Midweek Vinopolpick 4-19-17

New April Sales; Wear Pink, Drink Pink, Think About Spring; Louis Martini: Monte Rosso and Beyond; Guigal’s La La Land; Lopez Heredia 1961; Staff Picks; Great Guigal Condrieu; New Reviews: 2012 Brunello; April Sale Spotlight: Reynvaan;


New April Sales!

Even Better Prices on Conterno and Biale!

As the weather heats up, so do our prices!  We took some great prices for sought after wines and made them some of the absolute lowest in the country! Quantities are limited to what we have in stock, so if you’ve been after any of these gems, don’t delay!

Giacomo Conterno ‘Cerretta’, Barolo DOCG 2012 750ML ($249.95) Was $199, Now $189!
Wine Spectator 96 points “A wealth of cherry flavor is surrounded by cut grass, tar, tobacco and iron notes in this complex, intense red. There is plenty of tension and a long aftertaste of licorice, tar and mineral. Balanced yet austere, this needs time to integrate fully. Best from 2023 through 2042.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2012 Barolo Cerretta is intriguing to taste next to the Francia, as it is much more shut down and affected by its recent bottling. Today the tannins are searing and large-grained, a characteristic this wine did not show from barrel. The clay-rich soils in Cerretta tend to give a broader style of Barolo compared to Francia, where limestone is prevalent, and that is very much what comes through today. Hints of dark red cherry, plum, smoke, leather, tobacco and licorice struggle to emerge from a wall of tannin. Today, the Cerretta is a brute, with little of the perfume and finesse it showed in cask. Readers will have to be patient. The only question is how much.
Wine Advocate 94 points “To be released in October 2016, the 2012 Barolo Cerretta opens to a profound and buoyant bouquet that is particularly driven by menthol freshness, as well as pretty nuances of balsam herb and forest fruit with licorice, tilled earth and truffle. The wine is balanced and ethereal. It’s so difficult to achieve this level of aromatic definition (especially in a warm year like 2012), but Roberto Conterno has done so with a deft hand. This is a complete expression of Barolo with aromatic intensity that is matched by an enduring sense of structure and medium-weight appeal.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Giacomo Conterno Francia Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2012 750ml ($219.95) Was $189, Now $175!
Antonio Galloni 94-97 points “The 2012 Barolo Francia is dark, virile and intense, with a huge center of fruit to match its distinctly brooding personality. Today, the 2012 also comes across as quite closed in on itself, but there is a level of pure depth here that is absolutely compelling. Conterno has decided not to bottle a Monfortino, so there is good reason to think the bottled Francia has the potential to be stellar.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Since the 2010 vintage, this wine is named Francia (not Cascina Francia) to keep with the new Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (or official cru naming) in Barolo and Barbaresco. The 2012 Barolo Francia is a seductive and silky expression that flows gracefully over the palate with power and determination. The nose is expressive, and decidedly more articulate than many of the more muted wines made by neighboring estates in this warm vintage. The quality of the mouthfeel is of special interest. This beautiful Barolo already shows stunning texture, richness and integrity, despite this very early preview tasting. I tasted this wine in barrel shortly before bottling.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel, Napa Valley 750ML ($59.95) Was $44, Now $38!
“Dark color, ripe aromatics and juicy acidity. The nose is full of vibrant black cherry, strawberries, crème fresh, dried flowers, brown and black spices and bread pudding. The entry is soft and weighty and gives way to supple round tannins.”–Winery Notes

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

Don’t forget, we have complete list of our April Sale wines at the end of this newsletter!
Read more and save more!


