Midweek Vinopolpick Addition 2-21-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

“The Best Ever – Simple as That”

A 94 Point Zin Blend Under $24 / bottle

Fantastic Cotes du Rhone from the President of Latour

The Exceptional Value of Raymond Lafon’s Sauternes

Staff Pick: Crunchy, Yet Broad

Hot Wines of the Week

Rare Large Formats of 2015 d’Yquem

Bosquets’ 2016’s are Legends in the Making

The Leading Light of Nero d’Avola?

The Only Offer in the US for Kracher’s TBA Kollektion!

February Sale Recap

“The Best Ever – Simple as That”

2016 Clos de Tart is Near-Perfection

Neal Martin just published a fabulous retrospective on the Clos de Tart on Vinous.  You can read the article here (you just need a subscription to see the scores), and we’ll excerpt it below, but it’s a fascinating read.  More importantly, he describes the 2016 version as the best ever produced at the Clos de Tart.  That vintage is still available, in limited quantities..  Head to the bottom of this feature to see the wine and the tasting note, or enjoy this (selected) prose from Neal, one of our favorite wine writers out there:

“There are eight grand cru monopoles within the Côte d’Or….Many would cite Romanée-Conti as the most famous. However, if somebody asked me to name an archetypal monopole, I would choose the largest, Clos de Tart. Unlike Romanée-Conti, the crown jewel within a portfolio, Clos de Tart stands alone insofar as there are no sibling vineyards elsewhere under the same ownership. Even the winery lies within the boundaries of the monopole, heightening self-containment and solipsism, as if Clos de Tart has always cut itself off from the outside world. Passersby can only speculate what is happening behind the seemingly impenetrable ochre façade that dominates the epicenter of Morey-Saint-Denis, its inner sanctum sealed away from prying eyes. To cap it all off, Clos de Tart is veiled in timelessness. It has existed as an immutable cornerstone within the Burgundy landscape since medieval times, its wine as popular in the time of the Knights Templar as in the time of Brexit…

“Loire-born Sylvain Pitiot was appointed in 1996. Pitiot’s name is synonymous with his co-authored, indispensable atlas, which has guided countless Burgundy lovers, including myself, around the Côte d’Or. In fact, Pitiot trained as a cartographer before moving into wine, working at Domaine Jacques Prieur and for 12 years in charge at the Hospice de Beaune….Pitiot’s final vintage was the 2014 Clos de Tart….There followed a short transition period with Pitiot’s successor, 40-year-old Jacques Desvauges…He is a well-spoken, clearly experienced and talented winemaker, and perhaps more clean-cut and less paysan in appearance than some of his peers, yet no less devoted to his vines. He immediately demonstrated what this vineyard could achieve simply by addressing basic issues: less dogmatism about late picking, more prudent use of new oak and a further increase in stem addition. There was no lavish investment in new equipment or techniques, but rather a change in decision-making, the estate director directing as he sees fit…

“The improvement under Jacques Desvauges is clear to see, first with the 2015 that was included in my Burgfest report from last October and then with the magical 2016 Clos de Tart. Desvauges opened a bottle of the 2016 during my visit last November and there is no question that it is the best ever produced at Clos de Tart, glistening with precision and tension, pure and noble, flirting with perfection.” – Neal Martin, Vinous

Domaine du Clos de Tart ‘Clos de Tart’ Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($699.95) $519 special
Neal Martin – Vinous 99+ points
“The 2016 Clos de Tart Grand Cru, cropped at 35hl/ha, is the first year farmed biodynamically. This was completely breathtaking in barrel, and now, in bottle, nothing has changed in that respect. It has an ineffably complex bouquet, not as intense as it showed in barrel yet extremely deep and cerebral, black fruit mingling with forest floor, crushed stone and a touch of sea spray. The palate is perfectly balanced with a deceivingly understated entry, before a wave of black and red fruit crashes over the senses. It is framed by supremely fine tannin, the intensity building toward a crescendo as it fans out. The aftertaste is unbelievably long, remaining in the mouth 60 seconds after the wine has departed. The best ever – simple as that. Tasted at Clos de Tart.”

