Midweek VinopolPick 10-22-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Boisset’s Top Rank, Top Value Burgundy

First Offer: Highlights of Bedrock’s Fall Release

New 2016 Burgundy Reviews from Neal Martin at Vinous

Two Iconic California Cabernets

Grapelive Love for Two Excellent Crozes-Hermitages

Staff Pick: Our Best-Selling Rose is Fizzy & Absurdly Delicious

Two Top Nikolaihof Bottlings, Arriving Tomorrow

Trending Offer: Profound, Classical Brunello

A Giant of the Rhone


Boisset’s Top Rank, Top Value Burgundy

The best values in Burgundy might be coming out of the venerable negociant Jean-Claude Boisset, now helmed by Jean-Charles Boisset and winemaker Grégory Patriat.  Patriat, who did not go to school for enology (and instead worked for a number of venerable producers, including Leroy), crafts wines with much less intervention than many other negociants and the results are stunning.  Tasting these blind, you’d think they were

These are wines that are at the very top tier of Burgundy and are at prices that are nearly unheard of for wines in this quality.  The village wines drink like premier crus, the premier crus like grand crus and the grand cru wines like some of the top in each vineyard.  These are flamboyant, intensely perfumed Burgundies, with richness and mouthfeel to complement them.  We’ve got a small parcel arriving early this summer and if you want a chance to drink these, from the heralded 2016 vintage, now’s your (best) chance.

Arriving Tomorrow:

Jean-Claude Boisset Les Vignes Franches Blanc, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95-95 points
“In the south of the large Beaune commune, and harvested at extremely low yields (12hl/ha). The nose has crushed stones and a grapefruit edge with attractive white peaches and pears. The palate has mouthwatering acidity and a broader texture. A focused, long palate that holds pithy punctuation to the finish. Complex in every way. Drink from 2020.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Les Greves, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95-96 points
“Deep and dark with delicate spices. This is a beast of a wine, but in the best sense of that word. Enormous power and great tannic density. Already really well-integrated. A breathtaking finish which makes you think this must be a Grand Cru. Better from 2020 and decades of aging potential.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Les Charmes, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($179.95) $138 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95-96 points
“There’s an attractive perfumed nose with plenty of violets, red cherries and blueberries, leading to a helix-like palate (50% whole clusters). Extremely attractive depth and balance here. The tannins are nicely tamed. Shows terrific freshness and energy, as well as plenty of dark-cherry flavors. A tangy, plum-stone finish. Try from 2022.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 94-95 points
“Very fragrant but very youthful. This is super-concentrated for a village wine. The fine tannins and fresh acidity give this wine a diamond-bright finish, which goes on and on. Better from 2020. Has enormous aging potential.”

Jean-Claude Boisset Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($269.95) $219 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97-98 points
“A very impressive wine that delivers a wealth of rich red cherries and dark cherries, as well as plums, violets and earthy nuances. A very smooth and plush palate that has an incredibly pure, supple and focused array of vibrant cherry falvors, all encased in fine, long tannins. An elegant, seamless and stylish Burgundy. Drink from 2021.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Nuits-Saint-Georges, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 94 points
“A charming and delicious Nuits St. Georges with depth and very elegant tannins for this appellation. A very fresh finish, which will make you want to drink this right now. But this has a lot of aging potential. Drink or hold.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Pommard, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 94 points
“A blend of two climats (Brescul and La Combotte). This draws on two very different parts of the appellation. A very upbeat style with ripe, red cherries and berries, as well as chocolate and light spices. The palate is very refined. Shows very long and detailed flavors of cherry compote. A long, succulent finish. Superb freshness and dense, fine tannins. Try from 2021”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

First Offer:

Highlights of Bedrock’s Fall Release

Although Morgan Twain-Peterson was born into the wine industry (his father Joel Peterson founded Ravenswood) he comes by his passion and vision are very much his own.  He’s blazing his own, very opinionated and talented trail, focusing on the preservation of California’s heritage vineyards and the (usually Zinfandel dominant) wines that come out of them.

