Midweek Vinopolpick 9-10-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Highlights from Jorge Ordonez Imports

Trending Wines

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rosé

Two Top Right Bank 2016 Bordeaux

New 2017’s from Maximin Grunhaus

The Impressive ’13 Mauro Molino Barolo

New Grapelive Reviews

New Chateauneuf Reviews from Wine & Spirits

New ’17 Vintage Port Reviews from Wine & Spirits Magazine


Jorge Ordonez Imports 

New Reviews from Jeb Dunnuck

& New Hot Offers from Vinopolis

Jorge Ordonez is one of the most important importers of Spanish wine to the US.  From traditional Rioja producers like Muga to estates he owns, like Vatan or his wines from the nearly-extinct Malaga DO, Ordonez is responsible for bringing in some of the finest wines from Iberia to our shores.  He’s got a talent for spotting unknown estates that are undervalued—wineries like Juan Gil, El Nido and Numanthia didn’t exist in the USA (and in some cases, at all) before partnering with Jorge.  We’ve got an assortment of wines arriving this week and shortly thereafter from some of his star producers and are excited to share them with you.

Muga you know, but the Vatan and Sierra Cantabria fly under the radar.  Vatan is the personal project of Jorge Ordonez in the Toro region.  It’s a follow up to Numanthia, a winery that Ordonez created to highlight the singular terroir of the region.  He sold Numanthia to LVMH and promptly turned around to start a new project—which brings us to the Vatan wine arriving Friday.  It’s the spiritual successor to the higher end Numanthia wines, just at a mid-tier pricepoint.  Like everything else Ordonez does, it delivers exceptional value.

Likewise, the Sierra Cantabria is one of the most important Rioja producers for the Spanish consumer, but here flies under the radar on these shores.  From top to bottom, they make some of the richest and most voluptuous wines in Rioja.  They’re really special wines, aged in French rather than American oak and given a tremendous amount of care in the production process.  We’ve got an assortment of Jorge’s wines in stock and arriving over the next several weeks, all highlighted below.

Newly Reviewed & In Stock Now:

Bodegas Muga ‘Flor de Muja’ Rosado, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($35.95) $28 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“The top rosé is the 2018 Flor de Muga Rosado, which is 100% Garnacha from older vines that spent five months on lees. It’s a beautiful, elegant rosé that offers terrific notes of ripe strawberries, white flowers, white peach, and honeysuckle. It’s layered and medium-bodied, has a rounded, deep texture, and is seamless on the palate. This is pure class and up there with the crème de la crème in rosé. Count me impressed.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

New Wines Arriving Friday, September 13th:

Bodegas Ordonez Vatan Toro Tinta De Toro, Toro 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“Seeing the same élevage as the 2016, the 2015 Vatan offers a slightly more saturated color as well as smoking good notes of blackcurrants, smoked earth, melted licorice, violets, and dark chocolate. Fabulous on the palate as well, with full-bodied richness, flawless balance, ripe tannins, and a great, great finish, it’s a primordial baby at the moment, yet this thrilling wine could compete with wine costing 3-4 times the price.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Sierra Salinas Casa Mira, Alicante 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sierra Salinas Casa Mira, Alicante 2016 750ML ($249.95) $175 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“Also 100% Monastrell but a selection of old, head-trained vines, the 2016 Mira Salinas was brought up in a mix of new, once-, and twice-used barrels. Its deep ruby/plum color is followed by a Bandol-like bouquet of smoked black fruits, earth, meat, and spice. It’s rich, medium to full-bodied, has beautiful fruit, good acidity, and plenty of tannins, and it’s a classic, balanced Monastrell that more than over-delivers at the price. These are custom cuvées for Jorge Ordonez that are only brought into the US.”

