94+ Point Spanish Values Under $20
Do Not Miss: 2016 Dagueneau
A Stellar Montepulciano, Arriving Friday
Rosé of the Day: Southwestern (French) Pink
Staff Pick: Massican’s Magic
Bosquets: Star of the Southern Rhone
The June Sale Ends This Week
94+ Point Spanish Values
All Under $20
The top two wines are part of the “Black Slate” project that Eric Solomon created to highlight different terroirs in Priorat. We’ve carried them in prior vintages and been impressed, but these take the quality to the next level. The Mas Donis, from neighboring Montsant, is likewise a step up from an always reliable value. These arrive middle of next month and are worth securing now.
Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($279.95) $212 pre-arrival special (that’s only $17.67/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2017 Black Slate Gratallops Vi De La Vila comes from a warmer region in the Priorat and has a more powerful, ripe, opulent style compared to the Porrera cuvée, which comes from a cooler region. A huge nose of mulled cherries, dried earth, spice, and dusty pebble-like minerality gives way to a medium to full-bodied Priorat that has ripe tannins, an opulent, sexy texture, and a great finish. It’s another wine from Solomon that has classic Priorat character, is impeccably balanced, and drinks way above its humble price point. Don’t miss it! The blend is 58% Grenache, 32% Carignan, and 10% Syrah, aged 12 months in 20% new French oak.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The 2016 Black Slate Porrera comes from a project of importer Eric Solomon focusing on the specific villages in the Priorat. The 2016 is 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan that was mostly destemmed and spent a full year in used barrels. Thrilling blue fruits, tar, rose petals, and a smoky, marine, iodine-like character all emerge from this full-bodied effort that opens up nicely with time in the glass. Tasting like it cost three times the price, it picks up more minerality with time in the glass, has beautiful balance, and great purity of fruit. It would be hard to find a better value. Drink bottles over the coming 3-5 years.”
Celler Capcanes Mas Donis, Montsant 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Celler Capcanes Mas Donis, Montsant 2016 750ML ($219.95) $169 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “The finest vintage of this cuvée to date, the 2016 Mas Donis Old Vines is 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah (the Grenache comes from a single parcel called Donis) that was 70% destemmed and aged primarily in concrete. Tasting like a top Priorat with its beautiful blue fruits, violets, ground pepper, rose petals, and amble minerality, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, remarkable purity of fruit, and a great, great finish. Almost too good to be true, just pretend you paid more. Drink up.”
Martin Codax Burgans Albarino, Rias Baixas 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Do Not Miss: 2016 Dagueneau
2016 was an unqualified success in the Loire–a vintage that combines the classicism of ’14 with a hint of ’15’s richness. For the Didier Dagueneau estate (now helmed by son Louis-Benjamin), these are some of the best wines they’ve produced, which is a testament to how Louis-Benjamin has grown into his role as winemaker after his father’s death. These wines still have the richness and texture that made them famous, but with a laser-beam of minerality and cut that makes the wines truly memorable. The Silex is especially noteworthy this year, a monument to Sauvignon Blanc grown on flint.
Arriving ETA July:
Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly, Loire 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Pur Sang, Loire 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex, Loire 2016 750ML ($159.95) $125 pre-arrival special
The average listed price is $151
La Valentina’s Classic
La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Case-12 La Valentina Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo 2016 750ML ($199.95) $149 pre-arrival special (that’s only $12.42/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
James Suckling 93 points “Pretty depth of dark fruit in this with hints of flowers and fruit tea that follow through to a medium to full body, soft tannins and a juicy finish. Drink or hold.”
If there’s a better value in Champagne, we haven’t found it.
Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) $44.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
This is up there with Vieux Chateau Certan or any other top flight Pomerol.
