Midweek Addition 7-24-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

A Perfect Dominus

New Champagne Reviews from Antonio Galloni

Rose of the Day: Classically Provencal

Trending Bottles

Kapcsándy: A Napa First Growth

A Bigger Boot: Large Formats from Italy

2017 Niepoort:
“A Leading Candidate for ‘Wine of the Vintage'”

July Sale Roundup


A Perfect Dominus

“If I could give more than 100 for this one, I would.” –Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
Dominus has been on a roll.  Both the 2015 and now the 2016 vintages of this landmark wine are some of the best wines in Napa ever, at prices that should make wineries like Harlan and Screaming Eagle blush.  The 2016 just might be the best yet. It’s stunning—an easy 100 pointer that will outlive its slightly older brother.  This is a wine that perfectly synthesizes old-school Napa sensibilities with new-wave drinkability and style.  Lovers of California Cabernet should not miss, and should buy as much as possible for the cellar.

Dominus was founded by Christian Moueix, proprietor of the legendary Chateau Petrus in Pomerol and his vision has shaped Dominus into the force that it’s become.  Despite its French heritage, the wine is definitely California in tone and style, combining waves of rich fruit and beautiful aromatics with enough tannin to ground the wine.  We have both the ’16 and ’15 available now (though quantities are down to a few bottles/halves on the ’15), as well as a bit of their second wine, Napanook, which is a handy cellar defender for anyone trying to keep their hands off of the prime time wines.

In Stock Now:

Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($319.95) $289 special
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2016 1.5L ($699.95) $599 special
Lisa Perrotti-Brown-Wine Advocate 100 points
“A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc aged in 40% new oak, the 2016 Proprietary Red Wine is deep purple-black in color and quite reticent at this youthful stage to begin, offering up subtle notions of potpourri, Indian spices, cigar box and iron ore over a core of crushed blackberries and black cherries with intermittent wafts of black and red currants, new leather and smoked meats. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a densely packed mid-palate and oodles of freshness framed by very ripe, finely grained tannins and laced with compelling earthy accents. It offers incredible vibrancy with tons of black and red fruit sparkle in the mid-palate leading to a provocative mineral element on the very long finish. If I could give more than 100 for this one, I would. To be released in May 2019.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points “Another possible legend in the making is the 2016 Dominus, a classic blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc brought up in 40% new French oak. Pure, pristine notes of charcoal, cold fireplace, smoke tobacco, and both blue and black fruits all flow to a full-bodied 2016 that has incredible elegance and finesse, yet also depth and density. It’s more backward and reserved than the 2015 and needs 4-5 years of cellaring. It will unquestionably live for 25-30 years.”
James Suckling 98 points “The opulence of fresh flowers and dark fruit is so impressive. There’s so much going on, from flowers to currants. The palate is full and powerful, but what impresses most are the ripe tannins and the amazing poise at the finish. Tightens down at the end. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, eight per cent petit verdot and eight per cent cabernet franc. Drink in 2021.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2016 Dominus is a dark, somber wine. I don’t quite see the explosive energy of the 2013 or 2010, not the seductiveness of the 2012, but the 2016 has a distinct charm that is all its own. Quite frankly, I can’t remember a young Dominus with this combination of fruit density, freshness and polished tannins. A huge center of fruit emerge with time in the glass in a big, large-scaled Dominus that should provide readers with a long drinking window of pure pleasure once some of the baby fat wears off.”

