Midweek VinopolPick 10-15-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

The Best Value in Italy?

Trending Wines

Staff Pick: A Go-To Chianti

Rose of the Day

By the Vintage/Buy the Vintage: 2015 Barolo

Collector’s Corner: The Scarce Wines of Clos Rougeard

Keller: Beyond the GG’s

The Best Vin Santo

Jaboulet’s 2016’s – Monuments in the Making


The Best Value in Italy?

Introducing Tiberio, Secret Star of Abruzzo

“Abruzzo’s Tiberio winery has quickly risen to the top of the hierarchy not just in Abruzzo’s but in all of Italy.” –Ian D’Agata, Vinous

Abruzzo is an Italian wine region best known for two standout producers: Valentini and Emidio Pepe—but it’s probably time to add a third to the list: the wines of the Tiberio family.  They’re not quite at the level of their two closest peers, but importantly their pricing is still in line with the value producers that dot the Abruzzese wine landscape.  That delta between quality and price might make them the best value in Italy—these are some serious wines for the dollars asked.

In Italy, they’re best known for their single vineyard/old vine Trebbiano “Fonte Canale” (which we’re working on sourcing) but their range of ~$20 wines is why we’re enamored of them.  From their surprisingly gutsy and complex Montepulciano to the not-quite rosé of the Cerasuolo, their wines from red grapes strike an impeccable balance between restraint and power, while their whites have minerality and intrigue to spare—a minor miracle for the prices.  We’ve finally secured some of these wines, arriving Friday, and they’re at the best prices in the country—so there’s no excuse for not stocking up.

Arriving Friday:

Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($24.95) $18.50 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($269.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points
“Vibrant red. Captivating aromas of red currant, dark plum, blueberry, licorice and Oriental spices. Broad and ripe on entry, then luscious in the middle, finishing with a riper mouthfeel than is usual for this wine, but in keeping with the 2017 vintage (dry and hot). Finishes long, with serious, building tannins and noteworthy sweetness. This is a real miracle considering the vintage’s less-than-stellar growing season; timely rainfall at the end of September provided much-needed liquid refreshment for the Montepulciano, allowing the vines to recover from the summer drought and heat and benefit from longer hang times. On a side note, wine lovers have something else to look forward to, as the 2018 vats of Montepulciano I tried during my cellar visit were absolutely superb; they are undoubtedly the best entry-level Montepulciano wines Tiberio has ever made, so there’s something to really look forward to here.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Tiberio Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($21.95) $17.75 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Tiberio Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($249.95) $189 pre-arrival special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points
“Luminous pink-red. Bright aromas of red cherry, redcurrant, blood orange and botanical herbs. Then bright and juicy, with laser-like acidity lifting and extending the red fruit flavors on the juicy, long, floral and slightly saline finish. A very precise, seamless Cerasuolo with no hard edges and sneaky concentration.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Tiberio Pecorino Colline Pescaresi IGT, Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 90 points
“Abruzzo’s Tiberio winery has quickly risen to the top of the hierarchy not just in Abruzzo’s but in all of Italy. What the talented Cristiana Tiberio has achieved in the very hot 2017 vintage with Pecorino (a variety that does not like heat) is a testament to her talent. The 2017 Tiberio Pecorino is by no means the best Pecorino she has ever made (and frankly, it would have been very strange if it was otherwise, given the year’s weather), but it offers lovely balance with pure sage and kiwi notes that mingle with ripe orchard fruit nuances complicated by a saline edge. Both these wines made for a wonderful start to my meal, but they would have paired very well with all the other dishes I chose to eat this evening.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Tiberio Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 90 points
“Bright straw-green. Reticent aromas and flavors of ripe peach, apple and pear, plus a hint of flinty silex. Rather round, fat and silky, this is quite full in the mouth for a Trebbiano d’Abruzzo and a Tiberio wine, but there was no getting away from the hot 2017 vintage in Abruzzo. A lovely wine with a delicately floral, long finish, but also a bigger wine than is usual from this estate. It will merit a higher score if it loses some of its baby fat in bottle while maintaining freshness.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending Wines

Only four bottles available, this Gevrey icon is stunning in ’17
Domaine Fourrier Les Cherbaudes Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($279.95) $219 special
Decanter 96 points
“Cherbaudes is located just below Mazis-Bas, where Jean-Marie Fourrier’s 0.67ha parcel was planted in 1940. This has the richness and density of a grand cru, so maybe its neighbour has influenced the quality of the wine by osmosis. It’s spicy, sweet and brambly with a fine, nuanced finish.”

