Midweek Addition 10-30-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Piper-Heidsieck’s Top Wine
The Truly Rare “Rare” Rose

The Hidden Rhone Gems of St. Jean du Barroux

The Defining Wines of Valdeorras

Wine Spectator Reviews Resonance

Trending Wines

Staff Pick: The Loire in Oregon

Nervi Conterno: The New Giant of Gattinara

A Vinopolis-Exclusive German Star

Rich, Explosive 2017 Chateauneufs


Piper-Heidsieck’s Top Wine

The Truly Rare “Rare” Rose

Piper-Heidsieck is best known for their red and gold labeled entry level wine, a bottling that always over delivers for its very modest price.  Among true aficionados of Champagne, though, they’re best known for their top end “Rare” bottlings—wines with incredible complexity, depth and nuance that are among the most coveted in Champagne.  We’ve secured some incredible prices on the 2007 Rare Rosé—the hardest to find wine in the P-H stable.  The quantities are limited, as you’d expect for a Champagne called “Rare,” so collectors should act quickly.

Arriving ETA Mid-November:

Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2007 750ML ($499.95) $379 pre-arrival special
Case-3 Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2007 750ML ($1499.95) $1099 pre-arrival special (that’s only $366.33/bottle!)
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The salmon colored 2007 Rosé Millesimé Rare has a clear, fresh, slightly oaky-nougat and pretty vinous bouquet. It is a rich and slightly sweetish yet pure, refined, elegant and well-structured Rosé Champagne with good grip and tension as well as a long, intensely aromatic and powerful finish. This is great and enormously complex Champagne with an extraordinary, complex finish. The 2007 is based on 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir. Tasted in November 2017.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ points “Another sensational Champagne, as well as the first vintage for the cuvee, the 2007 Rare Rosé (56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir) offers that beautiful complexity and nuance you only get from top rosé Champagnes. Orange blossom, strawberries, spice, dried flowers, toasted bread, and orange peel notes all emerge from this richly concentrated, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured 2007. With a fine, yet layered mousse, incredible complexity, and a great finish, this blockbuster effort will be better with 2-3 years of bottle age and shine for 10-15 years or more.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Toasted brioche and ripe blackberry notes leap from the glass in this lovely rosé Champagne. Glides like raw silk on the palate, with a deftly woven mix of dried white cherry, spun honey, exotic spice and blood orange zest flavors. Long and persistent on the vibrant finish, showing more fruit and a rich pastry character. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $452

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The Hidden Rhone Gems of St. Jean du Barroux

Philippe Gimel is a prime example of why we look beyond the biggest name appellations of the world.  He’s a superstar winemaker who works in Ventoux—one of the least heralded parts of the Rhone, but the source of increasingly interesting wines.  Gimel is a truly special talent who worked at both Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la Janasse before starting his own project.  He was able to buy a touch over 12 hectares of old, interesting vineyards in Ventoux—something he’d never to be able to afford in a more prestigious part of the Rhone.

The wines he makes under the St. Jean du Barroux label are fantastic and unique—old vines plus long elevage in neutral vessels mean these read as very “old school” in tone, but with cleaner flavors and vivid aromatics.  The earliest released of his wines sees 18 months in tank before release and his top bottlings are held for two to three years before they’re bottled—a cash flow nightmare, but something that Gimel does out of a perfectionism and drive that are common to the best winemakers in the world.  We’re excited to finally offer these off-the-beaten path gems, arriving later in November.

Arriving ETA Late November:

Saint Jean du Barroux La Source, Ventoux 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Saint Jean du Barroux Ventoux La Source, Rhone 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“The name La Source, comes from the natural artesian spring located near the vineyards of Saint Jean du Barroux. Philippe’s approach to farming encourages low yields but there are scattered pockets of more vigorous vines which set more clusters with larger berries. Rather than drop fruit or try to force these vines to crop lower yields, they are harvested separately and used to make a more fruit-forward and frank expression of Philippe’s terroir. Harvested by hand and destemmed, this cuvée which is naturally lower in tannin only sees a short maceration and fermentation by indigenous yeasts. It is bottled “early” by Philippe’s standards usually after 18 months in tank.”

