Midweek VinopolPick 10-29-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

An Assortment of Classic California Bottles

Staff Pick: Not Champagne, But Not Far Off

K Vintners – In Stock Now

Screaming Eagle’s “The Flight” – Arriving Next Week

Arriving Friday: St. Damien’s 2017 Gigondas

New Grapelive Review!

Trending Wines

Giacomo Fenocchio’s Traditional Barolos

The Star Burgundy of Clos de la Chapelle

Rose of the Day

The Return of a Vinopolis Classic Chateauneuf


An Assortment of Classic California Bottles

Great names in California have earned their status for a reason—years, often decades, of producing excellent wine result in well-earned reputations.  Case in point? The four wines we’re offering today (two Cabernets from Snowden plus two Chardonnays) all deliver in that classic California style.

Snowden is one of the great names in Napa Cabernet, making wines that combine classical power with freshness and intricate fruit.  Their two Cabs are both excellent and excellent values—it’s rare to find a bottle under $100 that can compete with the “Brothers” bottling and under $50 wines that are close to the Ranch’s quality are nonexistent.

On the Chardonnay front, both Varner and Jordan are names known for producing excellent bottles that show modest oak and that succulent California fruit we’ve come to know and love from the state’s whites.  Both are exceptional value, as well–especially the Varner, which is under $20/btl by the case.

Arriving ETA Mid-November:

Snowden Vineyards ‘Brothers Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Snowden Vineyards ‘Brothers Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($1049.95) $849 pre-arrival special (that’s only $70.75/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 96+ points
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Brothers is the best wine I have tasted from Diana Snowden-Seysses. Rich, explosive and savory, the 2016 dazzles with intensity in all of its dimensions. Graphite, smoke, savory herbs and spice notes wrap around a core of dark fruit in a vertical, towering Cabernet Sauvignon that captures all the vintage has to offer.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Offers a tasty core of plum and blackberry fruit, backed by lively anise and apple wood notes. Restrained overall, with an alluring freshness and a subtle charcoal hint lingering deftly at the end. Drink now through 2032. 639 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Snowden Vineyards The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Snowden Vineyards The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($719.95) $519 pre-arrival special (that’s only $43.25/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“Snowden’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is gorgeous. Dark, powerful and beautifully structured, the 2016 Ranch is a huge overachiever. In 2016, the Ranch is a wine of real power, gravitas and character. Black cherry, plum, lavender and savory herbs all develop in the glass, but it is the wine’s persistence and overall balance that stands out in this deeply flavorful, classically built Cabernet from Snowden. Best of all, the 2016 is a superb wine for the money.”
James Suckling 92 points “Elderberries, blueberries, blackberries and hints of hazelnuts and walnuts. Medium to full body, focused acidity and a medium-chewy finish. Drink in 2022.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Jordan Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Always made to shine at the table, this crisp refined white is a celebration of lemon zest, green apple and wet stone, integrated in oak and bright acidity. Further flavors of pear and white peach complement the memorable proceedings.”

Varner El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Varner El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County 2016 750ML ($299.95) $249 pre-arrival special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“Bob and Jim Varner’s 2016 Chardonnay is terrific. Orchard fruit, white flowers, mint, tangerine oil and light tropical overtones infuse the 2016 with notable character. Los Alamos Chardonnays tend to be a bit more lifted, but there is plenty of depth here. Most of the wine was aged in large foudre, which further helps in retaining energy.”
Polaner Selections note “The wine was fermented 100% in stainless steel then aged in a combination of new Francois Freres puncheons (26%) for 6 months and the remainder (74%) in stainless steel on the lees with no malolactic fermentation.”

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

Staff Pick

Champagne is easily my favorite region in the world for wine, but it can be an unforgiving lover. To be frank, it’s not where one goes for budget-friendly picks. Sure bets start at around $50 a bottle, and decent vintage Champagnes are usually more. Fortunately, the chalky soil (what helps makes Cote des Blancs Champagnes glorious) is found elsewhere, too. Enter: Chablis and its Kimmeridgian chalk.

