VinopolPick Monday Newsletter 2-28-22

In This Newsletter:

New Vintage En-Route: 
Daterra Lorenzo 

Tan Fruit: Last of the Vintage  

Producer Highlight:
Mas Martinet

Merfy’s Champagne Renaissance

Mature and Rare Champagne from de Venoge

Collector’s Corner:
Biondi Santi 



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New Vintage En-Route: 
Daterra Lorenzo 

It goes without saying that organic and biodynamic farming methods have taken root in the wine industry around the world. In terms of farmed acreage the International Organization of Vine and Wine reports that Spain is currently leading the charge, with vignerons like Laura Lorenzo taking organic practices to the next level. With her first harvest being at 16 and experience in both South Africa and Argentina, you’d be hard pressed to find a more seasoned winemaker. 

Practicing regenerative agriculture with the express purpose to minimize impact on the ecosystem, her vineyards are entirely comprised of rehabilitated native varietals. Mixing her production between leased and purchased plots, her youngest vines are over 50 years old! Lorenzo’s operation is based in Ribeira Sacra or the “Sacred Shore” the region is punctuated by undulating hills and rivers largely comprised of granite. Vineyards are precipitously planted on terraces carved by the Roman and Celtic inhabitants in millennia past, largely to field blends of indigenous grapes. This allows for wholly unique expressions vineyard to vineyard, hence Lorenzo’s propensity to vinify and bottle her wines by site. 

Daterra Lorenzo wines arriving Friday March 4th: 

Daterra Viticultores ‘Azos da Vila’ Galicia 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special

Importer Note: “Field blend of Mouraton, Mencia, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao, Gran Negro, and other local varieties from 80-120-year-old vines on granitic soils near Manzaneda in the Val do Bibei. Grapes partially destemmed (50%), macerate for 15 days, and fermented with wild yeasts in an old, open-top French oak barrel. Raised for 11 months in used 225L & 500L chestnut and French oak barrels.”

Daterra Viticultores ‘Portela do Vento’ Galicia 2019 750ML ($36.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Importer Note:
“100% Mencia from a south-facing parcel of 50-year-old vines planted on granitic, sandy soils at an elevation of 350-400 meters in the Amandi subzone of Ribeira Sacra. The grapes were destemmed and partially crushed then fermented in a used 4000L French oak foudre. The wine then rested for 11 months in the same foudre.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Daterra Viticultores ‘Casas de Enriba’ Galicia 2019 750ML ($36.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Importer Note:
“100% Mencia from Laura’s own 20-25-year-old vines in Valdeorras, planted on granitic soils at an elevation of 550 meters. The grapes were partially destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks before being transferred to 4000L French oak barrels to rest for 10 months.”

Daterra Lorenzo Wines in stock now: 

