Vinopolis Newsletter – Wednesday 09/20/2023

 In This Newsletter:

New Arrivals
Domaine Alphonse Mellot, Guy Larmandier, and more!
Staff Pick
The most underrated Italian wine veriatal?
Better Know A Wine Region
The Queen of Beaujolais
Close-out Sale

Save on top wines from Italy, France, and Germany!
Collector’s Corner
Pacific Northwest Best
Arriving Friday
“Domaine Alphonse Mellot, Loire Valley”
One of the oldest producers in Sancerre known for their famed “La Moussière” vineyard. Local records mention the Mellot family in connection with this land dating back to 1513 and it has been passed from father to son ever since… 19 generations of excellence and counting.
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Blanc La Moussiere 2022 750ml $36 special, 12 bottles available
Winemaker’s Note “La Moussière is the estate’s flagship cuvee, its richness, energy and precision defining the Alphonse Mellot style. This 100% Sauvignon white wine has a floral and fruity nose combining white flowers with citrus fruits, a resplendent golden robe with glints of green, and a lively, refreshing palate.”
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Blanc La Demoiselle 2022 750ml $49 special, 6 bottles available
Not yet reviewed, 2021 review provided for reference
Vinous 92 Points “La Demoisellle is part of the narrow slice of Sancerre vineyards that are planted on clay-flint. The vines tumble towards the Loire to the east of the village, separated from the rest of the appellation’s limestone-based vineyards to the west of the fault line that slices through the area. The 2021 is a crisp, pure style with the flint giving a sense of direction throughout while the mid palate is suffused with a fragrance akin to elderflower, pineapple and pear. Tangy and balanced, it is very attractive in youth for its primary aromas but can evolve.”
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Blanc “Le Paradis” 2022 750ml $79 special, 6 bottles available
Importer’s Note “From a south-facing, 1.4-hectare plot with 55-year-old vines on clayey limestone soils, the 2014 Sancerre Les Paradis is very bright and clear on the nose, displays spicy white and green fruit aromas and lemony flavors. The wine was fermented in conical wooden vats and in oval casks and aged on the fine lees for ten months before it was stored for another six months in vats.”
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Edmond 2020 750ml $99 special, 5 bottles available $99 special, 6 bottles available
Not yet reviewed, 2019 review provided for reference
Wine Advocate 93+ Points “Compared to other whites, Mellot’s 2019 Sancerre Edmond is definitely from another world of thinking and winemaking. The nose indicates a more “natural” approach since it is more generous in its autumn-like fruit aromas (from dry old vines in fact) as well as more oxidative and phenolic. However, as it takes in more air, the purer and finer the wine becomes. On the palate, this is a pure and finessed as well as rich and intense Sancerre with a very long and complex finish. I wouldn’t say this is enormously powerful, but it is pretty powerful and truly intense in all dimensions. The intensity and richness is combined with mineral structure, fine tannins and a sustainability coming from the soils. This wine has enormous energy and is, in the end, a great one and with lots of iodine.”
Alphonse Mellot Sancerre Generation XIX 2019 750ml $99 special, 6 bottles available
Not yet reviewed, 2018 review provided for reference
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 94 Points “The 2018 Sancerre Génération Dix-Neuf (XIX) opens with a very clear, pure and, given the warm and dry vintage, beautifully fresh and mineral-scented bouquet with flinty and yeasty notes intermingled with white fruit aromas. Generously fruity but also salty, pure and tensioned on the palate, this is a full-bodied and elegant but thrilling 2018 Sancerre with a spectacularly long and iodine-laced finish.”
New Arrivals

Bow & Arrow Cabernet Franc 2021 750ml $29 special, 36 bottles available
Vinopolnote “If you don’t know Scott Frank’s wines yet, you are missing out on some the best varietal focused wines at value prices in the market. Specializing in the styles and varietals of the Loire Valley, this cab franc clocks in at 12.5% alcohol and captures the magic of Chinon with Willamette fruit.”

