Midweek Addition 1-15-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Featured New Arrival
Magnums of ’00 Duval-Leroy Femme 

Collector’s Corner
A Tale of Two Canons (At Pre-Tariff Prices)

Cavalli’s Wine of the Gods

First Offer: Terre Nere’s Single Vineyard Wines

C.V.N.E. Stands for Excellent Rioja

Trending Wines


Featured New Arrival

Magnums of Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne

True to its name, Duval-Leroy’s ‘Femme de Champagne” is the brainchild of Carol Duval-Leroy and Sandrine Logette-Jardin. The former is one of Champagne’s few female Presidents, the latter one of its few female Head Winemakers. This is their rarest bottling, only made in the most spectacular years (just three vintages were made in the 1990s), and we’re thrilled to have sourced a limited quantity from the underrated 2000 vintage. 

It was a year that delighted Duval-Leroy with top quality fruit and the decision to make “Femme” was easy. When you taste this wine will understand why. Long known for elegance and finesse, this bottle exemplifies Duval-Leroy’s house style. This is not the loudest voice at your dinner party, but instead the most compelling, with silky textures and rich, understated brioche tones.

Speaking of dinner parties, these beautiful magnums would provide the perfect centerpiece at your next celebration—and at a price similar to what you’d pay for a 750ml bottle of other top Tête de cuvees.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Only thirty-six magnums available
Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne 2000 1.5L ($349.95) $299 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“A rich version, with beautiful integration and mouthwatering acidity that seems to amplify the flavors of toasted raisin bread, black currant, candied orange zest and salted almond. Fresh and focused, showing hints of oyster shell and spice on the lasting finish.”

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

Other Incredible Champagne, Just Arrived

Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 2000 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 2000 1.5L ($599.95) $499 special

This is the only listing in the USA today!

De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Extra Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($219.95) $189 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Harmonious, with fine intensity, offering rich notes of spice cake, toasted almond, dried cherry, grilled plum and smoky mineral. Almost velvety in texture, with juicy acidity that brings you back for another sip. Delicious. Drink now through 2022. 54 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($149.95) $128 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“This well-aged wine from a top Champagne vintage is just now ready to drink after 12 years. It has a touch of toast, but it’s the rich, complex texture and fine structure that set it apart. It’s not a dry wine, it feels soft. It is so well integrated, elegant with hints of apples, a layer of minerality and still-fresh final acidity.”
James Suckling 94 points “A beautifully seductive and creamy nose with plenty of honey and clotted cream across lemon and grapefruit. Some white peach too, really alluring. The palate’s nicely orchestrated and balanced; it builds in stages and delivers pithy lemon and grapefruit flavor amid assertive driving acidity, good depth and concentration. Another great ’02. Drink now or in five or more years.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2002 Cuvée Louise Brut is dressed in an intense citrus colored robe and offers – as if it was a Pfalz Riesling – ripe yellow fruit aromas of pineapples, oranges and ripe peaches along with noble yeasty layers in the background. Full-bodied, rich and fresh on the palate, Madame Louise is a firm and almost mineral structured, persistent Champagne of complexity, finishing with a refreshing citric aroma as well as a stimulating salinity and purity. Good length and balance.”


Collector’s Corner

A Tale of Two Canons

(At Pre-Tariff Prices)

French wine is awash in similarly named estates from the same region, sometimes with a familial connection, sometimes without. There’s no connection between Chateau Canon and Ch. Canon la Gaffeliere other than both make outstanding wines from St. Emilion and we restocked on top vintages (and they both have “Canon” in the name, which occasionally leads to confusion).  If you’re looking for top flight Bordeaux from a great vintage (at pre-tariff pricing), look no further than our restocks of the two Canons.

Chateau Canon is one of the Great Names of St. Emilion, a top-class collectible producer that has a track record of producing some of the absolute finest wines in Bordeaux. The 2015 we just restocked received perfect scores from Antonio Galloni, Neal Martin and James Suckling, the latter of whom named it as his wine of the year.  Galloni called “one of the wines of the vintage” and went on to say the wine is “simply extraordinary in every way.”  Neal Martin was equally effusive in his praise, declaring it “heads and shoulders above almost every Saint Émilion this vintage” and “a benchmark for this historic estate.”  