A real deal in old-school Sangiovese.
Piombaia Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Importer Note
“The little brother of the Brunello di Montalcino, this young Sangiovese displays all the character and finesse of the Sangiovese cultivated in Montalcino, but in a fun, easy-to-drink style. Intense and fruity with lively notes of raspberries, cherries and red currants. A lush, yet soft Rosso di Montalcino with a vibrant, fruity core and a persistenty aftertaste with hints of Mediterranean herbs… Piombaia winery is set in the heart of the historic production area of Brunello di Montalcino, with its 12 hectares of vines placed around the main cellar “Piombaia”, to the southwest of Montalcino….This is one of the higher areas of Montalcino, with vines positioned between 400 and 600 meters a.s.l. in a deep soil, rich in alluvial rocks such as galestro, albariza and sandstone, favouring the production of elegant, ethereal wines.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Low sulfur/glou-glou wine from an icon.
Domaine Gramenon Cotes du Rhone Poignee de Raisins, Rhone 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer note
“A young-vine Grenache produced naturally and released early, this atypical Côtes-du-Rhône is designed specifically to quench thirst while showcasing the scrumptious flavor of fermented biodynamic grapes. The domaine’s organic approach to viticulture and nonintervention in the cellar may strike some as rebellious, yet the Gramenons humbly point out that “thirty years ago, we called that ‘working normally’!” In a landscape dominated by mass-market, technological Côtes-du-Rhône, however, these wines are anything but normal. Hand-harvesting, native yeast fermentations, élevage without any new oak, and negligible doses of sulfur are just a few of the factors that make Gramenon’s wines alive, expressive, and difficult to stop drinking. Serve this one cool, from a carafe, with a plain old burger—generously seasoned with herbes de Provence.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kermit Lynch+the Brunier Family= Authentic Gigondas from excellent terroir.
Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2015s are also brilliant, and if not for the 2016s, I’d say best yet. The 2015 Gigondas Terrasses du Diable sports a ruby color as well as considerable polish and elegance in its blackberry, black cherry, garrigue and mineral-drenched style. Full-bodied, concentrated, loaded with spice, and beautifully textured, it’s a knockout 2015 to drink over the coming decade.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Dark and focused, with cassis, blackberry and black currant fruit flavors spliced together, racing along atop mouthwatering bramble, lavender and rosemary accents. A bright iron streak pierces the finish, adding lift and range. Best from 2019 through 2027. 2,600 cases made.”
Josh Raynolds 92-94 points “Bright violet. Heady aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, potpourri and licorice are complemented by smoky mineral and spice nuances that emerge with air. Juicy, expansive black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors become sweeter and put on weight with aeration while retaining a graceful touch. Velvety tannins lend subtle grip to an impressively long, mineral-laced finish that echoes the floral note.”

St. Cosme killed it in 2015 and the CdP is an outstanding value.
Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Sourced from three lieux-dits (including La Crau), Saint Cosme’s 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of approximately 60% Grenache, 20-25% Mourvèdre and bits and pieces of other varieties. It’s full-bodied, rich and spicy, with hints of cumin, licorice, cinnamon and clove all swirling about on the long finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
“It’s straight-up awesome”-JD
Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2016 Hartford Court Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard leaps from the glass with exuberant notes of green mangoes, yuzu, mandarin peel and pink grapefruit with touches of baker’s yeast, pie crust, beeswax and oyster shell. It’s medium-bodied with a very, very taut, intense and refreshing palate, sporting incredible tension and layers and finishing very long and very minerally. 327 cases produced.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “In the same league as the 2015 and flirting with perfection, the 2016 Chardonnay Seascape Vineyard comes from a ridgetop vineyard located at 1,150 feet above sea-level, just west of the town of Occidental. It was fermented and aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. Salty sea breeze, lemon curd, white flowers, beautiful minerality, and hints of toasted bread all flow to a medium to full-bodied, rich, powerful Chardonnay that has awesome purity, building density and depth on the palate, and bright acidity that carries through the finish. It’s straight-up awesome.”

