Midweek VinopolPick 9-1-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

First Offer, at National Best Pricing
Opus One Subscriber Special

Subscriber Special
Kruger-Rumpf: Nahe Riesling Sleepers

Staff Pick
The Most Undervalued White in France?

Mount Eden’s 93-Point, Under $20 Chardonnay


Newly Arrived
Santa Duc’s Regal Gigondas and More
At National-Best Pricing

A New Review for Arterberry Maresh’s Old Vines Pinot

Collector’s Corner
The Best Ever from La Spinetta, Piedmont Icon


Opus One Subscriber Special

Little introduction is needed for Opus One—one of the world’s most recognizable, iconic bottlings.  We’ve just locked up our allocation of the impressive 2017, which arrive in late September. Although the wine is getting harder and harder to source (there’s a lot of demand outside of the US now), we’re offering you some pretty impressive pricing on it—with the catch that it’s so good that we can’t list it online.  The winery is very strict about online pricing, so we’ll apply these after we download your order and before we run your credit card.  The Subscriber Special runs until we open our doors on Friday morning, so stock up now!

Opus One Subscriber Special
Buy 2-5 bottles of 2017 Opus One, pay just $319 per bottle.
Buy a six-pack of 2017 Opus One, pay just $1,799 (that’s only $299.83/bottle!)
OWC’s available for six-pack purchases (additional shipping may apply for OWC)
Opus One Subscriber Special Expires Friday, September 4th at 10AM

Arriving ETA Late September:

Opus One Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($399.95) $349 Displayed Price
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“A remarkable wine for the year, the 2017 Opus One is a dense, full-throttle beauty. Plush fruit and soft, silky contours give the 2017 its racy personality. Exotic, beautifully perfumed and impeccable in its balance, Opus One is one of the most complete wines of the vintage. In 2017, Opus One has a distinctly red-toned fruit profile that distinguishes it from the surrounding vintages.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Opus One had picked 91% of their fruit before the fires started in 2017, and only two lots were eliminated from consideration. The 2017 Opus One, bottled in July 2019, is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Merlot and 1% Malbec. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it slowly grows on the nose, revealing compelling notes of baked black cherries, mulberries, black raspberries, warm cassis and blackberry pie with nuances of spice cake, yeast extract, tapenade, licorice and dusty soil with a waft of wild sage. Medium-bodied, the palate has a lively skip in its step, featuring bags of juicy raspberry and cassis-laced fruit and a refreshing line, supported by ripe, plush tannins, finishing long and graceful.-LPB”
James Suckling 95 points “Lots of currant and floral notes on the nose. Hints of mint and spice. Medium-to full-bodied, round and savory with creamy, juicy tannins. Hints of citrus underneath. Bright, fresh and delicious. Drink or hold.”

Our Subscriber Special is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $350

Opus One Subscriber Special
Buy 2-5 bottles of 2017 Opus One, pay just $319 per bottle.
Buy a six-pack of 2017 Opus One, pay just $1,799 (that’s only $299.83/bottle!)
OWC’s available for six-pack purchases (additional shipping may apply for OWC)
Opus One Subscriber Special Expires Friday, September 4th at 10AM


Subscriber Special


Nahe Riesling Sleepers

“It always feels somewhat miasmic to taste here, as though someone has strewn a thousand musical notes on the floor and now we have to pick them up and make them into music.” –Terry Theise

Kruger-Rumpf is a storied estate in the Nahe, the region in Germany that Donnhoff hails from, which lies between the Mosel and the Rhine rivers—sort of a halfway point between both geographic and stylistic.  Kruger-Rumpf sits close to the Rhine, geographically, than some of the other big names in the area and their wines have more intrinsic power to them as a result.  These are some seriously good Rieslings, at prices considerably lower than what you’d pay from other name producers.

