MidWeek VinopolPick 5-23-17

Karthauserhof in 2014; Rose! Of! The! Day!; Petrolo – Tuscan Royalty; 2009 Pauillac; Classic Champagnes Return; L’Edre-Pride of Roussillon; Insider Burgundy Trading; Throwback Chateauneuf <$25; Staff Picks; Natural Burgundy; 2015 Foreau Arriving Soon; 2015 Graillot St. Joseph


Karthauserhof in 2014:

Lean Mean Riesling Machines

The thing that we key on with recent German Riesling vintages is acidity—Germany’s had no shortage of sun in the last 15+ years and so when we argue over what our favorite years have been, acidity is key.  In that regard, 2014 is a sleeper—it’s got less fruit than 2015, but if you like bright and fresh wines from the Mosel (or Ruwer), then you should be buying as much 2014 as you can.

One winery that seemed to do exceptionally well in the 2014 vintage was Karthauserhof, in the Ruwer.  They’re known for wines that are steely and firm, so a vintage like 2014 played right into their style. The dry wines are just on the right side of austere and the off-dry wines are incredible—there’s a mountain of tension between the fruit and the tanginess of the vintage’s acid. These are incredible wines, made by a supremely talented winemaker, that you need to check out.

Weingut Karthauserhof Alte Reben Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Spatlese Trocken, Mosel 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 21 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2014 Riesling Trocken Alte Reben (officially Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese trocken, AP #8) offers a deep and ripe, as well as very fine and elegant bouquet. Intense and mineral on the palate, this is a stunningly complex and persistent Riesling with power, structure, finesse and a lingering salinity and complexity. Good aging potential.”
John Gilman, View From The Cellar #56: ” The 2014 Alte Reben Riesling Trocken from Weingut Karthäuserhof is an outstanding example of the vintage. This excellent wine delivers a fine bouquet bread fruit, pink grapefruit, wild yeasts, lovely smokiness, a fine base of slate minerality and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with outstanding focus and grip, a fairly primary personality and superb length and balance on the young, but very promising finish.

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Weingut Karthauserhof ‘Ruwer’ Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2014 750ML ($34.95) $21.90 special, 24 bottles available
Jean Fisch & David Rayer, Mosel Fine Wines #28: “This delivers a clean feel of grapefruit, herbs, spices and fresh fruits. The wine is still on the sharp and reduced side on the palate and is best left alone until next year to give it a chance to flesh out and gain in aromatic zest and fruity presence. 2016-2018”
John Gilman, View From The Cellar #56: “The basic estate Riesling Trocken from Karthäuserhof is really an excellent basic bottling from the 2014 vintage, as it offers up impressive focus and cut in its medium-bodied, dry and quite complex format. The lovely nose is still on the young side, but deep and pure, as it wafts from the glass in a mix of grapefruit, wild yeasts, lemongrass, petrol, slate and dried flowers. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, crisp and still fairly primary in personality, with an impressive core of fruit, excellent cut and grip for the vintage and a long, youthful and beautifully balanced finish. 2015-2035.”

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Weingut Karthauserhof Tyrells Edition Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 23 bottles available
Jean Fisch & David Rayer, Mosel Fine Wines #28: “Already at this early stage, this gorgeously light wine (with only 11.5% of alcohol) delivers beautiful scents of cassis, white flowers and minerals on the nose and a superbly playful feel on the palate. The finish is long and deliciously tart. Despite the hint of fruits, this is still only at the beginning of its life and lovers of racy Riesling will really enjoy this most in a few years’ time. 2019-2029”

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Weingut Karthauserhof Schieferkristall Riesling Feinherb, Mosel 2014 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 22 bottles available
“Reflecting a selection of lots that finished with more than 10 grams of residual sugar and under 10% alcohol, this delivers juicy white and redcurrant tinged with sage and marjoram, leading to a buoyant and refreshing finish of impressive sheer penetration. Its higher acidity vis-à-vis this collection’s dry wines is experienced as positive vivacity. It’s entirely possible that greater complexity will emerge with some time in bottle.”–David Schildknecht–Vinous Media