Also Available:

“a flawless, perfect wine as well as a legend in the making” –Jeb Dunnuck
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($349.95) $289 special
Dominus Estate, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($179.95) $159 special
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Bottled in July 2017 and composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the Dominus 2015 Proprietary Red Wine leaps from the glass with notes of fresh wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and black currant juice with touches of wild thyme, underbrush, iron ore and aniseed with wafts of lavender and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has incredible energy and vivacity, with the firm, pixelated tannins and lively backbone skillfully framing the muscular fruit, finishing with wonderful length and depth.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2015 Dominus is a flawless, perfect wine as well as a legend in the making. A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc, from dry-farmed vines and brought up in just 40% new French oak, its ruby/purple color is followed by an extraordinary bouquet of blackcurrants, crème de cassis, damp earth, smoke tobacco, and spring flowers. Reminding me of the 2015 Château Margaux with its incredible mix of elegance and power, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, stunning purity of fruit, building tannins, and awesome length. This sensational textured and voluptuous Dominus drink well today yet will evolve for 25-30 years or more.”
James Suckling 98 points “A phenomenal red from the vintage with sandalwood, roses, currants, blackberries and blackcurrants. Full-bodied, extremely structured and intense with a great finish. The tannins are so polished and poised. Shows tension and beauty throughout. Straight and focused. Drink in 2022.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2015 Dominus is fabulous. Explosive and alluring on the palate, the 2015 possesses stunning texture and intensity. Blueberry jam, cloves, menthol, licorice and graphite are some of the many nuances that develop over time. In 2015 Dominus artfully balances the richness of the year with the classic structural elements that are such a signature of this wine.”

Dominus Estate Napanook, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is a flamboyant red that offers hazelnuts, dark berries and a hint of chocolate. Full-bodied with round and soft tannins. So fresh. So rich, enticing and layered. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, nine per cent petit verdot and seven per cent cabernet franc. Delicious now. Drink or hold. April 2019 release.”

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“One of The Most Dynamic Regions In The World Today”

New Champagne Reviews from Antonio Galloni

“Our Summer Preview includes everything from reviews of new releases coming into the market, from both grower domaines and grand marques, as well as notes on a handful of collectibles. The pace of change on the ground is dizzying, which makes Champagne one of the most dynamic regions in the world today.

“As I have written here before many times, Champagne is far more than a celebration or special occasion wine. All it takes is one look at the best restaurant wine lists to understand the mind share Champagne continues to garner. But what makes Champagne so unique? To, me, it ultimately comes down to terroir, that most defining but also elusive concept that is so central to the understanding of site-specific wines, starting with Burgundy, of course. While terroir is often interpreted as characteristics purely of soil, a more practical definition also includes microclimate, altitude, exposure and the whole range of site-specific traits that give wines their distinctive personalities. “- Antonio Galloni

In Stock Wines:

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $40.90 special, 30 bottles in stock now
L16 base. Disgorged Jan 2019.
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The NV Brut Réserve (2016 base, disgorged December 2018) is especially finessed on this release, with a bit more floral lift from the Chardonnay than is often the case, and also slightly higher dosage, all of which works very well. Lemon confit, white flowers and mint add to the wine’s decidedly bright profile. This is a fabulous edition of the Brut Réserve. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged: December, 2018.” [Review is for December 2018 disgorgement]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bereche et Fils Les Beaux Regards Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“One of the highlights in this range, the 2015 Les Beaux Regards, is positively stellar. Mint, licorice, dried flowers and savory herbs add striking shades of nuance to the Chardonnay fruit in an impeccably balanced Champagne that captures the Bérêche style at its very best. The 2015 is such a beautiful and expressive wine. This fruit came in at a very healthy 11.3% in potential alcohol. Dosage is 3 grams per liter. Disgorged: December, 2018.”

Bereche et Fils Le Cran Premier Cru Brut Nature Millesime, Champagne 2011 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Antonio Galloni 90 points
“The 2011 Le Cran offers terrific freshness and a distinct savory edge. The apricot, chamomile, light honey and wild flower notes are nicely woven together. Although the 2011 Cran largely avoids the awkward green notes that afflict so many wines in this vintage, it also appears to be aging at a relatively fast pace. I would not push my luck with aging. Dosage is 3.5 grams per liter. Disgorged: July, 2018.”

