Midweek Vinopolis Addition 3-28-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

First Offer: 2016 Jaboulet

Krug 2004 – Grace Under Glass

New Reviews for the Grand Domaine Grand Veneur

Wine Spectator’s #3 Wine of the Year

Cameron Ribbon Ridge + W.V. Pinots Arrive Tomorrow

#Trending Wines

Staff Picks: Chablis and Bandol

Sperino’s Superlative Alto Piemonte

Top Tier Chianti Gran Selezione


First Offer!

2016 Jaboulet La Chapelle and Thalabert

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.  We have a small lot of ’16 La Chapelle arriving in the Fall, along with the 2016 version of the Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage (a worthy follow-up to the best selling 2015). Quantities are limited, so you’d be wise to grab these now—they aren’t going to be around for very long.

Arriving ETA Fall 2019:

Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, Rhone 2016 750ML ($269.95) Buy Now: $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”

Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($47.95) Buy Now: $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($279.95) Buy Now: $179 pre-arrival special
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.”
James Suckling 92-93 points “This shows pretty dark fruit along with cloves, dark berries and hints of black pepper. Medium to full body and a juicy finish.”

Can’t Wait? Check out these fantastic wines from Jaboulet, In Stock Now:

Paul Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) Buy Now: $39 special
Jeb Dunnuck-Rhone Report 97 points
“The finest vintage to date, better even than the stellar 2010, the 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert is a gorgeous, deep, layered, and incredibly satisfying Crozes. Blackcurrants, olive tapenade, truffles and earthy notes all emerge from this full-bodied, gorgeously textured and seamless 2015. With fine tannin and no hard edge, it can be drunk today or cellaring for 15-20 years.”
Grapelive 94-96 points “This Jaboulet Crozes-HermitagevDomaine de Thalabert 2015 with it’s concentration, ripe flavors and refined tannins is a lovely and impressive effort, not without grip or intensity, displays a meaty soul and terroir driven personality with layers of boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry compote, creme de cassis, fig paste, light cedar notes, mocha and earthy/tar like elements with hints of black licorice, leather, bacon fat and embers. Caroline Frey and team have done a masterful job, making a purple/garnet hued wine that gathers itself with air adding a hint of sweet toasty oak, with about 20% new barrels were used and crushed violets and candied black cherry in a sultry, seductive and a full bodied effort. Still in throws of youth, this Domaine de Thalabert will need plenty of cellar time to fully evolve, but the potential is clear as day to see in the bottle, curiosity got the best of me, rather than common sense, as I should have cellared this beauty another decade at least….The Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage site was the first vineyard purchased by Jaboulet and is considered one of the benchmark vineyard sites in the Appellation as well as being the oldest, it now sports 60 to 80 year old vines, biodynamically grown on pebbly terraces that are glacial in origin, with the bedrock close to the topsoil….Jaboulet is one of the iconic estates in the Northern Rhone, most famous for their La Chappelle Hermitage Rouge from the spiritual home high up on Hermitage Hill overlooking the Rhone River….this label is as popular as ever with her top wines being as highly praised and sought after as any in France. For those that cannot afford the La Chapelle, like me, it is great to be able to drink Frey’s wines, and this Crozes-Hermitage “Domaine de Thalabert” is a great one to invest in without too much guilt, so be sure to look for it and be as patient as possible”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Inky ruby. Suave, mineral-accented scents of ripe blueberry, black currant and Indian spices, along with a slowly emerging floral component. Plush, broad and deeply concentrated, displaying black and blue fruit, licorice and mocha flavors that are energized by an intense, peppery overtone. Finishes extremely long, fleshy and sweet, delivering intense mineral thrust, a subtle cracked pepper nuance and youthful, building tannins.”