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Saint Jean du Barroux L’Argile, Ventoux 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Decanter 94 points
“Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault. Yields 20hl/ha, hand-harvested and 75% destemmed. Light reduction on the nose calls for a decant. Gently serrated tannic weave, with taut, juicy acidity and a saline dimension that spreads across the palate like an electric current. Real intensity of searching fruit flavour and a textured finish. It’s about texture and feel at this stage – aromatic fireworks to follow in time. drinking Window 2019 – 2026.”
Importer Note “After working at Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la Janasse Philippe Gimel purchased 12.5 hectares of vines in the unheralded Ventoux. After years of working in abject penury devoting his energies into organic farming, tending his vines by hand and working (and living!) out of a makeshift cellar Philippe is beginning to get the attention that his talent and hard work deserves. The rocky clay soils of his vineyards are devoted to producing a wine he calls l’Argile which is a blend of Grenache and Syrah with small proportions of Carignan and Cinsault. Thoroughly old school, he ferments and ages his wine in concrete tanks for a very long time before bottling – in the cases of L’Argile, at least two years. Naturally he also waits to release the wines after an additional time in bottle; when he feels they are drinking well.”

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Saint Jean du Barroux La Pierre Noire, Ventoux 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“La Pierre Noire, or “the black stone,” is a cuvée made from Grenache and Syrah grown on clay limestone soils marked by abrupt appearance of black gravel. So sudden and noticeable is this change in the vineyard that Philippe has always known that this site was its own cuvée. At once more stern but contradictorily more elegant, La Pierre Noire is fermented and aged in concrete for at least 36 months before bottling and released only when Philippe feels it’s ready.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

The Defining Wines of Valdeorras

Valdeorras is the lost great region in Spain.  Nestled in the eastern edge of Galicia, with its cool Atlantic climate, the region has been planted since at least the Romans occupied the area for mining.  The Sil (Xil) river is the dominant feature, just as it is in neighboring Ribeira Sacra, and that’s what Ladeiras do Xil is named for.  Valdeorras is a hidden gem in the Spanish wine scene, with great old terraced terroirs and old plantings that have been abandoned for decades before their recent (~2002) rediscovery.  The whites are based on Godello and the reds on a true mélange of grapes—these are wines that recall Burgundy in their elegance and perfume, but with a flavor profile all their own, and that’s what we love about them.

Ladeiras do Xil makes the defining wines of the appellation, focusing on restoring these historic vineyards on impossibly steep, often terraced, sites.  Founded by two giants of Spanish wine, Pablo Eguzkiza and Telmo Rodríguez, the winery is now helmed by the young, driven Jorge Saa, who has been working to restore the vineyards to prestige and condition of their ancient roots.  The work is very hard and the production levels tiny (less than 250 cases are made of each red we’re offering today) but the results speak for themselves—this is an estate producing wines that are unique and compelling.

Arriving ETA November:

Ladeiras do Xil Branco de Santa Cruz, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2016 Branco de Santa Cruz was produced with the grapes from the white vines in the different vineyards in Valdeorras, with mixed varieties like Godello, Treixadura, Doña Branca, Palomino… It fermented and matured in oak foudre and 600-liter oak barrels. 2016 was a fresh year, with quite a lot of mildew, so harvesting the grapes from the individual plants was quite a lot of work, and they produced less of this wine. It’s open and expressive, with white flowers and a touch of honeycomb. The palate revealed marked flavors, a little medicinal, with very good intensity, clean and pure. 4,644 bottles were filled in May 2017.”
Importer note “The wines of Ladeiras do Xil are strictly produced by natural principles. Viticulture is EU organic, and indigenous yeasts begin a spontaneous fermentation once the grapes are hand-harvested. Minimal intervention in the winery is evident in the haunting elegance of the wines. Branco de Santa Cruz is fermented and matured in large oak foudres and 600-liter oak barrels. The wine is open and expressive, with white flowers and a touch of honeycomb. It exhibits exceptional intensity and purity. Production of this authentic white wine is very limited, with less than 5,000 bottles produced.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Ladeiras do Xil As Caborcas, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2.5 hectares of north- and west-facing terraces planted with old vines produced the 2016 As Caborcas, a wine of unusual intensity, elegance and balance in 2016. The cooler year seems to have worked wonders for the reds here, and the wine is expressive and open, floral and aromatic, developing nuances of moss and fern, with a textured palate where the tannins have the granite mark of stony austerity that is then coated by the glycerin and the fruit, making a wine that is both elegant and powerful, with a very Galician feeling to it. 2,619 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2017.”
Importer note “As Caborcas is a unique vineyard, full of different varieties, of different ages, from different strains, growing at different altitudes and exposures. Among the native grapes planted are mencía, merenzao, sousón, godello, and brancellao. Indigenous yeasts cause spontaneous fermentation in small wooden barrels of various sizes, with light foudre aging for 12 months to preserve the “Atlantic” delicacy of this wine of inland Galicia. True to the origins, As Caborcas could be made nowhere else. As Caborcas is extremely limited, with less than 3,000 bottles produced in a good year.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Ladeiras do Xil Falcoeira, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Falcoeira was the first of their Valdeorras vineyards to be harvested in 2016, starting on September 16th. The 2.75 hectares of this young south-facing vineyard produced 2,635 bottles of the 2016 Falcoeira A Capilla, always a richer wine compared with its siblings. It’s a historical vineyard that was abandoned, but its almost 100 ancient terraces were replanted with a field blend of Mencía, Merenzao, Sousón, Godello, Garnacha…and other grapes that would have been there in the past. Winemaking is simple, the grapes fermented in small wooden and stainless steel tanks, and the wine aged in French oak foudres. 2016 seems like a great vintage for the reds here, and Falcoeira kept the freshness and poise within its riper character. The palate is delineated and with a marked stony feeling to it. With time in the glass, the wine became finer and more elegant, and that extra touch of ripeness seemed to disappear. A great year for this wine.”
Importer note “The soils here are coarsely-textured, decomposed granites. It is an intense and profound wine, like the place it comes from. Indigenous yeasts begin a spontaneous fermentation in small wooden barrels of various sizes, the wine is then aged in foudres for 12 months. Falcoeira keeps freshness and poise within its riper character; with a delineated palate and a wild, stony feeling echoing the granitic slopes. With time in the glass, Falcoeira unfolds and displays the power, finesse, and elegance, which makes it one of the most exciting wines in the world. Falcoeira is extremely limited, with less than 3,000 bottles produced in a good year.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Wine Spectator Reviews Resonance

New from the Wine Spectator Insider:

Resonance Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A wine with structure and presence, buoyed by a complex backbone of minerality, wrapped in refined dark cherry and black tea flavors and finishing with fine-grained tannins. Best from 2021 through 2029.—T.F.”

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New Wines from Force Majeure

Force Majeure is a Washington state insider’s wine.  The name doesn’t come up as often as a winery like Cayuse, but these estate grown gems are typically completely sold out to a rabid mailing list.  It’s a tough winery to source—and for good reason. These are big, bold, dense wines with an elegance that keeps them in beautiful balance.  Winemaker Todd Alexander made his name at Bryant Family in Napa before being enticed to Washington and he’s making those epic cult wines for Force Majeure as well.

What really sets Force Majeure apart from many other top Washington producers, though, is their site.  It’s relatively rare to have an estate vineyard in Washington (like in Napa, many producers buy grapes from a variety of sites).  To have an estate in the tiny Red Mountain AVA of this quality, though, is a truly special thing—a secret weapon in creating some of the finest wines in the state.  We’re getting in a new round of these fantastic wines over the course of November and

Arriving ETA November:

Parabellum Coulee, Red Mountain 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Washington Wine Blog 93 points
” “The 2017 ‘Coulée’ Red Wine is a fantastic blend of 86% Syrah with the remainder Mourvèdre that was all sourced from the esteemed Force Majeure Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA. Tobacco leaf and smoky undertones collide with suggestions of green peppercorns and smoked black olives that all take shape together in the glass. The soft texture entices as the black and blue fruits mingle with minerals, black tea and chocolate covered brandy soaked kirsch flavors. This is seriously good by superstar winemaker Todd Alexander.”

