In Today’s Newsletter:
Napa Valley’s Best Kept Open Secret
New Pinot and Chard from Paul Hobbs
A Nostaglia-Inducing Chateauneuf
The Next Allemand?
Reasonably Priced Right-Bank Bordeaux:
New St. Emilions and Pomerols Arrive This Week
Rose of the Day
New Summer Wines from Kelley Fox
A Rising Champagne Star
Napa Valley’s Best Kept Open Secret
Located at the confluence of several of Napa Valley’s most acclaimed appellations, including Rutherford and St. Helena, Snowden is a Beverly Hills estate without the 90210 zip code. This location, on the gentle hillside of the Vaca Mountains, allows the estate’s third generation winemaker Diana Snowden Seysses to produce wines of power and nuance. Having trained in both Napa and Europe, her wines combine prototypical Napa muscle with freshness and intricate fruit. Napa Valley producers, especially those with comparable pedigrees that so convincingly achieve this balancing act, are notoriously expensive. Snowden is a rare Napa classic which remains relatively affordable.
The quality of the estate’s fruit has been an open secret within the valley for decades, and many of Napa’s most respected names have purchased fruit over the years, including Silver Oak and Caymus. However, we’re here to publically out Snowden for the greater good. These prices do not reflect the quality on offer, and the wines deserve a place on your dinner table.
In Stock Now:
Snowden Vineyards ‘Brothers Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
#91 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Brothers is the best wine I have tasted from Diana Snowden-Seysses. Rich, explosive and savory, the 2016 dazzles with intensity in all of its dimensions. Graphite, smoke, savory herbs and spice notes wrap around a core of dark fruit in a vertical, towering Cabernet Sauvignon that captures all the vintage has to offer.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Offers a tasty core of plum and blackberry fruit, backed by lively anise and apple wood notes. Restrained overall, with an alluring freshness and a subtle charcoal hint lingering deftly at the end. Drink now through 2032. 639 cases made.”
Snowden Vineyards The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Snowden’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is gorgeous. Dark, powerful and beautifully structured, the 2016 Ranch is a huge overachiever. In 2016, the Ranch is a wine of real power, gravitas and character. Black cherry, plum, lavender and savory herbs all develop in the glass, but it is the wine’s persistence and overall balance that stands out in this deeply flavorful, classically built Cabernet from Snowden. Best of all, the 2016 is a superb wine for the money.”
James Suckling 92 points “Elderberries, blueberries, blackberries and hints of hazelnuts and walnuts. Medium to full body, focused acidity and a medium-chewy finish. Drink in 2022.”
Snowden Vineyards The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($54.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is an attractive, mid-weight wine that shows the more gracious, understated side of the year. Floral and spice notes give the 2017 lovely aromatics to play off a core of sweet red berry fruit. This is a very pretty wine.”
The next best price is $55
New Pinot and Chard from Paul Hobbs
We’ve got these top Pinots and Chards arriving on Friday, but unfortunately allocations are limited, so these won’t be regular stock items for us. No, if you want some, you should act quickly—once these beauties disappear, they’re gone until next vintage.
Paul Hobbs Richard Dinner Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Mountain 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “Last of the Chardonnay and first made in 1991, the 2018 Chardonnay Richard Dinner Vineyard comes from a vineyard in the Sonoma Mountain AVA and spent 15 months in 53% new French oak. It’s certainly the most exotic Chardonnay in the lineup, with a complex bouquet of Meyer lemons, flower oil, toasted spice, candle wax, and honeyed citrus. Rich, full-bodied, and stacked on the palate, it has loads of fruit, vibrant acidity, and a great finish. It’s another powerful, concentrated Chardonnay.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2018 Chardonnay Richard Dinner Vineyard is quite floral and perfumed in this vintage. Jasmine, white pepper, mint and lemon peel give the 2018 a brilliant aromatic upper register. In most vintages the Richard Dinner Chardonnay is distinguished by more of a phenolic character, but the 2018 is all about lift and energy.”
Paul Hobbs Ellen Lane Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “More tart citrus, caramelized pineapple, white flowers, and Meyer lemon notes emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay Ellen Lane Estate, another flawlessly balanced Chardonnay from Hobbs. Medium to full-bodied, with terrific acidity yet also terrific concentration, it’s drinking spot on already, with the more flattering, charming style of the 2018 vintage, yet is going to evolve for 5-7 years with no problems.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2018 Chardonnay Ellen Lane Estate is creamy, open-knit and sensual, with no hard edges and impeccable balance. Apricot and lemon confit give the Ellen Lane inner sweetness and perfume to match its gracious, mid-weight personality. This is very nicely done.”