Canon la Gaffeliere, by contrast, is a bit of an upstart in the region.  The von Neipperg family bought the estate in the late 60’s and by the early 70’s had committed to revitalizing a historic underperformer.  In terms of pure vineyard potential, it’s hard to find a better spot to grow grapes in St. Emilion—within sight of Ch. Ausone from parts of the property and on the slopes of the plateau, perfect for drainage and exposure.  Stephan von Neipperg makes these wines with immense care and the goal of a polished style—perfect if you want a top-flight Bordeaux that shows well young.  The ’15 was rewarded by critics, as well, with Antonio Galloni calling it “captivating in the glass” and “deep, powerful and explosive” while giving it a 97 point score.  The Wine Advocate (97pts) and Wine Spectator (96pts) scored it similarly, continuing the estate’s rise to the true elite of the Right Bank.

We recently restocked these beautiful, powerful bottles at pre-tarrif pricing.  There’s a good chance we might look back at 2015 and 16 as the last vintages before the prices of these wines exploded again (ie: doubled) and have gone long accordingly.  You should too.

In Stock Now:

#1 Wine of the Year – James Suckling
Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($399.95) $349 special
Antonio Galloni 100 points
“From the very beginning, the 2015 Canon has made an eloquent case for itself as one of the wines of the vintage. Multiple tastings from bottle only confirm what several early tastings hinted at: the 2015 Canon is simply extraordinary in every way. Sumptuous and exotic, with no hard edges and exceptional balance, the 2015 grabs hold of all the senses and never lets up. A rush of red fruit intermingled with floral notes, spice and smoke notes effortlessly runs up the wine’s vertical structure as the 2015 thrills with every twist and turn. The 2015 Canon is a rare wine that is both hedonistic and intellectual – well, maybe it is a bit more hedonistic-leaning. It doesn’t matter. Don’t miss it. This 2015 is masterpiece from General Manager Nicolas Auderbert and his team at Canon.”
Neal Martin 100 points “The 2015 Canon was a benchmark wine that seemed to revitalize this historic estate. I was crossing my fingers that it would not disappoint in bottle and I am glad to say that it delivers the goods. It has a very intense bouquet (just as it showed out of barrel) with laser-like precision offering wild strawberry, raspberry preserve, wet limestone and hints of truffle. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, clean and fresh with pure black and red fruit whose every atom appears infused with minerals. The mouth is tingling long after the wine has exited and your brain is thinking…when is the next sip coming? It is frankly heads and shoulders above almost every Saint Émilion this vintage, to reaffirm, a benchmark for this historic estate that will give pleasure to many over the coming years. Astonishing.”
James Suckling 100 points “Seductive. The nose draws you in deep: It’s like staring into a well of pristine dark cherries, dark plums, blackberries and mulberries. All the oak is perfectly subsumed. The palate’s flawless with immense depth and power and it’s so balanced as to appear to float. Immaculate fresh dark-berry and plum flavors. Silky and deep, ribbon-like finish. Perfect. Best from 2022.”

Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2016 375ML ($119.95) $99 special
Half Bottle
Wine Advocate 98+ points
“Composed of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc and aged for 18 months in 70% new French barriques, the 2016 Canon is medium to deep garnet-purple in color, and—WOW—it opens with the most stunning perfume of violets, red roses and kirsch, giving way to a core of black cherry preserves, chocolate box, licorice, warm plums and Chinese five spice plus an earthy waft of underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely filled with expressive, perfumed black berry layers accented by lively red fruits and exotic spices, supported by impressively fine-grained tannins and fantastic tension, finishing very long with jaw-dropping energy. Tasted three times, I had one opportunity to taste the 2015 and 2016 Canon side by side. While I love the bold, rich, seductive nature of the 2015, this 2016 kicks it up a notch in terms of polish, precision, depth and persistence. Most notably, the superbly ripe, exquisitely fine-grained tannins on this 2016 bring to the table a whole other level of sophistication. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “This wine is impressive both from its structure and its fruit, one of the stars of the vintage in Saint-Émilion. It has great weight, concentration as well as style and aging potential. The ripe fruit shines through the structure, promising an elegant maturity. Drink from 2025.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 97 points “The 2016 Canon has the unenviable task of following the astonishing 2015, and it does a damn good job, even if it doesn’t reach the same ethereal heights. There is a pleasing strictness and poise on the nose; this is less immediate than the 2015, yet intellectual, a Canon that expresses its terroir rather than tons of fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, a smooth texture and a slightly savory but persistent finish, which feels a little plusher than the 2015, implying that this might drink a little earlier. But there is unquestionably immense breeding locked into this rejuvenated Saint-Émilion, which is now firmly ensconced among the top-flight Right Banks.”
James Suckling 97 points “Complex aromas of blackberries, iodine, oyster shell and wet earth. Ever so perfumed. Full-bodied, yet reserved and tight with very silky tannins that are energized and minerally. Takes off at the end. The freshness lifts it. Try after 2024.”

