The July Sale Ends Tomorrow!
Singularly “Magico” – Special and Rare Rioja
New Grapelive Reviews
New Offers for Two Spanish Icons:
Pingus (Flor de Pingus/Psi) and Muga’s Prado Enea
Including Brick House, Cristom,
Evesham Wood, Gerard Boulay, Cantalupo
Raul Perez and More!
First Offer: Top Priorat, Under $40
July Sale Roundup
The July Sale Ends Tomorrow!
In Stock Now:
Force Majeure ‘Parvata’, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $69 July Sale Special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.97
That’s a difference of over $20/btl!
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.”
The average listed price is $38
Winery Note “Proof that Sauvignon Blanc made the right way can be terroir wine, the short distance between Union School and La Chenaie belies the profoundly different ways in which the two sites express themselves. We make the two wines exactly the same way but the Eola-Amity Hills highlights wholly different attributes in Sauvignon Blanc. This expression is more sophisticated than its southern brother and incorporates a savory aspect we find fascinating. Texturally is carries more weight and depth without being ponderous. Reminiscent of stone fruit, guava, mint and a whiff of Rum Agricole.”
Winery Note “One of the greatest underdog stories in this region’s wine history. Cynically planted on a north facing slope some 30 years ago it wasn’t even given a name. It was just buried in some big houses Pinot for color and bulk. We came along and convinced the owner to switch to Organic farming and sell us the Gamay block also planted on the site. The Pinot was part of the deal however and despite begrudgingly accepting it the wine has proven to be the best source of this noble variety we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. The most sophisticated wine the cellar produces every year. Always reminds me of cinnamon, hibiscus, raspberry blossoms and black tea.”
Winery Note “Like Rhinestones, the name Air Guitar is a self deprecating poke at attempting French style wines in America. The “least likely to exist” of all of our Willamette Valley sourced wines, this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from Borgo Pass Vineyard and Cabernet Franc from Johan Vineyard. Don’t let the playful nature of the wine’s label fool you -this is our most profound expression of red wine from this region and the one that rewards the most patience. Aged 10 to 12 months in puncheon. “
Now it’s even lower!
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91+ points “Healthy dark red. Very primary nose hints at black cherry, menthol and bitter chocolate lifted by a floral topnote. Then sappy and saline on the palate, showing very good chewy concentration and medicinal reserve. Quite reticent today but displays a terrific balance between sweetness and firm minerality. Bitouzet wishes he made big bottles of this juice.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 90 points “Bright red. Very primary, vibrant aromas of raspberry, rose petal and mint. Juicy and tightly wound, showing lovely intensity and energy but a medicinal reserve in the early going. I like the combination of density and airiness. Finishes with excellent cut and verve.”
A Special and Rare Rioja
Sierra Cantabria’s “Magico” Rioja is a prime example of such a wine—an absolutely stunning bottle of Rioja. Made from El Vardallo, a single 1.8ha vineyard of extremely old, head trained vines, this is a true field blend (as was the style at the beginning of the 20th century) that’s only produced in the very best years. As their importer puts it “vineyards this old simply do not exist in Rioja, and its qualities are myriad.” You feel the prismatic effects of the rare old varieties and the old vines with their deep roots—this is a wine of intense power, mesmerizing complexity and enthralling detail.
We fought for and secured a five bottle allocation of this incredible stuff (a huge quantity of this hyper-rare gem) which will arrive in September, each in their own wooden box. The recent 100 point score is icing on the cake—this is a wine that any lover of the sublime should be after regardless of rating, but to have the quality confirmed independently is nice, as well. These are first come, first served and available by visiting our web store or emailing/calling.
Arriving ETA September
Only five bottles available.
Sierra Cantabria ‘Magico’, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($749.95) $619 pre-arrival special
Individual Hinged Wooden Box Package
James Suckling 100 points “A wine with incredible soul and purity, reflecting the land and history. Blackberries, black olives and hot stone and gun metal. Full and layered with incredibly polished and refined tannins. Old bark and mushrooms. It’s like holding an old and special book. Phenomenal. Drink or hold.”