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Pre-Arrival Wines:

Vilmart & Cie Les Blanches Voies Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($419.95) $379 pre-arrival special, ETA late July, only 2 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2009 Blanc de Blancs Les Blanches Voies is every bit as stunning as it was last year. The combination of the warm year and the natural richness conferred by these 70+- year-old vines yields a powerful, vinous Champagne with tremendous character, depth and the pedigree to drink well for many years. Laurent Champs gave the Blanc de Blancs 7 years on the cork, as opposed to the 6 that are customary for the Coeur de Cuvée. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. Disgorged: March, 2017.”

Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 1999 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special, ETA September, only 11 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 1999 Brut Vintage (Collection) is a gorgeous wine that will especially please readers who enjoy Champagnes with the nuance that develops with time in bottle. Apricot jam, orange peel, hazelnut, dried flowers and lightly honeyed notes all develop in a rich, burnished Champagne endowed with tons of nuance intermingled with the freshness that Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs expresses so eloquently. Certainly, the 1999 is a bit rustic relative to recent vintages here, but it nevertheless offers fine drinking.”


Rose of the Day

Classically Provencal

The Saint-Ser rosé, from Provence, has been a Vinopolis favorite for several years.  It’s classically Provencal, with a bright, crisp disposition.  We love everything about it except the name—when customers come in and ask for it (which happens fairly often) it can be hard to know whether they’re looking for Saint-Ser or Sancerre.  Despite the confusion, it’s a wine we love to carry every year and the new vintage arrived a week ago.  If you buy it online, you don’t have to worry about how to say it, either.

In Stock Now

Domaine de Saint Ser Cotes de Provence Tradition Rose 2018 750ML ($19.95) $16.60 special
“A unique blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, and a touch of Rolle grapes give this wine an unusually complex aroma. Each grape variety contributes its own note: a red-berry aroma from the Grenache, the finesse of the Cinsault, the intensity of the Syrah, and a hint of citrus from the Rolle.”–Winery Notes

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Want to see all 90+ rosé options, in stock and arriving soon (including the nearly sold out Domaine Tempier)? Just head to our webstore for the full list.
Trending Wines
A stunning value high elevation Alexander Valley Cabernet.
Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2013 750ML ($79.95) $49 special
Case-6 Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2013 750ML ($299.95) $259 special
Robert Parker 92+ points
“The single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the highest elevation (400-1000 feet) is the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Brothers Ridge. It displays blacker fruit, loads of plums, blueberry and blackberry, a deep, full-bodied, mouthfeel, rich, concentrated, moderately high tannin, a nice minerality and plenty of black fruits. These are all well-built and potentially very long-lived wines of 25-30 or more years. This wine needs a good 4-5 years of cellaring.”

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This is up there with Vieux Chateau Certan or any other top flight Pomerol.
Castello di Ama L’Apparita Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($199.95) $137.50 special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“Ama’s 2015 L’Apparita is shaping up to be phenomenal. That is the good news. But readers are going to have to give the 2015 at least another 8-10 years before the wine starts to drink well, as today, the flavors are remarkably primary. That is hardly a surprise given how this Tuscan thoroughbred ages. A rush of blackberry jam, spice, menthol, and graphite build into a crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures. Over the years, I have had the chance to take virtually every vintage of L’Apparita. There is little doubt the 2015 will soon take its place as one of the epic editions.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “It’s impossible not to be completely smitten by the 2015 L’Apparita. This pure expression of Merlot from Chianti Classico is an exceedingly smooth and enriched expression with abundant tones of black cherry, spice, chocolate and barbecue smoke. The mouthfeel is gorgeous, and although this wine is not as extracted or dense as past editions, it is far more finessed and elegant. You get a clear taste not only of the grape but of the gravely soils that make up this extraordinary territory. What could be better than Merlot and Tuscany blended together in a single bottle?”
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of black olives and violets with black fruits following through to a full body with firm and silky tannins. An intense finish. Shows linear yet strong tannins. 100% merlot. Drink in 2020.”

