In Today’s Newsletter:
A Great Deal Gets Better
A New Case-12 Special on Substance Cabernet
Beaujolais’ Rising Stars
Bruna Grimaldi’s Top Value Barolo
New Releases from Volpaia,
Our Best Selling Chianti Producer
Selbach Oster: Grand, Yet Affordable
Cepparello: An Undervalued Tuscan Icon
Rosé of the Day – Cassis’ Beauty
2015 Chateau d’Yquem
A Great Deal Gets Better
New Case-12 Special on Substance Cabernet
Case-12 Substance ‘Cs’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($219.95) $159 pre-arrival special (that’s only $13.25/bottle!)
Substance ‘Cs’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14.50 special
James Suckling 93 points “This has the wonderful, dark-fruit and olive character of a ripe cabernet sauvignon, but the polished tannins fold over the wine. It’s full-bodied, yet agile and focused at the finish. Real wine for the money. Drink now.”
Beaujolais’ Rising Stars
What make the wines so special are the vineyards from which the fruit hails. All three bottlings include old vines, punctuated by a number of rows in Chenas approaching their 100th birthday. That Chenas offers an elegant expression of Gamay, while the Julienas prefers a darker, meatier translation, by contrast. Finally, true to its reputation, the Moulin-à-Vent offers the most structure and aging potential.
In the cellar, no commercial yeast is used, and the wines are bottled unfiltered. These are serious terroir driven expressions, at prices more akin to commodity bottles wines. The new releases are always one of the Beaujolais highlights of the year and the 2019’s landed this past Friday.
In Stock Now:
Celine et Nicolas Hirsch Chenas, Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Celine et Nicolas Hirsch Julienas, Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special
VinopolNote: The Hirschs are some of the best under-the-radar producers in Beaujolais. The style is fresh, complex and delicious, with enough structure to reward short term cellaring. All their wines show off old vines and are very true to the various terroirs.
Bruna Grimaldi’s Top Value Barolo
On the whole, Grimaldi wines are beautifully expressive, polished wines that combine the cleanliness and rich, round flavors of a modern producer with a more traditional sensibility when it comes to oak usage. That’s a beautiful thing in her Barolos and also in her value-driven Barbera and Nebbiolo.
Both the Barbera and Nebbiolo are some of the best examples we’ve tasted for their prices. Both are surprisingly serious wines, with the Barbera having more power and structure. It bears the “Superiore” tag and wears it well, with rich fruit and an approachable texture. The Nebbiolo is carefree enough for dinner tonight but has all the characeritistic tar and roses of the variety.
In Stock Now;
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.”
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.”
Bruna Grimaldi Barbera d’Alba Superiore, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2016 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Scassa is a meaty red wine to pair with simple beef or pork dishes. This Barbera is characterized by a dark concentration (from 12 days of skin maceration), a sweet tone of blackberry fruit and plum and integrated notes of spice, tar and licorice. It is aged for up to 15 months in tonneaux. You’ll appreciate the soft, fruit richness. Some 25,000 bottles were made.”
Bruna Grimaldi Nebbiolo d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
James Suckling 91 points “Candied orange peel, raspberry fool, rhubarb and hibiscus. Medium body, medium-firm tannins and plenty of vibrant cherries. Mineral and savory on the finish. Tightly wound. Drink now.”
Vinopolis Wine Shop Curbside Pick Up
New Releases from Volpaia
Our Best Selling Chianti Producer
The new vintages have yet to be reviewed, but don’t let that stop you—better to get these while they’re on the shelves. The last two vintages of the Riserva scored 96 and 97 points from Wine Spectator and the ’17 looks like a more than worthy follow. The ’18 Classico is likewise fantastic and on the heels of a number of excellent reviews They arrive next week, perfect for summer BBQ’s.
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($299.95) $239 pre-arrival special (that’s only $19.92/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Importer Note “The Chianti Classico has a vivid ruby color and a strong nose of fresh red fruit with hints of cherry. This is a well-structured wine with a fruity finish. Barrel Aging: 12 months in Slavonian casks. March was warm, but April and May were very cold and rainy. Good weather started from June 10 to the end of the month. The beginning of July was very warm and dry. Intense warmth from mid-July to end of August, interspersed with some rain, guaranteed the right humidity for the soil. September and mid-October brought good weather with some scattered rain. Blooming was delayed for 10 days as well as flowering. In June, the vines started a sudden and vigorous development. Veraison began with some delay and continued fairly slowly. Harvest started a few days later compared to the previous years.”
