Midweek VinopolPick: 5-9-17

New Loire Arrivals; Trending Summer Wines; Zinfandel: ‘Merica’s Grape; Spain’s Top Albariño; Staff Picks; ’75 Vega Sicilia Reincarnate; Andre Clouet’s Dream Vintages; “Reminiscent of SQN” for $39


Mid-Week New Arrivals

France – Loire

Domaine Brazilier Methode Trad Brut Rose, Loire NV 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Pineau d’Aunis from 25+ year old vines grown in chalky limestone soil.
Importer note “The color is a soft pink tinged with orange. Elegant nose of intense peppery notes, along with discrete fruity scents. After a fresh attack, mouth displays a remarkable and persistent aromatic complexity, spices mingling harmoniously with ripe fruit.  They use mechanical riddling and disgorge by a machine that does not freeze the neck of the bottle, so it is considered a more traditional method of disgorging, more like hand disgorging. Dosage is 3 grams of sugar.”

Domaine Brazilier Coteaux du Vendomois Tradition Rose, Loire 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
VinopolNote: “A perineal favorite, this 100% Pineau d’Aunis rosé is all fresh cut grapefruit zest and white pepper, with pretty pink fruit and a very zippy, dry finish.  A rosé for lovers of dry, crunchy wine.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2015 Vouvray le Mont Sec is pure, precise and very flinty on the nose, which reveals a concentrated and elegant fruit with lemon and crushed stone flavors. Full-bodied, pure and piquant, with a tight and mineral structure, as well as a very persistent finish, this is a highly complex yet finesse-full Chenin with a great aging potential. I’d love to drink the 2015 today, although I know it will become much more complex over the years. The finish is enormously long and reveals fine tannins.”
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.”
John Gilman 93 points “Domaine Huët’s 2015 Le Mont Sec is deeper and more precise that the Le Haut Lieu Sec on the nose, offering up a complex and serious aromatic blend of quince, fresh pineapple, hints of honeycomb, a superb base of soil, lanolin and a touch of white flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, crisp and very long, with a rock solid core of fruit, excellent nascent complexity, fairly low acids for this bottling, but lovely focus and balance on the very long and classy backend. This has the lower acidity of the vintage, but also the superb structure of Le Mont and should age longer than most dry 2015 Vouvrays. 2016-2050. 93.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 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.”
John Gilman 95 points “The 2015 Demi-Sec from the Clos du Bourg is the lowest level of sweetness from this vineyard in the Domaine Huët stable in 2015 and the wine has magical potential. The bouquet shows a bit more botrytis influence than is the case in the superb Le Mont Demi-Sec, soaring from the glass in a gently glazed constellation of pineapple, a hint of guava, candied quince, lanolin, a touch of honeycomb, beautiful underlying minerality and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and rock solid at the core, with a lovely sense of vinosity already in evidence, despite the wine’s still youthful profile. The acids are bright and beautifully buried in the fruit, with excellent soil signature, lovely focus and grip and a very long, beautifully balanced finish. This is more overtly exotic in personality than the Le Mont Demi-Sec in this vintage, but it is hard to say that it will ultimately be superior- perhaps just different. Another great wine. 2016-2075. 95.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec 2015 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2015 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec has a creamy, intense and elegant bouquet of ripe and concentrated fruits, along with delicate earthy and lemony flavors. Full-bodied, intense and powerful, with a dense texture and firm tannins, this is a very complex and firmly structured Chenin for the next decade. The sweetness is perfectly integrated and the acidity rather mild in the first moment. The finish though is enormously vital and mineral.”
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.”
John Gilman 93+ points “The 2015 Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec is outstanding from Domaine Huët, as the touch of botrytis here gives the wine impressive concentration and aromatic lift. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a nascently complex blend of pineapple, quince, a touch of tangerine, bee pollen, chalky soil tones, lanolin and orange peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, bright and beautifully balanced, with great concentration at the core, lovely focus and grip and a very long, still primary, but very promising finish. Again, the acids are not overly snappy here, but the concentrating effect of a bit of noble rot has elevated them a touch and they are more than adequate to carry this wine far, far into the future. This has great depth without undue weight. 2016-2065. 93+.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2015 Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec is deep, rich and flinty on the nose, with caramel and vegetable flavors indicating a great complexity. Full-bodied, dense and powerful, this is highly complex and persistent, yet refreshing and transparent Chenin with a juicy fruit and lots of grip, energy and tension. Rather demure at the moment, this enormously structured wine has a great aging potential and I recommend to store it for 6-10 years, at least.”