Castello di Ama L’Apparita Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($199.95) $137.50 special
Antonio Galloni 98 points “Ama’s 2015 L’Apparita is shaping up to be phenomenal. That is the good news. But readers are going to have to give the 2015 at least another 8-10 years before the wine starts to drink well, as today, the flavors are remarkably primary. That is hardly a surprise given how this Tuscan thoroughbred ages. A rush of blackberry jam, spice, menthol, and graphite build into a crescendo of aromas, flavors and textures. Over the years, I have had the chance to take virtually every vintage of L’Apparita. There is little doubt the 2015 will soon take its place as one of the epic editions.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “It’s impossible not to be completely smitten by the 2015 L’Apparita. This pure expression of Merlot from Chianti Classico is an exceedingly smooth and enriched expression with abundant tones of black cherry, spice, chocolate and barbecue smoke. The mouthfeel is gorgeous, and although this wine is not as extracted or dense as past editions, it is far more finessed and elegant. You get a clear taste not only of the grape but of the gravely soils that make up this extraordinary territory. What could be better than Merlot and Tuscany blended together in a single bottle?”
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of black olives and violets with black fruits following through to a full body with firm and silky tannins. An intense finish. Shows linear yet strong tannins. 100% merlot. Drink in 2020.”
A top Beaujolais that’s aging into itself quite well.
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Cuvee des Fous, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2015 Brouilly Cuvée des Fous had been racked the day before my visit to the domaine and I tasted this directly from vat. It has an intense dark cherry, cassis and iodine-scented bouquet with gorgeous raspberry ripple scents lurking just underneath. The palate is very well balanced with fine, very lithe tannin. The acidity here is perfectly judged, as it sashays towards a composed and very pure and long finish. Wow – this is going to turn into one sensual and compelling Beaujolais.”
Old Muscadet can be quite sexy—this one very much is.
Comte Leloup du Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Cuvee des Ceps Centenaires, Loire 2005 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
David Schildknecht-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2005 Chateau de Chasseloir Comte Leloup de Chasseloir Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Cuvee des Ceps Centenaires smells of fresh lime and lemon, oyster shell and salt spray, and a Chenin-like meld of quince and pear. Along with citrus and orchard fruits, a briny-nutty meld of flavors in this wine reminds me of the freshly sauteed smelts I would in any event be inclined to drink it with! One minute this impresses me most with its sheer richness of ripe orchard fruit character and silken texture, the next for its mysterious meld of mineral elements and its sheer refreshment. Almond cream, quince, salt, chalk, and iodine – not to mention luscious citrus – are among the elements informing this wine’s kaleidoscopic finish…”
It’s electric! (Boogie-woogie-woogie.)
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc, Loire 2017 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc, Loire 2017 1.5L ($99.95) $85 special
Importer note “With a tight core of saline terroir enveloped within ripe medium bodied fruit, this chenin blanc delivers a focused example of Thibaud’s style of ripe fruit matched with elegance and precision.”
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
An astoundingly good bottle of Barbaresco.
Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico, Barbaresco Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Enthusiast 97 points– Cellar Selection “Still young but already boasting extraordinary pedigree, this fantastic wine opens with hallmark scents of wild berry, new leather, chopped herb, tilled soil and a whiff of violet. The polished, full-bodied palate delivers juicy wild cherry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and licorice while youthfully assertive, noble tannins and bright acidity provide age-worthy structure. A pipe tobacco note lingers on the finish. Drink 2023–2038.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The Barbaresco Riserva Montefico shows all the energy and focus that is typical of this great site, but there is so much depth to the fruit that some of the more angular contours have been softened. Bright saline-infused notes lead to wild flowers and an exotic melange of red fruits in this beautifully delineated, vivid Barbaresco. All the elements are simply in the right place.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96+ points “I am absolutely impressed by the stunning 2013 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico. The Montefico growing site is very small and only 13,000 bottles are produced as a result. There are just three farmers who tend to this vineyard cru, and because their respective plots are very small, they rely on the Produttori del Barbaresco co-operative model for survival. This wine shows amazing depth and enlarged dimension. Aromas of black fruit, spice, tar and crushed mineral contribute to the considerable volume and power of the wine. That precise and focused mineral definition is outstanding, recalling brimstone and pencil shavings. Montefico can underperform in the hot vintages, but it hits all the high notes in the cooler 2013.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This beefy red evokes cherry, licorice, herb, mineral and tobacco aromas and flavors. Rich and densely structured, with iron, tobacco and cherry notes lingering on the long finish. Best from 2023 through 2035.”
