Our Best Deal of the Year?
An Italian Legend at National Best Pricing
An Astounding Deal on a Brunello Icon
Staff Pick: The Genius of Sicily
New Releases from Three Outstanding Chateauneuf Producer
Olivier Hillaire – Vinopolis Best Seller
Chateau de Vaudieu: The Pursuit of Perfection
The Trailblazing Domaine Grand Veneur
New Wines from Lafage – A Vinopolis Favorite
A Case of Vinsanity: Six Packs, On Sale
Our Best Deal of the Year?
An Italian Legend at National Best Pricing
Gaja is an iconic producer in the world of wine. What DRC is to Burgundy, Gaja’s cru bottlings are to Barbaresco—they are the wines that put the region on the modern wine collector’s map, desirable long before anything else in their appellation was. Like most pinnacle wines, they’re usually quite expensive—at our prices, though, you’d have a hard time finding something more collectible and profound.
Indeed, the pricing we’re offering you today is nothing short of ridiculous—one of the best deals we’ve put out this year. Gaja’s “Sori” wines are bottlings that inspire reverence and awe—aging for decades and being the centerpiece of any cellar. We only were able to secure five six-packs at this astounding pricing, so don’t hesitate if you love Gaja’s wines.
Only five six-packs available.
Case-6 Gaja Collection (Assorted Crus), Barbaresco 2014 750ML ($1,999.95) $1,599 pre-arrival special (that’s only $266.50/bottle!)
A Six Bottle Case of two 750ml bottles each: 2014 Gaja Sori Tilden, 2014 Sori San Lorenzo, and 2014 Costa Russi.
2014 Sori Tilden
Antonio Galloni 97 points “Sweet rose petal, mint, chiseled red-toned fruit and chalk give the 2014 Barbaresco Sorì Tildìn its sculpted, brilliant personality. All the elements are in the right place. A wine of translucent energy and weightless elegance, the Sorì Tildìn is hauntingly beautiful today. A host of floral notes and red berry fruit infuse the persistent, chiseled finish in this fabulous Barbaresco. As it so often is, the Barbaresco Sorì Tildìn is a wine of pure charm and seduction.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Menthol, pressed rose, woodland berry and crushed herb aromas slowly emerge on this elegant, structured red along with a hint of underbrush. The firm, refined palate delivers Marasca cherry, ground clove and licorice framed in taut, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2022–2034.-Kerin O’Keefe”
James Suckling 96 points “The nose has it all here with fresh cranberry character, brambleberries and lavender intermingled with darker, more complex notes of cedar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Full body, so much vibrant acidity, tangy fruit, expansive yet tight tannins and a long, savory finish. Profound minerality. Delicious now but better in 2020.”
2014 Sori San Lorenzo
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2014 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo is the most virile and explosive of Gaja’s Barbarescos. Dark, brooding and powerful, with a huge spine of tannin, the San Lorenzo is utterly regal in the glass. Gravel, smoke, menthol, tar, licorice and a host of sepia-toned fruits build into a crescendo of aromas and flavors that is truly compelling. What a gorgeous wine this is.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Earthy notes lead off, followed by cherry, plum, graphite and tobacco flavors. Starts out broad and muscular, with a thick layer of tannins for support, yet gains elegance with aeration. A tad austere on the finish, but stays vibrant and long. Best from 2021 through 2036. 170 cases imported.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Gaja’s 2014 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo is clearly at the beginning of a long and promising aging trajectory. At it’s core, it shows a pinch of nervous energy and inner tightness that will surely unravel and soften as this beautiful wine continues along its magical journey in time. Angelo Gaja and his family present spectacular results in this controversial 2014 vintage. They have risen far above most of their peers and have shown a keen ability to understand their site and the versatility of their cherished Nebbiolo grape. The variety sings with a loud and exuberant voice, first offering plenty of primary fruit like blackberry and dried cherry. It then follows up with savory earth and spice. This is a bright and youthful wine that is set steady for a long aging future.-Monica Larner”
James Suckling 95 points “This is closed at first – indeed it’s just a baby – but soon opens up with some air to display wild strawberries, red cherries, cedar and nutmeg. The palate is full but very tight and refined, showing firm, grippy tannins that need time, driven acidity and a long, minerally finish. Better in 2020.”