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

Arriving Later this Month:

Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($359.95) $285 pre-arrival special (that’s only $23.75/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“One of the flagship cuvées from this estate that’s produced in every vintage, the 2015 Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo and the rest Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano that spent 24 months in used French and American oak. Blackberries, currants, cigar wrapper, cedar box, and hints of vanilla all flow to a medium-bodied, concentrated, beautiful Rioja that has ripe tannins, beautiful balance, and a great finish. You couldn’t go wrong with a case of this.”
James Suckling 94 points “Complex nose with ripe black cherries, deeply integrated cedary oak, baking spices, dried flowers, leather, fresh tobacco and earthy notes. This is silky and mellow with long, laid-back tannins that deliver ripe dark plum flavors into a spicy and earthy finish. Drink or hold.”

Newly Reviewed Wines Arriving Fall through December:

Bodegas Muga ‘Prado Enea’ Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points
” The 2011 Prado Enea checks in as a blend of 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, Mazuelo that spent a full three years in oak, followed by three years in bottle before being released in May of 2019. It reveals a deep ruby/plum color as well as a closed, tight nose of blackcurrants, smoked earth, graphite, and Asian spices. It’s rich, medium to full-bodied, has a layered, balanced texture, integrated tannins, and a great finish. It’s holding things a little close to its vest at the moment, so I suspect 2-4 years of bottle age are warranted.”

Sierra Cantabria Finca El Bosque, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Another tiny production, single vineyard release that’s all Tempranillo, from vines planted in 1973, the 2016 Finca el Bosque was brought up mostly in French oak yet had 10% of the blend aged in Hungarian oak. It has a Pomerol-like bouquet of black and blue fruits, earth, graphite, and lead pencil that develops beautifully with time in the glass. Rich, full-bodied, powerful, and mouthfilling on the palate, it has rocking purity of fruit, sweet tannins, and a killer finish. It’s another rich yet elegant wine from this estate that’s going to keep for four decades or more. Bravo!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $138
Sierra Cantabria ‘Magico’, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($749.95) $619 pre-arrival special, only 5 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“A tiny production, single vineyard release, the 2016 Mágico is based on a field blend of 65% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, and the rest a mix of permitted varieties, all aged 20 months in new French oak. Its deep, saturated purple color is followed by an exotic bouquet of blackcurrants, blueberries, crushed violets, licorice, and flowery incense. Medium to full-bodied, with incredible purity of fruit, nicely integrated acidity, and fine tannins, it’s another elegant, seamless wine from this estate that builds with time in the glass, has no hard edges, and delivers a massive finish. This gorgeous wine will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 15+ years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Sierra Cantabria Reserva Unica, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sierra Cantabria Reserva Unica, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($379.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The single vineyard 2015 Reserva Unica is one of the few from this estate that’s not 100% Tempranillo, as it includes 3% Graciano. Aged two years mostly in French oak (30% new), its deep ruby/purple color gives way to a brilliant wine that’s loaded with notions of ripe black cherries, blackcurrants, smoked earth, crushed violets, cigar, and lead pencil shavings. It’s rich, full-bodied, has a terrific mid-palate, flawless balance, and a great, great finish. This is a beautiful wine.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending Wines

One of the most under the radar appellations/bottlings for Sangiovese in Tuscany.
Petrolo Boggina Valdarno di Sopra, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($59.95) $39 special
James Suckling 96 points
“This is so focused and precise with fantastic depth and beauty. A pure definition of sangiovese. Full-bodied, tight and refined. Yet, full of strength and length. Succulent, too. A single-vineyard wine with soul. Better in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2016 Val d’Arno di Sopra Bòggina C is a pure expression of Sangiovese from vines planted in 1952. Give the wine a little time to open in the glass; once it does, it offers a beautiful display of forest fruit, spice, leather and earthy tones. Unlike the Bòggina A that is aged in amphorae, the Bòggina C is fermented in concrete vats using ambient yeasts. It sees extended maceration times and is aged in French 40-hectoliter casks and tonneaux. Some 11,000 bottles were made. This single-vineyard expression of Sangiovese reveals impeccable balance and elegance.-ML”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Beautiful Garnacha that’s absolutely stunning aromatically.
Domaines Lupier La Dama, Navarra 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The elegance, finesse and nuance of the 2015 La Dama is simply irresistible. It’s ethereal, perfumed, elegant and complex (rose petals, orange peel, wild herbs…), even if it’s extremely young. It’s bright ruby, with great purity and detail, transparent and full of energy. It is harmonious and nicely textured, with chalky tannins and a stony sensation. It’s more powerful than it feels and has the stuffing and balance to develop nicely in bottle. This is truly sensational, full of mineral energy. 6,878 bottles were filled in May 2017.”