Paul Jaboulet Aine Saint-Joseph Domaine de la Croix des Vignes, Rhone 2012 750ML ($69.95) Buy Now: $59 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The only Saint Joseph produced, the 2012 St Joseph Domaine de la Croix des Vignes is another incredible effort from this team. Coming from steep, granite soils and a vineyard located just beside the famed Vignes de Hospice, this beauty knocks it out of the park with its massive minerality, currants, rare beef and tapenade-like aromas and flavors. Ripe, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured and still lively and elegant, it too will knock your socks off over the coming 15-20 years.” WA

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Krug 2004

Grace Under Glass

“2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002” –Antonio Galloni

“There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004… It has a luminous freshness and good density” –Decanter

“There is marvelous precision here on both the nose and palate, not to mention a sense of harmony and grace” –John Gilman, A View from the Cellar

In Stock Now:

Krug Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) Buy Now: $248 special
Krug Brut Gift Box, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) Buy Now: $259 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Decanter 97 points “… It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead…”
John Gilman 97 points “The new release of 2004 Krug is absolutely beautiful and is already quite elegant and open on both the nose and palate and is drinking with great finesse. I had expected this wine to be a bit more steely in structure out of the blocks, but the refinement of the blend this year has produced a wine that is already a joy to drink at age thirteen, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come…”
James Suckling 97 points “This is an extremely fresh edition and remains in a restrained mode with an intense serve of Chardonnay’s lemon citrus dominating the nose alongside lime zest, bright florals, grassy elements, fresh dough, white stones and very subtle background spice. The palate has a svelte and elegant shape…”


New Wine Spectator Reviews

New Reviews for the Grand Wines of Domaine Grand Veneur

Alaine Jaume & Fils have become known over the last few decades as one of the preeminent producers of wines in the Southern Rhone.  They’re best known for the two estates they manage, Domaine Grand Veneur (Chateauneuf) and Domaine du Clos de Sixte (Lirac) but they’ve also created a number of excellent projects from leased vineyards, as well.  In addition to monster scores and high quality, the Jaume wines are known for being excellent value—it’s hard to beat the quality/points to price ratio of these across the board. We’re excited to see Wine Spectator’s new reviews, which confirm what we already knew: these are great wines that deserve a place on your table.

In Stock Now:

Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) Buy Now: $39 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Ripe and compact still, with a core of dark currant and plum puree flavors waiting in reserve while sleek graphite, Turkish coffee and ganache notes hold sway for now. There’s fresh acidity and nice detail throughout, though, so let this unwind fully in the cellar. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2021 through 2032.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $53
Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.59) Buy Now: $59 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Inviting, with layered flavors of boysenberry, fig and blackberry preserves forming the foundation, while melted black licorice, warm fruitcake and wood spice notes are inlaid throughout. A lingering ganache echo adds more base through the hefty finish. Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. Best from 2022 through 2035.”


Arriving Tomorrow

Wine Spectator’s #3 Wine of the Year

The Sought After Volpaia Riserva

Volpaia makes some of the most sought after, powerful wines in Chianti.  Their 2015 Riserva may be the best wine they’ve ever produced and that’s no secret—this was the #3 wine of the year in this past Wine Spectator Top 100.  We’ve been working to secure a parcel ever since the issue came out and have a limited quantity arriving at the end of next week.  Act quickly—this was very tough to find.

Arriving Tomorrow, March 29th:

#3 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($69.95) Buy Now: $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Though saturated with black currant and blackberry fruit and backed by opaque tannins, this red is pure and balanced. Thyme, iron, leather and tar notes give this complexity, while the finish goes into overtime. Best from 2023 through 2040. 2,500 cases imported.”

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Cameron Ribbon Ridge

Arriving Tomorrow with the Last Drop of the Willamette Valley

Cameron Winery Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($27.95) Buy Now: $24 pre-arrival special

Cameron Winery Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($27.95) Buy Now: $21.90 pre-arrival special

This is the only listing in the USA today!

