Midweek VinopolPick 6-27-17

Featured New Arrivals: Avignonesi Vin Santos; Arriving Friday: Best Priced Perrier-Jouet Vintage Rose & Opus One 2013; Heymann-Loewenstein: New Review!; Bedrock Wine Co.: New Arrival; California Wines for Summer; Arriving Friday: 2014 Rostaing, Girardin & Liger-Belair; Arriving in July: 2013 Michel Lafarge; Arriving in July: 2015 Domaine Vincent Paris; Passopisciaro


Summer Shipping Special:

Midwest, East, & South

For the summer season we are offering UPS Three Day Select Service for the price of UPS Ground for shipments normally traveling 4 or more business days by ground.

Free service upgrade only applies on single orders purchased and shipped during the promotional period.  Additional fees will apply to orders held for any reason until after the promotional period and shipped by Three Day Select.  Offer not valid on items purchased before the promotional period or on pre-arrival items that arrive after the promotional period ends.


Featured New Arrival

Avignonesi Vin Santos

Vin Santo is a special dessert wine made in Central Italy from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. Rarer still is the Occhio di Pernice, or eye of the partridge, a rose style made from Sangiovese grapes. Grapes selected for Vin Santos are picked as whole clusters and traditionally left to dry on straw mats in the warm rafters of buildings. Very little has changed in production despite the pulsing waves of modernity running through Italian winemaking. Today we’re focusing on the very special bottlings from Avignonesi. The estate produces some of the most magical among the Vin Santos, and their Occhio di Pernice is transcendent. You don’t have to just take our word for it – read Bryce Wiatrak and Monica Larner’s different takes on the profundity of the producer and products:

“No other Tuscan estate has come to emblemize modern Vin Santo’s entry into the realm of fine wine quite like this property…. The grapes, Malvasia and Trebbiano for the traditional Vin Santo and Sangiovese for the Occhio di Pernice, were left to dry in the appassitoio for six months. Around March, the grapes are manually crushed in a process that takes two weeks due to the density of the shriveled fruit. The wine then rests in one hundred year-old Slavonian oak caratelli for a period of ten to twelve years. Once each year, the winemakers will break the wax seal of a single caratello to monitor the Vin Santo’s progress.” – Bryce Wiatrak, Vinous Media

Newly Arrived:

Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano 2001 375ML ($319.95) $259 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 100 points “This wine merits every one of these 100 points. The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice (375 milliliters) is a singular work of art and a profound expression of Tuscany. I know Avignonesi owner Virginie Saverys would like to draw attention to the other wines in her portfolio, and she has every right to do so. But I just want to cry. When you have a wine as profound and perfect as this, everything else fades fast into the background. Virginie likes to say that Occhio di Pernice (made with red grapes) is the “male” and the Vin Santo di Montepulciano (made from white grapes) is the “female.” This is a great observation. The bouquet here is smoky and savory, but brilliant and sophisticated at the same time. You get an infinite array of caramel, maple syrup, espresso bean, licorice and candied fruit aromas. There’s so much dried fig as well. The concentration and thickness is out of this world. This wine is built like a tank and I’m not sure it will ever exit its drinking prime.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano 2001 375ML ($219.95) $179 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano (375 milliliters) is a divine and superbly delicious sweet blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Grechetto. The results are super concentrated and simmered down to a virtual reduction sauce of deliciousness. There are so many aromas to name, but some of the most evident highlights include candied orange peel, almond marzipan, caramel, toasted coffee bean, vanilla stick, mocha, dark honey and fragrant yellow rose. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and deeply layered. I’m suggesting a slightly shorter drinking window here compared to the Occhio di Pernice. But, the truth is: I have no idea. I’m pretty sure these wines will outlive anyone of legal drinking age.”

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


Featured Offers

Arriving Friday, June 30th

Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Brut Millesime Rose, Champagne 2005 750ML ($349.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Brut Millesime Rose, Champagne 2005 750ML ($1,799.95) $799 pre-arrival special (that’s only $133.17/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “The palest of rosés, this crisp, bright and fruity wine is full of tight acidity, freshly picked raspberries and steely acidity. It could age a few more years to bring out a toastier character.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $250
The average price is $326