The top wine from the estate comes from the awkwardly named “Dautenpflanzer” from near the town of Munster, which means that the label reads “Munsterer Dautenpflanzer”—a stereotype of a German name if we ever saw one.  In house, we often call it the “MD” if you aren’t feeling up to testing your pronunciation skills.  The Dautenpflanzer is a premier Grand Cru site of the lower Nahe, a place that yields wine s of power and resonance, and Kruger-Rumpf is the primary (and best) landholder.

These are fantastic wines that are only getting better with each subsequent vintage. Hope on board the 2018 train and you’ll be glad you did. We’re offering you Subscriber Special pricing on purchases of 6+ bottles of these German gems, arriving this Friday. Once the wines arrive, our special prices do, as well—so stock up and save!

Save 5% on any mix of 6-11 bottles of Kruger-Rumpf wines
10% on any mix of 12+ bottles of Kruger-Rumpf wines
Subscriber Special Discount Will Not Display Online
We Will Manually Adjust Your Order Before Finalizing It
Discount Valid Until Friday, September 4th at 10AM

Arriving Friday:

Kruger-Rumpf Abtei Riesling Trocken 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 Displayed Price: that’s $26.60 at 5% off and $25.20 at 10% off!
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kruger-Rumpf Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 Displayed Price: that’s $46.55 at 5% off and $44.10 at 10% off!
Grapelive 94+ points
“Coming from a tiny incredibly steep Grand Cru site, the Burgberg Vineyard, that is set on volcanic and quartz soils near Munster in the village of Dorsheim. The Kruger Rumpf Burgberg GG is one of the most exciting wines of vintage at this small winery… It is fantastically mineral-driven dry Riesling. This latest set of wines, especially the Rieslings, from Georg Rumpf and his family are some of the best yet from this estate. The GG’s and the Premier Cru Trockens are gorgeous wines. No one is going to want to miss these 2018 Nahe offerings, especially the Pitterberg GG, the Abtei Erste Lage 1937 old vine, one of my secret favorites and this beautifully detailed Burgberg GG. Rumpf has turned to mostly all organic practices, and the Burgberg parcel is farmed organic. [He] prefers to do natural fermentations, or Sponti, with his Cru wines with the GG’s getting less aging in large cask, Stuckfass, to allow less reduction and enhance generosity, while retraining freshness and vitality in the wines. [It] shows here in this barrel sample of Burgberg… These Kruger-Rumpf GG’s are some of the best values out there, they really deserve much more attention, as do the lesser bottlings and their wildly tasty Scheurebe, which is one of the best examples in Germany…Terry Theise, their importer, who considers Kruger-Rumpf one of best under the radar estates in the region. [Theise] notes that Kruger-Rumpf is innovative and is always striving to reach new levels of quality….the iron rich volcanic and quartz influenced 2018 Burgberg GG starts with white flowers, stone fruits and vibrant citrus before expansion on the medium full palate with layers of lime/tangerine, apricot, green apple, papaya, bitter pit white peach and white cherry fruits along with steely form, spearmint, verbena, mouthwatering saline, exotic spices and subtle leesy elements. This is going to be a legendary wine and is already showing Georg’s signature finesse and vinous personality. It has masses of potential and its delicacy is utterly delicious! There’s a lot to admire at Kruger-Rumpf these days and this crisp 2018 Burgberg is a stunning effort that gains with air in the glass and will more so with a few years in bottle.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “From low-yielding vines planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the 2018 Burgberg Riesling GG is absolutely great on the pure, clear and refreshing, super flinty and mineral nose. On the palate, this is an intense, highly complex and elegant dry Riesling with crystalline acidity and a long and refreshing, crystalline and salty finish. Bottled and tasted in July 2019.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Pittersberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 750ML ($51.95) $46 Displayed Price: that’s $43.70 at 5% off and $41.40 at 10% off!
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2018 Im Pitterberg Riesling GG is bright and floral on the fragrant and elegant, spicy-mineral nose. Full-bodied and intense on the palate, with rich and concentrated fruit that is balanced by a tight and mineral structure and lingering salinity, this is an elegant, very complex and sustainable dry Riesling with crunchy stone flavors and a gripping finish. This is a great Nahe wine from the 2018 vintage. Tasted in July 2019.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Scents of white peach anticipate the cool juiciness as well as the peach fuzz invigoration and peach kernel piquancy that emerge on a firm palate. A bright influx of fresh lime lends animation and enhances refreshment on a finish that also features mouthwatering veal stock savor and vivid wet stone. (For background on the naming of this site and the origin of its fruit, consult my review of the corresponding 2015.)”