A perfect porch pounder at preeminent pricing.
Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($21.95) $14 special
Case-12 Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($249.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points “The 2016 Pinot Grigio from Friuli is a value priced effort well worth your time and money. Citrus blossom, a touch of tropical fruits, and lots of honeyed citrus all flow to medium-bodied, nicely balanced, clean, and straight up delicious white that has plenty of texture and length yet stays fresh and lively. Drink up.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Heady aromas of pear, beeswax and white spring flower take center stage in this lovely white. The medium-bodied palate doles out white peach, citrus and almond flavors, with fresh acidity.”
Southwestern (French) Pink
In Stock Now:
Domaine Lafage Miraflors Rose, Cotes du Roussillon 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points “Light pink-colored, the 2018 Miraflors Rosé is another great vintage for this cuvée. It has beautiful white peach, orange zest, and salty sea breeze aromas and flavors in its vibrant, crisp profile. It’s as pure and vibrant as it gets, a classic, Provençal-style beauty to drink over the coming summer months.”
Domaine Lafage Miraflors Rose, Cotes du Roussillon 2017 1.5L ($31.95) $21.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2017 Miraflors Rosé is another beauty that’s loaded with fresh, crisp, vibrant strawberry and raspberry fruit. Clean, pure, textured and elegant on the palate, with gorgeous purity, it’s a rocking rosé that does everything right. The blend is 70% Mourvèdre and 30% Grenache Gris brought up all in tank. Hats off to vigneron Jean-Marc Lafage for another smoking good rosé!”
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Massican, the personal wine project of star winemaker Dan Petroski, makes some of the best white wines in the Western Hemisphere. They’re perfect examples of what’s been called the “New California”—wines that are clearly influenced by old-school, old world sensibilities (especially regarding ripeness and balance) but have a certain California-ness about them that they don’t run from. These wines are the epitome of that—bright, fresh and mineral but with a density and generosity that speaks volumes about their place of origin.*
Most of his wines are blends, utilizing a mixture of Italianate grape varieties and some that are common to California. The results are stunning and are wines that are delicious and showy (in the best way). It came as no surprise to read the praise heaped on the latest releases from Wine Enthusiast. Let’s just say, we’re enthusiastic about these wines, too.
*Most wines are Californian, but there’s one wine, Gaspare, made in Fruili in collaboration with the legendary producer Ronco del Gnemiz. I’d urge you to check that out, as well—it’s great, but definitely speaks solely of Italy, not California
In Stock Now:
Greco provides minerality and cut to this wine, which is rich and fresh at once.
Massican Gemina, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Editor’s Choice. Wow, this is a beautiful wine. A blend of 77% Pinot Grigio from the Napa Valley’s Chiles Valley and 23% Greco from Russian River Valley, winemaker Dan Petroski melds them both together into a floral and fresh explosion of vivid flavor. Tart apricot and peach meet freshly squeezed lemon as balanced acidity lingers masterfully on the finish.”
Massican Hyde Vineyards Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Spicy lemongrass, ginger and high-toned acidity immediately invite one in to this vineyard-designated white, a study in grainy texture and a light touch of oak. Green apple and lemon-drop flavors tease the palate effortlessly, evolving constantly in the glass.”
The next best price is $52.99
Massican Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Floral and stony, this impressively complex and memorable white has a thirst-quenching grasp of gravelly minerality, a core element built around bold, beautiful flavors of fig, Meyer lemon and tangerine.”