Daterra Viticultores ‘Camino de la Frontera’ Blanco Castilla y Leon, 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Importer note
 “Camino de la Frontera Blanco comes from Angel’s ancient, northwest-facing vineyard in the Parque Natural de Los Arribes del Duero, from native Malvasia, Verdejo & Puesta en Cruz varieties. After a cool, wet & humid summer, the grapes were hand-harvested on September 20th, destemmed, crushed and wild yeast fermented in used 250 & 500L chestnut barrels with 10 days of skin maceration, then raised in the same vessels for 11 months. This is a “mountain white” showing bright orchard fruit, savory minerality and refreshing acidity. Pair it with grilled fish and poultry, paella and good friends.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Daterra Viticultores ‘Camino de la Frontera’ Tinto Castilla y Leon 2018 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94 points
 “The unique and outstandingly expressive Camino de la Frontera, made from incredibly rare local varietals including Juan Garcia, Tinta Madrid and Rufete from a high elevation vineyard in Fermoselle is crazy delicious with deep layers of blueberry, pomegranate, açaí and earthy currant fruits, but with racy acidity, a nice umami crunchiness, spicy notes and mineral elements in a wonderfully soulful and balanced wine. To explain this exotic field blend red wine from Arribes del Duero, you’d have to imagine some amazingly different wines blended together, I am seeing elements of classic Northern Rhones, along with characteristics you find in the red wines of the Alto Adige, as well as something like the Frappato and Nero d’Avola blends in Southern Sicily in the Vittoria region! Laura Lorenzo is one of the most heroic and iconic winemakers in Spain these days and her Daterra Viticultores label is one of the most intriguing in the wine world….The vivid and floral (violet) toned Camino de la Frontera Tinto comes from an ancient parcel with vines that are well over a hundred years old at 650 meters above sea level…. The grapes, which are all organic, were hand-harvested then traditionally foot-trodden using about 50% whole-cluster and 50% de-stemmed in this year, with as per normal with Laura’s natural wines, was wild yeast fermented. Lorenzo, who believes in transparency and wines that deliver textural pleasure, used a combination of large French oak and a 1000L chestnut wood foudre to ferment in and then this Camino de la Frontera Tinto was raised in the same vessels for 11 months. As expected in wines like this there was no manipulation during the winemaking process here and Laura’s wines see only a small dose of SO2 with all of her wines being unfined and unfiltered to preserve purity as well as showcase the individual terroirs and every distinct nuance to be found in the finished wines. This is compelling stuff and perfectly delivers everything I love about these Daterra Viticultores wines, which are sultry, earthy seductive and celebrate a sense of wildness that captures the essence of this region and the Galician cool Atlantic climate and rugged charms. “
Importer note “Camino de la Frontera Tinto comes from Angel’s ancient, northwest-facing vineyard in the Parque Natural de Los Arribes del Duero, planted to mostly Juan Garcia, Tinta Madrid (aka Tempranillo), and Rufete balanced by other indigenous varieties. After a cool, wet & humid summer, the grapes were hand-harvested on September 20-21st, 50% foot-trodden whole-cluster and 50% destemmed, wild yeast fermented in a used 4000L French oak cask and a 1000L chestnut foudre with 11 days of skin maceration, then raised in the same vessels for 11 months. This is a red wine of elegant rusticity, with a floral nose and a touch of toasty oak from the new foudre, along with soft tannins and bright acidity.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Daterra Viticultores ‘Portela do Vento’ Galicia 2018 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 39 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93 points
 “The Portela Do Vento Tinto is composed of a blend of Mencía and Garnacha Tintorera, selected from several different vineyard parcels in both Quiroga and Amandi. The grapes are mostly destemmed and fermented in stainless steel tanks, prior to racking to five hundred liter, used demi-muids for ten months of elevage. The 2018 Portela Do Vento comes in at a svelte twelve percent alcohol and delivers a beautiful, black fruity bouquet of cassis, dark berries, tree bark, coffee bean, slate, cigar smoke and just a touch of upper register botanicals. On the palate the wine is precise, full-bodied and tangy, with a lovely core of fruit, excellent slate undertow, fine-grained tannins and a long, complex, palate-staining and focused finish. This is pure, light on its feet and excellent! 2023-2045+.”
Importer Note “Comes from several south-facing parcels of Menci´a and Garnacha Tintorera in the Amandi and Quiroga-Bibei subzones. The grapes were harvested by hand and mostly destemmed, fermented with wild yeasts in steel vats, and raised for 9 months in used 500 liter French barrels. This is Laura’s “glou-glou” wine that she loves to share with her American friends. Fresh and easy-drinking, it is very versatile with a wide variety of foods…or straight from the porro´n!?”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Daterra Viticultores ‘Tabernario’ Galicia 2018 750ML ($35.95) $31.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points
 “One of my favorites and a heroic winegrower, Laura Lorenzo is making some amazing wines and her 2018s look set to take her fame to the next level [under the label “Daterra Viticultores. The winery is] based in the remote Ribeira Sacra, which means “Sacred Banks” in Gallego, the local Galician dialect… Her latest Tabernario Tinto with its beautiful texture, bright flavors and mineral details that make it drink as fine as a Premier Cru Burgundy. [The Tinto is] made from old vine parcels of 60% Menci´a, 30% Alicante Bouschet and 10% Palomino… all sourced from Lorenzo’s organic vines in Amandi and Val do Bibei, both sleep river valley locations set on primarily granite soils with a covering of sand and some loams… I was thrilled with the transparent dark fruited profile with layers of Mencia led characteristics showing black cherry, wild plum, cranberry and tart currant fruits, fresh garden herbs, star anise, crushed stones, a touch of leathery earth and light cedar as well as delicate floral tones. The Ribeira Sacra [region], a favorite of the Romans, who came to this green, northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula more than 2,000 years ago and were the first to plant and terrace the slopes to grape vines, almost forgotten in modern times due to the harsh working conditions this place is now one of the wine world’s most exciting places. This light medium bodied Tabernario red has the charm of Cru Beaujolais, like Fleurie, especially with its pretty details and a bit of northern Rhone crunchiness and game, even though as mentioned above this vintage has a satiny feel that reminds me of a Pinot. Lorenzo is committed to holistic and natural methods in the vineyards and in her cellar, looking to capture the purest form of terroir and of the vineyard. She works with indigenous or wild yeast exclusively and mostly whole cluster with elevage in only used well-seasoned oak casks of various sizes and does no adjustments other that the absolute minimum dose of SO2, all unfined and unfiltered. The 2018 vintage was not kind to Lorenzo and she lost a huge amount of grapes to severe weather, but she persevered and crafted a beauty with this Tabernario which was harvested by hand in early September…. The Ribeira Sacra is a cool Atlantic zone with granitic, schist and slate soils predominating here in a region that looks more like Germany’s river wine growing areas than most of Spain, which helps to explain Laura’s wines that have lower alcohols, this one is just 12%, and that are highly aromatic, zesty, quaffable and elegant in style. The Daterra offerings are wildly addictive and unique. I highly recommend checking them out!”
Importer note “Due to extremely adverse weather in 2018, Laura and Alvaro lost almost all of their fruit that goes into the Gavela, Erea and Azos wines. Thus was born Tabernario, half of which comes from the surviving Val do Bibei Mencía & Palomino,plus Alicante Bouschet & Mencía from the Amandi (which typically go into Portela do Vento). The grapes were harvested by hand in early September and 50% destemmed, skin-macerated for 10 days and spontaneously fermented in 500L & 1000L chestnut barrels. The wine was then raised for 11 months and bottled without fining or filtration, and only minimal additions of SO2.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!


