Monday, March 16th Newsletter 2020

In This Newsletter:

Subscriber Special
Francesco Rinaldi’s Classic Barolo

Il Poggione Rosso Special

Grapelive Reviews One of the Best in the Mosel

First Offer:
Jean Marc Millot’s Grand Crus

Stunning, Old School, ’16 Gigondas

Staff Pick

Trending Wines

Collector’s Corner:
Prime Burgundy Edition
Subscriber Special

Francesco Rinaldi’s Classic Barolo

The estate of Francesco Rinaldi crafts wines from the Piedmont that are everything we love—traditionally made and affordable.  These are wines that are the epitome of the Piedmont in an elegant, approachable style that blends the inherent power of Barolo (especially in a vintage like ’15) with a softer touch in extraction.

These thrilling wines are always priced very attractively, an amazing feat considering the history and renown of the estate.  They’re best known for their two cru bottlings, Cannubi and Brunate, which are from some of the most storied vineyards in all of Barolo, but don’t sleep on their Barolo normale.  All three wines are extremely ageworthy, but the 2015’s seem to show a bit more flesh and early drinkability than usual.

To put more of these in your cellars and on your tables, we’re dropping the prices on all three 2015 Francesco Rinaldi Barolos until we close for business on Wednesday.  This is a fantastic chance to buy some of the best classical 2015 Barolos at the best prices in the country.

2015 Francesco Rinaldi Special Pricing Ends Wednesday, March 18th at 6 PM Pacific

Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo Le Brunate, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) Was $59, Now $49 Subscriber Special, 26 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“Rinaldi’s 2015 Barolo Brunate is a powerful, dense wine. Hints of spice, licorice, leather, game and cherry develop with time in the glass. The power and intensity of the year are very much in evidence. But there is also a slightly roasted quality and an aggressiveness in the tannin that I am not used to seeing. Tasted three times with consistent notes.”
Importer Note “The two flagship bottlings at Francesco Rinaldi e Figli are the single cru Baroli, Brunate and Cannubi. Brunate is one of the greatest vineyards the Barolo region, lying on the border between La Morra and Barolo proper, with each village sharing the vineyard (though with the lion’s share lying within the village boundaries of La Morra). Wines from the Brunate vineyard are prized for their depth, power and brilliant balance, and the example from Francesco Rinaldi e Figli is one of the very greatest examples of Brunate made. In a great vintage it demands at least a decade to really begin to soften, and generally is not in full bloom until its twentieth birthday.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $69

Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Cannubio, Barolo DOCG 2015 750ML ($79.95) Was $66, Now $56 Subscriber Special, 20 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“Today the 2015 Barolo Cannubi is an elegant, classy wine. The Cannubi also seems to have handled the heat of the summer more gracefully than the Brunate. Silky and sensual, the 2015 is very attractive today. The aromatics are perhaps just a touch forward, but the 2015 makes up for that with its suave, inviting personality. Crushed flowers, mint, licorice and sweet berry fruit add to the wine’s charm. I wouldn’t push my luck on aging too much, but the 2015 is undeniably appealing.”
Decanter 93 points “The source of this very traditional wine is Rinaldi’s 2.2ha holding in Cannubi Boschis. It can be a very structured wine, but in 2015 there’s greater opulence than usual. Tasted from cask, it displays heady juicy raspberry aromas, discreet but perfumed. It’s concentrated on the palate but also fresh and silky, combining lush textures with tension and drive thanks to welcome acidity on the persistent finish. Drinking Window 2021 – 2038.”
Importer Note “The other single vineyard bottling is the Cannubi, which is made from the single greatest vineyard in the village of Barolo, as well as one of the most famous individual crus in the entire region. Cannubi was the first vineyard name to be famous in the Barolo region, and to this day a bottle of 1752 Cannubi is still treasured by the wine-producing family of Manzone, and is considered the oldest, extant bottle of Barolo still in existence. The vineyard is most famous for the fabulously perfumed wines that it produces, for Cannubi is not the most powerful cru in Barolo, and much like Romanée-Conti in Burgundy, it is cherished for the fabulously complex aromatics and round, suave palate impression that it provides when fully mature. This is not to say that Luciano and Paula Rinaldi’s Cannubi is a delicate wine, for it is a deep, intensely-flavored and concentrated Barolo of great pedigree and elegance- once it is fully mature. Like the Rinaldi Brunate bottling, eight to ten years is required in top vintages, and the wine is really at its blazing best at age fifteen to twenty.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $72

