Midweek VinopolPick 9-8-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Featured New Arrival
Champagne Georges Laval

A Three Day, Raul Perez Subscriber Special

Top New Wines from Castello di Ama
Some of the Best in Tuscany

Trending Wines

New John Gilman Reviews
For a Mosel Legend

More New Oregon Reviews from Vinous and Grapelive

Collector’s Corner
New Arrivals from E. Pira
“Some of the Most Compelling Wines in Barolo”


Featured New Arrival

Champagne Georges Laval

Champagne Georges Laval is one of the stars of the grower movement—a cult winery whose wines appear in miniscule quantities here in the states.  Vincent Laval makes wines that are rigid in their structure and impressive in their complexity—serious wines for studied drinking.  We’ve been working hard to secure some of these wines and are finally able to offer them today, freshly arrived.

In Stock Now:

Only eighteen bottles available
Georges Laval Garennes Extra Brut Champagne NV (2018) 750ML ($99.95) $75 special
Importer note
“100% Pinot Meunier, 2018-base. Premier Cru.”

Only eight bottles, five magnums and one double-magnum available
Georges Laval Cumieres Premier Cru Brut Nature Champagne NV (2018) 750ML ($129.95) $99 special
Importer note
“45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, 15% Pinot Meunier. 2018-base. Premier Cru.”

Georges Laval Cumieres Premier Cru Brut Nature Champagne NV (2015) 1.5L ($299.95) $259 special
Georges Laval Cumieres Premier Cru Brut Nature Champagne NV (2015) 3L ($699.95) $599 pre-arrival special, ETA September
John Gilman 94+ points 
“This is the exact same blend as the Cumières non-vintage bottling from the base year of 2015 that was released without any vintage-dating on the label in regular-sized bottles two years ago, but the magnums (and jeroboams for those so disposed) were aged an additional two years sur latte and hence are labeled with the vintage date on the front label. The larger-sized formats are also non-dosé. This magnum was disgorged at the end of November of 2019 and offers up a superb nose of apple, discreet tangerine, hazelnut, excellent minerality, a hint of iodine, warm bread, gentle smokiness, acacia blossoms and a whisper of oak (with most of this having been subsumed into the other aromatics). On the palate the wine is pure, racy and full-bodied, with a rock solid core, great delineation and mineral drive, refined mousse and absolutely stellar backend lift, grip and length. When this was first released, Vincent Laval was convinced it was one of the finest vintages of his Cumières bottling in many years, and drinking it now out of magnum with more time on the fine lees, it is awfully easy to agree with him! The extra few years aging sur latte have allowed the fine girdle of acidity to relax here nicely and this wine is now drinking really quite well out of magnum (and probably regular-sized bottles as well), but my bottles are staying put in the cellar for at least another five years! 2020-2055.

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

Only nine bottles available
Georges Laval Les Chenes 1er Cru Brut Nature Champagne 2016 750ML ($199.95) $179 special
John Gilman 95 points
“Vincent Laval’s 2016 version of les Chênes was disgorged at the end of February of 2020 and shows enormous potential. The bouquet is already very expressive, jumping from the glass in a complex blend of pear, golden delicious apple, brioche, complex soil tones, macadamia nut, a bit of buttery oak and a topnote of gently musky floral tones. On the palate the wine is deep, beautifully balanced and full-bodied, with a lovely core of fruit, fine mineral drive and grip, elegant mousse and outstanding length and grip on the brisk, but nicely buffered finish. I really like the structure of the 2016 les Chênes, which will age for decades, but may not demand the customary ten years in the cellar before it really starts to drink with generosity. This is a great bottle of bubbly in the making. 2025-2065.”
Importer note “100% Chardonnay. Premier Cru.”

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

Georges Laval Hautes Chevres 1er Brut Nature Champagne 2014 750ML ($299.95) $269 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2014 Brut Nature Les Hautes-Chèvres emerges from old-vine Meunier planted in 1930, 1947, 1965 and 1971, and the last vintage to include fruit from the 1930 vines. Big, rich and expansive in the glass, the Hautes-Chèvres is another wine of pure pedigree and class. The Hautes-Chèvres is a wine of texture and breadth above all else. Pear, white truffle and brioche add attractive layers of nuance. This is another fabulous Champagne from Vincent Laval that only suffers in that it is tasted next to a number of wines that are maybe just a touch more complete!”
Importer note “100% Pinot Noir. Premier Cru.”
[Disgorgement date may vary from review.]


A Three Day, Raul Perez Subscriber Special

Raul Perez has emerged as one of the most exciting Spanish winemakers of the last few years.  He’s done it in an interesting way: not by making over-the-top big fruit and oak bombs, but rather by honing in on the terroirs in Galicia, a relatively unromantic vinicultural region.  Until the late 1990’s, when his mentor Alvaro Palacios started the Petalos/Descendientes project, most of the wines in the region were sold locally, often to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.

