricco Bertone, two sites with different soil types, one adding structure and one adding aromatic purity. The G.D. Vajra 2017 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Viola delle Viole opens to an inky almost impenetrable appearance. The bouquet opens to robust aromas of blackberry jam and cherry preserves. You feel the heat and richness of the vintage, and there’s no way around it. The 2017 growing season produced very concentrated fruit with smaller berry size due to heat and drought. In effect, you get a super-sized Barbera that ups the ante in terms of extraction and intensity. There is a point of almost-sweetness on the close followed by good acidity. A pairing with marinated or spicy barbecued meat might work best. Some 12,000 bottles were released. Honestly, I’m not a fan of overripe wines, but I make an exception with Barbera because this grape handles the warmest growing seasons with grace and always offers enough acidity to balance things out.
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Barbera d’Alba Superiore is plush, racy and flat-out delicious. Raspberry jam, cinnamon, dried flowers, sweet tobacco and cedar all flesh out in a forward, plush Barbera that will drink well right out the gate. The Superiore always needs a few years to fully emerge. I imagine that will be the case here as well. Even so, the 2017 is an especially open-knit version of this wine.”

Budget-friendly, yet no slouch, this blend is bright and refreshing. Open a bottle or two while you wait for the fancy stuff to decant.

G.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($17.95) $12.50 special, 36 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2019. 2018 review provided for reference.
Grapelive 90 points
“Vajra’s Langhe Rosso blend is primarily the classic varietals Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Barbera, but also has an interesting addition of Albarossa, Freisa and even a touch of Pinot Noir all of which makes for a unique Piedmonte red that shows silky tannins, tangy vibrant fruits including brandied cherries, plum, cranberry, grilled citrus (Moro orange) and tart red currant along with wild herbs, delicate rustic notes, floral elements, mineral and savory spices….Giuseppe Vajra continues the traditions of his father Aldo, who was a big advocate for organic and holistic farming and promoted a sense of lightness in the wines always searching out vineyard sites thought to be too cold and too high up to ripen, but as history shows he was spot on and Vajra’s high elevation Barolo is one of the most prized wines in the world. The Vajra Rosso is mostly all stainless steel fermented with each lot and varietal done separately and blended before an early bottling to preserve fresh brightness, which this dark ruby/blue hued 2018 shows with lovely transparent clarity. This 2018 opens up nicely with air adding pipe tobacco, black tea, cola bean and dried rose petals, but the minty zesty tartness remains until the finish, in fact it is really nice with a bit of chill and with a picnic spread and or pasta dishes. The 2017 vintage was very warm and the wines are a bit bigger and fruit driven, with these 2018 shows a little more finesse and acidity, which shows through in this Langhe Rosso, it is wine to enjoy now and often, it has a hand crafted feel, but has no pretense, it is easy and delicious. For those looking for value with want this one, no question, but if you want to stay varietal pure, I highly recommend Vajra’s Dolcello, Barbera and Nebbiolo bottlings, there’s quality, value and grace throughout the lineup here.”

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The average listed price is $15

The new vintage of one of our favorite Nebbiolo values is the best edition since… 2013?

G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($26.95) $19.90 special

“2019 was marked by an early bud break, late flowering and a slow and progressive ripening. These elements turned the vintage into one of the longest and latest of the decade. Early winter snows and moderate rain falls throughout the year preserved the water reservoirs and laid the conditions for a balanced phenolic ripening. Thankfully, the Langhe were spared from both the April frost and the dramatic heat of late June. A severe hailstorm hit some vineyards on September 5th. Low yields since flowering, slow ripening, late harvest, excellent phenolic maturity and a great acidity spine: it all reminds of 2013. We foresee the potential for a truly remarkable vintage.” – Winery note

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Don’t skip dessert! Moscato offers a pleasant prickle with its subtle sweetness. Enjoy with a fruit and cheese course or pair with pie and fresh whipped cream.