Opus One Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($299.95) $269 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 100 points “The greatest Opus ever. Terrific aromas of crushed black currants, blueberries and flowers with hints of sweet tobacco. Roses continue to exude opulence and class. Full body, superb balance of ultra-fine tannins and vibrant acidity. Complex aftertaste of black fruits and citrus fruit. Extremely persistent. So approachable now and enjoyable. But will be even better in 2019 and beyond. 79% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc, 6% merlot, 6% petit verdot, 2% malbec. This will always be beautiful to drink.” (01/2016)
Robert Parker 97+ points “The 2013 Opus One, a blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, is a beauty. Velvety textured, without a had edge to be found, notes of crème de cassis, blueberry, subtle wood and floral notes gently rise from the wine’s dense purple color. Beautifully full-bodied and extraordinarily elegant and pure, this is certainly one of their great achievements over the last 37 years. The wine has an exquisite finish and can be drunk now or cellared for 25-30 years.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2013 Opus One is powerful, dense and super-concentrated, with heady aromatics, intense fruit and an unreal level of richness for this wine. A host of dark cherry, crème de cassis, licorice, smoke and dark spices infuse this decidedly masculine, potent Opus One. Raw and intense to the core, the 2013 is going to require quite a bit of time to fully come into its own. Like so many wines in this vintage, Opus One possesses striking depth of fruit and a level of intensity that nearly covers the tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $287


Flat Rate Shipping Info



New Review!

Reinhard Löwenstein fits in with this crazy-steep region as an absolute perfectionist who will do any and everything possible to make sure that his wines are as profound as possible.  His yields and selection in the vineyards are made solely with quality in mind and he holds his wines back longer before release than most German producers—cash flow be damned.

In terms of style, the word that comes to mind when tasting these wines is ‘mineral.’ Not minerality paired with fruitiness, like with much Mosel Riesling, but sheer rockiness in liquid form.  The wines are lean, racy and benefit from air or a few years in bottle, but are incredibly rewarding in the way that only the great wines of the world can be.

The Uhlen Roth Lay is held back by the winery and will be arriving in July. Check out the new review from Mosel Fine Wines:

Heymann-Loewenstein Riesling Uhlen R Roth Lay VDP Grosse Lage 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special, ETA July
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This delivers an stunning nose with great depth, cool aromatics and finesse as notes of spices, mint, dried herbs, white peach, citrus peel and smoke and flowery elements emerge from the glass. The wine starts on the cool and fresh side on the palate, and only gradually develops its structure and intensity as it unfolds. It offers great length and intensity without ever being overpowering. The after-taste is just subtly and delicately tart. This dry Riesling is quite a tour de force and amply confirms our initial high expectations from cask (see Issue No 32 for the initial tasting note). 2022-2035.”
Stephan Reinhardt liked it, too!
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 95-97 points “Tasted from the barrel and still dusty in its ripe golden color, the 2015 Riesling Uhlen R ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ (which is always bottled late) combines super ripe, rich and intense tropical fruit aromas (pineapples) with the spicy flavors of red (iron-rich) slate. The palate, however, is stunningly pure and finessed, highly elegant and almost light whereas the finish is very long, full of salt, grip and tension. A great promise!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Available Here Now from Heymann-Löwenstein:

Heymann-Loewenstein Riesling Kirchberg VDP Grosse Lage 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 18 bottles available
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Riesling Kirchberg ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ opens with a generous and warm, ripe Riesling aroma intertwined with some herbal and iron lemon flavors on the clear and elegant nose. This is a full-bodied, charming, finessed and elegant wine with fine tannin structure and a dry and persistent finish. Still young, the Kirchberg will benefit from further bottle aging.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Riesling Stolzenberg VDP Grosse Lage 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 18 bottles available
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 91+ points “Some lactic flavors of ripe yellow fruits open to the 2015 Riesling Stolzenberg ‘VDP Grosse Lage’, a full-bodied, intense and well concentrated wine with piquant acidity and a serious, age-worthy structure. Like in the Kirchberg, the tannins are more dominant here than in former years but structure the power of this wine very well. I am curious to see where it will go from here. The wine seems a bit closed at the moment but is elegant and finessed. A bit demure and drying at this early stage.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Riesling Uhlen B Blaufusser VDP Grosse Lage 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 9 bottles available
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2015 Riesling Uhlen B ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ from the Blaufüsser Lay offers the purity and perfume of the Vom blauen Schiefer but with more intensity, ripeness and complexity. This is perfectly ripe Riesling fruit on milled blue slate. Lovely flinty flavors here. On the palate, this is Riesling as a melting rock! Finessed purity and elegance with a great, very clear and salty finish. This Uhlen B is tightly woven but nevertheless transparent, finessed and elegant.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Riesling Uhlen L Laubach VDP Grosse Lage 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 15 bottles available
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 96 points “From the Laubach formation of the grand cru, the 2015 Riesling Uhlen L ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is super flinty, refined and elegant on the nose where perfectly ripe Riesling and white truffle aromas are displayed. On the palate, this is an intense, dense and finessed Riesling with great tension, salinity and complexity. The finish is aromatic, pure and very long, really what Reinhard Löwenstein was aiming for: to serve the intellectuals as well as the hedonists. A great and age-worthy Riesling.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Riesling Vom Blauem Schiefer 2015 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 32 bottles available
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2015 Riesling Vom Blauen Schiefer opens with a beautifully clear and slatey bouquet of perfectly ripe Riesling flavors. The wine is round, piquant and salty on the palate, reveals picture book finesse and transparency and is extremely stimulating in its dry but perfectly balanced finish. The aftertaste is pretty long and already complex. If you are looking for a picture book wine of the terraced Lower Mosel, this is the one you have to taste. Thirteen percent of alcohol can hardly taste lighter and more stimulating.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Schieferterrassen Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles available
David Schildknecht – Vinous 89 points “A penetrating and unusual aromatic mélange features zesty grapefruit, gooseberry, lemon peel, dill and musky floral perfume. Full-bodied and glycerol-rich, this finishes with strongly alkaline and stony undertones as well as fruit pit piquancy and fenugreek pungency, its tart elements contributing slight edginess but also undeniable invigoration. This is serious stuff for an intro-level wine, even if “serious” also implies a certain lack of charm. I suspect that bottle development will provide further fascination.”
“The 2015er Trocken Schieferterrassen is made from the Estate’s holdings in Winningen (Domgarten, Brückstück and Hamm) and Kobern (Fahrberg and Weissenberg) as well as from declassified fruit from its “cru” vineyards. It offers a gorgeous nose of marzipan, herbs and spices. The wine is delicately baroque and full of character on the palate as ripe yellow fruits are nicely complemented by spicy herbs and a hint of tartness in the finish. 2018-2025” –Mosel Fine Wines

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Winninger Uhlen ‘R’ Roth Lay Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2007 375ML ($99.95) $69 special, 30 half-bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points “Candied citrus, jujube, sweet spice and quince paste aromas and flavors mark this sweet, bracing Riesling, which is light on its feet and resonates on the finish with a mouthwatering feel and echoes of citrus. Best from 2012 through 2045.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Lowenstein’s 2007 Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule Roth Lay (as in the corresponding dry wines, the letter “R” is prominent on the label of this A.P.#9) benefits from counterpoint and collaboration among bright citrus, rich pit fruit essences, and the honey of botrytis. For all of its enormous sheer ripeness and concentration, this retains a striking sense of delicacy. A snappy, spicy, pungent streak – taken together with vivid, diverse pit fruits and citrus – serves for exhilaration in a finish of memorable length and energy, with a vivid impression of crushed stone one hardly expects in a wine of such sweetness and prominent botrytization. There seems to be something of a personality role reversal at work this year, because the corresponding Rottgen Auslese is cool and refined whereas this Uhlen displays more of the piquancy and (as French growers might say) nervosite that I associate with Rottgen. But then, botrytis is always something of a wild card, so that a wine like this is profoundly and unpredictably influenced by the precise microclimatic conditions for and differences in the nature of that fungus. No doubt this too will be worth following for two or more decades.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Heymann-Loewenstein Winninger Uhlen ‘R’ Roth Lay Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2010 750ML ($199.95) $149 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “Lowenstein’s 2010 Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule Roth Lay – destined for auction – displays an almost sweaty aromatic alliance of salinity and musky pungency, along with nose-prickling lemon rind such as one might expect from an Eiswein. Suggestions of marigold and narcissus add to the exotic, pungent muskiness on display here. Fig and peach preserves; pear drops; marzipan and salted caramel intensely mark the palate, while zesty, musky, and saline mineral impingement serve for strikingly persistent stimulation. Despite its lower (7.5%) alcohol, though, this comes off not only as more viscous but also less buoyant (let alone “uncannily” so) than its Rottgen counterpart. That wine is an example of botrytis performing its magic and leaving nary a fingerprint behind, whereas here, prints are quite evident, even if fascinatingly smudge-free. This compellingly complex concentrate will not be everybody’s cup of nobly rotten Riesling, but ought to merit at least the better part of two decades attention.”


Bedrock Wine Co.