A few months ago, we had the privilege of tasting through new releases with Margaux Laroche of Domaine D’Henri. The wines were gorgeous: textural yet elegant in the way that only cool climate Chardonnay manages to pull off. We were so impressed, we committed to a substantial pre-arrival offer from our local importer. Since the wines were due to arrive near the start of the holiday season, we included a sparkling vintage wine we didn’t taste: the 2017 ‘821’ Brut Nature.

When the sparkler arrived, I bought a bottle out of curiosity. It was vibrant and refreshing, yes, but had what I was hoping to find underneath the orchard and citrus fruit notes: a serious minerality without screeching acidity. Somehow, although made as a Brut Nature, it is balanced and not austere. It’s medium bodied, with notes of Brazil nuts, lemon rind, and white flowers with a hint of freshly baked bread on the finish. While it may not put a good vintage Cote des Blancs Champagne to shame in a blind tasting, the quality to price ratio sure will. I’ll be tucking away a few bottles for drinking over the next few years.

In Stock Now:

Domaine D’Henri 821 Chardonnay Brut Nature, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
“Domaine d’Henri has emerged as one of our favorite Chablis producers, so when we heard they (now) made bubbles, we had to get some.  It lives up to expectations, too.  This is Blanc de Blancs done in a Brut Nature style, with great minerality and distinct Chablis chalk in its veins.”



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K Vintners – In Stock Now

Charles Smith’s K Vintners wines need very little introduction, as they are some of our most popular year in and out.  The new releases just arrived and they’re highly praised and highly allocated, as usual.

If you’re unfamiliar with the winery, know that Charles Smith fashions himself a bit of a rock star and he ought to—he used to manage them.  Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards.  Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.

His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners.’ The winery has grown by leaps and bounds since—by our count, K makes well more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the additional projects he’s involved in such as Substance and Sixto.

At this point, Charles Smith is one of the defining wine makers for what might be the modern Washington style.  His wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacony quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else.  The only thing we can complain about is that they sell out and we can’t carry them more often.



Screaming Eagle’s The Flight

Arriving Next Week

Screaming Eagle needs very little in the way of introduction.  The most sought after wine in California, their Cabernet is hard to get and incredibly pricy.  The Flight is their “second” wine—a 98/99 pointer that would be the top wine and pride of almost every other winery in California.  Six bottles arrive next week—and only two remain unsold.

Arriving Next Week:

Only two bottles remaining
Screaming Eagle ‘The Flight’, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($899.95) $799 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2016 The Flight is gorgeous. Dark, brooding and closed in on itself, the 2016 is going to need a number of years to be at its very best, but it is incredibly beguiling today. Plum, black cherry, lavender, blood orange menthol, and a host of more mineral-driven notes punctuate this super-expressive wine. This is a decidedly tannic and powerful edition of The Flight. I can’t wait to see how it ages. Bottled just six weeks before this tasting, the 2016 appears to have a very bright future. Time in the glass brings out some of the softer edges that will almost surely emerge with cellaring. The Flight is built on a core of older Merlot vines from the southeast corner of the estate. It is an absolutely riveting wine from Screaming Eagle.”
James Suckling 99 points “This is the best Flight I have ever had with so much merlot character coming through with black olives, hazelnuts, brown sugar and blackberries, as well as violets. Full-bodied yet linear and very long. Extremely refined and fresh. Needs a few years to come completely together, but already so refined.”
Wine Advocate 97+ points “Composed roughly of two-thirds Merlot with 5% Cabernet Franc and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, the medium to deep colored 2016 The Flight opens with bold, expressive notions of wild blueberries, warm plums and boysenberries with touches of black raspberries, spice cake, violets, dark chocolate and potpourri with a hint of menthol. Full-bodied, rich, spicy and jam-packed with energy, it has beautifully plush tannins texturing the multilayered blue and black fruits, delivering a very long, perfumed finish.”

Arriving Friday

St. Damien’s 2017 Gigondas

“At Domaine Saint Damien, there are four Gigondas cuvées, although the Clovis Saurel isn’t bottled every year. It’s a small, family domaine with the magnificently mustachioed Joël Saurel at the helm, although son Romain is increasingly confident in the winery. This is a reference point for traditional Gigondas, but the family also owns a small portion of Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu. We finished up with a handful of older wines, which I noted for readers who may have cellared them.” –Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate

Gigondas has become the shooting star of the Southern Rhone—occupying the space that Chateauneuf du-Pape did during the 90’s and early 00’s.  This is a region that’s producing electric, thrilling wines at prices that despite recent increases are some of the best deals in the world of the highest quality wines.  Saint Damien has emerged as one of the best producers in the AOC. These are some of the top wines coming out of the Rhone, at prices that should make other top producers blush.