Paul Hobbs Goldrock Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2017 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2017 Pinot Noir Goldrock Estate is even more impressive from bottle than it was from barrel. Gravel, graphite, smoke, leather, and whole range of dark fruit notes give the Goldrock Estate a decidedly somber feel that pairs well with its brooding structure. A Pinot of gravitas and power, the Goldrock needs time to fully come together, but it is super impressive today.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “Another Sonoma Coast release, the 2017 Pinot Noir Goldrock Estate saw a touch of stems as well as the standard 45-55% new barrels. Its ruby/purple hue gives way to notes of Caramelized black raspberries, candied cherries, crushed flowers, and exotic spices. Rich, powerful, medium to full-bodied, and nicely structured, it’s a big, mouthfilling 2017 that does everything right.”
Paul Hobbs Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir, Carneros 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “From the Carneros region in the southern part of the valley, the 2018 Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard gives up a Burgundian bouquet of black cherries, mulberries, smoked earth, and candied violets. It shows more and more floral tones with time in the glass and is beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and has silky tannins. It’s terrific today, yet it has a solid spine of acidity that’s going to allow it to evolve gracefully for a solid decade or more. This cuvée was just about all destemmed (there are 8% stems) and spent 15 months in 53% new French oak.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard is unusually refined this year. The savory, earthy notes typical of Hyde are present, and yet the wine has an extra kick of polish that helps to balance what are sometimes slightly rustic qualities. Elegant and polished, the 2018 is light on its feet and impeccable in its balance. It is also one of the finest Hyde Pinots I can remember tasting from Paul Hobbs.”
Vinopolis Wine Shop Curbside Pick Up
When you’re ready to pick up, just park in our lot,
give us a call, & we’ll bring your order to your car.
(If another adult is picking up for you,
please let us know their name when placing your order.)
A Nostaglia-Inducing Chateauneuf
Once upon a time, as a 22 year old waiter in a little trattoria, I was asked by a table to pick out something simple but delicious – and not Italian. The owner and I had been digging through the cellar earlier in the week and had come across six bottles of Chateauneuf du Pape he’d forgotten ordering. I brought one to the table and hoped for the best. Three bottles later, the party told me I’d found their new favorite wine. I’d love to pat myself on the back for a brilliant selection, but the Vieux Lazaret was the only non-Italian wine in the restaurant. Still, I took my tips and bought the last two bottles.
When the 2016 Vieux Lazaret came into Vinopolis I was excited to see if it lived up to my memory. The price certainly hasn’t changed (under $30!). I’m happy to say I wasn’t let down – this is the elegant side of CDP. While slightly more muscular than the wine I’d had 22 years ago, it is still the same crunchy stoniness wrapped around fresh dark berries, and plenty of herbs, leather and spices. It is not the most complex of CdP, but it’s very delicious and a classic example of what one should look for. This is not a palate wrecking blockbuster, but a wine focused on the pleasure of drinking a delicious wine with delicious food. I’d serve this with Lebanese foods, sausages, grilled vegetables. Maybe even with Osso Buco, like I served up all those years ago.
In Stock Now:
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $29 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Ripe and forward in feel, featuring crushed raspberry and blackberry compote notes, mixed with red licorice, blood orange, rooibos tea and fruitcake hints. Silky from start to finish, with a subtle sanguine thread lacing up the finish. Very enticing. Best from 2020 through 2037. 16,000 cases made, 2,000 cases imported.”
Also Available from Domaine du Vieux Lazaret:
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $27 special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Alluring, with flow to the cassis, cherry compote and raspberry coulis flavors, backed by light rooibos tea, tobacco and dried blood orange accents. The silky finish is sneaky long, offering a light sanguine echo. Drink now through 2025. 16,666 cases made, 2,000 cases imported.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Black-plum and mulberry notes are plump and easy on the palate of this velvety, plush red. Ripe and rich, it’s elegantly balanced by crisp acidity and fine, firm tannins. Primary and fruity now, with delicate hints of nut and spice, it should develop earth and spice tones through 2025.”
