Midweek VinopolPick 8-28-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

 Featured New Arrival
Arnaldo Caprai’s Fantastic Rosso

A Volnay Discovery of Note

Trending Wines

New Wines from Laura Lorenzo

Recent Arrivals
Including Rene Geoffroy, Gobelsburg,
Alzinger, Kruger-Rumpf, Kumeu River,
Fedellos do Couto, Javi Revert, and More!


Featured New Arrival

Arnaldo Caprai’s Fantastic Rosso

Arnaldo Caprai is one of the stars of Italian wine. One of the two faces of Montefalco (along with Paolo Bea), their wines are rich, lush bottlings that manage to tame Sagrantino’s tannins more than most.  In the case of their Rosso, the native grape is married to Sangiovese (which comprises most of the blend) and a touch of Merlot.  The result is something like a Chianti on steroids, with excellent value and a distinctly Umbrian personality.  They hit it out of the park in 2015 and we’ve stocked up for end of summer and fall drinking.

In Stock Now:

Like a Chianti on steroids, this is rich and ready for dinner tonight.
Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($299.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“Ripe plums, dried lavender, basil, tar, licorice and hot stones show here on the nose. Medium to full body, fresh acidity, round yet tight tannins and a fruity finish. Drink now.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 90 points “I really like the 2015 Montefalco Rosso and am happy to recommend this attractive value wine. It shows dark fruit and spice with a supple and round style. There is not too much dimension here, but the wine is upfront and immediate instead. I make roasted chicken according to an old family recipe with roasted garlic and potatoes, and this is exactly the kind of wine I’d want to pair with that dish.”

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A Volnay Discovery of Note

Volnay is one of our favorite villages in Burgundy, with its beautiful aromatics and silky textures.  The problem is finding truly top class wines under $100.  Lafon, Lafarge and D’Angerville have gotten quite expensive and while a producer like Voillot is excellent, the wines are hard to find and occasionally inconsistent. This is why the wines we’re offering today are so exciting to us—they’re still under the radar, in large part because Pierrick Boulay (the hero of this story) only recently took the reins at his family estate.

Pierrick Bouley is young and clearly very talented—and the market hasn’t caught up yet.  We’re sure the pricing will change as he gets more notice, but for now these represent a fantastic buying opportunity. They offer purity, depth and complexity of truly top wines but at mid-tier tariffs.  The Domaine owns some really prime parcels in excellent vineyards but up until now they’ve been thought of as solid but unspectacular Burgundies—a fact that’s quickly going to change.

Pierrick is the fifth generation of his family to make wine from Volnay and its surroundings and he seems to have absorbed the cumulative knowledge of the previous generations.  Stylistically, his wines are notable for their finesse, polish and elegance—Volnay in a nutshell.  There’s very little new wood, minimal manipulation and a striking purity to the flavors and aromatics.

As far as the vintage goes, we couldn’t be happier about our first offer of these wines. 2016 is an excellent, classically-styled vintage that plays to the strengths of Pierrick and Volnay as a whole.  Our only complaint is that the wines are in short supply due to frost damage—Pierrick said that on the whole, he lost ~70% of total production in 2016.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Pierrick Bouley Volnay Clos des Chenes, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Fine Wine Review 92-95 points
“49 hl/ha. Here, too, the vines are younger than most of the estate’s other vines, being only about 30 years-old. The nose is stony and pure. The mouth shows dark fruits and it is sleeker than that of the Champans. The wine shows excellent energy and penetration and one can feel the limestone in the vineyard. The wine also shows good minearlity and length. It should age well.”

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Domaine Pierrick Bouley Volnay Les Grands Champs, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Fine Wine Review 90-94 points
“10 hl/ha. Bouley owns the only part of the Grands Champs that is classified as premier cru. The nose is powerful with red fruits and some spiciness. The mouth is medium light with elegance, good length and spicy red and dark fruits. ”

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Domaine Pierrick Bouley Volnay Santenots, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Fine Wine Review 90-94 points
“26.7 hl/ha. No SO2 yet added. The nose shows spiced blackberries. The mouth is dense with good structure, very deep blackberry fruit, and overall balance. It is a very good representation of wine from the Santenots vineyard.”

