Holiday VinopolPick 12-24-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

New Week – New Arrivals


New Reviews from Grapelive

Gulfi: Sicilian Masters

Collector’s Corner
Clos Apalta: Chile’s First Growth


Vinopolis Will Be Closed

December 25th

We Will Return to Regular Hours (10-6) on Saturday, December 26th

Our Online Store Never Closes


New Week – New Arrivals

France – Champagne

Pink Champagne just arrived from your favorite budget-friendly producer!
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne NV 750ML ($54.95) $45 special 
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne NV 3L ($379.95) $319 special, 6 double-magnums in stock now
Case-6 Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne NV 750ML ($319.95) $249 special (that’s only $41.50/bottle!)
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Champagne NV 750ML ($599.95) $469 special (that’s only $39.08/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “
The latest release of Clouet’s deeply colored NV Brut Rosé No 3 Grand Cru is showing well, opening in the glass with notes of blood orange, red berries, ripe apples and oatmeal. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and vinous, with ripe acids, a frothy mousse and a moderately intense finish. This is an attractive, gastronomic rosé that hails exclusively from Bouzy.” [Review from prior disgorgement]

The average price is $54

A pink Champagne that will charm the socks (stockings?) off you. Juicy, exuberant, grapefruity and fun.
Noel Bazin ‘La Pimpante’ Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Winery note
“[Translated] The wine is pink, with very fine and delicate bubbles that persist in the glass. The nose is playful and refined. The base of Chardonnay adds nuance to the pretty cherry notes. The palate is perfumed and graceful. A beautiful cherry note dominates with pastry aromas. The finish is superbly aromatic and lively.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs Brut Millesime, Champagne 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
: Consistently one of the best values for bolder/richer grower bubbles from the Cote des Blancs. 

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Gaston Chiquet Carte d’Or Premier Cru Brut Millesime, Champagne 2009 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2009 Brut Carte d’Or is 60% Chardonnay from Dizy (Cerisières lieu-dit) and 40% Pinot Noir from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ 1er (Mutry and Bourdeleuse lieux-dits) is just beginning to show signs of aromatic nuance in its bouquet, the 2009 is a terrific choice for readers who want to drink a Champagne with a bit of age. Dried flowers, chamomile, lemon confit, almond, pear and spice all develop with a bit of coaxing. The 2009 is not an overt or big wine as its vintage might suggest, but is rather a Champagne of total class and sublime beauty. I loved it.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “Disgorged in July 2019, Gaston Chiquet’s 2009 Brut Premier Cru Or is showing very well, revealing aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, honeycomb, white flowers and fresh brioche. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and nicely defined, with an enveloping core of fruit, ripe but racy acids, and a delicate pinpoint mousse.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Aubry Premier Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Importer note “100% 2015.”
Disgorged Sept 2020

Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Rosé is absolutely gorgeous. Lifted, precise and sculpted, the Brut Rosé captures all the best qualities of the Aubry house style. Red berry and floral notes are finely cut in this super-expressive, alluring Rosé. Interestingly, the NV Brut Rosé is quite a bit drier and more taut in feel than the NV Brut, a style that works especially well here. This release is all 2015,40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 10% Meunier and, quite unusually, 10% still red Meunier.”