Pink Is In

New Rosé Arrivals From France

Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Le Clos Peyrassol’ Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
Importer Notes “2016 is the first year we are offering this special cuvee. It is made from a single parcel which is equally planted to Cinsault and Tibouren (a touch of Rolle makes it into this cuvee as well). The soil is a mix of clay and limestone with a lot of large rocks on the surface. The site has a bit of depression which helps more even ripening, since the soil holds a little more water than other parcels.  The 2016 is the palest of the three roses, with a very silvery salmon hue.  At the moment of tasting the nose was a tad firm, showing flinty mineral notes. The palate is quite rich and dense with an almost white Burgundy presence. The fruits lean a little sweeter than the other cuvées, with hints of pear and passion fruit. Even so, the wine is completely dry and has a super-long mineral finish. It’s a great rosé that has the potential to age, and we hope some of you keep a few bottles to drink over the next several years.”

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

Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($89.95) $79 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose, Provence 2016 3L ($199.95) $169 special
Importer note “An elite cuvée from the Côtes de Provence appellation known for its brilliance in this category. The Château bottling is more full-bodied, more restrained, quite dignified; an elegant wine that should be married to the finest catches of the sea. Mostly Cinsault, with Grenache, Syrah and a touch of Rolle.”

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

Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Importer note “Our workhorse rosé. The Commanderie cuvée is always a pale rose color, fresh and lively on the palate, nicely dry with a mineral finish. It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, with a touch of Ugni Blanc.”

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

Domaine de Bagnol Cassis Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($79.95) $66 special
Importer Notes–“The Rosé is produced from several parcels that comprise slightly less than 7 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards are clay and limestone, situated on a gentle slope with a north – northwest exposure. The blend is Grenache (55%), Mourvedre (31%) and Cinsault (14%). This Rosé is vinified by “pressurage direct, the must is chilled to 12 degrees Celsius, the wine ferments at 18 degrees Celsius until it is completely dry; then, the wine is bottled during the first three months of the following year after a light filtration.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose, Loire 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
“Traditional vinification with low temperature fermentation & maturation on fine lees in tank. Pale color, dry, but fruity with aromas of white currant, apricot & peach. Bottled unfiltered. 100% Pinot Noir.”–Importer Notes

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Chateau la Mascaronne Cotes de Provence Quat’Saisons Rose, Provence 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
VinopolNote: La Mascaronne is the true Miraval. Yes Miraval, that delightful $18 Provence Rose that tasted like $30; until the winery was acquired by a certain Hollywood couple and the new management proceeded to stick the wine in a bulbous bottle and hike the price to $30+. But we have a secret to share with you. The original owner of Miraval kept his best vineyard, and that is La Mascarrone.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Louis Martini: Monte Rosso and Beyond

One of the Wonders of the Wine World

In the 1880’s you couldn’t rent a backhoe for a few weeks.  There were no gas-powered jackhammers or heavy machines to let you turn a steep hillside with almost no soil into a vineyard that over a hundred and twenty years later would produce some of the finest wines in Northern California.  No, you had to do it all with your hands or horses. As Bedrock’s Morgan Twain-Peterson says “putting in the 350-acre vineyard must have been one of the greatest feats of wine-growing history.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the location, the Monte Rosso vineyard sits on the Sonoma side of the Mayacamas Mountains, planted between 900 and 1200 feet of elevation.  The ‘soils’ here are volcanic—with rocks giving a distinctly red character to the soil (and giving the vineyard its name). It has some of the oldest vines in the US, with Cabernet from 1938 and Zinfandel going back to the original planting.  The wines are every bit as distinctive and amazing as you’d hope—they taste of the place more than the grapes, in a lot of ways.  Powerful but graceful, aromatic and vibrant, these are wines to stock up on.

We have two different wines from Louis Martini (who bought the vineyard in the 1930’s and planted the Cabernet) that just arrived.  If you consider yourself a California Cabernet or Zinfandel drinker, you owe it to yourself to stock up.