New Arrival

You’d be forgiven for thinking Morgan Twain-Peterson was taking a free ride into the industry, his father Joel Peterson founded Ravenswood, but you’d soon learn that he is blazing his own, very opinionated and talented trail. Morgan’s passion is preservation of California’s heritage vineyards and the myriad of varietals not found anywhere else. This appreciation and dedication came from a distance as he was in New York finishing his degree in American History. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and Morgan returned to make wine.

Most notably, the focus of Bedrock is their ancient vines. Morgan repeats again and again that wines are made in the vineyard. And what tremendous vineyards he works with. Gnarled old dinosaurs poking their heads up through cracked and ancient soil: varietals like Carignane, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, Alicante Bouschet, Valdigué, Peloursin, Serene, Petite Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette to name a few. These vines, in Twain-Peterson’s view, represent so much more than California’s history. They represent a wine that is uniquely Californian, a style not to be found or replicated anywhere else in the world. This is could well be California’s future.

These wines aren’t shy, but the surprising little aromatics and spice notes are delicate and only get better with time. They’ve got the fruit and depth that you would expect from California, but they’re tight, structured and will reward patience. Similar to some of the older Ridge Zinfandels, you won’t be disappointed if you throw them into the decanter and punch your ticket, but book in advance. Getting there is half the fun.

New Arrival from Bedrock Wine Co., just in time for your summer soiree:

Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Winery note “This wine is almost entirely from the lovely Uboldi Ranch, which is planted on some of the only Sandy Goldridge Loam outcroppings in Sonoma Valley.  Located to the south of the town of Kenwood as the valley hills begin to creep towards Sonoma Mountain, the site is both steep and rocky, which helps balance the natural vigor of the Sauvignon Blanc vines.  Our section of the vineyard is planted exclusively to Musqué clone, which I prefer for its soaring aromatics.  In order to give ourselves the most options when assembling the blend we fermented the wine in a combination of stainless steel tank at cold temperature, cigare barrels (the same used by Dagueneau in the Loire) and smaller piece.  Though normally we tend to get pretty close to 50% of each in the final blend, we found that the increased texture and expressiveness provided by the barrel-fermented lots was too hard to resist, and the final wine this year saw 95% barrel fermentation.  Of that just about 17% of it is new.  It is so much fun to make Sauvignon Blanc!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Also In Stock Now from Bedrock:

Bedrock Wine Co. Sh’Bubbles First Cuvee Sparkling Rose, California NV 750ML ($24.95) $16 special, 11 bottles available
Vinopolnote: 90% Old vine Carignan and a dab of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The still wine evolved on lees in tank for eight months then put through secondary fermentation and bottle using the Charmat method. Full of red fruits and fun. 6 g/l dosage.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $22

Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County 2015 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 2 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2015 Evangelho Heritage Wine is another highlight in this lineup. Sublime aromatics, red stone fruit and finessed tannins elevate the Evangelho. Nuanced to the core, the 2015 exudes class and pedigree. The Evangelho is not as obvious as some of the other wines in the range, but it is among the most beautiful.”
Robert Parker 93 points “From Contra Costa County, the 2015 Proprietary Red Evangelho Heritage comes from directly rooted Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Palomino, Alicante and Mission all planted in the 1890s on what is basically a sandy bench. The briary intensity of the Zinfandel is well-displayed, but then the blue and black fruits seem to jump out as do some dusty/loamy soil notes, forest floor, underbrush, pepper and background smoky notes. This is rich, floral, heady, intriguing and provocative. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.”

Bedrock Wine Co. ‘The Bedrock Heritage’ Wine, Sonoma Valley 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 12 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2013 Bedrock Heritage Wine is one of the most intriguing wines in the range. Smoke, cedar, tobacco and a host of savory notes meld together in a powerful yet nuanced wines built on delineation and energy. Even with all of its intensity, the 2013 remains lifted, floral and light on its feet for such a big wine. This is by far the most polished and refined wine I have tasted from the Bedrock Vineyard, where the wines have often been much riper and bigger.” AG

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $47

Bedrock Wine Co. ‘The Bedrock Heritage’ Wine, Sonoma Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 23 bottles available
Robert Parker 96 points “Possibly the flagship wine is the 2015 Proprietary Red The Bedrock Heritage. This ancient vineyard is planted with 27 different varieties, so I won’t even begin to list them, as that is a book in itself. This is Rhône Valley-like, with notes of Mediterranean herbs, blackberries, blueberries, loamy soil notes, incense, creosote, steak tartare and pepper followed by a wine of great intensity – built like a skyscraper, with layers of fruit and extraction. It is a sensational effort, super-complex, and best drunk over the next decade.”