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The average listed price is $616

Exceptional California Value

A 94 Point Zin Blend Under $24 / bottle

Most of the time, “value” wines from the golden state come in the form of mass produced, cynically made industrial wine from a giant winery.  In this case, though, we’re happy to present the current vintage of (small family winery) Bucklin’s Bambino—a mostly Zinfandel blend from young vines in the fabled Old Hill Ranch.  The new Wine Spectator Insider announced that this wine (which we’ve loved in the past) just got a 94 point score and as a result is certainly one of the best values, from a points perspective, in the shop.  It arrives tomorrow and, although we’re getting ten cases in, will disappear quickly.

Arriving Tomorrow:

Bucklin Bambino Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley 2015 750Ml ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“This distinctive and plump yet focused and refined version shows personality, with flavors of blackberry, fruitcake spices, black licorice and smoky pepper. Drink now through 2025.—T.F”

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A Fantastic Cotes du Rhone

From the President of Latour

While Fontboneau isn’t the oldest estate in the Rhone (or close, by any measure) it makes up for its lack of history with sheer star power.  Childhood friends Jerome Malet (now an important Roussillon negociant) and Frederic Engerer (President of Chateau Latour and GM of Araujo, Ch. Grillet, etc) took over the 42 acre property in 2008 and have very quickly brought it to the highest heights of the Rhone.  While only in the Cotes du Rhone AOC, the partners have aspirations of challenging Gigondas or Vaqueyras in quality (and one presumes pricing, eventually).  At the moment, this remains one of the best deals in Rhone wine out there, with structure and intensity that don’t match the price tag or the names behind the winery.

Arriving February 27th:

Domaine de Fontbonau Cotes du Rhone Rouge, Rhone 2010 750ML ($27.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Domaine de Fontbonau Cotes du Rhone Rouge, Rhone 2010 750ML ($149.95) $99 pre-arrival special (that’s only $16.50/bottle!)
Case-12 Domaine de Fontbonau Cotes du Rhone Rouge, Rhone 2010 750ML ($279.95) $179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 91+ points
“Medium garnet-purple colored, the nose is of warm berries, black cherry compote and dried Provence herb aromas with hints of cumin seed, cardamom and violets. Full, opulent and seductive on the palate, it is superbly structured with a nice acid backbone and a medium to firm level of very finely grained tannins, finishing long and spicy. Delicious now, it should develop beautifully to 2020+.”

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The next best price is $20.99
The Undervalued Raymond Lafon Sauternes
“2002 is an underrated vintage. After a cool August, September was mostly dry and sunny. Some rain early in the month provoked the first outbreaks of noble rot, and some fruit was picked in mid-September. It was high in acidity, pure and citrussy. There were more pickings in late September and early October, until rain interrupted the harvest. Cool nights retained acidity. It was stop and go, as often happens in Sauternes, and the harvest continued at some properties into mid-November. The later pickings were fatter, more orangey, and provided a useful contrast in the blend to the fresher, earlier-picked crop. But some late-picked fruit was uneven in quality and lacked concentration. Nicolas Heeter-Tari at Château Nairac found his 2002 similar to 2001: ‘Because there was no excessive heat in 2002, the wines have a great deal of freshness.’ That, indeed, is their charm. The wines are not as rich and complex, in general, as the 2001s, but they are elegant and beguiling. Some estates produced quite light wines that may not prove long lived; others made wines almost as structured as the 2001s.” – Stephen Brook, Decanter Magazine

Arriving ETA February 27th:

Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes 2002 750ML ($49.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Chateau Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes 2002 375ML ($29.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 90-92 points
“Space limitations preclude including tasting notes.”
VinopolNote: Raymond Lafon has always represented exceptional value in Sauternes.  Some of the estate’s vines used to belong to Yquem and it wasn’t included in the 1855 classification, largely because it was founded in 1850.  Raymond Lafon’s wines tend to be age worthy and exceptional value.

