Midweek Addition 9-25-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Special Pricing on Stag’s Leap Cask 23

A Turley Subscriber Special

New Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco

Nervi Conterno: The New Giant of Gattinara

Trending Wines

Rosé of the Day

Querciabella – Top Value in Tuscany

The (Literal) Mayor of Ambonnay

Jaboulet’s ’16 Hermitage (and Adjacent)


Special Pricing

Stag’s Leap Cask 23

Stag’s Leap has been making some of the best wines in Napa since their excellent showing in the Judgment of Paris in 1976.  Their top wine these days is the peerless Cask 23, one of the prestige bottlings of Napa, especially in a top vintage like 2015.  We’ve secured incredible pricing on this wine, which arrives Friday, and are excited to offer it to you today.  At this six-pack pricing, it’s not going to stick around very long, so anyone who loves top-tier Napa Cabernet should act quickly.

Arriving Friday:

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Estate ‘Cask 23’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($299.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Estate ‘Cask 23’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($1799.95) $1,149 pre-arrival special (that’s only $191.50/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This features a very seductive feel, with long streaks of blueberry, raspberry and black cherry fruit showing range and freshness. Graphite and gently singed alder notes support the finish, with a backdrop of anise and vanilla hanging quietly in reserve. Displays polish, detail and length. Best from 2021 through 2040. 3,000 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Inky purple-black in color, the 2015 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon (a barrel sample) has a crème de cassis, blueberry compote and licorice-scented nose with hints of bay leaves, spice box and fallen leaves. Medium-bodied, it offers lovely restraint with elegant black fruits and earthy layers plus fine-grained tannins and a wonderfully long, minerally finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $281

Shipping Season is Here!

Have wines on hold, waiting to ship?
Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002)
with a shipping date and we’ll get you on the schedule!


A Turley Subscriber Special

Few wineries have the name recognition and body of work of Turley.  Founded by Larry Turley (co-founder of Frog’s Leap/Helen’s Brother/etc) with a devotion to single vineyard, old-vine Zinfandel, they became one of California’s defining wineries in the 90’s.  Under the direction of Ehren Jordan, the winery put out lineup after lineup of full-throttle, high alcohol/ripeness powerhouse wines from some of the most noteworthy historic vineyards in the state. (Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, Helen Turley only made the wines for the first couple of years.)

The style has been dialed back slightly in recent years, under the direction of Tegan Passalacqua, a vineyard whisperer and exceedingly talented winemaker.  These are undoubtedly the finest wines that Turley’s made, with powerful personalities and plenty of distinction.  We had the pleasure of tasting through a lineup of thirteen of the wines a few weeks ago and knew instantly we had to carry a broad assortment of the bottlings.  Unfortunately, due to an agreement with the winery, we’re not able to list these in our web store, so you’ll have to call (503-223-6002) or reply to this email to place an order.

Newsletter Subscriber Special
10% off of any six or more Turley wines
Wines are not listed in our web store.
Please call (503-223-6002) or email to order.
Turley Subscriber Special Expires Friday (9/27/19) at Midnight

Arriving Friday, October 11th:

Turley Wine Cellars Petite Sirah, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93-96 points
“A huge, inky wine, the Petite Syrah Turley Estate 2016 packs a real punch. Crème de cassis, blueberry jam, lavender, menthol and graphite notes all flesh out in a decidedly concentrated, unctuous Petite. The tannins are remarkably soft and civilized for a young Petite. There is so much to like in this super-expressive Petite from Turley.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Offering up pretty aromas of raspberries, rose petal and dark chocolate, the 2016 Petite Syrah Turley Estate is full-bodied, rich and succulent, with fine but abundant tannins and good length on the finish. It’s produced from a Napa Valley site composed of two blocks, one planted in 1998 and another smaller block planted in 2011.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Turley Wine Cellars ‘Buck’ Cobb Vineyard Zinfandel, Amador County 2017 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2017 Zinfandel “Buck” Cobb Vineyard has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and a pretty perfume of dried exotic flowers over sliced apricot, warm redcurrant, black berry and black cherry, with dried leaves and soil hints. Medium-bodied, it has a good spicy, tricolored fruit core and grainy tannins, finishing long. 1,200 cases produced.”
Antonio Galloni 90-93 points “The 2017 Zinfandel Buck Cobb Vineyard is powerful, dense and super expressive. Spice, leather and tobacco complement the dark fruit flavors nicely. The Buck Cobb is a wine of real textural depth and power. Dollops of Petite Sirah, Alicante and Mourvedre round out the blend in this super-distinctive Zinfandel from Turley.”

