Vinopolis Monday, January 20th Newsletter

January 20, 2014

Jump Start Sale 

Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico Reserva 2007 ($59.95) $44 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
 “The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico is all about energy and sheer power. The Montefico is quite virile, even in this vintage, with a certain austerity in the tannin that will require time in bottle to soften. Dark red fruit, leather, anise and spices are some of the notes that wrap around the insistent, pointed finish. There is plenty of nuance here, but not the early appeal of the year. This is a great showing, but readers will need to be patient.

Final 30 bottles
Best listed price in the USA
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Special Feature Champagne Sale

Peter Liem, : “De Sousa’s Champagnes are bold, assertive and rich, while also demonstrating a marked complexity and finesse. It’s no accident that De Sousa is found in many of France’s best restaurants, as the refined demeanor of the wines seems to naturally complement the sophistication of haute cuisine.”
The history of De Sousa Champagne begins several generations ago when Manuel De Sousa, a soldier from Braga, Portugal, came to France to fight with the Allied army during World War I. He went back to Portugal after the war was over. Economic times were so tough, however, that he decided to return to France with his wife and newborn son, eventually settling in Avize. As fate would have it, he passed away at age 29 from a sudden brain tumour. Manuel’s son Antoine later married Zoémie Bonville, the daughter of grape growers in Avize. So was born the De Sousa & Fils estate which, since 1986, has been managed by Antoine’s son, Erick de Sousa.Erick De Sousa farms 9.2 hectares of vines spread over 42 plots. Most are in the vicinity of Avize (there are old vine parcels in Avize, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Cramant, Oger and Chouilly) but also in the Montagne de Reims (Äy and Ambonnay mainly) and small holdings in the Vallée de la Marne (Mardeuil) and the Côte de Bar (Essoyes). Three quarters of the De Sousa vines are over 40 years of age. Some are 60 and 70 years old. Conversion to organic methods began in 1989, just three years after Erick took over from his father. Yields from these old vineyards are incredibly low. In 1999, de Sousa began farming his land biodynamically, lowering yields even further. The vineyards are ploughed with a horse to help prevent the soils from becoming compact and to promote healthy insect life underground. Because of this labor intensive work with the soils, the vines often descend up to 10 or 12 meters. These deep roots extract salts and trace minerals like potassium and magnesium from the chalk. This gives additional minerality to the Champagne.

Erick also likes to harvest as late as possible. He feels this helps make his Champagnes more rich, pure and long. The grapes are harvested by hand. All of De Sousa’s Champagnes are fermented using indigenous yeasts. They go through full malolactic fermentation. Many of the wines are fermented and aged in enamel-lined steel tanks. Since 1995, however, he has fermented the wines from his oldest vines in 225-liter oak barrels. In the cellars, riddling is still done by hand, along with an extra shaking of the bottle on its lees deposit, which provides even greater concentration.

De Sousa Champagne Tradition Brut NV ($39.95) $33 special 17 bottles available
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 ” Light, bright gold.  Buttered toast and poached pear on the deeply scented nose and in the mouth.  Broad and fleshy in texture but showing impressive vivacity for its heft.  A bitter lemon pith quality adds lift and bite to the finish, which leaves smoky minerals and buttery brioche behind.  I’d serve this substantial Champagne with a richly sauced poultry, lobster or mushroom-based dish.”

De Sousa  Reserve Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV ($59.95) $39 special 23 bottles available
De Sousa  Reserve Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut NV 1.5L ($119.95) $89 special 13 1.5L bottles available
Josh Raynolds 91 points 
 “Light, bright yellow. Exotically perfume of nectarine, poached pear, brioche, anise and chamomile. Deep, round and fleshy, with powerful orchard and pit fruit flavors braced by a jolt of smoky minerals on the back half. Smoothly blends richness and vivacity, finishing with excellent clarity and toasty persistence.”

De Sousa Champagne Rose  Grand Cru Brut NV ($69.95) $49 special 28 bottles available
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 “Dark pink, with a hint of onion skin; the color of a red wine from Arbois, even darker than some. Deep and smoky on the nose, with a spicy, vinous raspberry and cherry tone verging on Burgundian in character. Quite spicy, the cherry and wild berry flavors tinged by notes of clove, mace, cracked pepper and cayenne. A singular wine that would go perfectly with pungent cheeses or cured meats”

De Sousa Champagne Cuvee 3A  Grand Cru Brut NV ($69.95) $49 special 29 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 93 points
 “With grapes from the three villages of Aÿ, Avize and Ambonnay, this blend of 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is a strict and firm wine, very aromatic, beautifully ripe with some roundness. Flavors of tropical fruits mix with concentrated minerality. For aging.”