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Carignan in the right hands makes perfect bistro reds.
Domaine Lafage ‘Tessellae’ Carignan Vieilles Vignes, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points
“Moving to the reds, the 2017 Côtes Catalanes Tessellae Carignan (100% Carignan) comes from the Agly Valley and was brought up all in tank. Blackberries, leather, dried herbs, and licorice notes all emerge from this spicy, medium-bodied, silky Carignan that has terrific purity and elegance. It’s another wine from Jean-Marc that over-delivers. Drink it over the coming couple of years.”

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Declassified single vineyards mean it’s even better than usual
Pax North Coast Syrah, California 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2017 Syrah (North Coast) is a new wine in the range that essentially replaces The Hermit. Ripe, open-knit and expressive, the North Coast is made in a radiant, inviting style that can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring. Moreover, it is a real overachiever, as Pax only bottled the Armagh as a vineyard-designate in 2017. Vineyard sites in the North Coast Syrah are Nellessen Vineyard, Castelli-Knight Ranch, Griffin’s Lair, Walker Vine Hill, Alder Springs Vineyard, Montgomery Road Ridgetop, and Majik Vineyard.”
Winery Note “Here is a wine that comes along only every so often. Driven by Mother Nature rather than market forces, this 100% Syrah is a blend of all of our favorite vineyards. Just because they are our favorites doesn’t mean that they don’t disappoint in some years. 2017 was one of those years that made it very difficult for us to carry out our desire to bottle these vineyards on their own as vineyard designated wines. So for 2017 you get all the great terroirs blended together to make one very compelling and over delivering bottle of Syrah.”

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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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“It’s bigger on the inside.” A wine that rewards inspection with detail.
Peter Lauer Kupp Fass 18 Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Hot Wine. Features a surprising amount of expression packed into a light frame. This very minerally white is elegant, showing beautiful harmony throughout. Refined flavors of clementine, Bosc pear, quince and elderflower are offset by a bright structure. Intense, but not overripe, with focused acidity, plenty of slate and mineral notes, and a finish filled with hints of pepper and chamomile. Drink now through 2031.”
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling 94 points “This smells of lemon curd, but that only gives a vague idea of the wonderfully subtle aromas of this wine. Rich and creamy on the palate, yet so fresh and lively with a vibrant, very uplifting finish. Drink or hold.”

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The average price is $55

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.”



Kapcsándy: A Napa First Growth

Stephen Tanzer, the renowned wine critic, recently published a retrospective on Kapcsándy Family Winery for Vinous media.  We’ve always admired and enjoyed the Kapcsándy wines—they’re a Napa First Growth if there ever was one.  Tanzer seems to agree, loving both their Roberta’s Reserve and Grand Vin Cabernet.

He called the Roberta’s “one of the world’s greatest Merlot bottlings not made on the Pomerol plateau, and arguably the finest example from California. It’s a Merlot with extraordinary depth of flavor and structure, and it appears capable of evolving in bottle for at least two or three decades. In some vintages the wine has even overshadowed the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin in the early going for its uncommon depth and perfumed complexity….the Roberta’s Merlot is reminiscent of Pomerol, I’m not talking about a plump, jammy version from a fringe area of this small appellation. We’re talking about a powerfully structured, deep, long-aging wine like Château Pétrus.”

That’s not to say that he doesn’t think the Grand Vin Cabernet isn’t world class as well, though.  Tanzer declared that “the Kapcsándy family’s outstanding Yountville site excels with both varieties. Their two flagship bottlings show remarkable density and refinement of texture, outstanding small-berry intensity and depth, and uncommonly suave tannins. If my scores seem ridiculously high, that’s because the wines are ridiculously good.”

That’s largely due to their fantastic site, the State Lane Vineyard—which was the backbone of Beringer’s Private Reserve program during the glory years of the ’70’s and ’80’s.  In the Vinous piece, Tanzer remarked that “I was struck by the strength of site character, which expresses itself in both of these extraordinary bottlings. The Grand Vin Cabernet and the Roberta’s Reserve are characterized by a combination of red, black and blue fruits, underlying stony minerality, notes of sweet tobacco, brushy herbs, licorice, violet and lavender, and an element of medicinal reserve, and by their combination of uncanny density and refinement of texture.”