Arriving Friday, April 21st:

Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
James Suckling 95 points “I am always a fan of this wine with its dusty, red-tile and rust character, which underlines the fruit and ripe tannins. Full-bodied, powerful and tannic, all the way up to the flavorful finish. Give it three or four years to soften.”
Robert Parker 93+ points “A 15- to 20-year wine in terms of its aging potential is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard. A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot, aged 27 months in a combination of French and American oak, the wine is dense, full-bodied, with notes of dusty, loamy soil interwoven with crème de cassis, blackberry, toasty oak and hints of chocolate and espresso. This is another full-throttle effort (15.2% natural alcohol), richly layered, with moderate tannin. It is accessible now but capable of lasting 25 or more years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Vineyard Gnarly Vine Zinfandel 2014 750ML ($54.95) $41.90 special
Robert Parker 95 points “Another fabulous wine, although there’s not much of it, is the 2014 Zinfandel Gnarly Vine Monte Rosso Vineyard from this fabulous first-growth vineyard in Sonoma. This is a blend of 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah aged in 66% new French oak, 16% new American oak and the rest used. Only 500 cases were made of this whopper, which is full-bodied, has great intensity with a stunning nose of black fruits, pepper, Mediterranean herbs and spice. Good natural acidity gives focus and vibrancy to this wine that comes from vines as old as 120 years. This is a full-bodied classic Zinfandel at its very best, from one of the great vineyards in California. Finished alcohol is 16.2%, so this is a heck of a mouthful.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

We also have two of the top Louis Martini Cabernets from Napa: the prestigious Lot 1 bottling.  This is the top wine that the venerable winery makes.  Sourced from vineyards in Stags Leap and Atlas Peak, these wines are always incredibly high scoring.  The 2012 and ’13 are no exception, with 96+ and 100 points from Parker, respectively. At these prices, they won’t stick around long…

Louis M. Martini Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Robert Parker 96+ points “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 1 was aged 21 months in 96% new French oak and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, with nearly half of the fruit source coming from Atlas Peak and the rest from various sites in Napa Valley – primarily Stags Leap. This is typical of the vintage: it was abundant (784 cases produced), dramatic and flamboyant in terms of the style of wine produced. As I have told many readers in other reviews, 2012 is somewhat reminiscent of 2002 Napa Cabernets in their lushness, forwardness and drama. This is a big wine (15.5% alcohol) with great intensity and plenty of crème de cassis, giving it a rather classic aromatic and flavor profile, a full-bodied, unctuous mouthfeel, terrific purity and a long finish with no evidence of any new oak, which tells you how the fruit has absorbed all of the wood. To reiterate, it was a big crop, with 784 cases produced, making it the fourth largest cuvée of any of these Lot 1s in the vertical. Drink it over the next 25-30 years.”

Louis M. Martini Lot No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($299.95) $269 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 100 points “A perfect wine, that seems to have gone from one strength to another since I first tasted it, the 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Lot 1 is absolutely amazing wine. It was aged 21 months in 87% new French oak, finished at 15.3% alcohol and was another abundant vintage, as this lot produced 850 cases, which is even more than 2012 and slightly less than 2003 and 2014. The wine has an inky purple color, a gorgeous nose of graphite, blueberry liqueur intermixed with cassis, blackberry, espresso roast, chocolate and graphite. Dense and incredibly intense with good acidity (slightly lower pH than the 2012, reflected in the character of the wine), fabulous purity and a finish that goes on for close to 50+ seconds. This could well turn out to be the greatest wine ever made at the Louis Martini Winery and that is saying something. It has at least 30-50+ years of aging potential and is clearly a compelling effort from this historic and iconic winery in Napa.”



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Staff Picks

Jose Pastor is one of my two go-to importers of Spanish wines, and he’s committed to extremely traditional wines made with care by small growers.  Seeing his name on the back label of the Akutain Rioja piqued my interest in the wines and they don’t disappoint, at least if you’re looking for well-made Tempranillo without a lot of the BS that goes along with modern Spanish wine.  These are not 105++ point blockbuster wines, but I prefer my block intact, so the Akutain wines do really well for me.  Their entry level Rioja is as wonderful a wine for spring as I’d want.  Some body, a little tannin, but not too much.  Mostly pretty Tempranillo fruit.

