Midweek VinopolPick 12-18-18

In Today’s Newsletter:

The Best Value in Premium Oregon Pinot?

Top Big Reds for Holiday Gifting

The Best of Champagne for Gifting and Drinking

Sweet Wines for Your Sweetie

Aldo Conterno at Best-in-Country Pricing

Vissoux’s Undervalued Beauties

Christmas Delivery Shipping Notice

Please note that today (Wednesday) represents the last day to order wine for (ground) delivery to Northern California, or Washington state in time for Christmas.  Orders for Oregon placed through tomorrow (Thursday) should be delivered by Christmas Eve.  Southern California and Washington, DC will need to upgrade to Next Day Air to guarantee Christmas delivery. For states which require shipments go through a forwarding service, Christmas delivery is impossible, but New Year’s Eve delivery is still possible.
AveraenThe Best Value in Premium Oregon Pinot?

We’re pleased to welcome the exceptional wines of Averaen to Vinopolis—at more than exceptional pricing. If you’re unfamiliar with these wines, you’d be excused—2016 is only the label’s second year in existence, but they’ve already established themselves as a top producer of rich, terroir-driven Pinot Noir in Oregon.

Averaen is a project of Baron Ziegler, one of the founders of Banshee wines, and like their counterparts, the Averaen wines deliver exceptional value—a hard thing to do in Pinot Noir.  These are exceptionally made, well reviewed single vineyard wines (and one Willamette blend) that are a steal for the prices we’re offering them at.

Averaen Croft Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Brilliant red. Powerful smoke- and spice-accented red berry liqueur, mocha and floral pastille scents show excellent clarity and pick up notes of licorice and cola with air. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry cola, lavender and spicecake flavors that become livelier on the back half. This weighty yet lithe Pinot finishes smooth and very long, featuring slow-building tannins and resonating florality.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $42.75
Averaen ‘Eola Springs Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Vivid red. Spice-tinged black raspberry and cherry scents are complicated by hints of cola, pungent flowers and smoky minerals. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering energetic red and dark berry and vanilla flavors along with suggestions of rose pastille and blood orange that add complexity. Concentrated but vibrant and precise in character, delivering strong finishing thrust, interwoven tannins and excellent, floral-driven persistence.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $42.75
Averaen Meredith Mitchell Vineyard Pinot Noir, McMinnville 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(20% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Lurid red. Blackberry and boysenberry aromas are complicated by suggestions of cola and candied violet, and a smoky mineral note lends nervy lift. Incisive dark berry and bitter cherry flavors slowly gain flesh and become sweeter in the midpalate. Impressively precise and energetic, delivering strong finishing thrust and dusty, building tannins that make a late appearance.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $46.99
Averaen Nysa Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(30% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Deep vivid red. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes red fruit liqueur, mocha and Asian spices, along with a smoky mineral overtone. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering sweet raspberry, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily with air. Conveys a suave blend of richness and finesse and finishes with supple, harmonious tannins and outstanding clarity and floral-tinged persistence.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $46.98
Averaen Flood Line Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($39.95) $26 special
Josh Raynolds 91 points “(40% new French oak) Bright red. Aromas of ripe red berries and cherry, along with subtle cola and licorice nuances. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering bitter cherry and raspberry flavors that flesh out on the back half. A smoky note emerges on the clinging finish, which features fine-grained tannins and suave red fruit preserve and mocha qualities.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Big Reds for Holiday Gifting