John Gilman 95 points “The 2015 Le Mont Demi-Sec from Domaine Huët is an outstanding young wine, with even more depth and potential than the superb Le Haut Lieu Demi. The bouquet is bottomless, delivering scents of pineapple, sweet quince, incipient notes of honey, chalky minerality, a touch of lanolin, floral tones redolent of buttercups and lovely, esthery citrus elements in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, beautifully balanced and displays stunning depth at the core, with lovely acidity (particularly for the vintage!), great focus and grip and a very, very long, primary and exceptional finish. This does not have the backend cut or grip of a vintage such as 2007 or 2008, but it is going to be a great example of Domaine Huët Demi-Sec. It is deceptively easy to drink today, but its true apogee is at least a decade or more out from the vintage! 2016-2075. 95.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The apricot/golden colored 2015 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux shows a very intense, elegant and also subtle bouquet of ripe fruit intermixed with flinty aromas. Dense, piquant and concentrated on the palate, this is a great and tension-filled Chenin with grip and persistence, but also great finesse and elegance. This is a highly complex and energetic, but also light-footed and stimulating wine with lots of mouthwatering salinity. A fascinating Chenin with great aging potential.”
John Gilman 95 points “The 2015 Vouvray “Le Mont” Moelleux from Domaine Huët is yet another brilliant wine from the estate in this vintage, soaring from the glass in a nicely botrytized blend of apple, quince, honeycomb, dried flowers, a touch of dusty chalkiness, orange peel and an exotic topnote of sweet corn in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and more primary in personality than the Le Haut Lieu Moelleux, with a rock solid core, great focus and grip, lovely framing acids and impeccable balance on the very, very long and stunning finish. This is less developed than the 2015 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux, but it seems to have even superior potential for the long haul! Great juice. 2020-2085. 95.”
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.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux Clos du Bourg Premiere Trie, Loire 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
John Gilman 98 points “The Clos du Bourg” Moelleux Première Trie from Domaine Huët is another absolutely stunning young example of the 2015 vintage. The very complex bouquet wafts from the glass in one of the most beautifully-botrytized blends I have ever had the pleasure to experience, with notes of pineapple, candied quince, incipient notes of apricot, a whisper of lanolin, honeycomb, a lovely touch of soil, a bit of orange zest, incipient notes of heather and barley sugar, dried flowers, sweet corn and just a whisper of browned butter in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and alluring in its promise of stunning complexity to come, with a great core, bright, zesty acids, laser-like focus and stunning length and grip on the still youthful, but utterly suave finish. This does not have the spine of acidity for perfection, but that is really all that is missing here! Like the 2015 Le Mont Première Trie, this is delicious already, thought it really should not be touched for close to another decade! 2025-2085. 98.”
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.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The dark golden-colored 2015 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Première Trie is super ripe and intense, yet precise and mineral on the nose where orange and dusty flavors are displayed along with some caramel flavors. Intense and juicy, with a concentrated and sweet, yet vital and elegant fruit, this Chenin has vibrant acidity. This is a full-bodied, well structured, persistent and powerful Chenin with a sweetness that is almost fully integrated. The finish is enormously vivacious and firm, and reveals a stimulating minerality.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Haut Lieu Premiere Trie, Loire 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 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.”
John Gilman 95+ points “Domaine Huët’s 2015 Première Trie from the Le Haut Lieu vineyard is more primary and reserved in personality than the straight Moelleux bottling, but deeper, more pristine and ever more promising. The bouquet shows a beautiful glaze of clean botrytis in its aromatic blend of pineapple, sweet quince, tangerine, honey, a lovely cornerstone of soil, orange peel, dried flowers and a bit of smokiness in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, focused and full-bodied, with marvelous depth and balance, bright acids, great complexity to come and stunning length and bounce on the superbly energetic and seamless finish. This has a bit of that early vinosity that was found in the Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec and augurs very, very well for its future development! 2020-2085. 95+.”