Tan Fruit: Last of the Vintage  

Jim noted that his goal was “to explore outside of the Dundee Hills.” In future vintages, he will continue to explore, sourcing from a mixture of vineyards, new sources, and even new regions within Oregon. Sourcing from vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley, these represent dry-farmed artistry at its finest. These Chardonnays exhibit a complete and unique showing of Oregon’s terror as well as the varietals reputation for being a “winemaker’s grape”. Regardless of vineyard location, vine age and élevage these are both delightfully accessible now and yet demand further bottle age. We’ve just learned that the 2019 vintage is completely sold out via the winery. If you’ve been waiting to try any of the bottlings, your time is now! These are bottlings that are becoming harder and harder to find by the day, especially considering there were hardly more than a couple barrels of each bottling made to begin with. 

Tan Fruit Wines in stock now: 

Tan Fruit Dux Vineyard Chardonnay Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 98 points
 “The aromas of the 2019 Chardonnay Dux Vineyard are alluring and savory, with ripe peach layers, beeswax, roasted almonds and pastry. The palate has a singular satiny texture and impressive concentration, enlivened by tangy acidity and streaks of graphite and finishing with tremendous length and energy. Wow!”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Tan Fruit Maresh Vineyard Chardonnay Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 97 points 
“The 2019 Chardonnay Maresh Vineyard comes from Dijon clones planted in 1991, and it was matured in about 35% new oak. This vintage is pure and tensile, with scents of tarragon and fragrant herbs, beeswax and almonds, with plush white peach fruit. The palate combines intense ripe fruit with a spine of tangy, tense acidity, and it finishes with tremendous length. Allow it another 3-5 years in bottle.”

Tan Fruit Oak Grove Vineyard Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 98 points 
“The 2019 Chardonnay Oak Grove Vineyard has a unique personality that combines powerful exotic fruit with tangy energy and a shimmery saline quality, derived from a year’s maturation in barrel and then stainless steel. Guava, peaches, lilac and beeswax aromas burst from the glass, and the textural palate, which continues to change and evolve as it spends time in the glass, demands your attention with its rich but precise fruit. This unabashedly hedonistic Chardonnay has the intensity and energy to age well, but that youthful, gregarious fruit is hard to resist!”