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Force Majeure Estate Cabernet, Red Mountain 2016 750ML ($179.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Estate is a thrilling effort from winemaker Todd Alexander that rates with some of the most monumental wines to come out of Washington State. Based on 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from their estate vineyard on Red Mountain, brought up in mostly new barrels, it reveals a saturated purple color that’s followed by a rich, primordial bouquet of crème de cassis, espresso roast, crushed rock, and graphite. It needs considerable air to start to show its potential yet is a full-bodied, powerful wine that has subtle oak, plenty of sweet tannins, and a huge, layered finish that won’t quit. It’s the tannin management that’s truly spectacular. This brilliant wine needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years and will keep for 2-3 decades.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Can’t wait? Check out these other Force Majeure gems, in stock now:

Force Majeure Epinette, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“A Pomerol look-alike, the 2015 Epinette is mostly Merlot, yet includes 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet [Sauvignon] and 4% Petit Verdot. It’s another rich, mouthfilling effort and offers lots of darker, plummy fruits, chocolate, and scorched earth aromas and flavors. With building tannin and serious structure, it isn’t for those looking for instant gratification and is going to need a solid 3-5 years of bottle age.”

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Force Majeure Estate Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Wine Advocate 93-96 points
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”

Force Majeure Estate Syrah, Red Mountain 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 Syrah Estate checks in as 100% Syrah that saw a small amount of stems. It spent 18 months in 25% new French oak. Deeply colored, it displays a thrilling bouquet of smoked black fruits, violets, smoked meats, charcoal, and graphite. Deep, rich, incredibly fleshy and flamboyant, with perfect balance, it’s a serious, world-class Syrah that will keep for 10-15 years.”

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Parabellum Rhone Red Blend, Red Mountain 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Checking in as a blend of 61% Syrah and 39% Mourvedre, the 2014 Rhone Parabellum sports a vibrant purple, semi-opaque color to go with fabulous notes of black raspberries, cassis, cedary spice and hints of pepper. This is a rich, elegant, incredibly polished red that has terrific purity, ripe, sweet tannin, a graceful personality and a great finish. It’s an entry-level wine that surpasses most estates’ top cuvees.”

Force Majeure Parvata, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Force Majeure Parvata, Red Mountain 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“There are only 325 cases of the 2016 Parvata, a blend of 69% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah, and 10% Grenache brought up in 30% new, mostly larger barrels. Deep ruby-colored, with a beautiful bouquet of black raspberries, white pepper, spiced meats, and graphite, this hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and beautiful length.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “With a brooding yet polished demeanor, this red builds richness as it goes, offering blackberry, cured meat, loamy mineral and pepper flavors that end with big yet refined tannins. Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. Best from 2020 through 2026. 450 cases made.”

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Trending Wines

A top Beaujolais that’s aging into itself quite well.
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Cuvee des Fous, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2015 Brouilly Cuvée des Fous had been racked the day before my visit to the domaine and I tasted this directly from vat. It has an intense dark cherry, cassis and iodine-scented bouquet with gorgeous raspberry ripple scents lurking just underneath. The palate is very well balanced with fine, very lithe tannin. The acidity here is perfectly judged, as it sashays towards a composed and very pure and long finish. Wow – this is going to turn into one sensual and compelling Beaujolais.”