The focus of Bedrock is their collection of extremely old vines and unique sites. Morgan repeats again and again that wines are made in the vineyard—and he’s got a remarkable collection of them. They feature gnarled old dinosaurs poking their heads up through cracked and ancient soil: varietals like Carignane, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Alicante Bouschet, Valdigué, Peloursin, and Serene, all planted with hefty chunks of Zinfandel. Everything from each site is co-fermented to give Bedrock their signature wines.

These vines, in Twain-Peterson’s view, represent so much more than California’s history. They represent a wine that is uniquely Californian, a style not to be found or replicated anywhere else in the world. This is could well be California’s future. These wines aren’t shy, but the surprising little aromatics and spice notes are delicate and only get better with time. They’ve got the fruit and depth that you would expect from California, but they’re tight, structured and will reward patience.  The new releases arrive in early November and are tightly allocated.

Arriving ETA November 8th:

Bedrock Wine Co. ‘The Bedrock Heritage’, Sonoma Valley 2017 750ML ($59.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“The O.G. of Bedrock Wine Co.!  These vines turned 131 years in 2018 and decided it would be a great year to turn out a relatively small crop of delicious and dense fruit. As always, the wine, though based around Zinfandel, is a field-blend of the 27 varieties found in the old vines at my family’s site in the heart of Sonoma Valley, including about 20% Carignan and 5% Mataro.  Like the other Sonoma Valley “Grand Cru” sites, this will definitely reward time in the decanter or a few years on its side to start showing all of its secrets.  The most consistently decorated of our wines (the 2016 was the Spectator #10 wine of the year and the 2017 just got another 95), the 2018 should be another classic.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County 2018 750ML ($41.95) $34.90 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“2018 was our second vintage with full control of farming at our nearly 130-year-old estate site (still gives me chills to say that), and we enjoyed a mild and even vintage leading to a relatively late harvest at this amazing Delta site. This is a classic Evangelho, showing the bright and composed fruit we expect along with the savory bite inflected by the Mataro and Carignan, and one that should provide plenty of pleasure throughout the years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bedrock Old Hill Ranch Heritage Red, Sonoma Valley 2018 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Winery Note
“Yikes, I cannot believe we are actually releasing this wine!  Few vineyards are so closely associated with my childhood as Old Hill Ranch—I remember picking blackberries while my father sampled the vineyard in the 80s.  I remember hanging around in the cellar, hearing the reverence with which my dad talked about this place and its 1880s-planted vines.  What is amazing is that under the careful oversight of our friend Will Bucklin, the vineyard has only gotten healthier as it has aged.  The vineyard lies just .85 miles north of the ancient vines at Bedrock Vineyard, planted on soils derived from the next alluvial fan north.  Though the soils are a similar iron-tinged red, there is less cobble at Old Hill.  Here, over 30 different varieties are field-blended, though Old Hill is unique in that the second most planted grape here is Grenache—a variety of which we have two vines at Bedrock and none at Pagani or Monte Rosso.  In addition, there is small cabal of extremely rare Savoie varieties—Mollard, Etraire de la Dui and Persan—along with a spotted grape that has no matching genetic fingerprint. What surprises me most about the 2018 though is that over all of the power lies an alluring murmur of ethereal violet and pepper-tinged perfume—something that I would associate more with the Alps than a vineyard planted in the heart of Sonoma Valley.  This is one of my favorite wines we have ever made, and thanks to the relatively generous 2018 vintage, there will hopefully be enough to go around. ”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


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New 2016 Burgundy Reviews

From Neal Martin at Vinous

“Generally, the reds live up to their billing. At best, they are highly perfumed with ripe tannins, expressive, vivacious, harmonious and surprisingly approachable. They come with a sense of triumph over adversity. Despite everything that malicious Mother Nature threw at the vineyards, at their peak the finished wines shrug off the stürm und drang that surrounded their birth and are occasionally breathtaking in bottle. While they do not possess the structure of 2005 or 2010, at times they remind me of a more opulent take on the underrated 2014s. ” – Neal Martin, Vinous