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The best Cabernet at/under $100? We love Ric Forman’s wines.
Forman Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “A weightless, translucent wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon exudes class. Vibrant and finely sculpted, the 2014 possesses striking nuance from start to finish. Scents of lavender, rose petal, mint and sweet spice notes give the 2014 its brightness and sense of energy. Today, the 2014 is a bit compact relative to how it showed from barrel. I expect the wine will put on a bit more weight during its aging. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2014 at least a few years. Even today, though, the 2014 is a very pretty and pure wine.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Always wanted SQN but can’t afford it? This should scratch the itch.
M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages R.I. Rectificando Invenies 2015 750ML ($119.95)
$99 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “As always, the 100% Syrah 2015 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Rectificando Invenies (Ri) shows more minerality than the VIT release and offers blockbuster styled aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, crushed rocks, toasted bread and chocolate. Made in a voluptuous, pedal-to-the-metal style, with huge fruit and texture, it has building tannin and an uber sexy, incredibly layered and decadent palate. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. This cuvee was completely destemmed and aged 18 months in demi-muids.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Buy a six pack, give five as gifts, drink the last one yourself. You’ll appreciate it.
Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2013 750ML ($79.95) $49 special
Case-6 Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2013 750ML ($299.95) $259 special (that’s only $43.17/bottle!)
Robert Parker 92+ points
“The single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the highest elevation (400-1000 feet) is the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Brothers Ridge. It displays blacker fruit, loads of plums, blueberry and blackberry, a deep, full-bodied, mouthfeel, rich, concentrated, moderately high tannin, a nice minerality and plenty of black fruits. These are all well-built and potentially very long-lived wines of 25-30 or more years. This wine needs a good 4-5 years of cellaring.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Powerful traditional Barolo, from a great vintage. It’s a steal at this price.
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96+ points “Cavallotto is on a roll with some very impressive new releases. The 2013 Barolo Bricco Boschis is a tremendous effort that has an edge on the excellent 2010 vintage in my view. The wine shows a beautifully exuberant but elegant bouquet with the ethereal and undertone fruit and spice aromas you get with Nebbiolo. Although the wine is never overdone, it does show silky persistence and a long finish that comes from the noble nature of the tannins and the wine’s textural finesse. Yet, it is playfully deceiving in a way because behind that polished grace, it delivers impressive depth and power.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This is packed with sweet cherry, currant, floral and spice flavors. The vivid acidity drives the intensity, while dense tannins lend support. This will take some time to harmonize, but should be well worth the wait. Best from 2022 through 2040.”From the team behind Dominus, a stunning, top-tier Napa Cabernet.
Ulysses Vineyard, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($189.95) $149 special
James Suckling 98 points “Fabulous subtle aromas of black currants, violets and lilacs with a hot stone undertone. Full-bodied and dense, it shows such wonderful energy and synergy that delivers a firm yet gentle tannin backbone and complex mouthfeel that seduces you. Evolves wonderfully. Second wine from this new estate, which is owned by Christian Moueix of Dominus and Bordeaux.”
Robert Parker 96 points “The 2013 Ulysses is absolutely mind-boggling, as so many wines from this vintage are. Gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruit, along with the telltale cassis and floral notes, jump from the glass. Again, this is Pauillac-like, with some cedar wood and subtle barrique smells. Again produced nearly all from Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is full-bodied, powerful, rich and long, with slightly sweeter tannins than the 2012. Production in 2013 was 960 cases, and Moueix told me that the entire growing season averaged about two and half weeks ahead of schedule from bloom break to harvest. This is a prodigious effort and will certainly stand as the great Ulysses of the first trio to be released. I suspect it will be drinkable in 3-4 years and keep for 30 or more, given the Moueix track record.”
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “Gravel, smoke, graphite, savory herbs, tobacco and iron are some of the signatures in the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. A typical wine from the eastern sector of Oakville on the border with Yountville, the 2013 is loaded with feral, savory notes, while the expression of blue/blackish fruit lies a bit more in the background. In 2013, the main signature is an expression of structure that is both vertical but also incredibly insistent through to the finish. In other words, this is a super-classic 2013 built for the cellar.”