We have a broad selection of these hard to get wines in stock, but quantities on each wine are extremely limited, so jump on these now if you love classic Napa wines and the Bordeaux that inspire them.

In Stock Now:

Only three bottles available
Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta’s Reserve, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 96 points
“Saturated ruby-red. Brooding, medicinal scents of dark cherry, menthol and licorice. Boasts outstanding breadth and density of material, with its expressive flavors of black cherry, dark berries, spices and bitter chocolate complicated by salty minerality and lifted by a subtle floral quality. This distinctly soil-driven wine is showing more personality today than the ’16 and should reach its plane of peak drinkability earlier. And yet my sample tightened up in the glass to show a rather powerful tannic spine. (14.4% alcohol; 100% Merlot; from fruit harvested three weeks earlier than in 2016; 88% new French, 3% new Hungarian and 9% second-fill French)”

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Only two bottles available
Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Grand-Vin Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($499.95) $449 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 96 points
“Deep medium ruby. Aromas of black cherry, licorice and menthol, plus a slightly green suggestion of cassis bud and a hint of coffee torrefaction; aeration brought a suggestion of citrussy lift. Wonderfully dense, fine-grained and sweet; like the Roberta’s, this is much easier to taste today than its 2016 sibling, even if it doesn’t possess quite that wine’s breadth. With its refined texture and sweetness of fruit, this wine comes across as less obviously tannic than the 2016 Roberta’s–yet more indication of the power of Merlot at this site. Incidentally, the ’15s were bottled in July of 2017, a month or two later than previous vintages. (14.2% alcohol; 88% new French, 3% new Hungarian and 9% second-fill French oak)”

Only one magnum available
Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Roberta’s Reserve, Napa Valley 2012 1.5L ($799.95) $699 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 97 points
“Good medium ruby; not as crystal-clear as the 2013. Knockout nose combines crushed dark berries, volcanic (basalt?) minerality and high-toned violet and lilac notes. Spectacularly dense, silky and suave, showing surprisingly firm but perfectly integrated acidity for the year. Wonderfully chewy, strong, structured Merlot with the serious tannic mass to support a long and graceful evolution in bottle–and yet it’s already utterly seamless. Really glistens on the palate and rises on the aftertaste. (14.5% alcohol; 100% Merlot, for the first time; 100% new oak)”

Only two magnums available
Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Grand-Vin Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009 1.5L ($799.95) $699 special
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 94 points
“Deep ruby-red. If the Roberta’s smells like Pomerol, this one is Haut-Brion-like in its wild notes of leather and road tar. Wonderfully thick and sweet but a bit funky too, offering plush flavors of black raspberry, licorice, leather and game. Very densely packed wine with nicely integrated acidity and copious, fully ripe tannins. Really scrapes the palate clean on the rising finish. If there’s any brett here, it’s just another element of complexity, as it does not dominate or dry the wine’s fruit. (13.7% alcohol; 96% French oak–80% new–and 4% new Hungarian oak)”

A Bigger Boot: Large Formats from Italy

Italy is the source of some of our favorite wines, from the casual to the collectible, and we’ve built quite the assortment of large format bottles that reflect our love and curiosity. From accessible, affordable bottles like Passopisciaro’s Etna Rosso to rare, collectible gems like Voerzio’s (bottled only in magnum) Capalot Riserva, we’ve got something for every table and cellar. Plus, we’ve even got some larger formats like 3L and 5L bottles that are just begging to go in your cellar.  We’ve got some highlights below, but you can see all the magnums in the web store (from Italy or otherwise) right here.