It’s a lot of Cabernet quality, especially for the price.
Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Classic’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 The Classic checks in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot, and the balance Cabernet Franc. This ruby/plum-colored effort offers up an awesome bouquet of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, truffle, tapenade, and damp earth that changes and develops beautifully with time in the glass. It’s elegant, seamless and light on its feet, yet also powerful and textured. It’s brilliant Cabernet Sauvignon from this estate to drink over the coming 15-20+ years.”

Abbey Ridge is sacred ground in Oregon and Cameron does it best.
Cameron Winery ‘Abbey Ridge’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
: Abbey Ridge is one of the most hallowed sites in the Willamette Valley.  Planted in 1975, the Pinot Noir here is own rooted and at one of the highest elevations in the Dundee Hills.  The elevation and classic Jory soils give the wine an intense personality—high toned, elegant and tensile, with good power and a strong voice.  This bottling has been one of the defining Oregon Pinots since John Paul started making it.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
An sleeper Burgundy steal from a great vintage.
Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Rouges Gorges, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Case-12 Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Rouges Gorges, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($479.95) $389 special (that’s only $32.42/bottle!)
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note
“his wine is produced from two separate parcels: one on a hillside above the hamlet of Gamay and the other from a parcel between Saint Aubin and Chassagne Montrachet. The average age of the vines is 50 years (as of 2011). A classic wine of this sector with compelling notes of animal and wild berries. The elevage is about 18 months before bottling; again, very little new oak is used.”
Burghound 87-90 points “Here the expressive nose is spicier still with its layered array of various red berries, soft earth and pretty floral nuances. There is a bit more volume to the slightly richer, seductive and caressing medium weight flavors that exude a subtle minerality onto the mildly austere and rustic finale. This could use a few years to round out.”

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


What We Talk About When We Talk About Rosé

There was an ice bucket on the table.  The champagne kept going around, and somehow we got on the subject of rosé. Mel thought real rosé was nothing less than pale, delicate rosé. He said he’d spent five years in a winery before quitting to go to business school.  He said he still looked back on those years in a winery as the most important years of his life.

In Stock Now:

Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Light bright orange. Mineral-tinged red fruit and peach aromas show very good clarity and pick up a subtle floral nuance with air. Juicy and light on its feet, offering zesty strawberry and orange pith flavors that slowly deepen as the wine stretches out. Lingers with strong persistence on the incisive finish, leaving an appealingly sweet strawberry note behind.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “A blend of 65% Cinsault, 20% Grenache and 15% Syrah, Calavon’s 2017 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose is another solid rosé effort from the portfolio of American importer Peter Weygandt. This one is medium-bodied, quite taut and perfumed, with hints of garrigue, stone fruit and lingering citrus on the finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Chateau de Manissy Tavel Cuvee des Lys Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Brilliant [dark] orange-pink. Pungent red currant, cherry and blood orange aromas are accompanied by suggestions of lavender and anise. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering bitter citrus pith and red berry flavors braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Smoothly blends power and finesse and finishes long and floral, with a mineral flourish adding snap and nervy cut.”
VinopolNote: From an idyllic parcel surrounded by forest, hand-harvested and biodynamic. Tavel is a classic home of rosé for a reason.  In the heat of the Southern Rhone, chilled wines make sense and the combination of heft and freshness that Tavel provides means that this is a wine that replaces a lot of reds in the heat of summer—in the best possible ways.  Our go to choice to pair with grilled chicken, hamburgers and salmon when the weather warms above red-wine temperatures, it can also stand in for fuller-bodied whites with mussels or veggie dishes.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14.40 special
Case-12 Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($199.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Shimmering orange-pink. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented strawberry and floral scents are complemented by a slowly building hint of orange zest. Dry and lively on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors and a spicy touch of white pepper. Finishes clean and long, displaying repeating florality and a nervy touch of dusty minerals.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine Lafage Cotes du Roussillon Miraflors Rose 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points
“Light pink-colored, the 2018 Miraflors Rosé is another great vintage for this cuvée. It has beautiful white peach, orange zest, and salty sea breeze aromas and flavors in its vibrant, crisp profile. It’s as pure and vibrant as it gets, a classic, Provençal-style beauty to drink over the coming summer months.”

