Midweek Vinopolpick 9-17-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Rare and Excellent: Heidsieck’s Blanc de Millenaires

The Hottest German Pinot Noir Producer is in the House

Trending Wines

Stocking Up on Tuscan Classics

…Wait, They Make Rose?

Dagueneau’s Finest Vintage?

Gaja’s Brunello at National-Best Pricing

Jaboulet’ s Stellar 16’s


Rare and Excellent

Heidsieck’s Blanc de Millenaires

Charles Heidsieck might be the most picky great house in Champagne.  Their top wine, the Blanc de Millenaires, has been released only five times in the last forty years.  Even the most selective of the other great names declare 4-5 vintages a decade (and then there’s Dom Perignon, which skipped only ’01 and ’07 so far in the aughts), but Heidsieck will only release this wine under the most perfect of circumstances (the last vintage released was the epic 1995).  The resulting wine is powerful, intense but beyond elegant, as only Chardonnay given extended lees aging can provide.

If you think a wine like this would be stratospherically expensive, in the same boat as Krug’s “Clos” bottlings or Selosse’s Lieu-Dits, you’d be forgiven—but you’d be wrong.  We’re offering the 2004 Blanc de Millenaires for about the same price as a bottle of NV Krug. If you want great Champagne to taste like Grand Cru White Burgundy with fine bubbles, this is something you need to jump on.

Charles Heidsieck is one of the great, historic houses of Champagne, but because of their small size they tend to be overlooked.  That’s unfair on so many levels, especially for this, their top-of-the-line Blanc des Millenaires, produced only in the (truly) best years. We’ve secured a small parcel that just arrived and are excited to offer it at exceptional pricing.  The winery has been mum on how long it will be until the next release, so this may be your best chance at this wine for some time.

In Stock Now:

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires, Champagne 2004 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Decanter 97 points
“It says much that Charles Heidsieck went for the 2004, not the richer 2002, as the long-awaited successor to the epic 1995 Millenaires – the ’04 has an admirable beauty and finesse in the classic mould that fits the style of this wine so well. It’s an intriguing blend of great Chardonnays from Oger, Mesnil, Avize and Cramant, but also from Vertus, a premier cru punching above its weight. Vanilla and butter flatter this wine famously, but there’s no oak. It has controlled richness, with precision and purity ruling over the green and tropical fruits. A magnificent champagne with impressively elegant acidity, a triumph now and for years to come. Disgorged in 2016. Drinking Window 2020 – 2035.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A seamless Champagne, showing a texture of raw silk, this weaves vibrant acidity with an expressive range of glazed apple and poached white cherry fruit flavors, with pickled ginger and saffron spice details and rich notes of pastry cream, toast and coffee liqueur. More about finesse than power, this is long and creamy on the mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2028. [Reviewed Dec 2018]”


The Hottest German Pinot Noir Producer is in the House

The Legend of Thörle Begins

You’d be forgiven for not having heard about Thörle—yet.  The estate has been on the radar of hard-core German wine fans for a few years now, producing intensely concentrated whites and also some of the best Pinot Noir to come out of the country.  The comparisons with Keller have been inevitable, too—like Klaus-Peter, Christoph seems to make impressive wines no matter the price level or grape that he works with, and his location in the Rheinhessen (the same region as Keller) with similarly limestone-heavy soils only deepens the similarities.

The big difference is that while Pinot Noir from Keller is coveted but scarce, it’s what Thörle hangs their hat on, coming from a number of different grand cru terroirs and doing one of the best Cote d’Or impressions you’ll see.  Thörle’s top wines would be at home in a tasting of top Premier and Grand Cru red Burgundies—except that they’re priced $50+ below their peers in France.  If you’re looking for truly excellent Pinot from limestone soils, you aren’t going to find better values than their top wines.

Likewise, the top Riesling, from the Hölle vineyard, is every bit the equal of the top GG’s from Dönnhoff, Wittmann, and other top producers in Germany, but is still less than $37/btl by the six-pack.  These wines are currently barely listed for sale anywhere else in the US (and certainly not at these prices) and recently arrived, so if you want a chance at them, act quickly—in a few years these prices are going to seem ridiculously low.

