MidWeek VinopolPick 8-1-17

Terlato Pinot Grigio Sale; K Vintner’s Rockin’ Wines; The First of Keller’s Exciting 16’s; Trimbach and Dal Forno; New Wines from Volnay’s Secret Star; 2013 Felsina—Landmark Vintage; Chapoutier’s 98 Point Languedoc Masterpiece


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.


New August Sale Wines:

Terlato Pinot Grigio

and a 92 point Cabernet

Hot Wines for Hot Days
Given the heat wave sweeping the west coast right now, we’re looking for extra refreshing white wines to help us keep cool.  Although it’s from a much maligned grape, this Pinot Grigio from Terlato hails from one of the best places for white wine in Italy (Friuli, northeast of Venice).  This wines is crisp and refreshing, perfect by itself or with some light food.

Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2015 750ML ($24.95) Was $16, Now $14. 36+ bottles available
The Tasting Panel 93 points “No doubt this prestigious region in northeast Italy shines when it comes to white wines; an envious position on the world wine stage. This pretty, crisp white certainly shows ripeness in its concentrated notes of pear, peach and grapefruit but its stoney frame is a nod to the iconic mineral rich sloped terraced vineyards responsible for its pizazz and charm. The finish is clean, punctuated with an apricot accent.”
James Suckling 90 points “A rich and lightly oily pinot grigio with sliced mango and light banana aromas and flavors. Dense and flavorful. It’s a white that offers plenty of flavor and interest for the buck. Delicious finish. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

We also have a great new price on Charles Smith’s Substance Cabernet.  Fresh off of a 92 point review, we were able to get a special buy on this exceptionally priced Washington bruiser and wanted to pass the savings along to you.

Arriving Friday:

Substance “Cs” Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley2015 750ML ($19.95) Was $16, Now $14.80 pre-arrival special!
Wine Advocate 92 points “One of the best values I’ve tasted in a long time, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from the team at K Vintners was hand-harvested, natively fermented and aged all in French oak. Smoking good notes of cassis, black currants and hints of plum all emerge from this rich, beautifully textured, layered beauty that has solid tannic grip, a silky, elegant texture and a great finish. It has real elegance and finesse and is a dark fruited, unctuous beauty to drink over the coming 3-4 years.”

For more Charles Smith excitement–read on!


Charles Smith:

Washington State’s Bad-Boy Wine-star
Charles Smith knows a thing or two about rockstars, and he ought to—he used to manage them.  Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards.  Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.

His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners’ and the winery has grown by leaps and bounds since then.  By our count, K makes more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the several side projects he’s involved in.

At this point, K Vintners is one of the defining wineries for what might be the modern Washington style.  The wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacony quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else.  The only thing we can complain about is that we can’t carry them more often.

We have a broad selection of the K Vintners wines and wanted to highlight them here—you won’t find a shop with more of Charles’ wines at prices like these:

In Stock Now:

Charles Smith K Vintners ‘M.C.K. Motor City Kitty’ Syrah, Washington 2014 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Charles Smith K Vintners ‘M.C.K. Motor City Kitty’ Syrah, Washington 2014 750ML ($479.95) $399 special (that’s only $33.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “Named after a cat owned by Charles when he was living in Walla Walla, the 2014 M C K Syrah sports a deep purple color as well as ripe, decadent notes of black fruits, plums, graphite, crushed rock and licorice. Big, sexy, seamless and pure, with present, yet ripe tannin, drink it through 2024. It’s worth noting that this comes completely from the River Rock vineyard in this vintage. As usual, it’s a crazy value.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points –Editors’ Choice– “This aromatically brooding wine brings aromas of brown stems, scorched earth, smoked meat, iron, violets, orange peel and blue and black fruit. The flavors coat the palate from end to end with silky soft, unabashedly appealing fruit and savory notes. It hits the delicious gong hard, with an enduring finish.”