Since then, a number of new wineries have popped up, but most of them are in the Palacios mold—made from around the warm, Mediterranean-climate village of Corullon.  Perez, on the other hand, has walked a different path and focuses on wines made from Atlantic-influence climates in villages like Villadecanes or Cacabelos.  As a result, the wines tend to be impressive, but in an introspective, earthy way.

Winemaking plays a part in that, as well.  Perez prefers indigenous yeasts, neutral vessels and a lot of whole-cluster fermentation in his wine.  Citing the (unlikely) influence of Bartolo Mascarello, he performs a long post-fermentation maceration on his wines as well, which give the wines powerful, yet elegant, structures that complement food exceptionally well.  When you roll all of this together, you understand why Perez is making waves—these are unique and exceptional wines that show off terroirs previously unexplored by serious winemakers.

We’ve acquired a large selection of the wines Perez makes under his own name as well as those off of the La Vizcaina property (which are all single vineyards from a single estate). We’re dropping the prices on a bunch of his great bottles—but only for the next three days.  You can shop all the sale selections on our webstore, or see the discounted bottles below.

Raul Perez Subscriber Special Pricing Valid Until Friday, September 11th at 6PM

Raul Perez Ultreia Bierzo Blanco Claudina 2015 750ML ($59.95) Was $45, Now $39 Subscriber Special

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Vizcaina De Vinos Bierzo Blanco La Del Vivo 2016 750ML ($39.95) Was $31.90, Now $29 Subscriber Special

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

Raul Perez Ultreia de Paluezas, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($79.95) Was $66, Now $59 Subscriber Special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points
“One of the few vineyards in Bierzo where the soils have a significant content of limestone is San Juan de Paluezas, in a different valley looking into Las Médulas goldmines. They produce three barrels of the 2016 Ultreia de Paluezas from this vineyard. This year it had a shorter élevage, only around 12 months, as they saw it was ready and was racked out of the wood. Limestone soils always deliver dry, chalk-like tannins and a special tastiness that often translates in an almost salty feeling. It has more bones than flesh; it’s austere and should develop slowly in bottle. In fact, they are now releasing the 2015, as they feel it benefits from some more time in bottle. I like the austerity here. 850 bottles produced from a small plot with very low yields.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Raul Perez Ultreia de Valtuille Bierzo 2014 750ML ($69.95) Was $61.90, Now $59 Subscriber Special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2014 Ultreia de Valtuille was very open and expressive, impressive too, with notes of freshness, blood orange, red cherries and also flowers (violets, lilies) and an earthy touch. It’s elegant and complex, with very fine tannins and a velvety sensation. As with all the reds, the oak is unnoticeable, perfectly integrated and folded into the wine.”

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

Raul Perez Ultreia de Valtuille Bierzo 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $49, Now $45 Subscriber Special
Josh Raynolds 95 points
“Vivid ruby. An expansive, seductively perfumed bouquet of ripe red/blue fruits, pot-pourri, exotic spices and cola, along with an intense mineral overtone. Concentrated yet vibrant in character, showing superb definition and mineral lift to the sweet raspberry, boysenberry, cola, spicecake and violet pastille flavors. Shows alluring sweetness and powerful thrust on the youthfully tannic finish, which hangs on with outstanding clarity and mineral-driven persistence. (All whole clusters and neutral French oak.) “

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

Raul Perez Ultreia de Valtuille Bierzo 2016 750ML ($79.95) Was $69, Now $59 Subscriber Special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96+ points
“There are only 1,000 bottles of the 2016 Ultreia Valtuille (the new name, as all labels have been simplified and cleaned up, and some of the names have even been shortened). The crop was greatly reduced because of mildew, and the grapes are a lot more concentrated, with more tannin and structure, and they had to do a much longer élevage, up to 24 months in barrique. Despite its concentration and power, it has great freshness and perfume. You don’t find excess tannin, and it seems like the time in barrel has really polished the edges. It’s really outstanding.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Raul Perez Ultreia El Rapolao Bierzo 2014 750ML ($69.95) Was $66, Now $59 Subscriber Special
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“There is a new Ultreia bottling, the 2014 Ultreia El Rapolao, from a vineyard that now sees five or six different bottlings, sourced from their old vineyards that used to go to the Vizcaína bottling. This is really pretty, with intense floral aromas, spices, a touch of earth and something herbal. The palate is medium-bodied with refined tannins, great balance and a tasty, long, sapid, almost salty finish. There were some 600 bottles produced. it was bottled in January 2017. Outstanding.”

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

La Vizcaina Bierzo Las Gundinas Bierzo 2016 750ML ($39.95) Was $30.90, Now $28 Subscriber Special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2016 La Vizcaína Las Gundiñas comes from a plot with deeper soils, and the wine feels quite immediate and fruit driven. There is a bitter touch in the palate. I’ve seen some ups and downs with this wine, and Raúl Pérez confirmed that the wines are variable, but they tend to deliver in the medium term. It’s not particularly complex, but it drinks well. 4,500 bottles produced.”

