Midweek Addition 8-14-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Xavier, Restocked

Vajra’s Top Tier Dolcetto – 93 Points, Under $25

Excellent Italian Wines from French Grapes

New Wine Spectator Insider Praise for Bergstrom

The Revolutionary Dry Riesling of Marcus Molitor

Trending Wines

Marques Murrieta’s Top Wines at Fantastic Pricing


Xavier, Restocked

Xavier Vignon might be the most acclaimed winemaker who still flies under the radar. He’s primarily a consultant in the mold of Phillipe Cambie, traveling from winery to winery to provide expert winemaking, blending guidance and that extra bit of flair.

He’s been incredibly successful, responsible for some of the most lauded wines in France (think the 100 point Grand Veneur VV, Usseglio’s 99 point Impériale, etc).  He makes wines that are rich, powerful and impressive, no matter where he goes.  While consulting, Xavier takes some of the payment for his work in barrels of wine from the estates he helps—these are the basis for the Xavier wines that we have here at the shop.

From some of the best wineries in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, and Rasteau, he brings them to his facility for blending and bottling under his own label.  The resulting wines have the polish, poise and class of the big name estates, but much lower price tags.  When you look at the scores they receive, you’d expect the Anonyme to be $75+, in line with Janasse VV or the top Grand Veneur bottlings, but instead it’s a tick under $50—a real value.

We’ve just restocked the epic, powerful 2015 Anonyme, but we’ve also got a few back vintage bottlings in stock as well…

Just Restocked:

Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme, Rhone 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck – Rhone Report 96 points
“The inky colored 2015 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme is a serious winner in the vintage. A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre and the rest counoise, Vaccarese and Muscardin, it offers a huge nose of blackberry jam, garrigue, crushed violets, and incense. Ripe, unctuous and opulent, yet not over the top, it reminds me of the Trois Source cuvee from Vieille Julienne. This is a smoking good release that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and shine of over a decade.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Xavier Vignon is one of the Rhône’s leading winemaking consultants, and so it’s no surprise he had access to some great fruit for his 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme. Tellingly, the blend entirely omits Syrah, containing 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 8% Counoise, 4% Vaccarèse and 3% Muscardin. Floral notes and ripe cherries appear along licorice and vanilla (one-fourth of the wine was matured in new barriques), yet this is no drink-now version of CdP. This full-bodied wine boasts broad shoulders, a plush, creamy center and a muscular finish loaded with ripe tannins and spice. Give it a few years to mellow, and drink it over the next 15.”

Other Xavier Wines In Stock Now:

Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme, Rhone 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The top wine of the estate, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme is a hidden gem in the vintage! A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise and Vaccarese, from 90-year-old vines and aged in one-third new barrels (although you wouldn’t know it), it possesses fabulous notes of blackberry and currant fruit, big minerality, roasted meats and leather. Full-bodied, with beautiful freshness, big tannin and a layered, thrillingly concentrated mid-palate, it will be better in another year or two, and have over 15 years of longevity. Drink 2015-2026.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Xavier Vignon Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme, Rhone 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The top wine from the portfolio, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme offers thrilling purity and focus in its lively dark fruits, roasted meats and underbrush-scented bouquet. Full-bodied, ripe and textured, with fantastic polish and sweetness to its tannin, it has a supple, forward feel, yet will easily evolve for 10-15 years.”

Xavier Vins Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve VII IX X, Rhone NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“While I reviewed this NV Châteauneuf du Pape La Reserve VII IX X (a blend from the 2007, 2009 and 2010 vintages) last year, I was able to taste it again this go around, and it still blew me away. Fabulously full-bodied and decadent, with loads of lavender, incense, black raspberry and cured-meat nuances, it’s still youthful and vibrant, with notable freshness and purity. Enjoy this brilliant wine through 2028.”

