Mid-Week VinopolPick – 3-25

March 25th, 2015

Ornellaia Masseto
Best Price in the USA
With the 2011 vintage, Masseto returns to a typically Mediterranean expression of a warm year in the Bolgheri terroir. Yet the overall impression is one of superb balance and measure, notwithstanding the wine’s rich concentration and ripeness.” –From the wineryAfter the early success of his cousin’s wine Sassicaia, Lodovico Antinori founded the Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia in Bolgheri in 1981 (now known as Ornellaia e Masseto).  He was convinced the recently discovered, backwater region could produce world-class Brodeaux-style wines.  Assisted by the internationally famed wine-making consultant Andre Tchelistcheff, he replanted a farm of olive trees and grape vines with Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  The land had the perfect terroir for producing the style of wine he desired: warm temperatures, cooling ocean breezes and calcium rich clay and sandy soils.  Not long after development of the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine, Ornellaia, Tchelistcheff discovered the perfect plot of land on a hill near the estate to grow Merlot, with its gray Pliocene clay soils and Masseto was born.  In 1987, Antinori released the first official bottling of Masseto.  The wine quickly gained an international following and became recognized for its “aromatic complexity and its unique combination of opulent fruit, vibrancy and an ample tannic structure.”  Today the estate is owned by the Frescobaldis but is run as a separate entity.

Ornellaia Masseto Toscana IGT 2011 750ML ($649.95) Was $599, Now $499, 3 bottles available
James Suckling 100 points
“Wow. Fabulous aromas of currants, rosemary, mint and orange peel. Perfect nose. Full body with perfectly integrated tannins. It’s long and incredible with tangerine, toasted-oak, berry, terracotta and chocolate flavors. It lasts for minutes on the palate. This needs at least five years to soften but so spellbinding now.” JS

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $545.99
Rejoice- Rioja Just Arrived!
Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($59.95) $39 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($499.95)
$439 special (that’s only $36.58/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Tight as a drum on the nose, this rambunctious Rioja is throbbing with blackberry, plum and floral aromas. Intense and staunch on the palate, with plum, raspberry, cherry, herb and chocolate flavors, this runs long on the finish, with power and acidity to spare. Cellar Selection.” WE
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “(70% tempranillo, 20% garnacha, 7% mazuelo and 3% graciano; fermented in large oak vats and aged for 28 months in small French and American oak barrels of varying age):  Inky purple.  Flamboyant aromas of ripe berries, incense, potpourri, smoky oak and pungent minerals.  Lush, fleshy and alluringly sweet, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors that coat the palate.  Smooth, seamless and impressively concentrated but also lively, with sneaky tannins giving shape to the long, spice-accented finish.” ST
Elio Altare Pre-ArrivalArriving May 2015

Elio Altare is universally acknowledged to be one of the world’s greatest winemakers. Altare was a leader of the revolution in cellar and vineyard technique in the Barolo zone; among his many now-commonplace innovations were the use of rotary fermenters, a short maceration period, and the use of small barriques for aging. The resulting wines, from Dolcetto to Barbera to Barolo, are often considered to be the ultimate expressions of the soft, fragrant and lush qualities characteristic of the commune of La Morra, and today Altare is mentor to many of the younger generation of La Morra barolisti including Mauro Veglio, Mauro Molino, and the Revello brothers – his influence even extends to northern Ghemme where he lends advice to the Ioppa family.Elio owns 5 hectares and rents four more, planted in the ratio 40 percent Nebbiolo, 30 percent Dolcetto, 25 percent Barbera and 5 percent Cabernet Sauvingon.  The best of the local vineyards each comprise their own amphitheatre, south or south-east facing slopes at 280 metres above sea level on a sandy, tufaceous, marly soil.  Elio Altare has vines in two of those: 1.5 ha of 50-plus year old vines in Arborina, and a small parcel in Brunate which he started renting in 1995.  These vines are pruned very severely.  Altare wants no more than 1.5 kilos of grapes per vine.  And there are merely 5500 vines per hectare.  This is the real key, Altare maintains, plus an organic approach to viticulture.  “You can’t make great wine without concentrated fruit.”