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Weingut Donnhoff Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Weingut Donnhoff Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2018 750ML ($379.95) $275 pre-arrival special (that’s only $22.92/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA!)
Grapelive 92 points “These 2018 German Rieslings are out of this world with amazing purity and vibrancy, especially the wines of Dönnhoff and while most won’t be available for awhile yet, the early release “estate” as well as this fantastic Tonschiefer “Dry Slate” bottlings are available now, and no one should miss them! Exceptional in vivid detail and minerally crisp, the slate influenced and terroir driven Tonschiefer is heavenly light, bone dry and zesty with flinty/steely spice, wet rock and citrus infused with laser like focus, while still being wonderfully generous in form. Tasting Dönnhoff is always a treat, this estate is one of the world’s great and their Rieslings never disappoints, even now with my expectations as high as they are, I am left in a state of awe, even for the less expensive wines like this one, which I can’t ever get enough of!…This vintage shows a fantastic vitality with lime, white peach, spiced apricot and a white currant fruits to go along with the slate stony core as well as chamomile, citron, apple skin and orange blossom, all in a saline and mouth watering Riesling….the Tonschiefer comes from a pure slate set of vines, all between 25 and 40 years old, at the Oberhausen Leistenberg estate vineyard. The grey slate Leistenberg vineyard, a VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru), lies in a small side valley of the Nahe just outside Oberhausen where these warm, decomposed clay slate soils and steep terraced hillsides provide ideal conditions for Riesling, and the cooler afternoon conditions here allow for long hang times and lower natural alcohol, making for sophisticated versions of this grape. Note to self, get more of the tasty Tonschiefer, with its stunning delicacy and pop of acidity, and stock up on the 2018 vintage!”
Flor de Pingus and Psi
In 1995, he opened Dominio de Pingus, and released the first vintage to rave reviews, making Pingus a true benchmark wine, known and admired wherever great wine is discussed.Peter’s tiny production of fewer than 500 cases of Pingus, which now sells at prices $700+ / bottle, comes from three parcels of ancient, head-pruned Tempranillo vines. The Flor de Pingus is sourced from a number of small parcels located in the La Horra zone, vines that are all over 35 years of age and have been farmed biodynamically since 2005.The wines, fermented in large wooden vats and, once in cask, mostly left alone, are bottled without fining or filtration.
Over the past decade, Peter has continually refined his original vision. Since 2001, he has employed biodynamic viticulture to produce healthier vineyards, balancing decadent richness with a rare sense of elegance. Simple discussion of techniques cannot begin to explain the final product, a wine Robert Parker has called “extraordinary” and “one of the most outstanding wines produced in Spain.” We’re excited to feature the two more affordable wines from Pingus, the “Flor” and “PSI” bottlings—both made to the same exacting standards as the flagship wine.
Dominio de Pingus ‘Flor de Pingus’, Ribera del Duero 2016 750ML ($99.95) $85 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points “Chalky and intense with so much blackberry character. Some smoke, too. Full body. Firm and chewy with lots of fruit, but a tight and linear finish. Chewy and intense. Needs a year or two to open, but already a joy. Better after 2021.”
Luis Gutierrez 93-95 points “I caught the 2016 Flor de Pingus days before it was due for bottling, so what I tasted was the final blend (done after the time in barrel was over) that was just settling in tank before being bottled. The paradox of 2016 is that it was a warm year, but the resulting wines have great freshness, which also happened in 1996 (one of my favorite old vintages of Pingus). The yields were higher, which brought more freshness to the wines; and the wines are airier and not as compact as, for example, 2015. In fact, what they have been doing for some time now is to work in viticulture—the pruning and what you do with the canopy—to achieve slightly higher yields and get the plants to balance, because as you increase the yields, the ripening takes longer. Even though it’s young, this shows amazing perfume that should bloom with a year in bottle. This has all the signals to become one of the greatest vintages of Flor de Pingus. They expect to fill some 105,000 bottles in June 2018. I already look forward to tasting this in my next round, after it has spent a year or more in bottle.”
