Mark’s Top Ten Picks 1-7-24

Some wines from my wedding. Do you trust this man?
We all have different tastes and preferences when it comes to wine. This indeed is the element of the wine experience which fuels endless intrigue, novelty, and persistence to keep tasting more. Our tastes become signatures of who we are; but just like how each of us changes markedly over time as individuals, so do our tastes. A professed love of Chardonnay might evolve into a fascination with Chenin Blanc; a romance with Pinot Noir might turn to a passionate affair with Alto-Piemonte Nebbiolo. Our palates all change over time and most often that change is realized when we rediscover the wines that first moved us. Everything is fair game.

Where am I going with this? Well, my name is Mark Shipley and for the last 9 months I’ve been the penning hand behind the newsletters you’ve read each Sunday. I’m sure of course that they’re the highlight of your week (my ego is fragile I’m afraid)! It has been my pleasure to do some deeper dive features on wineries and winemakers that deserve your attention and I hope I have established some street cred for my selections.

Today I am going to expand upon the notion of personal taste by selecting 10 different wines currently available at Vinopolis that I would love to drink, and share them with you. My goal is to let you know my own tastes even deeper, and hopefully surprise a few of you with some fabulous wines you’ve never tried. If anything, I’m putting my current palate on the public record so that I can be baffled by it in a few years. Humor me and you just might end up drinking some fabulous wines.

Discounts on all these wines!
6-11 bottles for a 5% discount
12+ bottes for a 10% discount
Offer ends Monday 1/8 at Midnight PST

Discounts will be applied after orders are made and an invoice copy will be sent.

The Reds

Jim Maresh is making some of the most perfumed and delicate expressions of pinot noir in all of America. If not all of the New World. This should not be a new face for those tapped into the Oregon wine scene, but I must implore your to try their single-vineyard Weber pinot. Somehow this wine expresses the soul of what Willamette pinot is meant to represent.
 Arterberry Maresh Weber Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2018 750ml  $69 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 97 points
 “The 2018 Pinot Noir Weber Vineyard comes from Pommard clone vines planted in 1983. It features pure aromas of cranberry and black raspberry with botanical and floral layers. The palate is seamless and complex, with powerful flavors, a silty texture and bright acidity, finishing with layer after layer of sweet berry fruit.”
Vinous 94 points “Deep crimson. Highly perfumed aromas of red and blue fruit preserves, cola, candied flowers and baking spices, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Concentrated yet lively on the palate, offering mineral-accented black raspberry, cherry liqueur, violet pastille and spicecake flavors that spread out slowly with air. Conveys a deft blend of power and finesse and finishes with steadily building tannins and strong, spicy persistence.”

The more Grenache I drink from the Rhone, the more I find myself preferring Gigondas to Chateauneuf du Pape. There’s a rocky mineral driven structure to the wines of this more remote region, and a balance of savory fruit that refreshes more than your average CDP. Gour de Chaule makes a wonderfully classic example of Gigondas that vastly overdelivers in complexity of flavor.
#2 Domaine Gour de Chaule Gigondas Cuvee Tradition, Rhone 2019 750ml  $38 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Vinous 95 points “Deep magenta. A complex, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes black raspberry, kirsch and lavender, along with vibrant mineral and exotic spice flourishes. Incisive red and dark berry, bitter cherry and succulent herb flavors show fine detail and spicy cut. Chewy, slowly building tannins add shape and grip to a strikingly long, nervy finish that echoes the cherry and floral notes. All whole clusters”

The other day I had a 2012 Cameron Clos Electrique Pinot which absolutely blew my mind. The concentration, the bouquet, the endless finish. Stunning. Flawless. The bottling below has a great many years ahead of it for you to enjoy. It’s a ride you won’t want to miss.
#3 Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Rouge, Willamette Valley 2021 750ml  $75 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Winery note 
“The Clos Electrique Rouge from 2021 is an astounding wine with notes of leather, porcini mushrooms, forest floor and a dose of plums bringing in the finish.  Its perfect silky mouth and a nice round finish cry for a café 90’s Duck l’orange, chanterelles sautéed with butter and sherry, a Ribeye cooked to perfection or perhaps even cardboard.  I mean really, this wine makes anything taste better.”

