Monday January 5th

January 5, 2014

Best of 2014

Our greatest hits and most popular sellers of 2014 are not all gone yet!
Gathered below is a list of some of 2014’s best-selling wines,
all in stock and available here now!

Brick House Evelyn’s Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Focused, juicy, precise and expressive, this offers a gorgeously balanced mouthful of plum, currant, red berry and floral flavors that come together harmoniously and persist into the long finish. Has depth and distinction. Best from 2016 through 2022.”

Cameron Abbey Ridge Pinot Noir 2012 750ML ($69.95) $66 special
Winery note
“The effusive aromas of 2012 Abbey Ridge Pinot noir mingle juniper berry, fennel, straw and tamarind, accompanied by high notes of blackberries and blueberries.  The palate is resplendent with flavors of cherry cola, stewed plums and licorice.  Soft tannins, bright acid and a nice long finish is typical of Abbey Ridge.  This wine is a blinding success!”

Evesham Wood Cuvee J Pinot Noir Eola Amity Hills 2012 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Winery note
“Every Spring I still drag Russ into the caves to taste through our Le Puits Sec barrels to determine the Cuvée J blend. Named in honor of Henri Jayer, the legendary Burgundian winemaker that Russ modeled much of his winemaking after we intend it to be our top cuvée worthy of the longest cellaring and capturing the vintage. Again this year’s blend is 6 barrels selected from Le Puits Sec. Certainly the most closed of our 2012 special cuvées, it’s easy to see the layers and complexity that are packed in the glass. This will easily age for a decade plus. 150 cases produced. Certified organically grown.”

Atalon Pauline’s Cuvee Napa Valley Red 2010 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Atalon Pauline’s Cuvee Napa Valley Red 2010 750ML ($359.95)$199 case price special
Wine Enthusiast 93 points
“This Merlot-based blend is a huge success. It’s a big, tannic, tight wine, packed to bursting with black cherry liqueur, cola and spice flavors. Yet it maintains an exciting balance, with the tension between acids, tannins and oak in equilibrium. Seems like it wants 5-6 years in the cellar to let it throw some tannins and mellow.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is $28 / bottle.

Souverain North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($14.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Souverain North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($179.95) $119 case price special
Winemaker’s notes:
“Deep ruby-purple in color, this Cabernet boasts bright and vivid aromas of roasted vanilla, mocha and baking spices which meet elegant layers of blackberry and ripe cherry flavors. The full mouth feel is extracted and rich and framed by thick mouth coating tannins. The fully balanced fruit, tannins and acidity, lead to a juicy and lengthy finish.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA!

Dom Perignon Rose Brut 2003 750ML ($349.95) $219 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts in this harmonious version. A delicate bead caresses the mouth, while flavors of currant pâte de fruit, dried apricot, pastry and pickled ginger expand on the palate. Subtly floral, with a fine frame of acidity driving this to the mouthwatering finish of smoky mineral and dried fruit. Drink now through 2030.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2003 Dom Pérignon Rosé is another wine that has come together quite nicely over the last few months. Given the exuberance and sheer vinosity of the 2000 and the 2002, along with the ripeness of the year, and the heft of the 2003 Blanc, I expected the 2003 Rosé to be a much bigger wine. Instead, it is surprisingly delicate and medium in body. Dried flowers, crushed raspberries and sweet herbs waft from the glass in a Rosé that is all about sensuality. With time in the glass, the richness of the fruit becomes more pronounced, while the tannin from the red grapes is also noticeable.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is over 50% higher at $350 / bottle.