2014 Costa Russi
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Soft contours, silky tannins and sweet, perfumed fruit are some of the signatures in the 2014 Costa Russi. As always, Costa Russi is the most polished and open-knit of these wines in its youth. Succulent fruit, hard candy and lifted, perfumed aromatics give the 2014 considerable early appeal, but I expect time in bottle will work its usual magic. Today, the 2014 is showing only the barest hint of its potential. Even in the early going, though, the Costa Russi is a totally sexy wine.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Intense scents of cherry, star anise and iris float out of the glass. It’s firmly structured and loaded with finesse, offering crushed raspberry, Marasca cherry, cinnamon and star anise framed fine-grained tannins. Bright acidity lends balance and energy.-Kerin O’Keefe”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2014 Barbaresco Costa Russi is a beautiful wine that delivers profound color saturation with deep ruby highlights and blackish intensity. I would describe the nose as being more horizontal rather than vertical, if that makes sense. In other words, the bouquet makes its approach with wide intensity and large-scale aromas of black fruit, spice, tar, leather and licorice. It offers fewer of the sudden high notes or moments of sharpness that you get in 2013. Despite the common perception that this was a very cool vintage, the fruit here actually tastes riper and rounder than you might expect. That’s because the vintage heat all came toward the end of the growing season, and the Gaja family left fruit on the vines to the end. In the mouth, the wine shows depth and finesse with some stubborn firmness at this young stage. It needs to flesh out further with more bottle aging.-Monica Larner”
An Astounding Deal on a Brunello Icon
If you’re unfamiliar with the wines of Il Poggione, let’s catch you up quickly. They are a classic Brunello Brunello producer working with very traditional methods in the subzone of Sant’Angelo in Colle, a region that tends to produce wines with big, bold personality. Whereas some of Il Poggione’s neighbors take this natural abundance and add plenty of new wood and extraction, the attitude at Il Poggione is much more minimalist. The resulting wines are both crowd pleasing (rich fruit, up front aromatics) and intellectually stimulating (age-worthy, not obstructed by new oak) in way that is truly special.
We’ve only 48 bottles of this outstanding Riserva to offer at this crazy price, so lovers of Brunello ought to jump on this quickly. This is an outstanding wine at a bonkers price and a deal that won’t be back anytime soon.
Il Poggione Vigna Paganelli, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012 750ML ($129.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “Here’s a beautifully rich and succulent Brunello that drinks very nicely straight out of the gate. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli delivers a warm, inviting and velvety presentation. This bold wine is redolent of black cherry and dried blackberry with sweet almond, toasted spice and balsam herb on the long finish. What stands out most, however, is the wine’s rich texture that floods the mouth from front to back. That richness is fueled by the warmth of the vintage but also by the magnificent oak integration. This Riserva is aged in botti grandi for four long years. Bottle production is 45,000 strong.-ML”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Big, but polished, this full-bodied wine offers subtle, alluring aromas of baked plum, fragrant blue flower and pipe tobacco. The succulent, chewy palate brings juicy Morello cherry, raspberry jam and licorice tones framed in firm, velvety tannins. Drink 2020–2030.-Kerin O’Keefe”
James Suckling 97 points “Rather sweet due to the super ripe vintage. But there’s also great subtlety, enormous depth and a ton of tannin behind the opulence. The super long finish is incredibly focused. Try to wait until at least 2020. This stunning Brunello has decades of life ahead of it.”
The next best price is $98.96
The average listed price is $110
That’s a difference of over $30 per bottle!
The Genius of Sicily
Over the past few weeks I’ve acquainted myself with the wines of Tenuta delle Terre Nere, and I’ve been left to bemoan the fact that it took me so long. It began with a bottle of their Calderara Sottana Etna Rosso 2016, the perfect compliment to a recent meal at a favorite Mediterranean restaurant. It had everything you could want in a red wine, floral and spicy on the nose, with ample fruit, and a finish that balanced the weight you’d associate with Sicily’s southern latitude with the freshness you’d expect from a “mountain” wine.
