Jump Start Sale: Screaming Eagle Second Flight; Re-Arrived: Nicolas-Jay Oregon Pinot with Burgundian Roots; 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape: Classic; Peter Lauer: Refined Intensity; Staff Pick: Paolo Bea Sagrantino; Weingut Knoll: New Review; Trending; Freemark Abbey Chardonnay; Hacienda Monasterio: Pingus’s New World Project; Spanish Cellar Raiding: 2007 Finca Dofi; Equipo Navazos: Sherry’s Perfect Edit; Caparzo: Bargain Brunello with Pedigreed Points; Domaine Huet: Arriving Next Week; Selosse: The Glory of Grower Champagne; Giacomo Conterno: The One and Only: Arriving in November
Jump Start Sale
James Suckling 97 points “Very bright and aromatic with dark purple fruits on the nose. Mint, floral and vine bark. Spearmint. Full body, very firm tannins, wonderful savoriness. Flavorful finish. A fabulous mouthfeel. Very, very long. Mostly merlot with cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Drink or hold.”
Oregon Pinot with Burgundian Roots
Grapelive 94+ points “The new Meo-Camuzet Oregon project, the Nicolas-Jay Pinot Noir is out, and it is a brilliant and luscious wine with deep fruit and youthful intensity. Bottle age should bring amazing rewards, this is a stunner! The Domaine Nicolas-Jay owns a vineyard, Bishop’s Creek, and sources from top growers in the Willamette as they build this label. I would think after this first success they’ll be around a long time and have more of their own vines. The 2014 vintage in Oregon is a blockbuster and the Nicolas-Jay takes full advantage of nature’s gift here with explosive fruit, a seductive nose of rose petal, violets and sweet smoke, a dark core and a glorious array of layers, flavors and length with blackberry, cherry, sweet plum and tangy currant fruits, mixed spice, light mineral tones, hints of cedar, blueberry/concord grape, cinnamon and delicate earthy loam. Look for lots more complexity as it unlocks hidden treasure over the coming decade. Almost full-bodied, the 2014 Nicolas-Jay is very much alive with lifting acidity, graceful silken tannins and gorgeous sexy mouth feel, a bit more flamboyant than the Ken Wright 2014’s, but with similar detail. This may have had a Burgundian touch, but it is all Oregon in character and terroir, close to what you’d expect from top producers like Beaux Freres. Don’t miss a chance to get a few bottles, and while this Pinot is great now, it should be better in 5 to 10 years. This winery is off to a fantastic start!”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Broad, expressive and light-footed, this brims with cherry, plum, licorice and cashew flavors that keep singing on the focused finish. Drink now through 2024. 1,750 cases made.”
2012 Chateauneuf du Pape
A classic vintage
2013 may entice the impatient and cellar-less with its lighter wines, but beware the 2014 vintage – a true challenge with few fine examples. CDP fans in search of classic wines can turn to the 2012 vintage for delights – and Vinopolis for many of the best prices!
Growing season in Chateauneuf began on the coattails of a cold winter, but it didn’t take long to warm up. A hot, dry summer led to lower yields, with some vine stress beginning to show come August. Luckily, some rain in September allowed for full maturation and enabled for harvest to take place as scheduled. Yields were roughly 30% lower than average for the vintage, with most Rhone experts putting their stamp on 2012 as good to excellent.
Generally, this vintage’s wines are round, elegant, and poised to age with balanced fruit, tannin, and alcohol levels. Rhone lovers and Chateauneuf hounds will delight in the bounty of this fine vintage, though there are certainly some domains which stand far beyond their peers. Luckily for you, we’ve stocked up on this classic vintage. Our entire list is viewable below:
Domaine La Barroche Chateauneuf-du-Pape Signature 2012 750ML ($74.95) $59 special, 18 bottles available
Wine Spectator 92 points “The direct black currant and fig paste notes are underscored with tobacco, tar and roasted alder hints, revealing an echo of Black Forest cake. The finish rumbles along, leaving a dark, slightly muscular feel. Best from 2015 through 2027.” WS
Domaine Bois de Boursan Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee des Felix 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points “This decidedly old-school version pumps out a rugged core of black currant, blackberry and bitter plum fruit flavors, infused with brick dust, chestnut and bay leaf notes. The long finish has the tang of a great saucisson sec, thus begging for that perfect pairing. A wine with a track record of aging very, very well.”
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to taste his traditional Châteauneuf du Pape, but the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee des Felix will certainly be outstanding. Still in foudre, it’s a superb effort from this estate with textbook dark fruits, smoke plum, roasted meat and wild herbs to go with a rich, textured and nicely concentrated feel. If you’re looking for classic, old-school styled wines, look no further.”
The average price is $77
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “Deep ruby. Deeply pitched aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, olive paste and smoky minerals, along with hints of cola and licorice. Plush and creamy on the palate, with juicy boysenberry, cherry liqueur and mocha flavors picking up a spicy quality with air. Velvety tannins build through the finish, which lingers with good tenacity and appealing sweetness.”
The average price is $46
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93 points “Deep ruby. Assertive aromas of fresh black and blue fruits, potpourri and garrigue, along with hints of cola and anise. Sappy and seamless on the palate, with juicy boysenberry, cassis and floral pastille flavors that flesh out with air. Fine-grained tannins build on the finish, which lingers with excellent tenacity and resonating spiciness.”
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Deep ruby. Aromas of ripe red berries, cherry skin, lavender and smoky minerals, with a sexy spicecake nuance building in the glass. Juicy and seamless on the palate, with sweet raspberry and floral pastille flavors showing very good depth and energy. Clings nicely on the long, spice-tinged finish, which features supple tannins and an echo of raspberry liqueur.” JR
Case-6 Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($239.95) $219 special, 8 six-packs available (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Opaque ruby. Deep, smoke-accented dark berry and floral scents are lifted by a note of peppery spice. Smoky and sweet in the mouth, offering intense blueberry and cassis flavors and a hint of candied violet. Suggests the north in its fruit profile, finishing with very good punch and length and velvety, late-arriving tannins.”