France – Bordeaux

Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux 2010 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“A wine that could easily be mistaken for a First Growth, the 2010 Rauzan-Ségla is an incredibly powerful, full-bodied wine by this estate’s standards, yet it nevertheless holds onto a terrific sense of elegance as well as perfect balance. A huge nose of blackcurrants, smoked earth, tobacco, lead pencil, and spice give way to a concentrated, blockbuster styled Margaux that has thrilling depth of fruit, masses of ripe tannins, and great length and finesse on the finish. This brilliant wine is just now seemingly on the edge of its drink window and offers immense pleasure, yet it has another 30-40 years of life ahead of it. Along with the 2015 and 2016, it’s the greatest wine made at this estate in the past two decades.”
James Suckling 98 points “Beautiful clarity of fruit with raspberries and currants on the nose. Roses and other flowers too. It’s almost hard to describe, but there’s a real purity. Full body, with fabulous balance and depth. It has everything in the right place. Best ever? Try it in 2018.”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “One of the top Margaux wines, this is in top form, finely balanced and as elegant as it is powerful. It is darkly structured, dense yet balancing tannins with ripe black plums. It expresses the complexity of the vintage. A wine for serious, long-term aging.
Wine Advocate 95+ points “To reiterate, the 2010 Rauzan Segla is like a super-duper version of the 1986. Displaying fabulous density, an inky purple color and a superb nose of forest floor with a hint of menthol as well as loads of creme de cassis, mocha and touches of chocolate and subtle oak, this full-bodied, deep, concentrated wine represents only 45% of the estate’s production. It is certainly not for those who can’t wait a few years for it to round into shape, as I suspect it needs at least 5-8 years of bottle-age, but it should last for half a century or more…a timeless classic from the appellation of Margaux.” 
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2010 Rauzan-Ségla is simply one of the finest releases in recent years. It has a heavenly bouquet with wild strawberry, subtle floral notes and great precision. The palate is nothing powerful, less flamboyant than the 2010 Palmer, yet endowed with incredible precision and length. All you could really want from a Margaux. Tasted from an ex-château bottle at the BI Wines & Spirits 10-Year On tasting.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Flashy style of Margaux, with alluring warm cocoa and black tea aromatics followed by cashmere-textured plum sauce, steeped fig and blackberry confiture notes. The well-integrated structure makes this seem almost accessible now, but the ample length and a smoldering tobacco note make a case for cellaring. Best from 2014 through 2030.”

Chateau Lascombes, Margaux 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The wine hits all cylinders in 2010. The average alcohol for the bottled wine is 14%. It has a gorgeously sweet nose of creme de cassis, spring flowers, subtle barbecue smoke and charcoal followed by full body, beautiful intensity, great purity, stature and length. The influence of any oak is minimal, despite the fact that 90% new French oak was used. Needless to say, this is an example of modern-styled winemaking at its finest, and arguments that such wines will not age well, do not represent their terroir , and are soul-less, are totally groundless. Give it five or so years of cellaring and drink it over the following 25-30 years. This is one of the great Margaux wines of the vintage.”
Decanter 94 points “Lascombes in 2010 has exuberance and precision and confidence, and a sense of fun. At the 10 year mark the power of the tannins is clear and evident. It’s a big, concentrated, exuberant wine but it has delicacy and construction and persistency. Drinking Window 2020 – 2042.”
James Suckling 94 points “Pinpoint but rich fruit in the form of blackcurrants, licorice, fresh herbs, blackberry leaf and cedar. Full body, structured tannins, vibrant acidity and a long finish. Wonderful combination of freshness and fruit. Delicious now but this will hold for many more years.”

Chateau Tour De Pez, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Case-12 Chateau Tour De Pez, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($399.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)

“The 2016 Tour de Pez is a tasty, mid-weight Saint Estèphe. Nothing in particular stands out, as all the elements are very nicely balanced. Sweet red cherry, smoke, plum, and white pepper all grace this impeccable balanced wine” –Antonio Galloni, Vinous
“The 2016 Tour de Pez comes sprinting out of the blocks on the nose with precocious black cherries and blueberry fruit, violets and iris following just behind. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, quite tensile in the mouth with good acidity, flecks of brown spice and meat juices imparting a savory vein on the finish. There is plenty of character to this Saint Estèphe and it should age with style.” –Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Chateau Palmer Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is sensational, characterized by such purity and beauty and with aromas of blackberries, dark chocolate, walnuts, cedar and lavender. Full-bodied, tight and focused – in part thanks to sensational tannin tension that is intense yet polished. Needs five to six years of bottle age to come together. Great second wine of Palmer.”
Wine Cellar Insider 94 points “Rocks, stones, flowers, wet earth and inky, dark cherry, plum and even darker chocolate notes are all over the place. From the nose to the palate, you find the same expressions and complexities. The wine is richly textured, sensuous, silky and sweet. There is length and purity, This is better than any vintage of Palmer from the 70’s, most of the 80’s and the 90’s! This is the best vintage of Alter Ego ever produced.”