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Premiere Trie, Loire 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2015 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie is super clear, ripe and aromatic on the nose, highly elegant and with lovely flinty flavors. Intense and concentrated, with great finesse and vitality, this is a highly elegant and perfectly balanced wine with a persistent grip and salinity. Great balance and harmony.”
John Gilman 97 points “The 2015 Vouvray ‘Le Mont’ Moelleux Première Trie from Domaine Huët is utterly brilliant wine, which is at least fifteen years away from truly blossoming, but is so good right now that it is going to be next to impossible not to drink this wine in the blush of youth! The stunning nose shows a gorgeous glazing of botrytis in its constellation of pineapple, honeyed quince, sweet grapefruit, lovely minerality, orange blossoms, a hint of lavender, citrus oils, dried flowers and just a whisper of the new leather that will arrive with bottle age. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and utterly seamless in balance, with a great core, laser-like focus, superb nascent complexity and lovely grip on the endless, vibrant and dancing finish. Magical juice. 2025-2085. (Sep/Oct 2016)”


Rosé! Of! The! Day!

Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone Rosé

Janasse is known as a powerhouse Chateauneuf du Pape producer, but their rosé deserves a special look.  It reminds us of Tavel, with rich fruit and good structure.  This is one to drink with anything in season now, especially sunshine.

Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
VinopolNote: A versatile rose with savory, herbal notes from a legendary Chateauneuf producer. A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault grown in clay limestone, galets and sandy soil. Practicing organic & biodynamic.
Importer note “Hand harvested and fermentation in tank, vines are between 10 and 60 years old. Wine is aged for 4 months in tank. A fruity and generous rosé with strawberry and clay aromas. Drink within the next two years.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!


Trending Summer Wines

Coto de Gomariz Blanco, Ribeiro 2014 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Case-12 Coto de Gomariz Blanco, Ribeiro 2014 750ML ($299.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “They have changed the label and image for the white 2014 Coto de Gomariz, which is mainly Treixadura with some 30% between Godello, Albariño and Loureira grown on different soils, granite, schist and clay in the village of Gomariz. This is an unoaked cuvée matured in stainless steel until the following spring when it’s bottled. The wine is very clean and expressive, serious, full of white flowers and with the fuller palate of the Treixadura, which gives it a great textured mouthfeel. Treixadura takes longer to ripen as it’s almost a tannic white variety, with a faint bitter aftertaste. This is a structured, complex white (despite being young), able to age and able to stand to powerful food, including white meat. Great showing for this wine in 2014.”

Domaine Antoine Arena ‘BG’ Bianco Gentile, Corsica 2012 750ML ($49.95) $18 special
Vinopolnote: From a miniscule, half-hectare vineyard of clay and limestone soils planted in the late-90’s. Bianco Gentile is an ancient varietal which Arena had discovered and had genetically tested; the wine is rich, complex, tangy, and broad. Salty sea air and peach fruit qualities make for great concentration and a long, lingering finish – this would be fantastic with rich seafood dishes!

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’, Maule Valley 2016 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’, Maule Valley 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special (that’s only $10.67/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The super-tasty and gulpable 2016 Aupa Pipeño is a blend of País with some 30% Carignan (and whatever is found in the old vineyards) from a slightly cooler year. It keeps the style of previous vintages with the bright red fruit and the freshness of short macerations. In the dry-farming part of Maule they only saw 30 to 50 millimeters of rain when in the central valley they got 200! These grapes were harvested before the rain anyway, but the wine retains the freshness of a cooler year, fresher than 2015, more in line with the 2014 and 2013.”