The average price is $51
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Chaupin, which I was able to taste (and drink) from multiple bottles, is a beautiful Grenache that comes from the cooler, northeastern edge of the appellation. Coming almost all from the Chapouin lieu-dit (it gets a small bit from La Janasse), it gives up the classic notes of black berries, spring flowers, violets, and licorice that I always seem to find in this cuvee. Building nicely on the palate, it is medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured, has tons of sweet fruit and solid, if not firm, tannin that come out on the finish. It will be better in another couple of years and have 15+ years of overall longevity.”Domaine de La Janasse Cuvee Vieilles Vignes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Up in the top handful of wines in the vintage (which should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this estate), the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated, rich and layered Châteauneuf that doesn’t put a foot wrong. Made from 85% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah, it offers blockbuster notes of blackberry, liquid-violets, spice and serious minerality to go with awesome mid-palate depth and layers of sweet tannin. Like the Cuvee Chaupin, it will be better in another handful of years and thrill through 2027”Mas de Boislauzon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Quet 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94-96+ points “Even more impressive and a candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee du Quet (pronounced “kay”) is a blend of 80% tank-aged Grenache and 20% barrel-aged Mourvedre. A big, massive wine, with decadent roasted herbs, black and red fruits, licorice and scorched earth, this full-bodied, mouth-filling and brilliantly concentrated effort doesn’t lack for texture or richness, yet remains fresh and very drinkable. It should drink well for 15-20 years. Drink 2014-2032. Run by the brother and sister team of Daniel and Christine Chaussy, this brilliant estate covers just over 20 acres in Chateauneuf du Pape, most of which are in the northern part. They produce up to three Chateauneufs in top vintages and one white. In addition, their Vin de France and Cotes du Rhone Villages are always superb and sell for a song. Note: there was no Cuvee du Quet or le Tinto produced in 2011, and no Tinto in 2012.” WA
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is beautiful, with textbook, slightly old-school notes of saddle leather, garrigue, incense and sweet kirsch and blackberry fruit. Made from a blend of 60% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise, it still has some tannin to integrate, but it has a solid, medium-bodied, classically styled palate feel with lots to like. It should drink nicely through 2021.”
The next best price is $47.99
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of my favorite wines, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Réservée is a classic. Beautiful on the nose, with notions of ground pepper, wild herbs, minerality and smoked plum and dark fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has plenty of tannin that comes through on the finish. Similar in style to a lighter-weight 2010, drink this beauty anytime over the coming 12-15 years.” JDDomaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 23 bottles available
Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 375ML ($27.95) $24 special, 12 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points “Kicking off the 2012s, Saint Siffrein’s straight Châteauneuf du Pape offers loads of kirsch, mulled spice, blackberry and garrigue in its classic, medium to full-bodied, ripe and textured style. Made from 65% Grenache, 15% each of Mourvedre and Syrah and the rest Cinsault, aged 12 moths in stainless steel and foudre, it’s an outstanding, Provencal effort to drink over the coming 8-10 years.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “While the classic Châteauneuf can be described as traditional, the same can’t be said about the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Terre d’Abel. Made from a blend of 50% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache and 20% Syrah that’s aged all in small barrels, it offer loads of chocolate-laced dark fruits, roasted meats, wood spice and licorice to go with a structured, tannic and medium to full-bodied profile on the palate. Regardless of whether it’s typical or not, it’s a smoking bottle of wine that will have 15 years or more of longevity.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Similar in style to the 2006, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul is rounded and textured, with tons of charm in its blackberry, black raspberry, violets, garrigue and spice aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, supple and textured, it shows the vintage’s upfront and forward character, yet has beautiful purity of fruit and enough density to drink nicely through 2027. Most 2012s are already showing nicely, and this is no exception.”
The average price is $101
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine from the portfolio, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme offers thrilling purity and focus in its lively dark fruits, roasted meats and underbrush-scented bouquet. Full-bodied, ripe and textured, with fantastic polish and sweetness to its tannin, it has a supple, forward feel, yet will easily evolve for 10-15 years.”
A Refined Intensity
“In these great and exceedingly rare wines of the Saar, there is a combination of qualities which I can perhaps best describe as indescribable – austerity coupled with delicacy and extreme finesse, an incomparable bouquet, a clean, very attractive hardness tempered by a wealth of fruit and flavor which is overwhelming.” – Frank Schoonmaker, “The Wines of Germany”
Situated along the dramatic slopes of the Saar, Florian Lauer farms his family estate with an intense, near-maniacal focus. A focus on native-yeast fermentation and never overworking the wines results in pure, terroir-driven winemaking. Over the past few years, Lauer’s efforts have been elevated to a cult-like status without the pesky price hikes which tend to follow. Put simply; the quality of these wines are matched only by the geeky obsession that so many shopkeeps, sommeliers, and wine trade tastemakers share for them.
Most of the Lauer family holdings lay within the celebrated Ayler Kupp – which, until 2014, were not permitted to have a vineyard-designate beyond simply “Kupp” on the label. Florian Lauer was among those who fought for this change, allowing vintners to more specifically showcase terroir and stylistic differences within these storied vineyards.
Florian’s focus is on dry wines or, perhaps more precisely, dry to dry-tasting to off-dry wines; the Prädikat system of “Kabinett, Spätlese, and so forth” isn’t employed for most of his releases. Instead, he labels his wines with ‘Fass’ numbers, which signify the barrel used during elevage. These barrels are often, but not always, paired with certain vineyard for consecutive vintages.