Dominio de Pingus ‘PSI’, Ribera del Duero 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 94 points “The brightness and freshness to this are very enlightening. It’s mostly old-vine tempranillo with about 10% of garnacha. Medium body. Tight and linear with fine tannins. Firm and racy. Lots of bright cherries and berries. Always an excellent red with real character. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez 92-93 points “I tasted the 2015 in bottle and the 2016 PSI a few weeks before bottling, so I tasted the final blend in tank and ready to go into bottle. What came to mind when I smelled this sample was some of the old vintages of Pesquera. All the grapes come from the north and east of Aranda del Duero, from the cooler part of the appellation. The logistics of doing this volume is not easy, and in 2016 they were able to ferment 100% of the volume in their own winery, which gave them more control. The year was naturally fresher, mostly through higher yields, and they also managed the harvest date with more precision. All this translates into a fresher wine with more precision and elegance. They expect to reach 300,000 bottles of this 2016, which is also probably the finest vintage of PSI—finer, longer and sharply focused. According to Sisseck, this is the PSI he always dreamed about. It will be bottled in the summer of 2018.”
Muga’s top-end “Prado Enea” bottling is a wine that represents the best of Rioja. Produced only in great years and held extensively before release, this is one of the top examples of traditional Rioja and will age and deliver pleasure like a top Bordeaux—only a lot less expensive.
2011 was about as perfect a year as you could hope for in Rioja, with warm but not hot weather and a dry harvest. Muga took advantage of this and has made one of their best ever bottlings of Prada Eneo—structured, big and rich. This is one for the cellar but will repay some time asleep with bountiful complexity and luxurious flavors and aromatics.
Muga is considered one of the finest old producers of Rioja, combining a traditionalist approach with modern cellar techniques. Up and down the line, their wines offer tremendous value—these are wines that will age into dynamic, complex beauties. The Prado especially is worth paying attention to. With proper age, it’s a wine that can be the best bottle on the table in almost any company, which makes it a steal.
Arriving ETA September:
Bodegas Muga ‘Prado Enea’ Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 99 points “The most structured Prado Enea ever. A reduced center palate that is so compact with dark fruit, dark mushrooms and cedary spice. Full body. Wonderfully polished tannins and a long, long finish. Electric acidity. Muscular and well toned. The is a new classic that reminds me of great Spanish wines from the 1940s and 1950s. Better after 2021, but already so impressive.”
Luis Gutierrez 96 points “The most classical of the wines from Muga, the 2011 Prado Enea Gran Reserva comes from a warm year that here was cooler than 2012, when they did not produce it. There won’t be a 2013 either. So after this 2011, the following vintage will be 2014 but with fewer bottles and then 2015 and 2016. The wine has a developed nose with some tertiary notes, combined with some notes of ripe black fruit and sweet spices. It fees like an open, expressive and hedonistic year for Prado Enea. The palate reveals polished tannins and some balsamic and developed flavors, truffle, forest floor and hints of cigar ash and incense. Stylistically, this could be close to the 2006, which was also surprisingly fresh for the average ripeness found in Rioja in general. 92,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in early 2015 after almost 40 months in barrel. Time in bottle has polished the wine, and it’s ready to drink on release, but it’s a wine that is going to develop in bottle for a long time.”
Brick House Vineyards Chardonnay, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator 90 points “Refined and harmonious, with pretty pear and toasted spice flavors that glide on the long, elegant finish. Drink now through 2022. 340 cases made.”
As you’d expect given a fresh, bright year like ’17, this is excellent.
Brick House Vineyards Select Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Winery Note “When Mother Nature offers a bountiful year, we routinely bottle this entry level Pinot Noir. As the name implies, the “Select” is a selection of barrels representing all the vineyard blocks on the farm at the discretion of the winemaker. The most easy-going and approachable of all our Pinot Noirs, the “Select” is a moderately priced, estate grown wine and a worthy accompaniment to a casual meal of salmon, lamb or wild game.”