Terry Theise note “Here’s how it goes. I taste through all the GGs and try to glean where they each will go, and which are likely to be best. Then a year or two later I drink them in their finished form and see how wrong I was. Or was I wrong? I make the best guess I can, with 30-some years behind me, knowing how wines generally behave and how they might surprise you, and to feign certainty under those circumstances is a knave’s game. But what else can I trust? I’m not always wrong; sometimes I’m right! Maybe even often. Just know, please, that this is educated guesswork—but with that out of the way, this is what I found on the day…. Pitterberg has what the Germans call “Fond,” which connotes a sort of concentrated stock, more than broth and less than demi-glace. It has density, and it seems to have been born balanced.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Pittersberg Riesling Spatlese GK 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 Displayed Price: that’s $37.05 at 5% off and $35.10 at 10% off!
David Schildknecht-Vinous 95 points
“Picked at the end of October but with minimal botrytis, this certainly stands in magnificent contradiction to my vintage generalization that picking past the middle of that month was not advantageous. Unlike its counterpart form the Dautenpflänzer, this was raised in cask, and was allowed to ferment to a lower level of residual sugar. It comes off as a riper, richer sibling of the corresponding Im Pitterberg Riesling Kabinett, its gloss merging with creaminess, yet with fresh white peach and lime juiciness complementing ripe quince and serving for animation and refreshment. The finish is unexpectedly electrifying in its vibrancy and mouthwateringly saline, and gains stimulating counterpoint from peach kernel piquancy, peach fuzz prickle and a crystalline sense of stone-showering mineral impingement. (If there is a second, “regular” Im Pitterberg Spätlese from this vintage, I am not aware of it.)”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 Displayed Price: that’s $22.80 at 5% off and $21.60 at 10% off!
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points
“An effusively fruity nose anticipates the generously juicy peach and nectarine that feature on a glossy palate, with a hint of almond paste as well as pronounced sweetness tugging things in a confectionary direction. Happily, an influx of limey brightness and tangy fresh-fruitedness serve for welcome pushback as well as animation and refreshment on a long-lasting finish. As with others of the best Kruger-Rumpf 2018s, this manages to combine richness and high ripeness with brightness and transparency to stony inflections. That juxtaposition may have been underscored in the case of this Spätlese by its having been raised partly in cask and partly in tank.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Im Pittersberg Riesling Kabinett 2018 750ml ($27.95) $21.90 Displayed Price: that’s $20.81 at 5% off and $19.71 at 10% off!
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points
“While marginally lower in alcohol – at 9% – than its Rheinberg counterpart, this was picked early at a significantly lower 82 Oechsle, so its sense of sweetness is nicely restrained. Luscious and invigoratingly tart-edged white peach, apple and lime are wreathed in honeysuckle, while a billowing sense of levity and inner-mouth perfume perfectly complements a subtly creamy texture that owes something to lees exposure in cask. (In fact, Georg Rumpf performed a bit of lees stirring and an extra racking, yet the wine retains an invigorating hint of CO2 spritz.) The sustained finish delivers a superb sense of vibrancy, clarity and focus, its intense fruitiness matched by a salinity that tugs at the salivary glands. (For background on the origination and style of this Kabinett, consult my reviews of its vintage 2015 and vintage 2016 predecessors.)”
Wine Advocate 91 points “Picked early around September 10th and vinified in large oak until April this year, the 2018 Im Pitterberg Riesling Kabinett offers a clear, ripe and spicy, beautifully elegant bouquet of bright fruits and crushed nuts. Very clear and fresh on the palate, this is a filigreed, elegant and persistently light, salty-piquant and crystalline Riesling with mineral tension and stimulating grip. This is a picture-book Kabinett that is a great pleasure to drink even today and certainly with food. 9% alcohol. Tasted from AP 21 19 in August 2019.”
Terry Theise note “Another forward-into-the-past bottling—in this case Georg wanted to make the kind of Kabinett his father made in the 80s, decidedly on the dry side, not very ripe (this has just 82º Oechsle), gentle and tertiary, and even on the dry side it shows Cox’s orange pippins and balsam and its genial Buddhist repose. Cask fermentations help to highlight the tertiary flavors.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 Displayed Price: that’s $17.10 at 5% off and $16.20 at 10% off!
Wine Advocate 89 points
“From a southeast-facing vineyard, picked at 83/84° Oechsle around the 20th of September and vinified in stainless steel and large oak in equal parts, the 2018 Münster Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett is beautifully clear, fresh and stony/piquant on the precise, stimulating, slightly nutty and coffee-bean nose. Round, lush and sweet on the first palate, this is a fresh, salty-piquant and elegant Kabinett with stimulating grip on the finish. This is a beautifully lean, light and digestible Kabinett in the good old style. Tasted in July 2019.”
Terry Theise note “Our basic and faithful friend, this perennial and tasty Kabinett from the steep quartzite vineyard, and this ’18 is sleek and rippling and snappy and racy.”