In Stock Now:

Pinot Noirs
Thörle Saulheimer Holle Spatburgunder, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling .co
m 96 points “More root and sous-bois character than the other 2016 Thörle pinot noirs. This is so fine and so deep, so cool and so elegant that you might easily assume it comes from the Côte d’Or! Great tannins build like a giant wave and sweep you through the super- long finish. Drink or hold.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next lowest price is $59.99
Thörle Saulheimer Probstey Spatburgunder, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling .com 95 points
“Still quite closed on the nose, because this has just been bottled. However, on the palate there’s a sensational harmony of fine-grained tannins and perfectly ripe fruit, yet the wine has just 12.5 per cent alcohol. Great, chalky dry finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next lowest price is $49.99
Thörle Saulheimer Holle Riesling, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Case-6 Thörle Saulheimer Holle Riesling, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($259.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling .com 96 points
“Still youthful, but this has a complex stone-fruit nose. Concentrated and racy with great energy at the very long, chalky finish. Great aging potential. Drink or hold.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Thörle Saulheimer Probstey Silvaner, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling .com 94 points
“Still quite yeasty from long maturation on lees, but that accentuates the smoky and herbal complexity of this remarkable dry silvaner. Just a hint of oak in support of the creamy, mid-weight body and long, silky finish. Drink or hold.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Shipping Season is Here!

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Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002) with a shipping date
and we’ll get you on the schedule!


Trending Wines

This is a rare wine from an overlooked estate.
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.”

Impressively reviewed and for good reason.
Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard comes from a ridgetop vineyard located west of the town of Occidental. Aged 17 months in 27% new French oak, it offers a savory, marine-influenced bouquet of wild strawberries, cranberries, rose petals, and Asian spices. With medium to full body, supple tannins, and a great, great finish as well as a singular character, this magical Pinot Noir from this team will benefit from a year in bottle and keep for over a decade.”
Wine Advocate 97+ points “The 2016 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard is pale to medium ruby-purple colored and opens with vibrant cranberries, pomegranate and Bing cherries scents with touches of underbrush, wild sage, red roses and mossy bark with a waft of tilled soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate packs in the elegant red fruit and earthy layers, finishing on a long, lingering, provocative mineral note.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
How this is still on the shelf, we have no idea.
Peter Lauer Fass 8 Ayler Kupp Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2014 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 special
John Gilman 91-92 points
‘The 2014 Ayler Kupp Kabinett from Florian Lauer is really a lovely and quite classic example of this Prädikat, with lovely acidity and minerality providing a fine filigree to the wine and a nice sense of reserve out of the blocks as well. The very classy nose wafts from the glass in a mix of green apple, tart orange, slate, lovely smokiness and a touch of dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied, pure and focused, with a good core, bright acids, a nice touch of sweetness on the attack and lovely length and grip on the elegant and nascently complex finish. This is quite approachable now, but still a touch primary, and I would be inclined to give it at least a few years in the cellar to develop its secondary layers of complexity. 2019-2035+.” JG

This is the only listing in the USA today!
One of the better wines from the Stags Leap District in Napa.
Clos du Val Hirondelle Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Clos du Val Hirondelle Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District 2014 1.5L ($299.95) $239 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“Deep, inky and enveloping, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Hirondelle Estate Vineyard captures all the elements that make Stags Leaps Cabernets so compelling. A host of lavender, mint, sage, graphite and crème de cassis notes flesh out in an effortless, noble Cabernet Sauvignon endowed with notable depth and intensity.”

Big, bold and beautiful—it tastes like $75 California wine.
Domaine de L’Edre Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013 750ML ($49.95) $38 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“One of the wines of the vintage is the 2013 Cotes du Roussillon Villages Domaine de l’Edre. While this cuvee had a rustic edge in the past, today it’s incredibly polished and pure, with brilliant aromatics of cassis, black raspberries, licorice, crushed flowers and chalky minerality. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, yet elegant and balanced, it’s a classic Roussillon that can be enjoyed today or cellared for a decade.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
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.”