I, like many others, cannot consistently afford to buy top class Bordeauxs which have attained luxury pricing in recent decades. However, Bordeaux has never been more plush with quality producers at all price points. Chateau Gloria is an unclassed growth but an absolute gem of a winery. Their style is dedicatedly classic and with the string of strong recent vintages their wines have never been better.
Château Gloria 2022 Fine Wine#4 Chateau Gloria St Julien 2019 750ml $49 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Vinous 96 points
 “The 2019 Gloria has a compelling nose: black fruit, crushed rocks, tobacco and very subtle marine scents that are all beautifully combined. Perhaps the most precise and delineated nose among an impressive array of Saint-Julien’s this year. The palate is medium-bodied with a lively opening. A touch of soy infuses the black fruit; fine-boned with wonderful sapidity on the finish. Extraordinary length. Serious. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “Showing beautifully, with the polished, pure, elegant style of the vintage, the 2019 Château Gloria sports a deeper ruby/purple color as well as great aromatics of cassis and assorted blue fruits to go with smoked tobacco, cedar pencil, damp earth, and floral notes. I love its purity, and it’s just a quintessential, medium to full-bodied, layered Saint-Julien that can be drunk today or cellared for a solid two decades. It should be a no-brainer purchase for the wine lovers out there.”
Jane Anson 95 points “So good, this is a vibrant mix of young and exuberant, luxurious, seriously creamy in texture, crushed stone, baked earth, smoked caramel, damson, sweet blackberry and damson fruits. This is pure pleasure, hard to resist.”

I LOVE Produttori. The story behind this cooperative estate is truely moving and so are the wines. It’s a personal pleasure to taste the Cru expressions of the each vintage young and old. 2013 was an exceptional year for Barbaresco and the Muncagota bottling is world class with delicious evolved aromas of licorice, rose petal, and black cherry.
#5 Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Muncagota’, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ml  $69 special, 32 bottles in stock now
Vinous 94 points
 “Like most of the wines in this lineup, the 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota is quite potent. A rush of raspberry jam, wild flowers, white pepper and mint make a strong opening statement. Succulent and yet also structured, the Muncagota has so much to offer. It should be one of the first wines in this range to start opening up, although when that will happen exactly is hard to say.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Powerful yet underlined by racy acidity, driving the black cherry, black currant and mineral flavors. Menthol and tobacco notes add depth, keeping this intense. All the components are here, yet this will need time to really sing. Best from 2024 through 2040.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “You may remember that this wine was once called Moccagatta. Produttori del Barbaresco reverted to the local Piemontese spelling of the name in 2007 to stay consistent with the geographic mapping of local cru sites. The 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota stands apart from the nine other single-vineyard Riservas presented by Produttori del Barbaresco this vintage. Of these various wines, this is the most salty and savory. There is less primary fruit intensity here. The bouquet is laced with grilled rosemary and wild sage. This growing site absorbs loads of morning sunshine with southeast-facing exposures. The mouthfeel is characterized by dry tannins and very long, balsam-like persistence.”

The Whites/Bubbles

Vietti - Timorasso 'Derthona' 2021Timorasso is the next big thing in Italian white wine.  This grape is the Italian answer to chardonnay with medium to full body, precise tension, and sumptuous white and yellow fruits. Vietti makes arguably the best bottling of it and it’s insane that it’s only $38 on the shelf. Stock up.
#6 Vietti Timorasso – Derthona Colli Tortonesi, Piedmont 2021 750ml  $38 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “A pale straw color, the 2021 Derthona Timorasso is set to be released in May of 2023. It has a savory richness to its aromatics of pine resin, fresh lime flower, and melon and is tangy on the palate, with medium body, saline, the stony texture of wet asphalt, Meyer lemon, and chamomile. It feels very much like a Chenin Blanc, but a fresh style in a warm vintage. It is long on the palate with mineral persistence.”

