Friday Night Newsletter 10-21-22

In This Newsletter:

New Week – New Arrivals

New Arrival Featurette: Kumeu River

Pete’s Picks:
Saturday Staff Picks

New Week – New Arrivals


Reynvaan The Unnamed Series Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ml $28 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Expressive and multilayered, with vibrant red currant, black olive, violet and licorice tones that build polish and richness toward refined tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2030. 525 cases made.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “From the team at Reynvaan and a blend of 42% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Merlot The Unnamed Series /Cab Sauv/Cab Franc sports a ruby/plum hue to go with some classic Rocks notes of mulled plums, blueberries, lavender, iron, and tapenade. These all carry to a medium to full-bodied, round, lush, textured wine with ripe tannins, loads of fruit, and just a character-filled, balanced style to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

France – Beaujolais

Recently revisited and in a great place for drinking now or cellaring. Where else can you get nearly 100 year old vines for $16/btl?
Domaine Pascal Aufranc Chenas Vignes de 1939, Beaujolais 2019 750ml Was $19, Now $16 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Vivid ruby. Powerful black and blue fruit aromas show sharp clarity and complementary smoky mineral and spice flourishes. Chewy and energetic in style, offering concentrated boysenberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors and a touch of dark chocolate. Conveys both depth and energy and finishes with building tannins and a repeating blue fruit note.”
Wine & Spirits 91 points “Pascal Aufranc farms a parcel of ancient vines at the border of the forest in Chénas, providing a wine with intriguing earthiness, its tannins powerful and gripping against the equally intense black-raspberry fruit. It’s saturated, firm and substantial, a wine for steak or for the cellar.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

France – Burgundy 

William Fevre Bougros Cote Bouguerots, Chablis Grand Cru 2020 750ml $169 special, 3 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points
“In a sense, the 2020 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Côte Bouguerots offers a resumé of several of Fèvre’s grand cru bottlings, uniting the taut musculature of Valmur and the ethereal, mineral profile of Les Preuses, with some of the perfumed sensuality of Vaudésir and fleshy texture of Bougros. The result is certainly a very compelling wine, exhibiting aromas of crisp green orchard fruit, white flowers, freshly baked bread, oyster jus and white peach, followed by a full-bodied, taut and layered palate that’s seamless and complete, concluding with a pungently mineral finish. It’s worth a special effort to seek out, though a decade’s patience is warmly advised.”
Decanter 96 points “Côte Bouguerots is a cooler site down by the Serein River, with precipitous slopes of 45 degrees. An intense grand cru, with concentration from very low yields (25hl/ha), this displays a distinct savoury edge. It’s a very fine, persistent wine, with a very long future ahead.”

William Fevre Les Preuses, Chablis Grand Cru 2020 750ml $159 special, 6 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2020 Chablis Grand Cru Les Preuses is, if anything, even more electric than the formidable Valmur, wafting from the glass with notions of citrus oil, freshly baked bread, oyster jus and wet stones. Full-bodied, satiny and chiseled, it’s racy and intense, with a bright spine of acidity and a long, intensely saline finish.”
Decanter 95 points “From 1.5ha on soils that are high in clay content above Bougros, together with 1ha just above Bouguerots. Distinct precision here, not a blockbuster but intense and focused. Lovely crystalline fruit and will age beautifully.”
Neal Martin 94 points “The 2020 Chablis Les Preuses Grand Cru sees 18 months in stainless steel and barrel. It has a clean and precise, almost clinical bouquet with subtle granitic scents emerging with time. Vibrant and energetic. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, very harmonious with hints of white peach, Nashi pear and a liberal sprinkling of white pepper on the finish. Excellent. Tasted blind at the BIVB tasting in Chablis.”

William Fevre Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2020 750ml $189 special, 6 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Unwinding in the glass with aromas of peach, lemon oil, freshly baked bread, oyster shell and struck match, Fèvre’s 2020 Chablis Grand Cru Valmur is full-bodied, concentrated and incisive, with a racy, electric profile and a searingly saline, intensely penetrating finish of striking persistence. This is a terrific Valmur that will merit at least a decade’s patience to reveal all its considerable potential.”
Decanter 94 points “Didier Séguier of William Fèvre says there is a distinct line of Marne soil here, as in Butteaux and Vaulorent. Very precise, showing a touch of orange zest on the palate, all kept in check by vibrant acidity and minerality. A rounded, complete Valmur with a long, saline finish.”