“Utterly sensational, and unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas La Colline, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) Buy Now: $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2016 Gigondas La Colline (100% Grenache from a tiny corner of the La Colline vineyard) gives a big blast of blackberry and kirsch fruit to go with complex garrigue, toasted spice, and dried earth. This full-bodied beauty packs an incredible amount of richness and depth into a seamless, silky, elegant, thrilling package. It’s going to benefit from 1-2 years of bottle age and knock your socks off over the following decade or more.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96-100 points “Utterly sensational, and unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage, the 2016 Gigondas La Colline is 100% Grenache that’s from the La Colline lieu-dit which is close to the domain, at an elevation of 350 meters above sea-level. It was mostly destemmed (there are 20% stems), fermented in concrete tanks and aging all in 2-4-year-old demi-muids. Notes of Camphor, black raspberries, strawberries, crushed rocks, garrigue and ground pepper all flow to an incredibly layered, concentrated 2016 that has sweet tannin, and an opulent, decadent profile that never seems heavy or over the top. It’s a tour de force in winemaking and hats off to the young Julien Brechet for this incredible wine. There are only 250 cases for the world, so don’t miss a chance to latch onto a few bottles.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This delivers a gorgeous display of fruit, with raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry notes in lockstep as they race through, infused with light anise, bergamot and rooibos tea accents along the way. The racy, chalky structure holds the finish, giving this sleek tension. Best from 2020 through 2036.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
One of the best wines from Etna in a while.
Alta Mora ‘Guardiola’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2014 750ML ($59.95) Buy Now: $49 special
James Suckling 96 points
“The crystal-clear nose of jasmine, slate, quartz, wild strawberries, blueberries and tons of orange rind, not to mention chocolate shavings and walnuts, is stunning. The full-bodied palate is expansive and fruit-forward yet so minerally and uplifted by a fresh line of acidity that culminates in a long finish. Tight and refined in terms of tannin texture. So good now but better in 2019.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2014 Etna Rosso Guardiola is a wine of unique beauty and character. Having seen this stunning vineyard in person and climbed its steep ascent on the flank of the volcano, I am immediately reminded of the warm smells that come from these sun-scorched soils and the wild herbal notes that come off the scrub brush that grows in this harsh, otherworldly environment. This wine offers an immediate sense of place. The bouquet is elegant, almost ephemeral at first. It grows exponentially in intensity and complexity as the wine takes on more air in the glass. Give it the time it merits. Tangy acidity and sour cherry keep the palate very much alive. Congratulations to Cusumano of Alta Mora for this authentic taste of Etna inspiration. Only 5,310 bottles were made. Fruit comes from a three-hectare vineyard with 120-year-old vines.”-ML
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Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($59.95) Buy Now: $41.90 special
No review yet, but this vintage looks “to be phenomenal” per Luis Gutierrez of the Wine Advocate!

Trending and Arriving Friday

#5 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($249.95) Buy Now: $189 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98+ points
“The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous, but quite remarkably, it was even more open when I tasted it a year ago. Bright, focused and crystalline in its precision, the 2008 is going to need a number of years before it is at its best. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the 2008 its chiseled, bright profile. Several recent bottles have all been magnificent. What I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions.”
John Gilman 98 points “The 2008 vintage of Dom Pérignon is an absolute classic in the making and this is destined to be one of the great recent years for this iconic cuvée. It is far more classically structured out of the blocks than the relatively generous 2009 version, offering up a deep, complex and very youthful bouquet of menthol, green apple, a touch of tangerine, a very complex base of minerality and notes of dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with precise mousse, brisk acids and stunning length and grip on the primary and laser-like finish. This will demand some cellaring to start to really stir and should prove to be an extremely long-lived vintage of DP. Stellar juice.”
James Suckling 98 points “The best Dom since 2002. A vintage with very restrained, powerful style that has been released non-sequentially after the 2009. This has a lighter stamp of highly curated, autolytic, toasty aromas than many recent releases. Instead, this delivers super fresh and intense aromas of lemons, grapefruit and blood-orange peel. Incredible freshness here. The palate has a very smoothly delivered, berry-pastry thread with light, sweet spices, stone fruit and fine citrus fruit. This really delivers. Drink now or hold.”
Decanter 96 points “Departing chef de caves Richard Geoffroy says that 2008 is his best DP vintage since 1990. The first half of the growing season was dull and sunless, but good weather returned in mid-September and led to one of the longest harvests, running into October. The summer provided ideal conditions for a classic, cool, maritime vintage of exceptional, subtle aromas with minerality and freshness. This has a vibrant but controlled acidity, and is above all a memorable symbiosis of mature fruit and salinity derived from top terroirs. The poised mouthfeel makes this a perfect gastronomic wine, strong enough for spicy Asian cuisine from the Pacific rim, but still compatible with classics such as roast turbot and lobster.””
Wine Spectator 96 points “There’s power to this graceful Champagne, with the vivid acidity swathed in a fine, creamy mousse and flavors of toasted brioche, kumquat, pastry cream, candied ginger and poached plum that dance across the palate. An underpinning of smoky mineral gains momentum on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2033.”