Pattes Loup Chablis Cotes de Jouan Premier Cru 2012 750ML ($44.95) $41.90 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“Thomas Pico’s 2012 Chablis Côtes de Jouan is soft, supple and hugely delicious to the core. Ripe apricot, peach, cinnamon and crushed rock blossom in a Chablis built on pure texture and resonance. Bright saline notes kick in the finish, adding a further layer of complexity to this striking Chablis. As always, the Côtes de Jouan is the most overt and forward of the wines at Pattes Loup. Thomas Pico’s preference for picking late comes through noticeably here.”
Wine Advocate 90-91+ points “Through vintage 2011, the wines were raised in older barriques, but beginning with 2012, Pico has introduced some new demi-muids crafted in France and Austria (from French oak). From barrel, the Pattes Loup 2012 Chablis Cotes de Jouan delivers a chalky, bright lemony, piquantly fruit pit-tinged performance that searches every recess of one-s palate, then leaves it feeling cleansed and invigoratingly scoured even as mineral, citric and cyanic notes deposit a long-lasting and mouthwatering residue. Look for a run of excitingly intense if potentially sparely-textured performances through at least 2020. ”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The next best listed price is $49.99 / bottle.

Henri Boillot Volnay 2010 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Burghound 90 points ‘OUTSTANDING TOP VALUE’
“This is more aromatically reserved with an elegant nose of red and dark pinot fruit, earth and an interesting note of smoked tea. There is even more refinement to the mouth feel of the lightly mineral-infused medium-bodied flavors that possess a dusty and rather serious finish of impeccable balance and persistence. This may be labeled as a villages but it’s easily of 1er quality.”

Lopez Heredia Rioja Bosconia Reserva 2003 750ml ($37.95) $26 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
“(80% tempranillo, 15% garnacha, 3% graciano and 2% mazuelo):  Medium red.  Ripe red fruit, flowers and spices on the nose, with a smoky nuance emerging with aeration; very fresh for this notoriously hot vintage.  Concentrated but not at all heavy, with intense red berry and floral pastille flavors and a deeper note of singed plum.  The finish is bright and high-pitched, with lingering cherry and raspberry flavors and a hint of candied licorice.”
Vinopolnotes– This is the lowest listed price in the USA! The average listed price is $37 / bottle.

Lopez Heredia Tondonia Reserva Rioja 2001 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2001 Vina Tondonia Reserva is bridled with a lovely nose of decayed red fruit, fireside hearth, a touch of mulberry and small red cherry. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, crisp red fruits (wild strawberry and cranberry) with a sharp, vibrant, tense, tannic finish that has immense precision. There is a slight saline note lingering in the mouth after the wine has (regretfully) departed…”

Montepeloso A Quo Suvereto 2011 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points
“Once again, Montepeloso’s entry-level A Quo is fabulous. I expected to find a rich, powerful wine given the year, instead the 2011 A Quo is fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. Hints of raspberry jam, rose petals and sweet spices literally jump from the glass. The 2011 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. This is a terrific showing from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto.”

Felsina Fontalloro Toscana IGT 2010 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special
Antonio Galloni 94+ points
“The 2010 Fontalloro (Sangiovese) is impeccable. A sweet, open bouquet melds into expressive red fruits. Compared to the 2010 Rancia, Fontalloro is a decidedly more delicate, feminine wine. All the elements are very nicely balanced. I expect the 2010 will enjoy a fairly broad window of drinkability. Today I give the 2010 a very slight nod over the 2009, only because I think the 2010 will age a little longer, but both are striking.”

Ca Del Baio Barbaresco DOCG Asili 2011 750ML ($59.95) $36.60 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2011 Barbaresco Asili captures the pedigree of this great site. Freshly cut flowers, sweet red berries, mint and cinnamon all resonate in an impeccable, silky Barbaresco loaded with class. A translucent, crystalline wine, the 2011 impresses for its balance and overall harmony. What a gorgeous wine this is.”

Emilio Moro Malleolus Ribera del Duero 2009 750ml ($49.95) $36 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
“Opaque purple.  A heady, complex bouquet evokes blackberry and blackcurrant liqueur, with suave oak spice and potpourri elements.  Sweet, broad and pliant, the  intense dark fruit flavors showing great power, richness and depth.  Very young but flat-out seductive, finishing on a sweet, sappy note of candied dark fruits, with lush, harmonious tannins.”