Francesco Rinaldi & Figli Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($59.95) Was $47, Now $44 Subscriber Special, 28 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“The 2015 Barolo is gracious, airy and light on its feet. Sweet tobacco, cedar, dried cherry, spice and licorice are all nicely lifted in a sensual, open-knit Barolo that will drink well right out of the gate. All the elements fall into place effortlessly. Rinaldi’s straight Barolo is a terrific wine in its peer group.”
Importer Note “Francesco Rinaldi e Figli makes two non-cru denominated bottlings, one of Barbaresco and one of Barolo, made from a blend of different parcels. The Barolo is made from vineyards in the towns of Barolo, Castiglione Faletto and La Morra…the standard Barolo bottling is aged for three years in large cask before it is bottled and made available for sale. Both wines are built for aging, and typically will be at their best from six to ten years out from the vintage. Like all of the wines from Giuseppe and Paola Rinaldi, they are beautiful, classic expressions of their underlying terroirs, with well-integrated tannins, tangy acids and beautiful complexity and balance. Both improve immeasurably if decanted an hour prior to serving.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $54

2015 Francesco Rinaldi Special Pricing Ends Wednesday, March 18th at 6 PM Pacific

Shop our complete list of eleven in-stock wines from Francesco Rinaldi on our webstore!

Il Poggione Rosso Special

Il Poggione is best known as one of the best producers of Brunello out there—a verified legend in Tuscany, making some of the best bottles in Montalcino.  What most people don’t know, though, is they make a baby-Super-Tuscan and it’s an absolute stellar value.  A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet, this is one of the best pizza/pasta night wines we’ve seen in a while.

What takes the wine from a good to a great value is our price on it.  We’re able to offer you this wine for $14 even and under $12.50/bottle by the case.  Either price is the lowest in the country.  You’re going to want to stock up by the case, because once we run out, the price does too.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Il Poggione Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($24.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Il Poggione Rosso Toscana IGT, Tuscany2017 750ML ($299.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Winery Note
“A younger, more fruity wine, it is produced from Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet grapes. After the fermentation it ages in large French oak barrels and barriques. The winemaking and the combination of these three varieties, make this wine soft and ideal for the everyday enjoyment. Ruby red in colour; on the nose it is intense, with notes of red fruit, sweet spices and vanilla. On the palate it is soft and with a good and pleasant acidity. A wine for every meal, ideal with white meats, pasta and medium strength cheeses, and even a casual pizza.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $15.69
The average price is $17

Looking for other great deals on Il Poggione wines? Check out our stellar prices on their 2012 and 2013 Brunello and 2012 Brunello Riserva:

In Stock Now:

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($89.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Il Poggione is a Brunello superstar and a vintage like this reveals every reason why that affirmation is true. From the second the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino pours into the glass, you know you are in for something special. The wine is darkly saturated and rich in appearance. Absent are those slightly amber or browning hues you often get with Sangiovese in a hot vintage. Nor does the wine show flat or tired characteristics. Instead, the quality of fruit is vibrant and rich. This is a healthy, generous and exuberant Brunello with dark density and succulent fruit flavors that are followed by integrated spice and tobacco. The balance is impressive and one thing you get here is fresh acidity. This is not to be underestimated, because the acidity quota in the 2012 vintage across the appellation is not as high or evident as usual. This is one of the year’s best Brunellos.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $64.99
The average price is $79

