Mid-Week Addition Edition 5-18-17

New Spanish Reviews from Josh Raynolds of Vinous Media; Staff Picks; French Wines Arriving Tomorrow: Nicolas Maillart Rose Champagne & Domaine Vincent Girardin Selections; Arriving in June: Pacalet Cornas & Marc Colin 2015s; Wine Spectator Insider’s Hot Wine (And the Best Price in the USA): Mazzei’s Tenuta Belguardo Maremma; May Sale Recap


New Spanish Reviews from Josh Raynolds of Vinous Media

From Josh Raynolds: “After struggling with difficult weather in 2014 and 2013, producers in Spain were thrilled with a healthy crop of fruit in 2015. Early indications are that this vintage produced a bounty of top-notch wines that should provide abundant pleasure in their youth. Spain’s 2015 white wines are ripe, fleshy and assertively perfumed, with noteworthy depth and fruit-forward character. With rare exception they are already delicious, and in fact most of them will likely show best on the young side owing to the warm, dry growing season and generally low acidity levels.”

Adega Algueira Mencia Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Josh Raynolds—Vinous Media 91 points “(raised entirely in stainless steel tanks) Bright magenta. Lively dark berry and floral scents, along with smoky mineral and white pepper flourishes. Juicy, focused and light on its feet, offering nervy boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter on the back half. Smoothly plays power off delicacy and finishes long and gently tannic, leaving a subtle violet note behind.”

Bodegas Triton Tridente Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Bodegas Triton Tridente Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon 2015 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds—Vinous Media 91 points “(fermented in stainless steel tanks, with malolactic fermentation and eight months of aging in used French oak barriques) Dark purple. Smoke-accented aromas of ripe dark berries, licorice, pungent flowers and cracked pepper slowly develop a hint of mocha. Smooth and seamless in texture, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors that show very good depth and building spiciness. Closes very long and sappy; velvety tannins come in late to add shape and gentle grip.”

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Josh Raynolds also took a look back at some of the exceptionally well-aged wines from Lopez de Heredia. We’re excited to see these winery-cellared released newly reviewed, offering a check in on the progress of these outstanding wines!

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Rioja 1981 750ML ($249.95) $189 special
Josh Raynolds—Vinous Media 93 points “(aged in American oak barrels for nine years and then in bottle for a minimum of eight more years) Light red. Strawberry, dried cherry, vanilla, rose oil and cigar box on the highly perfumed nose. Silky red fruit, spicecake and floral pastille flavors are braced by juicy acidity, which adds lift and clarity. The vanilla and floral notes return on a very long, smooth, smoke-tinged finish that features just a hint of fine-grained tannins. This wine was previously reviewed in September 1998 and in November 1999. Reviewed May 2017.”

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Newly Reviewed Wines Arriving Here Soon:

Arriving Tomorrow:
R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza, Rioja 2008 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds—Vinous Media 91 points “(aged for three years in American oak barrels) Brilliant ruby-red. Aromas of fresh red berries, cherry pit and pungent herbs, joined in the glass by subtle vanilla and herb nuances. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering lively red currant and bitter cherry flavors that flesh out on the back half. In an energetic style, showing very good finishing energy and smooth tannins framing lingering red fruit. Reviewed May 2017.”

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The average price is $27

Arriving June 9th:
La Vizcaina El Rapolao, Bierzo 2014 750ML ($37.95) $29.80 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds—Vinous Media 92 points “(aged in used barriques and demi-muids) Inky ruby. Smoke-accented blackberry and blueberry scents on the deeply perfumed nose, complicated by violet, peppery spice and game notes. This reminds me a lot of a northern Rhône wine. Densely packed dark berry preserve flavors pick up candied licorice and cola qualities with aeration, along with hints of bitter chocolate and candied flowers. Coats the palate and puts on weight with air, finishing with smoky mineral cut, excellent tenacity and building tannins. Reviewed May 2017.”


Staff Picks


2011 Produttori del Barbaresco ‘M’ Crus

Produttori is a classic-style producer in Barbaresco: the grapes are macerated for four weeks before the wine is aged in large neutral oak casks 25 to 100 hectoliters in size.  A true success story for a cooperative: the winery places quality above everything else, including profitability. Growers are paid according to a complex scale that takes into account the quality of the harvested grapes (not just the weight), and the decision whether to bottle crus in each vintage is carefully evaluated.

