April 2nd Newsletter – 2018

In Today’s Newsletter:

A Winning Clearance: New to our April Clearance Sale
Weekend New Arrivals
Fruitiere’s Excellent Clisson Muscadet
2014 Bordeaux: An Ideal Vintage for You and Me

Calabretta: Throwback Wines from Etna
Aldo Conterno: Here Friday!


A Winning Clearance! 

New to Our April Clearance Sale

Von Winning makes some of our favorite dry Riesling on the planet.  The combination of incredible vineyard sites, meticulous winemaking and a commitment to producing only the finest wines yields exactly what you’d hope: Riesling of depth and profundity, with grace and mineral power.  These wines are dry, as the top producers of the Pfalz are wont to focus on, and unlike some of their neighbors, powerful fruit isn’t the goal here.  No, the Von Winning wines speak the language of the floral and mineral flavors that are both intense and furtive and also seemingly unable to be coaxed out of these vineyards by anyone else.  They demand your attention, even when they speak under their breath.

Their reputation is well established—we’re certainly not the only ones enthusiastic about the wines.  That said, we’d like to see more of the wines in glasses and not on our shelves, so a bunch of them are now part of our April Clearance Sale. Until they sell out, at least (or the month ends, but we’re betting on the former).

Want to see the complete list of our wines on our April Clearance Sale? Just click here!

Von Winning Deidesheimer Kalkofen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2013 750ML ($99.95) Was $79, Now $69, 7 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Bright and pale green in color, the 2013 Deidesheim Kalkofen Riesling trocken GG from predominantly old vines on limestone/marl soils offers noble upfront fruit aromas of nectarines and yellow plums. Medium to full-bodied it is the mixture of purity, piquancy, juiciness of ripe fruit and the lovely salty texture that makes the tightly woven Kalkofen one of the finest Rieslings of the 2013 vintage in Germany. Fermented in 500-liter barrels, it can age for ten or more years.” WA