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($41.95) $35.50 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($499.95) $385 pre-arrival special (that’s only $32.08/bottle!)
Importer Note “The Chianti Classico Riserva has a ruby-red hue with a trace of garnet. The nose is elegant, displaying hints of spice and fruit. This a well-structured wine with smooth tannins and a long finish. Barrel Aging: 24 months in oak casks (combination of Slovenian and French) and minimum 3 months in bottle. Varietal Composition: 100% Sangiovese. A record year for heat and drought throughout the growing season. This condition presented extremes which began early bud break in the vineyard, followed by a spring frost over late April. The frost affected the lower portions of the Volpaia estate. Spring and summer months were dry with higher than average temperatures. Rainfall in mid-September helped the grapes achieve complete ripeness of tannins and other phenolic compounds despite low yields.”
Also arriving Friday:
Val di Suga Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Decanter 92 points “As of the 2015, all of Val di Suga’s wines spend less time in wood to curb Sangiovese’s tendency to oxidise. This wine brings together grapes from all three of Val di Suga’s distinct vineyard sites in equal proportions. Fragrant orange and raspberry notes progress into darker, earthier nuances. There is a saline edge and a gentle grip holding together lush fruit. It’s a touch short but still bright and tangy on the finish.”
James Suckling 92 points “A dense and linear red with medium to full body, chewy tannins and a slightly extracted finish. Needs time to soften. Better after 2022.”
Selbach Oster: Grand, Yet Affordable
What makes the Selbach wines so special (and perhaps what makes them as underrated) is that they aren’t showy or extreme, especially when it comes to levels of residual sugar and, in the drier wines, with acidity as well. This makes them incredibly useful at the table. Sure they could leave more RS and they’d be more “opulent” and score higher points—but they don’t. As a result, you can drink the Spatlesen and Auslesen with the main course during meals; not just cheese or lightly sweet desserts.
The wines are from great vineyards and made by an incredibly talented winemaker. They are useful at the table now, but will age (as long as you want) into even more interesting wines. The prices are great. What more could you ask for?
In Stock Now:
A Selection of Selbach Wines, In Stock Now:
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points “Opening with nice reduction but precise and ripe fruit as well as crunchy slate aromas on the nose, the 2016 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett is pure and flinty, well-structured and quite aristocratic (though a frivolous aristocrat), with a firm structure, lush fruit and a lovely lightness and buoyancy. Very stimulating and mouthwatering, but it’s far too young to appreciate the full complexity it will deliver in a couple of years. Salty, grippy and fruity—just a perfect Kabinett.”
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 91 points “Super-fresh and vibrant with a cool, mineral-herbal personality and a very clean, long finish. You could drink it any time during the next decade, but why wait?”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Wine Advocate 91+ points “Carob and toasted nuts inflect baked apple and vanilla on the nose of Selbachs’ block-picked 2011 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Rotlay, which comes to the palate expansive, creamy, and buoyant (at 8.5% alcohol), its apple joined by almost overripe Persian melon. Hints of pip and botrytis bitterness add interest, but there is not the subtle interaction of flavors or the layer of primary juiciness that rendered the corresponding Anrecht bottling so memorable, but instead a more dominantly honeyed, soothingly rich personality. This long-finishing beauty may well – as its author suggests – just need some time to reveal its multiple layers.”