The Royal Tokaji Company has been the vanguard producer at Tokaji’s renaissance. In addition to their maniacal focus on quality, the company has also been reviving the single-vineyards that were once synonymous with the best Hungarian bottlings. 

Royal Tokaji ‘Betsek’ Single Vineyard 6 Puttonyos Tokaji Aszu, Tokaj-Hegyalja 2016 500ML ($149.95) $119 special
Neal Martin-Vinous 96 points
“The 2016 Betsek First Growth Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos contains the most residual sugar this vintage, at 185.8g/L. The clean, pure bouquet offers dried honey, a light adhesive note, lanolin and candle wax, very complex and mercurial in the glass. The elegant, well-balanced palate features apricot, quince, marmalade and a touch of ginger. What I adore is the manner in which this Betsek builds in the mouth and fans out like a great Tokaji ought to. Another outstanding single-vineyard offering from the Royal Tokaji Company. “

Royal Tokaji ‘Nyulaszo’ Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos, Tokaj-Hegyalja 2016 500ML ($149.95) $119 special
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points
“The 2016 Nyulászó First Growth Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos, which delivers 180g/L residual sugar, has a deep, honeyed, slightly more introverted bouquet compared to the Ste. Tamás. It gradually reveals scents of manuka honey, orange pith and quince jus, yet it clearly deserves several years to really open. The palate is very well balanced, harmonious and brimming with tension. Pears, Seville orange marmalade, hints of mandarin and fresh figs vie for attention. This is a powerful, intense Tokaji, but razor-sharp, delivering real precision and “bite” toward the finish. Outstanding.”


Stamnaki Assyrtiko, Peloponnese 2019 750ML ($19.95) $15.50 special
Distributor note
“The grower is Denthis, a winery in the Pelopenese. They make the wine for Eklektikon’s (the importer) private label “Stamnaki.” Stamnaki is the term for the little amphora pictured on the label. 100% organic Assyrtiko, hand picked. Direct pressed and fermented in stainless steel. Fined with bentonite clay and sterile filtered.”
Winery note ” Juicier and fruitier than a typical Assyrtiko, with its signature acidity backbone refreshing the palate.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Stamnaki Moschofilero, Peloponnese 2019 750ML ($18.95) $14.40 special
Distributor note
“The grower is Denthis, a winery in the Pelopenese. They make the wine for Eklektikon’s (the importer) private label “Stamnaki.” 100% organic Moschofilero, hand picked. Direct pressed and fermented in stainless steel. Fined with bentonite clay and sterile filtered.”
Winery note “Lemon flowers and rose petals, sharp acidity & length.”
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As featured in Portland Monthly!
Cameron Winery Nebbiolo, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Grapelive 95 points
“The 2016 Cameron Nebbiolo is truly a gorgeous wine and can easily be considered an American Barolo with its pure varietal character and profile. This vintage is just stunning and shows that this grape can be just as majestic in the Willamette Valley as it is in the Langhe! The Cameron Dundee Hills Nebbiolo shows a deep garnet color with just a hint of classic brickish magenta on the edges. The wine displays an earthy element along with pretty floral notes on the nose before revealing exceptional layers of traditional dark berries, plum, brandied cherries and black fig fruits along with blood orange, anise, dried lavender and a light cedrary spiciness. There’s so much to love here, the supple tannins and velvety mouth feel, but with structure at its core this wine gets better and better as it opens in the glass, filling out completely and becoming seamless and gaining depth with every sip, making for an exquisite Nebbiolo experience. The Cameron Nebbiolo shines in this vintage and the warmer site here allows riper flavors to come through and a lovely sense of richness, while still having the energy, leathery-earthiness and natural acidity the grape is known for. Interesting enough the alcohol is somewhat lower than warm year Barolo(s) that are coming in at 14.5% and higher. At 13% this wine delivers a fine balance and is fantastic with rustic cuisine. The Cameron Nebbiolo is sourced from the winery’s Clos Electrique cru vineyard in the Dundee Hills, set on the Jory (volcanic) soils, famous for winemaker John Paul’s Pinot Noirs, which are some of Oregon’s greatest wines. This estate vineyard consists of, according to the winery, approximately 3 acres of Pinot Noir, 2 acres of Chardonnay, half an acre of Italian white grape varieties, including Friulano and 1 acre of Nebbiolo that was first planted back in 1994. Cameron’s John Paul, who is a huge Italian wine geek and Barolo enthusiast, believed that Nebbiolo could thrive here as it was on a similar parallel and [since] hazelnut trees do well in both Piedmont and in the Willamette Valley. In fact Paul cleared an ex-hazelnut orchard to plant his two clones of Nebbiolo. Very early on it was clear he was right and that Nebbiolo could be a huge success, and this 2016 rises to a level of greatness. Cameron uses non irrigated vines that are farmed all organically which adds to the wine’s concentration and traditional old world winemaking techniques in the cellar with this Nebbiolo seeing extended elevage having adopted, as Paul notes, the long aging regimen typical of Barolo and Barbaresco to be more evolved and mature on release. The Cameron or Cameroni Italian inspired wines are outstanding, especially this Nebbiolo, plus their series of whites, like the Friuli style blend and the Pinot Bianco and the Ramato, skin contact Pinot Gris.”