Elio Altare defines himself as “much more organic than most certified producers”. No chemical fertilizer or herbicide has been utilised for 30 years. Elio bought two cows in order to have production of manure. Sulfur and copper base products are prevalent. Claude Bourguignon, a world famous French specialist in soil microbiology, consults for the Altare estate. Mr Bourguignon has developed very efficient alternative techniques in order to preserve the ecosystem of the soil (i.e. preservation of the soil microbial biomass and structure). Low doses of SO2 used in the wines.

Elio Altare Barolo DOCG 2010 750ML ($79.95) $61.90 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2010 Barolo wraps around the palate with plums, mocha, smoke, menthol, spices and new leather. This is an unusually dark, muscular style for a straight Barolo. The shoulders are broad, but at the same time, there is more than enough richness to balance the tannins. The 2010 should drink well pretty much upon release, as it is packed with fruit, supple in personality and full of near-term appeal. Altare sources fruit from La Morra, Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga for his Barolo.” AG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $75
Elio Altare Vigneto Arborina, Barolo DOCG 2010 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“Altare’s 2010 Barolo Arborina bristles on the palate with striking energy and finesse. Freshly cut flowers, mint, sweet spices, licorice and rose petals all meld together in a layered, impeccable Barolo loaded with class. The flavors are bright, chiseled and beautifully nuanced. The 2010 finishes with marvelous freshness and tons of saline-infused nuances.” AG
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $108
Elio Altare Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2010 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2010 Barolo Brunate is a wine for the Gods and Goddesses. Dark, layered and brooding, the 2010 covers every inch of the palate with intense dark fruit and a seemingly endless mélange of powerful, balsamic-inflected notes. The finish is long, intense and superbly layered. Today the 2010 is huge, explosive and flat-out great. Hints of rose petals and violets leave a lasting impression. This is a monumental Barolo from the Altare family. Sadly, 2011 is the last vintage.” AG
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Elio Altare Cerretta Vigna Bricco, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($129.95)
$99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2008 Barolo Vigna Bricco Cerretta shows the muscle of Serralunga within the context of the year. Dark red fruit, flowers, licorice and tar are some of the nuances that emerge from this refined Barolo. There is plenty of density in the glass. The 2008 is rich, deep and muscular all the way through to the finish. There is plenty of Serraluga character here.” AG
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $125
Springtime is Saletime!

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 750ML ($249.95) Was $219, Now $169
Robert Parker 96 points
“The most evolved of the lineup, with complex spice box, wild herbs, dried flowers, currants and scorched earth aromas all emerging from the glass, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is beautifully textured, full-bodied and seamless on the palate. Up-front and approachable, it nevertheless has the back-end richness, depth and structure to continue to evolve for another decade or more. Drink now-2023. ”

Louis Jadot Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2011 750ML ($319.95) Was $249, Now $199
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Butter, floral and spice aromas and rich peach and melon flavors come together with the creamy texture in this intense and opulent white. Harmonious and expressive, but this will be even better in two to three years. Offers a lingering, complex aftertaste, where a mineral element emerges. Best from 2016 through 2027.” WS

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $268
Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2005 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $89
Burghound 90-93 points
“A very subtle touch of wood frames a spicy red berry fruit nose that dissolves into rich, full, well-muscled and sweet flavors that possess a good deal more volume and while the mid-palate is supple and round, the finish has the firmness that one expects from a big Corton. There is much better balance here and this should age well.” BH
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $102
Louis Latour Chateau Corton Grancey Grand Cru 2008 750ML ($119.95) Was $89, Now $79
Burghound 89-92 points
“Mild wood influence does not compromise the transparency of the fresh and earthy red pinot fruit nose that exhibits a slight sauvage character that can also be found on the energetic, detailed and tautly muscled middle weight flavors that possess good richness and more refinement than usual on the serious, long and linear finish where a touch of austerity can also be seen.” BH
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $105
Domaine Henri Gouges Les Chaignots Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69
Stephen Tanzer 91+ points
“Palish red. Redcurrant, cherry, spices, minerals and a whiff of game on the nose. Sweet, silky and fairly deep, offering a fine-grained texture and very good energy and intensity to its red fruit flavors. This juicy, bright premier cru relies as much on its acids as on its tannins for balance and structure. Finishes subtle and long. Half of these vines were replanted in 1986 following the 1985 frost, and so this wine has been getting better and better in recent vintages, noted Gregory Gouges.” ST
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $81
Chateau du Cayrou, Cahors 1985 1.5 L ($179.95) Was $149, Now $119
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Jean Francois Ganevat Cotes du Jura Cuvee Prestige Savagnin 2010 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $59
Importer note
“Made in an oxidative style, wine remains sous voile for 48 months in demi-muid.  Vineyard planted in 1977.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Jean Francois Ganevat ‘Sul Q’ NV 375ML ($99.95) $66 special
Importer note
“A ‘sélections des grains nobles’ of Savagnin though SGN is not officially recognized in the Jura.  250 grams RS.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Just a reminder about our current shipping specials during this season:We offer flat rate shipping on any size single order / single shipment
-to Oregon for $17,
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California for $25