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Weingut Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2014 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 35 bottles available
Weingut Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2014 1.5L ($89.95) $69 special, 4 magnums available
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2014 Riesling Karthäuserhofberg Kabinett is a very clear, bright and delicate Riesling of great finesse and lightness. Lovely juiciness. The acidity is rather smooth, respectively and perfectly integrated into the round and elegant texture. This Riesling is very clear, bright and light. with great finesse and lightness. Ruwer style. Bottled with 8% alcohol and 44 grams of residual sugar.”
John Gilman, View From The Cellar #56: “The 2014 Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Kabinett is a terrific young Kabinett in this vintage that has produced some many excellent examples of this Prädikat level. The wine wafts from the glass in a very impressively complex and utterly classic constellation of green apple, a touch of white cherry, complex minerality, a touch of petrol, white flowers, a bit of wild yeasts, lemon zest and a whiff of ocean breeze in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium- bodied, mineral and beautifully filigreed, with a nice core of fruit, bright, ripe acids, excellent focus and grip and a very long, dancing and youthful finish of excellent potential. A paradigm of its Prädikat level. 2015-2035+”

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Weingut Karthauserhof Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2014 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 24+ bottles available
Weingut Karthauserhof Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2014 1.5L ($99.95) $69 special, 3 magnums available
Wine Advocate 90+ points “The 2014 Riesling Karthäuserhofberg Spätlese (AP #9) offers a very clear and complex, mineral-scented bouquet of ripe white fruits. Juicy and piquant on the palate, with grip, raciness and the lean and crystalline Karthäuserhofberg character, this is a pretty complex and persistent Spätlese with grip and a prominent crispiness. It should be cellared for at least another 5-10 years. Very good aging potential.”

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Weingut Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2014 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 12 bottles available
Weingut Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2014 375ML ($39.95) $24 special, 21 half-bottles available
Weingut Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthauserhofberg Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2014 1.5L ($119.95) $79 special, 6 magnums available
John Gilman 94 points “I did not have a chance to taste the 2014 Auslese AP #12 on my trip last March and was very happy to have a chance to visit it prior to launching into the excellent vertical of Grosses Gewächs generously prepared by the estate. This is an absolutely superb bottle of young Auslese, wafting from the glass in a gently glazed blend of pear, white cherry, honeycomb, salty slate, orange zest and a pungent floral topnote redolent of cherry blossoms. On the palate the wine is fullish, racy and very long, with excellent focus and cut, excellent complexity and a long, vibrant and very poised finish. Classy juice. 2018-2050. 94.
Wine Advocate 89+ points “Deeply yellow in color, the 2014 Riesling Karthäuserhofberg Auslese (AP #12) displays an intense yet pretty clear and piquant, yellow-fleshed fruit and botrytis on the nose (pineapples). Sweet and concentrated on the palate, with a racy acidity (10.8 grams per liter of total acidity!) and bittersweet grapefruit flavors in the finish, this is a classic Ruwer Auslese. It is dense and pretty rich – the sugar free extract of 39.9 grams per liter – but neither too sweet (67 grams per liter of residual sugar) nor too opulent (8% alcohol). You can easily drink it, but shouldn’t do so before 2020. The aftertaste detects that the botrytis could have been selected even more carefully.”
Jean Fisch & David Rayer, Mosel Fine Wines #28: “Vineyard selections of botrytis-affected grapes only delivered 500 liters of Auslese harvested with a comparatively low 94° Oechsle. This Auslese starts off with a beautifully complex nose of fresh fruits, with pineapple, star anise and spices providing depth to the experience. The wine is superbly playful on the palate, where mouth-watering acidity adds to the aromatic precision. A riper side comes through in the finish tough, with almond, saffron and honey giving the wine a definitive Auslese GK style. 2024-2044”

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Rosé! Of! The! Day!

Tavel is one of the most heralded rosés in the world for a reason.  Few others deliver as much richness and power with as much levity and drinkability.  Manissy makes one that we love, both on it’s own merit and also for the price, which exceptional.  This is a wine that you want to drink by the case

Chateau de Manissy Tavel Cuvee des Lys Rose, Rhone 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Winery note “Organic. This strong aromatic wine, prolongs its freshness by an elegant and harmonious finish. Start your evening with this young and modern drink!”
Grenache, Clairette, Cinsault, Bourboulenc