The ‘village-level’ Barrel X is an energetic, lush example of the estate’s work, while the various ‘Fass’ and ‘GG’ wines display a fierce seriousness and, in turn, beautiful efforts which will stand the test of time. The estate’s bottles are rigorous and yet so pleasant, layered, and fun to drink. If the Saar isn’t on your map, perhaps it should be!
Case-12 Peter Lauer ‘Barrel X’ Saar Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($279.95) $219 special, 10 cases available
Importer note “You all know by now the stratospheric work Florian is doing in the Saar. This has always been the ambassador wine from the winery but this vintage elevates to Senior levels of complexity.”Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Fass 10 Auslese ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2014 Riesling Auslese Ayler Kupp Fass 10 ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is very clear but pretty reductive on the nose where ripe (tropical) fruits as well as crushed slate and smoky aromas are displayed. Sweet, round and lush, but also piquant and very elegant on the palate, this is a finesse-full though rich and gorgeous Auslese with a firm mineral structure and a mouth-watering grip in the compact and salty finish. Promising Riesling to be cellared for ten to 25 or more years.”
Mosel Fine Wines “This offers a great and superbly aromatic nose of orange blossom, tangerine and yellow peach, all wrapped into a blanket of papaya. Fine acidity, paired with a touch of CO2 at this early stage, make the wine shine. The mid-palate is juicy and mouth-coating with plenty of ripe and exotic fruits and yet the finish is focused and fresh. This is quite a superb Auslese in the making. 2022-2034″
John Gilman 91-92 points ‘The 2014 Ayler Kupp Kabinett from Florian Lauer is really a lovely and quite classic example of this Prädikat, with lovely acidity and minerality providing a fine filigree to the wine and a nice sense of reserve out of the blocks as well. The very classy nose wafts from the glass in a mix of green apple, tart orange, slate, lovely smokiness and a touch of dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, pure and focused, with a good core, bright acids, a nice touch of sweetness on the attack and lovely length and grip on the elegant and nascently complex finish. This is quite approachable now, but still a touch primary, and I would be inclined to give it at least a few years in the cellar to develop its secondary layers of complexity. 2019-2035+.” JG
Stephen Reinhardt Wine Advocate 93-94 points “Precise on the nose and excitingly precise the 2014 Kupp Spätlese Fass 7 is pure and slate-like on the nose and offers a very delicate and coolish Riesling aroma. Medium to full-bodied, lush and intense on the palate this elegant textbook Spätlese does not lose its mineral precision and finesse because it was only made by overripe but not botrytisized berries. This is a great Saar Spätlese and a must buy of the vintage.”Peter Lauer Riesling Kupp Grosses Gewachs 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 2 bottles available
Case-12Peter Lauer Senior Fass 6 Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($299.95) $259 pre-arrival special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Mosel Fine Wines 89+ points “This offers bright and delicately flowery scents of ginger, candied grapefruit peel, Provence herbs and slate. The wine is mineral and delicately fruity on the palate and leaves a clean and linear feel in the still slightly hard finish. This is best left alone for a year to give it time to integrate. 2017-2025.”
The average price is $28
Paolo Bea Sagrantino
Umbria, the heartland of Italy: the only region of Italy that is in fact surrounded by Italy. Its rolling hills and intermittent plains are something of an agricultural paradise. Montefalco is said to be the balcony of Umbria; an ancient hilltop fortress village. And the nearby Montefalco hills are the center of Umbrian wine tradition, with pre-Roman origins. For all of its prized olive oils and sometimes prized wines, the greatest “export” from Umbria may well be the particular theology of the Franciscan Order, founded in 13th Century Assisi, 20 miles to the north from Montefalco.
The Bea Family in Montefalco pre-dates the 16th Century. For all the impact that Paolo Bea has had on the world of wine, the estate is tiny and not specifically devoted to wine. Of total 40 acres only one-third is vineyard. On the rest; olives, fruits, vegetables, and livestock. All undertaken with Paolo’s organicist passion for earth, nature, and sustenance. Today Paolo is looking ahead to his 80th birthday, and guiding his sons Giuseppe (agronomy) and Giampiero (winemaking) in the continuation of their family base and their unique wines. It is not hard to see shades of Saint Francis in Paolo Bea. They both restored respect for all nature and the role of humility within a world that had been institutionalized to consider man separate and supreme. Those institutions being the medieval church in the case of Francis and late 20th century ag science & corporate farming in the case of Paolo. Neither of them invented, rather they each restored a sensibility that had been cast aside.
Paolo Bea Pagliaro Secco, Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2008 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 33 bottles available
Staff note: “Sagrantino di Montefalco is a brawny, tannic wine. Bea’s interpretation of the grape entails careful winemaking with an aim to limit intervention. There’s so much structure here, with a musical balance of muscle and grace – the smoke and spice conjure thoughts of campfire and fragrant cigar boxes, while a coquettish blend of cranberry, dark chocolate, granite-tinged minerals, and freshly-tilled earth dances across the tongue.
“The surest bet is to decant the wine, taking little sips as you revisit over the course of two to three days, perhaps more for the uber-curious. Listen close to the wine and it ought to disclose some fun, surprising secrets. With patience and some great, simple food, this may very well knock your socks off.” -Tyler
Weingut Emmerich Knoll
“Despite the tenaciously held stereotype of riesling as sweet, Austrian rieslings are almost always dry. They tend to be fuller-bodied than German rieslings but are often steelier and more lively than rieslings from Alsace. They can display gorgeous fruit and herbal flavors as well as great minerality, that catchall term often used to describe stony, rocky, earthy flavors.” – Eric Asimov
Located in the town of Unterloiben in the Wachau of Austria, Weingut Knoll occupies some of Austria’s most celebrated vineyards. As a leading member of the Wachau Nobilis Districtus (an illustrious organization of the top Wachau winemakers), the winery is heralded by critics, somms and collectors as one of the finest estates in the region: emphasizing rigorous quality control in vineyard and winery to focus on individual expression of the famed parcels of vineyards that line the Danube River.