In Stock Now:

Produttori del Barbaresco Montestefano, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 1.5L ($179.95) $149 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“This is full-bodied, displaying cherry, licorice, wild herb, iron and tobacco notes. The dense tannins take over and dominate the finish now, despite this remaining fresh and long. Full-bodied and minerally. Best from 2025 through 2040.”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points– Editor’s Choice “New leather, camphor, forest berry, dried rose and culinary spice are some of the aromas you’ll find on this exceptional red. The firmly structured, poised palate doles out juicy cranberry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and star anise framed in tightly-knit, refined tannins while bright acidity provides energy and balance. Drink 2020–2033.”
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “A dark, brooding wine, the 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano comes across as quite virile today, with huge tannins and equally imposing dark fruit. Smoke, leather, licorice and game add to an impression of raw, almost unrestrained, power. There is not a whole lot of finesse here at least not now. The Montestefano is a wine painted in broad brush strokes that emphasize power over elegance. Then again, that is Montestefano. Readers should be in no rush to open the 2013.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The final wine in this portfolio of amazing single-vineyard expressions is the 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano. This is the densest and darkest of them all, and I would therefore suggest that the longest drinking window be reserved for this expression. Montestefano is shaped as an amphitheater of vines that locks in the summer heat and sees less wind compared to Montefico. This is a solid and firm wine with deep, dark intensity and solid tannins that form an unyielding backbone. You should hold onto this bottle for at least 5 more years before popping the cork.”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Passopisciaro Passorosso Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2014 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 97 points
“Bright red-ruby. The captivating nose combines strawberry, raspberry, minerals, violet and flint aromas. Creamy-sweet but amazingly light on its feet, offering palate-staining, perfumed flavors of soft red berries, ripe red cherry, vanilla, aromatic herbs and crushed rock. Rich, ripe and suave, but displays a penetrating, saline and energetic quality that gives this beauty a three-dimensional mouthfeel and a light-on-its-feet quality. Finishes with great length and wonderfully polished tannins. Absolute knockout wine: from a memorable vintage on Etna, this is most likely the best Passorosso ever (in earlier vintages, it used to be called simply Passopisciaro). Mainly Nerello Mascalese.”
Grapelive 95 points “Passopisciaro is one of Sicily’s stars, making volcanic reds that are often compared to the finest Premier Crus of Burgundy. None of that seemed possible back in 2000, when Passopisciaro founder, Andrea Franchetti [of Tenuta di Trinoro in Tuscany] first visited Sicily. He searched out an estate and finally picked out abandoned vineyards on the northern side of Mount Etna. [It offers] the unique characteristics of high-elevation terraces of highly varied black [and] lava soils that give these amazing wines their terroir character. In recent years Franchetti’s Passopisciaro, all biodynamic, has been one of world’s most talked about estates, making a wine of real impact from Etna’s Nerello Mascalese grape. [He crafts] a fuller bodied version with a touch more extract and a darker hue than some of his neighbors, while still being true to traditional norms and using grapes from Cru sites known locally as Contradas. Passopisciaro does five single-vineyard bottlings from each contrada that Franchetti gets fruit from, these include Rampante, Sciaranuova, Guardiola, Porcaria, and Chiappemacine, as well as doing this multi site Etna Rosso cuvee Passorosso, which is now a DOC. This 2014 Passopisciaro Passorosso is 100% Nerello Mascalese from vines that were planted between 1913-1943. It was fermented using specially picked yeast in cold stainless steel vats before finishing malos and aging in French casks, mostly neutral big barrels, for 18 months, finishing at a serious 15% natural alcohol, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2014 Passorosso is richly textured, with classic smoky notes and spicy red fruits before opening up and gaining layer after layer including macerated cherries, strawberry, plum and raspberry fruits along with licorice, lavender oil, red pepper and flinty mineral tones. This medium/full pure Nerello Mascalese has a beautiful and textural glycerin and wonderful length. Its palate is luxurious and satiny, while still having serious impact and vitality. This is a winery to discover if you haven’t yet!”
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Roberto Voerzio Riserva Vecchie Viti dei Capalot e Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2004 1.5L ($699.95) $499 special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“Voerzio no longer makes his Barolo Riserva Vecchie Viti dei Capalot e delle Brunate. The 2004 is a great reminder of just how fabulous this wine was. A huge, vertical wine, the 2004 boasts magnificent depth and overall intensity. The flavors are boldly sketched in a dramatic Barolo built on pure muscle. A host of black cherry, cloves, smoke, menthol, tar and blackberry jam flow through to the intense finish. Beguiling and powerful, the 2004 will provide fascinating drinking for the next 10-15 years, perhaps longer. Of all the 2004s here, this is the wine that has had the most positive evolution in bottle.” (05/2015)