Just a reminder about our current shipping specials during this season:We offer flat rate shipping on any size single order / single shipment
-to Oregon for $17,
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California for $25

These rates do not apply to orders held in storage here for any reason.
Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment do not qualify for flat rate shipping.


Two Saints of Gigondas
Saint Damien & Saint Cosme

Gigondas is one of those special little appellations that lie within the Southern Rhone, never receiving too much attention and affectionately known as ‘the poor man’s Chateauneuf du Pape’. This leads to the opportunity of really investing in some wines of incredible value. The Rhone Valley receives much praise for the well-known appellations (Hermitage, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cornas etc…) that have been producing outstanding wines for many years, but with a price tag to go along with it. The village of Gigondas is located in the Dentelles de Montmirail Mountains and traces its roots back to the Romans. The Appellation d’Originie Controlèe granted the area at Cotes du Rhone Villages status in the early 1950’s, but by 1971 Gigondas was finally recognized as its own AOC designation.

With many vineyards cut out onto steep terraces in the mountains, the diversity of soils and the history involved (a combination from the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary periods) are a strong component that characteristically define this relatively tiny appellation. From the large alluvial terraces dating from the Mindelian era, to the sandy- clay soils which stretch up to the foot of the Dentelles, the soils of Gigondas range from marly-calcareous soils, to limestone sandy-silt, and heavy amounts of clay throughout. Today we are featuring what we consider to be two of the best producers coming out of this special appellation; Saint Damien and Saint Cosme.

Saint Damien

Saint Damien is a unique winery, located below the rocky hills of the Dentelles de Montmirail, in the heart of the Southern Rhone Valley. Four generations of winegrowers have worked in the family vineyards since 1821. The vineyard was renamed “Saint Damien” in 1979, in remembrance of an old chapel which used to stand near the wine cellars, honoring an early Christian saint, martyred in the year 287 A.D. Saint Damien has terraced vineyards with vines over 60 years old, with a focus on being deeply attached to the land and following the principles of integrated farming production since 1996 and have now received an Organic Agriculture certification in 2012.

The wines are primarily Grenache based with an average maximum of 80%, and the remainder being given to Mourvèdre and small amounts of Cinsault and Syrah. Temperature control, several weeks of maceration, and detailed fermentation management with pump-overs, all contribute to extracting flavor, structure, and vibrant colors. Every vintage is matured traditionally in oak barrels for 12 to 24 months, until the wine develops fine, silky tannins. There is never any fining or filtration involved, with the belief that such practices may strip the flavors and textures desired. These wines are full of beautiful fruit components, spice, richness, and an aging potential well beyond most Grenache based wines.

Saint Damien Wines- Available Here Now

St Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes 2011 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“While the Vieilles Vignes is a mix of estate plots, the 2011 Gigondas La Louisiane (80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre) comes from the La Louisiane lieu-dit located around the estate. Coming all from very old vines and offering up loads of crushed rock, licorice, ground pepper and herbs that are balanced by a sweet core of fruit, this knockout Gigondas has solid mid-palate depth, sweet tannin and a big finish. It too will have a decade of longevity. Drink now-2021.”

St Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes 2012 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 93-95 points
“Slightly richer and my favorite of the ‘12s, with full-bodied depth and richness, the 2012 Gigondas Louisiane delivers classic spice-box, licorice, herbs, ground pepper and sweet Grenache driven fruit in a seamless, sexy and textured package. It shows the purity of the vintage, yet has knockout richness and fruit. Drink it over the coming decade.”

St Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades 2012 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2012 Gigondas Souteyrades is a perfumed, elegant version of the cuvee and exhibits classic berry fruit, spice-box, licorice and wild herb aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, pure, layered and textured, with building richness and fine tannin, it should be reasonably approachable on release, yet age gracefully for 12-15 years.”

St Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 2011 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“Starting out, the 2011 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Mourvedre that spent 6 months in old foudre followed by a year in concrete tank. Its ruby/purple color is followed by a rich plum and kirsch driven-bouquet, with plenty of smoked meats, wild herbs, violets and spice-cake all emerging from the glass. A supple, heady and character filled Gigondas that has a knockout texture, notable freshness and a solid length, it should have a solid decade of longevity. Drink now-2021.”

St Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes 2012 750ml ($37.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“Looking at Saurel’s 2012s, the 2012 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a medium to full-bodied, awesomely textured effort that reveals loads of black raspberry, licorice and ground herbs. Already approachable, it nevertheless has fine tannin, beautiful mid-palate depth and impressive balance. It should impress for 10-12 years.”

Chateau Saint Cosme

The Saint Cosme estate is located in the heart of Gigondas in the Southern Rhone.  The Chateau at the center of estate was built in the 16th century over the remains of a Gallo-Roman era villa and is surrounded by 37 acres of old-vine vineyard land.  It is no surprise that the vines average an impressive 60 years in age, coming from an estate that was founded in 1490 and saw 14 successive generations of the Barruol family manage it.  The estate is in the middle of two geological faults, resulting in a wide variety of soil types.  The microclimate is quite cool for the region; grapes are usually harvested later than other estates in the area.

In 1995, Louis Barruol took over from his father and has maintained Saint Cosme as one of the most consistent producers of classic Gigondas, known for their powerful and rich wines with a striking elegance. He takes a very active role in managing the vineyards, personally overseeing pruning, ripening and harvests.  From the family-owned vineyards that line the foothills of the Dentelles-de-Montmirail mountains, Barruol produces a whole lineup of Gigondas wines, including several single-vineyard bottlings made from vines averaging 80 years age.  Le Claux and the Hominis Fides vineyards were first recognized in 1902 and are two of the most revered of Saint Cosme’s plots. Le Claux is celebrated for its old vines that produce tiny, concentrated yields with the most Burgundian character of finesse and complexity.  The Hominis Fides vineyard is composed of the oldest vines in the estate.  It is made of sandy limestone soil that the winemaker believes help contribute to the fine tannins in the Grenache, producing their “most deep and enigmatic wine.” Valbelle is a blend of several plots of Saint Cosme’s old-vine Grenache that is co-fermented with Syrah, a fusion of the Northern and Southern style Rhone wines that are produced at their estate.

Chateau Saint Cosme Gigondas – New Reviews from wine advocate

Chateau Saint Cosme Gigondas 2012 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“Another great traditional cuvee, the 2012 Gigondas shows the house style with its savory dark fruits, ground herbs, pepper and mineral-like bouquet. Medium to full-bodied, voluptuous and gorgeously textured, it can be drunk now or cellared for a decade.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Lovely bay leaf, pepper, lavender and tobacco notes impart texture and range as they wrap around a core of solid black currant and fig fruit.  Shows a grippy charcoal feel through the finish.  Very solid.  Best from 2015 through 2024.  835 cases imported.”

Chateau Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2012 Gigondas Hominis Fides has fleshed out beautifully since I tasted it from barrel last year. Much more finesse-oriented and elegant now, it boasts stunning crushed rock, dried underbrush, blackberry liqueur, pepper and creosote-like aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, layered and seamless, with ultra-fine tannin, enjoy this rock star effort over the coming 10-15 years.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Offers a dense core of black currant, fig and blackberry paste flavors, showing terrific cut and definition.  A bright chalky minerality runs underneath, with pepper, charcoal and bay leaf notes on the sleek finish.  Best from 2015 through 2028.  24 cases imported.”