Torre Beati Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Rose 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Ian D’agata 91 points
“Bright dark pink. Delicate aromas of strawberry and rosehip on the inviting nose. Then richer and tactile on the palate, with juicy acidity lifting and focusing the peppery red fruit flavors on the long finish. The freshness and liveliness is typical of the 2018 vintage. The Montepulciano grapes used to make this wine were planted in 1972.”

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Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Chateau Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 3L ($199.95) $169 special
Importer note
“This is the elite cuvée of the estate relying as it does on grapes harvested from the oldest vines of the domaine (35 years and older). Principally composed of Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah, the “Chateau” bottling also sees the addition, from time-to-time of Tibouren, the ancient and regal Provencale grape. This Rosé is produced via the “direct press” method and has a long cuvaison designed to produce a wine of character and concentration. Vinified in stainless steel and bottled in late winter – early spring, production is quite limited.”

Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Importer Note
“Indeed, the 2018 Sancerre Rosé—clocking in just shy of 14%–is deeper in color than usual, as well as more vinous and commanding on the palate. Pure Pinot Noir produced solely from direct-press juice and aged on its lees in stainless steel, this ’18 manages to carry its weight very well, with ultra-bracing acidity and a sense of lift on the nearly viscous palate. While this wine often drinks much like Crochet’s epic whites—steely and mineral, with enormous cut—one feels the Pinot Noir a bit more in this vintage, but it is ultimately a very interesting and delicious rosé”

Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($299.95) $199 special
James Suckling 95 points
“Attractive, sweetly aromatic, red-floral perfume with dried red cherries and some dried strawberries, too. Only hints of leather here. The palate has a beautifully fresh, succulent and elegantly focused feel with a long sleeve of dried-cherry flavor and gently nutty notes to close. Dry, long and mouthwatering finish. Drink now.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 94 points “Light bright amber-hued orange. Mineral- and spice-accented red currant and cherry scents, joined by building herb and floral nuances. Shows noteworthy depth as well as energy to the bitter cherry, succulent herb, spicecake and blood orange flavors, which turn sweeter as the wine stretches out. Finishes extremely long and chewy, with resonating floral and red fruit character and a lingering suggestion of fennel. Aged for four years in neutral American oak barrels and racked twice a year.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The unique and personal 2009 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva is a little darker than the 2008 I tasted next to it. It also feels a little riper and nuttier, with some traces of ripe apricots and flowers. It’s also fuller and not as sharp as the 2008 and has a dry, chalky/stony palate. These are unique wines that develop in bottle for a long time. 14,200 bottles were filled in April 2015.”


Two Top Right Bank 2016 Bordeaux

“Looking back over 20-plus en primeurs, some stick in the memory more than others. Great vintages – and by that I mean truly great and not the Bordeaux definition that translates as “forthcoming” – are lodged at the forefront of my mind. I remember the heady aromas of the Right Bank 1998s from barrel, the density of the 2000s that stained my teeth purple and the pedigree of the maturing 2005s. I will not forget the sumptuous 2009s that made that primeur so enjoyable, or the classicism and girder-like tannins of the 2010s that made for an arduous but rewarding tasting from barrel.

“Likewise, I shall always remember my first impression of the 2016s: their elegance, purity and poise, the intensity of fruit, the articulation of respective terroirs, and that oft-forgotten virtue, how bloomin’ delicious they tasted. My overriding feeling was that Bordeaux had been heading towards the 2016 vintage since the late 1990s. It was a year when everything just came together at the right moments” –Neal Martin, Vinous

While the futures period for the 2016 vintage is already officially over, we’re very much still securing excellent wines from this landmark year.  We’re excited to offer two epic wines from the right bank: Vieux Chateau Certan and Canon (the latter in 375ml’s).  Both arrive this fall and look to be some of the highlights of the vintage.