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Von Winning Deidesheimer Kalkofen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2014 750ML ($79.95) Was $59, Now $49, 6 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht—Vinous 93 points
 “Surprisingly floral for a Kalkofen Riesling, this leads with head-turning freesia and lavender perfume, behind which are intimations of white peach and passion fruit that then saturate a polished, almost plush palate. Sweet suggestions of almond paste enhance the mid-palate sense of richness, but brightly juicy white peach and grapefruit serve for consummate refreshment and floral-herbal impingements for invigoration in a seductively sustained finish. The chalk that is part of this site’s namesake may be implicated in its energetic finish, but there is no overt impression of chalkiness let alone austerity to be found here; on the contrary, this is the richest and most winsome of the youthful Von Winning single-vineyard 2014s.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2014 Deidesheim Kalkofen Riesling trocken GG comes from a plateau above the Grainhübel where the grapes ripen a few days later. The soil is chalky and marly, and delivers a rather discreet but very potent wine that needs more time to develop its talents. The 2014 shows a chalky, powdered nose with fresh lemon flavors and rather white fruit aromas. Full-bodied, very round and elegant on the palate, this is a well balanced Riesling with a Burgundian touch thanks to the stimulating, finesse-full salinity and the okay kiss that also gives this Riesling a very delicate tannin structure. I recommend to store this well structured and juicy wine for another three years.” SR
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Von Winning Kirchenstuck Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2014 750ML ($149.95) Was $106, Now $89, 7 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points
“Crushed stones with a dash of lemon juice on the clear, precise, fresh and concentrated nose of the 2014 Forster Kirchenstück Riesling trocken GG lead to a full-bodied, intense, pure, very clear and salty wine with discreet power but great length and finesse. This is purity in its most complex and elegant expression. There is no richness of fruit and no alcohol that tries to impress you; everything here is terroir and subtle winemaking. The wine is cool and almost delicate, and much fresher and stimulating than a Kirchenstück used to be. This von Winning was bottled with less than 12% alcohol and one can surely discuss if a great Kirchenstück needs to have 13% or more of alcohol. The proud price of 140 United States dollars is even more than you have to pay for the prestigious Kirchenstück from Bürklin-Wolf.” SR
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Von Winning Kirchenstuck Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2015 750ML ($139.95) Was $99, Now $79, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93-94 points
“The citrus-colored 2015 Forster Kirchenstück Riesling Trocken GG opens with the aromatically discreet, yet deep and complex nose of a great wine. There are flinty aromas of crushed rocks with lemon oil flavors and a certain refreshing greenness (lemon tree leaves). This wine is full-bodied, dense and compact on the palate, with an elegant texture, fruit flavor and a vital acidity. This is a creamy textured, very complex and powerful wine with a lot of grip and tension. It reveals the persistent finish you may expect from a Forster Kirchenstück, but is also characterized by some oak tannins. The 2015 is really firm and tight and adequately closed; it will open up slowly only next year or the year after.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Complex and beautifully crafted, with orchard blossom aromas, and flavors of ripe quince and blood orange, this firmly structured white has a spine of powerful but well-integrated acidity. The finish is infused with savory spice notes. Best from 2019 through 2029.”
Terry Theise note “The Great One, the Clos-Ste-Hûne of the Pfalz, is an absolute blockbuster in ’15. The fragrance is strong, the wine is strong. It’s blatantly great. Wicky, mineral, licorice-y, imploding fruit and ore, nothing very mystic here, just a wickedly curvaceous writhing mélange of power with the nth degree of intricacy.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
Von Winning Deidesheimer Langenmorgen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2012 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 7 bottles in stock now
Terry Theise note
“It’s the manly side of Pfalz Riesling, and we debate whether this is a Grand or just a Premier Cru; yet the wine is articulate, herbal and peppery, cedary and woodsy, long, studious and spicy, with an almost urgestein minerality, suave even while it’s rural, and gentle even as it prods with its leafy message.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Von Winning Deidesheimer Langenmorgen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 7 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2015 Deidesheimer Langenmorgen Riesling Trocken GG is deep and dusty, with its coolish and lemony fruit flavors; this is less fruit intense than the other 2015 von Winning Riesling crus from Deidesheim. Crushed stone flavors intermix with lemon juice and lead to a full-bodied, very intense and elegant palate. The wine has a nice mineral grip and a citrusy piquancy. The Langenmorgen has the freshness and tension you could eventually miss in many other 2015s from the Mittelhaardt. So if you prefer a rather fresh and coolish style, with a vivacious acidity and stimulating purity, the Langenmorgen is a serious candidate to satisfy your passions.”
Terry Theise note “It’s the nerd among the “GGs” of Deidesheim, and it’s my personal favorite; the stoniest and most focused, complex and digital; it pulls you in, it’s introverted and numinous and insanely flowery, sous bois, thinly stony like what you skip on the surface of a pond. Chinese 5-spice comes on. How does wine do this, refer to four different families of flavor within one perfect structure?”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $67
Von Winning Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2013 750ML ($34.95) Was $28, Now $24, 18 bottles in stock now
Terry Theise note
“Tasty, barley and cask-y notes behind a grainy delineated Riesling; less creamy than the ’12 and showing some of ’13’s more pointed edge, but it delivers length, clarity and some ineffable Pfalz-ness, and they tell me it will be smoother by the time its bottled.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $27.99You can click here to see all our April Clearance Sale wines!


Weekend New Arrivals

Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Sonoma County 2016 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Sonoma County 2015 750ML ($34.95) $24 special
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $32
Domaine Weinbach Gewurztraminer Furstentum, Alsace Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “This lovely, minerally white opens with abundant slate and spice notes, layered with juicy flavors of pureed peach, candied blood orange zest and ground ginger, followed by a long, vibrant finish. Silky and lightly fleshy, in a style that’s just a bit off-dry. Drink now through 2030. 330 cases made.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Cote du Py, Beaujolais  2016 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Lurid ruby. An expansive, mineral-accented bouquet displays powerful red and dark berry, incense and potpourri qualities, and a Moroccan spice nuance adds urgency and lift. Bright, seamless and alluringly sweet, offering palate-staining black raspberry, blueberry, violet pastille and spicecake flavors that slowly firm up with aeration. Shows superb depth and clarity, with nary a rough edge to be found. Closes supple, sweet and insanely long, leaving a sexy floral note behind.”Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chenes, Rhone 2015 375ML ($19.95) $16 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chênes is the entry-level wine from Darnaud, but man, what a wine! Cassis, toasted spice, licorice and hints of violets flow to a ripe, pure, polished Crozes-Hermitage that has sweet tannin, a pure texture, and a great finish. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Lovely, with warm, lush layers of fig, boysenberry and blackberry confiture coursing through, inlaid with a bolt of graphite and echoing warm fruitcake and licorice details through the finish. Best from 2018 through 2025.”

