December 16, 2021 Newsletter

In This Newsletter:

James Suckling
Top 100 Wines in 2021

15 Exciting Picks Under $50

Collector’s Corner:
Grand Port Offer
Worthy of a Windsor

James Suckling

Top 100 Wines in 2021

#3 Wine of the Year
Dominus Napa Valley 2018 ($449.95) $399 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator #1 Wine of the Year 2021!!!
James Suckling 100 points
“This is incredible on the nose, offering hot stones, blackcurrants, iodine and wet earth. Full-bodied with a tight center palate, then it opens with a tannin structure that is weightless and spreads across the palate. Totally integrated on the palate. This is a magic-carpet wine. Really incredible. One of the reference points for the vintage. Drinkable now and please try a bottle, but it’s one for the cellar.”

#15 Wine of the Year
Opus One Napa Valley 2018 ($389.95) $365 special, 10 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 99 points
“Extremely perfumed and floral with lavender, lilacs and violets to the sweet, ripe berries, such as blackberries and blackcurrants. Some slate and graphite, too. It’s full-bodied, yet ever so balanced and refined, with super fine tannins that last for minutes. Fresh herbs, such as bay leaf and lemon grass highlight the dark fruit. The quality of tannin is exquisite with wonderful polish and refinement. Lasts for minutes. So wonderful to taste now, but better after 2026.”

#58 Wine of the Year
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 13 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points
This is really gorgeous with crushed berries, currants and dark chocolate. Really aromatic. It’s full-bodied and soft with precise tannins and great length. Such polish and balance. Plush and focused. Lovely freshness. Subtle and complex. Sophisticated. Beautiful center palate. Pure cabernet sauvignon. So drinkable now, but will age nicely.

15 Exciting Picks Under $50

In Stock Now:

Exceptionally old vines and 5 years of aging on the lees before disgorgement make this a benchmark example of the style.  
Avinyo Seleccio La Ticota Gran Reserva Cava Catalonia 2014 750ML ($49.95) $37 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“La Ticota, Avinyó’s oldest single vineyard, is a 2ha plot planted in 1940 by their grandfather to 85% xarel-lo and 15% macabeo, in primarily clay-calcareous soil. La Ticota produces one of the most distinctive and complex single-vineyard méthode traditionnelle wines from Spain. Produced in very limited quantities from the best vintages, it is among the great single-vineyard sparkling wines of the world. La Ticota is currently undergoing the certification process in the newly-formed Cava de Paraje designation of the Cava D.O., a new category that recognizes the uniqueness of “a smaller area” of the appellation on the label, similar to Burgundy’s climats or lieux-dits.”