Rombauer is best known for Chard, but the Zin always moves briskly.
Rombauer Vineyards Zinfandel, California 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29.50 special
Winery Note
” Our classic California Zinfandel is dark purple-ruby, with a bright crimson hue. On the nose, concentrated aromas of blackberry and raspberry meld with clove and spice. Lush flavors of raspberry, blackberry jam, plums and vanilla flood the palate, followed by touches of white pepper in the background. Plush and round tannins and great length make for a fresh and enticing finish. Introduced to California during the Gold Rush, Zinfandel is considered by many to be America’s heritage grape.  A tribute to California wine history, this Zinfandel was sourced from some of the state’s oldest and most revered wine regions, from family owned vineyards that in some cases date back over 100 years.”



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Staff Pick

A Go-To Chianti

Dark and focused, this is a bargain for a Riserva and well worth the upgrade from the entry-level Chianti Classico. This is my go-to Chianti year-in, year-out, but I particularly enjoyed the 2016 vintage. This reminds me of the epic 2013 with a lovely structure that hints at a decade plus of cellaring potential. With classic tart cherry notes and a tangy mid-palate, I couldn’t help enjoying this now, too. If you do pop it, give it plenty of air.

In Stock Now:

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Streamlined and elegant, this mid-weight red trots out notes of grilled herb and dark fruit nuances that segue to spice, tilled earth and savory tobacco, with great complexity. This 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is still a bit closed and tight, but this beautiful wine boasts all the best qualities of this vintage. It shows elegance and power, two contrasting characteristics that only work well together in the world’s most achieved expressions. The most satisfying aspect of this Riserva is the crisp acidity on the close that keeps the palate refreshed and ready for the next sip.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “This red offers density and focus, creating an ideal frame for the cherry, strawberry, almond, leather and earth flavors. A firm backbone of tannins lends structure and the finish persists, leaving an accent of bitter almond. Best from 2022 through 2040. —B.S.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva shows all the quality and pedigree of the year in its layered personality and overall nuance. Cedar, dried cherry, game licorice and tobacco convey the darker, gamier side of Sangiovese that is such a signature at Fèlsina. The 2016 finishes with terrific energy and bright acids that suggest it will enjoy a long life in the cellar, but readers should plan on giving it at least a few years in bottle.”



Rose of the Day

Confusing Name, Fantastic Wine

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 vintage this year’s is fantastic.  If you buy it online, you don’t have to worry about how to say it, either.

In Stock Now

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

By the Vintage/Buy the Vintage

2015 in Barolo

2015 is looking like a top-tier Barolo vintage, worth buying in quantity and as a vintage—similar to 2013, you’re going to want to go deep and broad.  Bigger, richer and more open than any vintage from ’12-’14, this reminds us of the 2009 or ’07 vintage in style, but with more precision in the wines.   That detail in the finished wine is what makes ’15 unique for a “warm year.”

In her effusive writeup of the vintage for the Wine Advocate, Monica Larner pointed out that “Luca Currado of Vietti in Castiglione Falletto says it’s a mistake to categorize 2015 as a so-called hot vintage. He remains convinced that any jammy or overripe flavors found in the wines have less to do with the vintage conditions and more to do with farming methods. “Those who pulled too many leaves during the summer may have encountered overripe flavors. Those who followed our local traditions, and kept the leaves on, achieved beautiful color and aromas with Nebbiolo,” he says.”

Larner isn’t the only one who loves the year.  Antonio Galloni declared that “Readers will find a number of dazzling 2015s, even if quality is uneven across the board. More importantly, though, the number of young growers and re-born older estates making compelling wines is greater than at any time since I first visited Piedmont in 1997. Quite simply, Barolo, and Piedmont more broadly, is going through a remarkable boom. I came away from my tastings more energized than ever.”

We’ve been energized, as well and have a number of 2015’s either recently arrived or arriving over the next few months.  You can view the entire list below or head to our webstore to see all the Barolo (from across any number of vintages) that we have in stock and arriving soon.