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Staff Pick

The Most Undervalued White in France?

The wines of Clisson are the true hidden gems in French whites.  They represent the apotheosis of Muscadet—a humble grape made glorious with old vines, perfectly matched soils and time in tank and bottle. While Pepiere’s version is the best known, I recently had a bottle of Bruno Comerais’ 2013 that blew me away with its quality and precision.

If you’ve never had aged Muscadet, you should stop here and head to the webstore to grab a bottle or four.  They’re wonderful wines, picking up more White Burgundy qualities as they grow older.  Cormerais’ is just old enough to have the texture and oyster-shell flavors that you’d find in excellent premier cru Chablis.

It was explosive aromatically and a perfect pairing with some of the first day-boat albacore of the year—there was just enough weight to handle the richness of the tuna, but the citrus zest and peach-skin flavors were juicy and bright enough to demand sip after sip. It’s a wine I’d easily pay $40-50+ for, especially given the drinking window it’s in, but this happens to be under $30 per bottle. We’ll see how long it sticks around, but for now, I’m grabbing another half-dozen—and you should, too.

In Stock Now:

Bruno Cormerais Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine ‘Clisson’ 2013 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
: 51 months sur lie in tank before bottling, from the Clisson AOC–one of the most prestigious sub regions of Muscadet.  This is from the estate’s best vineyards on the special decomposed granite soils of Clisson.


Mount Eden’s 93-Point, Under $20 Chardonnay

Mt. Eden’s Edna Valley Chardonnay is a perpetual best-value bottling, with rich, creamy fruit and seductive textures. We’ve got a raft of the 2017 arriving Friday at a stellar price—less than $19 per bottle by the case!

Arriving Friday:

Mount Eden Edna Valley Chardonnay 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Mount Eden Edna Valley Chardonnay 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points
“This comes mostly from the Wolf vineyard with some fruit from the Middle Ranch vineyard. The 2017 Edna Valley Chardonnay opens with wonderful aromas of honeycomb, orange blossoms, saline, crushed shell and loads of baked apple and quince with an earthy undercurrent. The palate is medium-bodied, satiny and intense, with seamless freshness on the finish, which lingers with honeyed notions.-EB”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


The perfect pizza wine? 
Castello di Verduno Basadone Pelaverga, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Importer Note
“Pelaverga is indigenous to the village of Verduno, it produces red wines that are light in color but savory and distinctive on the palate. Reminds me a lot of Grignolino, another geeky Piedmontese variety. This one is aged in stainless steel before bottling without filtration. The winery’s website cannot be improved on for a description: ‘Soft, though bright ruby red. Intense fragrant nose, showing clear spicy overtones of black pepper and nutmeg, as well as fruity sensations reminiscent of cherries in spirit and strawberries. Nicely-balanced, lingering dry flavour.’ Great with salumi. I would drink this at cellar temperature.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