Charles Smith K Vintners The Creator Cabernet – Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 12 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “An 80/20 Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah blend from the Powerline Vineyard, the 2014 The Creator is killer stuff. Cassis, black olive, crushed rock, dusty earth and graphite characteristics emerge from this wild, gamey, full-bodied and impeccably balanced red. It stays lightly textured and graceful, with fine tannin, but it’s a big, rich wine that’s going to benefit from short term cellaring and keep for 15-20 years.”

Charles Smith K Vintners The Hustler Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 9 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “Still in barrel at the time of this tasting, the 2012 Syrah The Hustler is a blockbuster-styled Syrah that’s overflowing with notions of sweet red and black fruits, toasted bread, cured meats and cedar. Only made in special vintages (it was previously made in ’03, ’07 and ’09) and aged 38 months in French oak, it’s full-bodied, decadent and layered, with a weightless, elegant, seamless feel. Coming all from the Morrison Lane Vineyard (it’s actually the Morrison Lane Syrah with extended barrel aging), it should be ready to go on release and dish out tons of pleasure over the following decade or more. The extended elevage has given this a more upfront feel, yet I suspect it will also allow it age more slowly as well.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Charles Smith K Vintners Powerline Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 13 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94-97 points “A new cuvee that’s all from the Powerline Vineyard in the southern part of the Walla Walla Valley, the 2014 Syrah Powerline is all from the Phelps clone, was fermented with 100% whole clusters and aged in puncheons. One of the more bloody, meaty, iron-laced and savory Syrahs in the lineup, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thick, unctuous texture, ripe tannin and a finish that makes your heart beat a touch faster. Give bottles a few years in the cellar and enjoy over the following decade.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A knockout Syrah, precise and impeccably built but explosive with personality. Smoky roasted meat and floral blackberry aromas combine with bold, supple flavors of dark plum, pepper and licorice. The tannins are big but polished. Drink now through 2024.”

Charles Smith K Vintners ‘Guido’, Walla Walla Valley 2012 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2012 Sangiovese Guido sports a translucent ruby color to go with outstanding notes of black cherries, dried herbs, rose petal and cured meats. It’s nicely balanced, has classic typicity and will have a decade of longevity” JD

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

Charles Smith K Vintners ‘El Jefe’ Stoneridge Vineyard Tempranillo, Washington 2013 750ML ($69.95) $56.50 special, 8 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 100% varietal 2013 El Jefe Tempranillo Stoneridge Vineyard (23 months in 40% new oak) is another terrific example of this variety in Washington, and while there’s not many Tempranillo based releases out there, the ones that are, are seriously good. This 2013 gives up lots of darker fruits (black currants maybe), lots of spicy oak, toasted spice and licorice to go with a full-bodied, elegant, sexy profile on the palate. It continues to open up with time in the glass, and the tannin, while present, are incredibly polished and perfectly ripe. Feel free to drink bottles anytime over the coming decade.”

Arriving in September:

Charles Smith K Vintners The Cattle King Syrah, Snipes Mountain 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 99 points “Coming from the Upland Vineyard on Snipes Mountain, the 2014 Syrah Cattle King is a huge, powerful, unctuous beast that gives up decadent notes of black and blue fruits, freshly crushed rocks, graphite, iron and licorice. Unctuous, sexy and with gorgeous purity, it carries itself with incredible grace and elegance, without ever being over the top. It flirts with perfection and is one of the highlights of the vintage—and the region. Give it a few years and drink through 2029.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Charles Smith K Vintners The Hidden Syrah, Wahluke Slope 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 99 points “I continue to feel that this is one of the top Syrahs coming out Washington today, and it certainly doesn’t get the notoriety it deserves. The 2014 Syrah The Hidden Northridge Vineyard is up there with the best of them and comes from a 93-acre vineyard that lies on a south-facing, gravel slope in the foothills of the Saddle Mountain range. This is one of the warmest and driest regions in the state. This deep ruby/purple tinged effort offers a sensational, deep, rich and concentrated style that closes down quickly in the glass. Black cherries, wet earth, lavender and incense characteristics dominate the bouquet, and it has a core of sweet fruit, ripe tannin and a blockbuster finish. Give bottles 2-4 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following decade or more.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


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The Wines of Norman Hardie

Revelatory Wines from Ontario

Every day we’re presented with a wine or a grape we hadn’t thought seriously about before—it’s the nature of an expanding wine universe.  Most of the time, you realize that there is a reason that no one was excited about these wines (historically), but every now and then something comes along that wakes you up to exciting new possibilities.