Gerard Boulay Sancerre Les Monts Damnes, Loire 2016 750ML ($54.95) Buy Now: $44 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“Boulay began farming the steeply sloped Mont Damnés vineyard in 1982. His plot has an average vine age of 45 years. Mont Damnés’ reflective soils and south-facing exposition make it one of Chavi­gnol’s warmest sites. Overall, Gerard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Boulay is certainly among the top examples of the appellation, including Boulay’s neighbors (Cotat Bros., Vatan). These are gorgeous, highly complex wines that are a clear step above “regular” Sancerre, and can age easily for 10-20 years or more. In fact, we have had them all the way back to the 1959 which was magnificent! They confirm Boulay’s place in the top ranks of Loire Valley vignerons.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $51
Staff Picks

Chablis on a Half-Shell

In preparation for visiting friends at the Hama Hama Oyster Rama on Hood Canal, we wanted to find our Chablis of the year. Ordinarily, I go for Vocoret La Foret, but the 2014 Chablisienne Lechet won the night of taste testing. The fresh bright aromas of citrus and crushed stones was unbelievably youthful and snappy. On the palate the feel was not as edgy as I would have imagined; an almost gentle feel that had more weight than anticipated. Not a heavy wine, just a feeling of pleasant seriousness. The mineral nose was echoed in the salinity which balanced perfectly with the green apple and tarragon notes. Mouthwatering on the finish – we polished off this bottle far too quickly.

La Chablisienne Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($31.95) Buy Now: $26 special
Case-6 La Chablisienne Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($189.95) Buy Now: $144 special (that’s only $24/bottle!)
Decanter 95 points
“Flowers with a bit of lemon curd on the nose, giving way to a lively palate with white flowers, herbs and a fine-grained mineral seam running through to the racy, spicy finish.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “This wine comes from one of the coolest Premier Cru vineyards, giving it an initial austerity that then fills out as the wine breathes. It’s crisp and bright with white fruit and intense, lemony acidity. Age it for a few more months and drink from 2018.”
Burghound 91 points “Outstanding. A spicy and super-fresh array of citrus, pear and tidal pool serves as an elegant introduction to the impressively intense and precise middle weight flavors that exude a fine bead of minerality on the lingering and complex finale where a hint of austerity surfaces. Lovely.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The Last, Best Old School Bandol
Bandol is perhaps the most perfect winter red. Brooding, grippy, primally feral, it’s the wine equivalent of a lamb or game stew—at least in theory, anyway.  Many Bandol that I taste these days seem to be doing their best to be California wines—extremely dark and purple in color with the intense fruit to match the hue.  While I get the appeal, I turn to Bandol for something wilder and untamed.  The solution, as it has been for generations, is Chateau Pradeaux.

Imported by Neal Rosenthal, Pradeaux has been a top producer of Bandol since its inception and is now one of the last great traditionalists in the region.  The wines are made from a very high percentage of Mourvèdre (the signature grape of Bandol) and have the grippy tannin that I seek out with these wines—perfect for pairing with a variety of hearty winter fare.  The 2013 is remarkably delicious now, though it will continue to age for as long as you have patience—Bandol is legendary for its ability to grow old gracefully.  If you enjoy rustic, old school wine, the tariff on the Pradeaux renders it an absolute bargain—one that you’d do well to stock up on.

Chateau Pradeaux Bandol, Provence 2013 750ML ($49.95) Buy Now: $39 special
Grapelive 94 points
“Etienne Portalis, the fourteenth generation, winemaker at Pradeaux has made a brilliant and deep Bandol in the 2013 vintage. It is my pick for #Mourvedre Day. It is a traditional and old school wine that is made with the blessing of the warm Mediterranean sun and his family’s old vines. The Chateau Pradeaux, founded back in 1752, is a Provence legend and the house style is natural and powerful with Etienne only using whole cluster with stems. These are wines that have firm structures from the raw/authentic skin tannins and wines that can age many decades. That said, this 2013 shows a beautiful freshness of detail and refinement after its extended time in large used cask. The 2013 is deep in color with a dark garnet hue around a blackish core with an earthy profile that opens to a full bodied and complex wine. [It is] almost 100% Mourvedre with a tiny amount of other black grapes. It reveals layers of dusty blackberry, kirsch, plum and boysenberry fruits, peppery briar spice, leather, chalky stones, anise, bitter coco and a touch of floral lift with a mix of violet and lavender as well as a cedar/tobacco element. This 2013 is drinking with an impressive palate impact with plenty of dry grip and force, but turns generous with air with a ripe opulence allowing lots of pleasure and textural charm. It’s a serious example that will gain further with short to mid-term cellaring. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Chateau Pradeaux is without question, along with Domaine Tempier, is a standard bearer of the region. This 2013 is a beauty that will be perfect with rustic and simple country cuisine. It’s a big, bold and robust Bandol with a natural sex appeal and inner energy. Drink over the next 10 to 15 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Sperino’s Superlative Alto Piemonte