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A powerful, traditionally made Barolo at a great price.
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Villero, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Rose, woodland berry and balsamic aromas of eucalyptus and pine are front and center on this fragrant red. The full-bodied, compelling palate has structure and finesse, delivering red cherry, cranberry, licorice and orange zest set against a backbone of assertive but noble tannins. Drink 2025–2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of flowers and cedar with plums and beeswax. Full-bodied, chewy and very structured. Very linear and tight. Needs three or four years to come together. Try in 2023.”
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Drinkable, delicious Bordeaux for under $20.
Chateau de Grandchamp, Montagne-Saint-Emilion 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Le Guide Hachette Des Vins 2/3 stars
(Vin Remarquable) “A mountain that exalts the qualities of the 2015 vintage and participated in the final of the favorites. From a blend of hand-harvested Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Franc, Château Grandchamp’s team has extracted a wine that combines power and elegance. The color of the dress is purple with violet, the nose is centered on dark fruits with spicy aromas, the palate is frisky, smooth, fruity, with fine, firm tannins and a long finish. [translated]”
Importer notes “Château de Grandchamp is the only domaine on the hillside overlooking the ancient commune of Parsac, located in the Montagne-Saint-Emilion appellation on the right bank of the Dordogne. Vigneron Gonzague Maurice manually farms Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in densely planted vineyards rooted in clay-limestone soils with small traces of iron. The vineyard has been in organic conversion since 2010, however grass is sown regularly between vine rows and ploughing is done in alternating rows. Gonzague’s sole objective in the vineyard is to obtain perfectly ripe and clean fruit. Triage is done in both the vineyard and the cellar to ensure the highest quality grapes. In the cellar, grapes are vinified in small, temperature controlled tanks and then aged in a combination of tank and one to two year old barrels. Above all, he seeks to preserve the fruit throughout the fermentation and ageing processes. The resulting wine is aromatically vibrant and beautiful balanced with soft tannins.”

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An astoundingly good bottle of Barbaresco.
Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Enthusiast 97 points– Cellar Selection
“Still young but already boasting extraordinary pedigree, this fantastic wine opens with hallmark scents of wild berry, new leather, chopped herb, tilled soil and a whiff of violet. The polished, full-bodied palate delivers juicy wild cherry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and licorice while youthfully assertive, noble tannins and bright acidity provide age-worthy structure. A pipe tobacco note lingers on the finish. Drink 2023–2038.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The Barbaresco Riserva Montefico shows all the energy and focus that is typical of this great site, but there is so much depth to the fruit that some of the more angular contours have been softened. Bright saline-infused notes lead to wild flowers and an exotic melange of red fruits in this beautifully delineated, vivid Barbaresco. All the elements are simply in the right place.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96+ points “I am absolutely impressed by the stunning 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico. The Montefico growing site is very small and only 13,000 bottles are produced as a result. There are just three farmers who tend to this vineyard cru, and because their respective plots are very small, they rely on the Produttori del Barbaresco co-operative model for survival. This wine shows amazing depth and enlarged dimension. Aromas of black fruit, spice, tar and crushed mineral contribute to the considerable volume and power of the wine. That precise and focused mineral definition is outstanding, recalling brimstone and pencil shavings. Montefico can underperform in the hot vintages, but it hits all the high notes in the cooler 2013.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This beefy red evokes cherry, licorice, herb, mineral and tobacco aromas and flavors. Rich and densely structured, with iron, tobacco and cherry notes lingering on the long finish. Best from 2023 through 2035.”

A rare wine from the master of Teroldego.
Foradori “Morei Cilindrica” Teroldego, Trentino-Alto Adige 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Importer Note
“100% Teroldego. Only the 2nd vintage of this miniscule production! It is the same wine as the “normal” Morei but after it is racked out of the first amphora, where it spends 8 months on the skins, this sliver of it goes into a differently shaped amphora for another year of aging. Morei is a warmer, stonier 2.5-hectare vineyard averaging 30 years old on the Campo Rotaliano plateau, a broad, flat, sunny and well-drained expanse of vines in the shadow of the Dolomites.”