Across 15 hectares, a stunning array of (predominantly) Riesling and Gruner Veltiner is cultivated by third-generation members of the Knoll family: Emmerich III oversees the cellar, and August is head of vineyard work. (The family’s history in the region as grapegrowers dates as far back as 1379.)
The estate produces over 25 cuvees each year, with over half of them Rieslings. The Rieslings are planted mostly on granite bedrock, while the Gruner plantings live higher up the banks of the Danube on a rich, mixed topsoil of granite and loess.
The wines of Knoll are marked with beautifully textural, layered, aromatic qualities. We’re excited to have them in the shop!
Weingut Emmerich Knoll Riesling Ried Pfaffenberg Auslese 2013 500ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 6 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “The finely tuned sweetness of this Auslese brings out the muskier notes of apple: a mix of fresh and baked fruit, with peeled skin and compote flesh. Initially, there still is the spectre of yeast but with some time there are hints of burnt sugar and apricot compote, too. A lovely, engulfing apple tartness makes this as suited to baked fruit desserts and fruit tarts as to creamy, ripe cheeses. Full marks for poise and freshness. This is a baby still and will need time to come into its own and unfold even more layers. Drink from 2018.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Always made with botrytis grapes, the 2013 Gruner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Vinothekfullung offers a very clear and intense, though noble and fresh, aroma of honeydew melon, pineapples and hints of lychee. Very rich in extract and highly concentrated on the palate, this opulent yet still well-balanced wine is one to be enjoyed in small sips rather than in bottles (at least when it’s so young). This is an impressively rich and velvety textured wine, indeed, though it lacks the tension and freshness of the Schütt at the moment.” WA
Wine Advocate 95 points “Grapefruit, lemon and green tea flavors, along with hyacinth notes on the nose, welcome you to the 2013 Dürnsteiner Riesling Smaragd Ried Kellerberg, another monument in the Knoll portfolio. Pure, rich and elegant on the palate this enervating mineral, vibrant and complex Riesling reveals a great elegance and lingering salty finish. Purity and terroir in the Wachau? It really exists! This Kellerberg Riesling is long!” WA
The next best price is $75
The next best price is $42
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93 points “Marine breeze and a slight sweatiness in the nose are joined by high-toned mintiness and nuances of peach and nectarine that then lusciously inform the full, faintly oily palate. Pithy pit piquancy serves for welcome counterpoint and grapefruit for zesty and vivacious juiciness. For all of its almost honeyed richness, this wine’s finishing penetration is downright rapier-like, displaying an alluring interchange with bright citrus, glowingly cyanic fruit pit, and cooling green herbal notes. It originated in a portion of Loibenberg where there was considerable fog and trapping of moisture, explained Knoll Senior, and consequently a higher instance of botrytis. I continue to find it slightly disconcerting that it is precisely the botrytis-influenced wines that get chosen for labeling as Knoll Vinothekfüllungen. That said, the present example is certainly impressive on those terms.”
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Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!Trending
Robert Parker 92 points “A steal from Lafage is the 2014 Bastide Miraflors, which is a Cotes du Roussillon, and a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache, with the Grenache aged in concrete tanks and the Syrah in 500-liter demi-muids. Lafage makes more expensive wines than this, but certainly excels with his value lineup. He has really hit a home run with this 10,000-case cuvée. It is deep, ruby/plum/purple, with fresh notes of blackcurrants, plums, Provençal herbs as well as licorice. Deep, medium to full-bodied, with amazing fruit, the purity, authenticity and Mediterranean upbringing of this wine are obvious. Quite deep, round and succulent, this wine should drink well for another several years. This is one to buy by the case.”Meyer Fonne Cremant d’Alsace Brut Extra NV 750ML ($24.95) $16 special
Importer note “60% Pinot Auxerrois, 20% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Blanc, 5% Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested at a potential alcohol of around 11% and vinified in the méthode champenoise. Around mid-March, the first fermentation is finished and the wine is bottled for the second fermentation, which lasts two to three months. It is left in bottle for at least twelve months before disgorging, when a minimum of dosage is added.”
The average price is $22
Wine Spectator: “Savory notes of black olive and tobacco leaf lead the way in this medium-bodied red. The underlying plum and blackberry flavors are matched with fresh acidity and integrated tannins, with an easy, clean finish. Drink now. 190 cases imported.”
The next best price is $17.79
John Gilman 92 points “The 2014 Cuvée Ancienne Vieilles Vignes bottling from Jean-Paul Brun is once again excellent, as this very consistently outstanding wine never seems to miss a beat. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a pure and classic constellation of black cherries, cranberries, fresh herb tones, a complex base of soil and a topnote of vinesmoke. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and nicely structured for the long haul, with a good core, fine focus and balance, just a bit of backend tannin and lovely bounce on the long and soil-driven finish. This is another classic in the making and I would opt to give it a bit of bottle age before starting to drink it. 2018-2035.”
Wine Spectator “A juicy, easy-to-drink red, with plenty of red berry, strawberry and cherry fruit, lifted by tangy acidity and hints of fresh herb and red licorice. The aromatic, floral finish is structured with light, easy tannins.”
Case-12 Cantine Ermes ‘Vento di Mare’ Nerello Mascalese Terre Siciliane IGT 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)
Winery note “In the Belice Valley, where the ancient manor houses preserve the historical memory of the industrious presence of workers, we cultivate the vineyards that produce the VENTO DI MARE wines. The fertile soils and mild temperatures provide the unique and essential conditions that allow the best grapes to reach a perfect state of ripeness, fully integral and healthy. Thanks to the wind, which blows from the sea to the highest hills of the hinterland to mitigate and refresh the bunches of grapes in the hot Sicilian summers, we find in our wines features that are unique and distinctly Mediterranean combined with important structures, all imbued with outstanding freshness, high acidity and balanced flavour.”