Chateau Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“Probably my favorite of the single vineyard releases (although, truthfully, I find the quality among the three almost indistinguishable), the 2012 Gigondas Le Claux has beautiful minerality to go with notions of black fruits, smoked herbs, graphite and liquid violets. A big, full-bodied Gigondas, it never puts a foot wrong, has building, polished tannin and a blockbuster finish that stays focused. Give it a couple years and enjoy bottles through 2032”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This has a gorgeous beam of pomegranate, red currant and damson plum fruit, coiled tightly for now. A snap of red licorice adds lift before tangy sanguine, iron, pepper and bay leaf notes emerge on the finish. Exhibits terrific cut and length. Best from 2015 through 2025. 72 cases imported.”

Chateau Saint Cosme Gigondas Valbelle 2012 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“One of the more limited production releases, the 2012 Gigondas Cuvee Valbelle (which comes from a blend of terroirs) exhibits fabulous cassis, cocoa dusted meat, dried herbs, soy sauce and Asian spice-box-like aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, deep, concentrated and structured, it’s a powerhouse of a Gigondas that will have 15+ years of evolution.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “A broad, muscular style, with red and black currant paste flavors, bolstered by a graphite underpinning. Bittersweet cocoa, bay leaf and smoldering tobacco accents lurk in the background, adding extra bass to the finish. This offers loads of grip, but needs time to settle down.  Best from 2016 through 2030. 34 cases imported.”

Saint Cosme Wines- Also Available Here Now

Saint Cosme Chateauneuf Du Pape 2011 750ML ($69.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“A wine I missed getting into the first southern Rhone report (Issue 215), the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape showed brilliantly from bottle. Loaded with Provencal character, it has tons of garrigue, licorice, ground pepper and sweet dark fruit, full-bodied richness and a sexy, seamless profile. I don’t think it will be the longest lived Chateauneuf du Pape out there, but it will dish out plenty of pleasure over the coming 7-8 years at least.”

Saint Cosme Cote Rotie 2012 750ml ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“Another wine that shines for its purity and elegance is the 2012 Cote Rotie. Possessing a terrific perfume of crushed flowers, olive, smoke and pepper, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, no hard edges and a silky, almost sexy texture that keeps you coming back to the glass. Drink it over the coming decade.”
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points “(made from whole-cluster serine grown in the Cote Brune and aged in a 50/50 combination of new and one-year-old barriques):  Brilliant ruby.  Smoke-accented cassis and cherry-cola on the nose, with suave floral and Indian spice nuances adding an exotic touch.  Sweet dark berry preserve and violet pastille flavors show very good depth, with a peppery, spicy quality emerging with air.  In an elegant style, finishing smooth, sweet and very long.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Energetic, with white pepper and alder notes framing a core of racy red currant, blackberry and black cherry fruit. Hints of bay and iron line the back end, where everything streamlines together for a lengthy finish. Approachable now, but could expand with cellaring. Best from 2015 through 2025.”

Saint Cosme Saint Joseph 2012 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Warmed pain d’epices and moch notes lead the way, followed by melted black licorice, fig paste and macerated black currant fruit.  Dark and fleshy through the finish, with a lively anise element adding contrast and lift.  Best from 2015 through 2022.  125 cases imported.”
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points “(all serine):  Dark purple.  Vibrant black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by olive, violet, black tea and smoky minerals.  Juicy and precise on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering intense, mouthcoating cassis and blueberry flavors given spine by tangy acidity.  Shows excellent clarity on the sweet, seamless, very persistent finish.”

Staff Picks

Soos Creek Ciel du Cheval Vineyard 2011 ($39.95) $28 staff pick special
“This red blend (42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc) has loads of rich blueberry and blackberry notes, followed by hints of smoke and lead. Nicely balanced, and not over the top, with the alcohol at 14.1%. From a the Red Mountain AVA.”