The oldest vines under Kruger-Rumpf’s spade that drinks like a Grosses Gewächs at half the price!
Kruger-Rumpf Abtei ‘1937 Reserv’ Riesling Trocken Nahe 2018 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94-96 points
“The 2018 barrel sample of Kruger-Rumpf’s Abtei 1937 was stunningly gorgeous with brilliant details, ripe extract density, vivid mineral tones and vibrant acidity showing a purity and vitality of youth, but with the complexity and length of its old vine material. Georg Rumpf has crafted a Trocken beauty here with layers of delicacy and substance. This juice is on par with almost any GG, making it an incredible value already. Be sure to book your allocation of this ultra-limited bottling from Terry These and importer Skurnik Wines. You will not be disappointed, I know I will be hustling to get some myself. The regular Abtei offering is one of my new favorite Nahe Rieslings and while I love all the latest Kruger-Rumpf wines, especially from the Grosse Lage: Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, Münsterer im Pitterberg and Dorsheimer Burgberg, as well as exotic Rumpf’s Scheurebe plus their off dry Kabinett, Feinherb and wonderfully balanced Spatlese(s) I have become obsessed with the Bingerbrücker Abtei im Ruppertsberg vineyard and wines. This ’18 starts with subtle aromatic charm with orange blossom, rosewater, flinty stones, salt lick and quinces before thrilling the palate with energy and white peach, tangerine, lime intensity, verbena, mint tea and tart green apple. This light/medium dry Riesling is brisk and racy, at first but gains depth and builds with air in the glass adding some leesy texture, it is totally thrilling and will only get better with bottle age. Terry Theise adds that, Kuger-Rumpf’s vineyards are farmed sustainably; bees are kept nearby to facilitate pollination and aid in overall bio-diversity. Periodically sheep are allowed to roam the vines helping to control underbrush. All vineyards are hand harvested to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. Stefan believed that “you can’t improve wine in the cellar, only make it worse…” and Georg has continued his cellar work with this philosophy in mind, which to me shows in wines like this fantastic Abtei.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “This bottling is sourced from the oldest vines, planted in 1937, on an exciting steep, stony site that the Rumpfs are restoring (and about which you can read much more in my reviews of the Rumpfs’ vintage 2016 and inaugural vintage 2015 renditions of Abtei Riesling, both of which originated entirely in this oldest parcel). In electing to segregate the fruit of these old vines for a separate bottling – while fruit from younger parcels 2020 informs the “regular” Abtei bottling (which in 2018 is designated A.P. #30) – the Rumpfs also decided to permit the fruit a bit longer skin contact and to raise the wine in a relatively new 1,200-liter cask. The nose anticipates the deeper sense of peachy fruit on tap here vis-à-vis the A.P. #30. The feel is glossy and silken, and the impressively sustained finish features a stony, alkaline and as such rather hard and austere sense of mineral matter, which serves for suitable counterpart to the fruit. What I miss are the mouthwatering salinity, herbal pungency and brightly juicy abundance of the A.P. #30. Those are not virtues that I anticipate emerging here with time in bottle, and since they were characteristics of previous Abtei bottlings, I tend to believe that skin contact and wood influence have made the unfortunate difference. But would that I might be lucky enough to one day re-taste the two wines side by side and perhaps be contradicted!”

The cult rosé of Provence, and widely considered the best in the world. 
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose Provence 2020 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Light orange-pink. Expressive, mineral-accented orange zest, red currant, nectarine and succulent floral and herb aromas take on a spicy nuance with air. Lively and sharply focused in the mouth, offering concentrated red berry, pit fruit, tangerine and honeysuckle flavors and a hint of tarragon. The mineral and floral notes drive an impressively long, precise finish that leaves white peach and spice notes behind.”

An endlessly nuanced Riesling that can convert anyone into an Austrian Riesling aficionado. 
Weingut Leo Alzinger Ried Hohereck Riesling Smaragd Wachau 2018 750ML ($64.95) $49 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91+ points
“From a very small cru between Hollerin and Loibenberg and cultivated in pretty shallow soils, the 2018 Riesling Smaragd Ried Höhereck is concentrated and warm on the nose, with dried white fruit aromas intermixed with lovely herbal and stony aromas. Rich and concentrated on the lush and fleshy palate, this is a full-bodied, dense and firmly structured Riesling that combines warmth and ripeness with the coolish mineral drive of the terroir. The acidity is remarkably fresh, and the wine develops a long, tensioned finish that is still a bit drying. Keep for three or so years before drinking.”
Terry Theise note “How inconvenient that my usual-favorite of Alzinger’s Rieslings is the one they barely make. It’s a tiny plot and they get “around 800 bottles” in a good year. Yes—bottles. All I can say, after all these years, is—from this tiny place comes one of the earth’s great wines, the terminus of every great facet of Wachau Riesling, the herbs from this, the peaches and plums from that, the mangoes from another, the smoke from yet another—all there. This `18 has its spells and angles and salts and roasts and smokes and incenses. But my shaman-riesling is still waking up from his psilocybin dream. Patience….”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
A premier cru vineyard divided by an Ancient Roman road from the Grand Cru Blanchot.
Domaine Louis Michel & Fils Montee de Tonnerre Chablis Premier Cru 2019 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 23 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92+ points
“The 2019 Chablis 1er Cru Montée de Tonnerre opens in the glass with notes of pear, green apple, wet stones, iodine and fresh pastry. Medium to full-bodied, satiny and layered, it’s taut and concentrated, with bright acids and a long, saline finish. It’s derived from holdings in Chapelot.”
Burghound 90-93 points “Outstanding. An airy, expressive and beautifully layered nose speaks of smoky citrus, white flowers, iodine and shellfish. The round, seductive and vibrant medium-bodied flavors possess a succulent yet sophisticated mid-palate texture while delivering fine length on the clean, moderately dry and sneaky long finish. This too will need to add depth over time, but it has the underlying material with which to do so if allowed the chance.”