The next best price is $14
Josh Raynolds 90 points “Brilliant violet color. Intensely perfumed dark berry and floral pastille scents, along with suggestions of anise, violet and pipe tobacco. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering sappy black and blue fruit flavors that put on weight with air. Shows very good energy and power on the long, gently tannic finish, leaving behind notes of blueberry and peppery spices.”Bodegas Volver Tarima Hill Monastrell, Alicante 2013 750ML ($17.95) $11.90 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(made from vines that were planted between 1935 and 1970): Bright purple. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays scents of fresh black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla and peppery spices. Juicy and incisive on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry and cassis flavors that flesh out on the back half. Sappy and concentrated, yet quite lively, finishing with smooth, shaping tannins and a strong punch. This sexy wine went through malolactic fermentation and was aged in French oak barrels for 20 months.”
Freemark Abbey Chardonnay
With roots reaching into the 19th century, Freemark Abbey stands as one of Napa’s pioneers. Begun as a winery in 1886, the current stone cellar dates to 1899. Forty years later, a group of businessmen bought the place and renamed it Freemark Abbey. Since then, the wines have attracted American wine drinkers as well as attention to American wines. Both a red and a white Freemark Abbey played a decisive role in the Judgment of Paris, and critics have lauded them for decades. Even the NFL chose a Freemark Abbey red as its Super Bowl 50 official wine. The Chardonnay, though, remains one of California’s most classic. Oaked and fruity, it expresses the warmth and balance of its Napa home, and consistently delivers incredible quality each vintage.
Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Freemark Abbey Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($299.95) $239 special (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
Robert Parker 91 points “The 2014 Chardonnay is a non-malolactic 100% Chardonnay that’s 45% barrel-fermented. The wine is sensational. There are nearly 10,000 cases of this wine, which shows loads of white peach, honeysuckle, green apple and melon notes in a distinctive, clean, steely Chablis-like style. There is some tropical fruit, such as pineapple, but the overall character is one of great acid, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, and no real oak influence. Drink it over the next 4-5 years.”
Just outside the town of Pesquera, in Spain’s Duero Valley, Hacienda Monasterio has been producing sumptuous reds since 1992. Limestone soil and organic viticulture give the south-facing vineyard just the right amount of delicacy to match the heat and sunlight. Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) produces the majority of the estate’s grapes, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec also find their way into the blends. None other than Peter Sisseck, founder/winemaker at Pingus, started this project and continues to serve as head enologist. His work supports the popular, New World style of Spanish wine.
Bodegas Hacienda Monasterio, Ribera del Duero 2012 750ML ($44.95) $36.60 special
Case-12 Bodegas Hacienda Monasterio, Ribera del Duero 2012 750ML ($479.95) $399 special (that’s only $33.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points “The current vintage for the crianza is 2012. The 2012 Crianza, from a dry vintage, resulted much fresher than expected, fresher than 2009 and 2011 in fact. The vines are dry-farmed and were planted some 22 years ago, and you might say they have matured by now. The approximate mixture of grapes in their vineyards is mostly Tempranillo with some 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot and 2% Malbec, and it’s more or less the blend in this wine. The Cabernet works well, providing finesse and some acidity to the Tempranillo….The wine matured in 20% new French oak barrels for some 20 months. There are no traces of the barriques and the nose took me to the Riberas of yesteryear, with some subtle rusticity; it’s ripe without excess and there’s good balance between fruit, spices and perhaps something earthy. The palate is extremely balanced, medium-bodied with very fine tannins, tasty, approachable and long. This could very well be the best crianza ever produced at Monasterio. This has to be one of the bargains of the vintage in Ribera, given the quality it deliver”
Spanish Cellar Raiding
2007 Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2007 Finca Dofi ups the ante. It is sourced from a single vineyard with a cepage of 60% Garnacha and 40% Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot aged in 100% new oak. It displays a more expressive nose of mineral, Asian spices, smoke, espresso, black cherry, and licorice. On the palate it is dense but approachable. It merits several years of cellaring, and its optimal drinking window extends from 2013 to 2022.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92+ points “Opaque ruby. Expansive aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, iron, tobacco and cedar. Very rich but lively, offering sweet red and dark berry flavors and a hint of licorice. Packs serious punch and shows a chewy, youthfully tannic quality on the long, penetrating finish. Unevolved right now and in need of at least another few years in bottle, but this is very promising.”
The next best price is $75
The average price is $79
Spanish Cellar Raiding
Lopez de Heredia
Decanter Magazine 98 points, Wine Spectator 95 points “Extraordinary. Sweet vanilla and dried berry aromas and flavors have an unexpected richness in this vibrant red. Impressive for its balance of concentration and elegance; firm tannins meld with a creamy texture. The long finish defines traditional Rioja at its best.”R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 1981 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 1981 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva has a vibrant nose reminiscent of coeval Burgundy, with scents of citrus peel, orange rind, singed leather and a Tuscan delicatessen. The palate has a penetrating orange peel and tart cherry entry with potent earthy notes at its core. It is supremely well-balanced with an energetic finish underpinned by crisp dry tannins. This wonderful Rioja is drinking perfectly now and will age effortlessly. Drink now-2020+ ” (08/2012)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Medium red. A highly perfumed bouquet displays red fruit preserves, smoked meat and potpourri. Deeply pitched redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show a slight medicinal reserve, which makes this wine seem far younger than it is. The potpourri note builds with air and carries through a long, chewy, smoky finish. Definitely let this air out for an hour or so. Incidentally, I had the chance to drink two lithe and highly fragrant bottles of the 1961 Vina Bosconia at a restaurant in San Sebastian that had been in their cellar for at least the last 20 years. If you’re lucky enough to own that wine (like these older wines, it is still available from the winery) there’s absolutely no reason to hold off drinking it. I couldn’t hold off, twice.”