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Domaine Pierrick Bouley Monthelie Aux Fournereaux, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
Fine Wine Review 88-92 points
“5.25 hl/ha here. The nose shows ripe crushed blackberry fruit. The mouth is dense and pure with good structure to support the wild blackberry fruit. If this wine were available in any quantity, it would be a no-brainer.”
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Domaine Pierrick Bouley Bourgogne Rouge 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Fine Wine Review 89-91 points
“The yield for this wine is 8.3 hl/ha. So far, there’s been no SO2 added to this wine. The nose and mouth both show red fruits. In the mouth, the wine is long and salty with good density and balance.”

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Domaine Pierrick Bouley Bourgogne Passetoutgrain, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special

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Trending Wines
Eisele has shined under the ownership of Chateau Latour.
Eisele Vineyard Altagracia Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($169.95) $149 special
James Suckling 96 p
oints “Lots of violets and dark berries with sweet underbrush and fresh mushrooms, following through to a medium to full body, soft and silky tannins and a succulent and refined finish. It remains supple and beautiful. Hard not to drink now. Better after 2023.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed.”

One of the iconic wines of southern Italy.
Montevetrano di Silvia Imparato Colli di Salerno IGT, Campania 2013 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Aglianico, 20% Merlot
James Suckling 96 points “This is a famous red that delivers depth and finesse. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a wonderful finish of blackberry, cocoa and spices including black peppercorns. One of the best Montevetranos in years. A blend of aglianico and merlot. Drink or hold.”

An absolute steal of a Beaujolais
Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Some flinty and stony aromas add interest to the fresh strawberries and red cherries. The palate has finely detailed tannins that carry a very fine core of fresh-fruit flavors. Drink or hold.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90+ points “Notes of crushed cassis, ripe plums and dried flowers introduce the 2017 Brouilly Pierreux, a crunchy, medium to full-bodied wine with good depth at the core, juicy balancing acids and a somewhat rustic chassis of structuring tannin. I’d be inclined to forget it in the cellar for a year or two and drink it over the following five.”

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A perfect level of dryness for this bright, zippy mineral bottling.
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
John Gilman 91 points
“The Limestone Riesling QbA this year is essentially the same wine as the Riesling Trocken bottling, except this cuvée has one full gram higher acidity and finished its fermentation at twenty-one grams of sugar. The wine is superb, offering up a complex bouquet of pink grapefruit, passion fruit, pulverized limestone, apple blossoms and a delicate topnote of wild yeasts. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish, complex and beautifully balanced, with a lovely core of fruit, fine focus and grip and lovely bounce on the long, succulent and flat out delicious finish. Just a lovely wine. 2020-2045.”

One of the best young-drinking Brunellos out there.
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino DOCG,Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Fantastic aromas of orange peel and dark berry with plenty of plum and cherry. Sweet tobacco and mushrooms. Full body, juicy and fruity with firm tannins and a fresh finish. Complex and gorgeous. Fine and very long. Drink now.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino shows laser focus and a precise delivery of aromas that makes an immediate and satisfying first impression. This is a delicately assembled wine that shows the deft hand of the winemaking team behind the scenes. Bright fruit and cherry is connected, in a careful embroidery, to spice, leather, tar and cured tobacco. There are subtle tones of ash and crushed mineral as well.”

From Chave adjacent vineyards, this is a hidden Rhone gem.
Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Saint Joseph Lieu Dit La Dardouille comes from a fabulous terroir (Jean-Louis Chave also works with this vineyard) and was brought up a mix of once- and twice-used demi-muids and barrels. It offers ripe, sexy notes of crème de cassis, violets, and graphite, with subtle new oak covered by beautifully pure fruit. With medium to full-bodied richness and depth, sweet tannins, and a great finish, it’s a gem of a Saint Joseph that will be better with 2-3 years of bottle age and cruise for a decade. Hats off to the young Emmanuel Darnaud for another beautiful wine.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “(no stems; raised in a combination of one- to three-year-old barriques and demi-muids) Brilliant violet. Potent, mineral-accented black and blue fruit, spicecake and floral pastille aromas show outstanding clarity and pick up a smoky mineral nuance with air. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering vibrant bitter cherry, blueberry and star anise flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Finishes floral, sweet and impressively long, displaying repeating spiciness and well-knit tannins.”