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

Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($159.95) $135 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Intense aromas of minerals, chalk, bright cherries and stones. Full-bodied, tight and silky; very linear. Like a straight shot. Give it three to four years to soften. Vibrant is the word.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2014 Canon has an intense bouquet with blackberry, raspberry, briary and light tobacco scents, gradually gaining more precision with aeration yet remaining classic in style. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, harmonious and poised with a structured yet precise finish that is pure class. Perhaps you might argue that it lacks some charm at this early stage but at the same time, I am fascinated to see how it will age. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “A fresh, pure style, with lots of floral and black tea notes out front, followed by a tightly focused beam of red currant, plum and raspberry coulis flavors. The finish sports a mouthwatering chalky spine and lovely perfume that should develop more with time. For fans of minerality. Best from 2022 through 2032. 6,665 cases made.”

Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($159.95) $138 special
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2015 Canon La Gaffelière is deep, powerful and explosive. Seamless and captivating in the glass, it possesses magnificent richness, volume and intensity in every dimension. The Cabernet Franc, usually such a strong signature, is nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the Merlot fruit. Espresso, mocha, licorice and plum infuse the racy finish. The 2015 is going to need the better part of a decade to be expressive. Tasted two times.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Composed of 55% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged in French oak, 55% new, for 17 months, the 2015 Canon la Gaffeliere features a deep garnet-purple color and a cedar-laced nose to begin, giving way to fragrant underlying scents of roses and violets with a core of crushed black currants, blackberries and Bing cherries plus hints of fallen leaves and dusty earth. Medium to full-bodied, the seductively perfumed red and black fruit fills the mouth, framed with plush tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing very long and minerally.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Still youthfully tight and backward, with a well-roasted frame of alder and juniper holding sway for now, but the core of cassis, blackberry and plum fruit waits in reserve, showing prodigious depth. When the toast and fruit melds, the backdrop of tobacco, singed iron and chalky minerality will get a turn to show. There’s a lot here. Built for the cellar. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2025 through 2040. 6,250 cases made.”
James Suckling 96 points “The aromas of violets and rose petals are prevalent here with blue fruits as well. Full body, integrated and firm tannins and a long finish. Structured yet fine and shows such finesse. Give it five or six years to come together.”

#7 Wine Spectator Wine Of The Year 2017
Chateau Canon la Gaffeliere, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“One of the wines of the vintage, the 2014 Canon La Gaffelière is explosive, lifted and aristocratic in its breeding. Bright Cabernet Franc aromatics give the wine its signature lift and precision. Raspberry jam, rose petal, mint, blood orange, tobacco and pomegranate build slowly on the palate, leading to a super-expressive, finely knit finish. Powerful yet also impeccably refined, the 2014 has it all. The 2014 is 55 % Merlot, 37 % Cabernet Franc and 8 % Cabernet Sauvignon. Don’t miss it. Tasted two times.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This cuts a wide swath, with mouthwatering tobacco and warm ganache notes leading the way, followed by a wave of fig, blackberry and black currant preserves. Shows remarkable definition already, even though the structure is strident. Tempting now, but just put this in the back of the cellar. Best from 2020 through 2035. 4,083 cases made.”

Cavalli’s Wine of the Gods
Roberto Cavalli, international fashion icon, owns a top-end winery in Tuscany.  Named Tenuta degli Dei (Estate of the Gods), he (and his son, who’s the winemaker) aim to make the best possible Super Tuscan style wines out of their beautiful vineyard in the Tuscan hills.  As you might expect from someone known for attention to detail and a strong sense of perfectionism, these are immaculately made wines.  No expense is spared in their production and the resulting wines are bold, dense and textured.