In retrospect, it seems obvious that Prince Edward County and the Niagara peninsula should be fertile ground for making interesting wine.  They have extremely limestone-heavy soil, in varying degrees like either the Cote d’Or (Dolomitic, mixed with clay) or Chablis (pure, nearly Kimmeridgian).  The weather is cool, but rain holds off in the fall, meaning that the grapes can hang for a long time.  As a result, the wines are everything we look for—well developed flavors (phenolic ripeness is not a problem here) at extremely low alcohols, but with great acidity and a verve that resonates through the wine.

In the case of Norman Hardie’s wines, the vines are obviously in extremely capable hands.  After working in wineries around the world, he realized the limestone-rich soils and cool climate he was looking for were right in his back yard.  He crafts his wines with minimal intervention; the naturally brisk acidities allow for the use of minimal sulfur without worry and the terroirs he crafts wine from speak very clearly.  These are extremely exciting wines for us and we’re equally pumped to share them with you!

Arriving Friday:

Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Chardonnay, Prince Edward County 2014 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 91+ points “Bright pale yellow. Enticing aromas of stone fruit, ginger, mint and liquid rocks. Concentrated and dense, with lovely spicy lift to the flavors of white peach, nectarine and ginger. Finishes very long, tactile and pure, with a vibrant mineral tang and repeating spicy notes. Classic, energetic PEC Chardonnay.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Norman Hardie Unfiltered Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: “This wine has a bit more texture and richness than the PEC.  It’s still cut from the same limestone-drenched cloth, but the wine has a touch more fruit and a sappiness that’s incredibly appealing.  Great aromatics and density on the palate—this is a Chardonnay for Chablis lovers or fans of the leaner wines from the Cote d’Or.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Norman Hardie County Unfiltered Cabernet Franc, Prince Edward County 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: “This wine is a dead ringer for a top-flight Chinon.  Deep, ripe dark fruits with just a touch of herbaceousness to remind you that this is Cab Franc this is dangerously drinkable.  It’s polished, but without any new wood—a really nice combo.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Norman Hardie Unfiltered Pinot Noir, Niagara Peninsula 2015 750ML ($37.95) $29 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: “This is an exceptionally beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir.  One might expect Pinot from a region as cool as this to lack fruit, but it has an energetic core of it (in a redder vein).  Light bodied, it takes those fruit flavors and marries them to brisk and bright acidity.  This reminds us of all the wines we liked best from the 2011 Oregon vintage.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Norman Hardie Cuvee ‘L’ Pinot Noir 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
“A blend of 60% Niagara Pinot Noir and 40% County Pinot Noir. Each component was fermented separately, in small batches using indigenous yeasts. Aged separately for 8 months in French Oak barriques. After initial aging period the Niagara and County Components were blended together then put back into neutral oak for an additional 8 months. 2014 began as a cooler vintage, but we received hot, dry weather through September which developed fruit with exceptional phenolic ripeness and complexity, while still retaining lively acids. This is a special bottling, only done in the finest vintages.”–Winery note


The First of Keller’s 2016’s

“If I had to choose one wine to show how great dry German Riesling can be I would choose a Keller Riesling. These wines are the German Montrachets.” – Jancis Robinson

The wines of made by Klaus Peter Keller are no secret any more.  Based on domestic demand, it’s safe to say that these are possibly the greatest dry Rieslings made in Germany (and their off-dry bottlings are pretty great too).  The estate dates back to 1789 and has holdings in some of the best vineyards in the Rheinhessen including Hubacker, Absterde and Kirschspiel.