Great traditional Southern Rhone wines are hard to find.  This delivers in spades.
Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas Tradition, Rhone 2015 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Grapelive 93 points “Vigneron Stéphanie Bonfils, following her mom’s absolute love of Grenache, continues to craft Domaine de Gour de Chaule’s Gigondas with that focus. 85% of the vineyards [are] planted to Grenache, with about 10% dedicated to Syrah and Mourvedre, along with a tiny amount to Cinsault. This historic estate was started in 1900, but was not selling their own wine until the early 1970’s and not a serious domaine until Bonfils the elder got things rolling in the 1980’s. Since then [the estate] has made a significant impact joining the greats of the region with traditional and authentic wines, joining the classic likes of Saint-Damien, Saint-Cosme, du Cayron, Grapillon d’Or, Montirius, Montmirail, Château du Trignon and La Bouissiere, as well as the new guys on the block L’Ourea and Kermit Lynch’s Les Pallieres. Similar to the more famous Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas is blessed with the sunny Mediterranean climate and clay and limestones soils, but they can be fresher and certainly less costly, with some having higher elevation vines that give a vibrant intensity to these heady full flavored Rhone reds. The average age of the Grenache vines planted within the Domaine de Gour de Chaule plots is 55 years old. Stéphanie uses whole cluster fermentations with cement cuves employed for both primary and malo (secondary) before being racked to used large foudres (oak cask) to rest, for about 18 months prior to bottling unfixed and unfiltered. This 2015 is brilliantly detailed, full bodied and shows the vintage’s depth and concentration perfectly. It delivers a warm rush of Grenache purity and character with sweet strawberry, boysenberry, kirsch and plum along with dusty stones (chalky), light floral notes, peppery spices, classic lavender (garrigue) and anise. This feels rich and textured in the mouth gaining earthy elements and while deeply fruit driven there is a spine of fine ripe tannins that gives a sense of structure that holds the weight in check. It never feels too heavy or dull. It’s a beautiful old school Gigondas that really impresses the palate. Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Domaine de Gour de Chaule Gigondas “Cuvee Tradition” is always a treat and a bell weather for the year. This 2015 [is] an absolute must for Rhone fans. Enjoy it for its youth now or put a few away for exceptional mid-term drinking, as it will reward some patience. Best from 2018 to 2026.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-94 points “Brilliant ruby. A heady bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, Indian spices and smoky minerals, along with a hint of candied lavender in the background. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors unfold slowly, picking up a licorice quality that expands on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and mineral cut on a sweet, seamless finish shaped by smooth tannins.”

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

The Top of ChampagneFor Holiday Gifting and New Year’s Drinking

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“absolutely mesmerizing”
Krug Vintage Brut Gift Box Packaged , Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $259 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”

“nearly impossible to resist”
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2007 750ML ($179.95) $159 special
James Suckling 98 points “This is a step up from the linear and fresh 2006. It shows subtle depth and power with a dense block of vivid fruit that’s highlighted with lemon zest, green apples and hints of white peaches. Just the right amount of praline and nuts on the nose. Fine and tight bead give the Champagne a luxurious mouthfeel. One for now or the cellar. Drink or hold.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Taittinger’s 2007 Comtes de Champagne will be nearly impossible to resist upon release. Soaring aromatics, mid-weight structure and soft contours give the 2007 its alluring personality. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, chamomile and green pear add brightness and freshness throughout, with a persistent, clean finish that makes it impossible to resist a second taste. Today, the 2007 comes across as a slightly more open version of the 2004, with freshness that makes that wine so appealing, and a touch of textural richness that recalls the 2002. Although the 2007 does not have the explosive energy or verticality of the profound 2006, it will drink better earlier. The 2007 has been positively brilliant on the three occasions I have tasted it so far.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Taittinger’s prestigious Comtes de Champagne is composed entirely of Chardonnay grapes from the Grand Cru villages of Avize, Chouilly, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Oger (Côte des Blancs). The citrus-golden colored 2007 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is the fourth in a row after the 2004 vintage (which will be followed by 2008 whereas there will be no Comtes from 2009, 2010 and 2011) and opens with a nobly intense yet nuanced bouquet of ripe fruits, chalk, iodine and a touch of brioche. The wine indicates a coolish and precise character on the clear, flinty nose that develops lemon, pastry and floral notes. On the palate, this is Taittinger at its best: clear, fresh, lush and elegant, offering both sensuality and noble elegance. The 2007 reveals great finesse and is a perfect expression of both the Taittinger style and the Côte de Blancs. The wine (of which 5% has spent four months in oak barrels to give roundness and a touch of toast) is tightly woven, well concentrated and even juicy yet always clear, fresh, pure, fine and elegant. The finish is intense, clean, vivacious and complex, with good grip and lingering salty minerals that indicate good aging potential. Disgorged in October 2017; tasted in May 2018.”