G.D. Vajra Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont 2020 750ML ($19.95) $14.50 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Milena Vaira note
“Moscato is part of the culinary tradition of Piedmont. We seek for purity in our work, preserving its natural energy and wish it will always go along well with the most joyful moments of our lives and that of our friends.”

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The slight effervescence gives lift and energy to this warm vintage. This wine drinks a bit like a Lambrusco, so pair with appetizers.

G.D. Vajra ‘Clare J.C.’ Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2020 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points
“This was one of my favorite discovery wines from last year, and it sure is a pleasure to circle back to this G.D. Vajra 2020 Langhe Nebbiolo Claré J.C. today. Showing a luminous and bright ruby color, the bouquet shyly reveals wild cherry fruit and cassis. In a second moment, you taste bitter almond, candied lilac and hints of fresh garden herb or rosemary blossom. It’s hard to image such a young wine tasting so good at this unbelievable price. Production is 12,000 bottles.”
Giuseppe Vajra note “Claré J.C. is a Nebbiolo made according to a 1606 note by Gian Battista Croce, the jeweler of the House of Savoia. This wine is a time-capsule into an era when Nebbiolo wines tasted fresher, slightly crisp and smooth. This is a wine for people who are young at heart and curious about the forgotten past of Piemonte.”

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15 Under 15

Polished and appealing!
Bodegas Nekeas ‘El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa’, Navarra 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
“Deep garnet. Mineral-tinged cherry, raspberry, vanilla and exotic spice aromas show excellent clarity and take on a smoky nuance with air. Appealingly sweet and expansive on the palate, offering juicy red fruit, rose pastille and spicecake flavors energized by a minerally topnote. Shows impressive energy and florality on the persistent finish, which is given shape by polished, even tannins.”

Grown at almost 3,000 feet above sea level in sloped vineyards of black slate and quartzite. A Catalonian gem! 
Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha Calatayud 2019 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 9  bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“Based on 100% Garnacha, the 2019 Evodia is a killer value that delivers incredible Garnacha flair at a crazy good price. Kirsch, blackberry, acacia flower, violet, and sandalwood notes give way to a medium to full-bodied, seamless, beautifully layered wine with fabulous tannins, no hard edges, and a great, great finish. This is the finest wine at this price point in the world.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 90+ points “The 2019 Evodia is pure Garnacha from old head-pruned vines in the Sierra Santa Cruz in Calatayud. It fermented with around 20% full clusters in concrete and matured mostly in concrete with just 20% of the blend put in used oak barrels for three months. There is a component that matured in concrete egg that I was able to taste separately that seems to bring a touch of freshness to the final blend, something welcomed in a warm year like 2019, which seems like a fresher version of 2017, when the wines achieved quite good ripeness. The nose opens up nicely in the glass and is quite aromatic and floral, exuberant, with a heady touch of ripe fruit. It’s young and tasty, tender and pleasant to drink, with a forward personality. A real bargain. I hope there are more wines like this in Aragon, where the wealth of Garnacha vineyards would make it possible quite easily. 150,000 bottles produced. There are two batches per year. What I tasted had been bottled in February 2020, just a few days before I sampled it.”
Importer note “Evodia is sourced from Garnacha from the villages of  Atea, Acered, and Alarba. Located in the Sierra Santa Cruz, these steep sites (up to 25%) have various exposures but share similar soils – slate and quartzite over clay. At an average elevation of 900 meters above sea level, these vineyards are also among the highest sites within the province of Aragon. This unique terroir and the old vines of Garnacha rooted in it are the origins of Evodia.”