Bodega Akutain ‘Cosecha’, Rioja DOCa 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Grapelive 90 points “The Akutain Cosecha Rioja is beautifully fresh and lively with impressive purity and style. It’s mostly Tempranillo with a small amount of Garnacha that was fermented and aged in vats using native yeasts and comes from high elevation vines. Juan Peñagaricano (Akutain) is the winemaker and grower here. He is a traditionalist Rioja old school producer, heavily influenced by the grand Bodegas of Cvne and La Rioja Alta. He is tiny by comparison and handcrafts only a small amount of wine from three estate plots in Rioja Alta near Haro on clay-calcareous hillsides planted to mainly Tempranillo with Garnacha and Viura. I adore the vibrant unoaked Cosecha 2015 for its direct fruit, vibrancy and pure form. It’s a vivid terroir-driven beauty to enjoy young and often! Bright ruby and with light earthy tones, the Akutain Cosecha offers crushed blackberries, tart currants, cherry and dusty plum fruits with light mineral notes and spices with hints of chalk/stone, anise and lilacs. This is easy to love Rioja that has a bit of a Cotes du Rhone like feel, but certainly speaks of its Tempranillo character with a medium body and soft tannins. Imported by Jose Pastor Selections, Akutain is a label to look for delivering lots of value and old world charm, especially this 2015 Akutain Cosecha which will be great with a slight chill and with tapas, or summer picnics or BBQ parties as well as with almost anything you prepare on a Tuesday night. Drink now.”

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Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Rose, Rhone 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
80% Cinsault (planted in 1970), 20% Grenache. Soil is red clay and broken stones. Vineyard plot located on the lower terraced lands of the Gigondas appellation, at a spot called la Moutte.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine de Bagnol Cassis Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Domaine de Bagnol Cassis Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($79.95) $66 special
Importer Notes–“The Rosé is produced from several parcels that comprise slightly less than 7 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards are clay and limestone, situated on a gentle slope with a north – northwest exposure. The blend is Grenache (55%), Mourvedre (31%) and Cinsault (14%). This Rosé is vinified by “pressurage direct, the must is chilled to 12 degrees Celsius, the wine ferments at 18 degrees Celsius until it is completely dry; then, the wine is bottled during the first three months of the following year after a light filtration.”

Crowley Pinot Noir Rose, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
VinopolNote: Block 9 from the Four Winds Vineyard. All Pommard clone. Whole cluster, barrel fermented, full malo. Expressive with inviting acidity, notes of red fruits and dark minerality.


Zinfandel: The Historic American Grape

Zinfandel is an American treasure. Like most Americans, it came from somewhere else (Croatia), but it’s adapted itself so well that the landscape of American wine that we think of it as our great grape.  There are exensive pre-prohibition plantings of it up and down California and this old-vine material makes up the basis for the best wines from the grape.

The real joy of Zin is not only it’s Americanness, but also the variety of styles of wine you can make from it.  We’re highlighting a range of them today and they go from light, delicate wines all the way to 16%+ behemoths.  On the lighter end, the wines that Chris Brockway makes under the Broc Cellars label are light, pretty and Pinot-inspired while the Swan Zins offer low-alcohol takes that are more classic, with rich fruit and pretty floral aromatics that still scream Zinfandel.

Bedrock makes field blends that are built around Zinfandel and seem to be inspired by old-school Cabernet or Bordeaux as much as modern Zin-based wines.  They’re beautifully site specific bruisers with intensity, tannin and age-ability.  Finally, there are the wines of the modernists, like Louis Martini and Biale, wines made with high alcohols and lots of rich, plush fruit.  These, too, are ‘classic’ Zinfandel, and wines that we wanted to highlight today.  Whatever style you’re looking for, you’ll find something to enjoy in the wines we’re highlighting today:

Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special, 21 bottles available
“Dark color, ripe aromatics and juicy acidity. The nose is full of vibrant black cherry, strawberries, crème fresh, dried flowers, brown and black spices and bread pudding. The entry is soft and weighty and gives way to supple round tannins.”–Winery Notes

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Broc Cellars Vine Starr Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2014 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 12 bottles available
VinopolNote: “Chris Brockway makes Zinfandel in a style that is unique.  Light, fresh and delicate, this has the snap and spiciness of old-school Zin but with less body and more delicate fruit.  Think of it as Zinfandel for Pinot drinkers, in a way, but it still has a tone and character that make it undeniably Zin.”

