Mid-Week VinopolPick 03-05-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

The Best Values in Bierzo?

Cote Rotie: Premier Vin of the Northern Rhone

Lucien Le Moine’s More-Than-Bourgogne Rouge

Trending Wines of the Weekend

Staff Pick – The Magic of Massican

Lewelling’s Underpriced, Culty Cabernet

Five Times in Forty Years: Heidsieck’s Millenaires


Casar’s Mencia

The Best Values in Bierzo

Bierzo is quickly becoming our go-to for value in medium-bodied Spanish wine.  The Palacios Petalos is a perpetual best seller and Raul Perez’s wines deliver enormous quality for the prices, as well—but we have a new entrant into the area, providing perhaps the best quality-to-price ratio of them all.

Casar de Burbia is guided by talented winemaker Isidro Fernandez, who aims to make wines that show true to the terroir of Bierzo while providing rich, plush textures and serious, age-worthy depths.  From what we’ve tasted, he manages to accomplish both, at exceptional pricing.  These aren’t shy wines, with lots of rich, black fruit and some bittersweet chocolate flavors.  These are wines that are serious and will leave an impression, but at prices that definitely won’t.

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An astounding value.
Casar de Burbia ‘Casar’ Tinto, Bierzo 2013 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Casar de Burbia ‘Casar’ Tinto, Bierzo 2013 750ML ($219.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points
“Super-fresh blacks fruits and a hint of wild strawberry. Enormous freshness and brightness. The finish is almost crystalline in its purity. Bierzo takes off! Drink now.”

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A year older and a bit more profound than the Casar.
Casar de Burbia Hombros, Bierzo 2012 750ML ($27.95) $16 special
Case-12 Casar de Burbia Hombros, Bierzo 2012 750ML ($299.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“Intense herbal liquer character and soy sauce on the nose. Medium-bodied with a very savory character and plenty of herbs. Crisp and quite mineral. Drink now.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Cote Rotie

Premier Vin of the Northern Rhone

Ever since Guigal introduced their series of “La La’s,” Cote Rotie has been the sexy, glamor appellation in the Northern Rhone.  It makes sense that the “Roasted Slope” would be able to produce rich, voluptuous wines and so many producers did—from the 80’s through today, many of the top examples of the region are flamboyant, sexy monsters, with rich textures and dense fruit.

To think of Cote Rotie as solely that, though, would be to sell the appellation short.  A number of excellent producers make mineral, perfumed wines that marry the innate power of Cote Rotie with a grace and delicacy that recall an older time.  Domaine Jamet, in particular, has emerged as the new, collectible face of the region and their old-school wines have encouraged a number of other producers to follow suit.

The range of wine styles in the appellation makes it one of the most exciting places in the world for a curious drinker. Aside from a few names (Jamet, the Guigal La La bottlings), most remain affordable (though perhaps not in a Tuesday night sense)—a rarity that can match the finest from Burgundy and Bordeaux.

We stock a ton of Cote Rotie—twenty six total bottlings.  Whether you’re normally a drinker of Washington Syrah or Grand Cru Burgundy, there’s something in there for you—at pricing that’s much better than the wine in the bottle should merit.  We’ve got a selection of highlights below, but you can also click here to view the full list on our web store.

In Stock Now:

The standard bearer for Cote Rotie in an epic vintage.
Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Josh Raynolds 97 points
“Lurid violet color. Assertive blackberry, licorice pastille, smoky bacon and potpourri scents are complemented by a strong mineral overlay. Seamless and broad in the mouth, offering deeply concentrated black and blue fruit liqueur, cola and floral pastille flavors and a strong jolt of exotic spices. Finishes with repeating mineral, smoke and dark fruit character, with noticeable but well-knit tannins and superb tenacity.”
Joe Czerwinski – Wine Advocate 96+ points “Significantly more closed and muscular than it appeared from barrel, the 2015 Cote Rotie is a long-term proposition. It’s not showing a lot of charm or elegance at this juncture, but it’s massively rich and ripe, with plenty of weight on the palate, chewy tannins and a long, long finish. Like I wrote last year, it might start to drink well at age 10, although it might need even longer.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95-97 points “The 2015 Côte Rôtie was scheduled to be bottled not long after my visit. This is an undeniably great vintage at this address, even if Jean-Paul prefers his 2016s, calling 2015 “too much.” It’s worth pointing out that he thought the same about his 1991, which is a borderline perfect wine today. The 2015 sports a deep ruby/purple color to go with searing notes of pepper, smoked meats, flowers, and assorted black and blue fruits. With full-bodied richness, a concentrated, thick mid-palate, sweet, yet present tannin, and a huge finish, this is a wine to back up the truck for. A warning, however – it’s not for those looking for instant gratification.”