This is the only listing in the USA today for the half-bottle!


A Clisson from Any Other Name

Fruitiere’s Excellent Muscadet

Perfect for Spring

The Clisson bottling from Mark Olivier (Domaine de la Pepiere) gets a lot of well-deserved attention.  It’s a monument of a wine, and, like many monuments, it casts a very long shadow.  The Clisson AOC has become the source of a lot of great wine that reflects the unique aging requirements and power of the appellation.  We’ve just received some Clisson made by Domaine de la Fruitiere, an excellent producer.  Like most Clisson, it’s more powerful and less delicate than a “classic” Muscadet, but the wines are delicious and exceptional values.  This is the perfect wine for spring—either with seafood or just a patio and some good bread, radishes and butter.

In Stock Now:

Domaine de la Fruitiere (Famille Lieubeau) Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Clisson, Loire 2012 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Muscadet Sévre et Maine Clisson has an intense yellow color and a deep, ripe yet pure and still subtle bouquet with yeasty, nutty and mineral flavors that indicate a remarkable complexity. Full-bodied, pure and elegant, with a creamy texture and an extensive mouthfeel, this is a refreshing and finesse-full, highly complex and expressive Muscadet with a serious structure and a long, lush finish. Still young in its vitality but with the maturity of almost four years of lees aging, this is a fascinating wine which I would locate between Anjou Chenin Blanc and Burgundy if you don’t have any idea about this kind of Muscadet. Would I buy it? Certainly.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $24
#TrendingBrunello is #1!

Brunello is offering some of the best value in Italian wine these days, no, make that best value in red wine period! We’ve loaded up on dozens of top producers and vintages. These are our most popular picks. Don’t hesitate or you might just miss out!

Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($49.95) $36.60 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is fabulous. In 2011, proprietor Paolo Bianchini bottled just one Brunello. That commitment to quality comes through loud and clear. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco and licorice all flesh out in an effortless, incredibly inviting wine. The warmth of the vintage and the natural generosity of these vineyards in Castelnuovo is evident, yet the 2011 possesses remarkable balance to match all of that intensity. I don’t expect the 2011 to make old bones, but is gorgeous today. Readers should expect a flamboyant, decadently full-throttle wine built on voluptuousness and generous, racy fruit. Bianchini gave the 2011 three full years in cask.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a very beautiful wine that shows a fraction of good things to come. Very fruit-driven at the moment, it should flesh out further with time. Evident fruit underlines the warm growing conditions of this vintage. You get dark cherry, raspberry, dried strawberry and plum. The bouquet doesn’t feel overripe per se, but you definitely get a taste of the warm growing season. Delve deeper, and this Brunello begins to reveal spice, herb, cola, tar and black licorice. These elements form the base of the wine’s budding complexity. As nice as this wine is to drink now, I look forward to trying it five years from now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $40
The average price is $52
Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of burnt orange peel and cherry with hints of dried bark and mahogany. Full-bodied and very tight and dense, with a beautiful fruit, tannin and acid balance. Finesse and strength. Best wine from here for ages. Needs until 2018 to show its true quality.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $52
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($79.95) $58.50 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “Il Poggione has done a terrific job with its 2011 Brunello di Montalcino. The wine is soft, yielding and charged with a velvety and smooth texture. It is deeply redolent of dark berry, black cherry, spice, leather and tobacco. The wine’s sunny personality never feels flat or too dense. In fact, the wine offers a very tight and steely backbone that gives the wine stature and strength. This is one of my favorite Brunellos from the 2011 vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A dark, powerful wine, the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino offers notable depth and intensity. Il Poggione’s 2011 is one of the richest, most powerful wines of the year. Black cherry, plum, lavender, cloves and new leather are some of the first nuances that open up. With time in the glass, the 2011 becomes more lifted, as brighter red cherry and raspberry-infused flavors gradually release. This is a rare 2011 that demands at least a good few years in the cellar. In 2011, Il Poggione did not bottle a Riserva. All the juice went into the straight Brunello.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $74
Caprili Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($59.95) $33.50 special
Case-6 Caprili Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($319.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Appealing aromas and flavors of cherry, almond, leather, iron and earth are the hallmarks of this muscular red. Remains fresh and persists on the aftertaste, with echoes of iron and tobacco. Best from 2021 through 2035. 3,500 cases made.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93 points “Bright deep red. Very perfumed, pure aromas of raspberry, red cherry, flint and violet. Juicy but dense, with vibrant acidity lifting the floral berry and cherry flavors on the long mineral finish, characterized by an especially silky mouthfeel. Knockout Brunello.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Truffle, leather, mature black-skinned fruit and carob aromas emerge from this powerful red. The full-bodied palate delivers succulent wild cherry, black raspberry, licorice, pipe tobacco and grilled herb flavors with big, chewy tannins. Drink 2019–2027.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $43
Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($59.95) $32.50 special
Case-6 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($319.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
International Wine Report 93 points
“The 2012 Canalicchio is a beautifully crafted, refined Brunello which spent more than 24 months in medium-large Slavonia oak casks. It slowly opens with aromas of dried cherries ans plums woven together with walnuts, tobacco, leather, dried spices and hints of balsamic. Medium-bodied and firm, with a fine grained tannins and lovely balance leading to the ultra-long, chewy finish. Today this is still a bit austere and will require a few years of additional bottle age before it becomes fully accessible. (Best 2020-2029) – February, 2017 (JD).”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino shows excellent continuity with past vintages and underlines a house style that is specific to this estate. This is a nuanced and delicate expression of Sangiovese that delivers grace and power. It walks a fine line between these two opposites. The bouquet is redolent of wild berry, red currant, grilled herb, wild mushroom and underbrush. I gave the 2011 vintage the same score, although the differences between the two wines are pronounced. The 2011 vintage shows the warm climate with more directness, whereas this edition offers more subtle depth and finesse. Both wines are most appropriate for near or medium-term drinking.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $41
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Wine Spectator 95 points “This cuts more of a broad swath than its peers, yet remains graveful, evoking strawberry, cherry, tobacco and stony mineral flavors. Long and dense in structure, with a tobacco- and under-brush-tinged finish. Best from 2021 through 2033.”


2014 Bordeaux

An Ideal Vintage for You and Me

“The 2014s are generally mid-weight wines with expressive aromatics, medium-bodied structures and finessed, silky tannins….Two thousand fourteen is an ideal vintage for consumers who buy wines to actually drink them (because prices should mostly be favorable) and members of the wine trade who have a commitment to serving those consumers.” – Antonio Galloni

2014 is the perfect storm for a drinker’s vintage (as opposed to a trader’s vintage).  A good but not “epic” year with silky tannins, combined with two legends in the pipeline (2015/16) mean that these really delicious wines are available at terrific prices.  Sure it’s not a vintage to brag to your buddies at the wine locker about, but if you’re buying a bottle of Bordeaux to drink with a steak on Saturday night, you should be investing in ’14.  They’re drinking quite well now and will repay some time in the cellar—a perfect way to keep your hands off your 2015’s/16’s when they start to come in.

2014 Bordeaux Wines In Stock Now:

Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2014 750ML ($44.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, smoke, chocolate, licorice and tobacco are some of the signatures in the 2014 Meyney. This is one of the more overt, flamboyant 2014s readers will come across. Although certainly not a shy wine, it is loaded with personality. The late harvest and the generally intense style favored by consulting winemaker Hubert de Boüard are very much in evidence. Tasted two times.”
James Suckling 92 points “This is one of the most immediately appealing 2014s from the appellation thanks to its very ripe black fruits, and there’s still a lot of structure behind it. Reminds me of some of Meyney’s top vintages of the 1960s.”