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Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County 2015 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 7 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Evangelho Heritage Wine is another highlight in this lineup. Sublime aromatics, red stone fruit and finessed tannins elevate the Evangelho. Nuanced to the core, the 2015 exudes class and pedigree. The Evangelho is not as obvious as some of the other wines in the range, but it is among the most beautiful.”
Robert Parker 93 points “From Contra Costa County, the 2015 Proprietary Red Evangelho Heritage comes from directly rooted Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Palomino, Alicante and Mission all planted in the 1890s on what is basically a sandy bench. The briary intensity of the Zinfandel is well-displayed, but then the blue and black fruits seem to jump out as do some dusty/loamy soil notes, forest floor, underbrush, pepper and background smoky notes. This is rich, floral, heady, intriguing and provocative. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.”

Bedrock Wine Co. ‘The Bedrock Heritage’ Wine, Sonoma Valley 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 17 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2013 Bedrock Heritage Wine is one of the most intriguing wines in the range. Smoke, cedar, tobacco and a host of savory notes meld together in a powerful yet nuanced wines built on delineation and energy. Even with all of its intensity, the 2013 remains lifted, floral and light on its feet for such a big wine. This is by far the most polished and refined wine I have tasted from the Bedrock Vineyard, where the wines have often been much riper and bigger.” AG

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Bedrock Wine Co. ‘The Bedrock Heritage’ Wine, Sonoma Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 32 bottles available
Robert Parker 96 points “Possibly the flagship wine is the 2015 Proprietary Red The Bedrock Heritage. This ancient vineyard is planted with 27 different varieties, so I won’t even begin to list them, as that is a book in itself. This is Rhône Valley-like, with notes of Mediterranean herbs, blackberries, blueberries, loamy soil notes, incense, creosote, steak tartare and pepper followed by a wine of great intensity – built like a skyscraper, with layers of fruit and extraction. It is a sensational effort, super-complex, and best drunk over the next decade.”

Bedrock Wine Co. Lorenzo’s Heritage, Dry Creek Valley 2014 750ML ($59.95) $44 special, 7 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Lorenzo’s Heritage Wine exudes Dry Creek intensity, with searing tannin and vibrant acidity that support a core of blue and purplish-hued fruits. This powerful, virile wine needs time in the bottle, as it is raw and not fully formed today. Still, I find it absolutely compelling.”

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Hartford Family Winery Hartford Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2013 750ML ($37.95) $27.50 special, 13 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2013 Zinfandel Russian River Valley is an attractive, boisterous wine to drink now and over the next few years. Dark red cherry, raspberry, spice, and mint inform the juicy finish. The 2013 is gracious, inviting and pretty much impossible to resist.” AG

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Joseph Swan Vineyards Bastoni Vineyards Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 33 bottles available
“Located in what I refer to as the Riebli Valley, just a few miles east of Hwy 101, this sight has been farmed by the Bastoni family since 1906. Martha Bastoni and her husband, Russ Messanna currently farm it. Although the old vines are gone, the replants are going strong and are meticulously cared for: Deep ruby color. Although we have only been making wine from this vineyard for three years, it exhibits what I have come to view as a classic Bastoni nose of deep blue tinged fruit, like a cross between boysenberries and blueberries. There is also a slight hint of cooking spice, perhaps cardamom, and much less pepper than we see in the lower Russian River Valley zins. Good but not overwhelming tannin and acidity and medium to full body.”–Winery Notes

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Joseph Swan Vineyards Mancini Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 25 bottles available
“Blackberry, white pepper floral hints, bit of lushness. Complex balanced, elegant. A classic old style zinfandel made with new age sensibilities. And, it is under 13% alcohol!”–Winery Notes

Joseph Swan Vineyards Ziegler Vineyard Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 24 bottles available
“Boysenberry and the usual black pepper aromas are there but there is also cardamom, a bit of allspice and dried rose petal. It is super complex. At only 13% alcohol, almost as low as Mancini, it is not lacking at all for body. Our favorite Zeigler in a long while.”–Winery Notes

Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Vineyard Gnarly Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley 2014 ($54.95) $41.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Robert Parker 95 points “Another fabulous wine, although there’s not much of it, is the 2014 Zinfandel Gnarly Vine Monte Rosso Vineyard from this fabulous first-growth vineyard in Sonoma. This is a blend of 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah aged in 66% new French oak, 16% new American oak and the rest used. Only 500 cases were made of this whopper, which is full-bodied, has great intensity with a stunning nose of black fruits, pepper, Mediterranean herbs and spice. Good natural acidity gives focus and vibrancy to this wine that comes from vines as old as 120 years. This is a full-bodied classic Zinfandel at its very best, from one of the great vineyards in California. Finished alcohol is 16.2%, so this is a heck of a mouthful.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


The Top Albariño in Spain:

Alberto Nanclares Goes For The Title

Albariño is a grape that we (like most) think of as a light, simple fruity wine and that’s not incorrect.  Occasionally, though, we taste an example which is so different and transcendant that it’s almost as if it’s made from a different grape.  The wine we’re offering today, the “Soverribas” single-vineyard bottling from Bodegas Alberto Nanclares, is in that pantheon (with wines like Do Ferreiro’s Cepas).

Unlike your garden variety Albariño, this wine has intense minerality and a saltiness that reminds you of the cool Atlantic air blowing into the heartland of Rias Biaxas.  It’s rich but not forced, with a natural gravitas about it.  It’s a little Chablis, a little Cote d’Or and a little Muscadet combined with the soul of a Galacian farmer.  It arrives Friday and there isn’t a lot of it, so if this intrigues you, jump on it now.

Arriving Friday:

Bodegas Nanclares ‘Soverribas de Nanclares’, Rias BaixasS 2015 750ML ($37.95) $33 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points “The Soverribas bottling hails from a single small vineyard in the village of Meaño, planted on clay and granite, and this cuvée is fermented and raised in a twenty-two hundred liter, ten year-old foudre, with indigenous yeast fermentation and a full year on its fine lees prior to bottling. The 2015 Soverribas is the deepest and most complex of these three excellent Albariños from Señor Nanclares, offering up a fine bouquet of bread fruit, tart pear, complex soil tones, gentle leesiness, a touch of fresh almond, ocean breeze and a touch of orange peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, zesty and beautifully complex, with a great core, fine focus and grip and a very long, perfectly balanced and very intensely flavored finish. This is extremely easy to drink today, but it is still a puppy and a handful of years in the cellar are going to work their magic and produce a reference point bottle of Albariño! Can I order my clams now?”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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Staff Picks

Andre Dezat Pouilly-Fume

One of the oldest families in Sancerre, making traditional and elegant wines we can all drink without hesitation. If you have been fortunate enough to have a sunny spring that has brought an abundance of early vegetables to your table, or perhaps you’ve secured a source of spring run salmon, Pouilly-Fume from Dezat should be the white you reach for – Sauvignon blanc showing green apple, tangerine(?), pear, a snap of sea floor minerality and a very subtle whiff of smoke. The way the shimmery acidity brings a rich piece of fatty salmon to life can not be beat. This will continue pairing well with seasonal dishes through August. It’s versatile on the table, but delicious in your glass.-Andy

Andre Dezat Pouilly Fume 2015 750ml ($24.95) $18.80 special, 24 bottles available
Winery note “Our Pouilly Fumé originates from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. It is made from a blend of grapes from three terroirs: the marl soils referred to as “little oysters”, Villiers limestone and siliceous-clayey soils. This blend provides aromatic complexity characterized by a range of aromatic notes which include citrus, peaches, pears and acacia.”

Plouzeau Chinon Rose 2016

A friend who works in Paris asked me my favorite wine with oysters. I immediately thought of Muscadet, but was chided. She poured me a blind taste and offered up a Kumamoto. The wine was definitely spicer, but still bright, floral, citrusy, and had a similar minerality. The oyster came alive too, and I was curious to learn that it was a Chinon rose from Marc Plouzeau that was so vibrant. I love Cabernet Franc for its variety of styles, but especially the floral, earthy notes from Chinon. The rose takes a dash of white pepper and offers up strawberries, hibiscus, and a refreshing chalky acidity that lives on. Make no mistake, you can’t hide the fact that this is Cab Franc, but the spiciness of the wine is what makes it unique. This has become my go-to surprise wine for seafood dinners with friends.-Andy

Plouzeau Chinon Rose 2016 750ml ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles available
Winery Note: 100% Cabernet Franc from 35 year old vines grown on river gravel and pebbly soil. Sustainably farmed.