Magnums show you care. Magnums of Cristom show you care for a long time.
Cristom ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2014 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Josh Raynolds 95 points “Bright red. Suave, smoke-accented aromas of raspberry preserves, pungent flowers, incense and cola, along with a hint of allspice in the background. Sappy and expansive on the palate, offering intense red berry, allspice and floral pastille flavors that are sharpened by a jolt of zesty acidity. Shows superb clarity and spicy bite on a long, penetrating finish shaped by silky, even tannins. The interplay of power and finesse here is really something.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Expressive rose petal and black cherry aromas lead to plush and complex raspberry, spice box and dark tea flavors that gain momentum toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2023. 1,620 cases made.”
The next best price is $104.99
Cristom ‘Jessie Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 375ML ($33.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Medium ruby colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard is a touch reticent on the nose, opening to broody scents of black cherries and licorice with notes of herbs, Bergamot and grated baking spice with earthy touches of soil and wet leaves. Medium to full-bodied and wonderfully silky in the mouth, it’s packed with layers of ripe fruit, spice and earth. It gives fine, firm tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing very long and very layered. This is wonderfully complex with loads of layers—give it some time in bottle to show its best.”-EB
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Deep bright-hued red. Intense red berry, cherry pit, blood orange and exotic spice aromas show excellent clarity and pick up a suave floral quality with aeration. Stains the palate with vibrant raspberry, bitter cherry, allspice and rose pastille flavor that show a compelling blend of power and delicacy. Fine-grained tannins build slowly on the impressively long, lively finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and spice notes.”
Evesham Wood Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note “2017 tempered August’s occasional heat events with September’s return to cool days and nights. Whether there was any effect of the 1:49 of total solar eclipse is yet to be seen. Production of this wine returned to 2015’s level this year due to the high quality of grapes and the inclusion of two new vineyards (Prophet in EAH and Azana in Chehalem Mountains). I’m quite proud to offer a truly artisanal, hands-off pinot noir made the same way as our single-vineyard wines at a most reasonable price. Bright and aromatic with red cherry, sour cherry and spice moving to riper mouth-filing fruit with juicy acid and a succulance on the finish.”
From their estate vineyard, the Le Puits Sec was a standout in ’16.
Evesham Wood Le Puits Sec Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Brilliant scarlet color. Spice-tinged black raspberry and cherry scents are complicated by suggestions of potpourri, musky earth and smoky minerals. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering chewy red/dark berry, bitter cherry and violet pastille flavors that are lifted and given spine by a core of zesty acidity. Finishes with bright, mineral punch, building tannins and impressive, spice- and floral-driven persistence. (15% new French oak).”
A fun alternative look at a vineyard that Crowley has made famous.
Loop de Loop Four Winds Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Winery note “Coastal vineyard 800 ft in elevation, 21 months of aging best two barrels, neutral oak, on the lees. 25% Whole cluster, long cold soak, no additions except a 20ppm SO2 two months prior to bottling. This vineyard was planted in 1991.”
The next best price is $39
Gerard Boulay Sancerre Blanc Chavignol, Loire 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Importer Note “Gerard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Boulay is certainly among the top examples of the appellation, including Boulay’s neighbors (Cotat Bros., Vatan). These are gorgeous, highly complex wines that are a clear step above “regular” Sancerre, and can age easily for 10-20 years or more. Of the 9ha owned by Gerard Boulay, 8 of the hectares are on the slopes of Chavignol on Kimmeridgian or “terre blanche” soils (similar to the soils in Chablis), which he works manually and has farmed organically since 1990. The youngest vines at the domaine were planted by Mr. Boulay in 1972 and the average vine age is approximately 45 years old. The wines ferment naturally in tank and the Chavignol tradition is also aged in tank. Gerard adds no yeast and little to no SO2 during vinfication. He describes his role as one of “surveillance” to make sure nothing goes wrong. In general he works by instinct, “au feeling” because he wants to “let the wine live” and tries not to interfere with the natural process. “C’est la nature qui fait le vin” (Nature makes the wine).”