Xavier Vins Cotes Du Rhone SM, Rhone NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The NV Côtes du Rhône S.M. is thrilling stuff. Made from equal parts Grenache and Syrah and aged half in concrete and half in barrel, it offers a full-bodied, voluptuous and decadent style to go with overflowing notes of plum and darker fruits, licorice and violets. Gorgeous on all counts, it’s a shockingly good Côtes du Rhône to drink over the coming 4-6 years, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it last even longer.”

Xavier Vins Chateauneuf Du Pape, Rhone 2010 750ML ($47.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 91+ points
“Richer, fuller and denser is the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape, which is composed of 65% Grenache and the rest equal parts Mourvedre and Syrah. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by abundant notes of black fruits, licorice, lavender, Provencal herbs as well as a meaty richness.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Vajra’s Top Tier Dolcetto

93 Points, Under $25

Vajra remains one of our favorite producers in the Piemonte.  From top to bottom, the wines are excellent and they’re a real reference point that others are judged against.  While the focus is often on their top-end Barolo, especially the legendary Bricco del Viole, we wanted to highlight a slightly more humble offering today.

Their Dolcetto “Coste & Fossati” comes from the two cru Barolo vineyards of the same names and offers up surprising power, concentration and nuance for a wine under $25, much less one made from a grape with Dolcetto’s reputation.  Perhaps only Giacosa’s Dolcetto is in the same sort of plane with in Barolo—this is a wine that’s worth buying in bulk and drinking over the next half decade.

Arriving Friday:

G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati is a wine of extraordinary and arresting beauty. Intense and yet also remarkably delineated, the Coste & Fossati is a terrific example of the heights Dolcetto can reach in skilled hands. Readers will find a gorgeous, beautifully layered wine endowed with tremendous energy and focus. Dark plum, graphite, smoke, menthol and licorice all build in this super-expressive and nuanced wine from Vajra. I loved it.”

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

These Are Super, But Barely Tuscan

Excellent Italian Wines from French Grapes

The Italians have way to many indigenous grapes to keep track of (though Ian D’Agata’s 600+ page tome helps), so in some ways it’s a surprise that they’ve taken so strongly to wines from the classical grapes of France.  That said, there’s not a lot of Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah planted across Italy and some of the best examples of those grapes (from anywhere in the world) come from Tuscany.

In the world of Super Tuscans, we often focus on what might be described as hybrids—Sangiovese blended with Bordeaux varieties.  Unfortunately, that creates a bit of a blind spot for the wines that are made up exclusively of grapes that originated in France, which is a shame considering the quality of the wines.  We’re trying to correct that a bit today, highlighting some wines that give Napa Cabernet, top Bordeaux (of both banks) and Hermitage a run for their money at far less than their French/American counterparts charge.  These are some seriously delicious wines worth stocking up on.

In Stock Now:

Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro Manzano ‘Il Bosco’ Syrah Cortona, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-6 Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro Manzano ‘Il Bosco’ Syrah Cortona, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($279.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points
“Plenty of smoke and berry character with dark tea and sweet tobacco. Full body, silky and fine tannins and a beautiful finish. Seriously classy. Drink now.”
Grapelive 95 points “This Italian Syrah is unmistakably Italian in its soul, but in many ways it reminds me of Penfolds Grange with its opulence that is matched by intensity and structure with ripe layers of fruit, spice and wood tones. It’s without question of sublime quality and shows this warm vintage and terroir to near perfection. Massimo d’Alessandro’s Il Bosco Syrah from Cortona, in Tuscany, is one of the most exciting versions in Italy and is a world class wine. This 2013 does not disappoint, expressing its warm vintage with class and ripe density. It’s a truly unique and impressive wine. Syrah first came to this old ex-Etruscan enclave in Val di Chiana back in 1988 when Milan professor Attillio Scienza planted an experimental 10 acre plot using selected Rhone clones. Within 11 years the area was given DOC status for the Syrah, a truly remarkable accomplishment with Tenimenti d’Alessandro being one of the region’s biggest successes. The Il Bosco is produced from 100% Syrah grapes selected from the three oldest hillside vineyards… planted between 1988 and 1995. The wine is aged 24 months in oak, mostly French, 30% new and raised in a combination of barriques and bigger wooden casks, plus it gets an extra 12 months of bottle aging before release, similar to what you see in Brunello and Barolo, highlighting the serious nature of this wine. The palate feels dense and chewy, but refined as well, showing copious amounts of cassis, plum and blackberry along with melted black licorice, a hint of menthol, mocha and lovely mix of dried herb, spice and floral elements with touches of lavender, lilacs and vanillin. There is a Guigal-level of regal decadence here and this vintage is exceptional for d’Alessandro, making for an impressive performance. A potential 20-year wine in the offing.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Poggio al Tesoro ‘Il Seggio’ Bolgheri, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-6 Poggio al Tesoro ‘Il Seggio’ Bolgheri, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“($60) Fresh black currant and leafy flavors announce this juicy red. Wild herb, graphite and olive notes complete the picture as this unwinds on the lingering aftertaste. Very youthful, yet has all the components, including a dense structure. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
James Suckling 93 points “A super refined and pretty red with sweet tobacco, currant and berry character. Red stone. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($299.95) $229 special
James Suckling 100 points
“This is an extraordinary merlot with such purity and focus. Flowers such as violets and hints of orange peel. It is full-bodied yet incredibly energetic and structured. The finish goes on for minutes. Seamless texture. Fresh yet dense. Contrasty. Best Redigaffi ever. Hard not to drink now but a wine for decades.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Lush and polished, featuring a cashmere texture caressing vanilla, chocolate, black cherry and plum flavors. Well-balanced, with a persistent finish. The harmony hides a solid structure. Decant now. Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2032.”

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.”

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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Tua Rita Giusto di Notri Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2008 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“This fabulous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot delivers loads of plush softness and succulent richness. Aromas of chocolate, ripe fruit and spice are distinct and clear, and the wine shows compelling complexity and intensity overall.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Giusto di Notri is wonderfully alive in the glass. Dark red berries, flowers, spices, grilled herbs, licorice and leather are some of the notes that flesh out in this dazzling, vibrant Giusto di Notri. Polished tannins provide the backdrop for the silky, expressive finish. A final blast of red fruit adds freshness and brightness on the close. Giusto di Notri is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc.”

Petrolo Galatrona Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
James Suckling 99 points
“Terrific aromas of violets, roses and raspberries with hints of strawberries and brown sugar. Full body. Phenomenal layers of focused fruit and polished velvety tannins. This is the Galatrona that everyone has been waiting for. It’s the vintage that shows depth and power yet wonderful finesse and focus. Best ever. Drink from 2023 but already electrifying.”

Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“A regal wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata from Isole e Olena soars out of the glass with tremendous aromatic and palate intensity. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2014 has so much to offer. Once again, De Marchi crafted a Cabernet Sauvignon that exudes character. Today, the 2014 is vivid but also intensely saline and clenched. Another few years in bottle should do the trick. This fruit was brought in during the last week of October and first week of November, quite late, even by the standards of the year.”

Arriving ETA Fall:

Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($79.95) $64.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $59.83/bottle!)
James Suckling 99 points
“Very complex aromas of fresh flowers, blackberries and black licorice follow through to a full body, integrated tannins and a long and linear finish. Focused and racy. The tannins are so polished. Better in 2022, but already such a joy to try.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points “A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Petit Verdot (25%), Merlot (20%) and Sangiovese (5%), the 2016 Solengo is a terrific wine and I enjoyed my sample down to the very last drop that I coaxed from the bottle with happy enthusiasm. This is a full-bodied red (but not in an exaggerated manner) with plump and fruit-forward aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, plum, spice and sweet tobacco. The wine is balanced with excellent depth and mouthfeel momentum. I highly recommend this wine from both the 2015 and 2016 vintages, which are both terrific. Some 25,000 bottles were made.”