“A mind-blowing wine”
Dom Perignon Rose, Champagne 2005 750ML ($379.95)
$259 special
James Suckling 99 points “A mind-blowing wine. This is super subtle and intense with aromas of peaches, light strawberry and cream. Also shows rose petal and cooked peaches. Medium to full body, with ultra-fine tannins that feel like fine silk. The finish goes on for mintutes. It floats across the palate. The winemaker says the closet vintage to this is the 1990, but I think this is better.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2005 Dom Pérignon Rosé is intriguing, complex and multi-faceted. Brisk and refreshing, with a slightly herbal (but not unpleasant character), the 2005 is superb today. Over time, the wine has acquired a bit more depth and body than it showed at the outset. Even with all of its depth, though, I would not suggest cellaring the 2005 too long given the challenges of the year. Hints of blood orange, mint, sage and dried flowers add the closing shades of nuance.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This rosé Champagne is rich and vinous, offering smoky minerality up front, expanding to show dried raspberry, mandarin orange zest, brioche and espresso crème flavors that ride the fine, lacy mousse. Spice and mineral details persist on the racy finish. Drink now through 2027.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This Champagne is beautifully mature, its ripe fruit and soft texture magnified by toast and yeast. Rich and full bodied, its fine acidity keeps it in great condition. With a crisp aftertaste that gives it a delicious lift, it’s ready to drink now.”

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

Only one magnum remaining. Only 300 bottled (and no 750’s made).
Jacques Selosse Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2004 1.5L ($2199.95) $1999 special
The 2004 vintage was bottled exclusively in magnum. Only 300 magnums were bottled. 100% Chardonnay from two parcels in the Grand Cru of Avise. Disgorged 26 April 2017.

The rare rosé from one of the hippest small producers of Champagne.
Benoit Dehu Rose De Saignee, Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($149.95) $128 special
Winery note “82% Pinot Meunier, 18% Chardonnay + 17% red wine (mainly Pinot Meunier); aged for three years on the lees. On the palate, it is an explosion of crushed raspberry, wild strawberry and fresh mango. It is broad in the mouth and surprisingly smooth and fresh. As it warms, its aromas open into notes of pear and quince.”

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There are only four “clos” in Champagne—this is one and is a stellar value compared to the others.
Andre Clouet ‘Le Clos’ Bouzy Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 2008 1.5L ($379.95) $319 special
VinopolNote: Only 250 cases of this rare bottling were produced, all from one of the four walled Grand Cru vineyards in Champagne.  100% Pinot Noir, aged 8 years sur latte, from a great vintage.



Sweet Wines for Your Sweetie

This is the best time of year to enjoy a dessert wine—the big meals, long nights and cold weather seem to call for something a bit fortified and nectared.  While Port is the biggest name that comes to mind (with Sauternes a close second) we have a stellar selection of excellent dessert wines from less well known regions.  These wines often offer great values as well as unique styles and flavors.