Chateau Saint-Roch Maury Sec ‘Kerbuccio’, Languedoc-Roussillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Decanter 96 points “Gold Medal Winner 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards. Lovely kirsch nose with bags of ripe and authentic Maury fruit. The palate is round, fleshy and warm with a delicious richness of oak, vanilla flavour and intense and complex finish. Lovely wine that’s beautifully balanced with great typicity. Full-bodied and very polished.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Another great vintage for the cuvée, the 2016 Maury Sec Kerbuccio (75% Grenache, 20% Carignan, and 5% Mourvèdre) is loaded with character and reveals a deep purple color as well as notes of black and blue fruits, new saddle leather, exotic herbs, and tobacco. Charming, medium to full-bodied, beautifully pure, and seamless on the palate, you can’t go wrong with this wine.”
This is a beautiful alternative to much more expensive Burgundy.
Gerard Boulay Sancerre Rouge Oriane, Loire 2015 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
Importer Note “Boulay makes tiny amounts of still red Pinot Noir from these same vineyards as the rose, which are 35-40 year old Pinot Noir vines located on the steep hillsides in front of the his home in Chavignol. Aged in used 300-liter casks.
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Carolus Bianco, Piedmont NV (2018) 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Case-6 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Carolus Bianco, Piedmont NV (2018) 750ML ($129.95) $99 special (that’s only $16.50/bottle!)
VinopolNote: A blend of Erbaluce, Arneis and Chardonnay. This wine is all about contrasts–bright and crisp, but with some texture from the Chardonnay. It has a melange of stone fruit on the nose and palate, but also a pleasant herbaceousness and a touch of spice. Pairs with just about anything, including just by itself.
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Il Mimo Nebbiolo Rosato Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($21.95) $17 special
Importer Note “Estate-grown Nebbiolo fruit, crushed and left to macerate overnight, then pressed off and fermented at low temperature. This is the first rosè from Nebbiolo that I remember from northern Piedmont, maybe 15 years ago, and it’s just delicious: raspberries, strawberries, fresh acidity. Nice bright flavorful complement to all kinds of foods (salmon, roast chicken, pork, salumi…). Don’t hold the price against it!”
Bodegas Nanclares Dandelion Albarino, Rias Baixas 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer Note “From multiples plots in and around Cambados, with 30 to 60 years old vines, trained in the traditional Pergola style and planted mainly on granitic, sandy soils. Wild yeast fermented and raised in small tanks for around a year. Bottled without clarification or filtration. A delicious village wine and a very good value on Grower Albariño!”
Wine Advocate 92 points “There is a new white from Godello, as demand is growing, and they sourced the grapes from a vineyard that produced the first 2016 Ultreia Godello. It’s a north-facing plot that is very cold, and the grapes, picked at the end of the harvest, were only 12% alcohol. It fermented in 300-liter barrels and one 2,500-liter oak vat. It feels super young and undeveloped, with an austere nose and a very tasty palate with superb acidity. 7,000 bottles.”
Decanter 91 points “This is made from a blend of plots on clay and sand, with vines aged between 20 and 43 years. It’s fermented in barrel, and 30% is aged for one year in barrels acquired from Didier Belondrade in Rueda. Aromas of grapefruit lead into a rich body with notes of tropical fruits, enlivened by brisk acidity. Fresh and very long. Drinking Window 2019 – 2022.”
The average price is $25
Some of the Best of Priorat, Under $40
Arriving ETA December:
Ferrer Bobet, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Ferrer Bobet, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($299.95) $238 pre-arrival special (that’s only $39.67/bottle!)
James Suckling 97 points “Such purity of ripe blackberries and dark cherries, as well as redder, cherry notes, really makes a striking impression on the nose. The fresh florals and leafy nuances are followed by such pure berries and red plums. The tannins are stunning, so polished and perfectly formed, holding super long and fresh. Wow. Drink or hold.”