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New Wines from Laura Lorenzo
Laura Lorenzo made her name as the winemaker of trailblazing Ribeira Sacra producer Dominio do Bibei before striking out on her own and the wines she’s producing these days justify her inclusion in any “best winemaker in Spain” discussion.  These are wines that have a purity and elegance to them that seem remarkably effortless.  Both red and white wines are made with little “done” to them and although you can easily call them Natural, they strike us as more “classic” than anything.  If you’ve been intrigued by what’s possible in non-Tempranillo-based regions of Spain, these need to be high on your radar.

Arriving Friday:

Laura Lorenzo Daterra ‘Gavela da Vila’, Galicia 2017 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“Gavela da Vila is comprised of 100% old vine Palomino organically farmed at a variety of elevations and expositions on sandy granite soils in the Val do Bibei.  After a hot and dry summer, the grapes were hand-harvested in early September, fermented in 1000L chestnut foudre with 15 days skin maceration and raised on the lees in the same vessel for 11 months.  The wine was not clarified, cold stabilized or filtered, and only minimal SO2 added at bottling in August 2018.  This is a fresh, textured Palomino vino blanco to pair with raw, grilled and fried seafood, poultry and vegetables.  This granite-grown Gavela offers a more fluid and easy approach than the more structured and nervy slate/schist-grown Gavela do Pobo.”

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Laura Lorenzo Daterra Azos de Vila, Val do Bibei 2017 750ML ($49.95) $37 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“Azos de Vila comes from many pueblos (Seoane, Soutipedre, Langullo, San Vicenzo) that are part of Manzaneda, where there are very old mixed plantings, with the oldest vines planted on their own rootstock.  This village cuvée is a field blend of red varieties [Mouraton, Mencía, Garnacha Tintorera, Merenzao, Gran Negro].  After a very warm and dry summer, the grapes were hand-harvested in early September, partially destemmed and fermented with wild yeasts in used chestnut and French oak barrels with 15 days maceration, then raised for 12 months in the same barrels.  Bottling was without fining or filtration, and minimal additions of SO2.  This is a fresh yet com-plex vino tinto, with a rustic streak that begs to be paired with wild game and fatty pork dishes, like you would find on the River Sil in Galicia.”

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Recent Arrivals

Geoffroy’s old-vine field blend is a singular, compelling wine from Champagne.
Rene Geoffroy ‘Les Houtrants Complantes’ Premier Cru Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($219.95) $188 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“Rene Geoffroy’s NV Brut Les Houtrants is superb. Les Houtrants emerges from a field blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay, Arbanne and Petit Meslier. Vivid and light on its feet, with striking, translucent detail, the Houtrants is a wine of total precision. Striking aromatics and overall presence elevate the Houtrants to its place among the most compelling new releases of the season. The current release is a blend of 2010, 2009 and 2008 vintages, bottled with no dosage. Disgorged: November 2015.”
Vinopolnote– Our offer is the June 2015 disgorgment of the same vintage blend.

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You might just have to start thinking of Austria as a producer of excellent bubbles.
Gobelsburg Brut Reserve, Kamptal NV 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Wine & Spirits 93 points
“Here’s a decadent bubbly, as rich and layered as a croissant, with a similar balance of toasty, nutty notes and buttery luzury. Michael Moosbrugger based it on gruner veltliner, augments it with pinot noir and riesling, then ages it for six months in barrel; he ferments the wine a second time in bottle, where he leaves it for at least three years before disgorgement. The veltliner’s earthy fruit gives away the fact that this isn’t Champagne, but it acts like one.”
Terry Theise “[+] Deg 9/2017, based on 2014, PN is “15-20%”, Riesling around 20% and the balance is GV, and these proportions change as needed. This is a super complex iteration of the cuvée, even keeled but full of veggie-mojo; silky and polished but could never be mistaken for Champagne. Roasted summer squash makes it pure Austrian.”

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Ten years on the lees mean that this wine has exceptionally fine bubbles and fantastic aromatics.
Gobelsburg Brut Reserve Rd, Kamptal 2008 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 90 points
“Gobelsburg’s Vintage is only produced in top years and ages on the lees for at least ten years. The 2008 Extra Brut Vintage blends stainless steel-fermented Pinot Noir, Riesling and Grüner Veltliner whose cuvée has been aged in large oak. This 2008 has been disgorged in March 2018 and comes along with a clear, intense and nutty-scented bouquet of ripe white and yellow fruits. Intense and complex in the palate, this zéro dosage, bone-dry Sekt reveals nutty yet somewhat astringent flavors on the palate. The perlage is remarkably fine, though, and the finish is long and complex. However, the wine tastes restrained and firm and still doesn’t sing. Tasted September 2018.”