Cuilleron is best known for his whites, but this red is fantastic and rich.
Cave Yves Cuilleron Cote Rotie Madiniere, Rhone 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Cave Yves Cuilleron Cote Rotie Madiniere, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($169.95) $139 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Lurid ruby. Pungent, mineral-laced black and blue fruit preserve, olive and incense scents on the deeply perfumed nose. Shows serious depth as well as surprising vivacity, offering sweet boysenberry and cherry compote flavors that become spicier with air. Supple and broad, delivering a very long, sweet finish that shows excellent clarity, harmonious tannins and lingering floral and spicecake nuances.”

Perpetually a best-value, this leans towards the full-throttle side of the spectrum.
Saint Cosme Cote Rotie, Rhone 2016 750ML ($64.95) $52.50 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2016 Côte-Rôtie comes all from the Côte Brune side of the appellation, which is all schist soils. Fermented with no destemming and aged mostly in older barrels, it’s a rock star Côte-Rôtie and offers loads of blackberry fruits, spice, tapenade, cured meats, and pepper. With medium to full body, a deep, layered mid-palate, present tannins, and a huge finish, it needs short-term cellaring but is an undeniably gorgeous Syrah that will have two decades of longevity.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points “Bright purple. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes candied dark berries, olive, smoked meat and incense, and floral and mineral notes build steadily. Sweet, focused and penetrating on the palate, offering sappy boysenberry, cherry and violet pastille flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Impressively blends concentration and energy and finishes with impressive, gently tannic persistence.”
Importer Note “Côte-Rôtie is produced from 100% Sérine, an ancient and local variety of Syrah that is markedly different from modern selections. It is more oval, with lots of space in the bunch, resulting in a very aromatic wine. It is sourced from the schist soils of Le Plomb, Besset, La Viallière, and Neve climats. These hillsides are among the steepest in France with an incline as much as 55 degrees. The wine is made with whole cluster fermentation from indigenous yeasts, aged for 12 months in 40% new 228-liter barrels, and bottled without fining or filtration… On the palate, it reveals a fresh attack followed by an ample, structured, long-lasting finish. The wine unfurls in successive stages and ends with top-quality tannins produced by whole cluster fermentation. It features aromas and flavors of smoked ham, violet, graphite, graphite, and licorice.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
A tiny (0.5ha!) producer making uncompromisingly traditional wine.
Domaine Chambeyron-Manin Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhone 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Importer notes
“At the southern end of Ampuis, Christianne Manin and her family own and operate Les Jardins de la Côte-Rôtie, a small market offering locally produced meats, cheeses, and produce. Luckily for us, they also cultivate a tiny parcel of vines in Côte-Rôtie. The .5 hectare parcel of vines is located directly above their home and cellar. Dedicated exclusively to the Serine clone of syrah, these 40-50 year old vines grow on iron rich schist laden soils of the Côte Brune. All of the vineyard work is done by hand, as the 50% slope must be very cautiously navigated. In the cellar, the grapes are vinified as whole cluster and via native yeasts in concrete tanks. Upon the completion of fermentation, the wine is pressed off using a traditional basket press and transferred via gravity into 500L barrels (up to one third new, depending upon the vintage). The wine then ages for 18 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Production is limited to approximately 165 cases per year.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $108
The most approachable wine from one of the new rising-stars of the appellation.
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Les Triotes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Les Triotes, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
“(40% new oak) Opaque ruby. Smoky, mineral-accented cherry and blueberry scents are complicated by hints of vanilla, Indian spices and licorice. Supple and broad on the palate, offering pliant blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter as the wine opens up. A sexy floral pastille note emerges on the clinging finish, which shows excellent clarity and gentle, slow-building tannins.”
Jeb Dunnuck 91-93 points “From a mix of the La Triotes, Mollard, Combard, and Lancement lieux-dits, the 2016 Côte Rôtie Les Triotes is charming and elegant, with lots of black raspberries, vanilla oak, candied flowers and hints of meatiness. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and silky on the palate, it’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate, yet should evolve gracefully on its balance.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is a powerhouse to stick in the cellar for a few decades.
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Lancement, Rhone 2016 750ML ($179.95) $138 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“(50% new oak and 50% whole clusters) Vivid purple. Candied cherry, blueberry, Moroccan spices and olive paste on the exotically perfumed nose. Silky, seamless and sweet on the palate, offering juicy, spice-laced black and blue fruit, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. A smoky mineral note comes up on the strikingly long finish, which is framed by smooth, well-integrated tannins.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The medium to full-bodied 2016 Cote Rotie Lancement is a stunning, seductive example of Cote Rotie, with fine herbal notes entwined around ripe blueberries and cracked spices. It’s creamy through the mid-palate and onto the plush finish, where it picks up hints of mocha and mint.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92-94 points “The most aromatic of the lineup is the 2016 Côte Rôtie Lancement, 100% Syrah that was 70% destemmed and will see 20 months in French oak. It’s loaded with notes of incense, dried violets, white pepper and assorted red and blue fruits. Medium to full-bodied, elegant and seamless on the palate, with building, fine tannin, it shines for its purity and length and is an impressive barrel sample.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