James Suckling #1 producer of 2021.
Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay Kumeu 2020 750ML ($49.95) $45 special, 14 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“This is a wine of real purity and elegance with fresh sliced peaches and lemons, as well as some light pastry notes. The palate is fine, unwaveringly long and pure with enlivening acidity through the finish. Stunning. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 93 points “Another typically weighty expression from Kumeu’s Coddington vineyard, the 2020 Chardonnay Coddington fills the midpalate with its density and breadth. It is a wine of clarity, the oak-derived smoky, nutty notes providing a savory layer over nectarine and lemon meringue. However, this is not a wine that needs multiple flavor descriptors; it’s a wine of texture. Expect the smooth, mellow mouthfeel to be followed up with lovely precision and sinew on the lengthy, smoky finish.”

“Liquid Slate” Riesling coming from one of the steepest vineyards in the world. 
Heymann-Lowenstein ‘B’ Uhlen Blaufusser Lay Mosel 2016 750M ($69.95) $49 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2016 Riesling Uhlen B ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is pure, fresh and rich at the same time, with flinty aromas on the nose. Full-bodied, precise and piquant on the palate, this is an elegant, fresh and salty Riesling with a lot of tension and length. Powerful. Long.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a gorgeous nose of candied grapefruit zest, some star fruit, ripe pear and apple, all wrapped into the telltale classy touch of fine spices and herbs so typical of the Estate. The wine is medium-bodied on the palate and leaves a beautifully pure, spicy and mineral-loaded feel in the long and delicately powerful finish. This is a gorgeous wine in the making with a hint of power and nice saltiness in the after-taste.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Made from some of the oldest planted Cabernet and Merlot in the entire country, Rubicon has consistently won “best in category” from publications as far away as London and New York. 
Meerlust Rubicon Stellenbosch 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points 
“The 2017 Rubicon, Meerlust’s flagship Bordeaux blend (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot) offers attractive blackberry, raspberry coulis and floral scents on the nose, plus just a touch of glycerol. The palate is harmonious and medium-bodied with supple tannins, fine acidity and an almost understated but long finish. Not a show-stealer, but one of the bottles that you will finish quicker than intended.”

Evocative of Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet, with a pervasive basaltic character. 
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Old Hill Ranch planted a block of Cabernet in 1983 on a rootstock known as “AXR”. Fast forward 20 years and the block was infected by phylloxera due to an undiagnosed susceptibility in AXR. This means that the block is in the process of dying, with the resulting wine being every bit of a “Swan song” you’d expect.