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A pure joy to drink. See Saul’s staff pick (Monday NL) for more info.
Weingut Ingrid Groiss ‘Braitenpuechttorff’ Gemischter Satz, Niederosterreich 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“This is redolent of freshly sliced green apple, featuring lemon oil, tarragon and dandelion hints. Savory midpalate, with a firm, minerally structure and vibrant acidity. The finish reveals accents of anise and spice. Drink now through 2023. 1,000 cases made, 192 cases imported.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “The hints of sun-dried hay, russet pear and bright lemon that mark the nose of this wine combine into zesty freshness on the palate. It’s ripe and concentrated, with a dry, lemony zing that lingers until the very last echo.”

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Grois is making some of the most interesting whites in Austria with trademark bell clarity.
Weingut Ingrid Groiss ‘Braitenpuechttorff’ Riesling, Niederosterreich 2017 750ML ($35.95) $28 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 90 points
“The 2017 Riesling Braitenpuechtorff is a super clear, fresh and reductive style Riesling that intermixed white peach aromas with crushed stones. Pretty spicy and somewhat German in its hard and challenging style. Medium-bodied, lush and terribly piquant, with a straight but refined and elegant character and a lingering grip and vitality, this is a remarkably elegant, lush and fruity dry Riesling with a perfect touch of sweetness. Tasted October 2018.”

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Alzinger is one of the most impressive yet overlooked Wachau producers.
Weingut Leo Alzinger Ried Hohereck Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“From steep, southeast-facing terraces with weathered gneiss soils, the 2017 Ried Höhereck Riesling Smaragd is concentrated, fresh and piquant on the nose, displaying ripe white fruit aromas but also some greenish fruits. Dense and piquant on the palate, this elegant, tightly woven Riesling has remarkable phenolic grip, freshness and a stimulating astringency on the salty finish. Stunningly fresh given this steep and warm terraced vineyard. Tasted in Unterloiben, Wachau, September 2018.”-SR
Terry Theise “[++] How inconvenient that my usual-favorite of Alzinger’s Rieslings is the one they barely make. It’s a tiny plot and they get “around 800 bottles” in a good year. Yes—bottles. All I can say, after all these years, is—from this tiny place comes one of the earth’s great wines, the terminus of every great facet of Wachau Riesling, the herbs from this, the peaches and plums from that, the mangoes from another, the smoke from yet another—all there. The ’17 is, typically, complete. It’s the flavor of fullness, as if nothing else could be anticipated. Herbs, rocks, roasted veggies, salts. But the overall level of Leo’s ’17 Rieslings is so high that this doesn’t soar above as it often does. It’s just marvelous.”

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This reminds of a more angular version of Pichler’s Kellerberg—for good reason.
Weingut Leo Alzinger Hollerin Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Elegant yet richly flavored, with white cherry, blood orange and ripe melon notes. Very creamy midpalate, adding to the structure and texture, offering complexity and a broad, echoing finish of allspice, white chocolate and fleur de sel accents. This is all about texture and minerality for now, so give it some time. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “From deeper, loamy, weathered gneiss soil, the 2017 Ried Hollerin Riesling Smaragd is intense and concentrated on the nose but still shy and reductive in the expression of its white fruit aromas. Rich and round but dry and piquant on the palate, this is a full-bodied, lush and generous Hollerin with stimulatingly salty-piquant acidity and good structure. Still young but with good potential. Very juicy. Tasted in Unterloiben, Wachau, September 2018.”-SR
Terry Theise “[++] Essentially the lower slopes of Höhereck (and Kellerberg, obliquely), it gives the most apricot-driven Riesling among Alzinger’s Smaragds. This one starts out with greener flavors than usual until a Victoria-Falls of stone fruit overwhelms, generously and lovingly. But it’s not a soft love, glorious though it is. There’s also a rock slide Christmas-tree thing above (or below) the white peaches. I don’t recall a Hollerin this schizy, and I think it is wonderful.”