Curious if Terre Nere could deliver this level of deliciousness at an everyday price point, I snagged a bottle of their Etna Rosso 2017 and am happy to report that it was every bit as enjoyable. And at a “Tuesday Night” friendly price of $21.90 a bottle, it’s a wine not for your cellar but for your kitchen counter.
But don’t take it from me. As is true of Sicily as a whole, and Etna in particular, the word is beginning to get out regarding Tenuta delle Terre Nere. Take home a bottle and see what the buzz is all about.
In Stock Now:
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Rosso Etna, Sicily 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points “Bright red. Pure nose offers red cherry and raspberry fruit aromas complicated by herbs and minerals. Suave and rather tightly wound, but nicely lifted by salty minerality that accentuates the bright red fruit flavors. Finishes firmly tannic but not drying, with outstanding persistence. Simply a great entry level Etna Rosso.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2017 Etna Rosso is a beautiful wine that manages to effectively communicate both the elegance and the power of this stellar appellation in Sicily. There is also a straightforward or straight-shooting aspect to the wine that adds to its focus and the sharpness of its aromatic delivery. Bright acidity and fine tannins add to that linearity and simplicity. This is 95% Nerello Mascalese with 5% Nerello Cappuccio. The wine is fermented in large oak casks, and it ages in large oak containers for up to 18 months. Some 120,000 bottles were made.”
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Calderara Sottana Rosso Etna, Sicily 2016 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 96+ points “Moderately saturated brilliant crimson red. Minty and balsamic nuances complement the very elegant aromas of strawberry, red cherry, rose petal, savory herbs and crushed rocks. Clean and fresh yet also very rich and ripe, with a steely core of red/black fruit nicely framed by silky tannins and harmonious acidity. Finishes very suave and smooth, boasting a highly multifaceted and concentrated personality. To put it in perspective, this currently offers more flesh and depth than Terre Nere’s also outstanding Etna Rosso Guardiola and San Lorenzo, but also greater steely resolve, a very typical finding in Calderara Sottana, a contrada characterized by extremely poor stony soil. Let me be crystal-clear: this is one of the two/three best Calderara Sottana wines from Terre Nere ever, and I should know having tasted all of them multiple times over the years.”
Three Outstanding Chateauneuf Producers
Olivier Hillaire – Vinopolis Best Seller
Arriving Thursday, December 18th:
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($599.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand comes from a parcel of Grenache originally planted at the end of the 19th century in a sandy part of La Crau. It’s Hillaire’s flagship, and it merits its status this vintage, where it shines with raspberry fruit and layers of dried spice complexity. It’s full-bodied and rich yet silky, elegant and long on the finish, epitomizing the delicious contradictions that Grenache can present.”
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, spicecake and incense, and a minerally element adds urgency. Impressively energetic on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry compote and lavender pastille flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. The floral note repeats emphatically on the impressively long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves a smoky mineral note behind.”
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($539.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Terrasses is a fine example of old-vine Grenache from a parcel of vines near La Nerthe. Rose petals and black tea accent pristine cherry and raspberry fruit in this full-bodied but silky-lacy, delicate wine. Long, briny and refreshing on the finish, it’s deceptively drinkable but undoubtedly packs a wallop.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Brilliant violet. Lively, mineral-accented red and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of lavender and vanilla. Silky and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry and boysenberry flavors that deepen and become spicier as the wine opens up. Closes sweet, energetic and very long, displaying harmonious tannins and lingering smoke and red berry liqueur notes.”
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points
The estate sits on a confluence of soils and the myriad of terroirs in the vineyard yields exemplary complexity in the wines, which are made by the all-star team of Laurent Brechet and Philippe Cambie. The wines show Cambie’s trademark style, with big, opulent fruit and power to spare. This is one of the truly elite producers in all of the Southern Rhone and it’s a treat to sell you these wines.