Mellen Meyer Willamette Valley Brut Nature NV 750ml $31.90 special, 24 bottles available
Winery note: 60% Pinot Noir & 40% Chardonnay. Disgorged March 20, 2021. Aged 30 months on the lees. Produced from non-irrigated vines.
The vineyards have essentially been organic since Roman Times, tended by German monks for millennia before they were purchased by the Saah family in the 19th century. The family took Nikolaihof to the next level and converted to Bio-dynamic farming in 1971, making them one of the longest practicing Bio-dynamic wineries in history.
Nikolaihof Riesling Federspiel 2021 750ml $39 special, 12 bottles available
Nikolaihof Riesling Steiner Hund 2017 750ml $99 special, 6 bottles available
Nikolaihof Riesling Vom Stein Smaragd 2017 1.5L $169 special, 3 bottles available
Nikolaihof Riesling Vom Stein Smaragd 2017 750ml $79 special, 12 bottles available
Arriving September 22nd
“Champagne Guy Larmandier”
In the village of Vertus at the southern base of the Cote des Blancs, the Larmandier family has crafted their champagnes since 1982. Since Guy Larmandier’s death, his wife Colette and their two children, Francois and Marie-Helene, have continued business with no alteration in production or quality. Harvests are still conducted manually, the wines are still aged a minimum of 36 months on the lees and all Champagnes for US export are disgorged on order. These memorable and pure Cru champagnes are a love letter to Guy’s vision and dreams.

Guy Larmandier Cramant Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV 750ml $59 special, 36 bottles available
Importer’s Note “From Chardonnay vines in the Grand Cru village of Cramant. The total absence of any sense of sweetness in this Brut Zéro allows the limestone to take center stage, and it presents in a more piercing and saline manner than in Larmandier’s Brut wines. Despite its relative rigorousness and austerity, however, this is by no means a difficult wine. Rather, it will appeal to those who relish the sort of palpable, intense mineral character Champagne is capable of when made in such a straightforward fashion. Aged 3 years sur lattes.”
“Brovia, Piedmont”
Brovia Barolo 2019 750ml $69 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 Points “On a shortlist of “Annata” wines to buy from Piedmont this year is the Brovia 2019 Barolo. Made from a blend of fruit from Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba, this wine delivers a very sharp and chiseled performance that puts a priority on directness, freshness and length. This pretty wine has a pronounced fruity side and a mineral side, and these two parts converge beautifully. There are hints of dried mint and licorice on the close of this must-have wine.”
Staff Pick

Giovanni Gurrieri Frappato 2021 750ml $21.90 special, 31 bottles available
“Bright and lively, with vibrant notes of cranberry and wild red fruit. The nose is nuanced with hints of white pepper hiding behind a floral bouquet. Light in tannin and beautifully expressive, this is a lovely introduction to Frappato!”
Know A Wine Region