Domaine du Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $29 special
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Editors’ Choice. A blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne, this dry white balances crisp pineapple and peach flavors against hints of nuts and smoke. It’s mouthwatering and silky on the palate but finishes with a refreshing mineral lift. Lovely already it should develop smokier, earthen complexities with time.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Star fruit, Key lime and white peach flavors race through in this bright, detailed white, backed by a light lemon shortbread note on the finish. Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne. Drink now through 2022. 4,000 cases made, 500 cases imported.”
The Next Allemand?
Vignobles Bernard Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche, Rhone 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds 96 points “Dark purple. Ripe dark fruit, floral and spice qualities on the expressive nose, along with hints of licorice, black cardamom, espresso and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with deeply concentrated cassis, bitter cherry and candied violet flavors that slowly unfold and take a sweeter turn through the midpalate. Youthfully chewy tannins add firm grip to a strikingly long, energetic finish that emphatically echoes the cassis and mineral notes. Made with 100% whole clusters.”
Vignobles Bernard Levet Cote Rotie Les Journaries, Rhone 2017 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Inky ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, licorice, exotic spices and potpourri and shows outstanding definition. Stains the palate with appealingly sweet black raspberry, blueberry and cherry preserve flavors that slowly tighten up on the back half. Shows superb energy and floral lift on an impressively long, focused finish shaped by steadily mounting tannins. This is quite a powerful wine (about 70% of the fruit comes from La Landonne, by the way) for one that checks in at only 13% alcohol. Made entirely with whole clusters.”
Reasonably Priced Right-Bank Bordeaux
New St. Emilions and Pomerols Arrive This Week
Petrus, Le Pin and Lafleur cast a long shadow in Pomerol, but it’s worth remembering that there are a ton of great wines under $100, and even under $50, if you know where to look. We’ve got an assortment of some reasonably priced gems arriving Friday, which all show off the unique terroir and climate of Pomerol—for way less than a bottle of Petrus.
Chateau Latour a Pomerol, Pomerol 2012 750ML ($149.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 93+ points “A very strong effort from this estate in the Jean-Pierre Moueix stable, this 2012 (14.5% natural alcohol) has a dense ruby/purple color, a big, sweet kiss of mocha, blackcurrants, and black cherries, and notes of truffle and earth. Full-bodied, ripe and one of the great successes from this estate over recent decades, the 2012 is a must-purchase for Pomerol enthusiasts. Silky tannins, superb concentration and a long, long finish suggest a good 20+ years of evolution at minimum. Bravo!”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2012 Latour a Pomerol is intensely aromatic and beautifully layered in the glass. Sweet herbs, tobacco, raspberry jam, mint and roasted coffee beans are all laced together. Sensual and inviting, the 2012 is all about subtlety and nuance. Super-ripe black cherries, iron, smoke and tobacco add further complexity. The 2012 deftly balances unctuous richness with terrific aromatic presence and delineation. The Cabernet Franc is particularly expressive today.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Bay, tobacco and mesquite notes lead the way, with a lush core of fig, boysenberry and plum fruit filling in quickly behind. Serious tobacco, charcoal and loam notes give the finish a hefty feel, but there’s purity and polish here, too. Cellar for maximum effect. Best from 2017 through 2027. 1,333 cases made.”
The average listed price is $116
James Suckling 93 points “Focused and fruity with lots of flowers and blackberry character. Medium to full body, silky tannins and a long and subtle finish. Shows polish and finesse. Better in 2020.”
Chateau Rouget, Pomerol 2013 750ML ($79.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 90-92 points “The 2013 Rouget is wonderfully dark and fleshy in the glass. Sweet, layered and impeccable, the 2013 impresses for its depth and juiciness. The new oak is a bit present at the moment, but that should not be too much of an issue over time. The style is extroverted, racy and ripe, and it all works beautifully here. What a pretty wine this is. Tasted twice.”
Chateau La Serre is part of the Moueix family of wineries—a name that needs little in the way for Bordeaux enthusiasts. While it may not be as grand as some of its fellows (like, err, Petrus and Trotanoy), La Serre offers incredible value for the price. Representing a harmony between traditional production styles and immediate drinkability, these are great bottles for drinking now or cellaring.