VinopolNote: These are the last 6 bottles available from the Lopez de Heredia cellar!
The next best price is $1,499.99
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 98 points “The 1973 Vina Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva is so sublime, so complete and natural that it may bring tears to the eyes. It has a complex bouquet of beeswax, lanolin, lemon curd and almond that is effortlessly combined. The palate is nigh-perfectly balanced with very good weight. It has a seamless waxy texture and a peacock’s tail of almond, creme brulee, marzipan and dried apricot. There is a beguiling sense of completeness here. Heaven in a glass, and one of the finest Tondonia Blancos I have encountered. Drink now-2020+”
VinopolNote: These are the last 9 bottles available from the Lopez de Heredia cellar!
The Perfect Edit
The sherries of Equipo Navazos enjoy a bit of a cult following, and not without justification: the company was established with the sole intent of showcasing overlooked casks from the very finest sherry makers. Their mission statement contextualizes it best:
“These wines come from soleras and individual casks that remain, relatively neglected by the market in the last few decades, in the bodegas of some of the most prestigious Andalusian producers. Some of them are unexpected but fortunate findings, testimony of the anonymous work of generations of wine men and wine women, others are the result of a long-standing collaboration (between Equipo Navazos and the winemakers)… Aware of the sleeping treasures that rested buried in the cellars of Jerez, Sanlúcar and El Puerto, as well as in and around Montilla, we decided to rescue some of these jewels.”
By the Numbers: Equipo Navazos Wines Available Here Now
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino No. 35 ‘Macharnudo Alto’ Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “The La Bota De Fino Macharnudo Alto 35 was bottled in June 2012, and shows a deep golden color. This wine is sourced from the Inocente solera from Valdespino, and averages 10 years under flor. The idea is that once the wines age for a long time and the flor sharpens the wine, if you continue to age it further it gains in volume and intensity, making them much more powerful and if you like, less fine. An old wine that is a complex gentle giant crying for food. It shows a deep old-gold color, and feels dense and concentrated. The very complex nose is redolent of yeast, chalk, esparto grass, salted almonds and iodine, and keeps changing and developing as the wine stays in the glass. The palate is full-bodied, intense, balanced, ending dry with a bitter note. As good as Fino gets. Drink 2013- 2019.”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Amontillado No. 37 ‘Navazos’ Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “The Lot 37 La Bota de Amontillado is selected from around 100 butts from the amontillado Soleras of Rainera P. Marin that were acquired by the Estevez Group and the idea here was to choose butts with freshness and heightened aromatics. Bottled in September 2012 it has a lucid deep straw color. The nose is very attractive with caramel, hazelnut, Turkish Delight and a touch of wild honey that are all very well defined and vibrant. The palate is very well-balanced with that caramel note coming through and combining beautifully with quince, white pepper, dried honey and marmalade. The oxidative element is perfectly judged on the finish with a delicate, nutty aftertaste that renders this approachable and for want of a better word – delicious!”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Vino Blanco No. 44 ‘Florpower’, Andalucia NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points “According to the website, it is one Luis Gutierrez who came up with the term: “Florpower.” As stated on the label in Roman numerals, Lot 44 La Bota de Vino Blanco MMX “Florpower” comes from the 2010 vintage: unfortified Palomino from chalky Sanlucar soils that spends 32 months under flor and 8 months in sherry casks. Jesus mentioned that he did not want to risk excessive oxidation. It has a very attractive nose of beeswax, honeysuckle, smoked walnut that is clean and supremely well-focused. The palate is poised with impressive weight and presence in the mouth allied with a crisp seam of acidity: bitter lemon and dried orange peel, cloves and walnut towards the attractive, focused finish. This is a joy to behold, although I will have to ask my colleague what exactly “florpower” is and where I can buy some for myself.”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Palo Cortado No. 51 ‘Bota G.F.’ Sherry, Andalucia NV 375ML ($149.95) $133 special, 9 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 98 points “Equipo Navazos has recently released a handful of Palos Cortados because they jumped at the chance to buy some extremely old wines from Pedro Romero. This NV La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 Bota GF is a single cask that was bottled in February 2014 averaging some 75 years of age in a solera system. GF are the initials of Gaspar Florido, a grower from Sanlúcar who owned some of the best plots in the Armijo vineyard inside Pago Miraflores in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where this wine was likely born. At that time the wines were cask fermented and could have had a few years under flor. The Palo Cortados 47, 48 and this one, and even the Amontillado 49 are somehow related and have a common origin, but this one is closer to the 48. Given that it’s not easy to define these wines, other than to compare them with each other, I find this one to have more Palo Cortado character with a little more sweetness and with a hint of Oloroso. Out of these beasts, this is the most approachable and drinkable. Only 1,200 half bottles were filled with the content of one single cask.”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada No. 59 Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 21 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Same as with the editions 39 and 40, 59 and 60 are also devoted to Manzanilla Pasada, both originating from an old solera belonging to La Guita, starting with The NV La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 59 Capataz Rivas. As number 30, it has been named after Rafael Rivas, capataz for several decades at La Guita’s cellars at Sanlúcar’s Calle Misericordia until his recent retirement, who in 1986 started a small 15 cask solera with old Manzanilla. Both this 59 and 60 are taken from this solera, and while 60 is from a single cask, this 59 blends wines from the other 14. The average age of the wine is estimated to be around 15 years. Some 3,000 500-milliliter bottles were filled in June 2015.”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada No. 60 Sherry, Andalucia NV 500ML ($119.95) $88 special, 8 500ML bottles available
Wine Advocate 97 points “The so-called NV La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 60 Bota Punta is sourced from a special cask “Bota Punta” that was already bottled as numbers 20, 40 and 50. This particular cask from the Manzanilla Pasada ‘solera’ from the Calle Misericordia winery from La Guita was isolated, because it has a very marked biological character – a very old Manzanilla that keeps more ‘flor’ than the other butts in the ‘solera’ and shows less oxidative. The other particularity is that this cask is always refilled with wine from the other 14 casks from the ‘solera’, and therefore keeps an average age a couple of years older, around 17 years, while keeping a younger/fresher profile. They all have the iodine and saline character, the seaweed, low tide and the vertical palate. This is the most special -and scarce and expensive – of all the manzanillas pasadas from Navazos. Really world class. This is the one with depth and sharpness beyond belief, a step up in complexity, elegance and balance. It’s funny how the wine seems to overcome oxidation and starts getting sharper and sharper again. This is truly outstanding.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The relatively old NV La Bota de Amontillado 61 Bota NO was offered in the past as number 31 (bottled in October 2011), aged 35- to 40-years-old. It comes from a ‘solera’ that is marked as “Manzanilla Amontillada Vieja” in the winery, Sanlúcar Viejo, belonging to Rainera P. Marín (La Guita). The wine is thought to be around 40-years-old on average and is an elegant and harmonious Amontillado, quite different from the very old and concentrated Amontillados. The style they aim for here is to age the wines with the barrels fully topped-up, so the wines age slowly and feel comparatively younger than what they are, but at the same time they are more elegant. 2,000 half-liter bottles were filled at the end of 2015.”