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


Stocking Up on Tuscan Classics

We love the great wines of Tuscany—there’s something about the heart of Italy that’s utterly captivating.  From great Brunello Riserva’s like the epic ’12 La Fortuna to the cream of the Chianti crop, like Volpaia’s Gran Selezione, we’re bringing in extra stock on a number of Vinopolis favorites tomorrow. These are wines that over deliver in a major way and really bring the magic.

In Stock Now:

La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($699.95) $564 special (that’s only $94/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 97 points
“Perfumed, with wild herb aromas and a subtle mix of strawberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant and dense, with fine acidity driving the long finish. Though elegant, there is intensity and fine energy on the aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2028.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
#87 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 750ML ($134.95) $99 special
James Suckling 98 points
“A vivid and bright red with intense blueberries and raspberries. Floral undertones and tons of citrus, too! Full-bodied, dense and layered. Polished tannins and fantastic fruit. The muscularity of the structure is what gives this wine focus and intensity. So serious for the vintage. Give it time to show its greatness. Drink in 2022.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 95+ points “Bright deep red. The youthfully reticent nose hints at flinty red cherry, blueberry, graphite, cedar and pepper. Then flavors similar to the aromas, and a tight acid spine and serious but polished tannins nicely extending and framing the brooding fruit notes and peppery flintiness on the long, deep, complex finish. A truly outstanding Tenuta Nuova Brunello that seems less fruit-forward and more shut down than usual but holds exciting promise. Interestingly, some of this wine’s elements, such as its flinty nuances, reminded me of Casanova di Neri’s Cerretalto Brunello (made with grapes grown at the opposite end of the Montalcino territory). I guess my palate needs to take a vacation. This knockout wine will age splendidly and will likely merit an even higher score in eight to ten years’ time.”

Castello di Volpaia Coltassala, Chianti Gran Selezione DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points
“A decadent nose of vanilla, brambleberries, resin, coffee beans, tobacco and hot stones with a touch of citrus and other fresher elements. Full-bodied and very intense on the palate, but the ripe tannins also show plenty of firmness. The bright acidity carries this through to a delightfully long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink in 2021.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 95 points “This wine has now been upgraded from Riserva to Gran Selezione status. The 2015 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Coltassala is a beautifully enriched wine that bursts open with a satisfying display of bold fruit, ripe blackberry, tobacco, spice and tar. There is ample muscle and brawn, but the wine shows impressive balance thanks to its soft textural richness and full-bodied approach. The blend is 95% Sangiovese and 5% Mammolo. This is a real beauty that pairs a hot vintage with one of the coolest, high-altitude subzones (Radda in Chianti) in this celebrated appellation. I’m sure this is the best wines I have ever tasted from Castello di Volpaia. Some 12,000 bottles were produced.”

Tenuta di Collosorbo Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 95 points
“Beautiful aromas of black cherry and apricot. Full body, exotic and intense. A wealth of fruit yet remains vibrant and firm. Extremely focused. Long finish. Great follow up to the 2012. Drink in 2021.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 94 points “Palish red. The intensely floral nose (violet, peony, iris, rose) also offers aromas of red cherry and incense. Dense but juicy, showing a sappy quality, but plenty of extract nicely frames the red fruit and candied violet flavors. The long finish is given added punch by strong underlying minerality. Very attractive wine of impeccable balance. Well done.”

La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
Case-12 La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($599.95) $489 special (that’s only $40.75/bottle!)
La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino is elegant, balanced and bright. The pretty luminosity of the wine’s appearance helps to underline this positive impression. The bouquet is nuanced and layered with dried fruit aromas that segue to spice, tar and balsam herb. You get sassy aromas of licorice, tar and cola on the close.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points “Bright red. Pure and very flinty nuances complement aromas and flavors of strawberry-rhubarb and wild berries on the nose and palate. Dense and juicy and boasting a focused, penetrating mouthfeel, this finishes long and clean with a very strong note of licorice. Best classico Brunello from La Gerla in some time.”

…Wait, They Make Rose?