Enthusiasm for the Alto Piemonte keeps growing—it’s clearly a source of great value and the wines are better every year.  Our highlight today is the top producer in the Lessona, Sperino.  The flagship wine is their Lessona, a compact Nebbiolo that offers incredible value relative to counterparts in Barolo and Barbaresco, but the Uvaggio (a blend of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina) offers a glimpse into an earlier time when the wines of the region were blends.  Finally, their awe-inspiring L’Franc is a Right-Bank Bordeaux in Piemontese clothing.  Although expensive, it’s an incredible wine that is worth every penny, especially if you are after old-school, soulful Bordeaux.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Alto Piemonte region, know that it’s one of the best places in the modern wine world to look for value in ageworthy Nebbiolo.  Alto Piemonte was famous in the 19th century and into the 20th but has become more obscure since WWII.  The big advantage the region has on its side right now is the changing climate.  In an older climate paradigm, you couldn’t always count on the northerly regions in the Piemonte to get fully ripe every year, so often you had very light wines with very stern tannins.  Now? It’s like Lessona and co. have hit the jackpot.

Furthermore, the pricing of the wines hasn’t caught up with the current climate reality.  Sperino makes some of the best wines in the region and their flagship Lessona sells for less than $60.  This is a wine to stock up on and age, before wine consumers world-wide realize that these are such good deals and go all-in.

In Stock Now:

Proprieta Sperino Lessona, Piedmont 2013 750ML ($69.95) Buy Now: $59 special
Winery Note
“The damp and cold winter and spring, with temperatures close to 0°C up until mid-June led to significantly late vegetation and growth phases for the vines. Fortunately the vines flowered after the cold and rain in June favouring the setting of the fruit, and the harvest was decidedly abundant, in clear contrast with 2012. Some thunderstorms in summer and early autumn and an early, but not easy harvest demanded a great deal of selection both in the field and on the sorting belt. We chose not to exaggerate with the maceration, favouring the aromatic part and fineness over the tannic side, which in these conditions would have risked not reaching the right level of maturity. The result: wines of vibrant mineral acidity, great aromatic impact, with body more delicate and finer than in other recent years”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $72
Proprieta Sperino ‘L Franc Bandit Vino da Tavola, Piedmont 2010 750ML ($119.95) Buy Now: $99 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“A Vino da Tavola, the 2010 ‘L Franc is a pure expression of Cabernet Franc made from the acidic, sandy soils of Alto Piemonte. Only 1,000 bottles were produced. This is a stunning red wine with profound depth and vast horizons. The wine’s appearance is incredibly dense and dark but the bouquet is refined and elegant—almost lightweight or ethereal. You get back fruit, exotic spice, powdered mocha, licorice and cured tobacco. The wine carries an evidently important level of dry extract, but it does so with the utmost grace and transparency.”