“Fleurie is Central in every way. Good, young Fleurie epitomizes the spirit of the region: the scent is strong, the wine fruity and silky, limpid. A joy to Swallow.”
-Jancis Robinson
Known as the “Queen of Beaujolais,” Fleurie (meaning floral) is famed for beautiful medium bodied wines with strong aromas of rose and violet on the nose. Other regions of Beaujolais may create more structured or earthy burgundy-like wines, Fleurie wines are very balanced and crowd-pleasing. They are an excellent place to start if you’re just learning about the region but they are also just fantastic wines to be enjoyed for their own merits.
Domaine Anita Fleurie Les Moriers 2020 750ml $24 special, 17 bottles available
James Suckling 93 Points “Stunning black-cherry fruit is married to generous, fine tannins and very lively acidity that lights up this rather bold wine. So many violets and ripe blackberries that this well-structured wine slips down very easily. Quite some allspice character at the long finish.”
Domaine Anita Fleurie Poncie 2020 750ml $24 special, 2 bottles available
James Suckling 93 Points “Dense violet and sour-cherry nose with just a hint of licorice. Very fresh and vital with quite a serious tannins structure for a Beaujolais Cru, this is still very young with tremendous energy. Quite dry finish, but in a very positive way, and one that reminds me of wines from cooler locations in the Northern Rhone. Drink or hold.”
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Cocottes 2021 750ml $29 special, 12 bottles available
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.
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie L’Alchimiste 2021 750ml $33 special, 18 bottles available
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie L’Alchimiste 2021 1.5L $79 special, 3 bottles available
Vinous 91 Points “The 2021 Fleurie L’Alchimiste is well-defined and focused on the nose, with blackberry and raspberry fruit as well as a touch of loam and orange rind. Detailed, though never powerful. The palate is medium-bodied, cohesive and smooth with fine-grained tannins. It shows fine precision and a little more depth than the Labourons this year. Lightly spiced on the finish, this is a very endearing Fleurie from Anne-Sophie Dubois.”
Jean Foillard Fleurie 2019 750ml $59 special, 2 bottles available
Vinous 94 Points “Dark, bright-rimmed ruby. Incisive, spice-accented red and blue fruit and allspice scents show excellent clarity and pick up floral and smoky mineral flourishes with air. Juicy and alluringly sweet, offering vibrant black raspberry, boysenberry and five-spice powder flavors that deepen through the midpalate. Shows impressive energy and finishes seamless and impressively long, with discreet tannins and a strong echo of juicy red fruit.”
Lafarge Vial Fleurie 2020 750ml $49 special, 5 bottles available
Lafarge Vial Fleurie Clos Vernay 2020 750ml $49 special, 4 bottles available
Close-out Sale
Joh. Bapt. Schafer Burg Layer Scloss Spatlese 2015 WAS $59  NOW $49 special, 17 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 Points “The 2015 Burg Layer Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese was auctioned in Bad Kreuznach in September 2016. Sourced from vines that are less than 30 years old, it opens with a very clear, ripe and almost tropical fruit aroma intertwined with delicate, flinty notes from the reddish/silvery slatey clay soils. This is another reductive styled, racy, piquant and finesse-full Riesling with tropical fruit aromas, some toasted speck and date flavors.”
Schafer-Frohlich Felseneck Spatlese Riesling 2017  750ml WAS $39  NOW $33, 24 bottles available
Vinous 93 Points 
“Elder flower and peony, ripe quince and white peach on the nose presage a lusciously-fruity and profusely floral inner-mouth performance. The feel is glossy but buoyant. The succulent and superbly-concentrated finish remains transparent to floral nuances as well as revealing a shimmering sense of crystalline and flinty stoniness.”
Schafer-Frohlich Felsenberg GG Riesling 2017 750ml WAS $79  NOW $69 special, 19 bottles available
John Gilman 96 Points “The 2017 Felsenberg GG is a masterpiece in the making, with the bouquet soaring from the glass in a youthful and very elegant constellation of pink grapefruit, wild yeasts, tart peach, plenty of smokiness, a great base of salty soil tones, dried flowers and a topnote of citrus peel.”
Schafer-Frohlich Felseneck Spatlese Goldkapsel 2018 750ml WAS $59  NOW $49 special, 17 bottles available
John Gilman 93+ Points “The 2018 Goldkapsel Spätlese from the Felseneck vineyard was made solely with shriveled golden berries and there is not a trace of botrytis in this beautiful wine this year. The bouquet is nicely youthful at the present time and takes a bit of coaxing to offer up a gorgeous blend of pear, white cherries, wild yeasts, a lovely undertow of salty slate, white flowers and a whisper of upper register smokiness.”