Bedrock Wine Co. Lorenzo’s Heritage, Dry Creek Valley 2014 750ML ($59.95) $44 special, 6 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Lorenzo’s Heritage Wine exudes Dry Creek intensity, with searing tannin and vibrant acidity that support a core of blue and purplish-hued fruits. This powerful, virile wine needs time in the bottle, as it is raw and not fully formed today. Still, I find it absolutely compelling.”

Bedrock Wine Co. Nervo Ranch Heritage Red, Alexander Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 6 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2015 Nervo Ranch Heritage, from a site in Alexander Valley planted in 1936, is quite powerful and savory in style. Sweet tobacco, herbs, menthol, licorice and black pepper are some of the many notes that give the Nervo its distinctive personality.”

Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley 2014 750ML ($27.95) $23.90 special, 12 bottles available
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 91 points “The 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel is deep, rich and luscious, with plenty of up-front fruit and tons of appeal. More of a field blend than a true Zinfandel, the 2014 is soft and forward, with expressive red-fleshed fruit, bright acidity and terrific overall balance. The Old Vine is 77% Zinfandel and a generous 23% mixed blacks. Best of all, the Old Vine Zinfandel is a fabulous value.”

We currently offer 80 different red wines from California in-stock now, to see the complete list, visit our web store!


Get Your Grill On

California wines for your next BBQ

County Line Rose, Anderson Valley 2015 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 15 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2015 Rosé Elke Home Ranch is absolutely gorgeous. Cranberry, orange zest, mint and floral notes are all given an extra kick of depth from the natural richness of the vintage, yet there is plenty of aromatic lift, freshness and vivacity. The Rosé is made from 100% Champagne clone Pinot Noir, whole-cluster pressed and fermented in neutral French oak. This is a gorgeous Rosé from Radio-Coteau’s County Line label.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $24.99

Inman Family Wines OGV (Olivet Grange Vineyard) Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2010 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 24 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 93 points “(made with one-half whole clusters and 12.5% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. A heady, spice-accented bouquet displays scents of strawberry preserves, potpourri and incense, complemented by a lively note of white pepper. Silky, spicy and lithe, with an alluring sweetness and bright mineral cut to its intense red fruit and floral pastille flavors. Pure and seamless pinot, with great upfront appeal and a delicacy that hearkens to the Old World. The “OGV” here stands for Olivet Grange Vineyard, the Inmans’ home property. They are unable to use the word “Grange” in the wine name because of legal challenges.” ST

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Wind Gap ‘Soif’ Red Wine, North Coast 2015 750ML ($34.95) $19 special, 14 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 90-92 points “The 2015 Old Vine Red Soif is a bit darker and richer than the 2014 tasted alongside it, but it captures the same energy and vibrancy. Dark red cherry, plum, licorice and spice meld together in a racy, voluptuous wine. There is so much to like here. The 2015 includes all three barrels of the Bedrock Mourvèdr that in the past has been bottled separately, along with dollops of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Carignane.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $25

Broc Cellars Vine Starr Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2014 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 12 bottles available
VinopolNote: “Chris Brockway makes Zinfandel in a style that is unique.  Light, fresh and delicate, this has the snap and spiciness of old-school Zin but with less body and more delicate fruit.  Think of it as Zinfandel for Pinot drinkers, in a way, but it still has a tone and character that make it undeniably Zin.”

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

Three Wine Company Spinelli Mataro, Contra Costa County 2013 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 26 bottles available
Winery note “Mataro, also known as Mourvèdre (France) and Monastrell (Spain), is an international varietal fermented into many different styles of wine, from fruity rosés to concentrated dark-reds with strong tannic structures. The Spinelli Mataro is a blend of 81% Mataro, 4% Carignane, 7% Black Malvoisie, 7% Petite Sirah, and 1% Alicante Bouschet. The dusty nose of violets, ripe black-cherries, and chocolate is draped with rich French Vanilla, Provencal herbs, tobacco leaf, and a minerality that sneaks through to the finish. The Petite Sirah adds structure, color, and blue-fruit character while the Black Malvoisie adds softness and a perfumed raspberry aroma. Due to a high level of anti-oxidants, Mataro is an exceptional aging wine. Don’t be afraid to cellar this vintage for five to ten years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Arriving Friday

2014 Wines from Rene Rostaing,

Vincent Girardin and Liger-Belair:

Domaine Rene Rostaing Cote-Rotie Ampodium, Rhone 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92-94 points “Youthful violet. Vibrant, spice- and mineral-laced black and blue fruit scents show excellent focus and pick up suggestions of cola and violet with air. Sappy, concentrated and pure, offering juicy blueberry and boysenberry flavors firmed by a spine of tangy acidity. Blends power and vivacity with a deft hand and finishes very long and minerally, with supple tannins building steadily and in harmony with the wine’s fruit. All of the fruit from Rostaing’s Côte Blonde and La Landonne holdings are in this bottling this vintage.”