Biodynamic cider infused with redcurrants. A “Rose” by any other name.  
Eden Specialty Ciders Imperial 11 Rose Cider Vermont  NV 750ML ($17.95) $9 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Cidery note
“Profile: Superbly juicy without being sweet, just off-dry and gently fizzy, with bright acidity and chewy tannic structure. Apple Varieties: Esopus Spitzenberg, Calville Blanc, Hudson’s Golden Gem, Roxbury Russet, Blue Pearmain, Baldwin, Mcintosh, Empire, Ashmead’s Kernel, Black Oxford, Reine de Reinette, Orleans Reinette. Grown by: Scott Farms, Sunrise Orchards, Yates Family Orchard and Poverty Lane Orchard. Method: Naturally cold-concentrated before fermentation, infused with red currant and blended with a touch of ice cider. Filtered and carbonated. TASTING NOTES: Roses, strawberry, watermelon, citrus, slate. Gluten free, vegan friendly.”  

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The next best price is $11.99

A creative and passionate man, Graetz crafts some of Italy’s most impressive wines at his self-described Casamatta (“crazy house”). But don’t be fooled by Graetz’s self-deprecating humility, one taste of his wines will shatter any illusions that these are humble plonk.
Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 29 bottles in stock now

Pinot Noir rosé is our go-to this time of year. It easily pairs with a variety of fall-weather foods and has the structure and backbone you want during these chilly nights
Clement & Florian Berthier l’Instant Pinot Noir Rose Vin de France 2020 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 89 points
“Shimmering orange. Spice-accented tangerine and raspberry aromas pick up a floral nuance with air. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering juicy red berry and orange zest flavors that show a refreshingly bitter edge. Finishes taut and dry, with a repeating floral note and a jolt of spicy white pepper.”
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Pinot Noir. Sustainable. Clay & limestone. Tasting note: Fresh red berries and cherry, candied orange peel and strawberry. Medium body with a long finish.”

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A Cali Cab with Old World style.
Rotation Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi 2018 750ML ($17.95) $12.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Rotation Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi 2018 750ML ($189.95) $135 special (that’s only $11.25/bottle!)

Chateau de Manissy ‘La Belle Etoile’ Rosé Rhone 2020 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 89 points
“Pale orange-pink. Lively and focused on the nose, displaying fresh strawberry, white peach and orange zest scents, with floral and mineral nuances. Red berry and pit fruit flavors show sharp detail and a bracing hint of juicy acidity. The floral note repeats on the tight finish, which lingers with good tenacity.”
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache. Clay & limestone. Tasting note: Crushed stone, pressed flowers and white cherries. Medium body with a long finish.”

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Old vine, organic Xarel-Lo that’s zesty and fruit-driven with a long finish. 
Under $20? Sure. Under $12? Sign me up.
El Cep ‘Ot’ Blanc de Terrier Penedes 2020 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points
“Pale yellow. Fresh pear and honeydew melon on the fragrant nose, along with a subtle floral nuance. Silky and open-knit, showing good depth and a touch of waxiness to the ripe orchard and citrus fruit flavors. The melon note comes back on a smooth, persistent finish that features a refreshing bitter orange zest flourish.”

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A fan fav for the case buy, but still a great value by the bottle.
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Chateau de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone France 2020 1.5L 37.95) $29 special, 12 magnums in stock now
Importer Note
“Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône is produced from 100% Syrah and is from the rocky and cool vineyards of Vinsobres and the stony Villafranchian terraces of the Gard. Vinsobres brings freshness and complexity while the terraced vineyards of the Gard contribute color and power. The wine is partially destemmed, fermented with natural yeasts, and vinified in concrete vats. Syrah requires a warm climate to fully ripen but enough moderating effect to produce intense, aromatic wines that are not overwhelmed by sweetness and alcohol. This Syrah grows in ideal terroirs of the southern Rhône and shows the varietal’s typical spicy notes of sandalwood, violets, and black pepper.”

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Easy, breezy, beautiful Frappato (blend)
Caruso & Minini ‘Terre di Giumara’ Frappato – Nerello Mascalese Terre Siciliane 2019 750ML ($17.95) $14.90 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Caruso has been making wine since the late 1800’s. However it wasn’t until the 1990’s did they ever bottle their own wine, previously contracting out to the cooperatives of Marsala. With vineyards located only 12 miles from the ocean; encompassing almost 300 acres at almost 1000 feet above sea level these are some of the best examples of “New Sicily” winemaking and production.