One of the best values that walks the line between new and old schools.
Domaine Patrick & Christophe Bonnefond Cote Rotie Colline de Couzou, Rhone 2013 750ML ($69.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds 91 points
“Opaque ruby. Sexy aromas of dark fruit preserves, spicecake and potpourri carry a smoky mineral overtone. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering juicy blackberry and floral pastille flavors and a deeper suggestion of licorice. Shows very good depth as well as vivacity, and finishes with strong nervy cut, supple tannins and a lingering floral pastille quality.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $53
Want to see all 26 of our Cote Roties, in stock now? Just click here to view a list in our webstore!

Lucien Le Moine’s

More-Than-Bourgogne Rouge

Lucien Le Moine (the nom de plume for Mounir and Rotem Saouma) is one of the hottest names in Burgundy.  The rise has been meteoric due to the scarcity of the wines (Mounir wants to keep production under 100 barrels) and also the fact that they only release grand and premier cru vineyards—with the exception of a tiny amount of Bourgogne.  That’s what we’re highlighting today and although it’s quite expensive by the standards of Bourgogne rouge, the material inside the bottle should warrant a much higher price tag.

To understand why the Le Moine Bourgogne rouge is such an exceptional wine, the first thing to understand is that the house doesn’t make, or set out to make, anything close to average wine.  Jaspar Morris MW calls them a “haute-coture negociant” and just like a high end designer, they want everything they do to make a statement.  The Bourgogne is a blend of village and premier cru wine from some under-the-radar appellations, like Fixin, Savigny and Pernand (along with some Hauts Cotes) with village wine from the Cote de Nuits and even some Premier and Grand Cru barrels that don’t quite meet the exceptionally lofty standards to be sold under the vineyard names (and prices). Less than 500 bottles make it into the US, so the chance to acquire some is a special opportunity.

When you couple that exceptional raw material with the Le Moine house style, which is heavily influenced by Jayer, you end up with wines in a very exclusive peer group.  That style produces exceptionally sensual wines—wines that have textures like silk and explosive fruit that seems to arrive in waves from nowhere.  They’re the opposite of rustic—polished and luxurious.  These are wines that any wine lover should covet and take pains to acquire for their cellar.

2010 is looking like an all-time great Burgundy vintage.  This bottling gives a clear picture into why.

Lucien Le Moine Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2010 750ML ($69.95) $49 special

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Trending Wines of the Weekend

A fantastic Cotes du Rhone with serious character for the price.
Domaine Garon Cotes du Rhone ‘La Part des Vivants ‘2017 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special
: This blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan delivers a rich, full-bodied version of a Cotes du Rhone.  Made by the talented Garon family, it’s seductive and lush, with a beautiful blend of black and red fruits supplemented with just a hint of garrigue.