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

Head to our webstore to see all the Raul Perez Subscriber Specials!

Raul Perez Subscriber Special Pricing Valid Until Friday, September 11th at 6PM

Vinopolis Wine Shop Curbside Pick Up

Order Online / By Phone / By Email

When you’re ready to pick up, just park in our lot,
give us a call, & we’ll bring your order to your car.

(If another adult is picking up for you,
please let us know their name when placing your order.)





Top New Wines from Castello di Ama

Arriving Late September

Castello di Ama has emerged as a true First Growth of Chianti.  Modern and focused on quality in both the vineyard and in the cellar, Castello di Ama makes rich, textural Chiantis that rival the biggest names both in Chianti and more broadly across Tuscany (including Brunello).

One notable signal of Castello di Ama’s commitment to quality has been their championing of the new Chianti Gran Selezione DOCG.  A level above Riserva, the designation requires longer aging and is designed to let producers highlight their tip-top wines from Sangiovese.  Castello di Ama’s Bellavista and La Casuccia which are arguably the best wines in Chianti.  We’ve got our allocation of the legendary ’16s arriving in September—and they’re stunning example of what’s possible with Sangiovese when no corners are cut.

We’re also featuring their stunning, 100% Merlot “L’Apparito”—one of the few bottlings in Italy that can credibly challenge Masseto for the crown, except it’s only a third as expensive. Big, rich and bold, it’ll outshine top bottlings from Pomerol and age effortlessly for decades.

Castello di Ama Wines Arriving Late September:

Only eighteen bottles available!
Castello di Ama Bellavista Chianti Gran Selezione 2016 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“Ama’s 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto Bellavista is a flat out stunner. Dark and brooding in its first impression, the 2016 races out of the glass with explosive vertical lift. This structured, potent Chianti Classico won’t be ready to drink anytime soon, but it is immensely promising. Savory herbs, crushed rocks, chalk and dried flowers add myriad layers of dimension. The 2016 is complex, nuanced and built for cellaring.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto Bellavista sees fruit sourced from one of Castello di Ama’s most beautiful vineyards with a wide exposures and plenty of sunshine. This wine shows profound complexity and a far-reaching bouquet that evolves slowly in the glass. Of these three single-vineyard Gran Selezione wines (Bellavista, La Casuccia and San Lorenzo), the Vigneto Bellavista is the most complete, but it is also the most linear and streamlined in terms of mouthfeel. I would bet on putting this wine aside in your cellar for a longer aging time.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This is a contrast of power and refinement, with black cherry and black currant fruit encased in a sheen of oak, while burly tannins and vivid acidity enhance the structure. Awkward today, this displays incredible elegance, with a laser of vivid acidity driving the exceptional length. Sangiovese and Malvasia Nera. Best from 2023 through 2043. 315 cases made, 40 cases imported.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Aromas of black-skinned fruit, dark spice and sunbaked soil mingle with whiffs of camphor and forest floor on this enticing blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Malvasia Nera. The elegant, structured palate delivers black plum, ripe black cherry, star anise and crushed mint while firm, polished tannins provide support and finesse. It’s well balanced, with bright acidity, while an earthy hint of game gives the finish depth. Drink 2023–2036.”
James Suckling 97 points “A glorious and racy red with ultra-fine tannins that are polished and very intense. It grows on the palate and delivers fabulous crushed raspberries, apple skins and wet earth. Lovely combination of ripeness and transparency. Drink in 2021, but wonderful to taste now if you decant it.”