De Sousa Cuvee Caudalies Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut NV ($79.95) $59 special 23 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
 “A blend of 13 vintages, beautifully ripe and round, even with some maturity. Fresh citric fruit cuts through the richness and flavors of pineapple. There is a tang in the texture, an almost chewy structure. Age this wine for a year or two.”

De Sousa Cuvee Caudalies Rose Grand Cru Brut NV ($139.95) $109 special 2 bottles available
Very Limited. A blend of Chardonnay (90%) from Avize and Pinot Noir (10%) from Ambonnay and Ay, so it is exclusively Grand Cru and all old vine material from 50-plus year-old vineyards. The Chardonnay spends six months in small barrels with regular bâtonnage. The Pinot Noir spends one year in barriques. Enormous richness and layers of creamy red fruit, vanilla and earthy/nutty notes wash across the palate.

De Sousa Caudalies Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut 2006 ($179.95) $149 special 23 bottles available
Caudalies is a Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne that has been fermented in oak (15% new) and comes from 50 year-old Chardonnay vines. One of the few Champagnes that will benefit from decanting and aeration, the Caudalies is an eloquent testament to the quality of the Chardonnay grape, its personality informed by notes of white pepper, citric fruit, hazelnut, herbs, chalk, honey and stone fruits.

These all the lowest listed prices in the USA today, or,
The only listed prices in the USA today 
New Week New Wines
Poe Chardonnay Farrington Vineyard Anderson Valley 2012 ($47.95) $39 special
Winery notes
 “The Chardonnay this year stands out for its purity and focus. The nose of white flowers, lemon oil, crushed rocks, and honey is enticing. This wine has beautiful bright acidity and envelopes the palate with flavors of peach, apricot skin, pear, quince and citrus. High-toned floral and stone fruit notes add lift on the linear, lengthy finish.”
Poe Pinot Noir Hudson Vineyard Carneros 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Winery notes
 “The Hudson Pinot Noir is by far our most feminine. The nose gives off aromas of roses and violets, sweet red berries and spice. There is a rush of raspberries, cherries, and a silky lingering texture. The beautiful acidity and luscious mouth feel linger with soft, cashmere-like tannins.”

Poe Pinot Noir Manchester Ridge Vineyard  Sonoma 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Winery notes
 “The Manchester Ridge is earthy and wild. There is an explosive array of aromatics including pine sap, earth, fresh herbs, flowers, pie spice and berries. On the palate is dark red cherry, rhubarb, plum, spice, with a freshness and structured acidity. The finish is long and generous. The 15% whole cluster gives the wine incredible complexity and hits of fresh herbs that should be picked for the kitchen. Smelling this wine immediately takes me to the vineyard, high in a forest on the Mendocino Ridge.”

Elian da Ros Vin Est Une Fete Cotes du Marmandaise Rouge 2011 ($17.95) $14 special
Jean Deydier Les Clefs d’Or Cotes du Rhone Massif d’Uchaux 2010 ($19.95) $16 special
Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura Rouge 2009 ($27.95) $24 special
Domaine Bouland Morgon Corcelette 2011 ($27.95) $21.90 special
John Gilman 94 points
 “Daniel Bouland’s small parcel in the lieu à dit of Corcelette was planted almost entirely in 1925, making these venerable vines eighty-six years of age in the 2011 vintage. The old vines have done an admirable job in this classic vintage, offering up a deep, complex and nicely reserved nose of cassis, black cherries, stony soil tones, woodsmoke, a touch of espresso and lovely topnotes of fresh thyme and sage. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully focused, with a rock solid core of pure black fruit, bright acids, excellent focus and balance and a very, very long, tangy and modestly tannic finish. This is one of those bottlings of Morgon that will go on forever and ever- based on its truly exceptional balance, more than on its overtly tannic structure, as it is one of the more politely-structured Morgons of the vintage. A complete classic. 2014-2050.”
Bastide Blanche Bandol Rouge Fontaneau 2010 ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “Shows plenty of muscle behind the intense and concentrated flavors of dark plum, raspberry, mocha and spice, revealing hints of paprika and chocolate. Firmly tannic on the finish, accented by roasted coffee bean. Drink now through 2020.”