The reference point, so to speak. This is made in Friuli and is fantastic.
Massican Gaspare Bianco Colli Orientali del Friulii, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 special
Winery note “Grapes: tocai friulano – 43%, ribolla gialla – 29%, chardonnay – 28%. This is a wine about friends and family. without massimo there would be no trip to Sicily. without George there would be no ribolla gialla in the United States without Christian and Serena there would be no inspiration for this wine. All my friends are my heroes and my motivation. annia is named after my American mother and our first Italian wine vintage is named after massimo’s father GASPARE. Without massimo there would be no massican he gave the support to make this dream a reality a million thanks to friends and family we could not have done it without you.”
Chateauneuf du Pape gets all the fame. But who wants to pay those prices? Lucky you, the region of Gigondas produces wines just as stellar that command half the price (or less). We just received a shipment from the hottest producer in the 2016 vintage: Domaine des Bosquets. You know these are not-to-miss wines when the top professional reviewers of the Southern Rhone, James Molesworth of the Wine Spectator, Josh Raynolds of Vinous, and Jeb Dunnuck, raved about the 2016s and the new heights Julien Brechet has achieved since taking over the family estate.
– Jeb Dunnuck
“Julien Bréchet has turned this Gigondas estate into a contender.”
– James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
On the subject of pricing, ours is fantastic—and when you combine our prices with the fact that the top Gigondas is undervalued relative to Chateauneuf, you get some of the best deals in the world of top Rhone wines. The “basic” Gigondas is an intense, rich wine that puts a lot of $50 bottles to shame and the high end wines…well, yes, they’re that much better. These are wines to pay attention to and buy deeply.
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“a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “Leading off the wines from bottle, the 2016 Gigondas is a classic wine from this estate, offering a deeper ruby/purple color as well as tons of garrigue, peppery spice, and earth intermixed with ample red and black fruits. Polished, rounded and sexy, with sweet tannin, it has a modern style that won’t appeal to traditionalists yet is beautifully done. The blend is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and the rest Cinsault.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Lively, expansive red berry, floral pastille and white pepper scents, along with suggestions of garrigue and smoky minerals. Sweet, focused and seamless in the mouth, offering juicy raspberry, spicecake and lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Clings with very good authority on the gently tannic finish and leaves succulent floral and herb notes behind.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92 points “Hints of garrigue accent raspberries and Rainier cherries in the 2016 Gigondas. This blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault is full-bodied and supple, with no hard edges, just lovely fruit. Long, seamless and delicious for drinking over the next 6-7 years, it’s a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate. Tasted twice with consistent notes.”
The average listed price is $31
Wine Spectator 95 points “Bright and juicy, with lovely plum, anise, boysenberry and black cherry compote flavors. Racy acidity and a fine chalky spine give this an elegant profile overall, with a silky texture and refinement in the end. Best from 2019 through 2035.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 95 points “Virtually all Mourvèdre (there are a few Grenache and Syrah vines mixed in), the 2016 Gigondas Le Plateau was fermented as whole bunches and developed an exotic nose, ranging from hints of flowers and herbs to fraises des bois, cherries, plums and pineapple. It’s full-bodied and rich, with a supple mid-palate and firm tannins on the finish. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Bright violet. Expressive blackberry, cassis, incense and spicecake scents show impressive clarity and pick up a smoky mineral nuance with air. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering deeply concentrated red and dark fruit preserve, star anise and violet pastille flavors that are given focus and spine by a core of juicy acidity. Deftly blends richness and finesse and finishes extremely long and sappy; pliant tannins add shape and grip.”