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Staff Pick

The Loire in Oregon

Bow and Arrow remains one of my favorite Oregon wineries.  Scott Frank (the winemaker/founder/etc) has managed to do two tough things—make wines that are bright and refreshing, plus keep them affordable.  Perhaps no wine epitomizes this like his “Air Guitar,” a Cabernet Franc/Sauvignon blend that reminds me of fantastic wines from the Loire.  At first taste, this seems like it’s a bit glou-glou (and it’s certainly poundable if you want to go that route) but with air or a bit of time in the cellar this wine always opens up to reveal a more serious side.  I drank my last ’16 about two months ago and it was absolutely marvelous—everything you’d want out of a bottling from Baudry, for example, but less expensive and local.  That wine had a long life ahead of it and I wish I had more in the cellar (confessionally, I didn’t realize it was my last bottle at the time) but I won’t make that mistake again in ’17.  I’m stocking up.

In Stock Now:

Bow & Arrow Air Guitar, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note
“Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America.  The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard.  Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience.  Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon.  ”

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Nervi Conterno: The New Giant of Gattinara
The Piemonte outside of Barolo and Barbaresco remains a bit of a paradox: lovers of big, collectible Nebbiolo will readily concede that there are some amazing wines made there, but then turn around and proceed never to buy any, despite the fact that the best wines are outstandingly well priced!  Well, hopefully that stops today (at least in a small little way).  We’re here to tell you that if you love Barolo and Barbaresco, you should be paying real (fiscal) attention to the wines made in Piemonte outside of the big two.

If you need another argument to pay attention to this overlooked region, know that Giacomo Conterno bought the historic Nervi estate in the heart of the DOCG.  Nervi has some of the best holdings in the village and was an underperformer—at least until Roberto Conterno started making the wines.  These are now some of the most compelling wines made in all of the Piemonte.  They have all the skill and depth of Conterno, but in a distinctly Gattinara package.

The wines of Gattinara tend to be more compact and more aromatic than Barolo (Volnay vs Nuits, in Burgundy, is a good comparison).  They age forever, it seems, but with a good decant you shouldn’t have any problem drinking the wines now (or at least from the lower tier).  The best part?  The prices.  The top tier, single-vineyard-that’s-been-planted-since-the-15th-century, wine is under $100 and the flagship Gattinara is less than $50.  That’s less than Conterno’s Barbera for comparison’s sake.  We’re stocking up and so should you.

In Stock Now:

Nervi Conterno Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($59.95) $47 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Haunting aromas of rose, wild cherry, kirsch, mineral and leather are the hallmarks of this silky, elegant red, which is linear and balanced, extending on the finish with notes of fruit, spice, mineral and tobacco. Very harmonious. Drink now through 2033. 5,000 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The weather in Gattinara is often unexpected. For example, in 2017 it rained more in this area than it did in Barolo. This vintage was more tempered, and this 2015 Gattinara comes across as pretty, elegant and soft, with light notes of berries and a pretty ashy signature. This particular expression of Nebbiolo would be a good choice for lamb.”
James Suckling 92 points “A very floral and lilting nose with abundant rose perfume, as well as sweet cherry aromas and sweet, wild herbs. Very sweet florals here in 2015. The palate has precision and finely detailed acidity, as well as a deep-set, flavorful core of strawberries and cherries. Seamless, long and persistent flavor. Great depth, elegance and precision here.”

Nervi Vigneto Molsino, Gattinara DOCG 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Roberto Conterno tells me he prefers the 2014 Gattinara Vigna Molsino over his other single-vineyard expression from the Vigna Valferana. I tend to agree given this wine’s large span of beautiful aromas. This is a deep and expressive Nebbiolo that starts with plump fruit tones and ends with drying mineral nuances. There is a touch of white pepper too. Bring this one out for pheasant or other game bird roast.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This starts out spicy and savory, with a core of cherry, strawberry, licorice and stone flavors. Consistent from beginning to end, with leather and tobacco accents on the aftertaste. Best from 2020 through 2033. 1,166 cases made.”
James Suckling 93 points “Amphitheater site, just below Monte Rosa at 400 meters. South-facing. Quite an open nose with deep blue-fruit aromas here. The fruit is ahead of the flowers, which come later with deep blue-rose-like aromas. The palate has a very elegant and supple core of lilting roses with a gently herbal edge. The tannins are so soft, so ripe and balanced. Very ethereal finish.”