It’s always nice to find top tier wines with this sort of bottle age.
Rotllan Torra Tirant, Priorat DOCa 2001 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Robert Parker 96-98 points
“A prodigious effort, the 2001 Tirant is a 9,000-bottle cuvee made from 30% Grenache (90-100 years old), 25% Carignan (90-100 years old), 25% young vine Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, and 10% Merlot. Fermented in large oak foudres and aged 12 months in new French oak, it will be bottled with neither fining nor filtration. Inky/purple-colored to the rim, it boasts a spectacular bouquet of blueberries, blackberries, and the region’s classic crushed stone minerality. This full-throttle yet remarkably elegant 2001 possesses tremendous intensity and texture as well as layers of flavor, but comes across as not over the top, overripe, or overly heavy. The 60-second finish reveals more noticeable tannin than the other cuvees. Give it 1-2 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 10-15. The 2001 Tirant is indeed a special wine.”

A monumental, perfect Brunello.
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Pianrosso, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
James Suckling 100 points
“Lots of ripe and rich fruit with a decadent undertone of meat and spice that turns to pure fruit and licorice. Medium to full body, refined tannins and a fresh and bright finish. All about harmony. Better after 2021.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Cellar Selection. Intense aromas of berry, iris, underbrush, botanical herb and camphor shape the enticing nose. Firmly structured, the taut, full-bodied palate offers juicy black cherry, raspberry, licorice and tobacco set against tightly knit, fine-grained tannins. Drink 2025–2035.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso is distinguished by a unique aromatic profile that brings out mineral notes of crushed limestone or chalk. This adds a greater sense of focus and delineation that not only characterizes the bouquet but also applies to the way the wine hits the palate in a fuller and more determined way (compared to the slightly softer classic Brunello). Instead, this single-vineyard Brunello shows an upright and direct approach with soft salinity on the close followed by forest fruit, spice and medicinal herb. The mouthfeel makes a big impact thanks to its streamlined and polished texture. Some 37,000 bottles were released in January 2020.”

From a vineyard that’s only separated from Seven Spring by a one lane road, this is a gem for the price.
Vincent Pinot Noir Bjornson Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($44.95) $34.50 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Brilliant red. Highly expressive aromas of fresh red fruits, potpourri, exotic spices and candied rose, along with a hint of smoky minerality. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering penetrating raspberry, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that show fine definition and back-end lift. Intensely flavored and finely delineated, with an impressively long, perfumed finish that delivers firm mineral cut and resonating florality.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Boscarelli’s 2016 Vino Nobile, the product of that legendary vintage, is drinking beautifully today, even as it sheds its baby fat.  But the wine is also structured and complex, a sure sign that it will age beautifully.
Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-12 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($519.95) $419 special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Expressive and harmonious, this red exhibits cherry, blackberry, violet and mineral aromas and flavors. Pure and elegant, with an underlying tension and intensity that drives the lingering aftertaste of fruit, stone and earth, showing a hint of wild herbs. Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Mammolo and Colorino. Best from 2022 through 2038. 4,200 cases made, 800 cases imported.”
Decanter 94 points “Niccolò and Luca De Ferrari assemble their Riserva from the estate’s oldest vines, essentially 3 or 4 parcels that are more than 20 years old. For ageing, they have moved to slightly larger and used casks in order to preserve freshness and grace. The 2016 is indeed deftly proportioned and refined, though with a firm and muscular backbone. It opens with balsamic notes of cedar and rosemary on a backdrop of strawberry. Nuances of mint and leather chime in on the palate, which is layered with succulent fruit. Full, without being heavy, this will take time to reveal all of its charms.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Editor’s Choice. Wild berry, blue flower, crushed herb, camphor and a whiff of tobacco mingle together on this vibrant red. Made with 85% Sangiovese as well as Canaiolo, Colorino and Mammolo, the radiant palate is loaded with finesse, delivering raspberry compote, Marasca cherry, licorice and Asian spice. Elegant, fine-grained tannins provide the framework while bright acidity keeps it balanced. Drink 2021–2031.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