Tan Fruit ‘Tank Fruit’ Chardonnay Eola-Amity Hills 2019 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 99 points
 “The Chardonnay Tank Fruit comes from the same Oak Grove fruit as that vineyard designate, but was aged a bit longer, with 12 months in oak and another 12 months in stainless steel. It is pure, ultra perfumed, intense and layered, with alluring white peaches and lilac interwoven with cashews and honeycomb on the nose. The palate derives incredible energy from the push-pull of those deeper tones with salty, energetic acidity, and it finishes with extraordinary length.”

Tan Fruit Vojtilla Vineyard Chardonnay Chehalem Mountains, 2019 750ML ($79.95) $64.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 97 points
 “Vojtilla is a small, four-acre vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains that sits at around 500 to 600 feet in elevation and, says Jim Maresh, is influenced by the nearby Willamette River. Harvested in October this vintage, the 2019 Chardonnay Vojtilla Vineyard comes from Dijon clone vines planted in 1991, and it was matured in about 25% new Damy barrels. It has a stunning perfume of quince paste and mushrooms, pastry and flowers, and the palate is satiny, plush and pure, with a seamless tangy streak and long, powerful finish.”

Producer Highlight:
Mas Martinet

Priorat remains one of the most sought after and highly lauded wine producing regions in all of Spain. The high concentration of old vines, cult level producers, high elevation and Mediterranean climate have made it a hotbed for Spain’s fine wine revolution. Priorat wines are largely based around Grenache and Carignan, grapes usually associated with being medium bodied and fruity. However they take on a whole new dimension on the terraced vineyards of martian-esque shale. Called llicorella by the locals it’s famous for the savory minerality that’s imparted to the grapes, in addition to ripening grapes faster by heat radiation. 

Mas Martinet was founded in 1981 and was one of the first to produce Priorat wines at commercial volumes in the Modern Era. Working under the idea that a greater expression was possible, Mas Martinet planted French varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot alongside their old-vine Carignan and Grenache. Their efforts pay off brilliantly in the multidimensional character found in the finished wines, with co-fermentation being a house practice to ensure harmony. The reds are not the only jewels in their crown however, with their Ranci Dolce being homage to the sweet wines that were originally the calling card of Priorat. There is also an orange wine that is made from a field blend of white varietals and fermented in amphora with its skins, also done as an homage to the village wines of millennia past.

Mas Martinet Wines in stock now: 

Mas Martinet ‘Martinet Bru’ Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93+ points
 “The 2018 Martinet Bru is a wine that was born in 1990 and is now their way into Priorat but more about the stone than the fruit, less ripe than in the beginning, with complexity rather than voluptuosity. It’s a blend of Garnacha, Cariñena, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from three organically farmed vineyards between Falset and Torroja. The grapes are picked early but at different times, fermented with some full clusters, co-fermented when possible (Garnacha-Syrah-Merlot and Cariñena-Syrah-Cabernet) with indigenous yeasts in concrete vats. It matured in a combination of 4,500-liter oak vats, used 300-liter barrels, amphorae and glass demijohns. It’s elegant and fresh, nuanced and clean. It’s very harmonious and feels very balanced, with fresh flavors and very fine tannins. It’s one of the finest vintages for this bottling.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Deep violet. Assertive black and blue fruit, licorice and violet scents are complemented by suggestions of baking spices and smoky minerals. Pliant and concentrated on the palate, offering ripe cherry, cassis and floral pastille flavors and a hint of spicecake. Closes very long and smooth, with resonating florality and building tannins that add gentle grip.”

Mas Martinet ‘Clos Martinet’ Tinto Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The 2017s feel relaxed, something unusual in Priorat. The 2017 Clos Martinet has seen a change, as they stopped using the sorting table and stopped using the pied de cuve, because the harvest was very easy. They harvested in August—the earliest ever until 2018—and they didn’t have time to do anything; so, they put the grapes in the vats and let them ferment, and that’s what they have been doing ever since. They feel that there is less manipulation of the grapes now, and that could have helped to make wines more relaxed. This is truly harmonious and expressive, elegant and powerful, not showing any heat—in fact, it’s showing very much freshness.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Deep, shimmering ruby. Expansive cherry and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of smoky minerals, incense and candied lavender. Well concentrated and alluringly sweet, offering black raspberry, cherry cola and boysenberry flavors that are sharpened and supported by a spine of juicy acidity. Finishes smoky, seamless and impressively long, with polished tannins adding shape and gentle grip.”.