’75 Vega Sicilia Reincarnate?

John Gilman Loves the GGV Especial

To those with classically minded palates, John Gilman’s View From The Cellar is a publication that can serve as a guiding light. Though he’s less well known than Robert Parker or Antonio Galloni, his remarkably consistent palate (which leans heavily away from Parker’s high-alcohol, new oak fueled favorites) has been a guiding light wine consumers that want wines influenced more by tradition than trends.

That’s why when we read his review of the “G.G.V.” Riserva Especial (Goyo Garcia Viadero), we knew we had to source some of the wine.  Made from 100% Tempranillo in Ribera del Duero and aged for five years in old casks before bottling, it represents a certain attitude about how classic wine should taste and we love it.  It’s powerful and elegant at the same time—it manages to both grab your attention and be subtle about it.  If you love classic Bordeaux or wines like Vega Sicilia, this is your wine.

Arriving Late May:

Goyo Garcia Viadero “Reserva Especial GGV” 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 96 points “The Reserva Especial bottling from Goyo Garcia is aged fully five years in older French casks prior to bottling and is a very rare wine- in fact, this is the first time I have ever tasted it or even heard of its existence! I am not sure from which vineyard the Reserva Especial hails, but the wine is flat out brilliant, soaring from the glass in a refined and vibrant blaze of black plums, sweet Cuban cigars, black cherries, coffee bean, beautifully complex soil tones, incipient nuttiness, touch of lavender, gentle cedar and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with great depth in the mid-palate, bright acids, modest tannins and superb length and grip on the impeccably well-balanced finish. This has decades of life still ahead of it, but at age seven, the wine is already very, very easy to drink! It reminds me a bit of the 1975 Vega Sicilia U´nico when that wine was younger, but obviously with some Albillo in the cuve´e to add bounce and brightness. A brilliant wine!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Lost in the Dream

Clouet’s Newest Masterwork

Andre Clouet is a Champagne house known for many things, chief among them being some of the best values in the appellation.  The wines they’re making are fantastic, from their base non-vintage blend all the way through the prestige “1911” cuvee which is perpetually one of the best under $100 Champagnes out there. The wines, on the whole, tend to be Pinot based, which makes our offering today a bit of a departure: it’s 100% Chardonnay.

Andre Clouet calls this new release “Dream Vintage” and like everything else they make, it’s a steal for the price.  Made with Grand Cru fruit, it’s bottled a year after vintage and then disgorged to order.  Let that sink in for a second.  The wines have been on the lees for a long time and well, they’re from great vintages to begin with.  The 2006 will be classically proportioned, with a balance of richness and elegance buttressed by the extended time on the lees.  The 2009 in a powerful wine with lots of opulence—it’s a wine that jumps out and tells you how special it is. The only catch with these are the quantities involved: we won’t have these around for long.

Arriving Friday:

Andre Clouet Dream Vintage Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged on order.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Andre Clouet Dream Vintage Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged on order.

This is the only listing in the USA today!


“Reminiscent of Sine Qua Non”

From France For $39

We don’t need to say too much about this one.  96 points from The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnick, who knows a thing or two about Rhone and Rhone inspired wines.  If he thinks it tastes like SQN, we’ll defer to him.

Arriving in the Fall:

Chateau de L’Ou ‘Secret de Schistes ‘ Rouge, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Chateau de L’Ou ‘Secret de Schistes ‘ Rouge, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2015 750ML ($549.95) $419 pre-arrival special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points “Saturated black in color, the 2015 IGP Côtes Catalanes Secret de Schistes is reminiscent of Manfred Krankl’s SQN Syrahs with its deep, unctuous, layered profile. Cassis, chocolate, licorice, smoked herbs and ample minerality all emerge from this full-bodied, sexy beauty that just begs to be drunk. Possessing ripe tannin, a stacked mid-palate and a great finish, it will be better in a year or two and keep for a decade.”JD

This is the only listing in the USA today!


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