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Marsala remains an overlooked source of profound, nutty sweet wines.
Cantine Intorcia Marsala Superiore Riserva Ambra Dolce, Sicily 2004 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Importer notes: “A dense amber yellow, with yellow topaz highlights. Consistent and intense, with assertive notes of honey, caramel and carob, apricot and candied orange peel, pine nuts, almonds and walnut. Full on the palate, smooth and honeyed, with just the right equilibrium between freshness and alcohol impact. Persistent and elegantly structured.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Made in a classic passito style, this would be an incredible Sauternes substitute.
Francesco Intorcia Heritage Malvasia Liquoroso Sicilia IGT, Sicily NV 500ML ($24.95) $19 special
Importer notes: “The Intorcia family traditionally uses three grape varieties to produced its liqueur wines. Delicate, moderately sweet, various taste strands typical of these grapes emerge: citrus, honey, apricot jam, dried figs, raisins, caramelised almonds”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Think of this as a value alternative to Quarts du Chaume
Chateau Soucherie Coteaux du Layon, Loire 2015 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
VinopolNote: A sweet wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc
Winery note “A wine with the sweetness of Anjou, whose palate is velvety and round, and the ending is dominated by a pleasant freshness with notes of exotic fruits. The development of Botrytis cinerea as noble rot is best produced by alternating dry and wet periods. The damp nights, dew and morning mists of the Layon valley will stimulate the fungus, while the autumn sun of the afternoon will restrict its growth. So the specific conditions are met to develop a great sweet wine.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This will go toe-to-toe with any nobly sweet wine in the world. Any of them.
Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Le Mont’ Premiere Trie Moelleux, Loire 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2016 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie opens with a very clear, deep and flinty/herbal bouquet of ripe concentrated stone fruits intermixed with chalky/smoky aromas, very complex and truly exciting! Light, fresh and tensioned on the palate, that is very pure and salty but also tight and concentrated. The 2016 Le Mont reveals crystalline acidity, delicate but serious tannin grip and a long, complex, stimulating finish. This is Chenin Blanc full of energy and aging potential, provided with concentration, lingering salinity and vibrancy. This is a fascinating Le Mont, surely the top wine of Huet’s excellent 2016 series. Bottled with 92 grams of residual sugar, it tastes less sweet than the corresponding Clos du Bourg. Tasted February 2018.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Juicy in feel, with an intense beam of glazed peach, dried apricot, fresh ginger and heather honey notes, backed by baked mirabelle plum accents and a flash of almond cream on the long, rich finish. A wonderful balancing act, keeping the exotic fruit and sweetness fresh and delineated. Best from 2020 through 2035.”One of the best values in Vin Santo.  Profound wines at a more than fair price.
Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2007 375ML ($59.95) $48 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A wine of grace and stature, the 2007 Vin Santo is gorgeous. There is plenty of texture and plushness that is typical of the year, and yet the wine has more than enough acidity to play off the caramel, burnt sugar, dried cherry and floral notes. The wine’s midweight, understated style belies the 217 grams of residual sugar.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2007 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico (375-milliliters) aims high in terms of residual sugar (at 215 grams per liter), but you’d hardly know. This dessert wine shows great integration with sweet notes of candied fruit, honey, caramel and almond marzipan. There are floral notes as well with jasmine and honeysuckle, but you also get dusty mineral tones and some herbal notes tucked in at the back. This is a medium-bodied wine with enough balanced acidity to keep it light, tonic and refreshing. As always, Isole e Olena produces one of the most elegant and ethereal Vin Santos in Chianti Classico.”

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25+ year old PX makes for an intense experience
Bodegas Perez Barquero La Canada Pedro Ximenez, Montilla-Moriles NV 750ML ($59.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The NV La Canada PX is sourced from a vineyard in the Moriles Mountains called Cerro de La Canada, ‘the canyon hill’ and undergoes oxidative aging in solera and is bottled at an average of 25 years old. It boasts the characteristics of a very old PX, incense, licorice, roasted coffee and the sweetness is nicely compensated by a bitter chocolate touch. What is surprising in such an old wine is the overall sensation of freshness and elegance of fruit, with balsamic flavors of dried herbs, flowers and camphor. A truly elegant sticky. Drink 2013-2025.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
It’s expensive, but it’s also from the 1930’s.  Stunning, profound, contemplative.
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles 1931 750ML ($399.95) $279 special
Wine Advocate 98 points “If someone told you they kept a wine for 84 years in barrel before bottling, you’d think they are nuts, right? Well, that’s what the folks at Toro Albalá in Aguilar de la Frontera – in the province of Cordoba, part of the Montilla Moriles appellation – did with their 1931 Don PX Convento Selección. This is part of what they call ‘vinos olvidados,’ which means ‘forgotten wines.’ The border is amber, with green tints that denote very old age. Such old age provides an array of unusual aromas and flavors, including iodine and salt that compensate the sweetness (403 grams) and even the alcohol (18%). It’s terribly balsamic, with notes of dry herbs and spices, cigar ash, carob beans (algarrobas), incense and noble woods. The palate is very, very sweet and concentrated, unctuous, dense, with a chewy texture. This goes beyond a glass of wine, a drop of it is like having a piece of cake. I don’t think this reaches the complexity and depth of the 1946, which remains the benchmark for these old sweet PX, but it’s truly terrific!… bottles were filled in June 2015.”A rare sweet wine from the Jura master.
Domaine Jean Francois Ganevat ‘Sul Q’, Jura, Vin de France NV 375ML ($99.95) $89 special


Aldo Conterno

Master of Modern Barolo

At Best-in-Country Pricing

Poderi Aldo Conterno has been producing remarkable wines ever since it was created in 1969 by the man whose name is on the label.  Sick of fighting with his brother over the winemaking style to be used at the family’s estate, the venerable Giacomo Conterno, Aldo left and never looked back. Over the course of the next several decades he established the winery as one of the most important in Italy.