Collector’s Corner

The Scarce Wines of Clos Rougeard

Clos Rougeard is one of the toughest wines in the world to source—and older vintages even more so.  These are bottles that are some of the most coveted in the world—the only producer of their stature in the Loire, they’re on par with the highest end Burgundy.  Collectors fight to get mere bottles of current releases, so it’s even more exciting to get our hands on a massive collection of back-vintage Rougeard with excellent provenance.  These are moving fast—we’re down to one vintage of Breze and only a few bottles of a number of the single vineyard wines. You can view a full list on our webstore, or keep reading for more details on provenience, etc

These are in stock now and if you love the wines of Rougeard, you owe it to yourself to jump on these while there are still some left.  This is like winning a vinous lottery (if winning the lottery were a result of hard work and careful sourcing).  These wines are directly from the cellar of the importer/distributor for these bottles.  All were bought on release and carefully stored until now—it’s hard to imagine a better source for these outside of buying directly from the cellar of the estate (and good luck with that).  We’re able to offer you excellent pricing as well, as most of these wines are either national wine-searcher lows or very close—and no one else has the sort of sourcing we do.

We’ve got a table of all the wines below, but you can also view a full list in our webstore, if you’d like. Feel free to call in your order or shop online and happy hunting!

Keller: Beyond the GG’s

Keller is one of those wineries we can’t get enough of—the wines are fantastic and they don’t stick around very long once (if) they hit the shelves.  The recently arrived wines include the best-in-class-value Von der Fels, a (very) dry wine made exclusively from Grand Cru vineyards.  This edition is sourced mostly from Kirschspiel and displays true GG character at a much, much lower pricing.  If you’re looking for a ~$40 dry Riesling to age for a decade that’s going to over-deliver when you open it up, this year’s Von der Fels is a great candidate.  Likewise, the RR bottling is from a volcanic section of the great Kirschspiel vineyard.  Where the GG bottling pulls from limestone heavy soils which give it elegance, the RR (often done in a feinherb style) has a bit more power and texture.

Don’t miss the two unique sweeter wines from Keller—an Auslese and a BA made from the Rieslaner grape.  This is a grape that always seems to excel in sweeter idioms and Klaus-Peter has made masterpieces.  Take note, though, as with most Keller wines, quantities are limited.

In Stock Now:

Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel RR Riesling, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 special

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Weingut Keller ‘Von der Fels Riesling’ Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 von der Fels Riesling Trocken is magnificent this year and is probably the very finest bargain in the universe of dry Rieslings in all of Germany in this vintage! The wine offers up a beautifully pure and vibrant bouquet of pink grapefruit, tart orange, chalky minerality, dried flowers, citrus peel, a dollop of wild yeasts and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, precise and impressive tensile for the vintage, with a great core, superb elegance and focus, outstanding backend mineral drive and a very long, very pure and complex finish. Great juice. 2023-2060+.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
A staff pick that shows lots of class for the $$.
Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
John Gilman 91 points
“The 2018 Grüner Silvaner Trocken from Weingut Keller had been bottled only two weeks before my visit, but was showing beautifully. This is 11.5 percent octane this year and offers up a lovely and quite serious nose of tart orange, grapefruit, chalky minerality and a lovely, smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and beautifully balanced, with bright acids and lovely length and grip. Germany’s most popular wine to pair with white asparagus is outstanding this year and a great bargain! 2019-2040.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Weingut Keller Limestone Kabinett Riesling, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 Limestone Riesling Kabinett was produced from selected parcels in the Kirchspiel and Abtserde vineyards this year. The wine is just beautiful, delivering a marvelous bouquet of tangerine, pink grapefruit, chalky minerality, citrus zest, apple blossoms and an esthery topnote of bee pollen. On the palate the wine is pure, delicate and medium-full, with lovely filigree and grip, great focus and balance, electric acids and a very, very long, complex and dancing finish. A glorious Kabinett! 2023-2060.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
John Gilman 91 points
“The Limestone Riesling QbA this year is essentially the same wine as the Riesling Trocken bottling, except this cuvée has one full gram higher acidity and finished its fermentation at twenty-one grams of sugar. The wine is superb, offering up a complex bouquet of pink grapefruit, passion fruit, pulverized limestone, apple blossoms and a delicate topnote of wild yeasts. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish, complex and beautifully balanced, with a lovely core of fruit, fine focus and grip and lovely bounce on the long, succulent and flat out delicious finish. Just a lovely wine. 2020-2045.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
John Gilman 91 points
“I cannot recall ever having a better, basic Riesling Trocken from Klaus-Peter, and I am sure the ramping up of the average age of vines for each bottling is the reason for this! The bouquet is flat out stunning, soaring from the glass in a complex blend of pink grapefruit, blood orange, chalky soil tones, wild yeasts, dried flowers and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and again, really deep at the core, with great acidity and grip, superb focus and a very long, very classy and beautifully complex finish. This is not all that far off the quality level of the GGs fifteen years ago! It is a stunning value. 2019-2050.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Weingut Keller Rieslaner Auslese, Rheinhessen 2018 375ML ($59.95) $39 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Weingut Keller Monsheimer Silberberg Rieslaner Beerenauslese Goldkapsel 2018 375ML ($319.95) $249 special
The Best Vin Santo