France – Bordeaux

(Chateau Leoville-Las Cases) Clos du Marquis, Saint-Julien 2012 750ml $89 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Cellar Selection. Firm and tannic, this dark berry-flavored wine comes from a specific parcel in the Léoville las Cases vineyard. It’s full of tannins and structure, firm and concentrated. At the end, both tannins and tight black currants promise aging. Drink from 2020. -Roger Voss”
Neal Martin-Vinous 91 points “The 2012 Clos du Marquis has more horsepower on the nose compared to the 2012 Talbot. The fruit is slightly darker, though the oak is well-integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with a lightly spiced entry, granular in texture, a touch of white pepper sprinkled over the red fruit with just a very slight but welcome bitterness on the finish that lends it edge. Tasted twice with consistent notes.”

Italy – Piedmont

G. B. Burlotto Viridis Langhe Sauvignon, Piedmont 2021 750ml $24 special, 24 bottles in stock now
“This estate was the second to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Langhe after Angelo Gaja. The first vines set root in 1986 and a second parcel was planted ten years later. The folks at Comm. G.B. Burlotto were very happy with the results, and they remain one of the most important proponents of this white grape in a region dominated by red varieties. The wine is made in a very simple fashion and only sees contact with stainless steel.” –Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (no reviews available)

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

G. B. Burlotto Elatis Rosé, Piedmont 2021 750ml $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
: A blend of the rare Piedmont varietal Pelaverga and Nebbiolo, and our favorite pink Italian wines for the fall. This is only occassionally released and has only been reviewed once (in the 2019 vintage):
Eric Guido-Vinous 91 points “[2019 vintage] The nose shows ripe honeydew and crushed yellow apple with sweet herbs and smoky minerals. On the palate, the 2019 Burlotto Elatis Rosato coasts with ease. It is cool-toned and riding a core of vibrant acids, minerals, and citrus-tinged fruits. The finish is long, buzzing with energy, and just begging for another sip. This is a unique and wonderfully stimulating blend of 60% Pelaverga, 35% Nebbiolo and 5% Barbera.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

G.B. Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga, Piedmont 2021 750ml $28 special, 36 bottles in stock now

G. B. Burlotto Castelletto, Barolo DOCG 2018 750ml $399 special, only 3 bottles available 
Decanter 96 points
“For the first time, Fabio Alessandria invested in Monforte, where he now manages a vineyard in Castelletto. The MGA was deliberately chosen due to its easterly exposition, in order to preserve as much as possible the freshness of fruit in this Barolo. Perky orange zest shines on the nose, along with watermelon peel, red currants and balsamic whiffs. Savoury and dense with a significant concentration and thickness, it doesn’t come across as overextracted but the tannins are muscular and dusty, allied to a kernel flavour on the ripe finish. It’s all underlined by firm, quite high acidity. Great tension for the 2018 vintage in this Castelletto, more bony than meaty. One to follow.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection. A new entry for the estate, this cru-designated Barolo has lovely aromas of violet, camphor, red-skinned berry and forest floor. The tightly-wound palate is focused and savory, offering strawberry compote, crushed raspberry, licorice and baking spice framed in taut, fine-grained tannins. Vibrant acidity keeps it balanced. Drink 2026–2038.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points “Here’s an exciting new addition to the growing Comm. G.B. Burlotto family of wines. The 2018 Barolo Castelletto opens to a soft and delicate inner core that is framed by wild cherry, licorice and rose. The wine is beautifully tapered and streamlined on the palate, with very polished and silky tannins. It is great taste to this effort by the “King of Verduno,” (a.k.a. proprietor Fabio Alessandria) and the structured fruit from Monforte d’Alba.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Barolo Castelletto is a new wine in this range from a parcel plant in 1973. It opens with soaring aromatics that then reappear on the palate in the wine’s broad, ample feel. Sage, mint, leather, plum, lavender tobacco and espresso build in a sensual, aromatically beguiling Barolo that captures all of the pedigree of this Monforte site. Fabio Alessandria told me he was intrigued to try his hand making wine from a new site and village, hence the family’s decision to buy this parcel in Monforte rather than bolstering their holdings closer to home. The debut vintage is certainly impressive.”