Turley Wine Cellars Duarte Zinfandel, Contra Costa County 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2017 Zinfandel Duarte comes from three vineyards planted between 1890 and 1930, with own-rooted vines in sandy soils. Medium to deep ruby-purple in color, it opens with warm cinnamon toast, shaved nutmeg and touches of candied peach over a core of sliced blueberries and warm black cherries with earthy nuances. Medium to full-bodied, it has great intensity in the mouth, with black and blue fruits and spicy layers, great juicy acidity and a structuring frame of ripe, grainy tannins, finishing long and flavorful. 1,500 cases produced.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Floral raspberry jam aromas lead to tightly focused cherry, sweet anise and pepper flavors that take on speed toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2026. 1,570 cases made.”

Turley Wine Cellars Estate Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Structured and refined, with a tight core of lively acidity and tannins, accented by dark cherry, dried sage and cracked pepper flavors. Best from 2020 through 2027. 2,060 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “From the vineyards located around the winery, planted in 2006, the 2017 Zinfandel Turley Estate has a medium to deep ruby color with a very dark, broody nose of toasted coconut, fried herbs, turned earth, charcuterie and baked black and red fruits. Medium-bodied with a slick texture, it’s very broody, earthy and savory in the mouth, featuring olive and meaty notes, with soft tannins and great freshness, finishing long and very savory. 2,000 cases produced.”

Turley Wine Cellars Fredericks Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92-95 points
“The 2016 Zinfandel Fredericks Vineyard is a powerful, authoritative wine. There isn’t much subtlety here, but the 2016 has more than enough depth and intensity to suggest it will age well for many years. Firm tannins and bold structure add to the wine’s insistent, driving personality. Wild black cherry, savory herb, olive and floral notes burst onto the big, imposing finish. I came back to the Fredericks and tasted it next to the Montecillo Cabernet (the two sites are separated by a road) and it more than held its own. There are many wines in this range that merit serious consideration. The Fredericks is one of them.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2016 Zinfandel Fredericks Vineyard hails from a site planted in 1937 on the Sonoma County side of Mt Vedeer at about 900 feet in elevation. Bursting with scents of cassis, ripe plums and cherry preserve, it’s full-bodied, plush and lavish, with a rich, deep core of fleshy fruit that largely conceals its supple tannins, followed by a long, powerful finish. With a high pH and high total acidity, it remains in balance, but it’s one of the broadest, most dramatic of Turley’s Zinfandels, and it will likely shine in its youth.”

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

Turley Wine Cellars Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel, Lodi 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2016 Zinfandel Kirschenmann reveals a pretty bouquet of cherries, cassis, raspberries and a subtle touch of bay leaf. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, velvety and supple, with tangy acids, fine-grained tannins and good concentration, elegant in profile but concluding with a youthfully chalky finish. This sandy Lodi vineyard is owned by winemaker Tegan Passalacqua.”
Antonio Galloni 90-93 points “The 2016 Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard is bright and lifted and wonderfully nuanced. Like so many of the 2016s, the Kirschenmann offers lovely mid-palate richness and resonance to play off some of the more floral notes. Silky, gracious and totally inviting, the 2016 has so much to offer. This is a gorgeous wine from Turley, and also one of the most compelling wines I have tasted from this site thus far.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Turley Wine Cellars Kirschenmann Vineyard Zinfandel, Lodi 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2017 Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard comes from own-rooted vines planted in sandy soils in 1915. Winemaker Tegan Passalacqua notes that other varieties planted in this old vineyard include Refosco, Carignane and Cinsault. Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, it opens with warm peach preserves, cinnamon stick and dried leaves hints with dried red and black cherries and notes of dried flowers. Medium-bodied, it gives pretty layers of dried fruits, flowers and spices in the mouth, with juicy acidity tethered by firm, fine-grained tannins, finishing very long and spicy. 1,000 cases produced.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Cherry and pomegranate aromas combine with svelte, muscular flavors of dusty anise and white pepper that finish with refined tannins. Drink now through 2026. 998 cases made.”