Domaine Rene Rostaing Les Lezardes Syrah, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2014 750ML ($39.95) $36 pre-arrival special

Vincent Girardin Les Grands Epenots Vieilles Vignes, Pommard Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 90 points “Moderately saturated medium red. Aromas of plum, redcurrant, mocha, licorice and oak spices don’t display quite the lift or darker fruit character of the Volnays at this address. Shows surprising sweetness and energy in the mouth, with dark cherry fruit complicated by sexy earth tones. Finishes spicy and firm, with good clarity but a slight tightness (40% of this fruit was lost to hail). Germain finds this wine more accessible than the Volnays today but that may be because the latter wines have more energy.”
Burghound 90-92 points “Reduction dominates the nose here as well. There is good volume and focus to the rich and velvety middle weight flavors that possess a dusty mouth feel, all wrapped in a balanced, persistent and energetic finish. This notably firm effort is not especially complex today but the underlying material appears to be of sufficiently high quality that more will almost certainly develop with time.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Vincent Girardin Pommard Les Vieilles Vignes 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special

Vincent Girardin Les Santenots, Volnay Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 90-93 points “(made from two one-hectare parcels of vines with a high average age and tiny yields, according to enologist Germain): Bright, full ruby. Wild, reduced aromas of crushed blackberry, black cherry and dark chocolate. Seamless and superripe, conveying superb density of material in a round, silky way. Black fruit and violet flavors are framed and lifted by tangy, peppery, ripe acidity. The finish is very long and ripely tannic for a Côte de Beaune wine in 2014. A rather silky, feminine style compared to the tighter, more masculine Champans.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Vincent Girardin Volnay Les Vieilles Vignes 2014 750ML ($54.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Thibault Liger-Belair Les Saint-Georges, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-94 points “Strikingly floral-inflected aromas display lovely purity and freshness on the wild red berry, warm earth-scented nose. There is good richness and excellent intensity to the compact, concentrated and stony medium weight plus flavors that possess a firm core of ripe tannins on the wonderfully long, linear and powerful finish. Like the Clos de Vougeot this is indisputably built-to-age and is definitely going to need at least a decade’s worth of cellaring.”


Arriving in July

2013 Michel Lafarge

The influx of money into Burgundy hasn’t seemed to taint Michel Lafarge. With all the attention, the flashiness, the scrambling for the wines, it seems as though Msr. Lafarge kept his head down and did his work – good, solid work – rather than letting it all get the best of him. Vintage to vintage, the wines have displayed an incredible degree of consistency and depth; some look to him before all else to truly understand a vintage.

The Lafarge family has counted a vigneron among its ranks since the 18th century, and began bottling their efforts in the early 1900’s. Wine in barrel was sold to metropolitan restaurants as early as the 1850’s. When many in Burgundy began to employ chemical farming in the 1950’s, Lafarge wanted no part of it – an act, or inaction, which led like-minded vignerons to follow suit. The domaine began to utilize biodynamic farming techniques in the mid-90’s, an effort which now includes Lafarge’s son and his wife, Frédéric and Chantal.

To this day, the wines from the estate are rightfully held in the highest regard. They’re graceful and substantial, though have been known to require time. We’re proud to announce three Premier Crus from the 2013 vintage, all arriving in July:

Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos des Chenes, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2013 Volnay 1er Cru Clos des Chenes has a more expressive, mineral-driven bouquet than the Caillerets – so much energy here and that is translated down to the palate that is poised and focused. It is laden with vibrant tart red cherry fruit, boysenberry and mineral, great depth and length and yet so fresh and approachable. This is one of those wines that I suspect will drink early but also repay cellaring.”