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Staff Pick:

Crunchy, Yet Broad

A Beautiful Winter White

I have a short list of favorites for winter whites, and had to add another to the list this week. I wanted to jump into something a little different from the old standbys of Muscadet, Gruner Veltliner, or Chablis. The Jean Masson La Dechiree sounded like it would fit the bill nicely; crisp, herbal, light. The Dechiree did not disappoint with the herbal notes of thyme and mint. It also had lovely tangerine citrus scents and a surprisingly long finish. It was crunchy with minerals yet broad enough across the palate to feel like there was more to follow. As it came up to temperature the aromas continued to gain in intensity and the creamy texture was very enjoyable. I wish I’d thought out a better dinner to pair this with, but in the end it didn’t matter; simply a perfect little white for a cold Portland night.It was definitely a step up from any Apremont than I have had in the past. Jean Masson is known as a star in the region, and having access to these wines certainly makes me want to get into the Coeur d’Apremont and the Centenaire to see how aromatic Jacquere can be.

Domaine Jean Masson & Fils Savoie Apremont La Dechiree 2017 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Importer note
“Shows high acidity with a long finish. The interesting minerality intertwines with notes of tarragon, verbena and orange.”
Winery note “[Translated] A very atypical wine, the Dechiree comes from a hill at the highest point in Apremont. The vineyard is surrounded by brambles (mulberry and raspberry), and the vines offer a powerful wine with a cascade of complex and pronounced aromas. This wine has a nice minerality highlighted by a rich texture. It pairs well with fish in a cream sauce, roasted poultry and lobster.”

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Hot Wines of the Week

#96 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wines Of 2018
Newton Vineyard ‘Skyside-Red Label’ Claret, North Coast 2016 750ML ($24.95) $16 special
Case-12 Newton Vineyard ‘Skyside-Red Label’ Claret, North Coast 2016 750ML ($299.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 90 points
“Mint, chocolate and cherry flavors intermingle in this dry, full-bodied and firmly tannic wine blended from Bordeaux grape varieties. It offers plenty of blackberry notes shaded by black pepper and smoke and will stand up to the juiciest protein you can order.”

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Accessible in profile but with that classic, old school Togni style.
Philip Togni Vineyard Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
” The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tanbark Hill Vineyard captures all the signatures of the Togni house style in a medium-bodied, accessible style that will be easy to drink and enjoy upon release. Savory herb, blackberry, crushed flowers, sweet tobacco and earthy notes give the 2016 its distinctive aromatic and flavor signatures. Silky and gracious to the core, the 2016 Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is a winner”

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Dungeness crab + this = a good night.
La Chablisienne Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-6 La Chablisienne Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($219.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.33/bottle!)
Decanter 95 points
“An exuberant, complex nose packed full of exotic fruits, asparagus and elderflower with well integrated oak. The palate has a very strong fruity expression with an oily depth and harmony and very impressive length. All the pieces of the Chablis puzzle are in place here.”
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding. As is usually the case this is more elegant, particularly on the floral and white orchard fruit suffused nose that is nuanced by plenty of classic Chablis elements and in particular mineral reduction. There is also a bit more volume to the caressing, intense and voluminous flavors that drip with minerality on the refined but powerful finale where a discreet touch of wood arises. This offers ample development potential and should be lovely with time. Drink: 2021+”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Sometimes blended with grapes from the Fourchaume Premier Cru, this Vaulorent bottled on its own is a bit crisp–bright with citrus and toasty from wood aging. It will develop slowly over several years, so drink from 2019.”