Weingut Schatzel Nierstein Riesling Kabinett 2017 WAS $29  NOW $24 special, 20 bottles available
Decanter 92 Points “This Riesling, from red slate soil on ultra-steep, south-facing slopes, ferments and matures in a 670-year-old cellar to produce a floral, fresh and pure vineyard wine, with just 7.5% abv, the 42g/l sugar and 11.5g/l acidity in perfect balance. Quite lovely.”
Weingut Schatzel Nierstein Silvaner 2017 WAS $29  NOW $24 special, 15 bottles available
Vinous 90 Points “This legally dry bottling essentially represents the Silvaner from Hipping that served as a major component of Schätzel’s “Naturweiss” cuvée. The nose is subtly inflected by the mineral and cereal notes that subsequently achieve prominence on the palate, but there are also hints of iris and lemon zest.”
Weingut Schatzel Pettental Riesling Kabinett S 2017 750ml WAS $79  NOW $69 special, 13 bottles available
Stuart Pigott 95 Points “Forget the rules, pack your bag, grab this bottle and leave your old life behind! Savage mineral beauty, combined with light body and enormous brightness. Drink or hold.”
St Jean du Barroux La Pierre Noire 2015 750ml $33 special, 31 bottles available
No review available, 2014 review  provided for reference
Decanter 96 Points “Lifted loganberry, leaf tea and tarragon. Beautifully mouthcoating, elegant and harmonious, long and svelte, with a tapered finish. Gently perfumed, beautifully balanced. It’s concentrated without over-extraction, combining the elegance of the northern Rhône with the generosity of the south. A beautiful wine.”
Vieux Telegraphe CDP La Crau Rouge 2018 1.5L WAS $199 NOW $179, 13 bottles available
James Suckling 96 Points “Traditionally dominated by clairette (45%) and grenache blanc (30%), then roussanne and bourboulenc. The vines average 50+ years and there’s a very restrained nose with dialed-back white-pear and chalk aromas with dried flowers, too. The palate has a super fresh, zippy feel and a long, juicy and attractive core of fresh, salty minerals. The balance is innate and very fluid.”
Vieux Telegraphe CDP Telegramme 2019 750ml WAS $49 NOW $45 special, 36+ bottles available
Vieux Telegraphe CDP Telegramme 2019 Case of 12 750ml bottles WAS $519 NOW $499, 2  available
Vinous 93 Points “Deep violet. Ripe, spice-accented dark berry and cherry preserve scents show strong garrigue and floral accents. Pliant in texture and broad in the mouth, offering sappy boysenberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors and a peppery topnote.”
Chermette Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux 2018 750ml WAS $29 NOW $24 special, 32 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 Points “Aromas of raspberries, plums and orange rind preface the 2018 Brouilly Pierreux, a medium to full-bodied, fleshy wine with a satiny attack that segues into a fine-boned, elegantly structured mid-palate, with lively acids and a fragrant, expansive finish.”
Chermette Vissoux Saint Amour 2018 750ml WAS $29 NOW $24 special, 25 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92+ Points “The 2018 Saint-Amour Les Champs-Grillés is a serious wine, “not just for Valentine’s Day,” as Jean-Étienne Chermette observes. Revealing attractive notes of raspberries, rose petals and cherries, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and spicy, with a muscular chassis of fine, powdery tannins.”
Domaine Du Tunnel Cornas 2018 750ml WAS $79 NOW $69 special, 31 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 95-97 Points “Readers looking for the essence of Cornas would do well to pick up a case of the 2018 Cornas. Deep purple, with a heavenly bouquet of blueberries, raspberries, crushed violets, olives, ground pepper, and gamey meats, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a balanced, classy texture, building yet polished tannins, and a great finish. It’s a winner.”
Vietti Barolo Cerequio 2018 750ml WAS $219 NOW $199 special, 7 bottles available
Vinous 97 Points “The 2018 Barolo Cerequio is a new wine in this range. Soaring aromatics and bright, red-toned fruit give the Cerequio its effusive personality. Nuanced and deep, with tremendous complexity and tons of character, the Cerequio is dazzling. This is everything a great Barolo from Cerequio should be. In other words: textbook. More-over, it’s one of the best wines of this very uneven vintage.”
Tua Rita Toscana Giusto di Notri 2015 750ml WAS $79  NOW $69 special, 22 bottles available
James Suckling 96-97 Points ” Best Giusto di Notri ever? Full body, ripe and powerful tannins, as well as beautiful fruit. Chewy yet polished tannins and a lingering finish. This is dense and structured with beautifully polished tannins and plenty of currant and blackberry character. Full body and chewy tannins yet refined and juicy. Lots of Mediterranean herbs with the dark fruit. Blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon with merlot and cabernet franc.”