A great value Sangiovese from the family that owns Felsina.
Podere La Berta Sangiovese di Romagna, Emilia-Romagna 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Eric Guido-Vinous 90 points
“The 2018 Podere La Berta Romagna Sangiovese shows moist earth notes and minerals, plus hints of young strawberry, bell pepper and dusty florals. It finishes medium in length and remarkably fresh, while still resonating on fruit purity and hints of subtle spice.”

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

This would be a great ringer in a Cote-Rotie tasting
Goodfellow Family Cellars Deux Vert Reserve Syrah, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($47.95) $31.90 special
John Gilman 91+ points
“Marcus Goodfellow’s 2015 Deux Vert Vineyard (Reserve) bottling of Syrah includes five percent viognier, which grows alongside these syrah vines, which were the first to be planted in the Willamette Valley in 1994. The 2015 version comes in at 13.8 percent octane and delivers a refined and red fruity bouquet of raspberries, pepper, woodsmoke, roasted meats, lovely soil tones, plenty of spice elements and a nice framing of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, tangy and rock solid at the core, with excellent transparency and grip, ripe tannins and a long, focused and nascently complex finish. This will be a lovely bottle in due course, but it needs some time in the cellar to allow its backend tannins to resolve a bit. Fine juice. 2030- 2055+. 91+.”
VinopolNote: The Reserve bottling spent longer in barrel (over 30 months) and was selected for structure, savoriness and power. Like most of Marcus’ wines, there’s a lot of whole-cluster fermentation in this bottling and it definitely reads as more “serious” as a result.  While the wine is rich and intense, don’t expect over-the-top fruit here. This reminds us of high quality Northern Rhone wines, with dark, fresh fruits and a distinct meaty, savory overtone.  One for the table with some air or for the cellar.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Newly Arrived

Santa Duc’s Regal Gigondas and More

At National-Best Pricing

Gigondas’ is the finest source of value for profound wine in the Rhone.  The top estates deliver wines that compete with the very best wines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but at prices that are a fraction of their competition.  On offer today, Santa Duc, is one of the very best in the region and our pricing on most of their wines is the best in the country—a killer combination.

Santa Duc is perhaps the only estate who can match Saint Cosme as the “Most Important Winery in Gigondas”.  Owners of some of the finest vineyards in the Southern Rhone, Santa Duc is a legendary producer that more than lives up to their reputation. Unlike Saint Cosme, though, their top wines aren’t yet commanding triple-digit pricing.  In fact, their most expensive Gigondas bottling is still under $50—and is an absolute stunner.

Santa Duc manages to make Gigondas taste aristocratic—taming the wild mountain personality of the Dentelles into something that is at once both intensely powerful and also nuanced and complex.

These are wines that manage the neat trick of being absolutely delicious now while having a track record of aging gracefully.  Recent notes for older bottles like the ’95 and ’98 Hautes Garrigues are glowing, yet the wines can be on your table tonight and impress.  In the last decade or so, the winery has extended its holdings into Chateauneuf and those wines are as brilliant as you’d expect, as well.

These are wines to buy in quantity—you’re going to want to drink a lot of them now and have some in your cellar in ten years, as well.  

Newly Arrived:

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Clos Derriere Vieille, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
James Suckling 94 points
 “Mostly (80%) grenache with 10% each of mourvèdre and syrah. There’s a very impressive, sheer and crunchy texture to the palate and a peppery edge. Tannins drive a long, powerful finish. Best from 2020.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92-94 points “The 2015 Gigondas Clos Derrière Vieille (80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre) comes from the wall vineyard located just beside the village. It offers terrific notes of dusty earth, dried cherries and herbes de Provence, medium to full-bodied richness, silky tannin and a beautiful texture. Like the other 2015s, it’s going to drink nicely for 10-15 years.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-93 points “Deep ruby. Ripe raspberry, cherry liqueur, violet and a hint of garrigue on the deeply perfumed nose. Fleshy, appealingly sweet and expansive in the mouth, offering plush red and blue fruit flavors and a subtle note of candied licorice that builds in the glass. Becomes more energetic with air and finishes on a sweet red berry note, showing powerful thrust, harmonious tannins and impressive persistence.”