These rates do not apply to orders held in storage here for any reason. Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment do not qualify for flat rate shipping.

Arriving Mid-April 2015Matured & Classic  Burgundy – $59

Domaine Potinet-Ampeau

From the Importer:

“Vincent Durrieu is the fifth generation of this family to work the domain, continuing with very traditional Burgundian methods.  Domaine Potinet-Ampeau is one of very few to make wine meant to be laid down and to hold vintages in their own cellars to allow them to age correctly before release. The family had strong ties to the American market as early as the 1920s, when Vincent’s grandmother’s family, winemakers in Meursault, was among the first to export to the US. And it was Vincent’s grandparents who, in 1951, started keeping ‘vins de garde’, so the domain always has an impressive array of older vintages on offer.  The Domaine Potinet-Ampeau is situated in the village of Monthelie in the southern part of the Cote de Beaune, near to Meursault, Volnay and Auxey-Duresses.The domain works 21.5 acres and produces as much red as white in appellations in the villages of Puligny-Montrachet, Meursault, Auxey-Duresses, Volnay, Pommard and Monthelie. The vines are on average 30 years old, and the vineyards are plowed (without herbicides) and treated reasonably with natural compounds.  In summary:

– Vincent Durrieu is a traditional winemaker and his reds are built for long ageing. He only releases them after several years’ cellaring, so they are often missed by the major reviewers – otherwise they would be far better known

– From a walled vineyard named by Jancis Robinson MW as one of the “great names” of Volnay:  Clos des Chênes lies at the southern end of Volnay, where the best wines are found, and produces wines that are “very pure in their expression of fruit” with “the ability to age well” (Clive Coates MW).

– Also on Clos des Chenes, which produces some of the best wines of the region, it is situated south of Volnay and high up on the hillside. It contains a mix of limestone marl and clay-limestone. At the bottom of the vineyard there is more red soil with a higher level of iron and the further up you move the limestone takes over. The vineyard faces southeast and gets steeper further up. Two of the top producers from this vineyard are Domaine des Comtes Lafon and Domaine Michel Lafarge.”

Domaine Potinet-Ampeau Arriving Mid-April 2015

Domaine Potinet-Ampeau Clos des Chenes, Volnay Premier Cru 2001 750ML ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special

Best Ever Perbacco – Arriving Tomorrow- Thursday, March 26th

Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco Langhe, Piedmont 2012 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Vietti Nebbiolo Perbacco Langhe, Piedmont 2012 750ML ($299.95)
$226 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“Vietti’s 2012 Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco is fabulous. Floral and lifted, the flavors are bright, focused and beautifully articulated throughout. Chalky notes support a sculpted, brilliant finish laced with hints orange peel, white pepper and crushed rocks.” AG

The average price in the USA today is $26/bottle
Arriving Friday, March 27thNew Release from one of Walla Walla’s Top Winemaking Family

Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special 
Wine Advocate 94-96 points
“Also from barrel sample, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon gives up knockout creme de cassis, scorched earth, lead pencil and burning ember-like qualities to go with a full-bodied, decadently textured profile on the palate. Possessing plenty of sweet tannin and ample concentration, it stays remarkably graceful and elegant on the palate. It will evolve nicely for two decade or more.” WA