Nervi Conterno ‘Il Rosato’, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Importer note
“90% Nebbiolo with 10% Uva Rara, temp controlled stainless steel fermentation followed by 4 months on the lees in concrete.”

A Vinopolis-Exclusive German Star

Korrell is a rising star in the Nahe—a top German Riesling producer whose wines have been heretofore unavailable in the United States.  As a result, you’ll have to excuse our breathlessness, but the wines of Weingut Korrell are important enough in the German wine scene that it seems nearly impossible they could be unavailable on these shores. But here we are, with the only offering for Korrell in the US.

The Weingut goes back to 1832, but it’s only with young Martin taking over the cellar that the family has attained.  Their name has been ringing in insider circles for several years now, but their “Von Den Grossen Lagen” just won at the Riesling Cup and they’re officially blowing up now.

The best vineyard that Korrell owns (and the backbone for all their Rieslings) is a monopol site called, appropriately, “Paradis.”  Paradis is a limestone-heavy site (a rarity, much like Keller’s Kirschspiel GG), with shallow soils and privileged exposition—in short, everything you could ask of a Riesling vineyard, especially to produce dry wines.  The revitalization of the site, combined with Martin’s work in the cellar, has vaulted Korrell into the top tier of producers both in the Nahe and across Germany.  These are wines that any dry Riesling lover needs to have in their cellar and we’re proud to be the first in the US to offer these wines.

Over the last two decades, the Nahe has been the vanguard region in Germany, with producers like Dönnhoff, Schäfer-Frölich, and Diel producing some of the top wines in Germany, year and out.  Situated between the chilly Mosel and the sun-drenched Rhine, Nahe wines combine everything we love about German Riesling.  Korrell have established themselves as top producer in the region and we’re beyond thrilled that we can add these wines to our collection—and yours.

In Stock Now:

Weingut Korrell Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Weingut Korrell Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Weingut Korrell Kreuznacher Paradies Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 3L ($199.95) $179 special
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling 94 points
“Very clean and fresh, but behind the effusive, fruit-salad character that makes this so seductive, there is a lot of structure and the finish keeps pumping out the fruit and chalky minerality. Drink or hold.”
Grapelive 94 points “The radiant and graceful Korrell Paradies Trocken leads with expressive pure apple tones. [It] impresses for its elegance and subtle character. It’s a wine of great poise and delicacy, especially admirable for such a young Riesling. The monopole estate vineyard, Paradies, is the oldest single site Korrell has and is the flagship wine from winemaker Martin Korrell. It comes from his family’s vines that are set on limestone and clay soils in Bad Kreuznach area of the Nahe region. The Paradies Riesling Trocken is a gorgeous white of depth and precise winemaking that takes advantage of this unique site in the Nahe. This wine is the heart and soul of Korrell and it is product of its unique climat,or terroir. It sees more sunshine and the limestone allows for serious concentration, while retaining acidity, though there is always great attention paid to pick dates to finely tune this signature bottling to place and vintage. Korrell mixes some traditional stainless fermentations with some native yeast and barrel ferments to craft his wines. The Paradies shows a beautiful leesy finesse that reminds me a bit of the Von Winning GG’s, with a long time on the lees adding a beautiful glycerin density to this gorgeous dry Riesling. Coming off Korrel’s incredible Riesling Cup win for his Von den Grossen Lagen (Grand Crus) Riesling Trocken, I was absolutely thrilled to be able to try this wine, and found this particular wine just as intriguing. Martin focuses on preserving heightened aromatics and crisp mineral tones, while allowing the mouth feel and depth to shine through. It is an amazing accomplishment to get it all right, and Korrell deserves his time in the limelight. This is complex and glorious stuff. Layers of green apple, peach, mixed fresh citrus and melon fruits are lifted by liquid rock, steely mineral and faint perfume of white flowers along with a silkiness of mouth feel. While still delightfully crisp, [this delivers] an exciting energy filled performance. This is a winery that about to break out and join some elite company, in fact they are riding high after winning, as mentioned, the famous Riesling Cup award with their unique multi (Grand) cru Von den Grossen Lagen Trocken Riesling. This wine is just extra proof there is real quality here! The lightly golden hued and generously textured Paradies will age well. It’s full of charm, class and potential. Best to let this one have another 3 to 5 years, though it certainly is delicious right now.”