A super grower from the Cote des Blancs village of Cramant.
Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“This graceful Champagne is like the finely tailored suit that somehow never goes out of style, with a lovely overtone of minerally chalk and brine enticing you into the glass, where flavors of apricot and Marcona almond, and hints of passionfruit coulis and pickled ginger, ride the fine, satinlike mousse. Disgorged autumn 2018. Drink now through 2028.” [Disgorgement date may vary from review]

A perpetual top value
Drappier Carte d’Or Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Case-6 Drappier Carte d’Or Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($299.95) $199 special (that’s only $33.17/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 92 points
“[Reviewed Nov 2017] This bright and zesty Champagne is lightly juicy and appealing, offering flavors of Honeycrisp apple, ripe white cherry, biscuit and pickled ginger. Balanced and lacy in texture, with a lingering, spiced finish. Drink now through 2022. 2,200 cases imported.”
Decanter 91 points “[Reviewed Oct 2019] Described by Drappier as ‘almost a blanc de noirs’, this Pinot Noir-dominant wine sourced from the Côte des Bar is the house’s calling card. 5% of the cuvée is matured in barrels for a year for added complexity and texture, and it’s bottled unfiltered with a fairly low dosage of 7g/l. There are some melon and apple scents on the nose along with a splash of red fruits, while the palate is intense, with notes of apple, quince and grape wrapped in a red-fruit veil. It’s full-bodied and long, with a lovely texture from the red wine tannins and oak-matured portion.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “[Reviewed Apr 2020] Disgorged in June 2019, the latest rendition of Drappier’s NV Brut Carte d’Or is showing well, bursting with pretty aromas of peach, honeyed orchard fruit and white flowers. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, chalky and incisive, with fine depth and tension and a penetrating finish.”
[Disgorgement may vary from reviews]

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $47

Sauternes with this much bottle age at this price? Yes, please.
Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2004 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“A fresh, delicious wine, the natural richness of the botrytis balanced beautifully with acidity. It is ripe but delicate, a style that floats over the sweet fruit.”

A flagship Rioja from a great vintage at a winning price.
Marqués de Murrieta Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator Top 100 In 2019
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The red blend 2015 Rioja Reserva is 80% Tempranillo with 12% Graciano, 6% Mazuelo and 2% Garnacha, a little more Graciano and Mazuelo, something logical in ripe and warm years like 2015. It’s produced with grapes from a diversity of the 30 different plots within the estate, to represent the character of if. It fermented in stainless steel and matured in American oak barrels for 18 months. It’s spicy and somewhat balsamic, with some dusty tannins. It’s a ripe and powerful vintage that only suffers next to the 2016 I tasted next to it when there’s a jump in precision and finesse. This is by far the largest volume produced at Murrieta, with almost one million bottles.”
James Suckling 93 points “So fresh and elegant with more than enough concentration and structure, this is a fine example of a 2015 Reserva. Ripe-blackberry, licorice, smoke and bourbon notes. I love the velvety texture of the long, intense finish. Better from 2019 and with long aging potential.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Cedar, tobacco, dried cherry and spice flavors mingle in this red. Features a polished texture, with well-integrated tannins and orange peel acidity. Supple, harmonious and graceful. Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha. Drink now through 2025. 100,000 cases made, 9,067 cases imported.”