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This would be fascinating to pair against a $50 Chateauneuf.
Finca La Emperatriz Cepas Viejas Garnacha, Rioja DOCa 2014 ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 95 points
“An intensely herbal and floral nose displaying raspberries, cherries and hints of cloves. Mint, too. Medium body, ripe and juicy tannins and a very long, citrusy and savory finish. Made from vines over 65 years old. A wine that boasts superb finesse and style. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The wine that won my heart this time was without a doubt the 2014 Finca la Emperatriz Garnacha Cepas Viejas. This wine is sourced from the Rioja Alta subzone, not quite the classical Garnacha place, from the only old-vine Garnacha plot they have in the estate. It displays a captivating nose of sweet Garnacha fruit akin to cherries in liqueur, but keeping the freshness in a coolish vintage like 2014. The uncrushed grapes fermented in open-top stainless steel vats and 500-liter oak barrels with indigenous yeasts after five days of pre-fermentative maceration, and it matured in 500-liter oak barrels for ten months. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, delicious fresh flavors and very good length, ending with a tasty, almost salty note. 8,966 bottles and a bunch of magnums were produced and filled in November 2014.”

Somehow, an under the radar 95 point Barbaresco.
Cantina del Pino Albesani, Barbaresco DOCG 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“Usually a rich, bombastic wine, the 2013 Barbaresco Albesani shows more finesse than I remember seeing in the past. There is plenty of the power that is so typical of this site, but at the same time, the 2013 is translucent, super-elegant and refined. Another few years in bottle will do wonders for the Albesani, which, despite its obvious appeal, is very tightly wound at this stage. A persistent, striking finish rounds things out in style. At this stage the Albesani is the most complete wine in the range.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2013 Barbaresco Albesani offers a delicate approach with a silky texture and seamless flavors of wild berry, rose hip, spice and cured leather. The bouquet offers complexity and finesse, showing the best side of the Barbaresco appellation in a slightly cooler vintage. Some 3,000 bottles were produced.”

Pichler’s 2015 are monuments to richness and tension in Austria.
F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Liebenberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2015 750ML ($69.95) $48 special
Wine Advocate 93-94 points
“The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg comes from 70- to 80-year-old vines on a rare calcareous slate soil. The wine displays a very clear and pure, pretty open and lovely spicy, crystalline and flinty bouquet with ripe pip fruit aromas. Very distinguished and rather coolish in its expression. Full-bodied, round and elegant, with tension, salt and grip in the finish, this is a charmingly ripe and juicy but also challenging mineral and piquant Veltliner from one of the most exciting terroirs. The finish is powerful and complex but also fresh and stimulatingly piquant. Pichler has bottled this wine since 2010.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Crafted with precision, this white features notes of white pepper and chamomile accenting apricot and wet stone flavors, showing good harmony between the savory and fruity elements.”

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Rare Large Formats of 2015 d’Yquem

2015 Chateau d’Yquem is looking like one of the two best wines the estate has produced this century (trailing, perhaps by a hair, the 2001).  In other words, it’s a monumental wine—a true collector’s icon and one of the most complex wines produced anywhere in the world in 2015.  We had already secured half bottles of the liquid gold, but just recently pulled off a vinous coup—750’s and (more impressively) magnums of this legend.  Only a very tiny percentage of d’Yquem is bottled in large formats, so securing any, much less three magnums, is a feat.

Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes 2015 1.5L ($1099.95) $979 special
Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes 2015 750ML ($499.95) $449 special
Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes 2015 375ML ($259.95) $219 special
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Following a very long harvest stretching nearly two months, the 2015 Château d’Yquem came in at 13.9% alcohol and 144 grams per liter of residual sugar, sporting a pH of 3.65 and six grams per liter of tartaric acid. None of these numbers, however, even remotely begin to tell you how profound this wine is. The nose opens with electric notes of ripe pineapples, green mango, orange blossoms and lemon tart with hints of fungi, lime zest, crushed rocks and jasmine. The freshness on the palate is just astonishing, permeating and lifting layer upon layer of tropical fruits and earthy notions, all encased in a sumptuous texture and culminating in a very, very long, mineral-tinged finish. Truly, this is a legendary vintage for d’Yquem. I’ve been conservative with my drinking window here, and I would not be at all surprised if our descendants are drinking this vintage well into the next century.”-LPB
James Suckling 99-100 points “This is an incredible young Yquem that is so vinous like a great vintage of Montrachet but then on the palate it turns to Yquem with spice, dried fruit and mushroom as well as sweet fruit. Last for minutes. Acidity is all there giving it a dynamic vibrance that jolts your senses. Special wine. It has a little more than than 140 grams of residual sugar, less than the legendary of 2001. But is very close in greatness. Let’s wait and see.”
Antonio Galloni 98 points ” The 2015 d’Yquem is without question one of the wines of the vintage. Just as alluring from bottle as it was from barrel, the 2015 is a wine that engages all of the senses, from the intellectual to the more hedonistic. Lilting notes of pineapple, mint, orange peel and white flowers grace the palate, but it is the wine’s sense of balance and total harmony that impress most. In 2015, Yquem had its earliest start to the harvest since 1893. Even so, the winemaking team did a magnificent job of preserving freshness. The 2015 was fermented in 100% new oak, and residual sugar is 145 grams per liter, but great wine is never about numbers. Above all else, the 2015 Yquem is a wine of energy and class. Don’t miss it!”

Bosquets’ 2016’s

Are Legends in the Making

“Under the helm of the young Julien Brechet, with aid from omnipresent Philippe Cambie, Domaine des Bosquets has quickly risen into the top handful of estates in Gigondas, as well as in all of the Southern Rhône. The 2015s shine for their purity and finesse, but the 2016s have everything you could want in wine. You can’t go wrong with any of these.” – Jeb Dunnuck

Domaine des Bosquets has quickly vaulted into the stratosphere of top producers in the Southern Rhone.  All it took was a generational change, as Julien Brechet’s uncompromising drive for quality has changed Bosquets from a solid but unspectacular producer to one deservedly commanding some of the top prices in the region.

On the subject of pricing, ours is fantastic—and when you combine our prices with the fact that the top Gigondas is undervalued relative to Chateauneuf, you get some of the best deals in the world of top Rhone wines.  The “basic” Gigondas is an intense, rich wine that puts a lot of $50 bottles to shame and the high end wines…well, yes, they’re that much better.  We have several bottlings in stock now and a few more on the way—so snap these up if you love classic Gigondas

In Stock Now:

“a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“Leading off the wines from bottle, the 2016 Gigondas is a classic wine from this estate, offering a deeper ruby/purple color as well as tons of garrigue, peppery spice, and earth intermixed with ample red and black fruits. Polished, rounded and sexy, with sweet tannin, it has a modern style that won’t appeal to traditionalists yet is beautifully done. The blend is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and the rest Cinsault.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Lively, expansive red berry, floral pastille and white pepper scents, along with suggestions of garrigue and smoky minerals. Sweet, focused and seamless in the mouth, offering juicy raspberry, spicecake and lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Clings with very good authority on the gently tannic finish and leaves succulent floral and herb notes behind.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92 points “Hints of garrigue accent raspberries and Rainier cherries in the 2016 Gigondas. This blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault is full-bodied and supple, with no hard edges, just lovely fruit. Long, seamless and delicious for drinking over the next 6-7 years, it’s a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate. Tasted twice with consistent notes.”