Domaine Michel Lafarge Clos du Chateau des Ducs, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92 points “Seemingly without fail the Lafarges achieve genuinely remarkable purity of fruit and the 2013 Clos du Château des Ducs proves to be no exception as the high-toned nose is the essence of red pinot fruit along with subtle hints of spice, earth, floral and soft stone nuances. There is terrific delineation and even more minerality with a bit more punch and power on the dusty, mouth coating and lingering finish. This is perhaps a bit more delicate than it usually is though it is by no means light.”
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2013 Volnay 1er Cru Clos du Chateau des Ducs has a tightly would bouquet with brambly red fruit, blackberry leaf and granitic scents that waft reluctantly from the glass. The palate is very well structured with a keen line of acidity, ebullient red cherry and strawberry fruit with delineated, very focused and long in the mouth. Excellent.”

Domaine Michel Lafarge Les Mitans, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($189.95) $159 pre-arrival special
Burghound 90-92 points “Once again there is striking purity to the elegant and airy essence of red currant, cherry and pomegranate suffused nose. There is really lovely detail and intensity to the refined and lacy middle weight flavors that possess a dusty and overtly saline finish. This is textbook Mitans with its finesse and restrained palate feel.”


Arriving in July

Domaine Vincent Paris

Heir to the Cornas Throne

It’s pretty clear that Vincent Paris is the next “it” winemaker in the Northern Rhone.  Working primarily in Cornas, the wines have everything we love about Northern Rhone Syrah packaged in a clean, direct style.  He has the benefit of incredible vineyard material, too, as he now works the vineyards his uncle, Robert Michel, made famous. He makes several wines from Cornas that are arriving this summer and we’re pleased we get to offer the range.  The “Granit” series wines refer to the steepness of the slopes that they are produced from (30 and 60 [!] degrees respectively) and the Geynale is from a lieu-dit in Reynard with over 100 year old vines.

Arriving in July

Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, Rhone 2015 750ML ($44.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91-94 points “Starting with his younger vine cuvée, the 2015 Cornas Granit 30 (1,500 cases) comes from the Patou and Saint Pierre lieux-dits and will see roughly 15 months in barrel. It’s a deep, sexy, fruit-loaded beauty that has a saturated purple color, awesome notes of blackberries, blueberries, violets, spring flowers and licorice, as well as full-bodied richness and sweet, yet present tannin. This puppy has tons of fruit and is relatively upfront and textured, but it has enough tannin to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age.”

Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 60, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-95 points “Possessing additional minerality, as well as tannin, the sensational 2015 Cornas Granit 60 offers a kaleidoscope of black raspberry, blueberries, liquid violets, licorice and crushed rocks. Mostly destemmed and coming from the steep parcels located at higher elevations (lieux-dits Patou, Mazards and Sauman), this rich, concentrated, full-bodied beauty will need 4-5 years (or more) of cellaring to shed its baby fat and integrate its tannin, but it’s a killer wine readers should buy by the case; there were just over 400 cases produced.”

Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale, Rhone 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2015 Cornas La Geynale comes from the oldest vines of the estate and the lieux-dits of Reynard and La Genale, all steep, granite terroirs. This cuvée, which is never destemmed, is aged in older barrels. It’s certainly the most classic in style, with more pepper, game, olives and earth, yet still possesses the same purity, fruit and wealth of material found in these cuvées. Full-bodied, deep, concentrated, structured and perfectly balanced, it’s an incredibly complete wine that will need to be forgotten for 4-5 years, and will keep for 10-15 years. Bravo!”

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One constant on the island of Sicily is the looming shadow of Mt. Etna, the highest and most active volcano in Europe. Its rich soils have been key to the island’s agriculture for centuries; however, the farmers gamble with their crops every year. Etna giveth, and Etna taketh away – abruptly. And yet, the appeal of revitalizing the vineyards – some half buried by recent lava flows – is too great to resist. Nerello mascalese is so perfectly paired to its place that there is no place on earth that could even begin to replicate the results achieved here.

In 2000, Andrea Franchetti arrived on the slopes of Etna with a goal of rehabilitating hundred-year old vineyards spread across the slopes of the mountain. Each contrada is reflective of individual lava flows, all of which came from different levels of magma within the mountain, and Franchetti decided on vinifying the single-vineyard sites separately. The five contrada wines demonstrate Nerello’s underrated ability to reflect the essence of each site. The results continue to surprise Franchetti himself, his winemaking evolving to compliment the fruit at its peak rather than trying to manipulate results in the winery.

Despite the cool temperatures, often 20-30 degrees cooler than at the coast, the vines are healthy and active due to the sunlight that reflects off the seas below. Passopisciaro is balanced, polished and definitely a refined take on a grape that was viewed as quaint for its rusticity for decades. The Passorosso, a blend of the five contrada that Franchetti works with, is viewed as one of the best introductions available to the wines of Etna, with 2014 being hailed by Ian d’Agato of Vinous as the best vintages yet for this wine.