In Stock Now:

Only three bottles and one magnum available.
Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($699.95) $599 special
Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 1.5L ($1499.95) $1199 special
Neal Martin – Vinous 96 points
“The 2016 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru has scintillating, ebullient red berry fruit on the nose that just explodes from the glass. This wants to make an impression – and it does with heavenly crushed violet scents billowing with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with vibrant red fruit, superb mineralité, so much tension and intensity with a finish that lingers for over 45 seconds. This Clos de la Roche is clearly going to be one of the finest wines of the vintage. Tasted at the Domaine.”

Only two bottles available
Domaine Hubert Lignier Morey-Saint-Denis Trilogie, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Neal Martin – Vinous 90 points
“The 2016 Morey-Saint-Denis “Trilogie” has a refined bouquet that gains intensity with aeration: raspberry and crushed strawberry, rose petal and light orange blossom aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, gentle grip, and quite saline in the mouth. A firm, slightly austere, tobacco-tinged finish just needs a two or three years to soften. Tasted at the Domaine.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Only two bottles available
Domaine Fourrier Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($999.95) $599 special
Neal Martin- Vinous 94 points
“The 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Saint-Jacques 1er Cru has a lucious slightly exotic nose that sports a metallic reduction. One hopes that it will dissipate with time. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red fruit, cranberry and red plum, touches of orange rind and marmalade developing towards the finish that is one of the spiciest among the five Clos Saint-Jacques this year. It just seems to take its foot off the accelerator pedal in the glass. Tasted blind at the 2016 Burgfest tasting.”

Only five bottles available
Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special
Neal Martin – Vinous 91 points
“The 2016 Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru has quite a lot of oak on the nose, although it seems in sync with the redcurrant and cranberry fruit underneath. It is fragrant and become increasingly floral with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with plenty of red fruit and impressive mineralité. This is one of the most terroir-driven Cortons of the vintage, presumably its limestone soils are expressed on the finish. Promising. Tasted blind at the 2016 Burgfest tasting.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Only six bottles and two magnums available
Domaine de Montille Les Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special
Domaine de Montille Les Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($399.95) $349 special
Neal Martin – Vinous 91+ points
“The 2016 Pommard Les Rugiens-Bas 1er Cru shows a little reduction on the nose, although it blows away to reveal attractive tobacco and smoke infused red fruit, more earthy in style compared to its peers. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent red berry fruit, and grippy tannins. The creamy texture on the finish just feels a bit otiose. Hopefully it will gain more elegance with continued bottled age. Gutsy. Tasted blind at the 2016 Burgfest tasting.”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Only four bottles available
Domaine Henri Gouges Les Pruliers, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Neal Martin-Vinous 92 points
“The 2016 Nuits Saint-Georges Les Pruliers 1er Cru is showing a lot of reduction on the nose, but that clears away nicely to reveal copious black cherries, boysenberry and crushed violet aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent tannins, fine grip and delivering a solid mass of red fruit on the slightly confit finish. There is plenty of substance in situ, but it needs to counterbalance that with finesse and terroir expression. Give it 4-6 years in bottle to tame the brutish side. Tasted blind at the 2016 Burgfest tasting.”

Arriving ETA October:

Domaine Henri Gouges Clos des Porrets Monopole, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin – Vinous 92 points
“The 2016 Nuits Saint-Georges Clos des Porrets St-Georges 1er Cru has an open and expressive bouquet with raspberry coulis, wild strawberry, orange pith and light rose petal aromas. I would just like a little more cohesion. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and well-judged acidity, slightly confit in style with suggestions of brown sugar sweetening the finish. But harmonious and quite persistent, this is a promising Nuits Saint-Georges. Tasted blind at the 2016 Burgfest tasting.”