We’ve secured a parcel of the excellent 2015 which just arrived.  This is as good a wine as you’d expect from any Super Tuscan under $100, but it just so happens to be under $50—a steal if we ever saw one.  This is a bold, flashy wine that’s an absolute treat—in other words, exactly what you’d expect from Cavalli.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Cavalli Tenuta degli Dei Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Case-6 Cavalli Tenuta degli Dei Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($299.95) $238 special (that’s only $39.67/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points
“Creme de cassis, freshly picked blueberries, crushed violets, hot stones, dried sage and thyme, charcoal and bark. Full body, tightly worked tannins and a long yet tight finish. The palate shows real transparency and a sense of minerality in addition to the stellar depth you would expect. Drink in 2022.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Tenuta Degli Dei is one of the best editions of this wine I can remember tasting. Bold, racy and exuberant with tremendous depth, the 2015 has a lot to recommend it. The blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc works very well in this ample, large-scaled wine. A generous amount of Petit Verdot (35%) helps keep the flavors fresh and vibrant in this super-expressive red blend from the Cavalli family.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


First Offer

Terre Nere’s Single Vineyard Wines

More than any other winery, Terre Nere is responsible for the modern interest in wines from Etna.  With vineyards in most of the historically important crus of the slopes of Etna and very old vines, Terre Nere was the first to bottle single-parcel wines from the indigenous variety Nerello and brought international focus and admiration to this once-overlooked region. The high altitude and dark volcanic soils help yield distinctive wines from the indigenous grape varieties and the winery hews to a very traditional model inspired by Burgundy.  We’ve just received our allocations for the stunning 2017 single vineyard reds and are excited to offer them today (as well as the rich and powerful ’18 whites).  2017 looks to be a highly successful vintage on Etna—more vibrant and aromatic than 2015, but with more richness than the 2016’s which preceded it. Lovers of Burgundy will find even more to like in this set of wines than usual.

Marc de Grazia started the Terre Nere winery in 2002 from 30 hectares of vineyards divided in 10 parcels over four crus.  The vines are between 50 to 100 years old except for 6 hectares of recently planted vines and several self-rooted plots over 130 years old that are famous for surviving phylloxera.  The red wines are 100% Nerello Mascalese, a variety known for producing wines of great elegance and the whites are based on Carricante a grape that gives mineral, piercing wines.

As for the individual wines…The soil in the Calderara Sottana cru is covered in large black volcanic pumice and is the stoniest cru.  The wine offers floral, spice and leather aromas.  The two vineyards composing the Guardiola cru stand at the highest elevation on Mount Etna, and are quite possibly the highest in Europe.  It has poor soil composed of volcanic sand, basalt and ash.  The vineyard is steeply terraced, necessitating manual labor and harvest.  The wine is lean and elegant.  Santo Spirito is adjacent to Guardiola but with black volcanic ash soil.  The Etna Rosso Prephylloxera “La Vigna di Don Pepino” is named for the grape grower who worked the parcel for over 70 years.  Grazia believes the vineyard survived and thrived only through Don Pepino’s meticulous care.

Arriving ETA January 24th:

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Feudo di Mezzo’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Ripe black raspberry and blackberry fruit is accented by wild sage and mandarin orange peel hints in this minerally, medium-bodied red. Plush tannins emerge and become firmer on the finish. Drink now through 2025. 600 cases made, 400 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 90+ points “Deep red. Ripe red cherry and raspberry aromas are complicated by musk and earth tones. Then rich, ripe and increasingly tannic in the mouth, with a mouthcoating quality on the long but slightly drying finish. Showcases the rich, forward personality of Quadro delle Rose wines in most vintages, but this seems to have slightly tougher tannins than most I remember at a similar stage of development. Closes long and clean. Try cellaring this to allow the tannins to smoothen a bit.”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Guardiola’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points
“Luminous crimson color. Offers minty red fruit and minerals on the captivating nose. Full, dense and rich, with multilayered flavors of red cherry, minerals, exotic spices and aromatic herbs. Finishes long with building mouthcoating tannins and with some alcohol-derived heat. The nose takes longer to open up than in the other 2017 Terre Nere wines, so decant an hour ahead (at least) prior to serving. Better still, cellar it for another five to six years for maximum enjoyment.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Dense and chewy tannins are swathed in a finely meshed range of black cherry, baked fig, loamy earth and rose hip notes in this expressive, medium- to full-bodied red. A lovely skein of warm spice unravels on the lingering finish. Best from 2021 through 2029. 400 cases made, 250 cases imported.”