Arriving Friday:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $38 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($599.95) $419 pre-arrival special (that’s only $34.92/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“I think the standout in the 2017 is the 2017 Gigondas La Louisiane, a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah from a single lieu-dit near the domaine, which is located further down on the plateau. Incredible notes of blackcurrants, smoked herbs, spring flowers, and peppery meat notes emerge from this full-bodied beauty that has terrific concentration, sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a blockbuster finish. It actually reminds me of the 2007 yet has more structure and focus. It’s an incredible bottle of wine that will drink well for 20+ years.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Bottled in May, the 2017 Gigondas La Louisiane looks every bit as good as expected. Licorice, dark cherries and plums feature on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is silky and rich, just a wonderful balance of power and elegance. It should drink well soon after release and for at least decade thereafter.-JC”

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points
“A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the 2017 Gigondas les Souteyrades—from a clay-based, north-facing site—is rich and earthy, with cinnamon and cola notes accenting dark plums and black cherries. It’s full-bodied and velvety, adding hints of chocolate on the long finish.-JC”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Black cherries, garrigue, leather, and a kiss of spice emerge from the 2017 Gigondas Les Souteyrades, which is Grenache and Mourvèdre brought up in foudre. It’s medium to full-bodied, has light tannins, beautiful balance, and a charming, elegant style. As with the other releases here in 2017, it’s a seamless, layered, complex wine that relies more on elegance and complexity than overt power and richness.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28.80 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $319 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“The ruby/purple-hued 2017 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a finesse-oriented, medium to full-bodied wine from this estate that has classy notes of dark fruits, kirsch, sappy flowers, and peppery spice. With no hard edges and beautiful balance, it’s reminiscent of the 2011 and will drink nicely for 7-8 years or more.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2017 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes was scheduled to be bottled the week after my visit, so I tasted the final assemblage, which is 75% to 80% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre. Scents of crushed stone, pepper and licorice lead the way, followed by intense notes of black cherries and tree bark. It’s full-bodied, silky and long, with hints of chocolate that creep in on the finish. It looks suppler than I remember it being last year, and it’s for the better.-JC”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
New Grapelive Review!

In Stock Now:

Muller-Catoir Haardter Burgergarten Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Grapelive 93 points
“The Burgergarten in the Haardt vineyard as used by the famed Mueller-Catoir, or hill garden, is a Premier Cru site that is composed of weathered yellow sandstone interspersed with layer of loess and clay giving the perfect conditions to make a lush, but crisply dry Riesling of refined elegance and with a concentrated underlying power, which in 2017 is incredible and joyously perfumed. ….The 2017 Burgergarten Trocken [has] exotic tropical fruit and floral aromas with plumeria, jasmine, dried pineapple, gingery/peppery notes and grilled citrus leading the way on the racy palate, this Riesling feels a bit like Trimbach’s Cuvee Frederic Emile, adding layers of wild peach, while cherry, tangy apricot and zesty lime notes along with loads of tannin like structure, zippy acidity, chalky stones and a Chablis like steely edge! Air brings more body out and clears the touch of reduction that easily blows and this Riesling becomes in fact more white Burgundy like in some ways, while also gaining hints of spearmint, chamomile and verbena, which clearly are Riesling influences and it is strikingly impressive for keeping its tension , clarity and severity, like a firm GG should…This area can produce monumental dry Riesling, as witnessed here with this Erste Lage Trocken from Mueller-Catoir….Terry Theise, Mueller-Catoir’s famous importer, says the estate produces wines of outstanding transparency and density, and remains emblematic of Riesling at its most sophisticated, and I totally agree, these are amazingly pure wines that are both wildly entertaining in expression and wines of remarkable class and finesse…. This Burgergarten grows on you with every sip and should get even more intriguing with 3 to 5 years more are on it, patience I think will be well rewarded, and I hope I get to revisit it a few more times.”