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An emerging star of the Nahe’s best dry wine.
Kruger-Rumpf Abtei Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points
“Apple wood, char-like smokiness, along with scents of lichen and moss make for an aromatic display every bit as striking but surprisingly different from that of the corresponding 2016. The palate is pithily-concentrated yet polished, and delivers plenty of juicy apple and fresh lime to complement those elements that carry-over from the nose. The finish lays down a long, stimulatingly undulating carpet of woodsy flavors, and a mouthwatering suffusion of mineral salts.”
Grapelive 92 points “The bright and precise Abtei Trocken shines with a delicate and generous nature. It shows a crystalline mineral-driven character and peachy fruits, vibrant crisp detail and a lingering charm in the glass. Very pale greenish gold in the glass and full of energy the 2017 Abtei bursts to life on the palate with that peach, key lime, green apple and tangerine fruits along with flinty wet stones, minty zest, citron/verbena and a saline mouthwatering note. This is a wine of refined form and dry extract, making for a Riesling that can be drunk young and one that should age nicely. I always appreciate the class and lacy style of Georg’s wines, especially in his drier wines. They are easy to love and have subtle power and underlying vigor, while his sweeter wines always show impeccable balance. This is a winery that doesn’t always get the credit it deserves and always gives exceptional value for the quality in the bottle. The Abtei Erstes Gewachs was all spontaneous fermentation (native yeast) fermented and aged in over 30 years old Stückfässern (German oak large cask) on the lees for close to 9 months before bottling, coming in at 12.5% natural alcohol. The vines here, all hand tended, are between 50 and 80 years old, which shows in this Riesling’s concentration and vitality. Ever since I walked this vineyard with Georg, in 2016, I have been a huge fan. Georg Rumpf’s latest set of wines are some of the best yet from this estate near the confluence of the Nahe and Rhein Rivers and the town of Bingen, which sits across the Rhein from the historic Rudesheim. The 2017 Abtei maybe the best kept secret in Rumpf’s portfolio. [It] comes from the closest parcel of vines to the winery, and a site that is extremely difficult to work, especially to their organic leaning practices. It always shows amazing energy and terroir elements that are similar to the famous Schlossberg Grand Cru on the other side of the Rhein as it shares the same soils and exposures. The Kruger-Rumpf estate is located in Münster-Sarmsheim, a small village (close to Bingen) on the western side of the Nahe River in the most northern section of this region. [It] has a bit more warmth than the southern middle zone of the Nahe, which gives the Kruger-Rumpf’s wines their concentration and sunny warmth. The Bingerbrücker “Abtei” im Ruppertsberg 1er Cru is set on phyllite, which is mica slate, again as mentioned on a south facing very steep hillside. Abtei, which means abbey, once belonged to the abbey at Bingen, home to Hildegard vom Bingen, the matron of the city, and is the most northern vineyard in the Nahe. If you want a wine Kruger-Rumpf wines to look for besides this one, be sure to check out their Dautenpfanzer GG Riesling, the Binger Scharlachberg GG Riesling, the Münsterer Pittersberg Spatlese and their gorgeous Scheurebe!.”
Terry Theise “[+] I introduced my new book to a group of sales and marketing people who work for the publisher, and we thought we’d taste a few wines. But what wines? It wasn’t set up as a “wine seminar;” the wines were supposed to lubricate a meeting to talk about my stunning new book. But I picked the 2016 of this wine to show, however “esoteric” it may have seemed, because A) it was delicious and B) it had a story to tell, and the book is about all those stories, that live in every authentic wine. In this case it’s the story of an idealistic project for Georg Rumpf, obtaining and working a steep and difficult vineyard directly overlooking the Rhine on a vein of phyllite soil unique to the region, and seldom found anywhere. (The famous Rauenthaler Baiken is most noted for this soil.) The ’16 blossomed in the bottle (and wowed the tasters at the publisher) but the ’17 is a step ahead, darker and doughier than the ’16, with a high-pitched salty shimmer atop the savor of the complicated terroir. Seriously long, it made me want to live twenty more years to taste future vintages and see what this ground really has to tell us.”

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“A breathtaking Spätlese!”-SP
Weingut Carl Loewen Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling.com 95 points
“A breathtaking Spätlese! Succulent and vibrant with a bright acidity, carrying the long and super clean finish. Better from 2020, but it shows enormous aging potential.”
Stephan Reinhardt – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2017 Laurentiuslay Riesling Spätlese is discreet and floral with hazelnut notes on the delicate yet subtly intense nose. Lush and piquant on the palate, this is a sweet, concentrated, well-structured yet finessed and persistently salty Laurentiuslay with a long, seriously firm finish. Excellent and with great aging potential. Tasted in April 2019.”