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Petrolo: Tuscan Royalty

The legacy for wine at Petrolo is certainly older than most; there are examples of Etruscan names associated with the area dating back 3000 years. The pedigree on the wines goes back to 1715 when a Medici Duke decreed that the Val d’Arno di Sopra was one of only four specific areas in which grape growing was recommended especially for wine production. The fact that the mention of “French Grapes” having been cultivated alongside Sangiovese as early as 1815 makes it seem only natural that the most famous wine of Petrolo is their Galatrona; a hands-down stunner comprised of 100% Merlot. This is one for the Massetto or Pomerol fans. It’s rich with chocolate, black fruit and dusty leather and mushroom; Galatrona is a wine of serious nature, but isn’t brooding or heavy. Even the 2010, which has years to tell its entire story, isn’t beyond enjoyability even now. For those who love Super-Tuscans, this is a bargain of the highest order.

The other featured prearrival from Petrolo is the Inaro, the entry level, but certainly drinkable rosso from Petrolo. Formerly known as the Toscano IGT, the rebranded Inaro is the tribute to the local wines being made in the hills around Petrolo. The wine is not complicated, and this is a good thing. It is juicy, deep and lightly spiced; not a shy wine, but not one to overwhelm your palate. Inaro is clearly riding the coattails of the rest of the Petrolo lineup, and the trickle down of fruit, oak and skill makes it possible to enjoy a wine that is clearly reflecting a luxury pedigree, at an affordable price. The boldness will surprise and please you.

In Stock Now

Petrolo Torrione Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2009 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 18 bottles available
James Suckling 94 points “Aromas of lightly stewed fruit, with hints of fresh herbs and spices. Full bodied, with soft tannins and a fruity finish. This is balanced and long, with a caressing finish. Best ever. Mostly Sangiovese, with a hint of Merlot. Better after 2013” JS

Petrolo Torrione Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2010 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special, 6 magnums available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2010 Torrione is exception and a very reasonable value. It opens with elegant richness and soft tones of black cherry, licorice, spice and dark leather. The style is opulent and confident for this mostly Sangiovese-based wine. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”

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Arriving in June

Petrolo ‘Inarno’ Rosso Valdarno di Sopra 2012 750ML ($19.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Petrolo ‘Inarno’ Rosso Valdarno di Sopra 2012 750ML ($219.95) $149 pre-arrival special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 89 points “(100% sangiovese): Good deep red. Expressive aromas of candied raspberry, licorice, tobacco and underbrush. Dense and sweet on the palate, with lovely depth to its raspberry and superripe red cherry flavors lifted by bright acidity. Finishes smooth, long and light on its feet.”

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Arriving in September

Petrolo Galatrona Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2009 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points “Amazing aromas of black truffles, crushed blackberries and dark chocolate. Dried flowers too. Full-bodied, with wonderful fruit that is layered and gorgeous. The finish is fruity, long and stylish. Give it three years to come together. Best after 2013.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2009 Galatrona is a beautifully centered wine. It shows terrific energy, freshness and vibrancy from start to finish. Cassis, blackberries, mint, spices and new leather are all woven together nicely in the 2009. Firm yet well-integrated tannins support the finish. Although quite overt today, the 2009 appears to have the structure to age well for a number of years. The 2009 is a serious wine with a bright future. Both bottles I tasted were immensely pleasing. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”

Petrolo Galatrona Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 96 points “A massive expression of Merlot, the 2010 Galatrona is heaven-sent. The layers are infinite here spanning dark fruit, spice and chocolate. I fall in love with this wine year after year. The mouth is caressed with stirring complexity and fine tannins that feel silky and smooth. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of black olives, violets and fresh fruit follow through to a full body, with a dense palate of dark fruits and olives. Long and polished. Handmade wine. You sense it. Pure Merlot sensation.”


2009 Pauillac

A Pair of Grand-Puys

The 2009 Bordeaux vintage is one of the best in recent memory for drinking young.  The warm year produced wines that will age for a long time but feature plush fruit that makes the wines relatively attractive now, 7 years from harvest.

We’re featuring two wines today that need little introduction.  Both are classic wines from Pauillac—the most classic of Left Bank regions.  They both feature rich currant-accented Cabernet fruit and plenty of polish and finesse to go along with their power.  They’re arriving over the course of the next month or so, but unfortunately we only have a couple of cases of each to go around, so if they appeal to you, don’t wait.

Arriving May 26th:

Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse, Pauillac 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 93 points “A solid red, with raspberry and currant aromas and flavors. Full body, with solid tannins. Polished texture. Well crafted. Try after 2018.”