The Monvigliero is not listed online per winery request. To order, please call or email.
G. B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero, Barolo DOCG 2018 750ml $439 special, only 10 bottles available 
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 98 points
“This wine is just stunning, starting with aromas of fragrant blue flower, red berry, camphor, dark spice and underbrush. Reflecting the aromas, the smooth, delicious palate delivers raspberry compote, ripe cherry, and licorice accompanied by polished tannins while fresh acidity offers youthful tension. Drink 2024–2038.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96+ points “Within the context of this set of new releases from Comm. G.B. Burlotto, this wine stands far apart. The 2018 Barolo Monvigliero is linear and light, but it also shows good fruit weight. This is exactly the classic duality of Monvigliero (a village that traditionally incorporates whole clusters in fermentation). Spice, cola, licorice, grilled herb and dried cherry appear to lift over a fine and delicately tapered mouthfeel.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2018 Barolo Monvigliero is the most reticent of these 2018 Barolos, but it was also bottled nearly a year later. All the signatures are there, though, starting with the effusive bouquet that makes the Burlotto Monvigliero so alluring. Rose petal, spice, orange peel, kirsch and raspberry unfurl gradually in the glass. The 2018 is understated and mysterious today. I can’t wait to see how it ages.”

Italy – Tuscany

Siro Pacenti Vecchie Vigne, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2017 750ml $119 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The Siro Pacenti 2017 Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne shows an extra degree of concentration and thickness thanks both to the vintage (this hot and dry growing season produced darker, more intense berries) and the older vines that also work toward greater fruit weight. The Vecchie Vigne shows lots of depth and textural weaving with dark berries and oak spice. In fact, the oak (and that big 15% alcohol) is more prominent in this 18,000-bottle release. It offers long-lasting notes of smoke, sweet cedar and woodshop.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 92 points “The 2017 Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne presents an intense bouquet of crushed raspberries and cloves giving way to dusty florals and hints of incense. The textures are wonderfully silky and refined, ushering in a rush of mineral-tinged primary fruits that are brighter and more red-toned in this vintage than usual, as well as incredibly concentrated. The tannins come forward through the close, grippy and youthfully dry, along with a salty flourish, while leaving hints of licorice to slowly taper off. Siro Pacenti cut their production down by 50% to create this successful expression of the 2017 vintage.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Argentina – Mendoza

Terrazas de Los Andes ‘Cheval des Andes’, Mendoza 2018 750ml $119 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2018 Cheval des Andes is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon fermented in small lots in 3,000- to 8,000-liter tanks and matured 40% in 225-liter oak barrels, 40% in 400-liter oak barrels and the remaining 20% in 2,500-liter oak vats for 13 months. Ninety percent of the oak used was French and the rest a blend of Austrian, Slovenian and German oak, 50% of it new. 2018 has been one of the best vintages in recent times in Mendoza, and the wine shows it. It’s a cooler vintage, and the wine has improved in freshness and elegance without losing any clout. It’s 14.5% alcohol and has a pH of 3.73. This is young, juicy, elegant and balanced and still has some herbal and toasted notes; it’s medium to full-bodied, with the creamy and luxurious texture of the modern Bordeaux, ultra fine tannins and a long, dry and precise finish. It’s still undeveloped and seems to have all the components and the balance between them for a long and positive development in bottle. With wines like this, I sometimes wish I had a time machine so I could see them in 20 years from now… I think this is the finest Cheval des Andes I’ve ever tasted. 100,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in January 2020.”
Decanter 98 points “Product of a joint work between Terrazas de los Andes and Cheval Blanc, Cheval des Andes is a Mendoza blend of 70% Malbec – half from Paraje Altamira in the Uco Valley and half from Las Compuertas in Luján de Cuyo – and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in barrels and foudres, the nose presents cherries, plums and black and redcurrant over a bed of cedar and spice. Velvety and harmonious in feel, polished tannins and an elegant finish.”
Joaquin Hidalgo-Vinous 96 points “The 2018 Cheval Des Andes is a blend of 70% Malbec – half from Las Compuertas and half from Paraje Altamira – and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from Las Compuertas. It was aged in barrels and foudres, 50% in new oak. Purplish red in the glass. It shows an expressively complex nose of plum, cherry and hints of spice, pepper, ink, blackberry, and blackcurrant. The oak provides a profound and subtle backdrop of sweet spice. In the mouth, it’s viscous and broad with a little juice, velvety in texture and with very fine tannins. The finish is long-lasting with a satisfying feel. A relaxed, delicate, extremely well-balanced wine with a more generous core than the 2017 vintage.”