Chateau La Serre, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “This has a nice sappy edge, offering kirsch and boysenberry preserves flavors that course along, with lots of mouthcoating fruitcake and melted licorice on the finish. There’s a tarry thread too, for added texture and length. Solid. Best from 2015 through 2025. 1,800 cases made. — JM”
James Suckling 93 points ” Rich and spicy note with cranberries, nutmeg and crushed white pepper. Seville orange, chocolate and blackberries coming out after a while. Full and dense on the palate with polished tannins and very long finish with lots of dark fruit. Pretty wine. Drink from 2015.”
Chateau La Serre, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($59.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Made from 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2015 Château La Serre is a ripe, sexy beauty that’s packed with fruit. Black cherries, blueberries, leafy herbs and hints of tobacco all emerge from this ripe, opulent 2015 that has sweet tannin, a charming, forward style, moderate concentration, and a great finish. It should be a smoking value and delivers loads of pleasure already. Tasted twice.”
James Suckling 93 points “Suave, cedary oak aromas with bright vanillin-dusted plums, raspberries and some graphite. The palate delivers clean-cut tannins, carrying flavors of blackberries and mulberries to an upbeat finish. Drink or hold.”
Chateau La Serre, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($59.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The 2016 Château La Serre sports a medium ruby/purple color and is 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc raised in 50% new oak. Offering up a perfumed bouquet of black raspberries, black cherries, tobacco, and truffly, damp earth, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, has terrific purity of fruit, moderate tannins, and an undeniably charming, rounded style that’s going to evolve nicely for 15 years or more. It’s one of the finest versions of this cuvée I’ve tasted.”
James Suckling 92 points ” This has aromas of hung meat, spicy red and dark plums and cherries with some chalky nuances. This leads to a succulent, juicy and vibrant array of fresh, crisp tannins that deliver fresh red-berry flavors. Try from 2022.”
Rose of the Day
And from Provence? The delicious rosés from Chateau Peyrassol. We think of these as being especially elegant and nuanced, with excellent minerality and poise and they’ve been customer favorites every year for the quality and value they deliver. They have three tiers, and the wines gain polish and elegance the further up the quality spectrum you go.
In Stock Now:
Chateau Peyrassol Rose, Cotes de Provence 2019 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Chateau Peyrassol Rose, Cotes de Provence 2019 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “A blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, Ugni Blanc and Rolle from estate fruit, Peyrassol’s 2019 Cotes de Provence Rose is a strident, intense rosé that demands attention. It hints at passion fruit at first, then broadens out to include notes of pink grapefruit, red currant and even a touch of peach, but it always retains a sinewy structure and bright acidity. It’s medium-bodied, with a silky texture in the mouth and a long, mouthwatering finish. Yum!”
VinePair Rose of the Year 2020 “A delightful reminder of what makes Provence rosé so popular, this wine ticks all the boxes. The nose is delicate but serves layers of white flowers, red fruit, and a sprinkle of savory spices. The palate is both bold and refreshing, with tangy fruit cut by a piercing jolt of acidity. Add a hint of wet rocks and a dusting of white pepper to the equation, and you’ve got yourself the best rosé of 2019. If you can’t find this exact bottle, the producer’s entire range is equally impressive and should be sought out. Average price: $35.”
Rosenthal Wine Merchant note “This is the elite cuvée of the estate relying as it does on grapes harvested from the oldest vines of the domaine (35 years and older). Principally composed of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, the “Chateau” bottling also sees the addition, from time-to-time of Tibouren, the ancient and regal Provencale grape. This Rosé is produced via the “direct press” method and has a long cuvaison designed to produce a wine of character and concentration. Vinified in stainless steel and bottled in late winter – early spring, production is quite limited.”
Peyrassol ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2019 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Peyrassol ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2019 1.5L ($51.95) $47 special
Rosenthal Wine Merchant note “For us, this wine is the classic representation of the pink-tinted wines of this region and is the workhorse wine of the estate. It carries a pale rose color, a lovely fruit blossom nose and finishes crisply dry with a stony touch that gives it class and elegance. The grape blend is usually Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah in varying percentages. The average age of the vines is 25 years or more. The Rosés of Peyrassol are made from the direct press method. The grapes undergo cold maceration before being pressed. This gives them their beautiful watermelon pink color. The fermentation takes place under controlled temperatures and is exceptionally long, resulting in rosés that are both lively, fresh and full-bodied. As production has increased at Peyrassol with the additional plantings, we too have increased our purchases.”