Turley Wine Cellars Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel, Paso Robles 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“From a site Turley owns in Paso Robles, the 2016 Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard exhibits a boisterous, fruit-driven bouquet of ripe raspberries, cherries and kirsch. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and generous, with tangy acids and fine structuring tannins largely concealed in a sweet core of fruit, tangy acids, light structuring tannins asserting themselves on the back end. It’s one of the most charming and immediate of this year’s single-vineyard bottlings.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Gutsy, yet retains a sense of richness and style, offering deep blackberry cobbler, savory bay leaf and fresh pepper flavors that pick up speed toward big but polished tannins. Best from 2020 through 2026. 575 cases made.”
Antonio Galloni 91-94 points “The 2016 Zinfandel Pesenti Vineyard is another fabulous wine. Creamy and dense, especially through the middle, the Pesenti screams with varietal and Paso Robles character. Bright acids add more than enough vibrancy to play off the rich, powerful fruit in this super attractive Zinfandel.”

Newsletter Subscriber Special
10% off of any six or more Turley wines
Wines are not listed in our web store.
Please call (503-223-6002) or email to order.
Turley Subscriber Special Expires Friday (9/27/19) at Midnight

New Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco

“Cascina delle Rose is without question one of the emerging estates in Barbaresco. Readers who have not tasted these wines should make a point of doing so, as they encapsulate everything that makes Barbaresco so alluring.”– Antonio Galloni

When coming up with a list of the “most beloved” Piemontese estates, Cascina delle Rose would definitely be on it—to the surprise of many who aren’t familiar with the estate.  Cascina delle Rose does fly under the radar—that’s for sure, but those who know the wines love them and buy them year in and out.  The love for the wines is easy to understand once you taste them—they’re soulful elegant renditions in an elegant style.  The grace the wines display is hard to come across in a region increasingly warming and concerned with critical appeal—they’re wines for a set, not for the masses.

These are wines with soaring aromatics and beautiful textures—and they’re surprisingly ageworthy for such ethereal bottlings, as well. However, if power is your primary concern, you might look elsewhere in Piemonte (perhaps at the nine different bottlings from Sottimano, in stock now).  These are wines that are striving for beauty and achieve it without sacrificing their drinkability and the ability to satisfy.  The winemaking here is extremely traditional, verging on natural and the vineyard management fully organic.

As with most of the Piemonte, Cascina delle Rose excelled in 2016, producing some of the best wines in the history of the winery.  These are wines that have the profundity and power of the 2013’s but with rounder, juicier fruit.  The two Barbarescos are wines you could sneak a peak at now, but we’d really recommend hiding them for a decade or two.  Lovers of small Piedmontese producers take note—this is a true family estate doing all the right things. The next release arrives Friday, just in time for fall and winter drinking.

Arriving ETA Friday:

Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Cellar Selection. More structured than Tre Stelle, this is another intriguing, gorgeous Barbaresco that shows the firm’s hallmark of elegance. It opens with aromas of ripe, dark-skinned fruit, truffle, violet, mint and a compelling earthy note suggesting game. On the youthfully austere palate, tightly wound but noble tannins and bright acidity support juicy Marasca cherry, licorice, mint and brown spice. It’s already tempting, but give it time to unwind and develop even more complexity. Drink 2024–2036.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92-94 points ” The 2016 Barbaresco Rio Sordo is the darkest and most concentrated of these barrel samples presented by Cascina Delle Rose. This is a structured, medium to full-bodied expression of Nebbiolo with lots of dark fruit packed in at the core. The wine is fermented in steel and aged in botti grandi for about 22 months. Only 1,800 bottles were made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Cascina delle Rose Tre Stelle, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Cascina delle Rose Tre Stelle, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Editor’s Choice. Enticing scents of rose, violet, menthol and nutmeg float above the glass on this fragrant, radiant red. Elegantly structured, the focused palate delivers raspberry compote, juicy cherry, star anise and cinnamon. Taut, ultrarefined tannins and bright acidity lend precision and balance. Drink 2022–2034.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2016 Barbaresco Tre Stelle, tasted from barrel, is a darkly concentrated and rich expression of Nebbiolo with lots of black fruit packed tight at its core. The wine was technically unfinished when I tasted it; however, reading between the lines, you get a sense of the deep and profound nature of the fruit in 2016. I see this vintage turning out very nicely. Some 4,900 bottles were produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Cascina delle Rose Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Winery note
“Bright garnet red. Floral and elegant notes of roses and violet (which is classic of the Tre Stelle); a direct, deep, and clear expression of the vineyard. Notes of fruit (maraschino cherries, berries), vanilla, leather, and tobacco. Dry, balanced and enduring, with dense texture of fine and silky tannins, great elegance and persistence. It goes well with salami, cured ham, red and white meat, and medium-aged cheeses.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cascina delle Rose Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 88-90 points
“Tasted from barrel, the 2017 Barbera d’Alba opens to a darkly concentrated appearance with lots of succulent primary fruit. At this very young point in the wine’s life, it offers lots of rich syrupy black fruit flavors with cured tobacco and faded tones of campfire ash. It will be interesting to see where the next couple of months of bottle aging will bring it. Some 5,600 bottles were produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Cascina delle Rose A Elizabeth Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
“Cascina delle Rose is without question one of the emerging estates in Barbaresco. Readers who have not tasted these wines should make a point of doing so, as they encapsulate everything that makes Barbaresco so alluring.”– Antonio Galloni, Vinous

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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

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

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

Arriving Friday:

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

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

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


Trending Wines

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

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
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.”

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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The estate is a California icon for a reason.
Spottswoode Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Robert Parker 96+ points
“This first-growth estate in St. Helena has produced a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon that is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It is certainly one of the wines of the vintage. Gorgeously opaque purple, it offers up notes of spring flowers, blueberries, blackcurrants, some baking spice and graphite. It is full-bodied, concentrated and rich, with layers of fruit. The wine builds and builds on the palate, with a great finish of 45+ seconds. This is a sensational 2014 to drink over the next 20+ years.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Spottswoode 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is striking. Black cherry, plum, graphite, spice and menthol are some of the signatures. Intensely mineral and savory, the 2014 comes across as a slightly restrained version of the 2013. The flavor and tannin profiles are both quite similar, but the 2014 is a bit smaller-scaled in all of its dimensions. That is not a bad thing, as the 2014 will be ready to drink sooner. This is an impressive showing.”
James Suckling 96 points “Amazing burnt-orange and currant aromas with tar and lead pencil. Blackberries, too. Changes all the time. Mesmerizing. Full-bodied and powerful with super-polished tannins and a long and intense finish. The polished and fine tannins coat your mouth. Glorious. Needs three to four years to soften.”

Top class Chardonnay for the price.  A real crowd pleaser.
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay, Kumeu 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Kumeu River Village Chardonnay, Kumeu 2017 750ML ($299.95) $212 special
James Suckling 90 points
“A generous array of ripe pears and poached peaches with a ripe and forward feel. This has a lot of flavor. Nicely resolved at the finish. Drink now. Screw cap.”
Wine Advocate 89 points “Incorporating approximately 20% Hawke’s Bay fruit from a recently acquired vineyard, the 2017 Village Chardonnay is one of the strongest I can recall, despite a challenging vintage. Mainly fermented and aged in older barrels, it’s medium-bodied and plump in the mouth, with notes of peach and pineapple. Creamy, soft and custardy in texture, it picks up a crisp, citrusy edge on the finish.”