Arriving in June:

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac 2009 750ML ($149.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 95 points “Performing better from bottle than it did from cask (and comparable to their wines 2005, 2000, 1990 and 1982), this is a great classic from Xavier Borie’s estate situated on the back roads west of the town of Pauillac. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by hints of spring flowers, crushed rocks, black currants, cedar and earth/underbrush. Precise and elegant as well as backward and foreboding, it should put on weight in the bottle and evolve for two decades. Very concentrated as well as velvety-textured, it is a beauty of finesse, balance, purity and nobility. It will benefit from 5-7 more years of bottle age.”RP

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Recent Champagne Re-Arrivals

A Bunch of Classics, Back in Stock!

We wanted to high light a few recently re-arrived Champagnes, but don’t forget you can visit our website, www.vinopoliswineshop.com, to see all 65 bottlings in stock now!

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV Brut Réserve from the Bérêche family is a recent disgorgement based on the 2014 vintage. As always, the Brut Réserve is rich, creamy and inviting, all qualities that make it an excellent choice for drinking upon release. That said, the Brut Réserve also has a track record of aging gracefully. Dried pear, hazelnut, spice and dried flowers build into the voluptuous, resonant finish. Bérêche’s Brut Réserve is one of the finest grower Champagnes readers will find in its price range. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.”

Bereche et Fils Reflet d’Antan Brut, Champagne NV (‘11) 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
“This wine is the result of several-year aging in several demi-muids (600-liter barrels). A high-quality wine over several generations. Reflet d’Antan is a unique moment, a vinous sensation, a feeling of richness and fullness, always with the chalky final as a signature. Only wines from perpetual blending system 30% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 35% Pinot Meunier.”–Winery note

Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The (2013) Extra Brut Resonance, is wonderfully fleshy, open-knit and expressive. Creamy and ample the Resonance boasts impeccable balance in this vintage. The Resonance, one of Marie Courtin’s 100% Pinot Noir Champagnes, can at times be angular and austere upon release. Happily, that is not the case here at all. Hints of smoke, slate, dried pear and red stone fruits built into the expressive, open-knit finish. The 2013 Resonance is one of the most impressive and complete young Champagnes I have tasted from proprietor Dominique Moreau. Disgorged: January 2016.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Gastronome, Champagne 2010 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2010 Cuvée Gastronome is a classic Gimonnet Champagne built on tension and energy. Brisk citrus, floral and mineral notes abound in this expressive, mid-weight Champagne. The 2010 is a bit compact and less generous texturally than some of the other wines in this range, but it offers impeccable balance not to mention considerable personality. Fruit sources are Cramant, Chouilly, Oger (all Grand Crus), plus Cuis and Vertus (both 1er Crus). Dosage is 6.5 grams per liter.”

Chartogne-Taillet Le Rose Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 91 points “A crowd-pleasing rosé, this offers finely tuned, mouthwatering acidity paired with fruit-forward flavors of candied cherry and black currant, macerated plum, pastry dough and spiced nut. Displays lovely texture and a lingering finish. Drink now through 2020.” WS

Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “An explosion of flavor, with ripe nectarine, lemon curd, clover honey, jasmine and grilled nut notes set on a firm, fine china–like frame. Best from 2017 through 2025.”
James Suckling 93 points “A blend of 70% pinot noir and 30% chardonnay, this has a complex and sophisticated nose that delivers peach fruits and citrus, plus some bolder yellow plum fruits too. The palate is assertive, energetic and concentrated with peach and nectarine flavors met with lemony acidity. Long, really powerful Champagne here. Drink now or age on cork for three or more years.”


Domaine de l’Edre

Roussillon Delight!

It seems France’s Roussillon region was made to grow fine wine. Proximity to the vine’s favorite sea, the Mediterranean, and planted in classic limestone-clay soil, winemaking talent thrives in this area. Founded by Jacques Castany and Pascal Dieunidou in 2002 from inherited vines, Domaine de l’Edre produces ripe yet balanced and stylish wines of terrific character and terroir definition. Here’s the perfect match to a leg of lamb or even a pot au feu, to veggie dishes rich in grilled peppers and eggplant, and of course to charcuterie and cheese. Celebrate the French way of good living by uncorking a bottle of L’Edre Roussillon!

Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Case-6 Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013 750ML ($299.95) $239 special (that’s only $39.83 per bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “One of the wines of the vintage is the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de l’Edre. While this cuvee had a rustic edge in the past, today it’s incredibly polished and pure, with brilliant aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, licorice, crushed flowers and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant and balanced, it’s a classic Roussillon that can be enjoyed today or cellared for a decade.”

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Insider Trading:

The Burgundy’s of

Domaine Desaunay-Bissey

The only way to get superior wine from Burgundy without paying an arm and a leg is to have better information than everyone else buying wines.  The quantities made are too small, and so the key is to find good producers that are overlooked, for whatever reason, and buy as much as possible before the rest of the world finds out.  The prototypical example for us is the wines of Desaunay-Bissey.

Bruno Desaunay, with his father-in-law Daniel Bissey, makes some of the most wonderful under the radar wines in Burgundy today.  The key to this is Bruno’s experience working with Dominique Laurent combined with some of the oldest vines (60-80 years old, depending) in each of the vineyards he works.  Vinification is light handed, with no more than 1/3rd new wood on these wines, and they also farm sustainably and use native yeasts for fermentation.

In Stock Now:

Bruno Desaunay-Bissey Chambolle Musigny La Combe d’Orveaux 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
VinopolNote: “From 90+ year old vines, farmed sustainably in the Combe d’Orveaux vineyard.  This vineyard is partially premier cru and partially village level, and the Desaunay-Bissey bottling is from the village section, which explains the pricing, but this wine always drinks like its nobler bretheren.”

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Bruno Desaunay-Bissey Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Belles Croix Vieilles Vignes 2014 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
VinopolNote: “From 60+ year old vines, farmed sustainably from the Belle Croix lieu-dit.  Rich, vibrant and classically Nuits.”

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Bruno Desaunay-Bissey Les Beaux Monts Vieilles Vignes, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
VinopolNote: “From 80+ year old vines, farmed sustainably.  Les Beaux-Monts is a premier cru vineyard that is just north of Richbourg and above Suchots and Echezeaux.  The Desaunay-Bissey vines are some of the oldest in the vineyard and represent an outstanding value for Vosne premier cru”

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Bruno Desaunay-Bissey Vosne-Romanee 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
VinopolNote: “From 80+ year old vines, farmed sustainably.  The bulk of the holdings of the estate are in the village of Vosne and the wines show the touch of someone who has lots of experience with these wines. A really superb villages level Vosne.”

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Throwback Chateauneuf

At Throwback Pricing:

Under $25/btl by the Case!

Peter Weygandt brings in some of the best wines from the southern Rhone (Charvin, Usseglio, Alary, Saladin, etc.) and so when he has a custome cuvee made for him, we’re intrigued to taste the result.  This wine, the “Cuvee Girard” is blended for Weygandt and this version, from the excellent 2014 vintage, reminds us of a good vintage of 90’s CdP. It’s got dark fruit and good earthiness while being fresh and a touch tannic on the palate—the mark of a great, ageworth Chateauneuf du Pape, though you can decant it and drink it young if you want.  The price is a bit of a throwback, too—under $25 by the case, which is going to be how you wanna buy this one. If you want to hop straight to our website to buy this one, just click here!

Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Girard, Rhone 2014 ($44.95) $28 special
Case-12 Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Girard, Rhone 2014 ($479.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 87-90 points “Similar to the classic cuvee, the 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvée Girard is a custom blend for importer Peter Weygandt. Showing a touch darker fruit and possibly more concentration, it has building tannin and a solid finish. It has outstanding potential.”

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The next best price is $38.99!


Staff Picks

A specific request for Pinot Grigio had me toting a bottle of the 2015 Terlato Pinot Grigio to a friend’s house. I was going in with low expectations, but was truly, pleasantly surprised; the freshness and zip to the acidity made this an easy drink on a hot day. The fruitiness was balanced perfectly between green apple and lightly tropical citrus notes. A wine designed for drinking and enjoying without worry.  –Fredric

Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2015 750ML ($24.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles available
The Tasting Panel 93 points “No doubt this prestigious region in northeast Italy shines when it comes to white wines; an envious position on the world wine stage. This pretty, crisp white certainly shows ripeness in its concentrated notes of pear, peach and grapefruit but its stoney frame is a nod to the iconic mineral rich sloped terraced vineyards responsible for its pizazz and charm. The finish is clean, punctuated with an apricot accent.”