Von Winning Kalkofen Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  90 Points
 “($80) Bright aromas of white peach, sage, resin and lemon oil. Bright, penetrating apricot pit fruit and chalky minerality are nicely entwined on the juicy, pliant palate.  The wine’s depth and spice rise above the austerity that this site often shows in its youth.”
Von Winning Kieselberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:
  92 Points “($80) Apple blossom, persimmon, nut oil and a smoky earthiness on the nose. Glossy, dense nectarine fruit with sweet herbal inflections animate the palate. The opulent depth, spicy juiciness and twist of clove ensure a compelling finish. Excellent potential!”

Von Winning Forster Kirchenstuck Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($149.95) $109 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  91 Points
 “($144) Rich scents of white peach, toasted almond, lemon zest and mint. Bright star fruit and spicy minerality give shape to the luscious flavors. Full-bodied yet graceful, this riesling ends on cool spices, with pleasing length.”

Von Winning Forster Pechstein Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($119.95) $89 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  92(+?) Points
 “($110) Exotic aromas of apricot pit, muskmelon, nutmeg and lemon oil. Rich and dense in texture, with pleasing depth to its peach pit and smoky spice flavors on the mineral lattice typical of the site. With its tantalizing herbal lift on the finish and impressive length, this is certainly the estate’s best dry riesling this year.”

Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2012 ($39.95) $33 special
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2012 375ML ($29.95) $20.90 special
Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2012 1.5L ($119.95) $89 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  91(+?) Points
 “Crisp aromas of passion fruit, nut oils and cinnamon. Rich, sleek and invigorating, but with creamy tropical fruit flavors remaining light and ethereal. Well-balanced, elegant and impeccably long. This does not have the depth of the auction wine, but at present more it offers greater drinkability.”

Weingut Gumphof Suditiroler Pinot Bianco 2012 ($19.95) $16 special
Toro Abala Don PX Reserva 1949 ($249.95) $219 special
Wine Advocate 97 points
 “The 1949 Don PX Reserva Especial differs from the other old wines from the winery as it is less dark, it even has a (very dark) translucent tone compared with the others, maybe because it has 2% more alcohol. It feels incredibly elegant and balanced, fresher in comparison than the beasts from 1962 and 1946, medicinal, full of spicy notes of cinnamon, cloves, a touch of ash, and the smell of an antique shop. The palate is fluid, sweet and fresh. Putting a drinking window to these wines feels a bit silly. You should drink it whenever you have the occasion. Drink 2013-2040.”
Special Feature Sale: Didier Dagueneau

Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly 2009 ($79.95) $59 special only 8 bottles
Wine Advocate 91-92+ points
 “There is as usual nothing mundane about the ‘basic’ Dagueneau cuvee, the estate’s 2009 Blanc Fume de Pouilly. This is the sole cuvee at its address to blend across two soil types–Marne chalk and silex–as well as across several far-flung parcels, some of which were hailed on this year, and the parts had not yet been assembled for this 2009 when I tasted in June, so I offer only a composite impression. Smoky red currant, lime, and nettle display an aromatic pungency that coincides with a bright, energetic, silken-textured, very pure palate impression. White peach and wafting florality are conveyed by the (in this vintage, one-third) Marne chalk portion. The suffusion of chalk here is as usual impressive without in any way blocking the mouth-watering flow of fruit, and the same can be said as far as the influence of wood is concerned. This finishes with vibratory intensity and ringing clarity, as though it had been grown in a vintage from which nobody else in the region got to make wine. Expect it to be worth following for at least 6-8 years.”

Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly 2011 ($79.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 90-91 points
 “From cask, Dagueneau’s 2011 Blanc Fume de Pouilly whose lots had already been assembled in the press, offers a radish-like aromatic prickle and palate bite along with piquancy of citrus pip, all of which, I predict, will put it in good stead to deliver from bottle a sense of vivacity and invigoration that are not easy to come by in this vintage. Mint and sage accent fresh orange and grapefruit on the nose and on a lush, amble, yet buoyant, lively, and refreshingly persistent as well as insistent finish. I expect this to be best enjoyed over the next 2-3 years.”

Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex 2009 ($129.95) $99 special 
Wine Advocate 93-94+ points 
“From an enclave just outside the cuverie in Saint Andelain, the Dagueneau 2009 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex delivers an almost inordinate diversity of floral, herbal, citrus (predominately grapefruit), and pit-fruit (predominately nectarine) elements, with the bitterness of fruit pits, smoky pungency of red currant and crushed stone, as well as notes of shrimp shell reduction and iodine inflecting a long, bittersweet, yet at the same time vibrant, buoyant finish. This silken textured seducer should gain with time in bottle and be worth following for ten or a dozen years.”

Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex 2010 ($139.95) $99 special 
Wine Advocate 93-94 points
 “A pungent suggestion of diverse hedge flowers and high-toned herbs rises from the glass of Dagueneau 2010 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex; then migrates to a palate dominated by succulent grapefruit, white peach, and cassis. Breadth, opulence, sheer extract, a silken texture, and high glycerin, all seem to enhance this Sauvignon’s sense of sweet ripeness, though citrus zest and berry skin lend satisfying counterpoint. There is resonance and depth to the finish here, and if for now not quite the dazzling complexity of the corresponding Sancerre Monts Damnes, then certainly a compelling performance that promises to be worth revisiting over the next dozen or more years.”

Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex 2011 ($149.95) $99 special 
Wine Advocate 92-93+ points
 “A delightfully, pungently intense bouquet of hedge flowers and resinous herbs rises from the glass of Dagueneau 2011 Blanc Fume de Pouilly Silex, anticipating the bittersweet presence of herbal essences and inner-mouth floral perfume that are allied to nut and citrus oils on a dense, subtly oleaginous palate. This finishes with an authoritative sense of grip and I expect it will not only perform well for a decade but benefit from being left alone for the first several years in bottle.”

Abreu Madrona Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 (priceless) $319 special only 6 bottles
Robert Parker 97 points
 “The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Madrona Ranch, which is usually about 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc with a touch of Petit Verdot, displays a black/purple color to the rim and an extraordinarily beautiful nose of lead pencil shavings, blue and black fruits, licorice, subtle oak, and some acacia flowers. The wine has fabulous stuffing, a rich, full-bodied mouthfeel, tremendous opulence, but plenty of tannin lurking below the surface. Give this wine 2-3 years of cellaring, and drink it over the following 25+ years.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA

Abreu Thorevilos Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (priceless) $599 special only 2 bottles
Robert Parker 100 points 
“The 2001 Thorevilos is another example of what may well be Napa Valley’s version of Ausone, and one of the single greatest vineyard sites in California. One could say this is world-class, but it’s really all-universe. A tour de force in winemaking, with notes of blueberry liqueur intermixed with subtle white chocolate, espresso roast, cassis, blackberry and perfumed, floral notes, it is full-bodied, with great flavor purity, a skyscraper-like texture, and a remarkable finish, with a seamless integration of all component parts. This is extraordinary wine that everyone who loves wine should at least taste once or twice in their lifetime. Both of these wines are adolescents, and probably won’t peak for another 5-8 years and keep for 30-40.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Average listed price- $849

Chateau Figeac Saint Emilion 2005 1.5L ($349.95) $269 special final 8 magnums here now
Wine Spectator 95 points
 “This is subtle and complex, showing blackberry, fresh tobacco and light vanilla, with a hint of Indian spices. Full-bodied, with super well-integrated tannins and a finish that lasts for minutes. Refined and classy. The best modern wine from this producer. Best after 2015.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA

Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve Alsace 2009 ($29.95) $17 special
Here is a wine for Pinot Lovers with a distaste for wood barrels. None at all used here. An earthy-spicy expression of Pinot Noir. Will pair well with anything along the poultry-pork-veal-lamb spectrum, and also a red selection to accompany spicier Asian foods.

Next best price listed in the USA- $24.99

Trimbach Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2005 ($249.95) $179 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “In its aromas of lime, apricot, narcissus, chalk dust, red currant, and musk, the 2005 Riesling Clos Ste-Hune is surprisingly a bit more open and expressive than the Frederic Emile. On the palate this exhibits amazing, chalky density, firm citricity and a satiny, slippery, glycerin-rich texture. Tart red berry, pungent citrus zest, and quarry dust dominate in a finish that is unsurprisingly unyielding but promisingly long. Only time can reveal this wine’s true degree of superiority to the Frederic Emile, and the latter might well nip at its heels indefinitely! “

Lowest price anywhere!
Average listed price in USA is $224

Alvear Festival Pale Cream Sherry NV ($14.95) $7.70 special 
A smoothy, light & sweet

Alvear Fino Sherry NV ($14.95) $7.70 special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points 
“Subtle, very delicate aromas of fresh bread and almonds. Round but shapely; easygoing and fresh. Lovely shape. Not at all austere.”

Alvear Fino en Rama Sherry 2004 ($19.95) $9.90 special
Wine Advocate 90 points
 “It was aged for two years in 500-liter American oak barrels. This non-fortified, unfiltered Sherry is loaded with flor (the yeast that forms a film on the surface of sherry during fermentation) and reveals aromas of roasted nuts and sea salt. Round and full-flavored on the palate, this lengthy effort is a superb example of its type.”