Arriving Thursday, December 18th:
Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Chateau de Vaudieu Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2017 750ML ($299.95) $238 pre-arrival special (that’s only $39.60/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Jeb Dunnuck 90-92 points “The 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a solid effort that shows the charming yet elegant style of the vintage nicely. Black raspberries, kirsch, peach pit, and violet notes all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, sweetly fruited, charming and classic wine from this estate.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The full-bodied 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape is a pleasure-giving mouthful of wine, a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre. Tasted on two different occasions (once blind), I scored it consistently, although one occasion I found it more tannic. Cherry and black raspberry fruit abounds; the tannins are ripe and silky in texture; and the finish lingers, adding hints of crushed stone and brine. I noted chocolate on one occasion, which makes me think it might not be terribly long-lived, so my aging estimate is conservative.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-97 points “The star of the show in 2017 is the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Amiral G., which is as always 100% Grenache from the pebbly soils next to the estate brought up in demi-muids. Exotic notes of blood orange, dried flowers, spice, black raspberries, and blackcurrants all emerge from this ripe, sexy, downright flamboyant beauty that has sweet tannins and a rocking finish. It’s as Grenache as Grenache gets.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points “The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape L’Avenue is all Grenache sourced from a single parcel near the estate and aged 18 months in demi-muids. This deeply colored beauty boasts a huge perfume of black raspberries, blackberries, dried flowers, bouquet garni, and sandy/loamy soil notes. With a powerful, concentrated, structured style, incredible purity of fruit, and tons of tannin on the finish, hide bottles for 3-5 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following decade or more.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape l’Avenue is entirely Grenache from the lieu-dit Vaudieu, aged in demi-muids. Loaded with black cherries, cedar and vanilla, it’s a full-bodied, plush sexpot of a wine. Velvety, intense, long and layered, this wine has it all. If only there were more than 350 cases of this elixir.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Intense, with a gorgeous core of crushed plum, boysenberry and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors, inlaid liberally with fruit cake, licorice snap and graphite notes. Fruit pumps through the finish while a graphite edge lends support and a black tea hint checks in. Best from 2020 through 2040. 75 cases imported.”
Grand Veneur was one of the first in the region to use new oak barrels and consistently use more Syrah and Mourvèdre to than many of their peers, resulting in wines that have color and power than wines that driven by Grenache for their character. The flagship is clearly the Vieilles Vignes—a wine that is on par with Clos de Papes, Janasse’s “XXL” and Clos St. Jean’s top cuvees, but is still less than $100 a bottle—for now. That said, the other wines offer excellent value, as well, from the drink-now, traditionally minded “Miocene” to their full-throttle “Les Origines.” We have the ’17’s arriving tomorrow and you’d do well to put a pile of these in your cellar.
Arriving Thursday, December 18th:
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.”
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.”
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.”
Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2014 750ML ($69.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 750ML ($799.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
The next best price is $70
That’s over $50 more PER BOTTLE by the case
Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Syrah, Sonoma County 2014 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Case-12 Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Syrah, Sonoma County 2014 750ML ($599.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points “This is a big and rich wine with lots of dried berry and chocolate character. Full body, layered and rich. Very long and flavorful. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Syrah Benoist Ranch has notes of preserved plums, blueberry pie and black forest cake with hints of Indian spices, violets and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, the structure on the mouth is seamless and fine, defining the berry preserves flavors and finishing long and perfumed.”
The next best price is $50
That’s almost $30 more PER BOTTLE by the case!
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Importer Note “Indeed, the 2018 Sancerre Rosé—clocking in just shy of 14%–is deeper in color than usual, as well as more vinous and commanding on the palate. Pure Pinot Noir produced solely from direct-press juice and aged on its lees in stainless steel, this ’18 manages to carry its weight very well, with ultra-bracing acidity and a sense of lift on the nearly viscous palate. While this wine often drinks much like Crochet’s epic whites—steely and mineral, with enormous cut—one feels the Pinot Noir a bit more in this vintage, but it is ultimately a very interesting and delicious rosé”
We recently re-tasted this and it’s beyond electric in ’17. A stunner.
Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Blanc, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
VinopolNote: The Clos Electrique is Cameron’s estate vineyard, named after the electric deer fence that surrounds it. This is planted to a mix of clones and is vinified traditionally—no racking and all in older barrels. This is crisp and coiled, with distinct minerality and a lot of power in a lithe frame. Like most vintages of the Electrique Blanc, this is quite good now but will be stellar in a few years.
This is a muscular, powerful vision of Malbec from one of the true masters.