The “Cabernet of Campania” made from old vines. Botanicals and spices are accentuated by black and blue fruits with a volcanic finish. 
Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Taurasi DOCG Campania 2013 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Eric Guido-Vinous 93 points
“This 2013 is a classic Taurasi, showing a mix of red and black fruits, offset by rosy florals, savory herbs, minerals, leather tones, and a hint of balsamic spice. On the palate, silky textures give way to spicy red fruits, energized by zesty acids with cool-toned sweet herbs and saturating minerality. The 2013 Contrade di Taurasi finishes long, with a twang of acid making the mouth water, as grippy tannins settle in and echoes of black berries linger on.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Aromas of black cooking spice, dark-skinned berry and blue flower swirl around in the glass. On the palate, firm, fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity balance dried black cherry, clove and freshly ground pepper. Drink 2021–2030.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
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
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
These are the oldest of her vines, averaging 60 years, and all are pergola-trained, growing in clay-rich soils. Also, due to the thicker skins and need for oxygen during vinification, 30% of the wine is matured for twelve months in new barrique.
Azienda Vitivinicola Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Italy 2017 750ML ($54.95) $44.50 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Eric Guido-Vinous 95+ points
“Garnering an official “wow” from the very first tilt of the glass, the 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Archivio is breathtaking. Roses, violets, stone dust and sour citrus set the stage, deepening with notes of ripe blackberries, cherries and hints of brown spice. It’s profoundly textural, as a silky wave ushers in ripe red and hints of blue fruit, spice, licorice and sweet lavender. This dances across the palate, pliant and soothing at times but then angular and boisterous at others, leaving a fine coating of saturating tannin behind. I love the harmony here, already so likable yet also youthfully reserved. My best advice is to check in on at least one bottle now, but to lose the rest in your cellar for a number of years. The Archivio is produced from four separate biotypes in Cristiana Tiberio’s vineyard. These are the oldest of her vines, averaging 60 years, and all are pergola-trained, growing in clay-rich soils. Also, due to the thicker skins and need for oxygen during vinification, 30% of the wine is matured for twelve months in new barrique. This is a whole new level for Tiberio Montepulciano.”

Floral and spice notes give the 2017 lovely aromatics to play off a core of sweet red berry fruit.
Snowden Vineyards The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($54.95) $41.90 special, 35 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 90 points
“The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is an attractive, mid-weight wine that shows the more gracious, understated side of the year. Floral and spice notes give the 2017 lovely aromatics to play off a core of sweet red berry fruit. This is a very pretty wine.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

We’re Open for In-Store Shopping!

10 AM – 6 PM Daily

Local mandates require properly worn masks for all regardless of vaccination status.
We also offer Curbside Pickup & Shipping

Order Online / By Phone / By Email

We will close at 4PM sharp on Christmas Eve,
be closed Christmas Day
& reopen on Sunday the 26th on regular hours.

Collector’s Corner:

Grand Port Offer

Worthy of a Windsor

Port is ubiquitous in the world of wine, having been a staple in every cellar since its inception in the 17th century. Not only delicious but also one of the most ageworthy and collectible wine styles in the world, port is a mainstay on auction blocks around the world from New York to Hong Kong. Unlike other ports which are multiple vintages blended together to make the various bottlings like ruby or tawny, Vintage ports are coming from a handful of the best barrels from a singular harvest. Statistically speaking less than 2% of port is ever bottled as a vintage offering, making them some of the scarcest wines in the world.

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. Even rarer than a vintage offering is a vintage quinta, or single vineyard vintage port. Representing the “Soul” of a Port House, Vintage Quinta Ports are assembled from the oldest blocks of their best vineyards (With the average age often being over a century old!)

In stock now:

Cockburn’s Vintage Port Portugal 2015 750ML ($89.95) $49 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Distinctive, with mint and blueberry notes leading the way before plum, pastis and blackberry cobbler flavors fill in behind them. Rounded and open in feel, with modest grip, putting this on course to come around a little sooner than the rest of the pack. Shows a light woodsy echo on the finish. Best from 2025 through 2035. — JM”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 91+ points “The 2015 Vintage Port is mostly a (Douro Superior) blend of Touriga Franca 41% and Touriga Nacional 37%, with old vines, Sousão and Alicante Bouschet making up the rest. It comes in at 104 grams per liter of residual sugar. This is the Bicentenary Edition of this old house. Focused and tight—probably the tightest of the Symington 2015s—it is hard-edged and precise, but it does seem to have streaks of alcohol and baked, slightly roasted fruit. This is the one in the Symington 2015 stable that most obviously fits the old Port stereotype—massive and impenetrable when young. It easily needs the most time. Big, deep and a bit harsh and astringent just now, it is a little hard to evaluate fully. It may well improve with cellaring, but it will likely be the least attractive to drink young. It was also, to me, the least convincing for the moment, but it certainly has some upside potential. If it comes around well and integrates its parts, it should easily age gracefully for several more decades. This has been released.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Cockburn’s Vintage Port Portugal 2016 750ML ($89.95) $59 special, 31 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 99 points
“This shows fantastic graphite and dark-berry character with black-stone undertones and hints of dried roses. Full-bodied and very tight and precise. Good kick in the end. Love the polished tannins, which are totally folded into the wine. Reminds me of the 1947 Cockburn. Try in 2024.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This is quite primal, with lush waves of plum, blackberry and açai berry reduction rolling through, pushed by warm licorice and Black Forest cake notes. A substantial bass line thumps on the finish, showing plenty of sparkly spice and incense details hitting the top range. Best from 2030 through 2050. 2,450 cases made, 1,500 cases imported. — JM”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “The wine has structure, swathes of juicy fruit and acidity along with fine tannins. It is certainly balanced with deliciously luscious fruit, and a rich texture that is suggesting good aging potential. Drink from 2028. -Roger Voss”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $83