Only eighteen bottles available!
Castello di Ama La Casuccia Chianti Gran Selezione 2016 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto La Casuccia is rich, sensual and inviting, as it so often is. The addition of Merlot to Sangiovese yields a Chianti Classico built on textural resonance, with silky tannins, soft curves and tons of sheer allure. The 2016 won’t be ready to drink anytime soon, but it is unquestionably a great wine in the making. Succulent dark cherry, red plum, menthol, licorice, cloves and new oak infuse the creamy, voluptuous finish.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Mature black-skinned berry, rose, tilled soil and a balsamic whiff of eucalyptus shape the nose. The bright, elegant palate has energy, tension and depth, delivering ripe wild cherry, red plum, licorice and crushed botanical herb. Taut, fine-grained tannins lend polished support while fresh acidity keeps it balanced. A gorgeous wine. Drink through 2031.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “From the small vineyard facing Castello di Ama from the north, the 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto la Casuccia shows a dark and hearty side with rich fruit that flows steadily from the bouquet. Like the other new releases from this iconic estate, this wine shows a pretty earthy note that is particularly well defined and fine-tuned in this vintage. The fruit is broad, thick and horizontal. This is a Sangiovese painted with broad brush strokes. It’ll stand another decade or two, or open it sooner with a pappardelle al cinghiale.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This aromatic Chianti Classico features violet, black cherry, leather, earth and spice flavors. A laser of bracing acidity and muscular tannins runs underneath. The balance tips toward the tannins today, but put this in your cellar for another few years. Sleek and very long. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2023 through 2042. 315 cases made, 40 cases imported.”
James Suckling 95 points “A dense and layered red with spice and berry character. Medium to full body. Blueberry, wet-earth and walnut undertones. Iodine. Shows structure and intensity. Drink in 2020 and onwards.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Only nine bottles available!
Castello di Ama L’Apparita Merlot 2016 750ML ($289.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 100 points
“The 2016 L’Apparita, 100% Merlot, is a breathtaking, riveting wine that captures all the potential of the vintage. In this vintage, L’Apparita is especially silky and refined. Layered, perfumed and wonderfully nuanced, L’Apparita is simply epic. Lavender, mint, sage, spice, new leather and cloves develop with time, but more than anything else, L’Apparita is wonderfully complete and magnificently beautiful.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 99 points “The 2016 L’Apparita is a standout wine. A true symbol of the vintage, the wine shows the classic lines and extreme precision we can expect from 2016, with the plump, ripe generosity of the Merlot grape (when farmed in the right hands of course). The wine is profound, rich and beautifully concentrated with power but no residual heaviness. I went back to this sample a few times in the 12 hours after I popped the cork, and the wine was more beautiful each time. It offers a profound sense of beauty, harmony and Merlot purity now, and it should evolve slowly and softly in the coming years.”
James Suckling 97 points “Extremely perfumed with violets and crushed raspberries, as well as wet earth and spice. Full body. Linear and chewy with racy tannins and fruit tension. Wild finish. Pure merlot. Needs time to open. Try after 2021.”

Love the wines of Castello di Ama?

Shop them all on our web store!


Trending Wines

Great value from a cult-favorite Beaujolais producer.
Domaine Lucien Lardy Fleurie Les Roches Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Translucent ruby color. Displays deeply perfumed red and blue fruits, candied violet and a hint of exotic spives on the expressive nose. In a weighty nut still energetic style, offering sweet boysenberry, black raspberry, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that tighten up steadily on the back half. Finishes with serious intensity, sharp detail and discreet tannins that come on late.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

“One of the gems in the Northern Rhône lineup”
Saint Cosme Cote Rotie, Rhone 2018 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92-95 points
“One of the gems in the Northern Rhône lineup is the 2018 Côte Rôtie, which, as with all of Louis’ wines, wasn’t destemmed and was brought up in 30-40% new oak. Stunning aromatics of black raspberries, olive tapenade, ground pepper, violets, and assorted meat notes all flow to a medium to full-bodied, opulent, seamless Côte Rôtie that has a smoking good texture. Count me impressed.”
Importer Note “Côte-Rôtie is produced from 100% Sérine, an ancient and local variety of Syrah that is markedly different from modern selections. It is more oval, with lots of space in the bunch, resulting in a very aromatic wine. It is sourced from the schist soils of Le Plomb, Besset, La Viallière, and Neve climats. These hillsides are among the steepest in France with an incline as much as 55 degrees. On the palate, it reveals a fresh attack followed by an ample, structured, long-lasting finish. The wine unfurls in successive stages and ends with top-quality tannins produced by whole cluster fermentation. It features aromas and flavors of smoked ham, violet, graphite, graphite, and licorice.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $86

Casa Castillo has turned into one of the iconic producers in southern Spain.
Casa Castillo Las Gravas, Jumilla 2017 750ML ($37.95) $33 special
Case-12 Casa Castillo Las Gravas, Jumilla 2017 750ML ($419.95) $369 special (that’s only $30.75/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2017 Las Gravas is surprisingly floral and ethereal, perfumed and elegant. Syrah has disappeared from the blend of this wine—it now has 20% Garnacha to complement the Monastrell—and they think this is going to be the blend that stays in this wine, which has seen more changes in its life than the rest of the portfolio. This is for sure the most elegant vintage for this bottling; the wine matured in 500-liter barrels and then spent four months in 5,000-liter vats after the blend was done. There are no aromas of oak whatsoever, and the wine is surprisingly fresh, as if the Garnacha helps to contain the power of Monastrell on the gravel soils, adding texture and perfume. This is beautiful. 26,500 bottles were filled in March 2019.”