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

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

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Always the raciest and liveliest of the Pinot bottlings from Crowley, the ’17 is a standout.
Crowley Four Winds Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
: From the cool Four Winds Vineyard, situated at 1,000 feet elevation and nine miles north of McMinnville. This is a mineral-driven Pinot with saline influences. Lots of red fruit and spice. The 2017 is a classically restrained wine that will benefit from time in your cellar.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $49
Prismatic in its complexity, this Austrian staff pick is a versatile winner.
Weingut Ingrid Groiss ‘Braitenpuechttorff’ Gemischter Satz, Niederosterreich, Austria 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“This is redolent of freshly sliced green apple, featuring lemon oil, tarragon and dandelion hints. Savory midpalate, with a firm, minerally structure and vibrant acidity. The finish reveals accents of anise and spice. Drink now through 2023. 1,000 cases made, 192 cases imported.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “The hints of sun-dried hay, russet pear and bright lemon that mark the nose of this wine combine into zesty freshness on the palate. It’s ripe and concentrated, with a dry, lemony zing that lingers until the very last echo.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $26
Andy’s staff pick—this is ultra-classic Bordeaux.
Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Wild nose. Impressive, deep hue and a wealth of fresh, violet-like aromas, as well as cassis, graphite and dark cherries. The palate has a very sleek, fine, powerful core of tannins that bring a lot of depth and deliver rich dark-fruit flavor. A classic Meyney. Best since 1961! Try from 2023.”
Decanter 94 points “Rich and full, this is very St-Estèphe: round through the mid-palate, with an amazingly tasty balance of richness and freshness leading to salinity and minerality on the finish. It will need another five to eight years before being ready to drink, but it has to be one of the value picks of the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2016 Meyney is a bold, powerful wine. Tobacco, menthol, chocolate, spice and torrefaction notes all add shades of darkness. Meyney is potent and quite broad in feel, and yet everything is very nicely balanced. Although not especially subtle, Meyney delivers the goods, and then some.”

Savart is singular stuff and this single vineyard especially so.
Savart “Le Mont des Chretiens” Premier Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2015 750ML ($139.95) $119 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Produced exclusively from Chardonnay in an Ecueil lieu-dit better-known for Pinot Noir is the 2015 Extra-Brut Premier Cru Le Mont des Chrétiens, a small cuvée that’s vinified in 500-liter barrels, without malolactic, and it was disgorged a few months ago with only two grams per liter dosage—one gram less than Savart’s usual three for this bottling. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of lemon curd, white flowers, fresh melon, pastry cream and mandarin, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and chalky, with a tensile profile despite the warm vintage, concluding with a mineral finish. Note that this bottling used to be named Dame de Coeur.”
Importer Note “Le Mont des Chrétiens is a lieu dit in the village Ecueil. The parcel is entirely of Chardonnay and Fred ferments and ages it in 500L barrels. The dosage is 3g/L. (Fred used to call this cuvée Dame de Coeur.)

One of the most singular wines in all of Spain—a bottle of genius.
Terroir Al Limit Les Manyes, Priorat DOCa 2014 750ML ($259.95) $219 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2014 Les Manyes was bottled a little earlier, in June 2016. In many wineries in Priorat, 2013 is clearly better than 2014, but it’s not that clear in the case here, and you have to take it wine by wine. In the case of this Les Manyes, I think 2014 was the big surprise, with a combination of depth, perfume, subtleness and power difficult to achieve. The clay and chalky soils provide for an extraordinary texture of tannins, a lot less coarse than those from slate soils. It distills all the Mediterranean herbs and flowers, the essence of ripe red cherries and wild strawberries with some chalky minerality in a nose and palate that is close to perfection. This is a tour de force Garnacha from… chalky soils in Priorat! There are 1,008 bottles produced.”
Wine & Spirits 97 points “Dominik Huber farms this wine in an unusual place by Priorat standards: It comes from a vineyard at 2,600 feet in altitude-one of the highest in the region-on red clay soil rather than the more celebrated slate. The result is a wine as taut as a high-tension cable, with an acidity so firm and strong that it seems to electrify the wine. Made entirely of garnacha, held in a single 1,200-liter barrel for two years before bottling, it’s rich in red fruit, spice and mineral notes, but above all it is rich in structure. A wine to drink in a decade.”