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All Northern Rhone Syrah, from a top-notch, elegant producer.
Cave Yves Cuilleron ‘Les Vignes d’a Cote’ Syrah, Rhone 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Grapelive 92 points
“One of the Northern Rhone’s top guns, Yves Cuilleron, is making some of the best wine of his career… While his 2015 and 2016 were absolutely awesome, this 2017 looks just as good if not better!… While most known for his Condrieu and Cote-Rotie, [Yves] also makes a stellar collection of Saint-Joseph, Cornas and Crozes-Hermitage as well as a line of varietal wines including this 100% Syrah from granite and alluvial soils near his village, Chavanay, near the border with the Crozes zone, in the Collines Rhodaniennes, in a steep parcel of vines… This 2017 Les Vignes d’a Cote is striking and with exceptional varietal character. [It shows] a deep purple/garnet color in the glass with a beautiful perfume of crushed violets, primary black and blue fruits, spices and camphor notes that not only come through on the nose, but transfer to the palate as well. There is ripe blueberry, plum and black cherry fruits as well as subtle creme de cassis, black olive, fresh ground peppercorns, faint cedar and anise. The mouthfeel is richer and more substantial than you’d expect from this bottling, highlighting what looks like a great vintage in the making. The Cuilleron elegance and finesse is on full display. This is a case-worthy, if not more, wine to enjoy over the next couple of years while you cellar your Cote-Rotie, Saint-Joseph and/or Crozes-Hermitage!”

2014 was a landmark-quality Chablis vintage.
Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Case-6 Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($399.95) $299 special (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points
“Much less expressive on the nose than the Blanchots but still with noteworthy incipient complexity to the aromas of citrus peel, white flowers, wet stone, white pepper and clove. Boasts terrific grain and thrust, but this youthfully dry, uncompromising wine is downright brooding today in spite of its essential light touch. Incisive flavors of citrus fruits, white flowers and ginger are further lifted by subtle herbal accents. This is excellent.”
Burghound 92 points “In contrast to the Vaudésir this is much better with much more evident Chablis character on the green fruit and citrus-infused nose that displays an appealing hint of mineral-reduction. There is excellent punch and detail to the relatively rich and powerful flavors that possess reasonably good mid-palate concentration before culminating in a notably stony and lingering finish that is presently quite tightly wound. This is definitely going to require a few years to further flesh out and develop better depth but the balance and underlying material are present for that to occur.”

Cases roll in, cases roll out.  The cycle continues.
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Case-12 Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2017 750ML ($189.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Grapelive 92 points
“Saint Cosme’s Cotes-du-Rhone, grown on a mix of soils, including red clay, pebbles and limestone sands all hillside vines is partial whole cluster and all tank raised. Always a wine of value and purity it gives a ton of character, personality and never disappoints in any vintage, and this one is an exceptional year. In 2017, low yields produced wines with lots of intensity and depth with hedonistic density, but with vibrant fresh detail, with what Barruol notes, adds crunchiness and salinity to this beautiful red wine. This 2017, which is an amazing follow up to the great 2015 and 2016 versions that I loved, delivers boysenberry, sweet blueberry and plum fruit as well as savory spices, a touch of meat, black licorice and a inner perfume of violets and lavender. Rounded tannins give structure, making this wine perform at a higher level than one would expect and this vintage in particular will age well, maybe a decade or more, impressive for the price!”
James Suckling 91 points “Beautiful, garrigue herbs and flowers across fragrant, red berries. The palate has a very deep-set, plush and ripe core of dark-berry flavors, amid glossy, ripe tannins. Great value. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 100% Syrah 2017 Cotes du Rhone is a bargain superstar, offering hints of smoke, cracked pepper, blueberries and black olives. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a long, supple finish. For the $20 (or less) I’ve seen it selling for, you’re not going to find a better Syrah.”

One of the most delicious Kabi’s of ’16. To quote SR, a “dangerously stimulating finish.”
A.J. Adam Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2016 Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Kabinett shows an open, smoky, herbal-laced bouquet of ripe Riesling. Lush, piquant and terribly stimulating on the vital and crystalline palate, this is a gorgeous Kabinett bottled with 8% alcohol and lots of tension, grip and salty minerals that carry the wine into a long, dangerously stimulating finish. This is just beautiful and lovely to drink even today and surely over the next 20 to 25+ years. Tasted April 2018.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “The Dhroner Hofberg Kabinett was harvested at 83-84° Oechsle from 40 year-old vines. It offers a gorgeously inviting nose of grapefruit and other citrusy fruits. The wine is nicely crisp and intense on the palate and leaves a mouth-watering feel in the long and delicately Spätlese-styled finish. It is still slightly backward and will benefit from a little bit of aging before developing its full potential. There is quite some upside here if it manages to keep its current sense of focus. 2026-2041.”
David Schildknecht – Vinous 91+ points “Adam didn’t vinify a village-level dry Piesporter this vintage, but luckily we have this luscious Kabinett. Faintly dusty and fermentative notes veil the nose, but behind those come prickly notes of nettle and cassis leaf along with intimations of the lemon and grapefruit that dominate on a delicate, generously juicy palate. The long-lingering, animatingly bright finish is transparent to stony, alkaline and pungently herbal nuances. This needs some time for the aromas to clarify. And there’s no question that its flavors are the least ripe among the three Adam 2016 vintage Kabinetts, which presumably reflects the fact that to achieve Kabinett levity it’s necessary to harvest sooner in Goldtröpfchen than in other nearby sites.”