Luca Malbec, Uco Valley, Argentina 2016 750ML ($39.95) $24 special
#42 – Top Cellar Selections in 2018 – Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Cellar Selection. Pure berry and cassis aromas are concentrated and show no holes. This Uco Valley Malbec feels pure, direct and linear, albeit with slightly scratchy tannins that should dissipate in due time. Blackberry and dry spice flavors finish full and grabby, with muscularity. Drink through 2028.”
The average price nationally is $30
Sea Smoke Southing Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills 2017 750ML ($134.95) $99 special
Winery Note “Southing refers to the south-facing hillside bluffs found on our estate vineyard. Each year, our goal for this wine is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. Southing is a true expression of the terroir of Sea Smoke Vineyard: seductive flavors and fine tannins complimented by cool climate acidity. The ever-changing nose of the 2017 Southing exhibits baked strawberry, floral scents of rose and violet; and subtle spices. The fine tannins and minerality are enhanced by our estate vineyard’s characteristic cool climate acidity.”
Big, bold, rich and powerful—it’s a love-child of a Brunello and a Napa Cabernet.
Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
James Suckling 97 points “Fantastic aromas of flowers such as violets and roses with dark purple fruits and hints of stones, too. Full body with ultra-fine tannins and a long and linear finish. This is a return to the great Solengos of the mid-1990s. The best since 1997. Cabernet sauvignon 50%, petit verdot 30%, merlot 15% and sangiovese 5%. Drinkable now but better in 2020.”
We can’t keep it on the shelf.
Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($32.95) $16 special
Case-12 Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($379.95) $168 special (that’s only $14/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 91 points “Savory black cherry aromas lead to well-framed flavors of sage and pepper. A new blend from this winery offers the zest of Zinfandel with the focus of Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante, Barbera and Syrah. Drink now through 2027. 5,000 cases made.”
The next best price is $29.94
R.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Coutier’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is bright, focused and nuanced, not to mention incredibly delicious. The energy of Chardonnay and structure of Ambonnay yield a Champagne that is singular, classy and bursting at the seams with character. This release is based on 2016, with 40% reserve wines. I would give it another 6-12 months in bottle, although, truthfully, it is pretty hard to resist now. Dosage: 6.5 gr/L. Disgorged: July, 2019.”
Domaine Lafage ‘Nicolas’ Vieilles Vignes, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “It was exciting to see that the 2017 Nicolas, all old-vine Grenache from three terroirs, was showing more red fruit and freshness than the 2016. It’s still rich, deep and velvety in texture, but it’s livelier and should be a similarly rocking value once it’s released.”
Chateau Saint-Roch ‘Kerbuccio’, Maury Sec 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “One of the greatest values in the wine world has to be the Kerbuccio cuvée from Jean-Marc Lafage’s Chateau Saint Roch estate in Maury. The 2017 isn’t going to break the trend. Checking in as a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, it’s a blockbuster, deep, massive effort that just screams Grenache from Maury. Ripe blackberries, melted chocolate, black cherries, and cured meat notes all emerge from this beautifully textured, layered, opulent wine that stays balanced and pure. Brought up in 80% new demi-muids, it shows no sense of its oak élevage, has beautiful purity and freshness, and tastes like it cost 4-5 times the price. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.”
Case-12 Domaine Lafage Fundacio, Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “One of the finest wines I’ve tasted from the estate is unquestionably the 2016 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Fundacio, which is 60% Syrah from Maury with the balance Mourvèdre and Grenache, vinified and aged in small barrels. Full-bodied, incredibly pure, elegant, and silky, it boasts awesome notes of crème de cassis, black olives, leafy herbs, and subtle gamey, salty nuances. It’s a rich, powerful wine yet just glides over the palate with no sensation of weight or heaviness, sweet tannins, and a great finish. It should keep for a decade.”
Six Packs, On Sale
A killer Gigondas with big fruit and big personality.