Giacomo Fenocchio’s Traditional Barolos

“Claudio [Fenocchio] is a master at crafting classic Barolos that beautifully express their pedigree…his noninterventionalist approach in the cellars ensures that their individual terroirs shine through.”- Kerin O’Keefe, Barolo and Barbaresco

Giacomo Fenocchio is a Barolo producer who manages to stay just below universal acclaim—the wines are traditionally made, powerful and excellent values, but the wines remain too overlooked, at least on the west coast.  These are wines that have everything Piedmont collectors say they like in traditional Barolo—excellent vineyard sources, extended macerations, long aging in large casks and radiantly pure vineyard characteristics.

His 2015’s just landed today and they’re brilliant wines.  The only clue that they’re from a warm vintage is their tannin structures—firm but softer and silkier than usual.  The 2015 normale is nearly a bistro wine, especially if you open it the morning you want to drink it.  Nevertheless, the wines have a freshness and purity that sets them apart from previous warm years like ’09 and ’11.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Villero, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Rose, woodland berry and balsamic aromas of eucalyptus and pine are front and center on this fragrant red. The full-bodied, compelling palate has structure and finesse, delivering red cherry, cranberry, licorice and orange zest set against a backbone of assertive but noble tannins. Drink 2025–2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of flowers and cedar with plums and beeswax. Full-bodied, chewy and very structured. Very linear and tight. Needs three or four years to come together. Try in 2023.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Dried roses and fragrant spices, anise and fennel seed in particular, leading to blood orange and pomegranate. The palate has a very sleek core of fine but ripe tannins that carry red-berry flavors in smooth repose. Drink or hold.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Cedar, rose, botanical herb and forest floor aromas swirl around the glass. It’s youthfully austere, offering pomegranate, sour cherry, orange zest and baking spice notes alongside tight, close-grained tannins and fresh acidity. Give it a few more years to unwind and fully develop. Drink 2023–2030.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($44.95) $37 special
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Wild mint, woodland berry and underbrush aromas mingle with a floral note. The rounded, full-bodied palate offers Marasca cherry, botanical herbs, clove and tobacco alongside solid but polished tannins. Drink 2020–2027.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The Star Burgundy of

Clos de la Chapelle

Every now and then, we taste wines from a producer that’s clearly Going Places—like the star student in a high school class, it’s painfully obvious that some domaines are driven in a fundamentally different way from their peers.  The current incarnation of Clos de la Chapelle is clearly one of those estates—the praise keeps coming and it won’t be long until these are thought of (and priced with) wines like D’Angerville, Lafon and Lafarge as some of the top bottlings in Volnay.

That drive comes down to one person, their (American) owner, Mark O’Connell, who bought the domaine in 2011 and has poured money and time into elevating it from an historic (yet perhaps underperforming) producer with excellent holdings to one of the elite domaines in the Cote de Beaune.  The winery now owns land in an array of the top vineyard sites in Volnay, Pommard and Corton and makes truly excellent renditions of each—with moderate whole cluster use, small amounts of new oak and brilliantly balanced ripeness.

This is a domaine that’s only been around in its current incarnation since 2011, and yet has already been a featured winery at La Paulee, with strong reviews from both Burghound and John Gilman.  The original incarnation dates back to the middle of the 19th century, run by a member of the Boillot family up until the recent sale.  The Clos de la Chapelle monopole was always considered to be one of the premier terroirs (it’s right next door to the Clos de la Bousse d’Or and there are records of Louis Pasteur buying 50 bottles of the 1858, so this is not a secret) but it’s mainly since the changeover that the wines have lived up to the promise of the land.

The domaine owns a total of 4 hectares of red and white vineyards, exclusively in Premier and Grand Cru sites and we’re excited to offer them for the first time today. Some of the wines, featured below, arrive early next month and still more arrive towards the end of the year.  Although there are a number of different wines, quantities are limited on each one—and we’re selling them first come, first served.