Two Iconic California Cabernets

The wines of Mayacamas and Mount Eden are both legendary within the context and history of California and both produce Cabernet which ages gracefully for a long, long time.  They both still make wines in the style that made them famous—a rarity in an age when even “classic” producers produce riper and riper bottlings every year.  Whether from the mountain terroirs of Mt. Veeder or the (mountain) terroirs of the Santa Cruz Mountains (near Ridge’s Monte Bello estate), you’re getting a singular vision of California with quality to spare.

Arriving November 8th:

Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder 2015 750ML ($137.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“Another stellar wine from Mayacamas, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon continues to be quite reticent, which is probably a very good thing for its long-term prospects. Even so, the 2015 is dense, powerful and super-concentrated, with a level of finesse in its tannins that separates it from so many wines in this challenging vintage. Time in the glass brings out graphite, menthol, licorice, sage and spice notes that add a sense of gravitas. I would prefer to cellar the 2015 for at least a few years to allow some of the baby fat to melt away. I expect the 2015 will always remain an exotic, full-throttle wine relative to the norm here. I can’t wait to see how it ages.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Youthfully compact, with tightly wound black currant, bitter plum and dark blueberry notes, this needs time to meld with the charcoal, bay leaf and tar streaks, but the mouthwatering cut on the finish suggests that won’t be a problem. Offers a long echo of juniper at the end. Best from 2023 through 2040. 2,250 cases made. — JM”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains 2015 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Decanter 95 points
“The rocky minerality of the region shows from first sniff through to the lengthy finish. The earthiness is beautifully offset by fleshy red and black fruit, with spice-infused cherry, bittersweet chocolate, espresso and vanilla notes. For all its youthful intensity, the palate is remarkably fresh and bright.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Grapelive Loves Two Excellent Crozes-Hermitages

In Stock Now:

Chateau de Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 special
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2017 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Grapelive 93 points
“The beautiful and sultry 2017 Crozes from Louis Barruol at Chateau de Saint Cosme is highly entertaining, complex and remarkably easy to quaff even now in its infancy with classic terroir influences and warmly ripe dark fruits, making for a seductive 100% Serine heirloom clone Syrah. Barruol, famous for his estate Gigondas southern Rhone wines, loves his northern Rhone negotiant bottlings, especially his Crozes-Hermitage notes that Syrah at Crozes-Hermitage shows (us) what the balance of a Syrah can and should be, suffused with freshness and pretty peony aromas, and a salty palate that gives depth, but unfurls with no heaviness. I wholeheartedly agree and this vintage has it all and more showing layers of pepper laced blackberry, blueberry, black currants and damson plum fruits along with crushed violets, graphite, loamy earth and black licorice to start with a nice burst of acidity, satiny tannin, a touch of cedar and sweet smoke, all with a vinous textured elegance. Saint Cosme really allows the place and vintage to speak in its most true and best voice in its wines, and this Crozes especially proves this point and is an example of authentic and classic varietal purity… making for outrageous value for the money. For the 2017 version, Barruol and team did 100% de-stemming and fermented in vats before aging the Crozes in 20% new oak casks, with the remaining wine in once and twice used barrels for 12 months. Saint Cosme sourced this wine from extraordinary hillside vines set in granite soils around the villages of Crozes, Larnage, Gervans and Erôme where Barruol has contracts with old vine parcels… This is irresistible stuff showing gorgeous detail and is fabulous with an array of cuisines from Korean BBQ to Zuni Chicken, in particular it is joyous with lamb kabob and or wild mushroom dishes, drink now or hold for 3 to 5 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Vincent Paris Crozes-Hermitage Selection, Rhone 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Grapelive 92 points
“Vincent Paris, whose first vintage was 1997, is a native of Cornas and one of the Northern Rhone’s brightest young stars. [He has] an amazing set of Syrah wines. In particular look for his Granit 30 and Granit 60 bottlings, though his other village wines are killer too including some regional offerings that are spectacular values, like this brilliant dark purple 2017 vintage Crozes-Hermitage Rouge and his Saint-Joseph. Paris inherited most of his vines (some of which are 100 years old) from his grandfather, [and] he also rents vines from his uncle, the legendary Cornas vigneron Robert Michel, who’s influence and mentoring is evident in Vicent’s lovely wines. The Domaine wines are all biodynamically farmed vines, which are located in various parcels along the southeast facing Cornas slope. The Vincent Paris Selection bottlings, like this one, come from various leased plots within quality terroirs, with this Crozes coming a long-time organic grower in Crozes with Syrah vines that average 30 years of age set on mostly alluvial soils and with “galet roulets” (large heat storing rocks) with a thin top soil. This 2017 Crozes-Hermitage shows the vintage’s strength within the Northern Rhone with wonderful depth and ripe classic flavors and spicy detail. It was 100% de-stemmed and fermented without any oak at all, with it getting 9 months in tank only for absolute terroir and varietal purity. The bouquet is seductive with crushed violets, red and black fruits, graphite and a meaty element that is truly typical of the region along with a smooth tannin medium bodied palate that delivers boysenberry, damson plum, blueberry and kirsch fruits as well as peppercorns, minty herb, camphor, earth, bitter coco, creme de cassis and black licorice accents. This wine has been on a run of great vintages with 2015, 2016 and this 2017 all being fantastic, each having subtle differing nuances, but overall similarly easy to love with exceptional quality, though I must say right away this one seems a touch more expressive and it really opens up quickly. This is a good year to stock up on, especially at this price it is hard to beat! Nice stuff to just quaff without any guilt and super with food, drink this pretty little thing over the next 3 to 5 years. Vincent Paris should without question, should be on your list of vignerons to follow, especially for the savvy/bargain buyer(s) and Syrah lovers, which I consider myself a full member of both.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Staff Pick:

Our Best-Selling Rose is

Fizzy & Absurdly Delicious

The 2018 has all you want from the wine. It’s salty, fizzy, and refreshing with a hint of red berries. It’s like drinking sparkling mineral water with a lemon twist and raspberry garnish.

Now, I’m supposed to tell you that rosé has no season, but this one does: we get far too few cases a year. We talked the distributor into an increased allocation six times (there may have been some incredulous laughter involved) but it’s still going way too fast.

Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points
“Shimmering orange-pink. High-pitched red currant, strawberry, orange zest and a bright mineral element on the incisive nose. Lithe and penetrating on the palate, offering intense red berry and citrus fruit flavors that pick up a sexy floral quality as the wine stretches out. Delivers a solid punch of flavor but comes off lithe, betraying no excess fat and finishing very long and precise, with a lingering suggestion of bitter citrus pith.”
VinopolNote: The much-loved and lightly fizzy pink from the Basque region in Spain! A staff favorite. Always light, bright, fresh, salty and fun. The perfect aperitif wine for the summer.

Two Top Nikolaihof Bottlings

Nikolaihof is a giant of Austrian wine—a producer whose history and quality are unrivaled even in a country full of great producers.  The estate dates back to Roman times and the Saahs family has run the property for over a century and a quarter. They produce wines of deep resonant flavors, that have fresh brightness but standout for an undercurrent of vinousity.

They’re bright, precise and mineral-drenched with the power and density of the Wachau, their nook on the Danube.  More importantly, though, the estate maintains a sense of restlessness and invention about them—which is remarkable given how old the winery is.  Whether that’s using a centuries old wooden press or reimagining what wine from the Wachau can be through extended cask aging, they take very traditional techniques to occasionally give us a beautifully refracted image of Austrian wine.

We have the new vintage of two of their top bottlings arriving tomorrow, along with a number of their fantastic wines in stock now.  It’s a good time to stock up.