New Wine Spectator Insider Praise for Bergstrom
Previously Sold Out, Re-Arriving Friday:

Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District 2017 750ML ($79.95) $63 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“($70) Impressive for the presence and polish, with layered black cherry, fresh violet and dusky spice flavors that build richness and structure toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2025.—T.F”



The Revolutionary Dry Riesling of Marcus Molitor

We’ve written extensively about Marcus Molitor’s wines before, but never specifically about his radical dry wines, which changed the landscape in Germany and raised expectations for what was possible in the Mosel.  When he started with his estate, he handled dry wines in ways that were surprising to the rest of the region—long aging on the lees, fermentation and elevage in cask and late release meant that his wines had more power, texture and complexity than was assumed possible in the Mosel.

That vision has also led to a complete reimagining of how selective picking might work in any given vineyard. Most winemakers would pick once or twice (or three times) in a vineyard and vinify many lots together—it’s easier and the wines are good.  Molitor, though, asks what each parcel and pick would be like on its own—treated as if it were a wine of distinction rather than a blending component.  This is a lot of extra work and requires time and space that most winemakers would rather not spend, but the result is a dizzying number of bottlings that all strive toward perfection.

Whenever Germans visit our shop, they’re blown away at the selection of Markus Molitor wines more than anything.  In his native land, Molitor’s wines are tightly allocated and so to see so many different bottlings in one place is a bit jarring.  (Imagine piles of Sine Qua Non sitting around and you get the idea.)  These are brilliant, coveted wines and we’re always on the hunt for as many as we can get our hands on.  We’re highlighting a collection of his white capsule (ie: dry) wines today, but you can see the totality of our Molitor stock (and pre-arrival offerings) in our webstore, as well.

In Stock Now:

“a very elegant, lush and finessed Spätlese [trocken] with crystalline acidity”
Markus Molitor Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spatlese Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2016 Riesling Erdener Treppchen Spätlese (White Capsule) has a very clear and precise bouquet of ripe and concentrated yet fine and flinty Riesling expressions intermixed with yeasty notes from the long lees aging, which lasted until September 2017. On the palate this is a very elegant, lush and finessed Spätlese with crystalline acidity and beautiful Mosel elegance. The purity, finesse and terroir expression are really remarkable here. A great and promising Spätlese. Tasted March 2018.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
“I tried to spit it four times—and failed four times”
Markus Molitor Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese*** Trocken (White Capsule), Mosel 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2016 Riesling Graacher Himmelreich Auslese *** (White Capsule) opens with very clear, super fine, precise and delicate yet deep, intense and concentrated fruit intertwined with just a hint of noble oak leaf notes. Full-bodied, fresh and very dense in its mineral structure, packed with mocha and nougat flavors, this is an elegant, highly vital and complex Himmelreich—by far the best dry Riesling I have ever tasted from this vineyard. Molitor’s parcel is the steep part behind the Josephshof where the vines were planted in 1990. The soil is pretty stony, but there is also fine earth. The 2016 was fermented in a 2,000-liter oak vat plus a 225-liter barrique. The wine reveals enormous finesse and salinity and is spectacular in its purity and refreshing tension. This is so saliva-inducing that I tried to spit it four times—and failed four times. I tasted the wine three times in 14 days from the same bottle in March 2018. The second and third encounter showed a much fruitier, more classic Himmelreich style. The wine is the perfect expression of ripeness, elegance, finesse and freshness. Its finish is much (!) longer, more tensioned, salty and vibrantly fresh than any other wine I have ever had from this steep grand cru between Wehlen and Graach. Molitor’s parcel is located pretty high (straight next to his Pinot Noir plot); the vines are “only” 26 years old, but the trunks are as big as if they were much older.”