Daniel Bouland Chiroubles 2012 ($29.95) $24 staff pick special
“An excellent representation of a traditional Chiroubles style with bing cherry, strawberry and smoky, mineral notes.  Coming from 60-year-old vines on sandy soils and undergoing a semi-carbonic maceration, this wine has a fresh, lively acidity and just enough tannin structure to really show some backbone.  Currently, we have three different Beaujolais Crus from this producer, the Cote de Brouilly and the Morgon being the other two.  Bouland is well known for his Morgon, but after trying all three, the Chiroubles truly stood out, being so incredibly balanced and showing more complexity.  This is a wonderful introduction if you’re interested in the Beaujolais Cru styles and can be enjoyed both for immediate consumption, while also showing great aging potential.   This Chiroubles drinks very well on its own, or would be great paired with cured meats or pepperoni pizza. Cheers!”



Quintarelli Primofiore Veneto IGT 2010 ($69.95) $59 staff pick special
“Quintarelli is a king of all things Veneto and this beautiful red is no exception. Primofiore, or “first flower” is the first wine produced from the estate every vintage. A blend of Corvina (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (50%), this wine is the only one that is not made using dried grapes or the ripasso method, but rather is a “first-press” from the vineyard that will eventually yield Quintarelli’s famed Amarone. Aromas of herb and red fruit are backed up by a glass full of cherries, raisins and a subtle spiciness. Firm tannins and bold, tangy acidity keep this medium-bodied wine interesting and complex. Given some air, this wine is surprisingly approachable now but could easily continue to age.”





Vin Santo
Wine of the Saints

Vin Santo (or “Holy Wine”) has been made since at least the Middle Ages and even to this day is a traditional part of Tuscan life. The origins of the name are disputed, but most agree it comes from the time when these wines were used for Holy Communion. Still produced widely today, this sweet wine is commonly offered as a welcoming drink to house guests, and are often consumed with almond-scented biscotti or biscuits. Finally recognized under DOC law in 1997, Vin santo is produced in various zones in Tuscany. In areas such as Chianti and Montepulciano, Vin Santo has its own DOC regulations, but other examples can be found in Umbria, Veneto, and Trentino.

Vin Santo is Tuscany’s style of ‘straw wine’, named because they are traditionally made from grapes left to dry out on straw mats after harvest. The mats are placed in the warmest, driest part of the winery so the grapes gradually raisin over the winter. This process concentrates the grapes’ natural sugars and thus the flavor of the wine they make. After the grapes have dried out (3–6 months), they are gently pressed and the must fermented. The wine is then left to age in small wooden barrels called caratelli. These caratelli are completely sealed and cannot be topped up to compensate for evaporation, resulting in a slight oxidation of the wine. This also contributes to the wine’s rich amber color, and although it is accepted as part of the vin santo style, some modern producers now use temperature-controlled environments to retain a certain freshness. Ageing lasts for a minimum of three years in caratelli, although some producers leave their wines for as long as ten years.

Vin Santo can be made from different grapes depending on the region it comes from. Chianti and Montepulciano are the most traditional, working with Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia, with the occasional use of Grechetto. In several DOCS, a distinct style of Vin Santo is also made; known as Occhio di Pernice, this Rose Vin Santo consists of at least 50% Sangiovese and is aged in barrel for a minimum of eight years.  In other areas like Trentino, less common varietals such as Nosiola are used. Amber-hued and viscous, typical vin santo offers aromas of apricots and orange blossom, followed by a caramel, nut and raisin-rich palate with a hint of honey and cream on the finish. A good Vin Santo is what Italians refer to as “vini da meditazioni” or a wine to contemplate with or meditate by. Sipping slowly and dipping biscotti into the sweet, nutty wines offered below, provides the perfect setting to do just that.

Vin Santo Available Here Now

Montellori Vin Santo Tuscany 2009 500ml ($29.95) $24 special
Winery notes
“This Vin Santo is 100% Trebbiano Toscana and it is made using the traditional method in Tuscany of drying the grapes then it goes through a five month fermentation in Caratelli (small barriques) and it is kept 4 years in new French oak before bottling. The wine has a wonderful aroma of roasted nuts, dates, figs and dried fruit with lots of wood spice.”