Truly top tier Cote Rotie for far less than its peers.
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Les Triotes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Domaine Garon Cote Rotie Les Triotes, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
“(40% new oak) Opaque ruby. Smoky, mineral-accented cherry and blueberry scents are complicated by hints of vanilla, Indian spices and licorice. Supple and broad on the palate, offering pliant blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter as the wine opens up. A sexy floral pastille note emerges on the clinging finish, which shows excellent clarity and gentle, slow-building tannins.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2016 Côte Rôtie Les Triotes offers a darker, smokier style with meaty notes of red and black fruits, crushed rocks, spice box, and violets. Medium-bodied, rounded, and nicely textured on the palate, it lacks the seamless texture of the other two wines here but is still one seriously impressive wine.”
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2016 Cote Rotie Les Triotes is a blend of the domaine’s parcels in the Côte Blond that will spend 18 months in oak. It doesn’t have the excitement of the lieu-dit wines, but it’s solidly made, offering hints of cedar and vanilla over red berries. It’s medium to full-bodied, with a plush texture and a long, velvety finish.”

Rosé of the Day

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 2018 is fantastic.

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+ in stock rosé options? Just head to our webstore for the full list.


Top Value in Tuscany

Querciabella is one of the landmark estates in Tuscany—a producer that makes noteworthy wines in both Chianti and also in Maremma.  All are done in a plush, approachable style with good complexity and excellent value.  These are brilliant wines for the price, full of texture and fruit that are sure to satisfy lovers of Chianti and Super Tuscans.

Arriving Friday, October 4th:

Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($35.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Rich, round and expressive, featuring black cherry, black currant, earth and iron aromas and flavors. The pure fruit notes are offset by distinctly Tuscan accents, with a hint of herbs on the finish. Fine balance. Best from 2020 through 2032. 8,333 cases made, 2,250 cases imported.”
James Suckling 92 points “What a sexy nose of red cherries, black fruit, minerals, slate, dried herbs, orange rind and hints of cedar. Full body, fine tannins and a dusty finish. So succulent. Drink now and enjoy. Made from organic grapes.”

Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Querciabella Mongrana Maremma Toscana, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($299.95) $239 pre-arrival special (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points
“Love the aromas of plums, cherries and currants with hints of flowers and undertones of dried flowers. Full body, round and silky tannins and fresh and bright finish. A blend of sangiovese, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Needs two or three years to come together, but already beautiful. From biodynamically grown grapes and vegan.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

The (Literal) Mayor of Ambonnay

Eric Rodez

It says a lot about a winemaker when he’s elected mayor of his town—even more when that town is Ambonnay, a Grand Cru village of Champagne.  Rodez manages to be both one of the best producers in the village and a bit unknown in the US, where he has relatively spotty importation.  We’d love to fix that and have gone with his current set of releases.  These are wonderful bottles, full of class and the concentrated power that Ambonnay is known for.  The set arrives next week and we’re already excited.

Arriving ETA Friday, October 4th:

Eric Rodez Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, Champagne NV (2013) 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“[Reviewed Apr 2019] Offering up aromas of smoky green orchard fruit, hazelnuts and waxy citrus that are delicately framed by their time in barrel, the latest rendition of Rodez’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs is a medium to full-bodied, broad and fleshy wine with a bright spine of acidity, a frothy mousse and a long, vinous and subtly oak-inflected finish. Unsurprisingly, its Ambonnay origins and Rodez’s style mark it just as much as its cépage.”

Eric Rodez Grand Cru Cuvee des Crayeres Ambonnay Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV (14) 750ML ($54.95) $47 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points
“[Reviewed Apr 2019] The latest rendition of Rodez’s NV Ambonnay Cuvée des Crayeres wafts from the glass with an attractive bouquet of red apples, mint, anise and spices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, broad and ample, with brisk acids and a youthfully frothy mousse. Open-knit but nicely defined, it’s a charming, expressive wine.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Eric Rodez Grand Cru Rose, Champagne NV (2013) 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“[Reviewed Apr 2019] Disgorged in March 2018, Rodez’s NV Brut Rosé Grand Cru Ambonnay exhibits notes of red berries, lemon zest, licorice and subtle spices. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a generous core of sappy fruit, ripe acids and a deep, structured core, concluding with a saline, expansive finish.”
[The disgorgement date may not match review.]