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Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Prestige des Hautes Garrigues, Rhone 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
 “Saturated ruby. Powerful, deeply pitched black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by suggestions of licorice, woodsmoke and incense. Broad, palate-coating blackberry and cherry compote flavors open up slowly with aeration. Distinctly rich but showing surprising vivacity, with velvety tannins coming in late to shape the wine’s sweet finishing fruit.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “This has a solid core of raspberry, bitter cherry and plum fruit, liberally laced with iron, violet and bay leaf notes. The long, sleek finish lets the iron edge play out, revealing a hint of blood orange in the background. Best from 2016 through 2020. 100 cases imported.”

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Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Prestige des Hautes Garrigues, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94-97 points
 “Lastly, the 2015 Gigondas Hautes Garrigues (60/40 Grenache and Mourvèdre) is a beauty boasting killer notes of dark fruits, crushed rocks, pepper, garrigue and scorched earth. This seriously good 2015 has building richness, a stacked mid-palate and a huge finish, all suggesting short-term cellaring will be your friend. It will keep for two decades of more.”
James Suckling 93 points “Mourvèdre steps up to one third of the blend while the balance is grenache. This has an attractive array of ripe dark cherry and blue plum fruits. The tannins are framed up with a deeper, wider shape. Try from 2020, this needs time.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93-95 points “Full ruby. Smoke-accented aromas of red and dark berry liqueur, incense, spicecake and candied flowers show outstanding energy and clarity. Sweet, seamless and broad in the mouth, offering concentrated black raspberry, boysenberry and lavender pastille flavors that fan out steadily with air. Rich but nervy and precise as well, carrying no excess fat. Velvety tannins frame an extremely long, incisive finish that leaves behind notes of sweet dark berries and candied flowers.”
Wine Advocate 92-95 points “I loved the 2015 Gigondas Hautes Garrigues and this flagship cuvee is made from 65% Grenache and 35% Mourvèdre that’s brought up in foudre. It’s a full-bodied, concentrated, yet brilliantly proportioned Gigondas that has classy notes of blackberries, plums, garrigue and leather. It’s going to need 3-5 years of cellaring.”

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Aux Lieux-Dits, Rhone 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 93 points
 “A fluid, fleshy and deeply structured wine with dark cherry and blackberry fruit flavors amid sturdy yet supple tannins. Good weight and presence. Drink now.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Ripe but fresh, with a slightly high pitch to the mix of damson plum, cherry and rooibos tea aromas and flavors, backed by singed vanilla, tobacco and licorice root notes that give this a darker shade through the finish. Best from 2020 through 2030. 2,400 cases made, 700 cases imported.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90-92 points “Ruby-red. Ripe red fruit and floral pastille aromas show very good detail and an energizing suggestion of white pepper. Palate-caressing raspberry and bitter cherry flavors blend depth and energy with a smooth hand and show no rough edges. Fine-grained tannins lend shape to a very long, red-fruit-dominated finish that features a subtle touch of star anise.”

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Domaine Santa Duc Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Le Pied De Baud’, Rhone 2015 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Le Pied de Baud, a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, offers compelling scents of rose petals and raspberries on the nose. While not as richly textural as some of the other cuvées, it’s still a lovely, hauntingly fragrant example of Châteauneuf du Pape.”
James Suckling 94 points “This has an array of darker berry and plum fruits with a brambly, lightly spicy edge, too. The palate delivers impeccably fresh, lithe and detailed tannin texture, as well as blue fruit flavors. Juicy and energetic. Long finish. Try from 2020.”