Arriving Tomorrow:

Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling, Wachau 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Riesling, Wachau 2014 750ML ($479.95) $319 pre-arrival special (that’s only $53.17/bottle!)
James Suckling 98 points
“A huge dried apricot nose. In spite of the power this is super-elegant with a very long, radically mineral character that makes the wine swell in your mouth at the amazing finish. It may be too dry for some, but I find this spectacular. Drink or hold as long as you dare!”
David Schildknecht 96 points “Like its remarkable Vom Stein counterpart, I tasted this wine after it had been racked to tank, a few months before its December 2017 bottling, then again from bottle in the course of 2018. The penetrating nose is dominated by white peach, white currant and lime, anticipating the brightly juicy palate impression. But suggestions of crushed stone, bittersweet iris, clam stock, radish, kelp and smoky black tea add increasing intrigue as the wine opens to the air and is worked over in the mouth. There is underlying firmness but also a suggestion of silkiness born of lengthy lees exposure in cask, and the sense of levity, remarkably, is that of a typical Nikolaihof Federspiel more than of a Smaragd. The vibrant finishing influx of alkali, crushed stone, iodine, mineral salts, mustard seed and white pepper is almost savagely intense, practically stinging – taking matters in an at once mouthwatering and invigorating but also slightly austere direction. Here’s further proof for any who remain skeptics that the 2014 vintage – its challenges and vicissitudes notwithstanding – has at its very best delivered some of the Wachau’s and neighboring Lower Austria’s most exciting and potentially ageworthy wines of the past two decades. Tasting the outstanding 2013 alongside, this 2014 came nipping right at its heels: attention au chien!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection. The beeswax, wet stone, hayflower and dried lemon notes on the nose of this wine suggest development. Its dry, slender yet concentrated palate has a weightless fluidity that echoes with eloquent beeswax and citrus oil flavors. The combination of lightness and beautiful depth make it so intriguing and moreish. Subtle, lovely, taut and fresh, it’s nowhere near its peak. The finish reveals a brilliant dash of mandarin. Drink 2028–2040.”

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Riesling vom Stein Smaragd, Wachau 2014 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
David Schildknecht 97 points
“In a departure from usual Nikolaihof practice – given that it had by then been filtered and assembled into tank – I was offered my first taste of this wine shortly before the initial, December 2017 bottling. The wine was exciting then, and when re-tasted repeatedly in the course of 2018 had only gained in stature. Moss, lemon zest, peach kernel and toasted grain on the nose put me in mind of a relatively austere white Burgundy. But that sense of kinship dims with the emergence of high-toned hints of lavender and mint, mouthwatering ocean breeze and a sappy, juicy abundance of fresh lime and white peach juiciness on the silken palate. There are also faint hints of kirsch and mothball such as one can encounter from time to time at this address and to whose volatility some tasters might object. The finish is transparent to a veritable carpet of mineral matter – albeit a levitating, vibrantly undulating one! Crushed stone, alkali, mineral salts and iodine combine with herbal and protein-rich flavors for something approximating a blend of oyster liquor and clam stock that set my salivary glands to palpitating. And now for the astonishing kicker: This remarkable stuff filled the largest cask in the Nikolaihof cellar, with a capacity of 12,000 liters! Half was bottled in 2017 and 2018; the rest will be held back – let’s hope eventually to inform a Vinothek offering. “The only sense in which this wine needed to be bottled,” noted Saahs, “was in order to avoid Vom Stein Smaragd temporarily dropping from our price list and to make room in the cellar. It wasn’t the phases of the moon calling the shots,” he added with a sly grin. (Re-tasted alongside, the corresponding 2013 showed at the upper end of my earlier projection. But despite issuing from one of the two finest Wachau vintages that it has been my privilege to taste as young wines, that 2013 doesn’t quite reach the complexity nor exhibit the clarity and energy of this 2014 – not for now, at least.)”
James Suckling 95 points “An intensely minerally riesling that combines considerable power with a slim silhouette. Finely etched dried-pear and candied-lemon flavors echo through the long, subtle finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Demeter certified. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Also Available, In Stock Now;