Mas Martinet Pesseroles Brisat Blanc Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Importer note 
“Pesseroles Brisat comes from the white wine state that we have at the road of Pesseroles. Planted in 2002, and with traditional varieties from Priorat, such as Picapoll blanc, Pedro Ximenez and Garnatxa blanca. The crumbled slate-containing land of the vineyards at the side of the road of Pesseroles features a subsoil with more presence of clay than in other estates, which makes it a wine with a great structure. Varietals: 43% Picapoll blanc, , 29% Pedro Ximenes and 28% Garnatxa blanca.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Merfy’s Champagne Renaissance

Alexandre Chartogne is single handedly credited with reviving the reputation of his home village of Merfy. Located just northwest of Riems in the Massif de Saint-Thierry, Alexandre Chartogne took over his family’s 28 acres in 2006 after apprenticing under legendary Champenois, Jacques Selosse.  At its peak acclaim in the Middle Ages, there were more grapevines planted in Merfy than the entire Marne region of Champagne thanks to the local monks.

Alexandre instituted organic farming methods, horse plowing and restorative cover crops, while phasing out all chemical based inputs on the estate. Call it technical skill, or exceptional farming either way his entry level easily hits at a $75-$100 price point. 

Comprised of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and a splash of Pinot Meunier from his estate holdings, there is a full spectrum of Citrus, Mashed quince, Golden Apple and a finish that is savory and salty, redolent of yellow miso.

Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Ste Anne, Champagne NV 750ML ($51.95) $44 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Ste Anne, Champagne NV 750ML ($299.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
John Gilman 90+ points
 “The current release of Alexandre Chartogne’s Cuvée Ste. Anne non-vintage Brut is from the base year of 2017. The vins clairs were raised in a combination of both stainless steel and oak and the wine was not bottled up for secondary fermentation until July of 2018. The cépages is its customary blend of nearly equal parts of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier and the wine was disgorged in February of 2020, with a finishing dosage of just over five grams per liter. The wine offers up a vibrant bouquet of apple, white peach, a fine base of soil tones, brioche, gentle smokiness and a topnote of white flowers. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a good core, elegant bubbles, fine balance and grip and a long, zesty and quite classy finish. This seems a touch longer on the backend to me than the last couple of iterations of this bottling that I have tasted and is first class, non-vintage Brut. But, this is still a fairly young wine and I would be inclined to give it some bottle age to let it start to blossom properly. 2022-2040.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “The latest release of Chartogne’s NV Brut Sainte Anne is based on the 2017 vintage, complemented by 40% reserve wines. Disgorged in September 2020 with five grams per liter dosage, it opens in the glass with aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers and fresh pastry. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, it’s elegantly textural, bright and precise, with a seamless, harmonious profile.”
Disgorgement date may vary from reviews.
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!


Mature and Rare Champagne from de Venoge
De Venoge is an old-school Champagne house that’s relatively unknown in the United States, a fact that means even their finest and rarest wines continue to be undervalued relative to their peers. This is no better exemplified than their prestige cuvee, the LXV bottling. Named after Louis the 14th (The Sun King) it sees extensive aging on it’s lees and are true monuments of vintage champagne. 
De Venoge has a strong following in Europe for good reason—they source from some of the best vineyards in Champagne and produce prestige cuvées of immense quality, built on long lees aging. They source Pinot Noir from Grand Cru villages like Verzenay, Ambonnay and Bouzy and pair it with a murderer’s row of Chardonnay sources, including Avize, Mesnil, and Cramant. The resulting wines capture the essence of classical Champagne and are in high demand in Europe’s top restaurants. 
De Venoge prestige cuvées are outstanding wines for lovers of truly mature Champagne in all its glory, rich, creamy textures from extended lees aging married to surprisingly fresh, mineral personalities. There’s a reason this house has such a following overseas, they produce stunning wines and then age them until they’re ready to go, so consumers don’t need to leave them in the cellar for decades. We have a handful of options left here, including two that are a quarter-century young. Now’s your chance to try them for yourself! These are perfect “occasion” wines that make for fantastic birth year or anniversary gifts.  