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Purple and Black fruited indigenous varietal from a non-irrigated, organic estate at 2,600 feet above sea level. Gamay noir-esque but with a lean on spice over juiciness.  
Atance Bobal Valencia 2019 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Atance Bobal Valencia 2019 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Importer note
“Organic viticulture and hand picked grapes from bush vines in Requena, specifically the Casa Segura estate vineyards with well drained, sandy soils.”

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Chris Bilbro was one of California wine’s unsung heroes.
Marietta Cellars OVR Old Vine Red Lot 72, California NV 750ML ($15.95) $14.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Old Vine Red is a proprietary red wine made to replicate the field blends of many of the old vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Predominantly comprised of Zinfandel, Old Vine Red combines pure fruit, a supple mouth feel and a rich, solid structure. A groundbreaking combination of varietals and multiple vintages first produced in 1982, this wine has blazed the path for red blends for decades. With a historic underground following, it is one of the longest lasting and best known red blends produced today.”

Made in partnership with the winemakers of Comando G, Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia.
Cooperativa de Cadalso Granito del Cadalso Garnacha Sierra de Gredos, Madrid 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14.50 special
Case-12 Cooperativa de Cadalso Granito del Cadalso Garnacha Sierra de Gredos, Madrid 2017 750ML ($199.95) $156 special (that’s only $13/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“From a co-op in the Sierra de Gredos and all old-vine Grenache, the 2017 Granito De Cadalso comes from granite soils, was destemmed, and brought up all in concrete tanks. This Pinot Noir-like beauty offers notes of wild strawberries, rose hips, violets, and crushed rocks. Medium-bodied, with remarkable purity and vibrancy, it still has ample power and richness. This is a fabulous expression of Grenache that’s almost too good to be true.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Limpid ruby-red. High-pitched red fruit, floral and mineral qualities on the intensely perfumed nose. Juicy and appealingly sweet, offering energetic raspberry, lavender pastille and white pepper flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Weighty yet lithe as well, showing a seamless quality on a long, red-fruit-dominated finish framed by subtle, even tannins. All concrete.”
Importer note “The village of Cadalso de los Vidrios is situated at the foot of the Sierra de Gredos. For centuries workshops here made glass windows for the palaces of Spain from the granitic sands of the region. Ancient, head-pruned vines of Garnacha planted in these same soils make for equally transparent wine. Garnet in color with vibrant flavors of red fruits, laurel and orange peel, Granito del Caldalso is made under the guidance of famed winemakers Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia.”

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Silky and stunning.
Castello di Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Castello di Volpaia Citto Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!) 
Importer Note
“In the Tuscan dialect, “Citto” means “a young boy.” In the tradition of Bordeaux Châteaux — Mouton Rothchild has its Mouton Cadet, Cheval Blanc has its Petit Cheval — Castello di Volpaia has its Citto. Mostly Sangiovese with some Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes were destemmed and crushed, then fermented in stainless-steel vats for 10 days at 26 C to 30 C (80 F to 86 F). After eight days, the juice was drained off the skins. This generous, silky wine displays ripe fruit aromas with intense cherry and red berry flavors on the palate.”

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$12 + 93 points. You do the math. 
Bodegas Ego ‘Goru Gold’, Jumilla 2017 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“This red is sleek and solid, in the modern style. Bright cherry, berry and currant flavors mingle with licorice, black tea and mineral notes, giving way to a floral and minerally finish. The firm tannins are well-integrated and juicy acidity keeps this lively. Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Drink now through 2029. 7,400 cases made, 2,200 cases imported. — TM”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Brilliant purple. Smoke-accented cherry and blueberry on the nose, joined by hints of mocha, cola and vanilla that build in the glass. Sappy, alluringly sweet dark berry preserve and floral pastille flavors smoothly combine weight and vivacity. Finishes on a resonating black currant note, with gentle tannins, repeating spice and floral nuances and strong persistence. Aged for a year in new French and American oak barrels.”