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The average listed price is $31
“Utterly sensational, and unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas La Colline, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ points
“The 2016 Gigondas La Colline (100% Grenache from a tiny corner of the La Colline vineyard) gives a big blast of blackberry and kirsch fruit to go with complex garrigue, toasted spice, and dried earth. This full-bodied beauty packs an incredible amount of richness and depth into a seamless, silky, elegant, thrilling package. It’s going to benefit from 1-2 years of bottle age and knock your socks off over the following decade or more.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96-100 points “Utterly sensational, and unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines in the vintage, the 2016 Gigondas La Colline is 100% Grenache that’s from the La Colline lieu-dit which is close to the domain, at an elevation of 350 meters above sea-level. It was mostly destemmed (there are 20% stems), fermented in concrete tanks and aging all in 2-4-year-old demi-muids. Notes of Camphor, black raspberries, strawberries, crushed rocks, garrigue and ground pepper all flow to an incredibly layered, concentrated 2016 that has sweet tannin, and an opulent, decadent profile that never seems heavy or over the top. It’s a tour de force in winemaking and hats off to the young Julien Brechet for this incredible wine. There are only 250 cases for the world, so don’t miss a chance to latch onto a few bottles.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This delivers a gorgeous display of fruit, with raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry notes in lockstep as they race through, infused with light anise, bergamot and rooibos tea accents along the way. The racy, chalky structure holds the finish, giving this sleek tension. Best from 2020 through 2036.”

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“Readers need to snatch up this blockbuster”
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas Le Lieu Dit, Rhone 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“From a cooler terroir of sandy soils just beside the domaine, the 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu Dit is another tour de force from this brilliant estate. It sports a medium ruby color as well as a rocking bouquet of kirsch, blackberry liqueur, rose petals, damp earth, incense, and spice. Ultra-fine, seamless, elegant, and pure, it’s nevertheless powerful and rich, with awesome intensity. Readers need to snatch up this blockbuster.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96-98 points “The 2016 Gigondas Le Lieu-Dit is also 100% Grenache and comes from a parcel just beside the winery. This is a cooler, sandy terroir and the style of this cuvée is dramatically different than the La Colline cuvée, showing a much more finesse-driven, elegant, ethereal style. Nevertheless, the 2016 is one of the larger, richer example of the cuvée and sports a deep, inky color as well as to die for notes of black raspberries, crème de cassis, crushed pepper, and ground herbs. With full-bodied richness, polished, sweet tannin, no hard edges and a fabulous length, it’s another best to date cuvée from this estate.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Deliciously ripe, featuring a bright and lively display of red currant, raspberry and blackberry coulis flavors that race along, underscored by fine but persistent chalky tannins and backed by lilac, violet, rooibos tea and savory notes along the way. The long finish ripples with fresh acidity. Best from 2020 through 2036.”

The Leading Light of Nero d’Avola?

Gulfi Manages Expression and Extraction in Harmony

Since 1996, we have been making the wines we love at Gulfi. We never accepted irrigation, we always have considered the best practices of other organic and biodynamic environments. We went our own way like the best wine estates have done in differents parts of the world. Of course we are influenced by the most delicate burgundy wines as well as by the greatest Rhone Valley wines, particularly Chateauneuf du Pape, but our wines have first of all a taste of their true origins, of their deep Sicilian roots.” – Vito Catania, owner of Azienda Gulfi

Gulfi first came to prominence as a champion of Nero D’Avola—the rich dark grape that they proved could be a transparent expression of terroir.  The single vineyards Nero’s that Gulfi made changed perceptions of the grape and has helped lead to the current renaissance of Siclian viticulture.  These are wines that are intense, powerful, yet graceful.

Gulfi’s Nero d’Avola is typically extracted and rich, with subtle nuances reflecting the vineyard locations spread around the southeastern corner of the island. Variations in altitude and proximity to the sea influence the delicate aromatics, as ripeness is certainly not the issue. Salinity and sea breeze influences are present and add nuance to the ripe, roasty, smoky characteristics.  Drink them if you like California Cabernet or Brunello or Syrah from the Northern Rhone or anywhere in between.