“Bold and rather powerful but also very fresh.”
Markus Molitor Kinheimer Hubertuslay Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2016 Riesling Kinheimer Hubertuslay Auslese ** (White Capsule) shows a deep yet very fine and mineral slate bouquet with very fine bright Riesling aromas. Full-bodied and complex, with a firm and persistent mineral structure, this is a very elegant, refined and persistent Auslese that reflects the fine slate soils of the Hubertuslay beautifully. This is superbly balanced, finessed and elegant. Although it already drinks with pleasure today, the wine will gain complexity over the years in the bottle.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 94 points “Slightly funky from the wild ferment. However, with aeration, this blows off quite quickly with a big wave of citrus and herbs following through. Bold and rather powerful but also very fresh. This is a very expressive dry Mosel riesling. Better from 2019, but there is no rush.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

“pure, clean, intense and persistently salty”
Markus Molitor Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spatlese Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2016 Riesling Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Spätlese (White Capsule) is clear, fresh and precise on the nose where a ripe, concentrated and spicy white fruit aroma is displayed and intermixed with crystalline and crunchy slate flavors. On the palate, the Bockstein reveals lush, concentrated, very elegant and mineral structured fruit that is terribly precise and piquant. The finish is pure, clean, intense and persistently salty, again showing crunchy slate flavors. The wine was bottled in September 2017. Tasted in March 2018.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 93 points “Full of blossoms and citrusy freshness. This Saar wine is so juicy and refreshing that you might think it is too charming, but it has a firm and mineral core that builds up at the long finish. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
“beautifully lush and elegant…with enormous complexity, length and mineral tension”
Markus Molitor Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2016 Riesling Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese ** (White Capsule) has a clear and flinty-scented bouquet of great elegance. With ripe stone fruit aromas on the nose and a very delicate flinty character, this is a beautifully lush and elegant Auslese with enormous complexity, length and mineral tension. It’s crystalline and powerful yet always balanced, and the acidity is absolutely delicate and intertwines with finely grained tannins. The finish is dense and persistent. The wine was fermented and aged in a single 2,000-liter barrel. Bottled at the end of September 2017; tasted March 2018.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 94 points “Rowan, heliotrope and apple blossom introduce a performance of flattering creaminess and luscious appley fruitiness perfectly complemented by persistently wafting floral perfume and undertones of almond paste and vanilla. There is a strikingly custardy combination of creaminess and density midpalate. Yet, for all of its soothing richness, this beauty finishes with an unexpectedly and impressively decisive note of wet stone as well as infectious, refreshing primary juiciness.”

“highly complex and persistent Auslese from Markus’s most important single vineyard”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2016 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ** (White Capsule) is a different style of Mosel Riesling compared to the other 2016 Auslesen. Fermented in different oak vats, from barrique size to 3,000-liter vats (including one big Stockinger vat that was new), this is clear, ripe and complex on the nose, with toasty as well as smoky-mineral notes framing the perfectly ripe and elegant stone fruit aromas. Full-bodied, round and complex, with gorgeous sweetness and mind-blowing silkiness and balance, this is a rich yet fine, elegant, highly complex and persistent Auslese from Markus’s most important single vineyard. The 2016 is concentrated yet very clear and elegant, revealing very fine tannins and a very long, complex finish. It already drinks with great wonder, and this wine will even gain more complexity though it’s already hard to resist.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 95 points “Still a bit funky from the wild ferment. The power and delicacy are almost exactly matched here, and they are beautifully complemented by notes of nectarines and Mandarin oranges. The finish is long and very graceful. Better from 2019 and decades of aging potential ahead of it.”