Trend Alert!
Chateau de Pressac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“A gorgeous wine, the 2014 de Pressac is dark, bold and voluptuous. Dark cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, lavender, sage and licorice all run through it. Deeply expressive, pliant and succulent, the 2014 will drink well with minimal cellaring. The dark, flamboyant style works beautifully here.The blend is 69% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon plus dollops of Malbec and Carmenère. Tasted two times.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Chateau Gloria, Saint-Julien 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2014 Gloria is a bold, powerful wine. Dark cherry, smoke, licorice, tobacco and underbrush effortlessly fill out its frame. Ample and richly textured, the 2014 offers remarkable depth, power and pure pedigree. Pomegranate, blood orange and iron add further complexity on the finish. This is a superb showing. Tasted two times.”Chateau d’Angludet, Margaux 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“This is a wine that brings out all the bright fruit of the vintage. It has classic black-currant flavors and crisp acidity. The tannins are a firm supporting act to this wine that will develop well over the medium term.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $48
Chateau de Birot, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2014 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 90 points
“Rich blackberry and black-currant flavors give this wine its ripe character. They are already well balanced by the spicy tannins and dry core. The wine will develop well and should be ready from 2019.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $19.99
Chateau La Vieille Cure, Fronsac 2014 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2014 La Vieille Cure is soft, supple and radiant throughout. Succulent red cherry, sweet tobacco, raspberry and flowers all flesh out in a deep, expressive Fronsac endowed with real class. Bright fruit-toned fruit and lively acids give the 2014 its distinctive personality. The interplay of succulent fruit and lifted aromatics is compelling.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Ripe and structured, this sports a vivid core of cassis and plum that races along, with fine-grained structure and light anise, bay and chalk notes hanging in the background. The long finish has cut and drive, with the cassis accent pushing through with determination. Rock-solid. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2018 through 2026.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $28
Chateau Lynch-Bages, Pauillac 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94+ points
“The 2014 Lynch-Bages is just as powerful and dense from bottle as it was from barrel. Deep, powerful and bold, it possesses remarkable richness in all of its dimensions. Ripe red cherry, spice, leather, tobacco and rose petal all develop in the glass, but it is the wine’s sheer amplitude today that is quite remarkable. It will need quite a bit of cellaring to be at its best, and is clearly built to age. This is a terrific showing from the Cazes family. The blend is 69 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 26 % Merlot, 3 % Cabernet Franc and 2 % Petit Verdot.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This has beguiling hints of plum cake and melted licorice peeking out, while a core of cassis and blackberry confiture waits in reserve. There’s ample grip, but this remains very polished and integrated, with lovely echoes of anise and fruitcake showing through the very lengthy finish. Will be hard to keep your hands off this while it ages. Best from 2019 through 2035.”Chateau Pontet Canet, Pauillac 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 16 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points
“A stunning wine for this vintage although it’s still a bit shy on the nose (more spice than fruit showing than now). There’s wet earth, too, but on the palate it’s bursting with ripe yet subtle flavors. Very long and complex finish that goes on and on.”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points – Cellar Selection “This is a finely structured wine with dark tannins and intense black fruits. The estate, with its biodynamically grown fruit, has given an impressively pure wine, packed with tight serious tannins and a fine structure of black-plum skins and intense acidity. It is direct, firm and with a huge potential over many years.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 95 points “The 2014 Pontet-Canet seems to have put on quite a bit of weight and volume since I first tasted it from barrel. Ripe, juicy tannins wrap around a core of intense dark cherry, plum, spice, lavender and tobacco. Today, it is the wine’s sheer intensity and vertical structure that stands out. I wouldn’t dream of touching a bottle until at least age ten, and even that is almost certainly not going to be enough time for the 2014 to show the full breadth of its potential. The transformation the 2014 has undergone from a delicate, nuanced Pauillac to a wine of depth is quite remarkable. Tasted three times. The blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, vinified in equal parts cement and oak and aged in a combination of 50% new oak, 35% amphora and 15% once used barrels. This is a gorgeous wine from the Tesseron family and the team led by Technical Director Jean-Michel Comme.”

Chateau d’Yquem ‘Y’ Ygrec, Bordeaux 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2014 Ygrec is a blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Semillon with seven grams per liter of residual sugar. It has an attractive nose with scents of nettle, dandelion, gooseberry and grass clippings, the Semillon taking a back seat to the Sauvignon Blanc at the moment. The palate is very well balanced with the 20% new oak nicely integrated (the remainder is matured in two-year-old Yquem barrels). It is very refined with lovely passion fruit and kumquat notes towards the second half where finally the Semillon makes its presence felt, with touches of brioche and lemongrass developing in the glass. What a gorgeous Ygrec.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This has a gorgeous whiff of toast, with alluring shortbread, lemon curd and white peach flavors. The long, creamy finish lets echoes of clementine and honeysuckle drift through. Rounded and creamy overall, but plenty long. A beauty. Drink now through 2020.”