The GG wines are broad and powerful (and we still have a few of the 2014’s in stock) but we wanted to highlight the first to arrive of the 2016’s.  These are wines that show the generousity of the vintage, with a little softer acidity than 2015.  These wines are charming and delicious, with complexity you’d expect from Keller.  The entry level wines are always our window into a vintage and these have raised a lot of excitement about what’s to follow.


Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 36 bottles available
Distributor note “The Limestone cuvée of Riesling is a special one, indeed, a gift from nature. Keller rarely makes an off-dry Riesling and can only do so when the conditions are perfect. When balanced by incredible, juicy fruit and just 9% alcohol, we have the makings for the perfect summer/Sunday brunch wine. Limestone has a deep, intense nose of lime zest, pink grapefruit and jasmine. It is wonderfully concentrated with peach and apple flavors, followed by a long, stony finish.”

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

Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles available
VinopolNote: “Klaus Peter Keller makes incredible dry Riesling up and down the range from this bottling all the way up.  Year in and out it’s one of the best values in white wine.”

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

Other Grapes:

Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 22 bottles available
VinopolNote: “Silvaner is often not a particularly exciting grape, but there’s always an exception to every rule.  Keller’s version demonstrates what’s possible with the grape in a dry but delicious fashion.  Really nice stuff that should give the better Alsatian examples a run for their money.”

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

Weingut Keller Scheurebe Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 23 bottles available
VinopolNote: “Long live Scheurebe!  Keller is a master of most things and this bundle of fun is no exception. (The grape has been described as Riesling on LSD)  We can think of no better wine to drink with spicy Thai or Indian food (or just on a back porch). It’s lightly sweet and one of those wines defies you to not smile while drinking.  Grin and love it.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Other Keller Wines in Stock Now:

Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel RR Riesling, Rheinhessen 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles available
John Gilman 94 points “There was no 2014 RR bottling from Weingut Keller, but happily, the 2015 vintage allowed for this cuvée and what an amazingly fine wine it is! The bouquet is very pure, very precise and nascently complex, as it soars from the glass in a stunning blend of tart orange, very complex, crystalline minerality, blood orange, petrol, gentle notes of wild yeasts and a topnote of citrus zest. On the palate the wine is fullish, complex and electric in its vibrancy, with a superb core of fruit, great mineral lift on the backend and laser-like focus on the very, very long and utterly refined finish. The best RR vintage I have yet tasted from KP! 2016-2040.” (Mar/Apr 2016)

Weingut Keller ‘Von der Fels Riesling’ Trocken, Rheinhessen 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 20 bottles available
John Gilman 92+ points “Year in and year out, I am a huge fan of the von der Fels bottling and the 2014 vintage is another outstanding wine in the making. This is a touch fuller than the straight Riesling Trocken, coming in at twelve percent alcohol, and perhaps a bit more ageworthy as well. The excellent nose wafts from the glass in a mix of pink grapefruit, tangerine, petrol, a stunningly complex base of minerality, lemongrass and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is fullbodied, pure and very much defined by its complex soil tones, with a rock solid core, outstanding focus and grip and a very long, youthful and bouncy finish. This is still very early days for this outstanding wine, which is the same quality level of a lot of top estates Grosses Gewächs bottlings. 2019-2040.” JG
Wine Advocate 90 points “Keller’s 2014 Riesling Von Der Fels Trocken was born as a selection of younger vines, but these are more than 25 years old today. Sourced in the grands crus, this Riesling trocken shows a highly expressive shell limestone flavor with flinty/smoky aromas of crushed stones, and the typic lemon flavor of chalky soils along with white fruit flavors. Full-flavored, very delicate and finesse-full on the palate, this is an elegant, filigreed, lovely, pure and very frisky Riesling, with ripe fruit flavors and a stimulatingly salty finish. With just three grams of residual sugar, it’s the driest von der Fels so far.” WA

Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2014 750ML ($99.95) $69 special, 8 bottles available
John Gilman 94+ points “The 2014 GG from the Kirchspiel is a great wine in the making, but I would want to allow this perfectly balanced and youthful wine to rest comfortably in the cellar for at least the next seven years before I start to drink it, as it has a ton to offer behind its suave, but serious structural elements. The stunning nose offers up a constellation of grapefruit, a touch of tart orange, wild yeasts, dried flowers, lime zest and a refined base of stony limestone minerality. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and very pure and tightly-knit, with outstanding mid-palate depth, great cut and focus, impeccable balance and a very long, elegant and laser-like finish. At 12.5 percent alcohol, this is a touch lower in octane than many other recent top vintages, but this has just added to its refinement. A beautiful vintage of Kirchspiel. 2022-2060.” JG
Jancis Robinson 19/20 points “Tasted at Justerini & Brook’s tasting in London on 9 Sep. A little more restrained on the nose than I remember some previous vintages. Rather tough and dry on the end with massive extract. This is telling the taster to back off and wait. Solid rather than expressive. (I wonder whether it is still exhibiting the post-bottling symptoms that persuaded the Kellers not to show it at the annual VDP showing of GGs in Wiesbaden this year? They bottle their Grosse Gewächse months later, in mid August, than many other producers to prolong the period of lees contact. They report that the wines often show quite well one week after bottling but start to close down over subsequent weeks.)”
Wine Advocate 92 points “From vines planted in the mid 1960s, the 2014 Westhofen Kirchspiel Riesling trocken Grosses Gewachs offers a very clear, fresh and precise bouquet of white fruits, lemon juice and chalky flavors. Intense and piquant on the palate, with a lingering juiciness and fruit intensity of old vines, this is an impressive cru with a very good, tension-filled length and stimulating salinity.” SR

Weingut Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2014 750ML ($99.95) $69 special, 12 bottles available
John Gilman 94+ points “The 2014 Hubacker Grosses Gewächs is also brilliantly refined this year, as the inherent elegance of the vintage in the Hügelland has dovetailed beautifully with the style of this wine. This bottling can often be a touch more “broad-shouldered” out of the blocks than the other Grosses Gewächs in the Keller portfolio, but not this year, as it shares the same great elegance of the entire range. The outstanding bouquet really shows its yellow limestone signature, as it delivers scents of apple, tangerine, gentle notes of petrol, wild yeasts, orange peel, lovely smokiness and a gorgeously complex base of limestone minerality. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and complex, with a fine core, vibrant acids and excellent focus and grip on the long, zesty and utterly seamless finish. A glorious Hubacker to celebrate its 225th anniversary! 2022-2060.” JG
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “Klaus Peter Keller does not produce ostentatious Grosse Gewächse and the Hubacker is possibly the most restrained, with its mountain stream-like freshness and cool stony minerality. What wine critics call minerality can take a number of expressions from salty to flinty, chalky to earthy, even wet pebbles sometimes serve as a valid association. The Hubacker does not make it that easy and at the end of the day it’s that combination of fresh and cool which proves its main attraction.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2014 Dalsheim Hubacker Riesling trocken Grosses Gewachs shows a clear, more open and fruity bouquet with just a hint of chalk and lemon flavors, compared to the other Grosses Gewächs wines. On the palate, this is a full-bodied, rich, very clear, elegant and quite concentrated Riesling with power, phenols and complexity; but it is less stimulating at the moment compared to the Kirchspiel. The finish is very aromatic in its grapey character, pure and salty. However, the wine should be aged for at least another 3-4 years.” SR



Arriving Friday:

Two Classic Vintage Wines
There are only a few things that connect Dal Forno Valpolicella and Trimbach’s “Frederic Emile” Riesling.  First of all, they’re great wines, made by masters of their respective appellations.  These are wines that age and become transcendent with time—studies in the majesty of the Veneto and Alsace, respectively.  We happen to be getting back vintages of both in soon (2002 for the Trimbach, 2010 for the Dal Forno) and both deserve a place at your table.  Quantities are limited and we doubt we’ll be able to get any more of either in soon.