Pravis Vino Santo Trentino 2002 375ML ($49.95) $39 special
Known at the winery as the “Arele” cuvee, this dessert wine is 100% Nosiola, and labeled as Vin Santo, as the grapes are dried for several months on long grates at the estate and preserved in barrique barrels for 9 years.”

Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2003 375ml ($59.95) $49 special
Decanter Magazine
“High-toned nose, rich in dried fruit, marmalade and salted nut aromas. Utterly delicious; intense and crammed with flavour – raisins, figs, orange peel – but relatively light on its feet with cracking freshness.”

Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2004 375ml ($59.95) $49 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points
“Deep amber-yellow. Sexy, kaleidoscopic nose combines exotic tropical fruits, chestnut honey, raisin, dried fig, caramel and a musky iodine note. Then sharply delineated and penetrating on the palate in spite of its honeyed sweetness, with superb acidity giving spine to the dried fruit and ripe citrus flavors. This wonderfully vibrant yet thick and rich Vin Santo coats the mouth on the long, smooth finish. Great stuff.”

Avignonesi Vin Santo Di Montepulciano 2000 375ML ($249.95) $199 special
Winemaker’s notes
“Intense and full-bodied with a rich texture and an intriguingly sweet and spicy bouquet of candied citrus fruits, figs, honey and aromatic herbs. Sweet and intense, yet characterised by a fragrant acidity, this Vin Santo is unique in every way, feautring a never ending bouquet and a sensual taste. Suited for long refinement in the bottle, the Avignonesi Vin Santo can be kept for a long time, after the bottle has been opened, if properly closed and stored in the fridge.”

Avignonesi Occhio Di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano 1999 375ML ($349.95) $299 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“Compelling and complete, this leads off with an aroma of mint, featuring flavors of treacle, toffee, graham cracker and brown butter. Thick and mouthcoating, with a pleasant cloying sensation on the finish. A unique dessert wine. Drink now through 2025. 10 cases imported.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Highlight Almost Arrivals
Available Here Friday January 9th

Descendientes de Jose Palacios Pétalos del Bierzo 2012 ($21.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“One of my sure values, I thought the 2012 Pétalos could not be surpassed so I opened a bottle next to the 2012 Pétalos del Bierzo, and I was wrong. The 2012 is extremely aromatic, with flowery aromas of violets, lilies and roses, really fresh, with notes of red fruit (acid strawberries), no traces of oak whatsoever, subtle, really Burgundian with hints of blood oranges, denoting freshness. The medium-bodied palate is extremely balanced, elegant, round, with volume and incredible freshness. For a young, entry-level wine there is incredible complexity, developing notes of fennel and aromatic herbs, all of it very harmonious and subtle. For Ricardo there is a change to a cycle of Atlantic vintages (2012, 2013 and 2014 so far), but 2012 was a special vintage, shorter and dried, but at the same time fresh. This could very well be the best Pétalos ever, and I cannot recommend enough.”

Isole e Olena Cepparello 2011 ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points
“Aromas of currant, bark and orange peel. Nutmeg powder. Full body and chewy tannins. Savory, with balsamic and nuts. I love the juicy, decadent character to this. Drink or hold.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “Isole e Olena’s 2011 Cepparello is remarkably silky, polished and refined, especially considering the challenges of the vintage. Dark red stone fruits, wild flowers, menthol and sweet spices all meld together gracefully in the glass. Voluptuous and racy but also an impeccably balanced wine with phenomenal length and a super-expressive finish. The 2011 will offer a wide window of drinking pleasure pretty much upon release. Drink: 2017-2026.”Isole e Olena Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione De Marchi 2010 ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione De Marchi is magnificent. Violets, smoke, plums and cassis jump from the glass in a stunning wine. All I can say is the 2010 is incredible. Just bottled one month ago, the 2010 shows no hard edges, incredibly expressive aromatics and beautifully delineated fruit. The 2010 isn’t a huge wine, but rather one built on exceptional finesse and elegance.  It is one of the great wines of what has turned out to be a great Tuscan vintage.”