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Marcarini Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2013 3L ($319.95) $279 special
Marcarini Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2013 5L ($599.95) $519 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“The 2013 Barolo Brunate is laced with the essence of dark cherry, herb, licorice, sage, tobacco and menthol. The aromatic intensity, intrigue and textural depth of Brunate comes through nicely. Deep, rich and beautifully layered, the 2013 offers lovely depth and balance in the classic understated Marcarini style.”

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Poderi Oddero Vigna Rionda, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2007 1.5L ($499.95) $419 special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is drinking wonderfully now with so much depth of fruit and lots of juicy character. Full body, layered and intense. Plenty of dark berry and chocolate. Fantastic. Drink or hold.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine is released ten years after the harvest, giving consumers the opportunity to buy an older vintage of Barolo that has been stored carefully back at the winery. Older-release wines like this are becoming ever more popular in the Langhe. The 2007 Barolo Riserva Vignarionda is a powerful and exuberant expression that shows the density and the inner energy of Serralunga d’Alba. Blackberry and dark cherry lift from the bouquet to reveal pretty undertones of spice, leather and savory tobacco. Only 2,763 750-milliliter bottles, 200 magnums and 20 jeroboams were produced. This wine offers a very special taste of Nebbiolo.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “After 10 years, this is ready to enjoy. However, despite the sweet cherry fruit, leather, woodsy and mineral flavors, there are still dense tannins. This is moving in the right direction, mellowing gracefully and lingering with a long, fresh, tobacco- and mineral-tinged aftertaste. Best from 2020 through 2034. 150 cases made.”

La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino is elegant, balanced and bright. The pretty luminosity of the wine’s appearance helps to underline this positive impression. The bouquet is nuanced and layered with dried fruit aromas that segue to spice, tar and balsam herb. You get sassy aromas of licorice, tar and cola on the close.”
Ian D’agata-Vinous 93+ points “Bright red. Pure and very flinty nuances complement aromas and flavors of strawberry-rhubarb and wild berries on the nose and palate. Dense and juicy and boasting a focused, penetrating mouthfeel, this finishes long and clean with a very strong note of licorice. Best classico Brunello from La Gerla in some time.”

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Pian dell’Orino Bassolino di Sopra, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007 1.5L ($349.95) $279 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The estate’s 2007 Brunello di Montalcino Bassolino di Sopra 1500 emerges from the glass with endless layers of fruit. A pure, voluptuous 2007, the Bassolino di Sopra 1500 is rich, round and seamless. Deeply spiced notes develop in the glass as the wine shows off its striking personality. I am not a huge fan of extended time in oak for wines of such purity, but the 2007 handles its 48 months in barrel quite nicely, although it is naturally shaped by its aging regime, especially from a textural perspective. The 2007 is made exclusively from the estate’s holdings in Pian Bossolino, but that site has also been trademarked by another winery, hence the slight name variation here.”

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Produttori del Barbaresco Ovello, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 1.5L ($179.95) $149 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The Produttori’s 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Ovello is all power, tension and nerve. Even so, the 2013 is remarkably civilized and much less austere than young Ovello Barbarescos usually are. Scents of cranberry, white pepper and mint give the wine its signature high-toned aromatics. The Ovello has a Volnay-like purity to its fruit, with Nebbiolo tannins and structure, of course. If that sounds appealing, well, it is. Vivid, sculpted and impossibly beautiful, the Ovello is simply magnificent.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This red starts out with bright cherry, strawberry, rose and mineral flavors, allied to a refined, linear frame. Harmonious now and should be ready soon, but the vivid structure will serve it well into the future. Best from 2023 through 2037.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Wild berry, camphor, moist earth and violet aromas unfold in the glass. The structured, refined palate delivers juicy Marasca cherry, crushed raspberry, orange slice and white pepper alongside polished tannins and bright acidity. A soothing licorice note lingers on the finish. Drink through 2028.”