Pink Wines from Wineries Better Known for Red

Some of the most overlooked wines out there are from wineries known for specializing in one particular thing. Whether red wines from notable white Burgundy producers (cough, cough *Roulot* cough) or whites from wineries better known for red (see: Perez, Raul), finding these sorts of wines leads to exceptional bottles that are undervalued/actually available on shelves.  So it goes with rosé—there are any number of great bottles that sell less briskly than they should because the winery is known for red wine.  We’ve highlighted a few below and you can see all the rosé in stock right now on our webstore.

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!

Domaine Charvin Cotes du Rhone Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Light glistening pink. High-pitched aromas of fresh strawberry and orange zest, along with hints of lavender and peach. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering nicely concentrated red berry and floral pastille flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. Finishes minerally and long, displaying noteworthy clarity and floral-tinged persistence.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine du Vissoux Les Griottes Rose, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Glistening pink. Fresh red berries and pungent flowers and herbs on the fragrant nose. Juicy, mineral-laced strawberry, anise and floral pastille flavors show very good clarity, and a peppery quality emerges with air. A silky, expansive finish leaves warm red fruit and tangerine notes behind.”
VinopolNote: This Weygandt-Metzler import has upped its game in 2018. Sourced from the youngest vines that grow alongside Morello cherry (griotte) trees, this rosé reflects its companions with its bright cherry and floral notes. The crunchy acidity makes it a great wine to pair with tangy barbeque or fruit and veggie dishes.
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Fougeray de Beauclair Marsannay L’Elegance Rose, Cote de Nuits 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
: Marsannay is the only village in Burgundy that permits rosé bottled under its AOC.  As you might expect, the rosé from the village is outstanding stuff and Beauclair’s offers excellent value (just like their reds, for what that’s worth).  Made from 100% Pinot Noir, the Marsannay rosé shows the dry and serious side of the genre, while managing to be delicious and fresh at the same time.  If you love Pinot rosé from the Willamette Valley, you owe it to yourself to try the original.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Bernard Baudry Chinon Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($21.95) $19.90 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points
“Glistening orange-pink. Vibrant, mineral-accented strawberry, cherry, pink grapefruit and floral scents are complemented by a spicy white pepper accent. Intense red berry and bitter orange pith flavors show sharp delineation and an appealingly light touch. Closes floral and long, displaying firm tension and resonating minerality.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Dagueneau’s Finest Vintage?

“Tasting a Dagueneau wine for the first time was a revelation. His Sauvignon Blancs had an unexpected purity and clarity to them. The flavors were intense but nuanced. It wasn’t the fruit that was piercing, as in so many Sauvignon Blancs, but the freshness and the focus. As powerful a personality as he was, his wines did not exalt the stature of the winemaker so much as the beauty of the terroir.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times

2016 was an unqualified success in the Loire–a vintage that combines the classicism of ’14 with a hint of ’15’s richness.  For the Didier Dagueneau estate (now helmed by son Louis-Benjamin), these are some of the best wines they’ve produced, which is a testament to how Louis-Benjamin has grown into his role as winemaker after his father’s death.

These wines still have the richness and texture that made the estate famous, but with a laser-beam of minerality and cut that makes the wines truly memorable and a level of refinement that’s reached a new level under the son’s stewardship.  The Silex is especially noteworthy this year, a monument to Sauvignon Blanc grown on flint.  It’s hard to think, much less suggest, that the wines are better than they were under Didier, but the 2016’s raise that as a very real possibility.

Arriving Friday:

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex, Loire 2016 750ML ($159.95) $125 pre-arrival special

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Pur Sang, Loire 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly, Loire 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special

Gaja’s Brunello

At National-Best Pricing

Gaja is a name that requires no context in discussion—like Latour or DRC, it’s understood which estate is meant and that the wines are epic, change-your-dinner-plans events.  Angelo Gaja is one of the primary reasons we care about Barbaresco today and the wines bearing his name remain the most treasured and collectible of the region.  Furthermore, the top wines from his Brunello estate, Ca’ Marcanda, have quickly become among top two or three most sought after wines in Tuscany.