Colin’s St. Aubins represent some of the finest value in the Cote de Beaune.
Domaine Marc Colin et Fils Les Castets, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Neal Martin – Vinous 90-92 points
“The 2017 Saint-Aubin les Castet 1er Cru has a delightful, quite engaging bouquet with hints of yellow flower and cockle shells, a light estuarine scent gradually unfolding in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh crisp citrus fruit on the entry, quite Puligny-like in style with a tang of quince and marmalade perking up the poised finish. I like the energy and tension here – good potential. (DIAM closure)”
Burghound 90 points “Here the nose plays right on the edge of reduction due to some unabsorbed post-bottling sulfur though it’s not so much as to mask the pear, floral and apple-scented nose. The delicious middle weight flavors possess solid volume as well as a lush mouth feel, all wrapped in a nicely persistent finish. This needs to develop better overall depth but the underlying material appears to be present for that to occur.”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2017 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru Les Castets is also open and expressive, bursting with aromas of white flowers, fresh pear and hazelnuts. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, charming and giving, with lively acids and a precise, chalky finish. This is another of Colin’s 2017s that’s drinking well straight out of the gates.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $64.95

“This is a wine that is not embarrassed to be modern and forward, rather it is bold and ready to go. The tannins, while very present, are super silky and polished. I have come to expect the unexpected from the Gran Selezione designation, but was surprised by this wine’s ability to immediately run at full speed. ” -Andy
Castello di Ama ‘San Lorenzo’ Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $39 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2014 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo flaunts its importance. It boasts confidence and an outward-looking personality that comes as a refreshing surprise. Like all Gran Selezione wines, it is released 30 months after January 1st following the harvest. That means it still has a few more months to go before it hits the market. This expression of Sangiovese shows depth and power with ripe fruit tones of cherry and forest berry. Like many of the other high profile wines I preview-tasted from the difficult 2014 vintage, I am delighted and surprised by the elegant and soft nature of the mature tannins. The wine’s finish offers bright freshness with layers of dark fruit, wet earth and forest floor.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Aromas of exotic spice, pipe tobacco, woodland berry and a whiff of French oak take center stage on this fragrant, elegant red. The racy, ethereal palate delivers tart red cherry, tart pomegranate, cinnamon and vanilla framed in taut fine-grained tannins and vibrant acidity. Drink 2019–2026.”
James Suckling 93 points
“This is extremely tangy with plenty of chocolate and lemon character and hints of cedar, too. Medium body, bright acidity and chocolatey aftertaste. Very refined and well-crafted for a 2014. Drink now.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!

Our best selling rosé for a reason—fizzy, bracingly dry, and delicious.
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2019 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2019 750ML ($319.95) $239 special (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
Grapelive 93 points
“My Summer has definitely taken a Spanish turn and I’m perfectly okay with that, especially when sipping on the fresh and zippy Ameztoi Rubentis Rosé from the Basque region not far from San Sebastian, which is one of the world’s most unique and exciting pink wines and one of my favorites along with Clos Cibonne and of course Domaine Tempier, these are wines that really capture the season in the glass. This vintage is ultra zesty and refreshing with a pop of spritz and tart layers of red citrus, strawberry, distilled raspberry essence, wet stone, saline and delicate floral tones all in an incredible light and steely form that begs to be quaffed. The iconic Rubentis Getariako Txakolina Rosé, as noted in my prior reviews, was the region’s first pink wine, made from native grapes, both red and white, it is naturally fermented in refrigerated stainless steel tanks utilizing indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. The tanks are closed to preserve natural carbonation from fermentation, which is the preferred style of Getaria. The fermentation tanks, according to importer De Maison Selections, are kept chilled to near 32 degrees Fahrenheit before bottling, which preserves the wine’s delicate, effervescent character and signature electric (spritzy) mousse. Ameztoi does a fantastic lineup of Txakolina wines, White, Red, this thrilling Rosé and a true and seriously rare Champagne style cork finished Rosé as well, all are must try wines from this remote Atlantic influenced region. This Ameztoi Rubentis Rosé is a hyper addictive wine that I will glad push on anyone that is in search of the dry pink high…. This is a wine, as I’ve said before, that proves a wine doesn’t have to be heavy or dense to have a serious impact on the palate, and it delivers a wonderful performance that leaves you always wanting more.”
Importer note “The pink sibling of Ameztoi’s flagship white, this vibrant rosé is made from a mix of red and white indigenous grapes and is bottled with a little residual carbonation to give it a light spritz.”

One of the Gigondas’ most delicious bottlings, from an especially good year.
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.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Classic California Chardonnay at an exceptional price.
Mount Eden Edna Valley Chardonnay 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Mount Eden Edna Valley Chardonnay 2017 750ML ($299.95) $219 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!