Many Vinopolis customers have enjoyed the entry level Lambert bottlings over the last few years. The shop regularly has to reorder stock of the Clos de Midi. However, the Coulee de Saint-Cyr is large upgrade in complexity that you won’t want to miss out on. This is powerful chenin with lots of piquant fruit and minerality.
#7 Arnaud Lambert Saumur Blanc La Coulee de Saint-Cyr 2021 750ml  $41.90 special, 24 bottles in stock now
No review available for the 2020 vintage. 2018 review provided for reference.
Wine Advocate 93 points “From an east-facing 1.7-hectare plot (Les Perriéres) on top of the SCB hill, the 2018 Saumur Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg Coulée de St-Cyr opens with a deep, pure, yet intense and complex bouquet of ripe fruits intertwined with notes of crushed limestone and popcorn. Pure, refined and salty on the palate, this is a full-bodied, quite rich yet tight, fresh and persistently salty Chenin with fine yet sustainable tannins and a lot of nervy lime juice, salt and tension. This is a fantastic Chenin from limestone terroir (topped with a 50-centimeter layer of clay and salt) that is normally used for Cabernet Franc. I tasted the wine from the same bottle over 14 days, and I’d say the wine got finer and finer.”

I wasn’t going to get away without including a few rieslings on this list. Up first is this killer bottling from J.B. Becker, the badass mystic of the Rheingau. Take one look at this man and you’ll mever question whether he takes his wines seriously. The Walkenberg bottling is as bone-dry as they come with tons of structure and aromatic intensity. Becker’s rieslings can be almost more about texture than any other example I’ve drunk.
#8 J.B. Becker Riesling Spätlese Trocken Wallufer Walkenberg 2021 750ml  $39 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 94 points “Still like a tight rosebud that’s just picked up some color, this is a very elegant and precise Rheingau dry riesling with crystalline purity. Stacks of candied lemon, fresh garden herb and wet stone character. Long fine-grained finish. From organically grown grapes. Drinkable now, but best from 2025. Glass stopper. (11/24/22)”

This is simply a stupid bargain. Auslese from a top pedigree vineyard produced by a top pedigree winemaker for only $39? This stuff will literally age for decades and only improve. I’ve had a number of examples of the 2018 vintage from Richter and they have all been exceptional. Buy a case and salute a great decision over the course of your lifetime.
#9 Weingut Max Ferd. Richter Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2018 750ml  $39 special, 33 bottles in stock now
Close-Out Sale: Was $49  Now $39
Wine advocate 96-97 points 
“The 2018 Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is very fine, concentrated and beautifully clear, with blossom honey and very fine berry aromas on the nose. (The 20% to 25% of botrytis is very clear and precise, almost imperceptible.) Lush and piquant on the palate, this is a generous but highly digestible Auslese with orange, raisin and (pink) grapefruit flavors. The finish is incredibly racy-piquant, salty and highly digestible. This is still a baby, but it is highly promising. Tasted from cask in March 2019.”

My favorite Champagne grower and ultimately my favorite NV Champagne. How in the world do they achieve such complexity in the blend year after year? Richness that’s as a light as a feather. Aromas that refresh and draw you in deeper. The most opulent of mousse that feels like it doesn’t have an end to the depth. My goodness.
#10 Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ml  $65 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Vinous 92 points “The NV Brut Réserve is bright and finely sculpted right out of the glass. There’s terrific purity and energy running through the Brut Réserve. Crushed red berry fruit, white pepper, crushed rocks and mint all race out of the glass. This release is based on 2020, with a good bit of reserve wine (35%) that serves to create terrific balance. The 5.5 grams of dosage is not at all felt.”