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Kumeu River 

New Arrival Featurette!

Kumeu River is one of New Zealand’s preeminent Chard producers and always a fan favorite at the shop. 

Kumeu River Coddington Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $51.90 special
Rebecca Gibb MW 93 points
“Jazz hands at the ready, the Kumeu River Chardonnay Coddington is always ready to welcome you in with its full, svelte figure and no hard edges, and the 2021 is no different. However, this year there’s an additional touch of purpose that keeps it fresh and full of intention. Good depth and weight here, perhaps due to the lower crop after frost made for small yields. There’s a sense of feel, a sense of wanting to chew on the finish. Savory characters, festive spices and nutty notes, likely derived from its 25% new oak and time on lees in barrel, join the restrained white stone fruit.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $33 special
Rebecca Gibb MW 90 points
“The 2021 Chardonnay Estate is an open, flowing white. It has a rich fragrance speaking of its time in the cellar – oak-derived nutty notes and vanilla meet sweet pastry characters often found when wines are left on their lees. The lightly cooked apple fruit in this young wine sits underneath. Gentle acidity leaves a tender rather than taut finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kumeu River Hunting Hill Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $64.50 special
Rebecca Gibb MW 95 points
“The 2021 Chardonnay Hunting Hill is its usually sinewy, taut and lightly floral self. Often in the shadow of Maté’s Vineyard, Hunting Hill seems to be becoming more and more serious as the vines age – they’re around 20 years old. Expect a muscular, unyielding wine that has lemon and lime bitter notes, nectarine and even a whiff of seaside – all salty and briny.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay, Kumeu 2021 750ml $69 special
Rebecca Gibb MW 97 points
“The 2021 Chardonnay Maté’s Vineyard offers greater tension and sapidity compared with how the more relaxed 2020 did upon release. It will need time in bottle to shake off the rawness of youth. It is focused, concentrated and precise. There’s sophisticated use of oak, which integrates seamlessly within the package. I got a cold the day after this was first opened, and almost a week later, when my senses returned, it remained impeccable, focused and compact.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Kumeu River Rays Road Chardonnay, Hawke’s Bay 2021 750ml $39 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Mangoes, lemon curd, baked apples, hazelnuts, custard and some salted caramel. Ripe and creamy with a full body. Tropical fruit and buttery layers balanced by bright acidity. Drink now. Screw cap.”
Rebecca Gibb MW 90 points “The 2021 Chardonnay Rays Road is bright, refreshing and almost salty. I’m even tempted to say mineral; it’s certainly not a fruity Chardonnay. The finish is lightly savory with fresh white pear and floral notes. There’s a sense of pithiness and citrus line followed up with an almost chalky texture.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Pete’s Picks:

Saturday Staff Picks

I was blown away by this wine. Initially attracted by its rather unique bottle, once opened, this light and refreshing Riesling came at me with excellent acidity to present an almost minty and delectable aroma of citrus and herbs. It defiantly goes above and beyond any expectations of this varietal, providing an excellent pathway to enjoyment of this noble grape. 

Ovum “Rare Form – For Love Nor Money” Riesling, Oregon 2020 750ml $51.90 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“White gold in the glass, it’s aromas of ripe Bartlett pears and golden delicious apple are deceiving. Under the fresh fruit layer sits a brooding sea of herbs – lemon verbena, eucalyptus, sage. There’s even notes of bittering agents like wormwood and cassia bark, yet they’re not present on the palate. A lightning bolt of acidity strikes your palate upon first taste, and then begins the cascading flavors of salted lemon and white pineapple soaked in chamomile tea. The finish is dry, and layered with dried herbs as the wine warms in the glass. Biodynamic. 1970’s own rooted Riesling, grown at 400 feet on a South facing slope. The Ana vineyard has produced notoriously complex wines for decades. Nestled in the heart of the Dundee Hills, this site collects additional heat units that allow for even ripeness, while the volcanic soils help to maintain salty acidity.”