The next best price is $43.99
That’s a difference of over $10 per bottle
The average listed price is $48
Grapelive 95+ points “The brilliant and exotic Schmitt comes from the steep slate hill above the church, set back from the Mosel. There is great southern exposure here and it less affected by noble rot, a big plus in 2014. It allowed this rich and lush wine to remain crystalline and focused. This is one of the great wines of the vintage! Johannes Selbach’s top wines are not Trocken/Grosses Gewachs, but are single block wines from Cru sites. They are also heavy weighted, dense and medium sweet, but it is not about the sugar: it is all about the terroir and overall balance. These are wines of hedonism, power, textural pleasure and vitality, especially the Schmitt in 2014. It explores the boundaries of perfection in a fantastically difficult vintage. The was a savage thinning of the crop and a tiny window to get the grapes in to make this masterpiece from the old vines at Zeltinger Schlossberg. It is truly amazing with all the problems and heartbreak endured here that a wine of this quality and gorgeous detail managed to happen at all. Somehow this block come through and made one of the most glorious Riesling wines of the year. The 2014 Schmitt by Selbach-Oster starts with a sweet perfume. This wine shows white roses, dripping jasmine, hints of gardenia and tropical essences that lead to a full bodied, Auslese weight palate with apricot, green apple, lime and mango fruits leading the way along with a mix of spicy mineral and flinty stones, briny sea shore notes, soft honey decadence, creamy verbena and sweet peach flesh. The finish carries over the core of fruit and richness, but there is a burst of dynamic acidity and vibrancy. This is not a flabby wine and you are left with a dreamy/haunting impression with lingering tangerine sorbet, crushed stone and wet steeliness. This is fabulous Riesling and one you’ll want in the cellar. This has 100 Point potential and it will also drink well young. It already has poise and elegance, but should last two or three decades! Don’t be afraid of its sugar levels, it drinks like a lavish Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and is a spectacular wine from Selbach-Oster!”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2015 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is bright, pure, very fine, floral and flinty on the nose. It is provided with perfectly ripe and concentrated, slate-flavored fruit aromas intermixed with lemon and grapefruit notes. This is a lush, piquant and elegant, filigreed and finessed Auslese. It has great finesse and provided with a lot of Spiel and salt. The finish is pure, piquant and salty, but also lush and generous. This is a very precise, straight and stimulating, highly digestible Auslese with a lot of energy, tension and aging potential. It is very clear and there is no hint of botrytis here.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “This offers a beautiful nose of cassis, grapefruit, greengage, apricot tree flower, white flowers and herbs. A more yellow fruit driven side comes through on the palate with yellow peach playing with acidity to produce a mouth-watering cocktail of Mosel charm. A hint of sweetness in the finish is still in need of integration of this gorgeous Auslese in the making. 2025-2045.”
We have twenty-two different bottlings from Selbach-Oster in stock now!
You can view all of them on our web store.
Ronchi di Pietro Friulano Friul Colli Orientali 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
Winery note “Yellow-straw colour with beautiful greenish tinges. Its intense aroma recalls wild flowers, hay and almond. Fine, delicate, and full-bodied, with a remarkable scent of bitter almond.”
Library Owen Roe Syrah from perhaps their best vineyard—at unthinkably good pricing.
Owen Roe Red Willow Vineyard Chapel Block Syrah, Yakima Valley 2013 750ML ($59.95) $33 special
Case-12 Owen Roe Red Willow Vineyard Chapel Block Syrah, Yakima Valley 2013 750ML ($719.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92 points “Bright medium ruby. Musky, earthy aromas of raspberry, roasted strawberry, smoked meat and charred oak. Fat, sweet and deep, with good spicy lift to the very ripe flavors of plum, blueberry, dark chocolate and spices. A very rich, tactile Syrah with sexy sweetness but plenty of ripe, dusty tannins to support a graceful evolution in bottle. Ultimately richer than the Union Gap Syrah but also more tannic.”
The next best price in any vintage is $49.50
The average listed price across all vintages is $55
An oddball blend but a very lovely wine.
Kelley Fox Nerthus White Blend, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Winemaker note “I’m very happy to offer you this lovely skin-contact white wine made of 40% old vine Early Muscat and 60% Grüner veltliner. The destemmed fruit from both vineyards was fermented in 1.5-ton open top fermenters with one pigeage a day. The Muscat was pressed at dryness (about twelve days) while the Grüner was pressed into the tank of Muscat after about six days of skin contact to complete its fermention. The Nerthus was allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. Élevage was in a stainless tank until bottling. It is bone-dry and very clean and fresh. The Nerthus is transparent to the point of brilliance, and its colour is youthful, shimmering gold. The nose is full of minerals, stone fruits (apricot/peach), and has this incredibly fresh smell that reminds me of the ozone in the air after a huge thunderstorm. Unlike the nose, the mouth is more Grüner-like than Muscat-like, but still, there are hints of tangerine and stone fruit. And like a Grüner, this wine will need a little time to take on its body and weight (though it will never become heavy or cloying). The finish is consistent with the mouth with maybe some spice. It is fresh and clean (in a good, not-at-all sterile way), and is a wine that I hope evokes an alpine white full of early spring life emerging from the snow-melt.”