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($89.95) $61.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino lives up to the impeccable reputation garnered by this estate over the years. This is a profound and beautifully rendered Sangiovese that delivers bold and luscious fruit quality with black cherry and spicy plum at the start. The bouquet follows through with mild oak notes of smoke, tar and toasted nut. There is another aromatic component that includes crushed stone and dried herb or mint. This Brunello shows elegant evolution in the glass and promises a very long aging future ahead. Some 200,000 bottles were made, so it should be easy to locate this excellent wine.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 95 points “Bright red. Pure, refined red cherry and wild strawberry aromas and flavors complicated by sweet spices and aromatic herbs. Deep and multilayered, the wine boasts polished tannins and a harmonious acid spine that lifts and extends the red fruit on the long, suave finish. An essence of Sant’Angelo in Colle with bigger body and palate weight than, for example, the Brunellos of Montosoli, but still sleek and refined as the best wines of Sant’Angelo in Colle can be. The cool-climate-styled 2013 vintage is precisely the type of year in which Il Poggione excels: this lovely, focused wine is the best classico Brunello from Il Poggione in years. Superb.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $77

Il Poggione Vigna Paganelli, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012 750ML ($129.95) $79 special, 36 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points “Rather sweet due to the super ripe vintage. But there’s also great subtlety, enormous depth and a ton of tannin behind the opulence. The super long finish is incredibly focused. Try to wait until at least 2020. This stunning Brunello has decades of life ahead of it.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Here’s a beautifully rich and succulent Brunello that drinks very nicely straight out of the gate. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli delivers a warm, inviting and velvety presentation. This bold wine is redolent of black cherry and dried blackberry with sweet almond, toasted spice and balsam herb on the long finish. What stands out most, however, is the wine’s rich texture that floods the mouth from front to back. That richness is fueled by the warmth of the vintage but also by the magnificent oak integration. This Riserva is aged in botti grandi for four long years. Bottle production is 45,000 strong.-ML”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Big, but polished, this full-bodied wine offers subtle, alluring aromas of baked plum, fragrant blue flower and pipe tobacco. The succulent, chewy palate brings juicy Morello cherry, raspberry jam and licorice tones framed in firm, velvety tannins. Drink 2020–2030.-Kerin O’Keefe”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $112

March Shipping Special

Free Oregon Ground Shipping on Orders of $120 or More!

Looking for wine but want to stay in your house? Look no further than our shipping department. We’ve always featured great shipping rates (look no further than our $25 California flat rate), but given the current epidemiological climate we’re stepping up our game for our local customers.

For the rest of March, we’re offering free shipping within Oregon on any order of $120 or more that ships this month.  Just select “March Oregon Shipping Special” as your shipping method when you check out in our webstore or give us a call.  Keep your social distance and stock up!  After all, you’re going to need it now more than ever.

March 2020 Oregon Shipping Special is only valid on orders of $120 or more (not including shipping) shipped within Oregon during the month of March 2020. If your order is below $120, not including shipping, than standard Oregon shipping charges will apply. Any items, whether in stock or pre-arrival, that are not shipped before the end of March 2020 will be held for pick up or assessed shipping charges if shipped. Offer not valid on prior orders. Delivery is by UPS and is typically next business day. As with all shipments of alcohol, an adult signature is required for delivery.