When looking for an excellent blend of the Grenache and Mourvèdre, the St. Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes provides a strong example of the powerful elegance that one tends to find in the Gigondas. Its strength and powerful fruits make for a fantastic offering from this historic growing region.

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhône 2019 750ml $31.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now 
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Moving to the 2019s, this is a great vintage for this estate, and all of the wines showed brilliantly. The 2019 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is its usual 80/20 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre and has awesome dark fruits, ground pepper, licorice, truffle, and earthy mineral-like aromas and flavors. I love its mid-palate, it has elegance as well as power, ripe tannins, and a great finish. I finished my note with ‘Wow.'”

This Petit Cot can be considered an excellent example of all this grape has to offer. Known in much of the world as Malbec, it’s easy to see why this grape has become so popular around the world, with a gentle and elegant flavor including a dash of spice that makes for a great affordable red.  

Jousselin et Fils, Domaine du Rin du Bois Touraine Petit Cot, Loire 2020 750ml $22.50 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“Pascal Jousselin is an incredibly conscientious winemaker. Dedicated to his family’s Domaine, he is the fifth generation to live in this former hamlet, but the first to bottle wine from the family’s vineyards planted in 1969. He carefully manages about 18 hectares and works organically. Petit Côt, the original varietal of Malbec, is vinified with a short skin contact of 3 days to retain the fruit expression, under native yeast with no added sulfites.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

For someone who is generally a fan of red wines from the Rhône, this offering from Marietta does not disappoint, with the beautiful terroir of California’s North Coast. 

Marietta Cellars ‘Christo’, California 2019 750ml $21.90 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points
“A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah and Viognier, the 2019 Christo has a deep ruby-purple color and alluring scents of blueberry jam and cassis with accents of loamy earth, violet, coffee beans and iron. The full-bodied palate is powerful yet silky, with seamless acidity and gobs of pure violet perfume on the long, layered finish. It’s easy to drink now but offers a decade or more of cellaring potential.

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

When looking for a solid and affordable Washington Cabernet, Luke is an excellent choice for any day of the week. With a particular boldness that can be expected of a Columbia Valley Cabernet, Luke does not disappoint. 

Luke Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope 2019 750ml $18 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“LUKE Cabernet Sauvignon offers aromas dominated by marionberry and dark chocolate, accented by hints of mint and molasses. Supple, focused and expressive, layering coffee-accented blackberry and currant flavors with polished tannins and hints of cedar and smoke.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

The Burgo Viejo Licenciado offers an excellent Tempranillo coming from the Rioja region of Spain. With an excellently balanced flavor, this full bodied and well-rounded Rioja also comes with an approachable price point. 

Bodegas Burgo Viejo Licenciado Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ml $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Bodegas Burgo Viejo Licenciado Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ml $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Decanter 95 points
“Bodegas Burgo Viejo is the property of six farming families and comprises more than 200ha of vineyards in the Rioja Oriental region, from where the more full-bodied styles of Rioja are produced (see ‘Regional Profile’, p42). Historically, the bodegas sold their high-quality grapes to neighbouring wineries, until the arrival of the young winemaker Gorka Etxebarria, who saw the potential for them to produce excellent wines themselves. Tempranillo is a firm favourite for this producer, despite Garnacha being the most widely planted grape in the area, and they certainly make a success of it, going by the many accolades they have received over the years. Sarah Jane Evans MW: Distinctly pure, vivid reserva, precise style: limpid fruit, brisk acidity, notable but well balanced oak. Classic. Simon Field MW: Intense colour, powerful aromas of tar and blue fruit; minty savoury, rich, lifted and long; an impressive reserva statement of intent. Pierre Mansour: Classy, spicy black fruit, full, round, generous – depth yet beautifully balanced, very classy, effortless.”

Thank you from the small but mighty team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.