Bodega Akutain ‘Cosecha’, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles available
Grapelive 90 points “The Akutain Cosecha Rioja is beautifully fresh and lively with impressive purity and style. It’s mostly Tempranillo with a small amount of Garnacha that was fermented and aged in vats using native yeasts and comes from high elevation vines. Juan Peñagaricano (Akutain) is the winemaker and grower here. He is a traditionalist Rioja old school producer, heavily influenced by the grand Bodegas of Cvne and La Rioja Alta. He is tiny by comparison and handcrafts only a small amount of wine from three estate plots in Rioja Alta near Haro on clay-calcareous hillsides planted to mainly Tempranillo with Garnacha and Viura. I adore the vibrant unoaked Cosecha 2015 for its direct fruit, vibrancy and pure form. It’s a vivid terroir-driven beauty to enjoy young and often! Bright ruby and with light earthy tones, the Akutain Cosecha offers crushed blackberries, tart currants, cherry and dusty plum fruits with light mineral notes and spices with hints of chalk/stone, anise and lilacs. This is easy to love Rioja that has a bit of a Cotes du Rhone like feel, but certainly speaks of its Tempranillo character with a medium body and soft tannins. Imported by Jose Pastor Selections, Akutain is a label to look for delivering lots of value and old world charm, especially this 2015 Akutain Cosecha which will be great with a slight chill and with tapas, or summer picnics or BBQ parties as well as with almost anything you prepare on a Tuesday night. Drink now.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

I keep finding myself drawn back to this little table wine from the Langeudoc. It looks ridiculously simple, with a label that was drawn by the owner’s children, but the wine is an absolute gem. From 60+ year old vines of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, the wine has a texture but no heaviness. It has flavor and freshness, but a subtle depth that creeps up on the finish. The vineyards are about 40km from the Mediterranean, so there is ripeness and warmth but the cooling wind coming from the Causse du Larzac brings dramatic temperature variation between night and day and balance is restored. It is a delicious little quaffer that will raise eyebrows among your friends.

Mas d’Amile Le Petitou, IGP Mont Baudile 2014 750ML ($19.95) $16 special

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Great Guigal

Classic Condrieu

From the three lieux-dits of Cote Chatillon, Colombier and Coteau de Chery:
E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, Rhone 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special, ETA September 2017
Wine Advocate 99 points “Easily one of the greatest Condrieu I’ve ever tasted is the 2015 Condrieu La Doriane. A wine that needs to be tasted to be believed, it possesses a huge nose of toasted brioche, liquid rocks, apricot, flower oil and salty minerality. Unctuous, full-bodied, massively rich, yet also elegant and graceful, with beautiful freshness, enjoy this tour de force over the coming 5-6 years.”

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

E. Guigal Condrieu, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special, ETA May 2017
Wine Advocate 95 points “Guigal’s 2015 Condrieu is a blockbuster that, if not for its big brother, would be one of the wines of the vintage. Aged in one-third new barrels and two-thirds in tank, it’s a rich, unctuous, thrillingly textured beauty that has plenty of orange blossom, flower oil, tangerine and peach. Fruit-loaded, with just a touch of minerality, it should be drunk over the coming 2-4 years.”


New Wine Spectator & Wine Enthusiast Reviews

2012 Brunello Edition

The Wine Spectator and the Wine Enthusiast just joined the growing number of professional reviewers heaping praise onto the 2012 vintage of Brunello.

“[The 2012 Brunello] vintage marked a return to finesse, enticing aromas and generally lower alcohol levels when compared to other recent releases. The 2012s even have more consistent quality across the denomination than the highly acclaimed 2010s.” – Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast

“Every once in a while, when visiting a specific wine region, I taste so many good bottles that I find myself thinking I might just turn in my author’s pen and start making wine… Most recently, this happened during my tastings of the 2012 Brunellos, when I tried one delicious example after another. Even more impressive, the 2012 vintage for Brunello stands out for its consistently high quality. I found more good to outstanding examples than in any past vintage” – Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media

“2012 Brunello di Montalcino promises to be an exciting vintage with considerable extract and richness.” – Monica Larner, Wine Advocate