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New Zealand
Kumeu River is one of New Zealand’s preeminent Chard producers.
Kumeu River Village Chardonnay, Kumeu, New Zealand 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Kumeu River Village Chardonnay, Kumeu, New Zealand 2017 750ML ($299.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle!)
James Suckling 90 points
“A generous array of ripe pears and poached peaches with a ripe and forward feel. This has a lot of flavor. Nicely resolved at the finish. Drink now. Screw cap.”
Wine Advocate 89 points “Incorporating approximately 20% Hawke’s Bay fruit from a recently acquired vineyard, the 2017 Village Chardonnay is one of the strongest I can recall, despite a challenging vintage. Mainly fermented and aged in older barrels, it’s medium-bodied and plump in the mouth, with notes of peach and pineapple. Creamy, soft and custardy in texture, it picks up a crisp, citrusy edge on the finish.”

Super soulful, golden and bright, it’s a wine that’s absolutely fascinating and unique.
Fedellos do Couto ‘Conasbrancas’, Ribeira Sacra 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 93 points
“I tasted the 2016s and 2017s of all the wines, including the white. A blend of local varieties from the village of Soutipedre in Manzaneda in the Bibei Valley, the 2016 Conasbrancas uses the white grapes from different vineyards—50% Godello, 25% Dona Blanca and the rest Treixadura, Lado, Albariño and Torrontés. Seventy percent of the volume fermented in plastic bins with full clusters, the rest was pressed and the juice fermented in barrique. The wine matured in 300- and 500-liter oak barrels for seven months without bâtonnage and a small part went through malolactic fermentation. It has a developed and complex note with aromas of chamomile, hay, straw and pollen, really expressive and showy in a sort of a developed Hermitage way, with a faint honeyed note. It has a lively palate that’s very expressive, with very fine tannins and a mineral, stony sensation that provides tastiness and length. This has to be the finest Conasbrancas to date. 4,000 bottles were filled in June 201

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This is a wine to pay attention to—a wine that’s atypical in a good way.
Fedellos do Couto ‘Lomba dos Ares’, Ribeira Sacra 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2016 Lomba dos Ares is the village red from different parishes of Manzaneda (Soutipedre, Seoane and Langullo), and the old vineyards (mostly over 60 years old) are planted with a myriad of grapes, mainly Mencía, yes, but also Grao Negro, Negreda, Garnacha Tintorera, Bastardo and Aramón. The full clusters fermented at cold temperature with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in 300- and 500-liter used French oak barrels and one 3,200-liter oak vat for ten months. This is super expressive, with a flinty sensation; it’s a little reductive, serious and more insinuating, with a chiseled palate and a strong mineral sensation, long and tasty. This is a superb Lomba dos Ares, the finest vintage to date. 5,500 bottles were filled in December 2017.”

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Fedellos do Couto ‘Bastarda’, Ribeira Sacra 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 95 points
“Produced with a mixture of Bastarda/Merenzao/Trousseau grapes from two different subzones of Ribeira Sacra Riberas do Sil and Bibei, the 2016 Bastarda is better than any previous vintage. It fermented with full clusters and matured in a combination of used French oak barrels and concrete vats for seven months. It was really singing when I tasted it, with ethereal notes of rose water, wild herbs and small berries, aromatic, perfumed, elegant and subtle. The palate is as expressive as the nose, with ultra fine tannins and a stony, dry sensation that gives it seriousness and length. This is a stunning expression of the grape. Bravo! 6,500 bottles were filled in June 2017.”

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Warm climate but bright, with excellent texture and power.
Celler del Roure ‘Cullerot’ Blanco, Valencia 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Importer Note
“When Pablo Calatayud founded Celler del Roure in 1995 he chose as its setting an ancient country estate outside of Moixent. For centuries this was an integrated farm producing grain, almonds, olives and grapes with unsubtle evidence for the production of olive oil and wine – a large, stone, olive press and extensive subterranean cellar with dozens of intact 17th century amphorae. It took a few years of research and restoration but Pablo is using these clay vessels to make wine once again. Cullerot, which means tadpole, is the white that Pablo makes in the old cellar utilizing heirloom and indigenous varieties including Macabeo, Malvasía, Pedro Ximénez, Verdil and others.”