“Readers need to snatch up this blockbuster”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas Le Lieu Dit, Rhone 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “From a cooler terroir of sandy soils just beside the domaine, the 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu Dit is another tour de force from this brilliant estate. It sports a medium ruby color as well as a rocking bouquet of kirsch, blackberry liqueur, rose petals, damp earth, incense, and spice. Ultra-fine, seamless, elegant, and pure, it’s nevertheless powerful and rich, with awesome intensity. Readers need to snatch up this blockbuster.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96-98 points “The 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu-Dit is also 100% Grenache and comes from a parcel just beside the winery. This is a cooler, sandy terroir and the style of this cuvée is dramatically different than the La Colline cuvée, showing a much more finesse-driven, elegant, ethereal style. Nevertheless, the 2016 is one of the larger, richer example of the cuvée and sports a deep, inky color as well as to die for notes of black raspberries, crème de cassis, crushed pepper, and ground herbs. With full-bodied richness, polished, sweet tannin, no hard edges and a fabulous length, it’s another best to date cuvée from this estate.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Deliciously ripe, featuring a bright and lively display of red currant, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that race along, underscored by fine but persistent chalky tannins and backed by lilac, violet, rooibos tea and savory notes along the way. The long finish ripples with fresh acidity. Best from 2020 through 2036.”
“Utterly sensational, and unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas La Colline, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points “The 2016 Gigondas La Colline (100% Grenache from a tiny corner of the La Colline vineyard) gives a big blast of blackberry and kirsch fruit to go with complex garrigue, toasted spice, and dried earth. This full-bodied beauty packs an incredible amount of richness and depth into a seamless, silky, elegant, thrilling package. It’s going to benefit from 1-2 years of bottle age and knock your socks off over the following decade or more.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This delivers a gorgeous display of fruit, with raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry notes in lockstep as they race through, infused with light anise, bergamot and rooibos tea accents along the way. The racy, chalky structure holds the finish, giving this sleek tension. Best from 2020 through 2036.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Lurid ruby-red. An expansive, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red fruits, incense, candied flowers and smoky minerals, and a sexy Asian spice nuance builds in the glass. Sweet and penetrating, offering lucid raspberry liqueur, cherry and spicecake flavors that show outstanding depth as well as energy. Refuses to let go of the palate on the subtly tannic finish, which hangs on with superb focus, building sweetness and noteworthy tenacity.”
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A classic of Beaujolais at a steal of a price.
Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) Was $28, Now $24 June Sale Special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2017 Côte de Brouilly is superb, unfurling in the glass with aromas of ripe cassis, candied violets and plums. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, rich and concentrated, structured around fine-grained but chewy tannins and tangy balancing acids, with considerable depth and substance at the core. The wine is still quite primary and will need some time to come together, but it’s an excellent rendition of this storied cuvée that resembles the 2011 vintage.”
The average price nationally is $29
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($179.95) $108 special
Case-6 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($959.95) $599 special (that’s only $99.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Always a light, ethereal style of wine, this is also very fresh and still young. It will age with its taut minerality from the Chardonnay in the blend. A softer background will become toasty over the next few years. The vintage date on this bottle is 200 years after the foundation of this producer. Drink from 2021.”
Lovely now as a Sauternes slayer, lovely in 20 years as a budget-friendly cellar treasure.
Muller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Riesling Auslese, Pfalz 2015 375ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $29
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2015 Riesling Auslese Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten is super pure and fine on the nobly concentrated, stony nose with its honey and bright fruit aromas. Rich, sweet, lush and piquant on the palate, this is an excellent Auslese with great finesse and a lingering piquancy. Despite its sweetness, this is a very stimulating and pure Auslese with great ageing potential. 2022-2050.”
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $59 June Sale Special
Antonio Galloni 96 points “A regal wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata from Isole e Olena soars out of the glass with tremendous aromatic and palate intensity. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2014 has so much to offer. Once again, De Marchi crafted a Cabernet Sauvignon that exudes character. Today, the 2014 is vivid but also intensely saline and clenched. Another few years in bottle should do the trick. This fruit was brought in during the last week of October and first week of November, quite late, even by the standards of the year.”
The average price is $76