Highlights Arriving ETA Early November:

Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Corton Rognet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
John Gilman 94 points
“The Rognet in 2014 from Clos de la Chapelle was raised in one­third new wood and included fifty percent whole clusters this year. These vines lie just above those of Jean­Nicolas Méo on the slope. The wine really shows the elegant side of the vintage, wafting from the glass in a beautiful aromatic constellation of cherries, red currants, a superb base of minerality, a bit of gamebird, lovely Corton spice tones and a bit of new wood. On the palate the wine is pure, full­bodied and nascently complex, with fine transparency, lovely focus and grip and a very long, ripely tannic and tangy finish. There is a touch of stems here today, but these will become cinnamon­like down the road and just add to the spicy appeal of this lovely Corton. 2025­2075+.”
Burghound 93 points “Sweet Spot. A touch of oak sets off the mildly reduced nose though a note of menthol is evident in the background. There is excellent volume and concentration to the broad-shouldered and muscular flavors that brim with mouth coating dry extract before concluding in an overtly robust and slightly austere finish of outstanding depth and length. This is a classic Rognet that is presently quite compact and it is immediately evident that this is going to need every bit of a decade to unwind the firm tannic spine and 15 years would not surprise me. In a word, impressive.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Grands Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 13 bottles available
John Gilman 94+ points
“The 2016 Grands Epenots from Domaine de la Chapelle is also a stellar young wine. The aromatic constellation delivers scents of red and black cherries, pigeon, woodsmoke, a very complex base of soil, espresso and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and potentially very, very complex, with a rock solid core, fine-grained tannins, outstanding focus and balance and a long, youthful and elegant finish. This is every bit as refined in profile as the Chanlins old vine bottling, and will probably just edge it out by a nose over their long lives in bottle. Simply great Pommard in the making! 2028-2065.”
Burghound 93 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. Here too there is enough wood to notice along with hints of menthol framing the overtly earthy and agreeably fresh aromas of black raspberry and cassis. The generously proportioned and fleshy big-bodied flavors possess excellent volume thanks to the abundant level of dry extract, all wrapped in a markedly structured, austere and backward finale. This is terrific but note well that it will not make for especially inviting early drinking.”

Domaine Clos de la Chapelle En Carelle, Volnay Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, only 8 bottles available
Winery note
“Deep ruby color with light garnet hues. Finesse and elegance on the nose, with aromas of small red ripe fruits, exotic spices and violets, with a touch of minerality. The palate is full and round, with a generous finish. Delicate and velvety tannins, with nice acidity and length on the finish. The Volnay appellation is found mid-slope in the Côte de Beaune, with Pommard to the north and Meursault to the south. Although there are no Grands Crus here, Volnay’s 30 Premiers Crus are unmatched. Always appreciated for their finesse and beautiful bouquet, Volnays are often regarded as being feminine. The vines for this cuvée are on average 45 years old. This square shaped, “carré = Carelle”, vineyard is located just below the beautiful 16th century chapel of Volnay.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Clos de la Chapelle En Carelle, Volnay Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special, only 12 bottles available
John Gilman 92+ points
“The domaine’s vines in En Carelle are planted north­south, which served to shelter the bunches a bit during the hail at the end of June and there was really quite moderate damage done here in 2014. The wine was raised in twenty percent new oak and these fifty­five to sixty year­old vines have produced and excellent wine in this vintage4. The bouquet offers up scents of cherries, red plums, raw cocoa, gamebird, cedar and a lovely topnote of spices. On the palate the wine is fullish, pure and intensely flavored, with a velvety attack, a good core and a long, suavely­tannic finish. Just a lovely wine. 2021­2060.”

Domaine Clos de la Chapelle ‘Clos de la Chapelle’, Volnay Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available
John Gilman 94 points
“The Clos de la Chapelle lies right next door to the Clos de la Bousse d’Or in the center of Volnay. At one point it was part of the Clos de la Bousse d’Or, but sometime back in the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries, the wall that separates it from the Clos de la Bousse d’Or was built, and it was already a separate vineyard by the time Louis Boillot purchased it in 1865. The 2010 is an absolutely stunning young bottle of Volnay, offering up a deep and classy nose of cherries, red plums, a touch of raw cocoa, vine-smoke, fresh herbs, a beautiful base of soil, a lovely touch of fresh nutmeg and a deft framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full-bodied, with beautiful transparency, bright, tangy acids, a sappy core of fruit, superb focus and balance and a very long, soil-driven and utterly refined finish that closes with superb grip and outstanding complexity. This is a magical first vintage for the domaine’s flagship wine and this is obviously going to be one of the top premier crus in the commune in the coming years. Do not miss this wine if you have a chance to latch onto a few bottles. Stunning juice. 2020-2060.”