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Amphora aging gives this one a depth and savoriness that’s special.
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’, Valencia 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 92+ points
“Only in its second vintage, the 2016 Safrà is already a reference for the winery—it’s more vibrant and livelier than Parotet but produced with the same grape, Mandó, which is complemented here with 10% each Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell. It fermented in stainless steel and stone lagars with 30% full clusters and indigenous yeasts. Malolactic was in amphorae, where the wine matured for some six months. It has plenty of aromatic herbs, balsamic; in a way, it reminded me of a vermouth. At the end of the day, 2016 was a short vintage—the grapes ripened earlier, so they harvested them pretty early, keeping the freshness. The palate is light to medium-bodied but very tasty, with deep flavors and great persistence; it has more concentration than it seems. It’s not as light as the 2015 and feels more complete. They used more stems than in the initial vintage, and that also helped to keep the freshness and balance the juicier fruit. It feels like a good improvement over the previous year, a very good value and the benchmark for Mandó reds. 15,000 bottles were filled in July 2017.”

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Javi Revert is a Name To Watch in Spanish wine and its hard to believe this white is from Valencia.
Javi Revert ‘Micalet’ Blanco, Valencia 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 93 points
” The grapes for the white 2017 Micalet were picked the 29th of August, very early, but as the vineyard is in the process of being recovered, it yielded more grapes than the previous year. Here the field blend is mostly Tortosí, Trepadell and Merseguera, complemented by Malvasía and Verdil. He picked 4,400 kilos from 2.5 hectares—some 30% more than he got in 2016—and the grapes were picked a little less ripe to keep the acidity and pH in a warm year like 2017. All of the grapes were picked at the same time and pressed together; the juice was let to settle and fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts, and then part of the volume was transferred to barrel to finish fermenting there. The wine in barrel was kept there without racking for eight months, and the rest was moved to glass demijohns, where it was kept with the lees, which were not stirred. It’s a subtle Mediterranean white with spice and herbs, a hint of pollen and a nutty touch. It has a precise palate with the chalky texture from the limestone soils that also give it a saline character that makes it super tasty, almost salty. This is a great Mediterranean white that transcends the year, as the vineyard is in the process of being recovered, and the wine has even less alcohol. 2,500 bottles were filled in May 2018.”

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Javi Revert ‘Sensal’, Valencia 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 91 points
“The red 2017 Sensal is a blend of Garnacha Tintorera and 30% Monastrell, with each variety from one vineyard, but in the future, it will contain Monastrell from one more vineyard and Garnacha that was planted in a new plot. The name is provided by the Garnacha Tintorera plot, a vineyard planted in 1965 on limestone soils. The two varieties fermented separately with some full clusters, then the wines were blended and matured in used French oak barrels for ten months. It feels quite ripe and a bit heady, and it’s powerful, concentrated and juicy, with notes of black olive and black berries. It’s rounder and gentler than the 2016, but it’s a powerful and rustic red, thinking that it has a majority of Garnacha Tintorera. 1,800 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2018.”

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Any wine that draws comparisons to Camando G and the Northern Rhone is one we’re interested in.
Javi Revert ‘Simeta’, Valencia 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 93+ points
“There is yet another red, the 2016 Simeta, a single-vineyard Arcos (a variety with a long cycle) from a plot planted in 1970 on sand and clay soils. The grapes fermented with 60% full clusters, with the last of the fermentation in clay amphorae, where it rested for eight months followed by two months in glass demijohns. Arcos is sometimes called Arco and other similar names, and they all seem to be the same variety. Apparently, it’s an autochthonous grape, and 100 years ago some 70% of the plantings were of this grape. It’s a long-cycle variety (ripens later than the Monastrell), with thick skins, very resistant to rot, very apt for the Mediterranean climate. There is good ripeness, in a northern Rhône way, juicy and keeping the freshness. At times, it also reminded me of some reds from Ribeira Sacra (Lousas from Envínate) or a Garnacha from Gredos (Comando G), but it also had a Mediterranean accent. I found this fascinating, juicy and tasty. 1,010 bottles were filled in July 2017.”

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