Proprieta Sperino Uvaggio Coste della Sesia Rosso, Piedmont 2013 750ML ($37.95) Buy Now: $29 special
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“This wine is named Uvaggio in reference to the fact it represents a blend of three grapes: 80% Nebbiolo, 15% Vespolina and 5% Croatina. Some of the fruit for the 2013 Coste della Sesia Uvaggio is harvested from parcels with sandy soils that give the wine more perfumed characteristics and other fruit is harvested from granite-rich soils that give the wine more structure and fiber. This is a deep and authentic red wine with balanced red fruit aromas that saturate a long and silky mouthfeel. Savory tones of spice and leather give the wine staying power. In all, the 2013 vintage is delicate and nuanced in nature.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Proprieta Sperino ‘L Franc Bandit Vino da Tavola, Piedmont 2009 750ML ($119.95) Was $99, Now $91.90 special
Bin End Sale !!!
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“The 2009 L’Franc, 100% Cabernet Franc, is a new wine from Sperino. Over the years, Paolo De Marchi has proved he has the magic touch pretty much with every grape. You can add Cabernet Franc to the list. Here in its debut vintage, the L’Franc possesses remarkable varietal definition and finesse from start to finish. Violets, lavender, plums and mocha add further shades of nuance as the 2009 opens up. Amazingly, this fruit was not harvested until late October and into early November. In my view the 2009 is a bit overoaked, but that will simply require a small correction in future vintages. Superb Cabernet Franc in Lessona? Yes, at Proprietà Sperino, it is possible.” AG
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Arriving ETA April:

Proprieta Sperino ‘Rosa del Rosa’ Rosato Coste della Sesia, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($21.95) Buy Now: $18 pre-arrival special

Love the incredible value found in Northern Piedmont Wines? We do, too. Here’s some additional great picks that are in stock now!

Monsecco Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($41.95) Buy Now: $36 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2011 Gattinara is a super-classic wine laced with the aromas and flavors Nebbiolo shows with a bit of age. Sweet tobacco, dried flowers, dried cherry, menthol, orange peel and anise give the wine its aromatic presence. Firm tannins add drive through to the finish. Further time in bottle should help those tannins soften even more. Still, the 2011 is quite attractive today.”
Importer note “After a manual harvest, the grapes undergo an extensive cuvaison and then are racked into a combination of large “botte” and second year French barrique for at least three years of aging prior to being bottled.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2007 750ML ($59.95) Buy Now: $49 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2007 1.5L ($119.95) Buy Now: $89 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2007 3L ($279.95) Buy Now: $219 special, 2 double-magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92+ points
“The 2007 Ghemme Collis Breclamae shows the deeper, slightly wilder side of Ghemme. Game, smoke, licorice, cedar and tobacco are expressed with elements of burliness and rusticity. There is more than enough depth to fill out the wine’s broad shoulders. Still, what comes through most is the wine’s virile, imposing personality.”
These are the only listings in the USA today!
Monsecco Ghemme DOCG, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($39.95) Buy Now: $33 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 90 points
“The 2011 Ghemme Pelizzane is one of the bigger, more imposing wines in this range from Monsecco. Black cherry, plum, smoke, tobacco, licorice and a touch of new wood fill out the wine’s big, burly frame. Although a bit rustic, the 2011 is nicely balanced. The personality of the year comes through in the wine’s feel and super-ripe, at times slightly sweet, profile.”
Importer note “An extraordinarily age-worthy wine that will mature nicely over 20 years or more in the cellar, in its youth this medium to full bodied wine shows a lovely mélange of red and dark berry fruits, with hints of tobacco and spice and a very long finish. 85% Nebbiolo with 15% Vespolina and Uva Rara of an average age of 30 years, the wine macerates for 12 days before fermentation in stainless steel. The wine is then transferred to a combination of old Slovenian botte, and second year French barrique for an additional 3 years, and to put the finishing touches on its élèvage: a year in bottle before release. A wine such as this is a testament to the glory and longevity of mountain Nebbiolo. Decant for best results!”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Top Tier Chianti Gran Selezione

Arriving in October

The Chianti “Gran Selezione” category continues to be one of the hottest in the world of Italian wine.  Since its creation above “Riserva” in the hierarchy of Chianti wines, the Gran Selezione bottlings have come to represent the best offerings of any given winery and, as a result, some of the best values in Tuscany.  These are wines that compete with the very top tier of Brunello at half the price.  We have an excellent example arriving this fall, perfect for any cellar.

Arriving ETA October:

“Simply magnificent”
Rocca di Castagnoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Stielle, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($59.95) Buy Now: $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2014 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Stielle is a positively stellar wine. Deep, powerful and explosive, but with tons of balance, the Stielle is simply magnificent in 2014. Black cherry, lavender, mint, tobacco and licorice add to a sense of gravitas in this super-concentrated, dense wine.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $64.99
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