I’m drawn over and over to the ‘M’ crus of Produttori: Montefico, Montstefano and Muncagota. When it comes to red Italian wines, I enjoy the upfront tannins and acidities that just beg for rich meats and pastas. To me, these crus hold the power and structure not always found in a glass of Barbaresco; almost suggestive of Barolo! The three vineyards share high levels of calcium in their soil that is said to be the cause of the higher resulting tannins. The crus’ immediate appeal is pure class, ample fruit and robust structure (especially beautiful with a 3-4 hour decant), but given time in bottle (think 5-20 years), these beauties develop notes of leather and dried spices while the tannins soften.  My top pick from 2011 is the Montefico for drink-now pleasure:

Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico is another of the highlights in this range from the Produttori. Imagine the precision of Ovello, but with slightly darker fruit and more density and power through the middle. That’s the Montefico. A regal, towering Barbaresco, the Montefico should provide thrilling drinking for the next several decades. A rush of dark cherry, plum, smoke, licorice and tobacco add nuance on the powerful, structured finish.” AG

Produttori del Barbaresco Montestefano, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano is one of the least expressive of these wines. Inward, powerful and explosive, the 2011 is not in a mood to show much today, that is pretty clear. Still, there is an obvious energy here that is impossible to miss. A firm spine of tannin gives the wine much of its signature power. Dark red cherry, smoke, pomegranate and scorched earth blossom on the dramatic finish. A wine of real density and gravitas, the 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano stands out for its pure, unbridled energy and overall intensity.” AG
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2011 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano is the biggest of the bunch. This wine delivers a lasting sense of structure and intensity that is especially apparent as this Barbaresco hits the palate. The bouquet exhibits signs of ripe fruit with soft layers of blackberry preserves and cherry liqueur. The wine’s tannic structure is solid and firmly stitched together, yet this wine is slightly softer and perhaps sweeter than the Riserva Muncagota, for example. This is yet another wine destined for long bottle-aging.”

Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Muncagota’, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 13 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points “All about finesse, elegance and a silky texture. Cherry, eucalyptus, licorice and spice flavors permeate the vibrant frame. The balance suggests you could enjoy this now, but there is a firm underlying structure. The terrific finish echoes the fruit and ups the ante with a chalky, minerally vein. Best from 2018 through 2032.”

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The average price is $59



2013 Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barbaresco

If there is a vintage deserving some serious shouting from the rooftops, 2013 in the Piedmont is it. Some of the best wines we’ve had thus far might also be some of the quietest shouters. A great example is the Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barbaresco. When our distributor walked it in there was no fanfare just a quiet, “Here’s a little Rinaldi ’13,” almost as if it was an afterthought. Certainly it’s a wine built to last, but this was come-and-get-it ready. Aromatics of warmed nuts, light spice and very direct fruit set us up for a wine that was not currently in the business of being subtle. The tannins were fine grained and tight, but the overall pleasurable nature of the wine was impossible to ignore. It wasn’t over the top, in fact it was quite well balanced, but there was no mistaking that the wine was in its early stages of becoming something quite special. 2013 Rinaldi Barbaresco will definitely be a wine that develops elegance over the years, but a glimpse of it in its youth will reward those with the patience to age it properly.

Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barbaresco DOCG 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast: “Toasted hazelnut, menthol, culinary spice and mature berry aromas lift out of the glass. The straightforward palate offers dried black cherry, licorice, clove and firm tannins.”

Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barbaresco DOCG 2011 750ML ($44.95) $38 special, 9 bottles available
James Suckling 93 points “A red with pungent aromas of earth and ripe fruit. Orange peel, too. A red with a full body, chewy tannins and a tangy, delicious finish. Plenty of ripe, juicy fruit character. Barrel sample. Drink or hold.”

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French Wines Arriving Tomorrow!

Nicolas Maillart Brut Rose Grand Cru, Champagne NV ($71.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, all from Bouzy; 6 g/l dosage; disgorged in January, 2014; L282143): Pale orange. Deeply pitched scents of redcurrant, orange pith, musky rhubarb and buttered toast. Densely packed red berry flavors are underscored by a chalky mineral note and pick up a hint of white pepper as the wine opens up. This lithe rosé packs a serious punch, finishing with excellent cut and length and repeating minerality.”

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The next best price is $49.99
The average price is $57

Domaine Vincent Girardin speaks for Burgundy’s Cȏte de Beaune: In these wines, some of the region’s greatest terroirs find their pure expression. Corton-Charlemagne, Meursault Les Genevrières, Puligny Les Folatières and Les Perrières… Part of the Girardin secret lies in sustainable vineyard practices. Synthetic herbicides and pesticides are prohibited, while composting and deep ploughing are happily employed, and the harvesting is manual with a thorough triage.

The balance of Girardin’s terroir-driven technique takes place in the winery. The vinification process is long and unrushed, using natural yeasts and taking place in-barrel on the fine lees. Up to a third new oak allows for delicious roundness and ageing ability, the percentage depending on each climat (vineyard). The pursuit of Domaine Vincent Girardin remains decidedly Burgundian: To capture and showcase the beauty, vivacity, and individuality of the Cȏte de Beaune’s celebrated villages and crus, without getting in the way.

Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “A concentrated white, boasting peach, floral, spice and lemon aromas and flavors. There is density here, but also a sense of style and freshness thanks to the lively acidity. Offers a long, savory aftertaste. Best from 2017 through 2026.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92-94 points “(an assemblage of parcels, including 60% from the cooler, minerally Pernand side of the appellation): Bright, pale yellow-green. Vivacious aromas of white peach, lime blossom, menthol and crushed rock. Dense, tactile and adamantly dry, with excellent acidity giving a light touch and an early tightness to the lemon and lime flavors. This is actually more saline and typical of the cru than the Quintessence even if it has less material. Finishes very dry, classic and long.”