Peyrassol ‘Le Clos’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2019 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Peyrassol ‘Le Clos’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2019 1.5L ($149.95) $129 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “Predominantly Tibouren, with the balance of the blend being Grenache and Rolle, Peyrassol’s super pale 2019 Cotes de Provence Rose Le Clos Peyrassol offers up scents of crushed stone, garrigue, white peach and lime, all tinged with tart red berries. It’s medium-bodied on the palate, with a silky-wet stone feel and a lingering finish that seems to build in red fruit intensity while remaining citrusy and refreshing at the same time. One of the best wines in this year’s tasting, this is a limited-production cuvée from a walled vineyard located on the estate.”
Rosenthal Wine Merchant note “It is made from a single parcel which is equally planted to Cinsault and Tibouren (a touch of Rolle makes it into this cuvee as well). The soil is a mix of clay and limestone with a lot of large rocks on the surface. The site has a bit of depression which helps more even ripening, since the soil holds a little more water than other parcels. The 2016 is the palest of the three roses, with a very silvery salmon hue. At the moment of tasting the nose was a tad firm, showing flinty mineral notes. The palate is quite rich and dense with an almost white Burgundy presence. The fruits lean a little sweeter than the other cuvées, with hints of pear and passion fruit. Even so, the wine is completely dry and has a super-long mineral finish. It’s a great rosé that has the potential to age, and we hope some of you keep a few bottles to drink over the next several years.”
Chateau Marjosse, Bordeaux 2015 750ML ($19.95) $17 special
Case-12 Chateau Marjosse, Bordeaux 2015 750ML ($239.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
James Suckling 91 points “Aromas of spices, currants and milk chocolate with fresh-basil undertones. Full-bodied, layered and rich with lots of fruit and character on the finish. Tannins are velvety and dusty in texture. Excellent for this chateau. Needs two or three years to soften. Try in 2020.”
“Pierre Lurton’s 2015 Marjosse is a big, bold wine packed with black cherry, tobacco, chocolate, smoke, leather and licorice. This dark, brooding wine should drink nicely upon release. There is plenty going on.” –Antonio Galloni
“The medium garnet-purple colored 2015 Marjosse has a nose of crushed black raspberries and red plums with touches of blackberries and damp soil. Medium to full-bodied, it has good expression and a chewy frame with nice balance and plenty of fruit.” – Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
Please call or email to purchase this (or other) DRC wines. DRC is not listed our webstore/
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru 2017 750ML ($2,999.95) $2,799 pre-arrival special
Only two bottles remaining
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Romanée-St-Vivant Grand Cru was also showing very well indeed, soaring from the glass with scents of cassis, violets, blood orange, cinnamon and espresso roast that are complemented by carnal nuances of smoked duck and musk. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, multidimensional and enveloping, with terrific concentration, rich and powdery structuring tannins and a long, saline finish. This is a dramatic, head-turning Romanée-St-Vivant in the making, and it is showing even better in bottle than it did from barrel.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru was picked on September 10 and 11 at 36hl/ha and bottled between April 26 and May 21. It initially has a more reticent bouquet compared to the Richebourg and requests more time in the glass. Eventually it evolves wonderful, almost pixelated scents of red berry fruit, wild hedgerow and crushed stone. Although it is less intense than the previous two vintages, I discern a touch more precision and focus than in the Richebourg. The palate is medium-bodied with lithe tannins. There is a little more body and depth than in the aforementioned Grand Cru; more energy, perhaps. A mixture of red and black fruit emerges toward the finish, the latter becoming more prominent with aeration. This is a delicious Romanée-Saint-Vivant. Beautiful. 1,693 cases produced…”
Allen Meadows-Burghound 94 points “A markedly floral and very finely nuanced nose almost timidly reflects notes of rose petal, violet, red currant, sandalwood, tangerine peel and a whisper of anise. The sleek and strikingly refined medium-bodied flavors culminate in a sneaky long if decidedly compact and quite serious finish that is presently on the youthfully austere side. This is an exercise in lace and grace though not one without plenty of punch.”
A more muscular version of Sierra de Gredos Garnacha, this is opening up nicely.
Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Sierra de Gredos, Castilla y Leon 2013 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Case-6 Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’ Sierra de Gredos, Castilla y Leon 2013 750ML ($259.95) $199 special (that’s only $33.17/bottle!)