Calabretta:Throwback Wines from Etna

Etna has become the newest hottest region in Sicily, and for good reason.  Jancis Robinson even called it “the Burgundy of the Mediterranean,” which is an apt description of most of the new wines coming off of the high altitude slopes of Sicily’s volcano.  There is another traditional style of wine made on Etna as well, though, one that tends to have a foot in Barolo rather than in Burgundy, and its best practitioner is Calabretta. With Burgundy and Barolo prices climbing through the roof, now is a great time to explore those regions that seem to be lost in time.

Calabretta was founded in 1900 and for the majority of the time since then only sold wine in barrel or in demijohns to private customers (who would bottle the wine themselves) or to local restaurants.  Since the beginning, the farming has been organic, without chemical pesticides or herbicides—dated for a majority of the life of the winery and suddenly in vogue now.  In 1997, the third and fourth generation of the family decided that the future lay in bottling estate wines and releasing them under a family label.

The one thing that didn’t change when Calabretta started bottling was a commitment to old-school vinification and aging.  Macerations of up to 60 days are common as is long aging in botti (often up to 6 years for the high end wine).  The wines are powerful and structured but, unlike wines from lower altitudes, maintain a freshness and vibrancy to them.

New Arrivals from Calabretta:

Calabretta Nerello Mascalese Vigne Vecchie Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2007 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points “Deep red-ruby. Underbrush, tar and licorice dominate the red fruit aromas and flavors. A hint of shoepolish emerges on the long tactile and slightly warm finish. This big wine has plenty of personality but I would have liked a little more grace. (15% alcohol)”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Calabretta ‘Piede Franco’ Ungrafted Rosso, Sicily 2015 750ML ($54.95) $46 special
Ian D’agata-Vinous 91+ points “Bright dark red. Camphor and herbs complicate red cherry and berries on the nose. Dense and youthfully chewy with brooding flavors of red fruit and spicy herbs. Finishes long and savory with a tactile mouthfeel. This is deeper than the regular (not made from ungrafted vines) Rosso, but is also currently less well delineated. (12.5% alcohol)”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Aldo Conterno

Arriving Friday

Poderi Aldo Conterno has been producing remarkable wines ever since it was created in 1969 by the man whose name is on the label.  Sick of fighting with his brother over the winemaking style to be used at the family’s estate, the venerable Giacomo Conterno, Aldo left and never looked back. Over the course of the next several decades he established the winery as one of the most important in Italy.

Based in the Bussia hamlet in Monforte, the estate’s wines have always been powerful yet polished, with dark rich fruit.  These wines are bold Barolos, with great density and power—though they still have nuance and complexity.  We’re getting in a small assortment of wines in from two heralded vintages, 2008 and 2013, both excellent years.  Antonio Galloni rated the 2008 vintage in Barolo at 96 points and obviously 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years in a long time as well.  Needless to say these wines are epic and if you like powerful Barolo, you should buy as much as you can.

Arriving Friday, April 6th:

Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 99 points “The aromas of flowers, blackberries, and white truffles are superb. Full to medium body and ultra-fine tannins. The finish lasts for minutes. An amazing Cicala. Don’t miss this. Drink in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia Cicala is a beautiful wine with impressive depth and a profound sense of sharpness. This part of the Bussia cru sees a mix of clay soils (40%) with limestone (60%). In a sense, Cicala is the most indicative of the greater Bussia cru both in terms of its geological properties and its general taste profile. You get a lot of fruit in this wine followed by tannic firmness and evident power. Together, the wine presents balanced results. The alcohol here is 14.5% and I’m told that the upcoming 2016 vintage is almost a full degree stronger.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This starts out with brilliant macerated cherry flavors, accented by rose, tar, spice and mineral elements. Firm, yet pure, complex and long, with a dense matrix of tannins shoring up the finish. Offers a fine, brambly aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2043. 400 cases made.”