San Giusto a Rentennano Percarlo Toscana IGT 2016 750ml WAS $199  NOW $179 special, 22 bottles available
Vinous 99 Points “The 2016 Percarlo captures all of the beauty it has always shown in the cellar. Pliant, silky and exceptionally polished, the 2016 simply has it all. Freshly cut flowers, rose petal, mint, spice and blood orange add striking aromatic nuance to a core of brilliant Sangiovese fruit. Powerful and ample, with superb aromatic lift, the 2016 Percarlo is exceptionally beautiful and moving from the very first taste.”
Collector’s Corner
Pacific Northwest Best: Top Pinot Noirs of the Willamette Valley

Beaux Freres “The Beaux Freres Vineyard” Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $124.95 special, 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95+ Points “Medium ruby-purple, the 2021 Pinot Noir The Beaux Frères Vineyard opens slowly on the nose to a core of wild blackberry and blueberry, revealing tones of forest floor, licorice, bitters and floral potpourri as it spends time in the glass. The light-bodied palate is soft and juicy with surprisingly concentrated flavors for its delicate frame, and it has a long, floral finish. This is elegant, expressive and easy to drink!”
Bergstrom Estate Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $141.80 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 Points “Pale ruby-purple, the 2021 Pinot Noir Bergström Vineyard segues from gentle flinty tones to scents of raspberry, cranberry, lavender, dried herbs and touches of orange peel. The light-bodied palate is delicate and perfumed with a softly chalky texture, fireworks of fresh acidity and a long, ethereal finish with wafts of floral and citrus. Offer it another 2-3 years in bottle.”
Bergstrom Le Pre Du Col Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $114.50 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 Points “Medium ruby, the 2021 Pinot Noir Le Pré du Col Vineyard has pretty scents of raspberry, cranberry, bergamot and mushroom, revealing more aromatic detail as it spends time in the glass. The light-bodied palate is chalky and refreshing with concentrated fruit and loads of botanical and floral accents on the long, layered finish. I love this fragrant, detailed expression!”
Caballus Cellars Pinot Noir WV 2014 750ml $79 special, 34 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast  95 Points “Co-winemakers Véronique Drouhin-Boss and Isabelle Dutartre call this “the story of our friendship in a bottle,” and what a fine bottle it is. It’s a full throttle wine, thoroughly expressing the richness and power of the best Oregon Pinot Noirs. Dense and detailed around potent black cherry fruit, it extends itself with lovely threads of toast and coffee, from fermentation with native yeasts, and aging in roughly one-third new French oak”
Composition Pinot Noir WV 2021 750ml $89 special, 11 bottles available
Vinopolnote “The Composition Wines are now a project of Bertrand de Villaine. Yes, the de Villaine family that brought us the famed Domaine de Romanee-Conti. The vineyard sits on a south-facing ridge in the southern Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The terroir evokes volcanic soils, cooler temperatures, and an ideal elevation range.”
Drouhin Roserock Zephirine Pinot Noir 2021 1.5L $128 special, 4 bottles available
James Suckling 97 Points “Beautifully fragrant notes of cocoa-dusted raspberries and crushed blueberries with dried rose petals, sencha tea, cherry chocolate and crushed rocks. Ground spices, too. It shows both delicacy and power, with a compact and silky feeling to the tannin structure and impressive acidity which carries the freshness and tone through to the finish. Attractive tension of crunchy blue fruit and spices. Drink or hold.”
Hope Well Sunday’s Child Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $75 special, 2 bottles available
Mimi Casteel Note “The three children of 2021 were born from a single lot of Pinot noir, a few rows of perfectly ripe fruit from all corners of the vineyard combined into one lot in the field, then separated at birth into three parts before vinification. For me, this was about pulling perfect Pinot Noir ripeness through a prism to see what was on the other side… Sunday’s Child went through a fully traditional Pinot noir maceration, on skins until dryness, and then to barrel to sleep for the next.”
Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Liminal Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $89 special, 11 bottles available
Winery Note “The Maresh bottling is one I feel very deeply entrained with each year, and more so with each vintage. These vines planted on their own roots in 1970. This time spent each year working in these blocks has changed me. I have the utmost love and respect for these plants of great and sometimes mischievous character.
Nicolas Jay Bishop Creek Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $99 special, 2 bottles available
Winemaker Notes “Just a spectacular vintage from this unparalleled, ungrafted old-vine site in the NW corner of the Yamhill-Carlton district. It opens with anise, pencil led and a gamey quality as the dark-colored wine moves slowly around the glass. After further aeration there’s a roasted plum and cassis aroma, then a forest floor freshness emerges with a candied fennel and balsamic element. It’s quite spectacular, there’s a lingering earth quality but as the wine warms there’s the classic Bishop Creek crushed granite and blackberry crumble nuances interwoven with new French oak and dusty river stones. Its distinctive, a wine of nobility with a long finish comprised of minerals and delicious black fruits interlaced a medium-weight, dusty tannin structure.”
Nicolas Jay Own Rooted Pinot Noir 2019 750ml $89 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 94 Points “Floral and savory, this Pinot offers elegance and dimension, with cherry and pomegranate flavors that mingle with orange peel, fresh violet and dusky spice. Finishes with polished tannins.”
Zena Crown Slope Pinot Noir Eola Amity 2019 750ml $99 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 Points “Like a brooding teenager, this Pinot has a lot going for it but patience is required. Offers notes of blueberry, stony minerality and forest floor framed by a tannic bite on the finish. Best from 2023 through 2030.”
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