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Vincent Girardin Les Genevrieres, Meursault Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91-93 points “(from degenerating 60-year-old vines planted on SO4 rootstock; picked on the early side): Bright yellow-green. Vibrant aromas of yellow peach, white pepper, juniper and white flowers. Sappy and savory, but also very dry and uncompromising despite its roundness. This distinctly salty wine conveys a strong impression of soil. Enologist Germain believes that Genevières is more complex than Perrières and that it’s the only Meursault premier cru to merit grand crus status.”

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Vincent Girardin Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Perrieres 2014 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91-93 points “(from very old vines on S04 rootstock): Pale, bright yellow. Lovely floral lift to the musky peach and nectarine aromas. Fine-grained, suave and floral, with noteworthy mineral energy giving the wine a weightless impression. Finishes firm, long and vibrant, with a saline element. Really enticing peach fruit here; this wine will merit a score at the high end of my range if it develops more complexity during the final months of its élevage.”

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Your Summer Preview

Arriving in June

Philippe Pacalet, nephew of Marcel Lapierre, the legendary natural winemaker, represents the diversity of Burgundian wine. His organic vineyard sources lie from Chablis, through the Cȏte de Nuits and Cȏte de Beaune, and down to the Beaujolais and even Cornas. He makes the wines in Beaune, all in the same hands-off style, and in a way that most others do not follow: whole-cluster fermentations for the reds, while the whites are vinified in oak on the lees. No racking, filtering, or sulfuring of the wines takes place. The terroir is thus left to express itself without any make-up or contrivances. Pure, honest wine.

Philippe Pacalet Cornas, Rhone 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: A newer addition to the Pacalet line-up, Cornas is by law 100% Syrah. Rich and intense, it yields to bottle ageing. Ripe dark fruit and a powerful finish are a few of the pleasures offered by this wine.

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Domaine Marc Colin et Fils Bourgogne Blanc La Combe 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
“The 2015 Bourgogne Chardonnay “La Combe” had been bottled August 2016. It has a tightly wound nose that needed some coaxing, eventually offering wet granite and Granny Smith apple aromas, a touch of lychee in the background. The palate is very well balanced with good depth: plenty of lightly honeyed citrus fruit with a tang of spice on the straightforward finish. This is a delightful Bourgogne Blanc to enjoy over the next couple of years.”–Wine Advocate

Domaine Marc Colin et Fils Les Combes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2015 St Aubin 1er Cru les Combes was matured in 20% new oak, but unlike others it does not see any aging in foudres. It has a more strict and linear bouquet than its siblings, subtle notes of wet limestone and apple peel developing, a faint marine scent backing it up. The palate is subtle, tightly wound but very balanced, a more nuanced take on the vintage with a very harmonious, spice-tinged finish that is an absolute treat. Perhaps this is one I would be tempted to broach in its flush of youth, but it will age well.”

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Domaine Marc Colin et Fils En Montceau, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2015 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru en Montceau displayed an energetic, generous bouquet that perhaps did not quite possess the killer delineation of the En Remilly by comparison. The palate is very well balanced and shows more sophistication than the aromatics at this early stage, very well-integrated new oak, walnut and white pepper notes permeating through the citrus fruit with great depth and body towards the finish. There is a lot of potential here, but it will need a couple of years after bottling for the aromatics to coalesce.”

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Domaine Marc Colin et Fils Bourgogne Rouge 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
“Light ruby color. There is good freshness to the raspberry and strawberry-suffused nose that introduces the detailed and energetic light weight flavors that are built on their fruit. The acceptable complex and persistent finish exhibits a hint of bitter cherry and this is already accessible.”—Burghound

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Domaine Marc Colin et Fils Santenay Les Champs Claude  2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2015 Santenay Vieilles Vignes Champs Claude, which comes from vines planted back in 1901 (so they are genuine Vieilles Vignes!) has a vibrant, edgy, redcurrant and cranberry scented bouquet, hints of tomato vine and persimmon developing in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle, caressing tannin. This is one of the best balanced and harmonious of the domaine’s 2015s, with a sensual and quite beguiling finish that lingers long in the mouth. This comes highly recommended.”

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Wine Spectator Insider’s Hot Wine!

ETA Fall 2017

Mazzei Tenuta Belguardo Maremma Toscana, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “A red of great purity and polish, offering black cherry, blackberry, spice and herb flavors, this evokes tobacco, graphite and leather nuances as it builds nicely on the palate. Finishes with grip, harmony and complexity, as well as terrific length. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2028.”

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The average price is $61


Late Breaking News

Arriving in September 2017

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, Uco Valley, Argentina 2012 750ML ($129.95) $69 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Very dense and powerful with a tight palate of blue fruit and raspberry undertones. Salty with wonderful length and intensity. A blend of malbec from Nicasia Vineyard in Altamira and Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary. Drink in 2022 but so great now.”

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The average price is $111!!


May Sale Recap

June is steadily approaching and with it the end of these killer sales. Stock up now and thank yourself later!

may sale 5-18-17