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($59.95) $46 pre-arrival special, ETA Mid-May
Wine Spectator 96 points– Highly Recommended “Cherry, leather and iron notes mark this suave, elegant red. A bit reticent now, but the fruit is fresh and long on the finish. The dense tannins leave a mouthcoating impression, but this opens up beautifully over a few hours. Best from 2021 through 2035
Wine Enthusiast 94 points– Top 20 Brunello “Marking the winery’s 40th harvest, this vintage offers classic Sangiovese fragrance: wild berry, blue flower, baking spice and a whiff of new leather. The palate is sleek and elegant, doling out juicy red cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon and star anise, framed by lithe, polished tannins and fresh acidity. It’s loaded with finesse and tempting now but will be even better with a few more years in bottle. Drink 2019–2026.”

Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) $82.80 pre-arrival special, ETA Mid-May
Wine Spectator 94 points “Precise balance sets the stage for cherry, black currant, violet and tobacco flavors in this smooth, intense red. The tannins are present yet well-integrated, and this persists with echoes of fruit and tobacco. Reveals an element of spice on the aftertaste. Best from 2020 through 2035.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price is $99

Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) $77 pre-arrival special, ETA October
Wine Enthusiast 97 points– Cellar Selection – Top 20 Brunello “Balancing power and grace, this wine delivers alluring aromas and flavors of ripe black cherry, raspberry compote, grilled herb, licorice and tar. Vibrant acidity and firm, velvety tannins provide freshness and structure, while a hint of pipe tobacco closes the lingering finish. Drink 2020–2032.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This finds good equilibrium between the ripe berry, cherry, tobacco, iron and tea notes. Firm and chewy, with hints of leather and under-brush on the long aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2035.”


April Sales Featured Highlight: Reynvaan

Way back in 2007, who would have thought a start-up could rocket into the first ranks of Walla Walla wine? Considering the quality geology, geography, and talent in the area, it hardly came as a surprise for Reynvaan. Family-owned and -run, this is a hands-on operation that dedicated itself from the start to producing the finest wines from some of the region’s best vineyard sites. Reynvaan owns two vineyards: In the Rocks recalls the Rhone valley with its rocky ancient riverbed soil, while the Foothills in the Sun vineyard enjoys South-Southwest exposure on one of Washington’s highest-elevation vineyards, at 1600 feet: good ripening in the day, with acidities preserved at night. Once in the winery, the pursuit of terroir and Washington style becomes Reynvaan’s modus operandi. Are the wines good? Well, Reynvaan now has a waiting list, but we are a proud authorized dealer, and  have now lowered our already low prices even further!

Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Hills Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($79.95) Was $69, Now $61.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Another beauty is the 2014 Syrah In the Hills, which is this estate’s take on a Cote Rotie and incorporates 5% co-fermented Viognier. Raspberries, bacon fat, violets and olive all emerge from this medium-bodied, elegant, ethereally textured beauty. It too will drink beautifully for 10-15 years.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $69.99
The average price is $74

Reynvaan Family Vineyards The Unnamed Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($79.95) Was $59, Now $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “Incorporating 8% Grenache Blanc and from the Rocks region of Walla Walla, the 2014 The Unnamed Syrah offers a unique profile with pretty notes of white peach (from the Grenache Blanc no doubt), dried violets, plums and bouquet garni. Medium to full-bodied, supple, layered and beautifully balanced, it should shine right out of the gate, yet also evolve gracefully.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $64

Reynvaan Family Vineyards The Contender Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($99.95) Was $89, Now $59 special, 31 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Checking in as a mix of 94% Syrah and 6% Marsanne, the 2014 Syrah The Contender is another elegant, medium to full-bodied, layered wine from this estate that offers plenty of texture and length. Blackberries, violets, plums, pepper and hints of iron all emerge from this beauty, which can be enjoyed on release or cellared for a decade or more.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $79

To see the complete list of sale wines, read on or click here to go directly to our web store.