Powerful and mineral Napa Cabernet from a fantastic producer.
Snowden Vineyards ‘Brothers Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
#91 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Brothers is the best wine I have tasted from Diana Snowden-Seysses. Rich, explosive and savory, the 2016 dazzles with intensity in all of its dimensions. Graphite, smoke, savory herbs and spice notes wrap around a core of dark fruit in a vertical, towering Cabernet Sauvignon that captures all the vintage has to offer.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Offers a tasty core of plum and blackberry fruit, backed by lively anise and apple wood notes. Restrained overall, with an alluring freshness and a subtle charcoal hint lingering deftly at the end. Drink now through 2032. 639 cases made.”
The 2016 sold out yesterday, but there’s still limited stock available on the ’15.
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $27 special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Alluring, with flow to the cassis, cherry compote and raspberry coulis flavors, backed by light rooibos tea, tobacco and dried blood orange accents. The silky finish is sneaky long, offering a light sanguine echo. Drink now through 2025. 16,666 cases made, 2,000 cases imported.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Black-plum and mulberry notes are plump and easy on the palate of this velvety, plush red. Ripe and rich, it’s elegantly balanced by crisp acidity and fine, firm tannins. Primary and fruity now, with delicate hints of nut and spice, it should develop earth and spice tones through 2025.”
From one of the Willamette Valley’s Grand Cru sites, Grant Coulter delivers a beauty.
Hundred Suns Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 95 points “This has a very fresh, attractive nose with roses and violets, as well as boysenberries, red cherries and a savory, stony edge. Some sappy nuances, too. The palate is very succulent and has strikingly fresh red berries and cherries, underscored with vibrant acidity and a very uplifting, dynamic finish. A richer vintage, made in a fresher style, works very well here. Drink or hold.”
Cepparello: An Undervalued Tuscan Icon
For many, Chianti symbolizes Italian wine and no winery symbolizes the modern quality of the region like Isole e Olena. Since the arrival of Paolo de Marchi in 1976, Isole e Olena has been a leader in quality in Tuscany.
Stylistically, Isole e Olena occupies a place that is at once traditional and modern. Their Chianti Classico and their flagship Cepparello are both firmly rooted in the primacy of Sangiovese and the idea of Tuscan typicity. Elegance wedded to power, both of those wines show the nuance and bright fruit you expect from a classic wine of the region combined with the density and complexity of top tier, noble wines.
Their top wine, Cepparello, is one of the true icons of Tuscany. 100% Sangiovese, it lives up to the standards of wines like Le Pergole Torte and Altesino Montosoli at significantly less per bottle. We’ve managed to secure bottles from two top vintages (15/16), with the 2015 delicious now and the ’16 built for the cellar.
In Stock Now:
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 1.5l ($219.95) $199 special, 12 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2016 Cepparello is dense, dark and also very closed in on itself. Those qualities bode well for the future, but readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and new leather gradually open up in the glass, but the 2016 is not ready to show all of its cards. This fruit was brought in during the second week of October, which is pretty much optimal at Isole e Olena. The 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, with a bit less than 30% new oak, and a few months in cask prior to bottling. An explosion of floral and spice notes punctuates the super-refined finish. The 2016 is shaping up to be epic. Don’t miss it!”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 97 points “The beautiful Isole e Olena 2016 Cepparello is a gorgeous and precise expression of Sangiovese. This is one of the icon wines of the vintage that shows a naked and transparent portrait of the grape on the one hand, with the complexity of the vintage and its territory on the other. Cepparello is like a crystal ball into the heart and soul of Sangiovese, Tuscany’s mighty red grape. It is fermented in conical oak casks and later aged 20 months in 95% French and 5% American oak, of which only one-third is new wood. The wine delivers ample structure and contouring, with a firm and silky consistency at its core. Some 42,000 bottles were made. This wine should age over the better part of the next 20 years.”