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New Reviews from Grapelive

In Stock Now:

Brick House Vineyards Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Grapelive 91 points
” The youthful 2019 Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir is Brick House’s lighter Village level offering, but it is very pure and crisp in detail with lovely energetic red fruits and mineral tones with layers of black cherry, tangy raspberry, red peach, Moro orange and tart plum along with a stony or cool personality accented by rose petals, tea spices, tiled earth, apple skin and a delicate wood shading that frames this medium bodied and dark ruby red Pinot. This 2019 Ribbon Ridge bottling was crafted to be enjoyed fresh and is easy to quaff with moderate alcohol and smooth textures, it shows plenty of charm and subtle complexity to nicely go with simple meals and is great wine to get started with Brick House, it is a gateway into Tunnell’s wines, which show a sense of place and varietal clarity. The Brick House winery is a 100% estate producer, growing all of their own fruit and making all of the wine on site with all the vines having been certified organic for more than 25 years now and are also certified biodynamic by Demeter, the most strict holistic certification for grape growers. Legendary Oregon winegrower Doug Tunnell, who founded Brick House in 1990, pioneered organics and especially biodynamic grape growing in the Willamette Valley as well as using traditional Burgundian practices in the winery when crafting his elegant wines. Brick House does a variety of stellar offerings and they are most revered for their three Cru level Pinots, the Cuvée du Tonnelier, the Les Dijonnais (made using Dijon clones) and the Evelyn’s, the ultra best cuvee and one of Oregon’s great wines. Brick House has thirty acres under vines that gives Tunnell great material to hand craft his wines which see indigenous yeast fermentation(s) and usually see a minimum of a year in barrel, like this bottling, with the top cuvees being aged between 18 to 24 months with well judged use of new oak. This Ribbon Ridge Pinot, which was called “Select” in the past is a fresh and vibrant example that should drink well for next 5 years and should gain more richness as it matures, enjoy it on more causal occasions, it is a classy wine for the price.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Envinate Albahra Tinto, Spain 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Grapelive 93 points
“One of the most interesting and satisfying natural style red wines costing around twenty bucks, the beautiful dark black/purple Albahra Vino de Mesa (red table wine) from Envinate is a singular expression coming from a remote and unique place and from rare varietals, with this 2019, the latest release is best yet. The 2019 Envinate Albahra is a deeply hued wine that starts with a pretty floral perfume, exotic spices, earthy notes and fresh crushed briar laced blackberries that leads to a medium to full bodied palate with black fruit coating the mouth, adding plum, orange rind, minty herbs, fennel, mineral tones and a touch of chalk and cedar. There is an opulence of vine berry fruit, but at just 12.5% natural alcohol it is vibrant and with a bright tartness that gives a refreshing balance and makes this quaffable Rhone like Albahra superb with rustic cuisine from raw milk cheeses, cured meats and or grilled octopus…. The Envinate Albahra is made from about 70% Alicante Bouschet, also known as Garnacha Tintorera in Spain and 30% of Moravia Agria, an even more rare varietal that is noted for its high-acid and low alcohol tartness, which helps keep the warm climate ripeness in check in this wine with each grape getting fermented separately and blended together after aging. The Alicante Bouschet sees partial whole cluster with close to half getting stem inclusion with the hand harvested grapes foot-trodded and macerated in concrete vats with the indigenous yeast primary fermentation lasting just under two weeks and then aged on the fine lees in the cement for eight months, while the Moravia Agria is 100% de-stemmed and raised in well used French barriques without any stirring. After malos and its elevage the final blend is assembled with ultra low sulfur and bottled unfined and unfiltered to capture every nuance and its soulful expression. The grapes come from vines set on sandy clay-calcareous soils with the main parcel being head trained 30 to 50 years old up at 800 meters above sea level that allows for cool night time temps that helps fully ripen the fruit and retains acidity which gives this wine its complexity, lilac flower bouquet and zesty details.”

Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage 2018 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
Grapelive 93 points “
The 2018 Crozes-Hermitage is a thrilling Syrah that adds touches of lavender, cracked pepper, farm bacon (meatiness) and subtle cedary wood notes as well as creme de cassis, it will go gloriously well with winter cuisine, especially lamb, wild mushrooms dishes and or sweet and smoky BBQ, as well as hard cheeses…Louis Barroul’s negociant line of Northern Rhone bottlings seem to get better and better every year and I am a huge fan of this Crozes-Hermitage, which always delivers a full array of classic flavors in the purest form possible with this 2018 showcasing the vintage’s energy and charm, this is a wonderful youthful Syrah to enjoy over the next three to ten years….The Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage unfolds with crushed violets, boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry preserves, forest floor notes, snappy licorice and olive tapenade flavors along with good acidity and well judged tannins that hold things tight, but still allow for a graceful mouth feel that is impressive for this appellation, which has in the last decade has become one of my absolute favorite go to regions…. The Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage Rouge is crafted from 100% Serine clone, the area’s ancient Syrah variety that many winemakers here covet and think is the region’s best expression of the grape that really transmits the terroir in perfect clarity, which this one certainly does. For the 2018 vintage Barroul went with 100% de-stemmed grapes with no whole cluster, preferring to promote a more elegant profile and excluding the bite of stems in this version… .Barruol sources his Crozes-Hermitage from the granite hillsides of Gervans and Erôme, just behind Hermitage hill, noted himself that the wines are often quite similar to those of Hermitage, which is no small claim. Going on, he says that where these grapes are grown, could almost be an appellation in its own right because there is a huge difference within the ‘Châssis’ terroirs of Crozes-Hermitage. Interesting, Barruol describes his 2018 Crozes as a long, broad, flavorful, ripe and balanced, exclaiming “what a vintage!” calling it probably one of the best since he started making it, which I find hard to argue with.”



Gulfi: Sicilian Masters

Gulfi first came to prominence as a champion of Nero D’Avola—the rich dark grape that they proved could be a transparent expression of terroir. The single vineyards Nero’s that Gulfi made changed perceptions of the grape and has helped lead to the current renaissance of Sicilian viticulture. These are wines that are intense, powerful, yet graceful.

Gulfi’s Nero d’Avola is typically extracted and rich, with subtle nuances reflecting the vineyard locations spread around the southeastern corner of the island. Variations in altitude and proximity to the sea influence the delicate aromatics, as ripeness is certainly not the issue. Salinity and sea breeze influences are present and add nuance to the ripe, roasty, smoky characteristics.

The Neromaccarj (pronounce the “j” as an “i” with the Gulfi names) is a vineyard that sits almost at sea level, and the wines from the vineyard are the biggest, richest and darkest fruited of the lot. By contrast, the Nerosanlore is a higher altitude site with a stronger marine influence and so the wines temper Nero d’Avola’s natural richness with higher acidity, redder fruits and grippier tannins. NeroBaronj is a vineyard that sits in a warm pocket but with almost pure limestone as its soil foundation, giving wines that are brighter, zippier and more delicate than the rest of the set. Finally, NeroBufaleffj’s volcanic origins produces a wine with rich, redder fruits and elegant tannins.

The 2016 vintage was magical throughout the Italian peninsula, and Gulfi’s 2016s arguably their finest yet—a real upgrade in terms of finesse and elegance over previous years. But don’t worry, these are still plenty powerful. If you have yet to acquaint yourself with these distinctive wines, there’s no time but the present.

In Stock Now:

Gulfi Nerobaronj Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Case-6 Gulfi Nerobaronj Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special (that’s only $26.50/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 93+ points
“Good full medium red. Riveting high-pitched perfume of raspberry, blood orange and violet, lifted by hints of lemon and talc. Clean, focused, and well delineated, with strong minerality and fresh spices lifting the raspberry fruit and very floral flavors. Easygoing and very drinkable already, this expresses a very silky texture. Finishes vibrant and very long, with subtle perfume of strawberry and violet. A pretty wine.”