These are the only listings in the USA today!

Korrell “Von Den Grossen Lagen” Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling 94 points
“What a beautiful nose of leaves and white flowers, dripping after rain. With aeration, peach, nectarine and mandarin-orange notes emerge. Concentrated, racy and very polished, this is a stunning dry riesling with a long, mineral finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This fruity yet dry Riesling is filled with flavors of currant and gooseberry, while juicy, orangelike acidity cuts through, carrying freshness and providing balance. The complex finish is long and inviting. This nicely sculpted white is ready to drink now, but will only get better with age. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases made.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Weingut Korrell Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling 91 points
“Brimming with tart peach, lemon and apples plus a hint of vanilla this has so much appeal on the nose. The juicy palate ends with a wave of herbal freshness that fulfills all the promise of the nose. 70% from the Paradies top site, i.e. from paradise! Drink now. Screw cap.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Rich, Explosive 2017 Chateauneuf
The Domaine Grand Veneur is one of the highest scoring estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, with a ton of wines receiving multiple 95+ point scores across the last few years.  The legendary Alain Jaume helms the estate and (previously featured) winemaker Xavier Vignon provides winemaking expertise, which means that the estate won’t stop in pursuit of quality.

These are big, rich wines with incredible textures and explosive personalities. We’ve secured significant allocations of their three major Chateauneuf du Papes, the VV, Les Origines, and Miocene, all arriving this winter.  The VV is one of the best wines made in the region every year, while the Les Origines and Miocene both deliver excellent value for their prices.  We’re able to offer these at excellent pricing, despite the insane demand for the 2017 vintage—so lovers of the Rhone, take note.  These always sell fast and we expect this set will continue that trend.

Arriving ETA December:

Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($719.95) $479 pre-arrival special (that’s only $79.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a bigger, richer, more opulent wine. Beautiful notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and crushed violets, all flow to a full-bodied, Châteauneuf Du Pape that has a voluptuous, sexy texture, brilliant depth of fruit, fine tannins, and a purity of fruit that’s hard to find in this vintage. It’s a thrill a minute, and while it’s approachable today, it will keep for 15-20 years. 416 cases.”
Decanter 96 points “Grown on galets, the fruit for this wine is all destemmed and fermented in stainless steel before being aged for 16 months, half in concrete and half in new barriques. The strong Mourvèdre component comes through as deep, ripe dark fruits and violets. It’s full-bodied and dense with soft, lush tannins, and is held together by a beam of strong acidity, finishing long. A lithe, muscular, impressive wine that will last the course. Just 5,000 bottles made.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($69.95) $52.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $289 pre-arrival special (that’s only $48.17/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Les Origines takes things up a notch on the serious scale and has a much more concentrated, focused, structured style. A blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, and the rest Syrah that saw 50% new barrels, it offers a rich, concentrated, focused texture, notes of black raspberries, roasted garrigue, pepper, and tons of minerality, building tannins, and outstanding length. The new oak is beautifully integrated, it’s perfectly balanced, and it’s one of those wines that has a kiss of modern character yet stays firmly planted in the Southern Rhône.”

The next best price is $69.99
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points
“The traditional cuvée at this great estate is the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Le Miocene, and in 2017 it’s a classic blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, brought up mostly in concrete (there’s a small amount in older barrels). It has a wonderful fresh, forward, delicious style as well as notes of black raspberries, garrigue, pepper, and hints of flowers. Pure, medium to full-bodied, upfront and ready to go, it’s a beauty geared for drinking over the coming 8-10 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $45
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