Passopisciaro wines in-stock now:

Passopisciaro Contrada C Chiappemacine, Sicily 2011 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 5 bottles available
Wine Spectator 90 points “An accessible version, with juicy acidity and refined tannins, this features a smoky minerality underscoring the subtle flavors of plum sauce, black licorice drop, bacon fat and black cherry coulis. Finely balanced and silky, presenting a lasting finish of ripe fruit and herb. Nerello Mascalese. Drink now through 2021. 240 cases made.”
Stephen Tanzer 89+ points “Medium red.  Musky raspberry, redcurrant, minerals, white flowers and a whiff of cough syrup on the nose.  Minerally, serious and tightly structured, with a restrained sweetness to the vibrant red fruit and herbal flavors.  The saline finish displays excellent length, serious tannins and a hint of orange peel.   The name refers to the Chiappemacine area of Etna; the vines here are 80 years old.”

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Passopisciaro Contrada G Guardiola Rosso, Sicily 2011 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 92 points “Fine-grained tannins impart a chewy character to the pure flavors of black raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, while mouthwatering acidity enlivens the hints of star anise, mocha and smoky mineral that echo on the creamy finish. Nerello Mascalese. Drink now through 2024. 250 cases made.”
Stephen Tanzer 90+ points “Good full, bright red.  High-toned aromas of red cherry, cough drop, sweet spices and almond paste, plus a whiff of alcohol.  Sweet and juicy, with superb penetration to the vibrant mineral and red cherry flavors.  Very long wine with an electric, firmly tannic finish and excellent grip, but this needs time to smooth out.  A note of marzipan that is typical of the Guardiola cru repeats at the back.”

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Passopisciaro Contrada P Porcaria, Sicily 2011 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 4 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points “Good bright red.  Complex, highly perfumed scents of red cherry, raspberry, marzipan, iron, white flowers and peppery herbs.  Sweeter in the middle and more powerful than all the other cru bottlings from Passopisciaro in 2011, but with lively spicy lift.  Finishes ripe and long, with mouthcoating tannins, a hint of vanilla and repeating red cherry and berry notes.  A lovely wine, seemingly less austere than the other 2011s here.  The Porcaria cru area is my favorite, with its north-exposed 80-year-old vineyards, as the grapes in this section of Etna benefit from the longest, slowest ripening period and often give wines of mindblowing complexity.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This minerally red shows a sense of finesse, seamlessly layering supple tannins, fresh acidity and pure flavors of strawberry, black raspberry, star anise and graphite, with hints of grilled herb and black olive tapenade. Features a firm, lasting finish. Drink now through 2027. 160 cases made.”

Passopisciaro Contrada R Rampante, Sicily 2011 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 90 points “An elegant red, featuring refined tannins that nevertheless lend some grip to flavors of currant, tobacco, spice box and seared mushroom. Light-footed and fresh, with a lasting, herb-tinged finish. Drink now through 2024. 240 cases made.”
Vinopolnote: Grown from vines at nearly 3,500 feet in altitutude. As Italian Wine Geek phrases it, “This is not your sun-drenched Sicilian beach. These are the “Alps” of Sicilia!”

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Passopisciaro Contrada S Sciaranuova, Sicily 2011 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Spectator 90 points “This medium-bodied red offers a herb-tinged palate of creamy black cherry, raspberry fruit, red licorice, smoke and ground anise, while fresh acidity and chewy tannins impart focus through to the graphite-laced finish. Nerello Mascalese. Drink now through 2021. 160 cases made.” Vinopolnote: Situated at 2,800 feet above sea level. Hardened lava soils which are segemented like pebbles or clumps of coal; 80+ year old vines.”

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Arriving Fall 2017:

Passopisciaro ‘Passorosso’ Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 97 points “Bright red-ruby. The captivating nose combines strawberry, raspberry, minerals, violet and flint aromas. Creamy-sweet but amazingly light on its feet, offering palate-staining, perfumed flavors of soft red berries, ripe red cherry, vanilla, aromatic herbs and crushed rock. Rich, ripe and suave, but displays a penetrating, saline and energetic quality that gives this beauty a three-dimensional mouthfeel and a light-on-its-feet quality. Finishes with great length and wonderfully polished tannins. Absolute knockout wine: from a memorable vintage on Etna, this is most likely the best Passorosso ever (in earlier vintages, it used to be called simply Passopisciaro). Mainly Nerello Mascalese.”

Thanks for reading!