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

Jaboulet’s ’16 Hermitage (and Adjacent)
Of the twenty-plus cases we originally ordered of the 2015 Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Domaine Thalabert, we sold all but a handful of bottles before anything even hit the shelf.  (What little that did arrive for the shelf sold out quickly, too.) We re-ordered and those bottles disappeared quickly as well, which is why we’re excited for the arrival of their worthy follow up—the 2016, a wine that will go down in the lineage of the great vintages of this wine.

Very few wines in the Northern Rhone, or anywhere else for that matter, offer the sort of value that Jaboulet’s Thalabert does.  From old vines in a privileged parcel in Crozes, this wine always drinks closer to its Hermitage cousins than most other wines that it shares and AOC with.  This is a wine that offers serious structure, complexity and age-worthiness—at less than $30/bottle by the six pack!  It’s no wonder that the 2015 was one of our fastest selling wines, a feat we expect the ’16 to follow up on with aplomb.

Arriving ETA Fall:

Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($47.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($279.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert offers a rocking (and classic) bouquet of ripe black fruits intermixed with notions new saddle leather, pepper, garrigue, and hints of bacon fat. This ripe, medium to full-bodied, silky wine has remarkable purity, is already complex, and finishes with serious length. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The classically styled 2016 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert boasts savory scents of black olive and leather. Medium to full-bodied, it’s plummy and rich, creamy and ripe but savory and earthy, not jammy at all, with a lingering, velvety-textured finish. It drinks well now, but it should continue to evolve and drink well through 2035.-JC”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92-94 points “(20% new oak) Bright violet. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented dark berries, cherry liqueur and candied violet on the nose. At once rich and energetic, offering juicy, focused black raspberry and cherry cola flavors along with a hint of smokiness. Turns sweeter on the lively, penetrating finish, which features sneaky tannins and a strong echo of smoky minerality.”

Plus, Don’t Miss Jaboulet’s Incredible Hermitage “La Chappelle”

The hill of Hermitage is both one of the most famous wine landmarks in the world and also so much more interesting than common lore purports it to be. The story goes that the hill of Hermitage was the home of a knight seeking solace from the horrors of the Crusades upon his return home. He planted the vineyards that would become Hermitage and then built a chapel to pray in and that building, the Chapel of Saint Christopher, is the defining marker of the hillside. The name, Hermitage, takes the name of the hermit’s refuge.

Jaboulet purchased the Chapel of Saint Christopher and the surrounding plot of land in 1919—possibly the choicest part of the whole appellation. This is the core of their blend for La Chapelle, which for many defines what Hermitage can be. The 2016 version is a true legend in the making and we expect this will be a wine that is talked about reverentially in twenty years.

Arriving ETA Fall:

Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, Rhone 2016 750ML ($269.95) $225 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle is slightly denser than the 2017 and is a bigger, richer, more structured wine than the La Maison Bleue. Crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed rocks, ozone, scorched earth, and violet notes all emerge from this beautifully classic, elegant, seamless wine that carries full-bodied richness, building tannins, and a big finish, all while staying in the classic, elegant, balanced style of the vintage. It has plenty of tannins and is a quintessential La Chapelle that will have three decades of longevity.”
James Suckling 97-98 points “Very spicy and peppery with blue-granite aromas plus hints of grilled and smoked meat. Cloves and nutmeg. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a super spicy finish that almost burns with so much character yet turns fine and focused at the end. A beauty.”
Josh Raynolds 96-98 points “(raised in 20% new oak) Dark purple. A highly expressive, mineral-accented bouquet evokes fresh blackberry and blueberry, candied flowers, incense and exotic spices. Sweet, palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur and violet pastille flavors are complicated by suggestions of cracked pepper and bitter chocolate; a spicecake nuance gains strength with aeration. Steadily building tannins add shape and grip to the extremely long, incisive finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and mineral notes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this wine turn out as well as the amazing 2015 version.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Sourced from the granitic western portion of the appellation, the 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle features mouthwatering aromas of black olives and charred beef. It’s full-bodied and creamy-velvety in texture, incredibly lush without being overtly fruity. In fact, it’s largely savory, with elegant shadings of leather and spice on the long, silky finish. Yet despite being delicious now, this still has the granite backbone to age through 2040.-JC”

Thanks for reading!