The one complaint we might have with Gaja, as with most wines that are full-on collectible, is the pricing.  We got lucky (or worked hard, your choice) and grabbed some of his outstanding Brunello for an absolute bargain—$20/btl below the online average price.  These wines arrive during the early part of October, but you’d do well to secure yours now.

Arriving ETA Early October:

Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($599.95) $389 pre-arrival special (that’s only $64.83/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Rich and expressive, with cherry, strawberry and earth flavors and plenty of flesh to cover the solid structure. Spice and tobacco notes add depth as this plays out on the long finish. Best from 2019 through 2032. 6,000 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $77
The average listed price is $89

Can’t Wait? Check out these fantastic wines from Gaja, in stock now:

Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta Rennina, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($149.95) $99 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is made from a blend of fruit from three different vineyard parcels. The sites total 25 hectares, with 15 located next to the church, or the Pieve, after which this estate is named. The sites have southwest exposures and different soil types. That flexibility explains the smooth and seamless bouquet offered by this wine. Compared to the single vineyard Sugarille expression, Rennina is more open and immediate. The wine presents fleshy and beautifully plump aromas of red cherry, dried blackberry and exotic spice with tobacco and chocolate at the back.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 93 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Rennina is strikingly beautiful. Rich, open-knit and alluring, the Rennina captures all the best qualities of the year. Sweet red cherry, plum, tobacco and spice notes are all supported by ripe, silky tannins that give the wine much of its sensual personality. The intensity of the year is very much in evidence, yet the Rennina also retains striking freshness. Historically, the Rennina has aged quite well, but it will be hard to resist, as it is already quite delicious.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Gaja Ca’Marcanda ‘Camarcanda’ Bolgheri, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2010 Bolgheri Camarcanda is an exceptional wine with a level of aromatic intensity and integrity that is impossible to exaggerate. The blend is Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, in that order of importance. The bouquet is impeccable and refined, with deep layers of Morello cherry, cassis, dried blackberry and spice that peel back in quick succession. The oak component is beautifully integrated, imparting notes of chocolate and tobacco that complete this beautiful portrait of Tuscan winemaking. Hold this bottle for a few more years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Langhe, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2011 Sorì San Lorenzo boasts massive depth, intensity and power. Black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice, savory herbs and leather are some of the many notes that emerge from the glass. Regardless of the year, the personality of Sorì San Lorenzo always comes through, which is why this is one of the great sites in Barbaresco, Piedmont and Italy. In 2011 the contours are a bit softer, which gives the wine a level of accessibility that is quite rare in Sorì San Lorenzos when the wines are young. Why is Sorì San Lorenzo one of the world’s most profound vineyards? Because its personality simply can’t be denied.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The exciting 2011 Sori San Lorenzo is a wine of enormous beauty and grace. Gaia Gaja classifies her three single vineyard Langhe Nebbiolo wines as follows: Costa Russi is “flowers;” Sori Tildin is “fruit;” and San Lorenzo is “plant” (with more structure and a more compact feel). San Lorenzo does indeed boast a strong mineral component of pencil shavings and crushed granite, followed by red cherry and soft spice. The wine’s tannins start off harder than the other wines, but soften with time. Drink: 2018-2040.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Langhe, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2014 Barbaresco Sorì San Lorenzo is the most virile and explosive of Gaja’s Barbarescos. Dark, brooding and powerful, with a huge spine of tannin, the San Lorenzo is utterly regal in the glass. Gravel, smoke, menthol, tar, licorice and a host of sepia-toned fruits build into a crescendo of aromas and flavors that is truly compelling. What a gorgeous wine this is.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Earthy notes lead off, followed by cherry, plum, graphite and tobacco flavors. Starts out broad and muscular, with a thick layer of tannins for support, yet gains elegance with aeration. A tad austere on the finish, but stays vibrant and long. Best from 2021 through 2036. 170 cases imported.”
Jaboulet’ s Stellar 16’s

Of the twenty-plus cases we originally ordered of the 2015 Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Domaine Thalabert, we sold all but a handful of bottles before anything even hit the shelf.  (What little that did arrive for the shelf sold out quickly, too.) We re-ordered and those bottles disappeared quickly as well, which is why we’re excited for the arrival of their worthy follow up—the 2016, a wine that will go down in the lineage of the great vintages of this wine.