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Vinothek Riesling, Wachau 2002 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 96 points
“From the Im Weingebirge single vineyard, the 2002 Riesling Vinothek has been aged… for 16 years in a 6,000-liter oak cask. Bottled in July 2018, the brilliantly white-golden colored wine is fascinatingly clear and bright on the elegant and aromatic nose. Highly elegant and beautifully balanced on the palate, with some bitterness in the finish, this is a concentrated Riesling whose fine acidity is completely integrated. The finish is tight, intense, very complex and terribly long. The acidity is completely interwoven with the stony character, which gives the 2002 great elegance and finesse. Tasted at the Nikolaihof in Mautern/Wachau, September 2018.”
Terry Theise “[++]This as you know is a concept whereby a Smaragd wine is left in (large) cask for fifteen years or longer, without sulfur. (There’s a parallel program called “Steinriesler” made from lighter material, but I wasn’t persuaded by the current vintage.) This is the best since the ’95; solid, powerful, smoky; strong but not heavy, an old iron stove of Riesling. The roast is reposing fragrantly, and the stove still smolders….”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Vinothek Riesling, Wachau 1997 750ML ($219.95) $149 special
Wine Advocate 97 points
“Aged for 17 years in a domestic 3,500-liter cask before it was bottled in August 2014, the 1997 Riesling Vinothek is the best part of the regular 1997 Riesling Smaragd Im Weingebirge, which was bottled and marketed in late 1998. The aged Vinothek version offers a fascinatingly clear, bright, deep and multi-layered nose with iodine and ripe as well as intense white-fleshed fruit aromas. Full-bodied, full of finesse and elegant, this dry, transparent and mineral Riesling develops a great intensity, complexity and power on the palate, but never leaves its silky road of purity, finesse and transparency. There is a lot of Spiel and tension here, but the most exciting characteristic trait is the intense and very mineral, almost endless finish. How youthful this wine is! And its further aging potential is still terrific. The wine reminds me of certain sherries, white Riojas and Jura wines, although it is not less oxidative. But it spent a long time in cask and has the freshness, complexity and thrilling taste of those. It’s a great, unique and stimulating wine that was bottled with 12.8% of alcohol, 6 grams of residual sugar and 6.5 grams of acidity.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 97 points “This successor to the almost supernaturally ethereal and haunting 1995 also has to live up to the reputation of a vintage-of-the-half-century. It manages, though! The bouquet is unearthly in its complex amalgam of bittersweetly floral (iris, gentian, buddleia), pungently nutty, subtly smoky (black tea) and elusively mineral (sea breeze, wet stone, faint fusel oil) components. Considering the secondary development signaled on the nose, a surprising intensity of pure white peach, apple and grapefruit emerges sumptuously on the silky palate. The buoyant finish, more tightly clinging and less ethereal than that of the 1995, represents a long, harmoniously undulating interaction of liquid floral perfume, diverse minerality and succulent fresh fruits. I tasted this shortly before its mid-2014 bottling (a rare exception to the Nikolaihof rule against unveiling wines from cask) and did not review that note before tasting seven months later. My first spontaneous word each time was “unearthly.” And happily, my impressions that followed demonstrated that this wine’s amazing personality, including its aromas and textural allure, had made it to bottle scarcely altered. The source vineyard here, incidentally, is the Im Weingebirge whereas the 1995 was from Vom Stein.”

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Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Vom Stein Jungfernlese Riesling, Wachau 2006 750ML ($59.95) $39 special
Terry Theise notes
: “It means the virgin-vintage, the first crop from young vines. And it’s what the Germans would call Feinherb, and it’s what any sane person would call irresistible! A potion of iris and lavender, spicy and penetrating; very long, seductively earthy, like a really profound Nahe Spätlese, almost the 5-spice and wildflower of Dönnhoff’s Felsenberg.”

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Familie Saahs Nikolaihof im Weingebirge Smaragd Gruner Veltliner, Wachau 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points
“An intriguing, ethereal nose suggests iris, ginseng, moss, beet root and a hint of blond tobacco. Beet, turnip and kohlrabi inform a plushly textured, expansive yet for Smaragd amazingly buoyant palate. Alkalinity, stoniness and tincture of iodine lend cut and a certain austerity to a finish that flashes back to the complexity of the wine’s bouquet. Those with a predilection for Nikolaihof wines (such as I) are going to appreciate this bottling more than my score might suggest.”