Arriving ETA Fall

Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2016 375ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Half Bottle
Wine Advocate 98+ points
“Composed of 74% Merlot and 26% Cabernet Franc and aged for 18 months in 70% new French barriques, the 2016 Canon is medium to deep garnet-purple in color, and—WOW—it opens with the most stunning perfume of violets, red roses and kirsch, giving way to a core of black cherry preserves, chocolate box, licorice, warm plums and Chinese five spice plus an earthy waft of underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is completely filled with expressive, perfumed black berry layers accented by lively red fruits and exotic spices, supported by impressively fine-grained tannins and fantastic tension, finishing very long with jaw-dropping energy. Tasted three times, I had one opportunity to taste the 2015 and 2016 Canon side by side. While I love the bold, rich, seductive nature of the 2015, this 2016 kicks it up a notch in terms of polish, precision, depth and persistence. Most notably, the superbly ripe, exquisitely fine-grained tannins on this 2016 bring to the table a whole other level of sophistication. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “This wine is impressive both from its structure and its fruit, one of the stars of the vintage in Saint-Émilion. It has great weight, concentration as well as style and aging potential. The ripe fruit shines through the structure, promising an elegant maturity. Drink from 2025.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 97 points “The 2016 Canon has the unenviable task of following the astonishing 2015, and it does a damn good job, even if it doesn’t reach the same ethereal heights. There is a pleasing strictness and poise on the nose; this is less immediate than the 2015, yet intellectual, a Canon that expresses its terroir rather than tons of fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, a smooth texture and a slightly savory but persistent finish, which feels a little plusher than the 2015, implying that this might drink a little earlier. But there is unquestionably immense breeding locked into this rejuvenated Saint-Émilion, which is now firmly ensconced among the top-flight Right Banks.”
James Suckling 97 points “Complex aromas of blackberries, iodine, oyster shell and wet earth. Ever so perfumed. Full-bodied, yet reserved and tight with very silky tannins that are energized and minerally. Takes off at the end. The freshness lifts it. Try after 2024.”

This is the lowest listed price for a half-bottle in the USA today!
Vieux Chateau Certan, Pomerol 2016 750ML ($399.95) $349 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin-Vinous 100 points
“The 2016 Vieux Château Certan is the first vintage to be entirely bottled by the estate’s own bottling machine (just in case that ever comes up in a wine quiz). Alexandre Thienpont mentioned that he assiduously left out the stressed vines, and he places this above his more hedonistic 2015. The wine takes a few minutes to open in the glass, but boy, is it worth the wait: it reveals pixelated red fruit (crushed strawberry and raspberry) and crushed stone, plus a hint of graphite emanating from the Cabernets. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, slightly chalky tannin that frames pure black and red fruit infused with graphite and almost flint-like notes. This is one of the most mineral-driven VCCs that I have encountered in over 20 years, with dizzying precision on the finish. A very intellectual Pomerol, in the realm of the profound.”
Wine Advocate 100 points “The 2016 Vieux Château Certan is blended of 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with pristine, vivid notions of candied violets, chocolate-covered cherries, blackberry compote and mulberries with fragrant touches of raspberry leaves, crushed rocks, licorice, cumin seed and yeast extract plus a waft of red roses. Medium to full-bodied and beautifully elegant, the palate builds from a quiet intensity to an incredibly well-sustained aria of crunchy red and black cherries notes plus tons of floral undertones, framed by exquisitely soft yet firm tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long with lingering mineral and floral sparks. How does this 2016 compare to the also amazing 2015 vintage? Stylistically they are very different, as my notes on each should convey, but beyond this I am struck by the incredible harmony and seamlessness of the 2016 along with its amazing depth and energy this year. Bravo!”
New 2017’s from Maximin Grunhaus

The von Schubert family, owners of the legendary Maximin Grünhaus winery in the Ruwer valley, are producing some of the best wines coming out of Germany today.  We’ve got a number of their new releases (2017) arriving tomorrow and are excited for these gorgeous bottles to hit the shelves.