New John Gilman Reviews

For a Mosel Legend
“The Merkelbach brothers’ 2018ers are really lovely wines, ripe, loaded with delicatelystyled fruit tones and firmly anchored in their underlying slate minerality. This is a beautifully old-fashioned vintage for the Merkelbachs, as the pent up energy from the frosts of 2017 allowed for a nice big crop here, which allowed for plenty of quantity and a very transparent and delicate style that very much harkens back to the style of wines made on the middle Mosel during the first half of the 1980s (and which were the wines I cut my teeth on). The Merkelbach brothers, being from the old school on the Mosel, were certainly not going to turn their noses up at nature’s generosity in 2018 and perfectly content to fashion wines from bountiful yields. The entire range of the brothers’ 2018ers have good, sound acids and wide open personalities and most will drink beautifully right out of the blocks, though they will have no trouble aging gracefully for several decades. I would try to at least keep my hands off of the 2018 Auslesen from the estate until they have at least another five or six years in the cellar, just to let some of their secondary layers start to come to the fore, but they are so delicious out of the blocks that it will be no easy task to let them hibernate in the cellar for a half dozen years. As I mentioned above, the 2018 vintage was the last that the brothers have made entirely on their own, as they have finally given in (just a bit) to the passage of time and brought in Johannes Selbach and his team to help with their vines during the 2019 growing season, harvest and fermentations. With both brothers now well into their eighties, it does not seem an unreasonable thing to have just a bit of help in the vineyards and cellars! However, before the transition to extra hands on deck in the Merkelbach cellars for the 2019 harvest and vintage, there remains this lovely vintage of 2018 in their cellars in Ürzig, all hand-crafted solely by Alfred and Rolf Merkelbach, which truly transport one back to the beautiful, ethereal, filigreed wines of the middle Mosel before global warming arrived and changed the winemaking calculus across Germany. These are just a beautiful range of filigreed, refined 2018ers and most assuredly, should not be overlooked in the rush to buy 2019ers!” –John Gilman, A View from the Cellar

In Stock Now:

Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Spatlese #2 2018 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 10 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 92 points
“The 2018 AP #2 Spätlese from the Rosenberg vineyard has a beautiful touch of exotic fruit to its aromatic constellation, wafting from the glass in a very refined blend of kiwi, strawberry, lime zest, an almost salty expression of slate, apple blossoms and bee pollen. On the palate the wine is vibrant, complex, medium-full and filigreed, with a lovely dollop of fruit at the core, superb mineral drive and grip, zesty acids and a long, complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is such a classic example of middle Mosel Spätlese, with stunning interplay of slate minerality, pure, precise fruit and floral tones. Just lovely. 2020-2050+. 92.”

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Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Spatlese #3 2018 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 11 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 92+ points
“The 2018 Rosenberg Spätlese AP #3 from the Merkelbachs is a touch more mineral in personality and has just a bit more mid-palate stuffing than the AP #2 version, but without sacrificing any of the classic filigree of this Prädikat level. It is also the more reserved of the two bottlings in its youthful phase, offering up scents of apple, pear, a beautiful base of slate, incipient notes of bee pollen, violets and iris blossoms. On the palate the wine is pure, medium-full and quite solid at the core, with lovely mineral undertow, zesty acids and fine focus and grip on the long and nascently complex finish. This is the Rosenberg Spätlese from 2018 that is going to demand a bit of bottle age before it starts to blossom, so the AP #2 is by far the better selection for those who are predisposed to want to drink their Merkelbach Spätlese on the early side. But, this wine will age superbly. 2024-2055+. 92+.”

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Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese #5 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 3 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93+ points
 “The 2018 Spätlese AP #5 from the Würzgarten is a beautifully classical interpretation of both this great vineyard and its Prädikat level. The bouquet offers up scents of strawberries, kiwi, a touch of lime, lovely spice tones, a gorgeous base of red slate and a topnote of citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is bright, bouncy and medium-full, with lovely tension and grip, a juicy core of fruit, lovely acidity and focus and a long, complex and filigreed finish. Just an utterly classical bottle of Spätlese! 2020-2055+. 93+.”

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Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Spatlese #7 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 10 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93+ points
“The AP #7 Würzgarten Spätlese from the Merkelbachs is also utterly classical in personality, but with more spice tones on both the nose and palate and an almost crystalline expression of the vintage that is utterly captivating. The superb bouquet wafts from the glass in a mix of lime, strawberries, kaleidoscopic slate minerality, bee pollen, a whisper of petrol, citrus zest and a topnote of fruit blossoms. On the palate the wine is vibrant, medium-full and slightly broader shouldered than the AP #5 version, with a great core of fruit, marvelous mineral drive and grip, zesty acids and a long, complex and perfectly balanced finish. This too is a marvelous interpretation of the Würzgarten, with perhaps a touch more depth than the AP #5, but not quite as filigreed in profile at the present time. Maybe- just maybe, this will ultimately nose out the AP #5 Spätlese with extended bottle age, but both wines are going to age beautifully and it is really hard to pick a favorite among them. They are differently style, quintessential expressions of Würzgarten Spätlese. 2023-2055+. 93+.”

Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Auslese #1 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 9 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 Rosenberg Auslese AP #1 from Alfred and Rolf Merkelbach is a beautiful wine in the making. The complex nose offers up a constellation of passion fruit, a hint of the yellow plum to come, incipient notes of honeycomb, salty minerality, violets, lavender and a gentle glaze of very clean botrytis. On the palate the wine is fullish, pure and nascently complex, with a lovely core of fruit, fine mineral undertow, bright acids and lovely length and grip on perfectly balanced and very promising finish. I have the impression this was made from very lightly botrytized fruit. It will want some bottle age before it really starts to blossom, but it will be a lovely bottle when it start to get rolling! 2026-2065. 93.”