“there is perhaps just one competitor in the Mosel and that’s Markus’ own…Auslese ***”
Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese** Trocken, Mosel 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“Compared to the dry Sonnenuhr Spätlese, the dry 2013 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ** is significantly more refined and detailed in its subtle, slightly fumy mineral flavors on the nose, but as clear and healthy in its citrus aromatic, which is completed by delicate pineapple flavors. The wine is absolutely elegant and delicate on the palate and the concentration has nothing to do with power or richness here, but with purity, finesse, complexity and length. The mineral or slate taste is remarkably fine and densely woven which gives this Auslese a great elegance and the finish of a world-class Riesling. The finish is not only very persistent but also aromatic, piquant and salty plus full of needles. This is a great wine made for decades and there is perhaps just one competitor in the Mosel and that’s Markus’ own 2013 Auslese ***. “

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Trending Wines

If there’s a better value in Barbera, we haven’t found it yet.
Cordero di Montezemolo Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($24.95) $16.60 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“This is rich and fruity, boasting black currant, blackberry, violet and earth flavors. Round and supple, with a light dusting of tannins on the lingering finish. Drink now through 2023. 4,500 cases made.”
James Suckling 90 points “A fruity and straightforward barbera with plum and berry aromas and flavors. Medium-to full-bodied, round and yummy. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $20

We have the 2014, 2015 and 2017 in stock right now, as well.  All are great, but this is especially singing.
Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points
“Glimmering red. A hugely aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, along with a bright mineral overtone and a touch of smokiness. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering potent, mineral-laced raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Delivers a compelling blend of power and finesse and finishes with silky tannins, outstanding clarity and floral- and mineral-driven persistence.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderful earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.95
The average listed price is $95
A Bordeaux-blend that will impress Napa and French wine lovers alike.
Avennia Sestina Red, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
“The 2016 Sestina checks in as 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that saw 21 months in 48% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It shows the purity and elegance of the vintage beautifully and offers classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, crushed rocks, and tobacco leaf. With beautiful balance and that more elegant, finesse-driven style of the estate, it packs plenty of fruit and is a seamless wine that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years.”
Josh Raynolds 93+ points “(includes a good percentage of vines from the 1970s; aged in about 45% new oak): Bright dark red. Alluring violet and rose petal lift to the aromas of dark berries, licorice and black olive. Penetrating, savory wine with terrific saline minerality and lift to its wild berry and licorice flavors. This very concentrated, backward wine finishes with serious tannins but no rough edges. A bit more sharply focused than its 2015 sibling but this wine will need longer for its tannic spine to unclench. Even the Merlot yields were moderate in 2016, noted winemaker Chris Peterson. Following a bit of acidification, this wine finished with a pH of 3.8.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $79.99

One of the best values in Northern Rhone wine out there.
Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
Case-6 Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2015 750ML ($279.95) $199 special (that’s only $33.17/bottle and
the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Inky and concentrated, the 2015 Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon is no easy-drinking Saint-Joseph. It’s smoky, herbal and ashy all at once, yet it’s buoyed by ample black cherry fruit and vibrant acidity. This medium to full-bodied Syrah has plenty of tannins, but they’re ultimately silky and most apparent on the long, licorice-tinged finish. This is approachable now but should be even better in 3 years and should drink well for at least another 10 after that.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Both Saint Joseph releases are brilliant in 2015. The 2015 Saint Joseph François De Tournon comes vines around Tournon, Mauves, Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, and Vion, and is always destemmed and aged in 30% new barrels. This full-bodied, rounded, sexy beauty shows the power and fruit of the vintage. With classic notes of black and blue fruits, violets, incense and pepper, drink this textured, expansive, terrific Saint Joseph over the coming 10-15 years.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Dark ruby. High-pitched red and dark berry and violet aromas show excellent focus and pick up hints of cracked pepper and sandalwood with air. Sappy and seamless in texture, offering fresh black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a hint of candied licorice. Turns sweeter on the penetrating, impressively long finish, which features smooth, even tannins and lingering boysenberry and floral qualities.”
The average listed price is $53
The Chateauneuf hit of the summer, so far.
Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($499.95) $389 special (that’s only $64.83/bottle—
the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 95-97 points
“As I predicted last year, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Guigasse has smoothed out considerably and seemingly absorbed the stemmy elements I noted previously. Still not yet bottled, it now offers wonderful fruit purity and intensity. Raspberries and cherries are delivered on a full-bodied, rich and creamy palate that somehow avoids any sense of heaviness. It looks to be a stunning example of 70-year-old Grenache from the sandy lieu-dit of the same name.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “Made from 100% Grenache in the La Guigasse lieu-dit, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse boasts a deeper ruby/purple color as well as a sensational bouquet of kirsch and black raspberries, spring flowers, rose petals, and exotic spice. This beauty builds on the palate, with terrific concentration, yet it always holds onto the more ethereal, elegant, seamless style of this estate.”
Marques Murrieta’s Top Wines