If you aren’t familiar with the estate or its wines, these are German wines to pay attention to. The Ruwer valley (part of the Mosel region) is one of the coolest sub-climates in the area, producing wines that are bright and racy.  The Grünhaus wines are built to last, with coiled tension and nervy minerality that unwinds with air or time. Historically, the wines absolutely required time, but over the last decade or so, cellar master Stefan Kraml has reached new heights of excellence at this iconic estate. He has embraced the richer and plusher aromatics and body of the ever warmer vintages, and adapted the winemaking to highlight the natural expressions of the grapes.  These are still high-acid, leaner wines, but they’re pleasurable to drink young now.

Arriving Tomorrow:

Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2017 1.5L ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 96 points
“Be prepared to be amazed by what the tiny Ruwer sub-region of the Mosel can do. Enormous and complex herbs and spices on a medium body that’s supported by plenty of already well integrated yeasty notes and vibrant acidity that’s driving this thoroughbred racehorse along at breakneck speed. Drink or hold.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This gorgeous dry Riesling has an exotic character, with elderflower and tropical fruit notes allied to passion fruit flavors that are accented by grapefruit, vanilla, and spice and mineral elements, which display depth and complexity, supported by the supple texture and vibrant acidity. Best from 2021 through 2034.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 1.5L ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 94 points
“Quite funky from the wild ferment, but behind that, there is a very expressive wine with great fruit. The very racy acidity makes the finish really uplifting. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Maximin Grunhauser Riesling Alte Reben, Mosel 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling.com 93 points
“A classic dry riesling from the Ruwer! Light in alcohol but deep and complex with blade-runner clarity at the very long and mineral finish. Drink or hold.”

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The Impressive ’13 Mauro Molino Barolo

Importer note “Established in 1953, the Azienda Agricola Molino is located near the ancient abbey of S. Martino di Marcenasco and includes the famous cru Vigna Conca. Since the death of the founder Giuseppe in 1978, the estate has been run by his son Mauro, an oenologist certified at the well-known Oenology Institute of Alba. Mauro’s son Matteo, having completed his studies of Oenology, is now working full-time at the estate. The estate’s vineyards include 12 hectares in La Morra and new plots in Asti.”

In Stock Now

One of the last 2013 Barolo releases is one to stock up on.
Mauro Molino Vigna Conca, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2013 Barolo Conca offers a powerful and savory approach. The nose is dark and luscious with generous fruit layering and balanced intensity. That fruit is tightly knit together with important acidity and a firm tannic structure that bodes well for the future cellar aging of this Barolo from La Morra.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “A firmly structured red, whose cherry, strawberry, leather and underbrush flavors are shy now. Balanced and elegant, needing time for the fruit to shine. A sun-kissed hay accent graces the finish. Best from 2021 through 2035. 245 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $75

New Grapelive Reviews
In Stock Now:

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Grapelive 93 points
“This off dry Riesling is so pure and subtly complex that you can’t help but fall head over heals in love with it on first taste. Schaefer only produces about 2, 900 cases total and with an insanely greedy worldwide fan base, these wines are rarely found on the store shelves, but when you do see either of the Kabinetts, buy them as fast as you can. I love the sweeter wines here too, but the Graacher-Domprobst and this Graacher-Himmelreich Kabinett offering are absolute steals for the joy and quality in the glass. These are unquestionably terroir wines, heavily influenced by the Devonian slate soils and the steep slopes on which these vines cling to. I think Terry Theise, the Riesling guru that imports these wines into the states, says it best, These Schaefer wines are silly with deliciousness, and as crystalline as they are, as ethereally complex and limpidly clear as they are, he adds, they don’t fuss at you (about) how amazing they are. They are affectionate and they just sit in the glass and love you with their generous fruitiness and sublime drinkability.  This 2017 is a gorgeous and forward Riesling with a creamy lusciousness and a racy personality with an exotic array of fruit, spice and mineral tones. I personally would adds 3 to 4 more points to this rating here just on common sense and my affection for this wine, but since it is hard to find and desirable without me gushing too about, I restrained myself….Schaefer, as noted, is a small family winery that has a long history in German wines dating back to 1121 and is solely focused on terroir driven Riesling, making wines that are luxurious and regardless of sugar levels are gloriously balanced, you almost never feel sweetness on its own, it is more textural in its presence, as with this one. The nose has a beautiful array of white flowers, Asian spices, crushed rock and citrus before leading to a polished palate of apricot, key lime, green apple, lychee and tangerine fruits along with a saline note, wet stone, flinty mineral and crystalized ginger. Again the off dry Graacher-Himmelreich Kabinett is more creamy and cloying, making easy to enjoy all on its own, though brilliant with spicy dishes including Thai, Chinese and Indian cuisines, plus cured meats and briny seafood.”

Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves “Cuvee Domaine” Saumur-Champigny, Loire 2016 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Thierry Germain Domaine des Roches Neuves “Cuvee Domaine” Saumur-Champigny, Loire 2016 750ML ($319.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Grapelive 91 points
” I love [Thierry Germain’s] wines, especially the Cabernet Franc bottlings, like this Cuvee Domaine, they always show fresh, clean lines, energy and pretty aromatics with the older vine parcels and crus showing deeper concentration and power. Germain’s goal, as [importer Kermit] Lynch puts it, is to produce Cabernet (Franc) with purity, finesse, and drinkability, while avoiding rusticity, vegetal character, and hard tannins, which in my experience he does often and well… The Cuvee Domaine comes from a mix of parcels ranging from 5 to 70 years old set on classic sand, clay and Tuffeau Limestone, which drives the vibrancy and lifts the floral bouquet, with 100% de-stemmed grapes fermented in all stainless steel tanks with a minimum of lees contact and just under six months total of elevage in a combination of tank and large neutral wood casks. Like the Les Roches (blue label) the Cuvee Domaine is meant to be a quaffer, but still serious in character and surprisingly with enough structure to age for a decade or more, especially in a vintage like this 2016, with its concentration of fruit and natural acidity, since Thierry picks on the earlier side. The Cuvee Domaine…is only native yeast fermented and the vines are…in the heart of AOC, which are, as mentioned, all biodynamic, making for a very natural expression with a dark and earthy personality. Uplifting layers of black cherry, plum and mulberry fruits lead the way with a touch of crushed raspberry, minty herb, a classic pyrasine green bell pepper note, crushed chalk, a faint hint of cedar and loamy earthy wrapped in a ripe form and soft tannins, this is an impressive medium bodied Cab Franc to enjoy sooner versus later, be sure to look for this fine effort.”

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New Chateauneuf Reviews from Wine & Spirits

feat. 2017 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneufs

The Domaine Grand Veneur is one of the highest scoring estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, with a ton of wines receiving multiple 95+ point scores across the last few years.  The legendary Alain Jaume helms the estate and (previously featured) winemaker Xavier Vignon provides winemaking expertise, which means that the estate won’t stop in pursuit of quality.

These are big, rich wines with incredible textures and explosive personalities. We’ve secured significant allocations of their three major Chateauneuf du Papes, the VV, Les Origines, and Miocene, all arriving this winter.  The VV is one of the best wines made in the region every year, while the Les Origines and Miocene both deliver excellent value for their prices.  We’re able to offer these at excellent pricing, despite the insane demand for the 2017 vintage—so lovers of the Rhone, take note.  These always sell fast and we expect this set will continue that trend.

Arriving ETA December:

Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($719.95) $479 pre-arrival special (that’s only $79.83/bottle!)
Wine & Spirits 96 points
“The Jaume family has been growing grapes in Chateauneuf-du-Pape since 1826; they now own four Rhone wineries, including Domaine Grand Veneur, established in 1976. This wine comes off the estate’s oldest vines, a blend of half Grenache, the rest mourvedre, syrah and small bits of other varieties, all the parcels farmed organically. It’s a stunning wine, exuberantly fresh in its red-berry flavors while sophisticated in its detail, weaving in notes of licorice and pepper, flowers and wood spice. Even after the bottle has been open for a couple of days, the wine’s freshness doesn’t flag, the smooth, fine tannins holding it steady. This should age well for a decade at least.”

Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($69.95) $52.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Origines, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $289 pre-arrival special (that’s only $48.17/bottle!)

Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Miocene Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Wine & Spirits 93 points
“This is named for the period of time when the Rhone River sluiced its way from the Alps through Chateauneuf, leaving behind a plateau paved with the baseball-sized stones as the water retreated. Those “galets” are said to help the vines ripen their fruit in this northern sector of the appellation, the stones emanating the sun’s heat. This wine reflects both a spring-like coolness in its spicy, savory herbal notes and a warmth in its lush purple fruit. It’s spicy and firm, with a little bit of grip to the tannins that suggests this could benefit from aging in bottle for a few more years.”

Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Case-12 Domaine de Saint-Siffrein Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($529.95) $428 special (that’s only $35.67/bottle!)
Wine & Spirits 93 points
“Cyril Chastan, the fourth generation of his family to run Saint Siffrein, earned organic certification for the 38-acre estate in Chateauneuf-du-Pape in 2012. He takes a gentle approach in the winery, partially crushing the grapes and fermentation them with some of their stems in cement tanks, then moving half the juice into oak casks. His 2015 is heady in its spicy scents, notes of flowers, green herbs and licorice giving it a lush, exotic fell. Behind all its supple red fruit there’s a nutty richness that lends the wine depth and suggests a match with roast beef.”

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New 2017 Vintage Port Reviews

From Wine & Spirits Magazine

2017 is looking to be an astoundingly good year for vintage Port.  With the major Port houses deciding in 2016 to issue a General Declaration (as a group, rather than individual houses declaring on their own), the idea that ’17 would be declared as well would only happen if it was a legendary, beyond-top-class vintage—and now there’s a General Declaration for 2017.

The last time there were back to back General Declarations in Port was in the 1870’s, which gives you an idea of how spectacular the upcoming wines look to be.  Mark Squires described the vintage as a “freak vintage… a big-time year that does everything well—old-school power, concentration, freshness, lifted fruit and vivid flavors.”

Neal Martin, in his reviews of the vintage, added “General Declarations do not come in pairs. They are supposed to be drip-fed, three or maybe four each decade, keeping Port aficionados on their toes. The chances of consecutive General Declarations must be incredibly low, considering not just the meteorological odds of a textbook growing season but also the willingness of all Port houses to declare.”

We’ve acquired some new stock on recently reviewed wines, arriving later this winter.

Arriving ETA February 2020:

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 375ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Wine & Spirits 96 points
“This 2017 has all the markers of a legendary Taylor Port – scents of green fig, the complex tannic impact of schist, the consternating sense of elegance in the face of massive structural power. David Guimaraens bases this wine on fruit from the Quinta de Vargellas, an estate on the south bank of the river in the arid Douro Superior. In our tastings, it came after several 2017s that were sourced from vineyards on the north bank, closer to Pinhao, and, while it would be simplistic to consider this a definitive difference (there are many exposures in each quinta, and other quinta parcels in the blends), there was a stark shift from the blackness of those wines to the sour-cherry impression of this wine, and its floral fraise des bois notes. Those flavors keep pushing up against the dark shadows of the wine’s schist tannins, an undulating wake of red fruit and minerals that carries the wine’s muscular power into memory.”

Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 1.5L ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special, only 3 magnums available
Wine & Spirits 95 points
“This wine seems more accessible than young Dow vintages of the past, perfumed with purple-fruit freshness that’s completely integrated into the wine’s dark tannins. The structural power of those tannins grows more apparent as you spend time with the wine. Though they seem articulate, spicy and grand from the start, they continue to give fruit flavor after the bottle has been open for three days. The details range from cinnamon bark to mincemeat, plum skins and minerals, all of it surrounding the healthy purple-red fruit at the center of this wine. A beautiful and satisfying vintage from Dow, this will develop for decades.”


Thanks for reading!