In Stock Now:

De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésime, Champagne 2006 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points
 “The assemblage of the 2006 Louis XV Brut Millésimé is about the same as the 1995 and 1996—composed of 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all from grand cru villages. The only difference is that the Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (10% of the assemblage) spent 12 months in oak barrels. Disgorged in January 2017 (dosage: six grams per liter), the 2006 has a golden color and opens with a deep, ripe, elegant and vinous bouquet with toasty and chalky lemon and fresh white fruit flavors. On the palate, this is an intense, round, fresh and complex Louis XV with great purity and finesse. The wine opens on the palate like a soufflé, coating the whole palate without any pressure or weight—gorgeous! This is a delicate and fresh yet well-structured and persistent Louis XV whose intense and long but weightless finish reveals lovely, almost juicy fruit concentration with perfectly integrated freshness and lasting minerality that seems to give additional structure. The 2006 shows a lot of Chardonnay features right now and drinks perfectly today; however, it can be kept under perfect conditions for decades. Just keep it in the box, because the bottle is white and nothing makes a Champagne age faster than exposure to daylight. (Tasted in November 2017 from Lot LL15067017BT.)-SR”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millésime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 16 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points 
“This is really punchy and broad-shouldered with muscular structure and citrusy undertones. Full body. Lightly tannic and a fresh and vivid finish. This is the first vintage without malolactic fermentation ever. One for the cellar. Better in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The straw-yellow/white-golden colored 2008 Louis XV Brut Millésimé blends 50% Chardonnay (20 % from Avize, 15% from Oger and 15% from Mesnil) with 50% Pinot Noir (41.5% from Verzenay and 8.5% from Bouzy). Disgorged in January 2018 with a dosage of six grams per liter, the 2008 displays a clear, pure, fresh, chalky-tinged and vinous nose with lemon, white fruits, brioche, hazelnuts, white blossoms and some caramel notes. Pure, lean, fresh and elegant on the palate, with a lingering hazelnut flavor, this is a straight yet complex cuvée with grip and a long, well-structured and textured finish. This 2008 is still terribly fresh and should benefit from further bottle aging. For the moment, I am missing the mouth-filling generosity of the 2006 and 1995. Mind that this is the first vintage of de Venoge’s prestigious Louis XV where the base wines didn’t undergo malolactic fermentation! Total production: 10,326 bottles. Tasted October 2018.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Extra Brut Rosé Millésime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “Harmonious, with fine intensity, offering rich notes of spice cake, toasted almond, dried cherry, grilled plum and smoky mineral. Almost velvety in texture, with juicy acidity that brings you back for another sip. Delicious. Drink now through 2022. 54 cases made.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

De Venoge ‘Princes’ Tour Eiffel 130 Anniversary Edition Champagne  NV 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Envie de Champagne 
“The Maison De Venoge was founded in 1837 by Henri-Marc De Venoge. Innovation in the production and marketing of champagnes were the founding values of this of champagne house, which won the Excellence Price in Philadelphia in 1876. A few years later, in 1889, during the World Fair in Paris, the house became the partner of the event. This exhibition celebrated the centenary of the French Revolution and it is on this occasion that the Tower designed by Gustave Eiffel has been inaugurated. This monument, with a height of 312 meters during its construction can now 337 meters in 2019 following the installation of antennas. In addition to its cultural and tourist use, the Eiffel Tower is used as a transmitter for TV and radio programs. The Eiffel Tower, object of discord at the time of its creation has become today the most visited paying monument of France. It has about 7 million visitors a year. It is also inseparable from the history of the French capital. For the 130 years of this first collaboration, De Venoge signs a beautiful partnership with the company in charge of the exploitation of the iron lady (surname of the Eiffel Tower). This collaboration is obvious because of  the common history of both parties but also because of the characteristic shape of the bottles of the Princes cuvée. This limited edition vintage is named “Cuvée Princes Tour Eiffel”. Only 10,000 bottles have been marketed for this partnership.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Collector’s Corner: Biondi Santi 
 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.

Biondi Santi Wines in stock now: 

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 25 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.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

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.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 1983 750ML ($1499.95) $1199 special, only 1 bottle in stock now
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.”

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo ‘La Verticale’ Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Tuscany Case-3 ($2299.95) $1899 special, only 1 3-bottle 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.”