Dal Forno Romano Vigneto Monte Lodoletta Valpolicella Superiore, Veneto 2010 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta is more precise and focused compared to the 2011 edition that I tasted at the estate at the same time. This was not an easy vintage in Valpolicella compared to other parts of Italy that enjoyed a classic growing season. Instead, this Northern corner of Italy suffered from heavy rains and some hail damage. Overall yields were lower as a result. But the wine sings in terms of its brightness and aromatic intensity today. The expressive bouquet covers all the bases from black fruit to spice to drying mineral or flint. All of these elements conspire to bring robust flavors together with smooth and seamless transitions.”

F E Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile, Alsace 2002 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The superbly-concentrated 2002 Riesling Frederic Emile is now on the market – still a touch austere, but with strikingly refined complexity and sheer mineral mass. Broth-like carnal and chalky traits here put one in mind of Chablis. Here is a wine to strain through your teeth, and one possessed of vivacious, ripe acids, with lemon, grapefruit and faintly bitter black fruit notes over a foundation of chalk, leading to a long, juicy finish. Give this another year in your cellar and for it to be worth following for at least another decade thereafter.”


New Releases From

Volnay’s Best Kept Secret

Blame the internet.  It’s no longer possible for there to be secrets in Burgundy—the days of incredible wines that fly completely under the radar are gone.  Mostly.  There are a few names, most notably Bitouzet-Priuer, out there making wines that we love at prices and quantities that don’t match the quality coming out of the bottle, at least for now.

Bitouzet-Prieur is the product of a marriage which links two great winemaking families – the Bitouzets of Volnay and the Prieurs of Meursault. Their operations span six generations, with Vincent Bitouzet and his son Francois currently at the helm; they’re among the oldest in the region as well as one of the first family-owned domaines to bottle their wines.

What you can expect is nothing short of classic age-worthy wines that are genuinely reflective of the terroir in each of their parcels. The Bitouzet-Prieurs owns roughly 12 hectares of vineyards, all farmed organically. Grapes are harvested manually and only native yeasts are employed in fermentation. What one can expect from their efforts is classic, age-worthy wines which genuinely reflect their respective terroirs.

We’ve seen prices rise a little and allocations tighten for the Bitouzet-Priuer wines, from Volnay, which is new to us.  The wines have always been great and more than fairly priced; but it seemed like we’d be able to get as much as we’d like and while this is/was true with the 2011’s and 12’s (the domain releases wines later than some), it looks like going forward they’re becoming more widely known.

Neil Rosenthal imports these (which really is all the quality stamp you need) and describes them in a way we totally agree with: “Based in Volnay and blessed with extensive holdings in Meursault as well, this domaine is a tried and true standard bearer for all that is fundamentally good and sound in Burgundy: conscientious and sensitive work in the vineyards, respect above all for the specific character of each lieu-dit, patience and attention to detail in the cellar, and a commitment to producing wines of depth and, of critical importance, longevity.”

We’ve got a few of their 2013’s (a vintage that’s a notable success for the house) coming in Friday:

Arriving Friday:

Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Les Cent Vignes, Beaune Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Pitures, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($59.95) $56 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92+ points “Bright red. Classy but reticent nose hints at bitter cherry. Densely packed and seriously concentrated, showing superb stony lift to the flavors of black cherry, violet and licorice. Really wonderful 2013 energy and density here, along with sneaky sweetness of fruit. Shows a youthful medicinal aspect but this is a bomb of primary dark fruits (Bitouzet described it as “a Pommard that changed its sex”). Finishes broad and long, with ripe, dusty tannins.”

Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($59.95) $56 pre-arrival special
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!