At Fantastic Pricing

Marques Murrieta is one of the great pillars of classical Rioja—a titan of the region that’s responsible for some of the greatest wines ever produced in Spain.  They resemble a more polished, powerful version of Lopez de Heredia, in some ways, sharing an ageworthiness but offering up a distinctly more fruit driven profile in youth.  Their two new releases are some of the most stunning wines they’ve ever made and they arrive on Friday.

The first of the two is their flagship, the always impressive Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial.  It has a long name but an even longer lifespan and bottles from the ’60’s and ’70’s are (right now) some of the finest wines you can drink, holding their own with old DRC, Rousseau and top Bordeaux.  The 2009 is a fantastic iteration that needs to be cellared for at least another half decade, but looks to be one of the most important wines released from Rioja in the last few years.  Their Dalmau Reserva, on the other hand, is approachable now even as it’s five years younger.  Big, dark and rich, this is another wine that radically outperforms its price point.  Both arrive Friday in limited (2-3 case) quantities, so stock up.

Arriving Friday:

“This is a great classical Rioja for the long haul”
Marques Murrieta Ygay Gran Reserva, Rioja 2009 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points
“Marqués de Murrieta didn’t produce their top red in 2008, so I tasted the 2009 Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial. In 2009, the final blend was Tempranillo with 19% Mazuelo (or Cariñena), one of the highest percentages of Mazuelo ever. The grapes are now sourced from the La Plana vineyard within the Ygay estate, one of the higher-altitude plots at 485 meters. The grapes fermented and aged separately, the Tempranillo in American oak barrels and the Mazuelo in French barriques for 26 months, given its power. It has that seriousness, character and somehow rusticity of the Mazuelo, austere,  harmonious and still young. It has good depth and concentration, still young and lively with fine tannins and a backbone of freshness that lifts it up. It will develop for a very long time in bottle. This is a great classical Rioja for the long haul. 109,000 bottles and some larger formats were produced. It was bottled in October 2014. The prices are increasing but so is the quality. The following vintages will be 2010, 2011 and possibly 2012. I cannot wait to taste them…”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “(aged in new American and French oak barrels for 28 months) Vivid ruby-red. A highly perfumed, expansive bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, cherry liqueur, coconut and cigar box, along with a sexy floral nuance that emerges slowly. Plush and seamless on the palate, offering sweet, deeply concentrated blackberry, cherry-vanilla and mocha flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. Rich yet energetic in style, displaying superb finishing clarity, even tannins and a lingering spicecake note. The Tempranillo saw only American oak while the Mazuelo component saw only French.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $122.99
“How much better can Dalmau get?”
Marques de Murrieta ‘Dalmau’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($99.95) $88 pre-arrival special
Decanter 98 points
“How much better can Dalmau get? It’s exceptionally finely balanced, a perfect expression of a single vineyard within the estate, resoundingly full of black fruit, dark chocolate, liquorice. A powerful wine, but never overbearing, even in its youth. Wonderful to enjoy now, but will seriously reward cellaring.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
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