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Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Neuburger, Wachau 2011 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 89 points
“This soft and (at only 12.5% alcohol) full-feeling rendition of Neuburger emphasizes that grape’s inherent nuttiness, though the usual resemblance to white asparagus still applies. A faintly smoky piquancy adds an intriguing counterpoint to an otherwise soothing finish.”

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Looking for more Nikolaihof? Head to our webstore to see all of the Nikolaihof wines (including a number of rare magnums) in stock now!
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Profound, Classical Brunello

Livio Sassetti is one of the founding fathers of Brunello and the wines coming off of his “Pertimali” estate define the genre.  This is a Grand Cru site in Montalcino and the wines are thrilling whenever you get a chance to taste them. We’ve worked hard to acquire some of both the ’14 and ’15 Brunello and finally get to offer them to you today.

These are wines that define what “traditional” means within the context of Brunello—robust personalities with delicate aromatics, long aging in botti and the capacity to age for a long time in a cool cellar.  The 2014 is the vintage to drink early—the year yielded wines that have a bit less power but an approachable personality.  The 2015, on the other hand, is a wine that’s surprisingly soft for how much depth there is, but is really something to hang onto for a while.  We’d stock up on both.

Arriving ETA March:

Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special 
Case-6 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($549.95) $399 pre-arrival special (that’s only $66.50/bottle!)
Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2015 MAG 750ML ($189.95) $159 pre-arrival special
Case-3 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($599.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $149.67/magnum!)
James Suckling 98 points
“There’s something ethereal in the nose with flowers, cherries, strawberries and shitake mushrooms. Full body. This grows on the palate with super tannin and fruit structure. So much berry flavor and round, caressing tannins that fill your mouth. Tight at the end. This needs four to five years to show its true greatness. Try after 2023.”

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Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Livio Sassetti Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($419.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“Some earthy and savory aromas dominate the dried red cherries initially, then dried wild herbs and quite intense notes of spicy dried red cherries emerge. The palate has a very taut, structured feel with handsomely proportioned tannins carrying gently leathery dried red cherries. Long finish. Drink or hold.”

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A Giant of the Rhone

Delas is one of the most notable landholders in the Northern Rhone, with holdings in some of the best vineyards in every major AOC, yet they still manage to be overlooked when people put together collections of wine from the region.  We’d like to remedy that, so permit us a few seconds to sing their praises.

Delas makes some of the most powerful, intense wines in the Northern Rhone at prices that make them one of the superior values in the region. Density and richness are a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup.  We turn to them for big, bold wines that often show very well young—a remarkable trait in their part of France.

For whatever reason, the market has yet to catch up to the quality coming out of Delas’ cellar.  The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest markets in the wine world, with many wineries getting expensive overnight.  That hasn’t happened to Delas—yet.  With the quality of recent vintages and the scores involved, we definitely see it happening soon, though, so if you love these wines now is the time to back up the truck.

In Stock Now:

Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points
“Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”

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Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2004 750ML ($199.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points
“Ruby-red. Very pungent, deep aromas of tobacco- and underbrush-laced red and blackcurrant. Powerful and rich, showing impressive sweetness to its potent cassis and blackberry flavors. Really stains the palate, finishing with exceptional purity and mineral tones. Whatever tannins are here (and you know there are plenty) are completely absorbed by the sheer fruit mass.”

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Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points
“The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection! There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2013 750ML ($119.95) $59 special
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points
“Very dark purple indeed. Altogether broader and less focused than the Côte Rôties on the nose. Peppery and subtle. Very glossy, layered, complex and magnificent. I would reproach this only very slightly on the finish but it’s a pretty magnificent wine.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of the gems in the vintage is the 2013 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, which comes from both the Bessards and Grandes Vignes lieux-dits on Hermitage Hill. Completely destemmed, then vinified in stainless steel and concrete tanks, the wine is aged 18 months in 30% new French oak; it offers terrific notes of dark fruits, graphite and ample minerality in a full-bodied, layered, ripe profile. It’s more approachable than the Les Bessards, yet will still have three decades of longevity.”

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