James Sucking 96 points “Exuberant red berries and cherries with a fine, rose-like edge and some coal smoke. Very juicy, fleshy, rich and ripe mid-palate with a dense, long and showy, glossy black-cherry finish. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Cropped from a cooler and late ripening vintage, the 2013 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra resulted in fresh wines and certainly worked well with the slate soils of these old Garnacha vines in Cebreros. This has a very good balance between ripeness and freshness, power and elegance, with the character of the soils slowly coming through in the shape of fresh meat and beef blood, with the iron-like notes still pretty shy. This should develop nicely in bottle. 8,931 bottles produced.”
An early contender for deal of 2020.
Valle Reale Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 94 points “Bright red. Red cherry and flowers on the perfumed nose; much more fragrant than the 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Then fresh and juicy, with bright red fruit repeating in the mouth. Finishes long and savory, showcasing notable purity. Outstanding cool-climate Montepulciano of noteworthy refinement. Very, very well done; I’m not sure readers fully realize just how hard it is to obtain a result of this level in a cold-weather environment such as that of Popoli. This success speaks loudly of the capability and talent of owner Leonardo Pinzolo and his Valle Reale technical team.”
High altitude Spanish Garnacha at an attractive price. A big winner.
Bodegas Maranones 30,000 Maravedies, Madrid 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 91+ points “The fully developed, aromatic and open 2016 30.000 Maravedíes, with nice aromatics and a very pleasant palate. It’s fragrant and elegant, with pungent flavors and very good persistence. This is a superb showing for this bottling. 39,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017.”
Library Owen Roe Syrah from perhaps their best vineyard—at unthinkably good pricing.
Owen Roe Red Willow Vineyard Chapel Block Syrah, Yakima Valley 2013 750ML ($59.95) $33 special
Case-12 Owen Roe Red Willow Vineyard Chapel Block Syrah, Yakima Valley 2013 750ML ($719.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92 points “Bright medium ruby. Musky, earthy aromas of raspberry, roasted strawberry, smoked meat and charred oak. Fat, sweet and deep, with good spicy lift to the very ripe flavors of plum, blueberry, dark chocolate and spices. A very rich, tactile Syrah with sexy sweetness but plenty of ripe, dusty tannins to support a graceful evolution in bottle. Ultimately richer than the Union Gap Syrah but also more tannic.”
The next best price in any vintage is $49.50
The average listed price across all vintages is $55
In Stock Now:
Kelley Fox Nerthus White Blend, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Winemaker note “I’m very happy to offer you this lovely skin-contact white wine made of 40% old vine Early Muscat and 60% Grüner veltliner. The destemmed fruit from both vineyards was fermented in 1.5-ton open top fermenters with one pigeage a day. The Muscat was pressed at dryness (about twelve days) while the Grüner was pressed into the tank of Muscat after about six days of skin contact to complete its fermention. The Nerthus was allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. Élevage was in a stainless tank until bottling. It is bone-dry and very clean and fresh. The Nerthus is transparent to the point of brilliance, and its colour is youthful, shimmering gold. The nose is full of minerals, stone fruits (apricot/peach), and has this incredibly fresh smell that reminds me of the ozone in the air after a huge thunderstorm. Unlike the nose, the mouth is more Grüner-like than Muscat-like, but still, there are hints of tangerine and stone fruit. And like a Grüner, this wine will need a little time to take on its body and weight (though it will never become heavy or cloying). The finish is consistent with the mouth with maybe some spice. It is fresh and clean (in a good, not-at-all sterile way), and is a wine that I hope evokes an alpine white full of early spring life emerging from the snow-melt.”
Kelley Fox Wines Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris (Rose), Dundee Hills 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
Winemaker note “Produced from self-rooted vines planted in 1991 at the historic Maresh Vineyard, the 2019 Pinot gris was 100% destemmed and fermented in three 1.5 ton “macrobin” (food-grade plastic) fermentors. One pigeage (foot-treading) happened each day. About 20 days of skin contact occurred before the wine was pressed at dryness. Élevage was in a uterine-shaped concrete amphora tank and some neutral 228 liter Burgundy barrels from tight-grained French forests. The Maresh Pinot Gris is dry and ML-complete with a final pH of 3.4. It has a beautiful deep pink/blue-toned fuchsia colour and has far more complexity in the nose (spicy floral notes like natural carnations, strawberries, and some exotic notes I can’t articulate) and mouth than ordinary white Pinot gris/Pinot grigio. It has more structure and power than the white, but drinks more like a rosé than a Pinot. It has a fine, silken texture, and a slightly spicy finish and has delicious pink energy.”