In Stock Now:

“a slightly more austere and sophisticated expression”
Gulfi Nerobaronj Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Love the depth to this wine. So rich, yet so fresh with pure fruit and spices. Full body and a fresh finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “This is a slightly more austere and sophisticated expression among Gulfi’s various single-vineyard expressions of Nero d’Avola. The 2013 Sicilia Nerobaronj delivers that same black-fruit ripeness that you get in the other wines; however, the bouquet in this wine is slightly sharper and more focused. Spice, tar and cured leather frame a dark core of black fruit. This is a thickly textured wine for medium-term consumption. The Baroni vineyard is distinguished by clay-limestone soils with white rocks. Only 6,800 bottles were made.”-ML

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“the wine that…best encompasses the overall winemaking philosophy at Gulfi.”
Gulfi Neromaccarj Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2011 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2011 Neromàccarj is the wine that, in my opinion, best encompasses the overall winemaking philosophy at Gulfi. Like the other Nero d’Avola selections presented, this wine boasts a super enriched and concentrated style. On top of black fruit and cherry marmalade, the bouquet offers Teriyaki, barbecue smoke and asphalt-like aromas. Neromàccarj presents a more balanced and complete picture because its large bulk is spread evenly in proportioned elements. In other words, the opulence of the bouquet is perfectly matched to the large footprint left on the finish.”

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That’s a difference of over $6/btl!
“bursts open with dark fruit intensity”
Gulfi Neromaccarj Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 95 points
“The complex, plum-cake and spice nose leads into a rich and sophisticated red, in which the tannins and fruit are already perfectly integrated. Long, complex, herbal and spicy finish. From organically grown grapes.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2013 Sicilia Neromàccarj bursts open with dark fruit intensity, including dried cherry and blackberry confit. Like the other wines in this series of single-vineyard Nero d’Avola wines, this expression produces above-average density, darkness and richness. But the Neromàccarj also offers an elegant side that comes forth, thanks to the contained intensity and the firm delineation of its aromas. Smoke, tar and black olive appear on the close. The Maccari vineyard site is almost at sea level and has limestone, clay and rocky soils that are rich with organic matter. Only 3,200 bottles were made.”-ML

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“A wine of noteworthy purity”
Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2010 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2010 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 95 points
“Fully saturated ruby. Pure, very deep aromas of black cherry, red plum, medicinal herbs and minerals. Rich, dense and suave, with complex flavors of saline red berries and dark plum complicated by repeating botanical herb and balsamic nuances. Finishes seamless an long. A wine of noteworthy purity, with an excellent balance of sweetness, acidity and tannins. This is Gulfi’s closest vineyard to the sea and almost always gives the estate’s most elegant, refined wine.”

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The next best price is $45.90
That’s a difference of over $6/btl
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!
“manages to be at once powerful and graceful”
Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2011 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Ian D’agata – Vinous 94 points
“Fully saturated ruby-red. Super-ripe aromas of black cherry, raspberry jelly, incense and coriander are very typical of the Sanloré site. Then surprisingly light on its feet, offering vibrant flavors of red and black cherry, tar, licorice and pomegranate liqueur. The finish is bright and juicy and features a lingering saline nuance. Knockout Sanloré that manages to be at once powerful and graceful, the latter a quality not always evident in wines from this site, which are usually known for their richness and size.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “This dark and brooking wine comes from 40-year-old vines rooted in reddish-brown sand and clay soils; it grows half a mile from the sea and just 30 feet above sea level, where the temperature doesn’t change much between day and night. Savory notes of black olive and roasted mushroom saturate the wine’s dark plum flavors, intensified by a trail of salinity so intense it feels almost gritty, yet the wine is brightened by mouthwatering acidity. The contrast is extreme, and it works.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2013 Sicilia Nerosanloré is a rich and plush red wine with a mid-weight approach backed by lots of rich fiber and fruity thickness. The house style at Gulfi always prizes ripeness and higher-than-average concentration. Blackberry preserves and cherry confit are backed by spice, sweet tobacco and sticky tar. The San Lorenzo vineyard site enjoys the highest altitude of all these cru sites. It is located at 600 meters above sea level and has red sandy soils. Only 3,800 bottles were produced.”-ML
James Suckling 93 points “I love the intense herb-liqueur and balsamic-vinegar character on the nose, also because its married to delicious richness. Still very lively for a five-year-old red and the balance of ripeness and rather supple tannins is impressive. Long finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”