There’s no off-season for rosé.
Chateau de Roquefort Cotes de Provence Corail Rose 2017 750ML ($24.95) $16 special
Case-12 Chateau de Roquefort Cotes de Provence Corail Rose 2017 750ML ($279.95) $169 special
Josh Raynolds 90 points
“Brilliant pink. Incisive and highly perfumed, displaying intense aromas of fresh red berries, tangerine and succulent flowers that show impressive delineation and mineral lift. Stains the palate with juicy raspberry, pink grapefruit and candied lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Finishes long, minerally and smooth, with repeating citrus fruit and floral character and a touch of spicy white pepper. This wine delivers superb bang for the buck.”

Alexander Valley Cabernet, under $16 by the case.
The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($27.95) $18 special
Case-12 The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Winery Note
“This full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon presents blackberry and plum aromatics typical of the Alexander Valley. On the palate, the rich fruit is complemented by accents of sweet tobacco, vanilla, chocolate, and mocha. The elegant tannins, oak structure and balanced acidity will age this wine for 10-12 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $26.89
The average price is $29
Perhaps there is Tuesday night Champagne, after all.
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 375ML ($24.95) $18 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($89.95) $66 special
Importer note
“The Dumont Brut NV is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The grapes from their vineyard have qualities that seem less aggressive and more sumptuous than those from the northern districts. In addition, vinification of whole berries at low temperatures enhances this quality of soft elegance. The NV is a blend of vintages typically between two and five years old. It is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement. Dosage is 9 grams.”

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This is the lowest listed price for a half-bottle in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Staff Pick

The Magic of Massican

Massican, the personal wine project of star winemaker Dan Petroski, makes some of my favorite white wines in the Western Hemisphere.  They’re perfect examples of what’s been called the “New California”—wines that are clearly influenced by old-school, old world sensibilities (especially regarding ripeness and balance) but have a certain California-ness about them that they don’t run from.  These wines are the epitome of that—bright, fresh and mineral but with a density and generosity that speaks of Napa.*

Most of his wines are blends, utilizing a mixture of Italianate grape varieties and some that are common to California. The results are stunning and are wines that are delicious and showy (in the best way).  What’s more, they tend to go with an incredible array of foods, from fish and shellfish prepared simply to roast pork and hearty vegetable dishes.

*There’s one wine, Gaspare, made in Fruili in collaboration with the legendary producer
Ronco del Gnemiz.  I’d urge you to check that out, as well—it’s great, but definitely speaks solely of Italy, not California.

The flagship wine for Massican.  Beautiful in 2017 and a great intro to the estate.
Massican Annia White, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
#86 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Wine Spectator 92 points
“A complex and inviting white, showing intricate nuances of roasting almonds, matcha, honeysuckle and orange zest flavors, mingling with supple, juicy Asian pear, tangerine and ripe melon notes. The smooth texture and thread of acidity just add to the appeal. Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano and Chardonnay.”
Winery note “Grapes: ribolla gialla – 55%, tocai friulano – 39%, chardonnay – 6%. The 2017 vintage in napa will always be remembered because of the wildfires that began on the evening of Sunday, October 8. We are very fortunate that not only were all our grapes harvested before the fires broke out but also that our vineyards were spared from harm; however, we cannot say that for all our neighbors who have been impacted by this tragedy. Our ANNIA in this vintage shows the quiet side of her persona an opportunity to remain thoughtful and thankful for all the good graces we receive not only this year but every year.”

Greco provides minerality and cut to this wine, which is rich and fresh at once.
Massican Gemina, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Winery note
“Grapes: pinot grigio – 77%, greco – 23%. With our hearts and minds attached to the wildfires that ravaged our community during the early part of October we often forget that the vintage was defined by another incredible weather event – the record breaking heat wave that lasted from June through Deptember. It was a relentless heat wave but we are fortunate for GEMINA to be made from two grape varieties, one of those varieties is greco which is accustom to savage climate of southern Italy and can face the intensity of one hundred degree days.”