The average price is $28
New Wines from a Champagne Rising Star
“Benoît Marguet is a fast-rising star in the Montage de Reims if not in the entire Champagne region…” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Benoit Marguet is one of the hottest names in Champagne. A young grower who is one of the leading voices for organic and biodynamic farming (in a region that’s not exactly known for progressive attitudes towards agriculture), his single-parcel wines have attracted attention of Michelin starred restaurants across Europe. These are wines that are rich across the palate yet incredibly mineral and precise in their flavors.
We’ve been able to secure small quantities of three of his most prized wines—the superlative Sapience as well as the compelling Crayeres and Avize & Cramant bottlings. Across the board, these are some of the most exciting wines coming out of Champagne and we’re excited to offer them to you.
Arriving ETA July
Marguet Pere & Fils Avize & Cramant Grand Cru, Champagne 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Peter Liem note “[Writing on the 2011 release] This comes from two chardonnay vineyards, both farmed organically: Les Chantereines in Avize and Les Fourches du Levant in Cramant. It combines breadth and finesse in the inimitable style of the northern Côte des Blancs, with a pinpoint texture and a racy, elongated structure.”
Marguet Pere & Fils ‘Les Crayeres’ Ambonnay Grand Cru, Champagne 2015 750ML ($119.95) $95 pre-arrival special
Peter Liem note “The Lieux-Dits collection is designed to highlight Marguet’s most distinctive parcels in Ambonnay: the first release was the outstanding 2008 Les Crayères, a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay from a prized parcel of massale-selected vines on Ambonnay’s mid-slope, planted in 1970.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Marguet Pere & Fils ‘Sapience’ Premier Cru Extra-Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($269.95) $179 pre-arrival special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “A blend of 50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier, the golden-yellow 2009 Premier Cru Brut Nature displays a clear, deep and well-concentrated bouquet of ripe and spicy fruits with a touch of lemon juice and oak. Pure, fresh and fruity on the palate (sweet cherries, red berries and citrus fruits), this is a very elegant, perfectly round, complex, well-balanced though tightly structured and vibrantly mineral cuvée with a long, clear, pure and salty finish. This is remarkably finessed. Unfortunately, I tasted the 2009 three weeks after the 2007 and the 2008 rather than tasting all three side by side, but qualitatively, it’s much closer to the 2008 than to the 2007 and is doubtlessly an impressive Brut Nature. Sapience is the name of Marguet’s prestige cuvée that is produced every single year. Marguet calls it “a new expression of Champagne.” It is a Premier Cru Brut Nature whose grapes are sourced in old, organic or biodynamically farmed vineyards from three well-known champagne growers in Cumières (Georges Laval), Trépail (David Léclapart) and Bouzy (Benoît Lahaye), who all work the soil with horses or tractors and protect the vines with herbal infusions and essential oils. The resulting millésimes (I had 2007, 2008 and 2009 plus the 2006 Oenothéque) are pure and quiet (or subtle) beauties that taste unique in texture and flavors but will benefit significantly from further bottle aging. In their youth, they are full of energy and vitality but not too good to lose control or patience—which is true for all of the wines from Marguet. Keep them (at least) for three or more years after the disgorgement, and you will get the best of them.”
James Suckling 93 points “Very complete, multifaceted style with strong, pastry-like lees influence and grilled cashew nuts, as well as a lightly peppery, spicy edge. Yellow-plum and subtly toasty brown-mushroom and grilled-hazelnut finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”
Peter Liem “Since 2006, Marguet has been working with Hervé Jestin, the former chef de cave of Duval-Leroy who is now a consultant to many wine estates around Europe. Marguet has gradually integrated Jestin’s homeopathic and biodynamic practices into his own winemaking, and the two of them have collaborated to create a special, naturally grown champagne that encapsulates and expresses Jestin’s philosophies. The first vintage of this super-cuvée was 2006, released in 2013, and the production was divided: half of it was sold under the Jestin label, with the other half under the label Sapience, which Marguet has indicated is a separate brand from the Marguet label.”
The next best price is almost a hundred dollars more: $274