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($179.95) $149 special, 8 magnums in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “Shows lots of black cherries, cranberry tea, caramelized orange peel, roasted herbs and citrus peel. Full-bodied with ripe and quite round tannins that frame layers of cherries. Bright and fresh, yet rich and long at the same time. The sangiovese character really springs out of the glass. Drink in 2020.”
Rosé of the Day
Cassis is one of the most singularly beautiful places on earth, so it makes (emotional, if not logical) sense that the wines from the village are similarly stunning in their beauty and purity. Perhaps our favorite from the town is the version offered up by the Domain du Bagnol, whose estate is perched on hillside (mountainside, really) that overlooks the village and the sparkling blue waters just beyond. The wine seems to capture this, with elegant, crystalline fruit and a hint of sea-side air. The 2019 version just arrived and is as wonderful as ever.
In Stock Now:
Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Rose, Provence 2019 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Rose, Provence 2019 1.5L ($69.95) $61.90 special
Importer note “The Rosé is produced from several parcels that comprise slightly less than 7 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards are clay and limestone, situated on a gentle slope with a north – northwest exposure. The blend is Grenache (55%), Mourvedre (31%) and Cinsault (14%). This Rosé is vinified by “pressurage direct, the must is chilled to 12 degrees Celsius, the wine ferments at 18 degrees Celsius until it is completely dry; then, the wine is bottled during the first three months of the following year after a light filtration. Production tops out at about 40,000 bottles per annum; approximately 6000 bottles are allocated to the US market.”
2015 Chateau d’Yquem
“What Nature bestowed in 2015 is everything you could possibly desire in a Sauternes” – Neal Martin, Wine Advocate
“Readers who can find the 2015 should not hesitate, as it is truly magnificent!” – Antonio Galloni
2015 Chateau d’Yquem is looking like one of the two best wines the estate has produced this century (trailing, perhaps by a hair, the 2001). In other words, it’s a monumental wine—a true collector’s icon and one of the most complex wines produced anywhere in the world in 2015. We sold out of half-bottles but pulled off a vinous coup—750’s and (more impressively) magnums of this legend. Only a very tiny percentage of d’Yquem is bottled in large formats, so securing any of this liquid gold in a rare opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Neither should you.
In Stock Now:
Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes 2015 1.5L ($1099.95) $879 special
Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes 2015 750ML ($499.95) $379 special
Wine Advocate 100 points “Following a very long harvest stretching nearly two months, the 2015 Château d’Yquem came in at 13.9% alcohol and 144 grams per liter of residual sugar, sporting a pH of 3.65 and six grams per liter of tartaric acid. None of these numbers, however, even remotely begin to tell you how profound this wine is. The nose opens with electric notes of ripe pineapples, green mango, orange blossoms and lemon tart with hints of fungi, lime zest, crushed rocks and jasmine. The freshness on the palate is just astonishing, permeating and lifting layer upon layer of tropical fruits and earthy notions, all encased in a sumptuous texture and culminating in a very, very long, mineral-tinged finish. Truly, this is a legendary vintage for d’Yquem. I’ve been conservative with my drinking window here, and I would not be at all surprised if our descendants are drinking this vintage well into the next century.”-LPB
James Suckling 99-100 points “This is an incredible young Yquem that is so vinous like a great vintage of Montrachet but then on the palate it turns to Yquem with spice, dried fruit and mushroom as well as sweet fruit. Last for minutes. Acidity is all there giving it a dynamic vibrance that jolts your senses. Special wine. It has a little more than than 140 grams of residual sugar, less than the legendary of 2001. But is very close in greatness. Let’s wait and see.”
Antonio Galloni 98 points “The 2015 d’Yquem is without question one of the wines of the vintage. Just as alluring from bottle as it was from barrel, the 2015 is a wine that engages all of the senses, from the intellectual to the more hedonistic. Lilting notes of pineapple, mint, orange peel and white flowers grace the palate, but it is the wine’s sense of balance and total harmony that impress most. In 2015, Yquem had its earliest start to the harvest since 1893. Even so, the winemaking team did a magnificent job of preserving freshness. The 2015 was fermented in 100% new oak, and residual sugar is 145 grams per liter, but great wine is never about numbers. Above all else, the 2015 Yquem is a wine of energy and class. Don’t miss it!”
Stay safe, be well, & drink well.