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2017 Niepoort

“A Leading Candidate for ‘Wine of the Vintage'”

Dirk Niepoort is one of the biggest personalities in the world of Port, producing wines that raise the quality level of the entire region.  That his 2017 would be fantastic is no surprise—this is a legendary year.  Mark Squires described the vintage as a “freak vintage… a big-time year that does everything well—old-school power, concentration, freshness, lifted fruit and vivid flavors.”

Neal Martin, in his reviews of the vintage, added “General Declarations do not come in pairs. They are supposed to be drip-fed, three or maybe four each decade, keeping Port aficionados on their toes. The chances of consecutive General Declarations must be incredibly low, considering not just the meteorological odds of a textbook growing season but also the willingness of all Port houses to declare.”

The 2017 Niepoort is one of the best wines produced in the year— Mark Squires called it “the best I’ve ever seen from him” and went on to call it “a leading candidate for ‘Wine of the Vintage.'”  We’ve secured a parcel arriving in February, available for pre-arrival sale now.

Arriving ETA February:

Niepoort Vintage Port 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 99-100 points
“The 2017 Vintage Port is a field blend from old vines (80 to 100 years old). It comes in with 89 grams per liter of residual sugar. This was set for bottling in two weeks, but it was the final blend. Even when open for a couple of days, this was still tight, muscular and concentrated, grabbing the palate and never letting go. On opening, it was fragrant and delicious, but even then, there was plenty of muscle and evident concentration. The concentration and power merely improved as it aired out—unlike a lot of 2016s (which year Niepoort did not declare). Tasting it after several days open showed that it shut down and closed up in terms of expressiveness, but it definitively proved that it’s an old-school, long-haul wine. Dry, stern and long on the finish, this is brilliant. It is hard to think of any basis on which this is not perfection just now—Niepoort says it is the best he’s ever made. It’s certainly the best I’ve seen from him, and it is a leading candidate for “Wine of the Vintage,” although certainly not the only one. Finally, this is going to require patience. Nothing about it says “drink me now.” It should age brilliantly. If you lack a cellar and patience, look away.”
James Suckling 98 points “Wow. Smoky and intense on the nose with dried fruits and slate undertones. Lots of wet earth too. Full body, sweet yet dry and tannic on the palate. Very powerful and focused. Racy and powerful. A fantastic center palate of fruit. A blend of touriga franca, tinto cao, tinta francisca, tinta amarela, sousao, tinta roriz and others. Drink in 2025 and onwards.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 96 points “The 2017 Vintage Port was picked early to obtain optimal ripeness, commencing 24 August and finished 26 September. Yields are some 30% below the previous year. The fruit was foot-trodden in granite lagares and matured in large barrels in Vila Nova de Gaia. It has a refulgent purple colour. The nose is explosive, a heady cornucopia of blueberry, black cherries and crème de cassis, later just a touch of lavender. There is no holding back on these aromatics. The palate follows suit with sumptuous black fruit, quite tannic but simultaneously rounded and lavish/velvety in texture. Touches of fresh fig and raisin appear towards the finish. Drop dead gorgeous.”

July Sale Roundup
With only a week left in July, you better act quickly to stock up on July Sale wines before their even-better pricing disappears.  Now’s your chance to grab Bow & Arrow, Force Majeure, de Villaine, magnums of Dönnhoff, Bitouzet Priur and more at even better pricing than usual.  You can see all of the wines in our webstore or in the spreadsheet below.

Thanks for reading!