Vin Santo is one of Tuscany’s most prized wines and no producer does a better job than Avignonesi.  Based out of the town of Montepulciano, the estate is one of the best farmers of grapes in the region, producing some stunning reds—but their highest priced and most prized wines are sweet.  The traditional Vin Santo is made from grapes air dried on mats in careful conditions before fermentation.  After long aging in barely-temperature-controlled conditions (which gives the wines a nutty, savory edge), these wines are released to the world, ready for drinking now or sometime over the next fifty+ years.  Avignonesi is widely considered to be the top producer of Vin Santo and every time we get to taste these wines, we know we’re drinking something truly magical.

We just picked up some of the exceedingly rare Occhio di Pernice bottling, made from Sangiovese (rather than white grapes) in both half bottles and the “sample size” 100ml bottles the estate produces.  Plus, we added some 100ml bottles of the flagship Vin Santo—so sampling these wines is easier than ever.

In Stock Now:

Only one half-bottle available
Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2000 375ML ($299.95) $249 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points
“This wine is a celebrity in the world of Italian fine wine. The 2000 Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice is a wine with no rivals in its native country or abroad. It opens to exaggerated thickness and extraction that is the result of an excruciating oxidative process that starts with air-dried fruit and ends with many years of aging in small oak barrel. It opens to a dark brown appearance with glimmering highlights of gold, copper and amber. The bouquet is intensity sweet and savory at the same time and the wine embodies both aromatic extremes with a profound sense of confidence and determination. Next to the aromas of candied fruit, brown sugar and almond paste are exciting tones of pencil shaving, tobacco, roasted chestnut and leather. The wine’s density and richness is off the scales.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Caramel, licorice, orange peel and roasted walnut aromas give way to burnt molasses, smoke and mineral flavors in this thick, mouthcoating dessert wine. Stays balanced and long, with a fresh, light-footed finish. Drink now through 2035. 130 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Only six 100ml bottles available
Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 1999 100ML ($119.95) $89 special
**100ml bottle**
Wine Spectator 98 points “Compelling and complete, this leads off with an aroma of mint, featuring flavors of treacle, toffee, graham cracker and brown butter. Thick and mouthcoating, with a pleasant cloying sensation on the finish. A unique dessert wine. Drink now through 2025. 10 cases imported.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Only two half-bottles available
Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2000 375ML ($249.95) $179 special
Wine Advocate 97 points
“When it comes to Vin Santo, nobody beats Avignonesi. The 2000 Vin Santo di Montepulciano is a wine of unlimited pleasure, decadence and opulence. This syrupy dessert wine pours into the glass in slow motion. It shows a level of richness and thickness that puts it closer to molasses or melted brown sugar in terms of consistency. The color is a deep shade of amber brown. The bouquet offers exciting tones of honey, candied fruit and marrons glacé. You also get knock out tones of Teriyaki sauce, white truffle and Indian spice that bring the wine’s inherent complexity into the stratosphere. The mouthfeel is rich, tangy and crisp. This is a work of vinous beauty.”

This is the only listing in the USA today for the half-bottle!
Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2001 375ML ($219.95) $189 special
Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2001 100ML ($89.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano (375 milliliters) is a divine and superbly delicious sweet blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Grechetto. The results are super concentrated and simmered down to a virtual reduction sauce of deliciousness. There are so many aromas to name, but some of the most evident highlights include candied orange peel, almond marzipan, caramel, toasted coffee bean, vanilla stick, mocha, dark honey and fragrant yellow rose. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and deeply layered. I’m suggesting a slightly shorter drinking window here compared to the Occhio di Pernice. But, the truth is: I have no idea. I’m pretty sure these wines will outlive anyone of legal drinking age.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $229

Monuments in the Making

Jaboulet’s 2016’s

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”


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