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The average price is $154
Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Round and supple, with a fleshy profile enveloping pure cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Ripe and harmonious, with no shortage of structure. A mineral element emerges on the tight finish. Best from 2016 through 2035. 200 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2008 Barolo Colonnello is super impressive. It shows gorgeous richness and depth in its focused, energetic fruit. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices are woven together beautifully in the 2008 Colonnello. The elegant side of Barolo comes through, but with an extra degree of muscle. The oak, sometimes noticeable in this bottling, is very well integrated. Floral notes are woven throughout the finish. The Colonnello often gives the impression of being early to mature relative to the estate’s other Baroli, but the 2008 is surprisingly powerful and structured.”Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Terrific aromas of blackberries, walnuts, spices, bark and mushrooms. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and bright acidity. So beautiful now but be patient. This needs four or five years to come completely together. Wow. What class and precision define this wine. The aromas show such subtle complexity and beauty. Full and tight with a solid core of fruit. Polished tannins to the maximum. Better in 2021. ”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Camphor and leather notes introduce this rich red, which transitions to cherry, licorice, spice and tobacco flavors. Firm and intense, with a lingering aftertaste of mineral, licorice and spice. Terrific now, but should be even better with time. Best from 2021 through 2042. 400 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia Colonnello is the most ethereal and delicate of the Bussia series of wines. Fruit is sourced from a portion of the Bussia vineyard that is located closer to the village of Barolo (one kilometer away) than it is the village of Monforte d’Alba (five kilometers away). The sandy soils found here make for softer and tamer tannins especially when compared to the other parts of Bussia. The bouquet opens to aromas of blue flowers, spice, wild berry, licorice and white truffle. This is a softly nuanced and finessed Barolo made with fruit from 45-year-old vines.”

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The average price is $144
Poderi Aldo Conterno Granbussia, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($499.95) $389 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 100 points “Incredible aromas of blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate and hints of cream. Roses, rose petals and leaves. Speechless. Full-bodied, tight and concentrated. The finish is endless. Perfect harmony. Made from a selection of the best grapes from the oldest vines: 70% romirasco, 15% cicala and 15% colonnello. All co-fermented and macerated for one month in wood. Aged in a 25-hectoliter cask for 33 months. Five years in bottle. Only 3,000 bottles. Perfect now and it will improve with age for decades ahead.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2008 Barolo Riserva Granbussia is an unexpected wine and is perhaps the least characteristic of the three Granbussia vintages presented in this mini vertical. The wine opens to a deeply ruby red color and bright aromas that show some very distant touches of jam or marmalade. This is a big surprise given the generally cooler conditions of the vintage. Franco Conterno tells me fruit was harvested very late —at great risk—during the first week of November. The Nebbiolo grape loves a long growing season. The aromas are dense and dark with blackberry, plum and black fruit. Those super charged tones continue with leather, spice and tar.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This is beginning to open, with fragrant cherry, rose, leather and sweet spice aromas and flavors. Vibrant and intense, with a terrific finish of sweet fruit, spice, tar and mineral notes. Shows fine presence and harmony, yet this should only improve over the next decade. Best from 2018 through 2030. 250 cases made.”
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The next best price is $448
The average price is $495
Poderi Aldo Conterno Romirasco Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($219.95) $159 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Beautiful dark fruits of crushed raspberries and blueberries plus hints of champignon mushrooms and black truffles. Lavender undertones. Full and chewy with lots of tannins. Old vines give this a mossy, bark-like undertone. Needs five to six years to come around.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “The stunning 2013 Barolo Bussia Romirasco represents a stylistic blend between the elegance of Monforte d’Alba and the brooding power of Serralunga d’Alba. These are magnesium-rich soils mixed with limestone and clay. Romirasco is also home to some of the estate’s oldest vines at 55-years-old on average. This beautiful wine opens to a dark and rich garnet color that comes from the concentrated fruit produced by these old plants. The bouquet is laced with mineral and iodine-like nuances with rust and iron. It comes across as rich and intense and the mouthfeel is slightly softer, but denser overall. The wine ends with long balsam tones of rosemary and dried ginger.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This packs some vanilla- and Bourbon-scented oak aromas, with a core of cherry, leather, tar, iron and tobacco flavors. Solidly built, with dusty tannins clinging to the long finish. A powerful example, this should gain finesse with age. Best from 2022 through 2040. 400 cases made.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $187.99
The average price is $210
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