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Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, only 9 bottles available
John Gilman 93 points
“The Taillepieds bottling from Clos de la Chapelle was new in 2013. As readers may recall, this hails from a parcel of forty to fifty year­old vines that lie between the rows of Domaines de Montille and Marquis d’Angerville. The 2014 was another very short crop here, as they only produced three casks, whereas in a normal crop, they should have nine! The wine is superb in 2014, delivering a fine aromatic constellation of red berries, red plums, a beautifully complex base of soil tones, gamebirds, pretty spice notes and cedary wood. On the palate the wine is pure, full­bodied, complex and shows good stuffing at the core, with fine focus and grip and a moderately chewy finish. 2024­2060.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Other Wines, Arriving ETA December:

Rose of the Day
Bastide Blanche makes some of our favorite rosé from Bandol—that it happens to be under $20/btl (by the case) doesn’t hurt.  This is some legitimately great rosé at a fraction of the price of Pradeaux and Tempier.  Sure, it’s not quite as grand as those two wines, but at the price difference, why worry?  This is a wine to buy by the case and drink up whenever the mood strikes.

In Stock Now:

Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($259.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Vivid orange-pink. Bright, minerally and focused on the highly perfumed nose, displaying fresh blood orange, strawberry and floral aromas that expand steadily with aeration. Energetic and chewy in the mouth, offering concentrated red berry, citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors that show excellent depth and delineation. Closes taut and precise, displaying strong persistence and a resonating floral note.”

Return of a Vinopolis Classic Chateauneuf:

Olivier Hillaire

We’re pleased to announce the return of one of our favorite Chateauneuf du Pape producers, Olivier Hillaire. Back when the shop was in its old location, Hillaire was one of our two or three best-selling producers—there were stacks of those wines and they flew out the door by the case.  They deliver exceptional value at each price level, from the entry level to the top end.  We’ve been unable to source them for the last few years but are excited to bring them back in force.  Now’s a perfect time to restock and grab a case or two for all your winter drinking and cellaring needs – all at the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Arriving ETA December:

Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhone 2016 750ML ($599.95) $449 pre-arrival special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand comes from a parcel of Grenache originally planted at the end of the 19th century in a sandy part of La Crau. It’s Hillaire’s flagship, and it merits its status this vintage, where it shines with raspberry fruit and layers of dried spice complexity. It’s full-bodied and rich yet silky, elegant and long on the finish, epitomizing the delicious contradictions that Grenache can present.”
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Vivid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, spicecake and incense, and a minerally element adds urgency. Impressively energetic on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry compote and lavender pastille flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. The floral note repeats emphatically on the impressively long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves a smoky mineral note behind.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Terrasses’, Rhone 2016 750ML ($539.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Terrasses is a fine example of old-vine Grenache from a parcel of vines near La Nerthe. Rose petals and black tea accent pristine cherry and raspberry fruit in this full-bodied but silky-lacy, delicate wine. Long, briny and refreshing on the finish, it’s deceptively drinkable but undoubtedly packs a wallop.”
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Brilliant violet. Lively, mineral-accented red and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of lavender and vanilla. Silky and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry and boysenberry flavors that deepen and become spicier as the wine opens up. Closes sweet, energetic and very long, displaying harmonious tannins and lingering smoke and red berry liqueur notes.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 pre-arrival special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The young estate has turned out some crazy good 2016s, including the “basic” 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape, a blend of 90% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre and Syrah, all from the lieu-dit of Grand Pierre. Aged in concrete and neutral barrels, it shows terrific balance, matching black cherries and raspberries with hints of garrigue, and ample weight and richness on the palate with fine, silky tannins. Concentrated, flavorful and long, this should be available for around $50, making it a relative bargain.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Thanks for reading!