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.”

#42 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port Portugal 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 28 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points
“This is a superb baby Noval that reminds me of the 1966. Chewy yet so polished. The light sweetness suggests an overall dialing back of the sugar content. Stemmy and lightly green. A truly classic Noval. Almost all from Pinhao. Buy. Better in 2025.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “This has terrific energy from the start, with a bramble note inlaid in the core of cherry and plum paste flavors. Sappy, sweet and fresh, with a plum cake-infused finish. Gains focus and polish as it stretches out in the glass.—Non-blind Quinta do Noval vertical (May 2018). Best from 2030 through 2055. 6,000 cases made.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in with 82 grams of residual sugar. This was in bottle for only about seven weeks when seen, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. It looks super, with plenty of room to grow in the cellar. Christian Seely likes to say that this regular Noval and the Nacional are not better than one another, just different. In fact, I usually prefer Nacional, but in this vintage I make a case for equality and endorse that view. This was stunning from the first smell, promising concentration, intensity of fruit and great things to come. It had a 100-point nose that made me go “wow!” No wine I tasted had a better nose than this. Violets and blue fruits lead off, with a trace of eucalyptus. I tend to think Noval is a producer that always shows mid-palate finesse, but this seems pretty deep too. It is also intense. The tannins won’t sear your mouth because the balance is impeccable. To be sure, it might close down, but it is surprisingly approachable now, notwithstanding that intensity. Rest assured that this lively young Porto still has all the materials to make old bones. Needless to say, “approachable” does not mean “ready.” You need to toss this in the cellar for a decade, at least. Purists will say to double that or more. When the palate becomes as expressive as the nose—if it does—this will be entitled to an uptick. No pricing was set yet.

Churchill’s Vintage Port Portugal 1994 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”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Churchill’s Estates Quinta da Gricha Single Quinta Vintage Port Portugal 2000 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Lots of flowers, crushed berries and raspberries on the nose. Full-bodied, very sweet, with big and velvety tannins and a long finish. Yummy. Churchill’s own single quinta Port and excellent. Best after 2010. 300 cases made, 150 cases imported. — JS”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Saturated bright ruby. High-pitched aromas of cassis, minerals, violet, asphalt and bitter chocolate. Sweeter and suppler than the Churchill’s, with concentrated, very intense black raspberry and spice flavors carrying through to a firm, gripping finish highlighted by big, tongue-dusting tannins and a note of cinnamon toast. An impressive mouthful of sweet fruit.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Churchill’s Vintage Port Portugal 2003 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
“An impressive, finely tannic Port with solid, ripe fruits and great black jelly and fig flavors. -Roger Voss”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

W & J Graham’s Vintage Port Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 9 bottles in stock now
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.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
W & J Graham’s Vintage Port Portugal 2011 750ML ($119.95) $79 special, 4 bottles in stock now
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.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
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.”

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 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Dow’s Vintage Port Portugal 2017 375ML ($69.95) $59 special, 22 half-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.”

Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.