Gulfi Nerobufaleffj Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
Case-6 Gulfi Nerobufaleffj Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($299.95) $237 special (that’s only $39.50/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 96+ points
“Luminous deep red. Aromas of red cherry, minerals, Oriental spices and vanilla on the refined nose. Then luscious, rich, deep and multilayered with spices, herbs and aromatic oak notes dominating the underlying red and spicy flavors beneath. Finishes long but with less than the usual nectar-like quality that typifies this cru; undoubtedly, a much more elegant version of Nerobufaleffj, a wine that often reaches Amarone-like levels of richness and lusciousness. This very young wine is a potential knockout; still brooding and folded upon itself; it’s a beauty that requires time in your cellar, and watch it develop into something special.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Gulfi Neromaccarj Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Case-6 Gulfi Neromaccarj Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 93 points
“Deep ruby. Amazing floral and spicy nose of black fruit, herbs and grilled steak. Then rich and tactile, but vibrant and energetic, with well delineated flavors similar to the aromas. Finishes long with mounting but relatively polished tannic bite.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
Case-6 Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($299.95) $237 special (that’s only $39.50/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 97 points
“Luminous red. Precise, brooding aromas of ripe red cherry, flint, orange rind, cinnamon, lavender and violet, complicated by iodine and earth. Silky and sappy with refined but very concentrated extract, this smothers the taste buds but stays vibrant and not at all heavy, offering lovely definition and lift to the red cherry, raspberry, floral and mineral flavors. Finishes extremely deep and long, with ultra-suave tannins, mesmerizing inner-mouth perfume and extreme refinement; very Barolo-like. A lovely multilayered wine showcasing the elegant side of Nero d’Avola that very few producers ever manage to showcase.”

Love Sicilian wine? We have over 25 wines from Sicily in stock now. Shop the entire selection, including additional options from Gulfi, on our web store now!


Collector’s Corner

Clos Apalta: Chile’s First Growth

The Lapostolle family is synonymous with quality in Chile.  Perhaps no other family has produced so many great wines from Chilean soil, year in and out.  No matter the grape or the vintage, it seems like everything they put out is a winner—especially their flagship, Clos Apalta.  It’s regularly considered one of the top two wines in Chile, a Bordeaux styled blend that combines rich, opulent fruit and the structure to age for a long time.  

Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle and her husband Cyril de Bournet founded Lapostolle in 1994. The Marnier Lapostolle family, known for founding Grand Marnier liqueur, drew on long, long roots in wine and spirits within France. Their project in Chile, under the name Lapostolle, delivers world-class wines across every tier.  Their flagship wine, the Clos Apalta, is a wine spared no expense (as you’d expect given the names involved).  This Bordeaux-style blend combines rich, opulent fruit and the structure to age for a long time, and it’s regularly considered one of the top two wines in Chile. Try finding a First Growth Bordeaux for around $100/bottle these days…

Arriving ETA Spring 2021

Clos Apalta, Colchagua Valley, 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 100 points
“What a stunning nose of crushed berries, fresh flowers, sandalwood and light vineyard dust. Black olives, too. Very complex. Full-bodied with a beautiful, dense palate of blackberries, chocolate, walnuts and cigar box. Fantastic length and composure. The tannin just rolls over the palate. Very structured. The most classically structured wine ever from here. Goes on for minutes. Outrageous and so polished. A blend of 48% carmenere, 26% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot and 1% petit verdot. Try after 2025.”

Clos Apalta ‘Le Petit Clos’, Apalta Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Clos Apalta ‘Le Petit Clos’, Apalta Valley 2017 750ML ($299.95) $236 pre-arrival special (that’s only $39.33/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points
“This is so delicious with blackcurrants, spice, sweet tobacco, lavender and roses. Full-bodied, tight and very polished with gorgeous texture and finesse. Shows tannin tension at the end. A blend of mostly cabernet sauvignon, the rest cabernet franc. Better after 2022.”


Thanks for reading!