Based in the Bussia hamlet in Monforte, the estate’s wines have always been powerful yet polished, with dark rich fruit.  These wines are bold Barolos, with great density and power—though they still have nuance and complexity.  These would be a perfect gift for anyone who love deep, powerful red wines and the wines of the Piemonte.

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Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2008 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Beautiful raspberry, cherry and black currant flavors are backed by firm, dusty tannins in this harmonious, fresh red. Floral and tobacco notes add dimension as this cruises to a long, lingering finish. Best from 2016 through 2033. 600 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2008 Barolo is a beautiful wine. Super expressive, knock-out aromatics lead to expressive layers of fruit. The 2008 shows gorgeous richness and depth within the context of the year. Tar, smoke, licorice and crushed rocks wrap around the finish. This is a striking, elegant Barolo from Aldo Conterno.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($179.95) $119 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2008 Barolo Cicala is beautifully focused and vibrant from start to finish. It boasts fabulous energy and sheer tension in its ripe red berries, spices, crushed flowers and mint. All the elements come together beautifully in the pure, delineated Barolo. Huge, powerful tannins provide the backdrop for layers of cool, mineral-infused fruit. There is a pulsating energy to the Cicala that is absolutely irresistible. This is another fabulous showing.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “There’s fine depth to this red, like a grand cru red Burgundy, with a silky texture framing black cherry, black currant and tar flavors. Solidly built, this features a deceptively charming exterior that conceals firm tannins. The finish evokes violet and black cherry notes. Best from 2016 through 2035. 250 cases imported.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $138
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala, Barolo DOCG 2009 750ML ($179.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Aromas of fresh cherry, raspberry, licorice and spice fill the glass as this red unfolds. Offers dense tannins and bright acidity, lending definition to the cherry, strawberry, tobacco and spice flavors that persist through the long finish. Best from 2017 through 2030. 300 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “An aromatically beguiling wine, the 2009 Barolo Cicala is laced with dark plums, truffles, tar, incense and a host of other balsamic-infused aromas. Today, the fruit lies a bit in the background, while the wine’s aromatics and overall structure are much more in evidence. I imagine the 2009 will require at least a few more years in bottle to flesh out, but it is quite beautiful, even at this stage. There is a weightless tension in the 2009 that is remarkable.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2009 Barolo Cicala reveals the particular dynamic of the vintage with firmly astringent tannins and power coupled with a leaner, more streamlined mouthfeel. You can also feel some of the heat of the 2009 summer with upfront aromas of prune and cassis followed by a visibly darker appearance and sweet spice on the bouquet. The wine has the inherent complexity, structure and acidity for long aging, but it offers less pulp to sink your teeth into. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $159.99
Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Round and supple, with a fleshy profile enveloping pure cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Ripe and harmonious, with no shortage of structure. A mineral element emerges on the tight finish. Best from 2016 through 2035. 200 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2008 Barolo Colonnello is super impressive. It shows gorgeous richness and depth in its focused, energetic fruit. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices are woven together beautifully in the 2008 Colonnello. The elegant side of Barolo comes through, but with an extra degree of muscle. The oak, sometimes noticeable in this bottling, is very well integrated. Floral notes are woven throughout the finish. The Colonnello often gives the impression of being early to mature relative to the estate’s other Baroli, but the 2008 is surprisingly powerful and structured.”
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Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2009 750ML ($199.95) $125 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2009 Barolo Colonnello is destined to occupy a special place in my heart as it turned out to be the first sample in my opening blind flight as Italian reviewer with The Wine Advocate. Darkly concentrated and rich, it sets the stage beautifully for 2009 Barolo thanks to its enormous grace, power and elegance. Where it really wins praise, however, is in the mouth. It shows solid grip and firm tannic tenacity that is bold and muscular without going over the top. It moves steadily over the palate in an exceptional manner. The bouquet opens to wild cherry, black licorice and drying notes of crushed white pepper. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Alluring and complex aromas of cherry, licorice, sandalwood and leather segue into sweet berry, floral and spice flavors in this red, which is still a bit monolithic, but harmonious and youthful, with a long finish and a spicy aftertaste. Best from 2017 through 2032. 250 cases imported.”
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Poderi Aldo Conterno Romirasco Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($249.95) $169 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Round and supple, with a fleshy profile enveloping pure cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Ripe and harmonious, with no shortage of structure. A mineral element emerges on the tight finish. Best from 2016 through 2035. 200 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2008 Barolo Romirasco is striking. It possesses a cool, mineral-drenched personality similar to the Cicala, but with an extra dimension of textural finesse. Sweet red berries, flowers, mint and crushed rocks are woven together in this exquisite, gorgeous Barolo. Powerful and authoritative, the Romirasco impresses for its depth and unmistakable pedigree. Today the 2008 is an infant, but great things are in store for those who can wait.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94+ points “Bright red-ruby. Cassis, blackberry, violet and sweet oak on the nose. Sweet, juicy and imploded, with terrific verve to the urgent flavors of dark berries and bitter chocolate. Elegant, penetrating and strong, with the cut and verve to support a long and graceful evolution in bottle. Finishes with oustanding lift. “For us, the best time to drink wines is between 10 and 15 years after the vintage, whether Barolo, Burgundy or even Champagne,” noted Giacomo Conterno. “At that stage they have all the elements: fruit, acidity, tertiary character, all the characteristics of the soil. After 20 years, nearly all wines are dominated by their tertiary character.””
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Vissoux’s Undervalued Beauties
Pierre-Marie Chermette’s Domaine du Vissoux wines are a great value; the quality is uncompromised and the wine is joyful and vibrant. From their simplest bottlings through their top crus, the wine expresses Beaujolais terroir in spades. The fruit is deep and pure, but it doesn’t go beyond perfectly ripe. The top wines age beautifully over a 5-15 year period but always seem to drink well on release.  We’ve never managed to avoid drinking the less expensive bottles to find out how they age. The wines are quite simply a near perfect reflection of what Beaujolais should be.  Chermette killed it in 2017 and these wines are as good as have ever been produced by the estate.Arriving Friday:

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux ‘Origine’ Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “A superb wine, the 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Origine unfurls in the glass with a classy bouquet of smoky cassis, plums and subtle notions of loamy soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, juicy and ample, with supple tannins, succulent acids and impressive concentration, concluding with a mouthwatering, flavorful finish”

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Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Coeur de Vendanges, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “A wine that would embarrass many more expensive bottlings from Moulin-à-Vent or Fleurie, Chermette’s 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Coeur de Vendanges bursts with aromas of crushed cassis, raspberries, potpourri and rich soil tones. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with melting tannins, a generous core of sappy fruit and a long, beautifully delineated finish. Intensely flavorful but refreshing, accessible but substantive, this is a fabulous wine that exemplifies the appeal of Beaujolais. Given its unabashed deliciousness and decidedly modest tariff, this wine must be one of French wine’s greatest values.”
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Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90+ points “Notes of crushed cassis, ripe plums and dried flowers introduce the 2017 Brouilly Pierreux, a crunchy, medium to full-bodied wine with good depth at the core, juicy balancing acids and a somewhat rustic chassis of structuring tannin. I’d be inclined to forget it in the cellar for a year or two and drink it over the following five.”

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Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie les Garants, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Garants is a warmer, southwest-facing site, and its bouquet is correspondingly richer and more sun-kissed than that of Chermette’s Poncié, exhibiting notes of ripe, plummy fruit, rich spices and subtle hints of loamy soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and expansive, with a generous core of fruit, framed by fine tannins.”Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Poncié hails from a southeast-facing, higher-altitude site that’s typically quite cool, and that’s reflected in its bright, perfumed bouquet of raspberries, rose petals and Griotte cherries, with suggestions of darker fruits emerging with air. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, pure and nicely concentrated, with fine tannins, a bright line of acidity and good length on the finish.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Moulin-a-Vent Les Trois Roches, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches is superb—and likely the king of the cellar chez Chermette this year—wafting from the glass with a beautiful bouquet of raspberries, potpourri, orange rind and rose petal. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and supple, with the most depth and amplitude of any wine in the portfolio and the most held in reserve, too. This is a fantastic expression of Moulin-à-Vent from one of Beaujolais’s greatest winemakers, and it comes warmly recommended.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Saint Amour, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Nick Stock-Jamessuckling.com 93 points “Rich aromas of poached strawberries and pastries, as well as pomegranate and blood oranges. Really fresh. The palate has a very plush and lively strawberry core. Raspberries, too. Juicy, sapid appeal. Drink now or hold.”

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