Leonetti Cellar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
From the winery:
“A blend of three vineyards: Loess, Mill Creek Upland and Leonetti Old Block.  15 months in new and once filled French oak barrels, puncheons and oval botti.  92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc.  Enjoy now through 2030.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $98
Leonetti Cellar Reserve, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($199.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points
“The 2012 Reserve is another gorgeous Bordeaux blend by Chris. Made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and equal parts Malbec and Petit Verdot, it offers up plenty of cassis, licorice and chocolate in its sexy, seamless and incredibly polished profile. Concentrated, with plenty of tannin, it will round into form with a few years in the cellar and, like the straight Cabernet, have two decades or more of longevity.” WA
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Feature Champagnes- Guy Charlemagne

Guy Charlemagne is located in the small village of Mesnil sur Oger (home to some of the most legendary and expensive Blanc de Blancs) in the heart of the Côte des Blancs, and have been winegrowers since 1892.   Guy Charlemagne is recognized as a ‘small grower Champagne’, which translates to the estate harvesting and vinifying their grapes strictly from their own vineyards.  With an annual production of a mere 130,000 bottles, this size of production is absolutely tiny relative to the larger Champagne houses that can produce 10+ million bottles a year.  Quality over quantity, to say the least.

Their motto is ‘quality is my truth’, which serves as a constant motivation and firm objective for their entire staff at this highly acclaimed Champagne house.   Their integrity as a family business involves tradition and sharing the values of their prestigious terroir highlighted by quality, authenticity and a dream.

The Côte des Blancs has a shallow layer of limestone and is planted exclusively with Chardonnay grapes. Guy Charlemagne holds 37 acres of vineyards, composed mainly of vines situated in the Côte des Blancs, and more specifically, in the Mesnil sur Oger and Oger crus, located about 8 miles South of Épernay and both Grand Cru Villages.  The remainder is composed of vineyards in Mancy, Cuis, Glannes and Sézanne, therefore the total grapes grown are essentially Chardonnay (87%) and the rest Pinot Noir.

Harvesting is carried out entirely by hand and usually takes place in September when the grapes are at their perfect maturity, allowing the Chardonnay berries to create Champagne that shows finesse and delicacy.  With thermo-regulated stainless steel vats, slow fermentation takes place as the harvest is slowly transformed into wine, and where Philippe Charlemagne takes immense pleasure in monitoring fermentations.

After fermentation is completed, it is time for the blending and marrying of wines with different aromatic and organic qualities, a process tightly guarded by the Charlemagne house.  After blending, the wine is bottled and aged quietly in chalk cellars, where bottle fermentation will naturally take place in dark, constant temperature cellars and with natural humidity levels.

This is a great opportunity to try some of the small grower Champagne that is some of the highest quality Champagne at an incredible price, which equals incredible value.  Small production, focused hands on winegrowing and winemaking at its finest, from some of the greatest vineyards in the world.  These small grower Champagnes are still a bit of a secret to the average consumer, so now is the time to snag them up before the secret is out!  Cheers!

Guy Charlemagne Champagnes Available Here Now

Guy Charlemagne Mesnillesime Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut 2004 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 3 cases available
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Firm and well-knit, with a subtle streak of minerality underscoring flavors of crunchy white peach, fresh ginger and tangy currant, showing hints of pastry and spice. Clean and racy. Drink now through 2023.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $64.99
Guy Charlemagne Brut Nature NV 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
“(70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir; no dosage):  Pale gold.  Fresh lime, lemongrass and white flowers on the mineral-tinged nose.  Dry and tightly focused, offering an array of bitter citrus fruit flavors and a strong chalky quality.  Finishes with very good clarity, bite and lingering minerality.  This nervy, uncompromising Champagne would be fantastic with oysters.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $33.98
Guy Charlemagne Champagnes Arriving Friday, March 27th

Guy Charlemagne Rose Brut NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $44.99
Guy Charlemagne Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Reserve Brut NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Guy Charlemagne Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Reserve Brut NV 375ML ($27.95)
$21.90 pre-arrival special
Guy Charlemagne Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Reserve Brut NV 1.5L ($99.95)
$89 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
“(made with fruit from the Cote de Blancs, mostly from Mesnil-sur-Oger):  Light yellow.  Vibrant lemon, orange zest, jasmine and mineral scents are complemented by deeper notes of anise and buttered toast.  Spreads out nicely on the palate, offering lively citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a touch of bitter quinine.  Closes smooth and long, with echoing minerality and a touch of bitter pear skin.  There’s very good depth here, as well as verve.” ST
These are all the lowest listed prices in the USA today!