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The average price nationally is $14

Watching for New Cayuse? You’re in luck. 

It’s no secret that we can’t get enough of Christophe Baron’s wines, whether it’s from his home village of Champagne or his holdings in Washington and Oregon. Just in time for the holidays we secured a selection of wines from Cayuse, including the just-released 2019 Cailloux Syrah. 

In stock now: 

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 3 bottles in stock now

Also in stock by Christophe Baron: 

Horsepower Vineyards ‘The Tribe Vineyard’ Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2016 Syrah The Tribe is largely in the same mold with a gamy, meaty, backward profile. Smoked meats, earthy dark fruits, ground pepper, and wood smoke are all present in this medium to full-bodied, concentrated Syrah that’s going to benefit from 3-5 years of bottle age and cruise for 15-20 years.”
Nick Stock-Jamessuckling 96 points “This has such impressive, silky black fruit with interwoven spices and subtle, meaty nuances. The intensity of fruit is dialed-up in this wine. There’s a very pure, bright fruit core here that pushes out of the mid-palate with a lot of energy and stony, graphite-like notes. This has a wealth of dark berries on offer. Such length and balance. Planted at 8,500 vines per hectare. Drink or hold. Best from 2022.”

Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($179.95) $129 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
 Showing beautifully, with pure cassis and black raspberry fruits as well as loads of dried flowers, cedar, tobacco, and dried herbs, the 2018 Impulsivo is medium to full-bodied and has a seamless, elegant texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great finish. It shows more meaty, almost bloody nuances with time in the glass, and it’s certainly a singular expression of Tempranillo. The tannins are present yet polished and ripe, and it has a great mid-palate as well as the balance and elegance to drink nicely today yet also improve with short-term cellaring and keep for two decades.”

We have even more Cayuse available both in store and online.

Collector’s Corner: 
Biondi Santi Ultra Rare Releases

Ultra-Rare Vertical Pack
& Winery-Cellared Release 

In the beginning there was Biondi Santi….  
Yes, Biondi Santi created the genesis of modern Brunello: the combination of bottling 100% Sangiovese wine from Montalcino, propagating the Sangiovese Grosso clone, and finally (in 1966) helping draft the regulations for the Brunello DOC. The foundational work did not stop there however, with Biondi Santi undertaking some of the first Massale or heritage selections on their estate to identify the best clones for winemaking. These results paid off in spades, with Biondi Santi’s genetic material being some of the most sought after clones of Sangiovese in the world. We’re excited to offer several exciting selections in stock now, including a new vertical pack of the riserva and an extremely rare winery cellared release.

Biondi Santi makes Brunello that all other estates are judged against.  Their estate, Il Greppo, occupies some of the most hallowed ground in the Brunello appellation, in the heart of Montalcino.  Their standards are high (they rarely release riservas) and their style defines classic. The wines are powerful, but not overwrought, elegant but emphatic. With the oldest vines on their estate now approaching 90 years old, there’s a level of depth and power in Biondi Santi that’s unprecedented anywhere else in Montalcino. 

In Stock Now from Biondi Santi:

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe- Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”

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Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($579.95) $419 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94+ points
“Dark red. Musky nuances give way to brighter red fruit, licorice and herbal aromas. Rich and dense, with flavors of red cherry and minerals lifted by hints of orange peel and bergamot, not to mention noteworthy but harmonious acidity. Finishes long with youthfully chewy tannins and lingering hints of violet. This strikes me as a slightly readier to drink version of Brunello Riserva from Biondi-Santi, but as always, it improves greatly with aeration so decant at least six hours ahead for maximum enjoyment.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “A warm summer yielded this rich and opulent 2011 Riserva. Only fruit from the estate’s oldest vines (some up to 80 years of age) makes it into this bottling, and that old-vine concentration shows in the wine’s dense flavors: notes of black cherry and umeboshi plum layered with iodine, basil and smoke. The tightly packed flavors need time to unfold, so it’s best to decant this several hours before serving.”