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

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Moganazzi’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92+ points
“Bright red-ruby. Clean, very mineral and floral, with juicy red/black cherry aromas and flavors. A refined, mineral wine that is very well balanced and precise. This clocks in at 14.5% alcohol, but doesn’t taste warm at all. In fact, I like this wine’s austere, mineral-tinged, long finish. Will likely improve in the bottle.”

Only 12 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘San Lorenzo’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“There’s a lovely sweetness to the dried raspberry and strawberry fruit in this lithe, elegant, medium-bodied red, with supple tannins and juicy acidity forming a finely woven frame for the fruit and fragrant tea rose, sandalwood, anise and mineral notes. A stunner. Drink now through 2029. 750 cases made, 230 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92+ points “Vivid deep red. Perfumed sweet spice nuances complicate ripe red cherry and strawberry nectar aromas and flavors. Big, dense and juicy, with mounting tannins providing support to the ripe red fruit flavors. Very ripe and downright luscious, with a fruit-forward personality that will make this a crowd pleaser.”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Calderara Sottana’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A fragrant red, offering lilac and sandalwood notes that lace the ripe raspberry, iron and Earl Grey tea flavors, echoing on the finish. Deftly knit, with a sense of grace and poise to the interaction of the fine-grained tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Drink now through 2030. 1,300 cases made, 1,000 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 91+ points “Bright deep red. Flinty floral nuances complement red cherry and herbal notes on the enticing nose. Bright, juicy and round on entry, then showcases a stiff tannic spine and building alcohol-derived warmth with red cherry nectar and smoky flavors lingering nicely. Repeating, vibrant red cherry and sweet spice notes add complexity on the close. Currently lacks a little balance: I would have scored this higher if it didn’t taste so hot (the bottle’s label declares 14.5% alcohol).”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Prephylloxera ‘La Vigna di Don Peppino’ Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A graceful, medium-bodied version, with silky tannins and a pleasing juiciness to the array of plumped cherry, stemmy herb and tangy mineral flavors, accented by fragrant graphite, sandalwood and ground pink pepper notes. Finely knit and focused, with the tannins firming up on the long, spicy finish. Drink now through 2032. 400 cases made, 300 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points “Bright red. Pungent flinty and floral nuances to the red cherry and raspberry jam aromas on the inviting nose. Enters rich, dense and almost sweet, with very precise sweet spice and red fruit flavors lingering nicely. An underlying green note remains in the background and adds complexity. Finishes with noteworthy but balanced tannic bite and plenty of freshness on the long juicy finish. A very complex wine with a beautiful nose; the tannins though are on the tough side as in many of these Terre Nere 2017 reds. A very good wine of noteworthy promise, my suggestion is to cellar this for another 4-6 years for full enjoyment.”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Vigne Niche’ Calderara Sottana Etna Bianco, Sicily 2018 750ML ($59.95) $45 pre-arrival special
No reviews yet for the 2018 vintage. The following review is for the 2017 vintage:
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94 points “Vibrant deep yellow. Deep, round and complex, this enters sweet then turns mineral and steely, with refined lemony, apple and chamomile flavors. Finishes long, very austere and stony, but manages the neat trick of tasting luscious and ripe at the same time. Deeper and more complex than the other 2017 whites I tasted from Terre Nere this year. This 100% Carricante, mostly from 60 years old vines, may well be the best white wine from owner Marc de Grazia’s Terre Nere estate I have ever tried at a similar stage of development.”

Only 18 bottles available
Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Vigne Niche’ Santo Spirito Bianco Etna, Sicily 2018 750ML ($59.95) $45 pre-arrival special
No reviews yet for the 2018 vintage. The following review is for the 2017 vintage:
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93 points “Luminous golden-tinged straw yellow. Minerals and a hint of white flowers on the saline accented nose. Rich round and smooth, with very deep, complex flavors of honey and pomaceous orchard fruit. Finishes long and vibrant, this is absolutely a knockout. 100% Carricante, the vines of which range from 7 to 60 years of age (but De Grazia uses the youngest vines for the entry-level Etna Bianco blend).”


C.V.N.E. Stands for Excellent Rioja

Looking for absolutely classical Rioja (white and red) at outstanding pricing?  Look for four letters: CVNE. CVNE (or Cune) was founded in 1879 by brothers Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa after Raimundo moved to the town of Haro (also of Lopez de Heredia fame) for his health. They set up the winery partially as a negociant, much like Bordeaux. Fast forward to today and the family (down the female line) is on its fifth generation of owning and operating the house—still making excellent, classical wines at more than fair prices.