In a land as old as Italy, history and modernity intertwine like vine shoots in spring. In Montalcino, wines have been made since ancient times, yet Brunello di Montalcino didn’t earn a reputation until well into the 20th century. Enter Caparzo. Established in the late 1960s, the Caparzo estate planted vines and olives, and built a state-of-the-art winery to make reds and whites from their 220-acre estate-owned vineyards. With grapes growing on all five sides of the Montalcino hill, Caparzo is ensured ripe, healthy fruit no matter the vintage’s caprice. Regardless of all this, Caparzo sticks to tradition, offering a Riserva wine only in years that deserve it. The latest Riserva release is 2010, a wine to cellar but which will reward one day with richly layered fruit, sumptuous tannins, and a haunting finish that will make you wish you’d ordered more at such a price.
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 24+ bottles available
Case-6 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 750ML ($479.95) $399 special, 2 six-packs available (that’s only $66.50/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a big, powerful wine that is going to require at least a few years to soften. Dark and brooding, the Riserva shows the more masculine side of Sangiovese. Black cherry, plum, leather, spice and tobacco all sit on firm beams of acidity and tannin. There is a sense of explosive energy to the 2010 that I find quite appealing, but readers will have to be patient in order to experience the wine at its best.”
Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 35 bottles available
Case-12 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($419.95) $359 special, 6 cases available (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a terrific wine for the year. Sweet red cherry, plum, tobacco, mint, sweet spices and orange peel are all front and center. This is a gorgeous 2011 Brunello that represents everything the vintage can be; open-knit, accessible and polished. I don’t expect the 2011 will be a long-term ager, but it is exceptionally beautiful and delicious today.”
James Suckling 93 points “A ripe, juicy wine with blueberry, chocolate, walnut and cherry character. Round and savory. Silky tannins. Very close quality to the fabulous 2010. Delicious now.”
Arriving Next Week
Domaine Huet, founded in 1928 by Victor Huet and his son Gaston, is the first name for the finest Vouvray. Some call it the best Chenin Blanc on the planet. Made according to tradition and terroir, with utmost respect for nature, Huet wines can keep for over a century. Every wine lover should try one, be it an older vintage or new, a sec, demi-sec, moelleux, or sparkling.
Today, Domaine Huet owns 74 acres across three parcels. Le Haut-Lieu vineyard produces the most straight-forward wines. Le Mont’s low-yielding vines make supple wines. And Le Clos de Bourg, whose shallow, clay-limestone soil drains especially well, provides wines of great structure and ageing potential. The three vineyards are vinified separately.
This was one of France’s pioneers in biodynamic viticulture. Horses still plough between the rows. In the winery, the recipe remains relatively simple. Fermentation takes place half in stainless steel, half in old oak, without malo. After only six months, the wines are bottled and then laid to age in a cellar dug from tuffeau rock, no air conditioning required. From here the Huet work is done: the rest is up to nature, Vouvray, and what eventually tastes like divine intervention. Who wouldn’t want to acquire some of that?
Domaine Huet Wines Arriving Next Week:
Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut 2012 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Grapes sourced from several estate parcels on Vouvray’s esteemed Premiere Côte in limestone-rich clay soils. All grapes are harvested by hand. Bottled before primary fermentation is finished, resulting in a lower pressure sparkling wine – pétillant – because only a portion of the fermentation occurs inside the bottle. Yeast is added to ensure the fermentation progresses smoothly. Once finished the wine is disgorged. Dosage = 10 g/l and is made up of cane sugar and demi-sec or moelleux wines from a previous vintage.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec 2015 750ML ($37.95) $30.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Solidly ripe, with a full-bodied core of ginger, pear and persimmon notes allied to a racy spine that lengthens the finish, letting ginger, quince and green almond accents play out. This should age well in the cellar. Best from 2017 through 2027.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33.60 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points “A light echo of baked apple leads off, followed by quince, powdered ginger and verbena notes at the core. The long, minerally finish features rippling acidity. Still tight, so let this unwind in the cellar. Best from 2017 through 2027.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2015 750ML ($47.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Quite ripe, with tropical mango and papaya notes mixed with peach, apple and quince flavors. Pretty ginger and heather details fill in the background, while the finish shows a well-embedded mineral edge, imparting tension to match the opulence. Best from 2017 through 2030.”