2013: A Landmark Felsina Vintage

“May I make a suggestion? Readers would do well to buy a case of [Felsina] Rancia upon release every year and put it away. Few wines deliver so much pleasure and pedigree at maturity for what remains a very fair price.” –Antonio Galloni

2013 is turning into “one of those years” across Italy—a vintage to remember.  The year in Chianti was epic and we’re excited to get the top wines in from Felsina at the end of the month.  These wines are incredible, year in and out, but seem to be extra special this vintage.

We’re getting in the Rancia Riserva, the most famous of the Chianti Classico’s that Felsina makes.  This is always one of the best deals in the wine world (it sells at half the price of a Brunello of comparable quality) and should be stunning this year.  We’ve also got Fontalloro, the 100% Sangiovese ‘Super-Tuscan’ that Felsina makes, on the way.  This wine is bigger and richer than the Rancia and made in a more modern style.  This is the wine to drink young, if you must pop one early.  Either way, stocking up is advisable.

Arriving in August:

Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013 750ML ($59.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2013 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “Fèlsina’s 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia bristles with energy, with veins of underlying acidity that give the wine its focus and drive. Dark red cherry, plum, rose petal, herb and licorice are some of the signatures. Most of the Fèlsina Chianti Classicos are defined by their dark fruit and savory notes, but the Rancia is also wonderfully bright and lifted from start to finish while staying very much true to the house style. Today, the Rancia gives the impression it will unwind at a glacial pace. I imagine most bottles of the 2013 will be drunk before the wine truly enters its prime.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Here is another highlight of the vintage. The 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is a dark, moody and sophisticated wine. It does not reveal itself immediately or in any obvious way. Instead, it doses out its intensity in careful measurements. The whole performance is seductive to say the least. That slow momentum leads to dark cherry with spice, grilled herb, wet earth and dried rose. Felsina’s Riserva Rancia is a very elegant wine, both on the nose and in the mouth.”

Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 96 points “Gorgeous and soft, the 2013 Fontalloro is another landmark wine from this classic vintage. There is enormous intensity here and the wine is only at the beginning of its long aging trajectory. I suggest you put off drinking it for five to ten more years. There is evident thickness and generosity here, especially in the way those bold fruit favors are woven between dark spice and leather. There are sour accents on the close that remind you of the wine’s youth. The tannins are fine and well integrated.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of plums, clay tiles and sage follow through to a full to medium body, silky tannins and a linear and racy finish. Love the underlying freshness and brightness to this. Excellent. A little tannic now, so better in 2018”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2013 Fontalloro shows the richer, creamier style of the vintage while maintaining plenty of Fèlsina character. Silky tannins wrap around a core of dark stone fruits as the 2013 shows off its personality. Fontalloro naturally doesn’t have the pure energy of Rancia, but it will drink well with just a few more years in bottle. Fontalloro is the most overt and ripe of the Fèlsina wines with the exception of the Colonia. A hint of French oak shapes the supple, inviting finish.”

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Chapoutier’s 98 Point Languedoc Masterpiece

The wines made by the Chapoutier family are renowned, no matter where they come from and they seem to have an especially magic touch with Syrah.  Bila-Haut, the estate they own in the Languedoc, has been producing extremely high quality wines for a while, but we’re excited to get in their to Syrah, the Rectificando Invenies (aka R.I.).  The 2015 scored a whopping 98 point score from the Wine Advocate and glowing prose, as well.   We were only able to get ahold of a few cases, so this will likely sell out before we get it in, so if you’re interested, know that quantities are limited.

M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon Villages R.I. Rectificando Invenies 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98 points “As always, the 100% Syrah 2015 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Lesquerde Rectificando Invenies (Ri) shows more minerality than the VIT release and offers blockbuster styled aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, crushed rocks, toasted bread and chocolate. Made in a voluptuous, pedal-to-the-metal style, with huge fruit and texture, it has building tannin and an uber sexy, incredibly layered and decadent palate. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. This cuvee was completely destemmed and aged 18 months in demi-muids.”

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