Very few wines in the Northern Rhone, or anywhere else for that matter, offer the sort of value that Jaboulet’s Thalabert does.  From old vines in a privileged parcel in Crozes, this wine always drinks closer to its Hermitage cousins than most other wines that it shares and AOC with.  This is a wine that offers serious structure, complexity and age-worthiness—at less than $30/bottle by the six pack!  It’s no wonder that the 2015 was one of our fastest selling wines, a feat we expect the ’16 to follow up on with aplomb.

Arriving ETA Fall:

Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($47.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Jaboulet Aine Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone 2016 750ML ($279.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert offers a rocking (and classic) bouquet of ripe black fruits intermixed with notions new saddle leather, pepper, garrigue, and hints of bacon fat. This ripe, medium to full-bodied, silky wine has remarkable purity, is already complex, and finishes with serious length. Drink it over the coming 10-15 years.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The classically styled 2016 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert boasts savory scents of black olive and leather. Medium to full-bodied, it’s plummy and rich, creamy and ripe but savory and earthy, not jammy at all, with a lingering, velvety-textured finish. It drinks well now, but it should continue to evolve and drink well through 2035.-JC”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92-94 points “(20% new oak) Bright violet. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented dark berries, cherry liqueur and candied violet on the nose. At once rich and energetic, offering juicy, focused black raspberry and cherry cola flavors along with a hint of smokiness. Turns sweeter on the lively, penetrating finish, which features sneaky tannins and a strong echo of smoky minerality.”

Plus, Don’t Miss Jaboulet’s Incredible Hermitage “La Chappelle”

The hill of Hermitage is both one of the most famous wine landmarks in the world and also so much more interesting than common lore purports it to be. The story goes that the hill of Hermitage was the home of a knight seeking solace from the horrors of the Crusades upon his return home. He planted the vineyards that would become Hermitage and then built a chapel to pray in and that building, the Chapel of Saint Christopher, is the defining marker of the hillside. The name, Hermitage, takes the name of the hermit’s refuge.

Jaboulet purchased the Chapel of Saint Christopher and the surrounding plot of land in 1919—possibly the choicest part of the whole appellation. This is the core of their blend for La Chapelle, which for many defines what Hermitage can be. The 2016 version is a true legend in the making and we expect this will be a wine that is talked about reverentially in twenty years.

Arriving ETA Fall:

Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, Rhone 2016 750ML ($269.95) $225 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle is slightly denser than the 2017 and is a bigger, richer, more structured wine than the La Maison Bleue. Crème de cassis, blackberries, crushed rocks, ozone, scorched earth, and violet notes all emerge from this beautifully classic, elegant, seamless wine that carries full-bodied richness, building tannins, and a big finish, all while staying in the classic, elegant, balanced style of the vintage. It has plenty of tannins and is a quintessential La Chapelle that will have three decades of longevity.”
James Suckling 97-98 points “Very spicy and peppery with blue-granite aromas plus hints of grilled and smoked meat. Cloves and nutmeg. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a super spicy finish that almost burns with so much character yet turns fine and focused at the end. A beauty.”
Josh Raynolds 96-98 points “(raised in 20% new oak) Dark purple. A highly expressive, mineral-accented bouquet evokes fresh blackberry and blueberry, candied flowers, incense and exotic spices. Sweet, palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur and violet pastille flavors are complicated by suggestions of cracked pepper and bitter chocolate; a spicecake nuance gains strength with aeration. Steadily building tannins add shape and grip to the extremely long, incisive finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and mineral notes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this wine turn out as well as the amazing 2015 version.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Sourced from the granitic western portion of the appellation, the 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle features mouthwatering aromas of black olives and charred beef. It’s full-bodied and creamy-velvety in texture, incredibly lush without being overtly fruity. In fact, it’s largely savory, with elegant shadings of leather and spice on the long, silky finish. Yet despite being delicious now, this still has the granite backbone to age through 2040.-JC”


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