Arriving Later this Month:

“The balance and juiciness to this wine is beautiful.”
Gulfi Nerojbleo Nero d’Avola Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 93 points
“The balance and juiciness to this wine is beautiful. Dried cherries and berries with hints of fresh herbs and flower petals follow through to a medium to full body, silky tannins and a delicious finish. From organically grown grapes. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2015 Nerojbleo (an IGT Terre Siciliane wine) shows a fruit-forward approach with plump cherry and summer plum that rise to the top of the bouquet with a direct and immediate personality. The quality of the fruit is ripe, dense, dark and very black in character. This is a mid-weight Sicilian wine to pair with fried chicken or spicy pork. This wine is perhaps easier in style, but I like the fresh transparency you get here. Some 80,000 bottles were made.”-ML

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Kracher’s TBA Kollektion

The Only Offer in the US!

The Kracher estate is one of the premier producers of dessert wines—right up there with d’Yquem, Egon Müller, and the top end Tokaji Essensia in terms of rarity and quality.  Alois Kracher established the reputation of this estate and it continues to make wines up to his standards, all sourced from a little section of the Burgenland that benefits from nearby lakes to create near-perfect conditions for noble rot.  What’s unique about Kracher, compared to their peers in the high-end dessert wine world, is the sheer variety of grapes the estate works with.  Whereas d’Yquem (etc.) produce just a single dessert wine, Kracher makes 10-15 wines in each vintage from a variety of grapes. We work hard to source these wines are excited to offer the “Kollektion” box set from the 2011 vintage.  This features nine different TBAs, in a handsome wooden box, from a vintage that was outstanding for dessert wine production. Any collector of the world’s finest wines should want this in their cellar, unfortunately there’s only one set available.

Arriving ETA March:

Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher Trockenbeerenauslese Kollektion Box, Burgenland 2011 375ML ($999.95) $899 pre-arrival special

Includes one each of the following:
Nr.1 TBA Traminer Nouvelle Vague
Nr.2 TBA Rosenmuskateller Nouvelle Vague
Nr.3 TBA Rosenmuskateller Zwischen den Seen
Nr.4 TBA Welschriesling Zwischen den Seen
Nr.5 TBA Chardonnay Nouvelle Vague
Nr.6 TBA Grande Cuvée Nouvelle Vague
Nr.7 TBA Scheurebe Zwischen den Seen
Nr.8 TBA Scheurebe Zwischen den Seen
Nr.9 TBA Muskat Ottonel Zwischen den Seen

Importer Note “From the grape varieties Welschriesling, Chardonnay, Traminer, Scheurebe, Muskat-Ottonel and, from time to time even Zweigelt, Alois Kracher created each year 10 to 15 different Trockenbeerenauslesen wines in two different styles. Zwischen den Seen (“in between the lakes”) are the wines which are matured in large wooden barrels or steel tanks, and undergo long yeast contact in order to deliver freshness, fruit und primary grape aromas into the bottle.  The wines of the Nouvelle Vague line are marked by barrique aging with air exchange during maturation. Vivid and lively in taste, depth, spiciness and length are these wines notable characteristics.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

February Sale Recap
We’ve slashed prices on Tuscan icons, Chateauneuf, great red Burgundy and classic Cote Rotie (and a whole lot more).  It’s an amazing way to begin the month (provided you like excellent deals on outstanding wines) and we’re excited to bring you more in the days/weeks ahead. As with all of our Sale Wines—these prices are limited to stock on hand, so once we sell out, the sale pricing is gone forever.  View the complete list below, and shop our web store by clicking here.

Thanks for reading!