Case-6 Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($199.95) $144 special (that’s only $24/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “Leading off the wines from bottle, the 2016 Gigondas is a classic wine from this estate, offering a deeper ruby/purple color as well as tons of garrigue, peppery spice, and earth intermixed with ample red and black fruits. Polished, rounded and sexy, with sweet tannin, it has a modern style that won’t appeal to traditionalists yet is beautifully done. The blend is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and the rest Cinsault.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Lively, expansive red berry, floral pastille and white pepper scents, along with suggestions of garrigue and smoky minerals. Sweet, focused and seamless in the mouth, offering juicy raspberry, spicecake and lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Clings with very good authority on the gently tannic finish and leaves succulent floral and herb notes behind.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92 points “Hints of garrigue accent raspberries and Rainier cherries in the 2016 Gigondas. This blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault is full-bodied and supple, with no hard edges, just lovely fruit. Long, seamless and delicious for drinking over the next 6-7 years, it’s a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate. Tasted twice with consistent notes.”
Case-6 Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($399.95) $276 special (that’s only $46/bottle!)
Domaine de la Mordoree Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The new entry-level release from this estate is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Dame Voyageuse, a more Grenache-dominated blend of 90% Grenache, 4% each of Mourvèdre and Syrah, and the balance Counoise and Vaccarèse. Aged mostly in tank, with 15% in old barrels, it boasts a deep violet/purple color as well as a full-bodied, voluptuous style in its blueberry and cherry fruits, violets, damp earth, and spice-laced aromas and flavors. This cuvée is always more upfront and sexier compared to the more structured La Reine des Bois cuvée, and it’s already drinking brilliantly today. Nevertheless, it will keep for a good 10-15 years if you’re so inclined.”
Case-6 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages R.I. Rectificando Invenies 2015 750ML ($799.95) $534 special (that’s only $89/bottle!)
M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages R.I. Rectificando Invenies 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “As always, the 100% Syrah 2015 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Rectificando Invenies (Ri) shows more minerality than the VIT release and offers blockbuster styled aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, crushed rocks, toasted bread and chocolate. Made in a voluptuous, pedal-to-the-metal style, with huge fruit and texture, it has building tannin and an uber sexy, incredibly layered and decadent palate. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. This cuvee was completely destemmed and aged 18 months in demi-muids.”
Grimaldi has emerged as a star Barolo producer and we offer incredible pricing.
Case-6 Bruna Grimaldi Bricco Ambrogio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($299.95) $216 special (that’s only $36/bottle–the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Bruna Grimaldi Bricco Ambrogio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92+ points “($80) From the less-traveled Roddi township, the 2015 Barolo Bricco Ambrogio is a balanced and pretty expression that shows floral aromas of wild rose and pressed violets, followed by wild berry and blackcurrant. The wine is simple and straightforward in delivery with a clean and accessible personality. Bruna and Franco Grimaldi purchased this vineyard site in 2006, and this wine has improved in complexity and depth with each vintage that I taste. Some 6,000 bottles are made.”
Bruna Grimaldi Badarina Vigna Regnola, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points “($90) This wine has already evolved to show some tar and savory aromas. The 2015 Barolo Badarina offers pretty color saturation with linear and fresh lines of plum, black fruit, dark spice and tilled earth. The wine delivers much of the heft and power promised by this Badarina cru in Serralunga d’Alba. If you’re looking for a Barolo vintage to pair with a rich meat like liver or game, this could be the one. This is Bruna Grimaldi’s flagship Barolo, as her mother was born in Badarina and this site has always had special meaning to her family. Some 8,000 bottles were produced.”
Case-6 Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2014 750ML ($399.95) $294 special (that’s only $49/bottle!)
Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “This shows the vivid, racy side of Barsac, with streaming flavors of pineapple, yellow apple, green plum and white ginger, displaying lovely energy from start to finish. Ends with enough honeysuckle and orange blossom notes to balance the richness. Best from 2020 through 2035. 4,000 cases made.”
The classic, now $3 off per bottle by the six-pack!
Case-6 Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Barbaresco DOCG’, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($299.95) $216 special (that’s only $36/bottle!)