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Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Auslese #12 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 11 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93+ points
“The AP #12 Rosenberg Auslese is a bit more glazed in personality than the AP #1 version, but it is really a pristine coating of botrytis and one could not ask for better! The beautiful bouquet wafts from the glass in a blend of pear, white grape, lavender, violets, bee pollen, a lovely touch of minerality and a whiff of apple blossoms in the upper register. On the palate the wine is vibrant, fullish and complex, with zesty acids, excellent focus and grip, a superb core and a very long, filigreed and extremely classy finish. This is a beautiful wine in the making. 2026-2065. 93+.”

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Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese #10 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 11 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 94 points
“The AP #10 Auslese from the Würzgarten from the Merkelbach brothers is a flat out gorgeous young wine. The bouquet is pure, refined and expressive, offering up scents of pear, strawberry chiffon, bee pollen, a nice touch of slate, spring flowers and lime blossoms. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish, bouncy and complex, with superb focus and grip, lovely filigree, just a touch of botrytis and a long, complex and utterly suave, vibrant finish. This is stunning young Auslese. 2025-2065+. 94.”

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Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Auslese #9 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 11 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 93+ points
“The 2018 Auslese AP #9 from the Würzgarten vineyard is another tour de force from the Merkelbachs. It offers up a magical aromatic constellation of pear, white grape, strawberries, a lovely foundation of red slate and a potpourri of floral tones redolent of violets, lilacs and orange blossoms. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and gently glazed, with very clean botrytis, a lovely core, bright acids and a long, complex and still quite youthful finish. This is a touch more botrytized and powerful in personality than the AP #10 version, and it will need a bit more time to really start to express itself, but it should be outstanding in due course. 2028-2065. 93+. “

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More New Oregon Reviews

from Vinous and Grapelive

“The sheer number of noteworthy non-Pinot Noir wines from Oregon continues to grow exponentially every year, this one being a prime example. While many of them are made in highly limited quantities there are scores of them that are worth hunting down, especially for readers who favor wines of energy and detail. As with Pinot Noir, this is truly a golden era for Oregon wine of a wide range of varieties and things don’t seem to be slowing down.” – Josh Raynolds, Vinous

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Flaneur Wines Extra Brut, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points
“Brilliant straw-yellow. Vibrant and sharply focused on the nose, displaying intense Anjou pear, orange zest and floral scents and a smoky mineral overtone. Juicy, spice-tinged citrus and orchard fruit and honeysuckle flavors show excellent clarity and pick up a touch of buttered toast with air. Fleshy and concentrated yet dry and energetic as well, finishing impressively long, with firm cut and resonating mineral and smoky lees notes.”

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Vincent Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($21.95) $19 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points
“Limpid yellow. Mineral- and spice-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas show fine definition and pick up a floral nuance with air. Vibrant and light on its feet, offering juicy pear and Meyer lemon flavors and a deeper suggestion of ripe fig. Finishes long and seamless, with repeating florality and a refreshingly bitter orange pith flourish.”

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J.C. Somers Croft Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($29.95) $26 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Shimmering straw. Bright and focused on the incisive nose, displaying lime zest, green apple, honeysuckle and dusty mineral scents, along with a touch of succulent herbs. Dry and lively on the palate, offering intense citrus and orchard fruit flavors that betray no excess weight. Closes on a stony note, delivering strong, floral-driven persistence. All stainless steel.”

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Kelley Fox Wines Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points
“Vivid straw. Mineral-tinged nectarine, tangelo and pungent flowers on the highly perfumed nose. Silky, tightly focused and energetic on the palate, offering juicy citrus and pit fruit and honeysuckle flavors complemented by suggestions of saffron and sweet butter. Shows excellent depth and clarity and finishes minerally and very long, leaving floral and mineral notes behind.”

Cristom ‘Estate’ Syrah, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points
“Inky ruby-red. Mineral- and smoke-accented blackberry, cherry and olive scents pick up floral and incense accents with air. Sappy, energetic black and blue fruit and violet pastille flavors open up steadily and reveal a potent, spicy topnote. Concentrated yet graceful in style, showing a smoky mineral quality that adds lift to an impressively long, floral- and spice-tinged finish.”