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 1983 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,199 special, only 1 bottles available
***Winery Cellared Release***
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points
“[Reviewed July 2021] This precious bottle is part of Biondi-Santi’s late-release program for collectors (I tasted bottle number 10,723). The 1983 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is showing beautifully on its aging timeline, although this bottle is slightly more evolved since I last tasted this vintage in 2019 before the pandemic. With slow and measured determination, the bouquet embraces dried fig, cured bresaola, burnt caramel, wet campfire, dried oregano and a familiar aroma that reminds me of the Florence leather market. However, there is a lot of life and vertical lift in this Riserva, thanks in great part to the beautiful freshness that keeps the tannins alive and adds a pop of pretty acidity to the close. The wine shows its age with pride and grace, and the final results are quite spectacular. In fact, I’m opening the drinking window up by an additional five years thanks to the latitude and depth shown here.”

Mixed Case-3: Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Vertical MV 750ML ($2,299.95) $1,899 special, only 1 mixed case available!
Mixed case: 1x 2008, 1x 2012, 1x 2013. No substitutions.
Review for 2008 vintage: Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The delightful 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is expressive and feminine with crushed chamomile, forest fruit, bramble, tar and licorice. It renders a stirring, melodic performance that plays out slowly but with determination. Drink: 2017-2030.”
Review for 2012 vintage: Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97 points “You will notice the dedication printed below the label of the wine label. It reads: “Dedicato a Franco Biondi Santi.” Indeed, the Biondi-Santi 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is the last vintage made by the towering father figure of Brunello whom most everyone referred to as the “gentleman of Montalcino.” Il Dottore, as he was also respectfully addressed, died at age 91 in April 2013, and he was very active in the winery as this magnificent wine took shape. This Riserva is a true work of beauty. It is released one year later than usual. The wine reflects the natural heft and power of the 2012 vintage, and it also shows that distinctive open-knit and accessible personality that characterizes this warm and sunny growing season. Il Dottore’s magic touch is revealed in the level of fine detail and precision that transcends vintage, grape and territory. That extreme focus is an achievement of this estate alone located in the celebrated Il Greppo property. This Brunello pours from the bottle with a magnificent garnet color, and it evolves in the glass with dark fruit, candied orange peel, spice, licorice, anise seed, cola and balsam herb. The aromas are magical and ethereal, albeit slightly ripe and soft as expected of this vintage.”
Review for 2013 vintage: Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points “The Biondi-Santi 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a stunning wine from all points of view. Seamless integration and elegant complexity are what stand out, and it’s worth dedicating a few extra lines to the aromatic depth that is put so beautifully on display as the wine slowly unfolds. The bouquet starts off with wild cherry, earth, wet ash, crème de cassis and pruny chocolate. With extra time, there are hints of dried tobacco leaf, sandalwood and mossy forest floor. These lead to a fine tail of dried herb, bay leaf and a touch of rusty nail. The Riserva comes in numbered bottles, and I opened number 04277. To the palate, the wine is streamlined and silky with smooth tannins and a well-managed 13.5% alcohol content. The oak presence is reduced to a minimum, offering mild hints of spice and the delicate sandalwood or dried fig aroma I described above. Fresh acidity is the glue that gives the wine buoyancy and staying power. At this young stage, this 2013 vintage could be considered a bit shy or slow to start, but this will play out to great advantage in the long term as the wine continues its bottle evolution.”

Shop our illustrious collection of Brunellos, including superstars of the region such as Stella di Campalto, Il Poggione, & La Gerla, on our web store now!

Thank you for reading!