Produttori del Barbaresco ‘Barbaresco DOCG’, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Charming aromas of cherry, strawberry and rose are inviting in this red, with flavors to match, showing ripeness and focus. Earth and mineral elements chime in as this firms up, but the harmony is there and this should really sing in about five years. Best from 2022 through 2040. 23,333 cases made.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “I tasted this wine after bottling but before its commercial release. The 2015 Barbaresco will hit the market on September 1st. It was scheduled to be released in October, but because Produttori del Barbaresco is already out of stock of the ’14 Barbaresco, they decided to move this release up and shorten waiting times. I mention that because you definitely don’t want to pop the cork too early. The 2015 vintage opens to a visibly darker color and thicker concentration compared to recent past vintages. Next to the upcoming 2016 and 2017 editions, we can expect 2015 to be the most fruit-forward of the three. You get dark tones of plum and blackberry with dry tannins at the rear.”
Case-6 Chateau Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($279.95) $180 special (that’s only $30/bottle!)
Chateau Lilian Ladouys, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 93 points “The blueberry and blackberry aromas are certainly attractive here. Full-bodied and dense with a very velvety texture and a long, generous finish of ripe fruit and spice. Drink from 2022.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “A perennial overachiever, the 2016 Château Lilian Ladouys brings the goods in 2016 and has a complex, medium to full-bodied, character-filled style to go with loads of blue fruits, incense, dried herbs, and a hint of violets. A blend of 62% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 6% Petit Verdot all raised in 30% new barrels, this charming, front end-loaded effort is well worth seeking out. It should keep for 10-15 years.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 92 points “This is the third time I have tasted the 2016 Lilian Ladouys in bottle. It retains a very intense blackberry and boysenberry bouquet laced with minerals, but displays a little more amplitude than it did in August. The tightly knit palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and still shows the graphite seam that I remarked upon previously. There is a little more persistence now, hence the slightly higher score. Good potential.”
Truly baby Brunello in a vintage like ’16.
Case-6 Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($289.95) $174 special (that’s only $29/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Azienda Agricola La Torre Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Grapelive 95 points “The 2016 is going to be legendary in Tuscany. We are seeing the top wines already getting unbelievably good press, but there are also some killer deals on lesser known wines, especially wines like this gorgeous deep fruited and elegant La Torre Rosso di Montalcino. [Such wines] are incredible and offer a wonderful value for much less than their Brunello version. Lighter on its feet than the Brunello(s) the Rosso [shows] style and grace, it shows a complex array of flavors and a sense of never-ending length with a beautiful rose petal perfume and exotic spices. This La Torre has, what it is cliche to say, Burgundy class in the glass with ripe tannins and a gorgeous garnet/ruby hue that seduces the senses with layers of black cherry, raspberry, strawberry and plum fruits to begin on its open and generous palate with gains structure with air as well as highlighting the background elements, mineral notes and light earthiness. Additionally there is classic anise, fine cigar tobacco wrapper, sandalwood and lingering dried flowers and cranberry/currant, making for a lovely Sangiovese wine that gets even better with food, bringing out more depth and fruit intensity. There is almost nothing to fault here and the detailing and mouth feel is exceptional in this remarkable Rosso di Montalcino. This is a wine that needs to be taken out of the “Baby Brunello” box; it is really next level stuff on its own. The La Torre winery was founded not all that long ago by Italian standards back in 1976 by Giuseppe Ananìa, who purchased the La Torre estate from the famous Ciacci family of Montalcino. Now Luigi Anania, Giuseppe’s son, is the present owner and producer of the wines of La Torre. The estate is located in the commune of La Sesta, approximately 8 kilometers south of Montalcino, which is in the highest altitude section of the Brunello appellation. La Torre make four main wines, all from organic vines: Brunello di Montalcino (with a Riserva in the best years as well), Rosso di Montalcino, with the Brunello and Rosso being exclusively Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello Clone) by law, as well as a Rosso di Toscano and a Rosso di Toscano “Ampelio” which have touches of Ciliegiolo and Alicante added to a mainline of Sangiovese. The wines are all made from all grapes that are de-stemmed prior to fermentations and only indigenous yeasts are used before an extended 20 maceration on the skins. Ferments are done in a combination of steel and oak with an 18 month elevage being in large oak casks of French origin, with only about 10% of the ultimate cuvée being aged in small French barrels. Made for more early drinking pleasure and a sublime vintage really show here and I absolute love this stuff. Judging it purely on its intent and delivery it is fantastic, drink this brilliantly crafted beauty over the next 3 to 5 years.”
Thanks for reading!