The ‘Monopole’ blanco was the first registered white wine brand in Spain and though it once was made with the addition of sherry, today it is all stainless steel aged white wine made from the Viura grape. The Monopole “Classico,” recently introduced, is a return to that old-school, mixed white style.

The two reds have quite the following and deliver not only in flavor but also in value.  We’re featuring two reds today, the 2013 Reserva and the 2015 Imperial.  Both wines are beautiful bottles to drink now, but the Imperial will age gracefully for a decade or so if you have the patience.  We’ve got great pricing on these wines and look forward to putting them in your hands and glasses.

Arriving Friday:

CVNE ‘Cune’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 CVNE ‘Cune’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($279.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points
“Brilliant ruby. Energetic, mineral-accented raspberry and cherry aromas reveal hints of rose, vanilla and woodsmoke. Silky and expansive on entry, offering nicely concentrated red fruit flavors that gain energy and a smoky mineral quality with air. Floral pastille and cracked pepper notes linger on the juicy, focused finish, which shows very good clarity and sneaky, fine-grained tannins. Much of the juice that would normally go into the high-end Imperial bottlings wound up in here this vintage.”

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

CVNE ‘Imperial’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points
“A tight and linear red now with very long and direct palate that is driven and intense. Medium to full body, bright blackberry and mineral character. Just a baby now. Give it three to four years to soften. A beauty. Try in 2021.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Saturated, brilliant ruby. Explosive, seductively perfumed aromas of dark berry preserves, cherry-cola, incense, floral oils and vanilla, along with suggestions of mocha, licorice and woodsmoke. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering intense blackberry, cherry preserve and violet pastille flavors and allspice, coconut and star anise flourishes. Distinctly rich yet energetic as well, finishing with resonating floral and spice character, well-integrated tannins and superb mineral-driven persistence.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The analysis of the 2015 Imperial Reserva is almost identical to those of the Viña Real Reserva from the same vintage, but the profile is quite different. This is the more serious Haro-style red, and it has slightly darker fruit and a medium to full-bodied palate with very good grip, powerful but with great balance. The blend is also similar—85% Tempranillo and the rest split between Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha—but these are grapes from Rioja Alta fermented with yeasts selected from their own vineyards. The wine matured in French and American oak barrels for two years. The wines are different, but the quality level is similar. 150,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in June 2018.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This balanced red shows muscle without losing grace. Black cherry, leafy, forest floor and toasty notes mingle over well-integrated tannins in a silky texture, with fresh acidity giving way to a floral, minerally finish. Not showy, but harmonious. Drink now through 2030. 12,500 cases made, 1,500 cases imported.”

CVNE ‘Monopole’ Blanco, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 89 points
“There are two versions of the dry white, the young, fresh and fruit-driven 2018 Monopole and another one they call “clásico,” which is released later and has some Manzanilla de Sanlúcar added to it. This fruity white is also floral and light and was produced with Viura (a.k.a. Macabeo) grapes that fermented in stainless steel at low temperature with dry yeasts to keep the primary aromas. It’s from a fresh year with less ripeness and alcohol (perhaps more noticeable in the reds), and this continues with the profile of previous years. The source of the grapes is quite stable, so variations are due to the climate of the year. 400,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2018.”

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

CVNE ‘Monopole Clasico’ Blanco, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 93 points
“This wine is so unique. A rich and vivid white with sliced apple, pear and dried pineapple character. Hints of salt. Full body, very flavorful. Lovely finish. 15% Manzanilla in blend. Drink now.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 92 points “The second vintage of the recovered traditional white, the 2015 Monopole Clásico is Viura with a good dollop of Manzanilla Sherry from Sanlúcar that adds biological notes and hints of nuts and spices. 2015 is the best vintage in recent years, with good quality and quantity, quite homogeneous wines from an early harvest. This wine matured in well-seasoned, neutral 300-, 400- and 500-liter oak barrels for eight months and was then blended with the Manzanilla. This is the way Monopole was always produced decades ago. CVNE’s classical winemaker, Ezequiel García “El Brujo,” died in August 2017, and they added a black band on a corner of the label as an homage to him. It’s quite lean and at first you don’t notice the biological aromas much; in wines like this that character tends to grow with time in bottle, and it does appear with time in the glass as the wine breathes. It’s subtle and with some sharpness and chalky sensations on the palate, very tasty and long. This should develop nicely in bottle. 30,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017.”