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The average price is $20!

Nicolas Maillart’s driest Champagne, Brut Nature Zero Dosage, is also my favorite wild-card pairing when we’re not certain what will be on the menu. The pinot heavy wine practically crackles with minerality, fifth-gear acidity, and pops of citrus and apple peel. We took two bottles to a Midsummer crawfish boil, not knowing what else was to be on the menu. The wine sailed through cheese, fruit, succulent crawfish, and raspberry crisp with ice cream; it stalled on the pickled herring, but what can you do? That is what aquavit is for. As the wine warmed slightly, further aromas of apricots surprised us. Grower bubbles win again. – Andy

Nicolas Maillart ‘Zero Dosage’ Premier Cru Brut Nature, Champagne 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 26 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Yes, it’s dry, very dry. However, this well-made wine with its steely texture and tight character just needs some bottle age to give it the richness that is missing at the moment. It would be good with food now; give it at least a year in bottle after purchase to be even better.” WE

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I’ve tasted quite a few Puligny wines, and for this I am always grateful. There isn’t a single expression of Chardonnay more pure and nuanced than from this village. The 2014 Fougeray de Beauclair Puligny Montrachet Les Meix, priced at $49, is one of the best values of the vintage. Les Meix is cattycorner from Bienvenues Batards Montrachet, and across the street from Les Pucelles, and the influence from the neighbors is clear. From the start, the wine shows elegance and balance; earthy and floral like an orchard in spring with subtly spiced aromas like a pear galette. The wine is definitely direct on the palate, yet maintains the polish that Puligny is known for. The finish lingers but isn’t heavy at all. A great introduction to the gorgeous terroir of Puligny. -Andy

Fougeray de Beauclair Puligny-Montrachet Les Meix, Cote de Beaune 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 25 bottles available
Burghound 88-91 points “A classic Puligny nose displays notes of acacia blossom, essence of pear and lemon peel hints. The mouth feel of the middle weight flavors is notably finer with both good volume and punch as well as fine depth and persistence on the agreeably dry and focused finale. This too is a quality effort for its level.”


Natural Burgundy:

A Rare Thing Indeed

The Fresh, Natural Wines of Claire Naudin

Burgundy is not a stronghold of the natural wine movement—the stakes are generally too high for producers to start working without sulfur and some percentage of new oak is desired by most consumers of the wines.  That makes the wines that Claire Naudin makes at her family domaine (Naudin-Ferrand) really exceptional.  She works in a very traditional fashion—lots of whole cluster fermentation with native yeasts, minimal to no sulfur until bottling.  The wines rest on their primary lees and are not racked except to blend barrels before bottling and they’re never fined and only occasionally lightly filtered.

The resulting wines are delicate, fresh and complex, with a surprising amount going on in the lower tier wines.  One of the hallmarks of the domain is how well they elevate their lower tier bottlings (which, in our mind, is the sign of a great producer).  We’re getting in two bottlings from the 2013 vintage—one Hautes Cotes and one premier cru Nuits St George.  Both are exceptional values and well worth your time.

Arriving on Friday:

Claire Naudin Domaine Henri Naudin-Ferrand Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits, Burgundy 2013 750ML ($27.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Claire Naudin Domaine Henri Naudin-Ferrand Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits, Burgundy 2013 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
VinopolNote “Made with minimal SO2, this wine is exceptional for a wine from the Hautes Cotes.  Complex and fresh, it has a delicacy about it that is charming, without the hard tannins or harsh acidity that you’d expect from the appellation.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $28.99!

Claire Naudin Domaine Henri Naudin-Ferrand Les Damodes, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($69.95) $39 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote “Damodes is a great Nuits Premier Cru vineyard and Claire Naudin’s version is notable for how charming and forward it is.  The darker fruit of Nuits is there, but so to is a floral delicacy and a spice quality that keeps the wine light on the palate and exceptionally charming.  This should age for a good while, but if you had to drink it in the near term that would be pretty delicious, too.”