All three are the lowest listed prices in the USA
WA/ID Flat rate shipping- $20 any size single order,
Oregon Flat rate shipping- $17 any size single order,
 Achtung Riesling Volk
Jos. Christoffel Jr 2012 – New Reviews by Joel Paine
“This is one of my favorite estates on the Mosel. Given the fact, though, that it has only five acres of vineyard and seldom produces more than 20,000 bottles a year, even I do not often see these rieslings. Sadly, that is all that is left of a winery that once cultivated some 13 acres. As Karl-Josef Christoffel is 80 and has no children interested in toiling the soil, he has leased eight acres to other neighboring vintners. Still sporty, he not only scampers up and down the steep vineyards, but also regularly goes waterskiing on the Mosel–and makes stunning wines…All were first-class, and four of them are among the best of their ilk in the vintage. Breathtaking!” Joel Payne

Jos. Christoffel Jr. Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett 2012 ($24.95) $18 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  91 points 
“($25) White peach, lemongrass and hazelnut on the nose, with a twist of acacia blossom. A crisp expression of apple and slate animates the palate. Perfectly balanced, impressively long and eminently drinkable, this is one of the finest kabinetts of the vintage. “

Jos. Christoffel Jr. Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule *** 2012 ($59.95) $49 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  94 points 
“($63) Rich golden yellow. Seductive scents of apple blossom, white raisin and quince are given depth by a trace of honeyed botrytis. Rich, candied papaya fruit shows a velvety texture, with an element of minty acidity keeping the palate fresh. Dense yet light on its feet, with the mineral salts providing spice on the long, elegant finish. Gorgeous!”

Jos. Christoffel Jr. Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule *** 2012 ($59.95) $49 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  95 points 
“($63) Rich golden yellow. Rich aromas of strawberry, pear nectar and nut oils, with a very subtle splash of brown spice botrytis. Tropical fruit essences and wet stone salts melt together on the creamy palate. More concentrated than the two other ausleses, showing a distinct honey-spiced personality. Incredibly rich and long on the finish, this is my call for the finest auslese of the vintage.”


Leitz Looking Good
More New Reviews by Joel Paine
“Few producers in the Rheingau are as meticulous in their vineyard management as Josi Leitz, as he is affectionately known in Rüdesheim. Stroll through the Berg Schlossberg and the differences from one owner’s parcel to the next become readily apparent even to the untrained eye. Known to most for his impeccable dry and off-dry rieslings, which have always been among the finest produced in the Rheingau in any given vintage, Leitz also excels with kabinetts and spätleses. As you will see below, his 2012 collection was not only a show-stopper within the region, but a number of his rieslings were also among the best bottled in all of Germany this year.” Joel PayneJosef Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Kaisersteinfels Terrassen Riesling 2012 ($49.95) $39 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  94 Points 
“($48) Sumptuous aromas of white peach, melon, pineapple and lemon oil. Delicately sweet passion fruit is framed and lift by bracing saline minerality. A delicately woven bacon spice animates the long finish of one of the finest off-dry rieslings of the vintage.”

Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Katerloch Riesling Trocken 2012 ($39.95) $33 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  91 Points
 “($42) Discreet aromas of white peach, sage and smoked almond. Glossy, dense apricot pit fruit with sweet herbal inflections animate the palate. The sheer depth and spicy juiciness of this wine ensure an impressively long finish. Has poise and potential.”

Josef Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Hinterhaus Riesling Trocken 2012 ($49.95) $39 special
Joel Paine- Stephen Tanzer’s IWC:  92 Points
 “($48) Rich herbal aromas of dried apricot, toasted hazelnut and bacon fat. Highly concentrated, unctuous yellow fruit flavors communicate an ideal balance of flesh and juiciness as well as noteworthy depth.  Finishes with impeccable balance and formidable length.”

Time to say Goodbye
Chapoutier Hermitage Rouge La Sizeranne 2004 ($89.95) $44 half of release price special, only 23 bottles
Wine Spectator 91 points 
“Slightly firm, with taut, sinewy tannins driving the black cherry, currant, tobacco and mineral notes. Purple fruit and flowers on the focused finish” 

Stephen Tanzer “Dark red. Wild, funky, game- and earth-accented dark fruit aromas, with strong iron and graphite components. Packed with bitter cherry and dark berry skin flavors, plus deeper espresso and dark chocolate notes. Finishes with powerful tannins and real grip, suggesting that this serious, structured Hermitage needs to be left alone for some time.”

Thank you for your reading time!