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Domaine Santa Duc Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Saintes Vierges’ Rouge, Rhone 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Saintes Vierges is the most flattering of Santa Duc’s current releases, offering lushness and generosity on the palate, notes of cherries and licorice, creamy-supple tannins and a mouthwatering finish. It’s a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise.”

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New Review for Arterberry Maresh’s Old Vines Pinot

Re-Arriving Friday:

Arterberry Maresh Old Vines Pinot Noir 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 96 points
“Glistening scarlet. A highly complex bouquet evokes red berry and cherry preserves, along with building Asian spice, rose oil and smoky mineral flourishes. Shows fine delineation and seamless texture, offering concentrated, spice-tinged Chambord, cherry, cola and spicecake flavors that pick up a strong rose pastille nuance with air. Finishes extremely long and pure, with fine-grained tannins providing framework and gentle grip to lingering red fruit, five-spice powder and savory herb notes. 70% of this fruit comes from the estate Maresh vineyard and the other 30% is from the neighboring Weber vineyard; the vast majority of the vines were planted in the late 1970s.”

Collector’s Corner

The Best Ever from La Spinetta, Piedmont Icon

“These are some of the very best wines I have ever tasted from La Spinetta. Proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and longtime winemaker Stephano Mazzetta have turned out a superb set of wines. The 2015 Barbarescos are racy and intense – as they always are – but the wines are also increasingly translucent and finessed.” – Antonio Galloni

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La Spinetta Vigneto Gallina, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($139.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
 “The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is absolutely gorgeous. Vivid and nuanced on the palate, the 2015 is fresh, juicy and flat-out delicious. The Gallina is often a shy wine that needs time in bottle to truly blossom, but the 2015 seems to have skipped that initial phase of reticence. In two separate tastings, the 2015 has been incredibly sensual and polished. Historically, the Gallina has the most consistent track record in aging of the three top Barbarescos in the range. It will be interesting to see if that is the case here as well. For now, the 2015 Gallina is one of the finest wines I have ever tasted from La Spinetta.”
James Suckling 95 points “This is a big and juicy Barbaresco with soft and velvety tannins and a full body. Lots of dried flowers and fruit at the finish. Needs four or five years of bottle age. Try in 2022.”

La Spinetta Vigneto Starderi, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($139.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
 “The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi rounds out this series of Barbarescos from La Spinetta in grand style. I don’t think the Starderi has ever been so elegant or refined as it is in 2015. Medium in body and translucent, the 2015 possesses remarkable purity and nuance in its red-toned fruit and floral aromatics. The oak needs time to fully integrate, but readers should not be planning on opening bottles anytime soon, as the youthful tannins are also imposing. Bright citrus and floral notes add the closing flourishes.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is decadent and very rich with plum and caramel character, as well as fresh flowers. Medium-bodied, tight and focused with a pretty center palate of dark fruit and linear, chewy tannins. Drink in 2020.”

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La Spinetta Vigneto Valeirano, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($139.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
 “The 2015 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is another striking wine from La Spinetta. Precise and finely cut, the 2015 shows the slightly austere personality that is typical of this cru. Even so, the 2015 possesses tremendous energy and intensity. Sweet spice, crushed flowers, crushed rocks, leather, spice, mint and sweet tobacco grace this exquisite, wonderfully nuanced Barbaresco. The 2015 finishes with real substance and gravitas, both of which bode well for its future in bottle. This may be the most finessed edition of Valeirano ever here.”
James Suckling 94 points “The roses and sandalwood character to these wines are impressive. Lots of ripe fruit too. Full-bodied, chewy and powerful. This needs two or three years to soften. Better in 2021.”

La Spinetta Vigneto Campe, Barolo 2015 750ML ($159.95) $119 special
James Suckling 97 points
 “Very distinctive nose with violets and very pure blackcurrants and blueberries, as well as leafy nuances, all of which deliver a fresh impression. The palate has impressive depth and density and the cool, blue fruit at the center sits fresh and vibrant. Smoothly resolved tannins shape a distinguished, balanced and long palate. Drink or hold.”

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