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Foreau: The Master of Steely Vouvray

2015’s Arriving Imminently
Although Huet might be better known as a producer of Vouvray, Phillippe Foreau is at least as good.  More importantly, the wines he makes are different stylistically—more mineral drenched, steely and bright.  These are wines which are firm and crunchy, from dry to sweet.  In a vintage like 2015, this is a great thing.  2015 is an acclaimed vintage for good reason, but the wines can be rich, so with a winemaker like Foreau, this is harnessed to minerality and the wines absolutely sing.

These wines arrive next Friday, June 2nd:

Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $44.50 pre-arrival special
“When Foreau issues a “Sec” (and the decision to do so relates entirely to the vintage conditions and the composition of the grapes at harvest), the wine can carry from 1 to 2 grams of residual sugar but never more than 6 grams. Because of the vibrant acidity that accompanies these wines, the sensation one experiences is of drinking a scintillatingly dry wine, although one with considerable body and a honeyed texture. We tend to have several vintages available at all times so that our clients can have the option of enjoying the Vouvray Sec in its youth but also with several years of bottle age.”–Importer [Neal Rosenthal] Note

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Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Demi-Sec, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
“Again, Foreau does not produce a Demi-Sec every year. All depends on the level of ripeness at time of harvest. When a Demi-Sec is released by the domaine, it can carry somewhere between 8 and sometimes as much as 20 grams or so of residual sugar but, more often than not, a Foreau Demi-Sec will be at the 8 to 12 grams RS level. Obviously, each year develops from its own unique circumstances. As indicated in the general description above, Foreau NEVER chapitalizes to achieve the Demi-Sec level and malo-lactic fermentations are never permitted to occur. All still wines at Foreau are bottled during the spring season following the harvest.”–Importer [Neal Rosenthal] Note

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Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux, Loire 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
“The Moelleux cuvées are made in vintages when at least a portion of the vineyards produce grapes that carry significant levels of natural sugar. Botrytis sometimes occurs but it is not necessary in order to declare a Moelleux. Conditions of “passerillage”, that is extended exposure of the grapes to sun and high luminosity, create the impetus to release wines as Moelleux. Wines so declared can carry formidable leves of residual sugar: 25 grams is perhaps the minimum but more often the Moelleux at the Foreau domaine has 35 or 50 or sometimes even 80 or 90 grams of sugar left in the wine. The goal is to create a wine that is in perfect balance, maintaining a proper level of acidity while keeping the ultimate alcohol level under control.”–Importer [Neal Rosenthal] Note

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Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Reserve, Loire 2015 750ML ($129.95) $105 pre-arrival special
“It is the rare vintage that is blessed with the conditions necessary for Foreau to release a Moelleux Réserve. Wines so declared frequently have levels of residual sugar that are in excess of 150 grams of residual sugar. It is not, however, simply the level of ripeness that creates the Moelleux Réserve; it is as much the conditions of the growing season that produce grapes that have a level of complexity and ripeness that demand this sort of classification. An error that many make in assessing and utilizing these wines is to consider the sugar quotient as a disqualifier for use of this wine during any stage of a meal. Our experience is such that these wines can marry well with a wide range of dishes served at the beginning, middle or end of a meal.”–Importer [Neal Rosenthal] Note

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Alain Graillot

St. Joseph from the Master of Crozes

Alain Graillot is (rightfully) known as a master of Crozes-Hermitage.  A winemaker whose work from a relatively humble appellation stands toe to toe with any wine made in the Northern Rhone.  We’re pleased to announce the imminent arrival of some of the 2015 Graillot St. Joseph in June—one of the rarest wines that Graillot makes. Moreover, while the terroir in Crozes, which made Graillot famous, is mostly alluvial and flatish, the St. Joseph parcels are planted on steep granite hillsides.

This yields a wine that’s intense, with peppery fruit and good minerality—especially in a vintage like 2015, which was warm and generated wines of great intensity and fruit.  Age this like you would any other top tier wine from the Northern Rhone and thank us for buying some in 15 years when it’s the best wine on the table.

Arriving in June:

Domaine Alain Graillot Saint-Joseph Rouge, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91-92 points “Opaque ruby. Mineral- and spice-accented black and blue fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of olive, licorice and pungent flowers. Broad and fleshy on entry, offering concentrated blackberry, violet pastille and spicecake flavors and a smoky mineral flourish. Rich yet surprisingly energetic, showing very good balance and focus. Lingers with strong tenacity on the finish, which is given shape by youthfully chewy tannins.”

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