One of the best domestic SB’s.  Not subtle, but energetic.
Massican Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Winery note
“Sauvignon blanc – 100%. The 2017 vintage in Napa Valley will always be remembered because of the wildfires that began in the late evening of Sunday, October 8. The fires spread with lightening speed because of the heavy winds that night and not only many homes were lost but also many lives in the area. Each day we take a step to repair the physical and emotional loss due to the fires but we will never forget how fragile our planet is and how quickly mother nature will remind us of the breadth and ferocity of her power.”

This is the wine they produce in Italy and is a great introduction to Friuli.
Massican Gaspare Bianco Colli Orientali del Friulii, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 special
Winery note
“Grapes: tocai friulano – 43%, ribolla gialla – 29%, chardonnay – 28%. This is a wine about friends and family. without massimo there would be no trip to Sicily. without George there would be no ribolla gialla in the United States without Christian and Serena there would be no inspiration for this wine. All my friends are my heroes and my motivation. annia is named after my American mother and our first Italian wine vintage is named after massimo’s father GASPARE. Without massimo there would be no massican he gave the support to make this dream a reality a million thanks to friends and family we could not have done it without you.”

Lewelling’s Underpriced, Culty Cabernet

Lewelling remains a cult classic—the tiny production and meager allocations mean that it’ll never go mainstream.  Nevertheless, it’s a Napa Cabernet that over delivers for the price point, whether at the “basic” level or for their fancier Wight vineyard offering.  Like most years, it’ll sell out nearly instantly and will remain ignored by the wine buying public until we get a small lot in next year and it sells out immediately as well. Needless to say, if you want some, jump on this now.

In Stock Now:

Lewelling Vineyards Wight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Robert Parker 93+ points
“Very Pauillac-like (as usual), the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Wight has a similar character, with loads of creme de cassis, smoke, licorice and graphite as well as a full-bodied texture, dense, rich fruit, impressive purity and ripe tannin. This is a beauty, but interestingly, it doesn’t show the dramatic difference in quality that it often does at such a young age, although that may well evolve. Give it several more years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades.”

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Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, St Helena 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Robert Parker 92 points
“The inky purple 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon displays plenty of classic creme de cassis and lead pencil shavings along with some licorice, charcoal and vanilla notes. It is full-bodied and opulent, with good integration of sweet tannin and bright acids. This wine is still young but approachable, and certainly capable of evolving for 10-15+ years.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Five Times in Forty Years:

Heidsieck’s Millenaires

Imagine there was a Champagne, produced by a top tier, historic house.  Imagine that Champagne was a blanc de blancs, from some of the top Grand Cru villages and aged for an extended time on the lees before release.  Further still, this mythical Champagne has only been released five times in the last forty years—truly, only the best vintages made the cut.  You’d think this wine would be outlandishly expensive and impossible to acquire.  You’d be wrong, though, because we’re offering Charles Heisieck’s Blanc de Millenaires for about the same price as a bottle of NV Krug. If you want great Champagne to taste like Grand Cru White Burgundy with fine bubbles, this is something you need to jump on.

Charles Heidsieck is one of the great, historic houses of Champagne, but because of their small size, they tend to be overlooked in conversations about elite wines in the region.  That’s unfair on so many levels, from their excellent and inexpensive NV to this wine, the top-of-the-line Blanc des Millenaires, produced only in the (truly) best years. Millenaires is a white whale of the Champagne world.  Even most “picky” houses declare 5-6 vintages a decade, but Heidsieck will only release this wine under the most perfect of circumstances (the last vintage released was the epic 1995).  The resulting wine is powerful, intense but beyond elegant, as only Chardonnay given extended lees aging can provide.  We’ve secured a small parcel arriving this summer and are excited to offer it at exceptional pricing.  The winery has been mum on how long it will be until the next release, so this may be your best chance at this wine for some time.

Arriving ETA June:

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Decanter 97 points
“It says much that Charles Heidsieck went for the 2004, not the richer 2002, as the long-awaited successor to the epic 1995 Millenaires – the ’04 has an admirable beauty and finesse in the classic mould that fits the style of this wine so well. It’s an intriguing blend of great Chardonnays from Oger, Mesnil, Avize and Cramant, but also from Vertus, a premier cru punching above its weight. Vanilla and butter flatter this wine famously, but there’s no oak. It has controlled richness, with precision and purity ruling over the green and tropical fruits. A magnificent champagne with impressively elegant acidity, a triumph now and for years to come. Disgorged in 2016. Drinking Window 2020 – 2035.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”

Thanks for reading!