Brick House Pinot Noir Select, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($41.95) $30.90 special
Grapelive 92 points
“Only made in abundant and ripe vintages the Brick House Select Pinot Noir is a special entry level barrel selection of all estate grown, 100% biodynamic, grapes from this famous winery’s Ribbon Ridge vines set on marine sedimentary soils, it is always an incredible value and this 2017 is extra delicious, wonderfully detailed and lengthy. There’s lots to admire here, this quite lush 2017 Select starts with an array of floral aromatics, dark fruit and racy spices before fully opening up on its medium bodied and succulent palate, revealing a range of black cherry, plum, blueberry and wild strawberry fruits in a caressing and silken wave along with touches of seeped rose petals, tea leaf, cinnamon and a hint of earth and mineral. With air this pure Pinot fruited wine just gets better and more distinctive, hats off to Doug Tunnell and his team at Brick House for this exceptionally drinkable offering. Brick House does an amazing set wines, all sourced from their estate, including this one, plus Tunnell’s Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir, Cuvée du Tonnelier Pinot Noir, two Chardonnays and one of the new world’s best Gamay Noir(s). Brick House, an Oregon classic, was founded by Doug Tunnell back in 1990 and was a major player in what I call the second wave of greats to get started in the Willamette Valley, with the likes of Beaux Freres’ Mike Etzel, Ken Wright, John Paul of Cameron and Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent to name a few and was one of first to embrace organic and holistic farming, including practicing biodymanics in their vineyards. The wines are produced using traditional Burgundian techniques and this wine saw about 20% whole cluster, with full set of the estate’s Pinot Noir clones, with stem inclusion and was fermented using only indigenous (natural or native) yeast without any manipulation or additives and then the Select Pinot was raised in well seasoned or neutral French barrique for 18 months with alone one racking, that was to tank for bottling, all of which to allow the wine’s true flavors to shine through. The vineyards at Brick House have been certified organic for 25 years and are also certified biodynamic by Demeter, which Tunnell thinks makes all the difference in the quality of his wines, giving them life and energy, and this Select makes a compelling case in support, it is drinking fantastic, enjoy it over the next 3 to 5 years.”
Collector’s Corner

New Arrivals from E. Pira

“Some of the Most Compelling Wines in Barolo”

“Year in, year out Chiara Boschis quietly makes some of the most compelling wines in Barolo without getting either the attention or recognition of some of her neighbors.” – Antonio Galloni

Just Arrived and In Stock Now!

E. Pira & Figli Chiara Boschis Via Nuova, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
James Suckling 95 points
“This delivers a fresh and vibrant impression on the nose with ripe red cherries and a deep-set, rose perfume. The palate has impressive power and focus with chiseled, driving tannins that cut a straight line of pure, red and black-cherry flavor. Long and assertive in 2015. Try this from 2023.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “Once again, the 2015 Barolo Via Nuova shows why the blending of several sites was the approach favored by Barolo producers until the 1960s, when the fascination for single-vineyard wines started to take off. Maybe the old-times knew something after all. Silky and fragrant, with exceptional balance, the 2015 is positively striking. Medium in body and layered, the 2015 has a very bright future. What a gorgeous wine it is. The Via Nuova was aged in equal parts cask and barrique.”

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#33 – James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of the Year 
E. Pira & Figli Chiara Boschis Cannubi, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
James Suckling 99 points
“Impressive roses and finely ground spices with a bright red-cherry core, as well as a fresh wild-herb thread. The sense of focus and purity here is stunning. The palate has a deeply juicy and fresh core of tightly knit tannins that carry immense power with impeccable balance. Elegantly executed wine with profound length. Try from 2025.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “My sample bottle of 2015 Barolo Cannubi was allowed to breathe overnight, and I really got a glimpse of how the wine evolves, showing beautiful minty notes on the bouquet with time. This Barolo is more compact in terms of build than the others and more streamlined in the mouth, but it comes across as extremely delicate, light and elegant. There is a sweet spot on the close. This wine has a unique style that is both graceful and petite, and given ample time to breathe, it would put a smile on any Barolo lover’s face.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “A beam of rose, raspberry and kirsch notes highlights this aromatic, elegant red. Racy and structured, this focuses the fruit flavors, picking up leafy underbrush, mint, spice and tar elements, building to a firm finish. Best from 2022 through 2040.”

Arriving ETA September:

E. Pira & Figli Chiara Boschis Mosconi, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
James Suckling 97 points
“Aromatic depth here, drawing you in with cascading layers of flowers and leaves, fresh-tilled earth laced with woody spices, white pepper and fresh red fruit. The palate carries a very sturdy frame of fine, dense tannins. This is placed in the top league of 2015 Barolo wines. Long and succulent build through the finish. Try from 2024.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “All of the wines from Chiara Boschis are more vinous this year, more natural. They feel authentic, genuine and traditional. They show an extra degree of richness or texture, and the 2015 Barolo Mosconi is no exception. Its dark and spicy notes are very polished and graceful in this vintage but with considerable tightness to the tannins that will soften with time. This wine offers ample volume and girth, but it carries its weight with elegance. Once the bottle has reached maturity, it would be a great pairing match to rabbit.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2015 Barolo Mosconi is striking in this vintage. The natural richness of the year seems especially well suited to this Monforte site, where the wines tend to be born with a natural sense of textural breadth and volume. Black cherry, chocolate, spice, new leather and menthol grow in the glass in a full-bodied, virile Barolo that speaks to power above all else.”

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