Importer note “This ancient, walled vineyard has the estate’s shallowest, stoniest soils. The wines are rich and intense. Many consider this to be Vouvray’s finest single vineyard site. Size: 6 hectares Orientation: South-facing Soil: Limestone-rich clay soils — the stoniest of the three crus. Viticulture: The vines are farmed using biodynamic methods and harvested by hand. Vinification: Undergoes temperature-controlled fermentation in large, old oak demi-muids as well as stainless steel vats. There is no encouragement of the malolactic fermentation, thus many Huet wines remain rich in malic acid, a character that brings an age-worthiness to the wines. The concentration of residual sugar in demi-sec cuvées is traditionally around 10-20 g/l.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Features a wide range of apple, green melon, ginger and green plum notes gliding throughout, with the off-dry edge imparting a flattering feel. Latent minerality lengthens the finish. Best from 2017 through 2030.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Premiere Trie 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points “Concentrated, with a core of intense Jonagold apple, glazed Bosc pear, ginger cream and dried quince flavors, carried by filigreed acidity and backed by green tea, verbena, chamomile and persimmon notes. The finish is extremely long. Best from 2018 through 2040.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Moelleux Premiere Trie 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Gorgeous from the get-go, featuring creamed melon, yellow apple and persimmon notes that glide effortlessly, inlaid with hints of green tea, verbena, heather and quince. The long finish has beautiful flow, with a buried mineral edge imparting freshness while the fruit plays out. Best from 2018 through 2040.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Moelleux 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “Offers a big, broad feel, with layers of glazed pear, apple and peach falling over each other, backed by fresh ginger, honeysuckle and quince notes. Everything pulls together through the finish, with green tea accents and racy minerality providing the foil. Drink now through 2035.”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2015 750ML ($51.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Offers ginger- and hibiscus-infused creamed yellow apple, quince and pear notes, gilded with a whiff of piecrust. All the elements meld through the long, rippling finish. Drink now through 2035.”
Arriving Late September
The Glory of Grower Champagne
James Suckling 97 points “A wine that has an absolutely unique character, Selosse has interpreted a truly extraordinary vintage with poetic insight. He describes the double stresses of an April frost that claimed 75% of the yield in Avize, coupled with a very hot and dry June and August. He speaks of the evapotranspiration and the effect of depositing an immense amount of mineral residue into the plant, which has manifested in this striking wine, and compares it to a chef reducing and concentrating a sauce. The smoky, toasty notes are more than autolysis; you can smell the heat of the vintage here. It has profound stony and chalky aromas, gentle spices, grilled hazelnuts and dehydrated stone fruits. The minerals explode onto the palate. It’s electric, hitting like an ionic blast before rolling out dark nutty flavors ahead of plush orange and ripe nectarine, peach and big, rich phenolics. It has many layers through the finish. Extremely long, balanced and resolved. Drink now or age confidently for a fascinating savory journey – this has a sturdy nature.”
The next best price is $485
That’s a savings of $86/bottle!The average price is $511
Giacomo Conterno: The One and Only
Arriving in November
Antonio Galloni 94-97 points “Conterno’s 2012 Barolo Cerretta boasts superb aromatic presence, precision and overall silkiness, with seemingly endless layers of fruit that come from all directions. Freshly cut flowers, sweet red cherry/plum fruit, hard candy, spice and new leather lead to the pliant, silky finish. The 2012 might very well be the most precise, nuanced Cerretta yet.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “To be released in October 2016, the 2012 Barolo Cerretta opens to a profound and buoyant bouquet that is particularly driven by menthol freshness, as well as pretty nuances of balsam herb and forest fruit with licorice, tilled earth and truffle. The wine is balanced and ethereal. It’s so difficult to achieve this level of aromatic definition (especially in a warm year like 2012), but Roberto Conterno has done so with a deft hand. This is a complete expression of Barolo with aromatic intensity that is matched by an enduring sense of structure and medium-weight appeal.”
Antonio Galloni 94-97 points “The 2012 Barolo Francia is dark, virile and intense, with a huge center of fruit to match its distinctly brooding personality. Today, the 2012 also comes across as quite closed in on itself, but there is a level of pure depth here that is absolutely compelling. Conterno has decided not to bottle a Monfortino, so there is good reason to think the bottled Francia has the potential to be stellar.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Since the 2010 vintage, this wine is named Francia (not Cascina Francia) to keep with the new Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (or official cru naming) in Barolo and Barbaresco. The 2012 Barolo Francia is a seductive and silky expression that flows gracefully over the palate with power and determination. The nose is expressive, and decidedly more articulate than many of the more muted wines made by neighboring estates in this warm vintage. The quality of the mouthfeel is of special interest. This beautiful Barolo already shows stunning texture, richness and integrity, despite this very early preview tasting. I tasted this wine in barrel shortly before bottling.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2014 Barbera d’Alba Cerretta is a magnificent expression and an unexpected surprise. The Barbera d’Alba Cerretta has often taken a back seat to the more prominent Barbera d’Alba Francia. Among the two, I found that this wine offers even more depth of expression and nuance. The vineyard site in Serralunga d’Alba has clay soils that have contributed to the sheer sense of elegance and structure offered here. The results are grand and opulent. The wine ends with a playful touch of brimstone or dark mineral that frames its fruity core.”
Giacomo Conterno Cascina Francia Barbera d’Alba 2014 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Barbera d’Alba Francia opens to beautiful fullness and sheer depth that represents the darker, softer and more generous side of this grape. I tasted the wine from barrel approximately one month before bottling. Roberto Conterno says that 2014 was a good year for both Barbera, but especially Nebbiolo that experienced a natural selection process in the vineyard due to low yields. This wine offers ripe fruit tones with bold lines and beautifully balanced concentration.”
Featured Selection from Giacomo Conterno
Available Here Now
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is soft, silky and very nicely balanced, especially in its tannins, where the wine really stands out next to so many peers. Readers should open the 2003 at least an hour in advance to allow the aromatics to open up. This is a very sexy and open young Barolo from Conterno with very little signs of the challenging growing season.” (6/2014)