Trending Wines

99-100 points and fully deserving.
Continuum Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($279.95) $219 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Continuum Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 2016 375ML ($149.95) $119 special, 16 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 99 points
“The 2016 Proprietary Red is blended of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot and 5% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it emits an incredible array of seductive floral notes—violets, lavender and rose hip tea—with a core of warm cassis, redcurrant jelly, dark chocolate, cigar box, tapenade and crushed rocks plus hints of bay leaves, beef drippings and yeast extract. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with vivacious black fruit sparked by red fruit, herbal and mineral accents. It is framed with a rock-solid line of firm, grainy, super ripe tannins and finishes with fantastic fragrance and freshness. Wow!-LPB”
James Suckling 100 points “Super aromas of blackberries, blackcurrants and blueberries. Hints of fresh herbs and tobacco. Iron and ink. Full-bodied, very tight and powerful, yet not too heavy. Lightly chewy and polished. So much nerve and intensity. Super length and depth. Drink after 2025, but a joy to taste now.”

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

A fantastic Super Tuscan that gives Tignanello a run.
Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli ‘Siepi’ Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
James Suckling 98 points
“Beautiful aromas of violets, berries and currants. Dried flowers, too. Full body, such intense fruit and acidity. Vivid and complex. Wild raspberry. Tight and dense. A triumph for Siepi. Half sangivoese and merlot. Better in 2022 but hard to not drink now.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This has depth and complexity, featuring black cherry, plum, leather, spice and mineral flavors. The dense texture exudes refined tannins as this stays fresh through the long, saturated finish. Fruit, spice and tobacco elements linger. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2035.”

Shows great depth for a wine at this price, with beautiful dark-cherry fruit and a sense of freshness for its power.
Crowley Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 special
: 2018 across the valley is going to be known as a year of concentration and power without over-ripeness and this wine is a prime example.  Dark cherry fruits, a hint of a florals and good density, this wine manages to have richness and weight without feeling overly heavy.  A real winner.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

This 94 point, under $15 Italian red is selling briskly for obvious reasons.
Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Case-12 Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 94 points
“Bright red. Red cherry and flowers on the perfumed nose; much more fragrant than the 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Then fresh and juicy, with bright red fruit repeating in the mouth. Finishes long and savory, showcasing notable purity. Outstanding cool-climate Montepulciano of noteworthy refinement. Very, very well done; I’m not sure readers fully realize just how hard it is to obtain a result of this level in a cold-weather environment such as that of Popoli. This success speaks loudly of the capability and talent of owner Leonardo Pinzolo and his Valle Reale technical team.”

A great wine that’s a brilliant pairing for salmon, chicken or pasta.
Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($21.95) $17.75 special
Case-12 Tiberio Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points
“Luminous pink-red. Bright aromas of red cherry, redcurrant, blood orange and botanical herbs. Then bright and juicy, with laser-like acidity lifting and extending the red fruit flavors on the juicy, long, floral and slightly saline finish. A very precise, seamless Cerasuolo with no hard edges and sneaky concentration.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

15 year old Chablis, straight from the domaine, is a rare treat.
Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2005 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2005 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet is more complex than the Vaillon, unfurling with complex aromas of honeycomb, mandarin oil, fresh mushroom, almond paste and oyster shell. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, rich and gourmand, with a satiny attack, a deep, concentrated core and tangy balancing acids. It’s a textural, sapid Chablis that will work well at the table.”
Importer Note “In fascinating contrast to “Vaillon” above, Defaix’s “Côte de Lechet” is a master class in mineral precision. This remarkably steep site (a 45% gradient) with very poor soil produces a wine that Danny describes as embodying “the real, true mineral expression of Chablis,” and even the generosity of the 2005 vintage cannot dull the blade of this limestone scythe. Freshly blasted chalk dominates the nose, with notes of candied lemon, acacia honey, and fresh herbs lurking underneath; still, this is a wine of minerality first and foremost. The palate is strikingly broad, but with a strictness and linearity that carries the intense limestone of the nose all the way through the lengthy finish like an ice luge. This is a wine of immense tension and mouth-watering salinity that, like the “Vaillon” above, also comes across as youthful, but offers a great deal of secondary pleasure at the moment as well. The family owns a 3.5-hectare parcel of 45-year-old vines in this distinctive cru, most of which are planted within a parcel known as the “Clos des Moines.””

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