Grapelive Reviews One of the Best in the Mosel

Arriving ETA March:

“a profound experience” -Kerry Winslow, Grapelive
Weingut Carl Loewen ‘1896’ Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg Alte Reben Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Grapelive 95 points
“The fantastic Old Vine Trocken from Christopher Loewen is a great way to celebrate Riesling’s birthday…especially well honored by this wine that comes from Germany’s oldest known Riesling vines dating back, to as the label and name suggest, 1896! This particular bottling is Loewen’s alternative top dry Riesling, labeled Alte Reben instead of Grosses Gewachs or a GG, it is a secondary special selection from this Grand Cru site…The dry 2018 Alte Reben Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg is a striking and crisply focused Riesling with classic slate soil influence showing intense minerallity along with brisk citrusy fruit with layers lime, tangerine, white peach, quince along with hints of kumquat, green apple, pineapple fruits as well as flinty wet shale (stoniness), chamomile, saline, verbena and white flowers. This is a wonderfully complex and thrilling Riesling that expands on the medium bodied palate with gripping extract and the sensation of textural grace making for a profound experience!  The Maximiner Herrenberg vineyard was originally planted in 1896, and is now farmed by Loewen using organic methods and carefully sorted….Using modern natural methods in the cellar, the grapes are all whole cluster pressed, and Loewen is careful not to move the pomace so to not get bettering phenolic flavors…Loewen’s ferments are “Sponti” completely natural without addition of enzymes or nutrition, with these single vineyard wines, Christopher notes, being individually block picked with the juice going directly into classic Fuder barrels (or oak casks around 1000L in size) which average 25 years old to age. While the GG’s are awesome, especially the sister Herrenberg version, and Loewen’s majestic Ritch, there are two wines that you don’t want to miss, the 1986 Feinherb, one of the most sought after cult wines in the Mosel and this Alte Reben (Old Vine) Maximiner Herrenberg Trocken, both from the VDP Grand Cru (Grosse Lage) vines, these are exotic beauties that deserve your attention and a space in your collection! Happy Birthday Riesling! Loewen is quickly becoming a name on Riesling lovers lips, he is an outstanding talent and his collection of 2018 wines are stunning.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $49.50

Don’t forget, we have the “big brother” of the Trocken, the 1896 Feinherb, arriving later this month as well:

Weingut Carl Loewen ‘1896’ Riesling Feinherb (Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg), Mosel 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Grapelive 97+ points
“One of the wine world’s great unicorn wines, the Carl Loewen 1896 Feinherb is from the oldest Riesling vines in Germany and from a Grand Cru steep Mosel vineyard that transmit absolute purity of terroir. There may not be a more authentic and pleasing Riesling than this, especially in a vintage such as 2018… Since the first time I tried this wine, I knew it was something extraordinary and special. It is brave example of letting a wine make itself, with vigneron Christopher Loewen picking the grapes at perfect ripeness and allowing the fermentation to go as nature demands, which in this case comes in just above (outside) the legal limit to be called a Trocken… The glorious detail and layers in this 2018 Maximin Herrenberg 1896 are mesmerizing with flinty/smoking mineral leading the way on the nose before lime blossom, rose petal and white orchard (stone) fruits lift from the glass. The revelation is on the medium bodied palate with its incredible play between hedonistic pleasures and chiseled and steely precision with layers of vivid citrus, apricot, delicate tropical notes and white cherry fruits as well as spiced/crystalized ginger, wet shale, citron and saline, where all these flavors combine and flow with a graceful crispness and a (light residual sugar) lingering creaminess. This 1896 Feinerb, dressed up in its special label and dark red wax capsule, is a profound example of Riesling and one of the absolute best, one of the top wines I’ve tasted this year.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $92.99

First Offer

Jean Marc Millot’s Grand Crus

(and Some That Should Be)

At this point, it’s amazing that there are hidden gems left to discover in Burgundy.  No other region in the wine world is as scrutinized, and the market is generally efficient and ruthless in finding quality.  That a producer like Jean Marc Millot could somehow escape widespread attention until the last few years boggles the mind, especially when given the quality of his holdings.

This is a domaine making excellent wines from very old vines in some of the best vineyards in France.  They own parcels in the Grand Crus of Echezeaux, Grands-Echezeaux and Clos Vougeot—and their only premier cru wine is from Suchots, which is easily Grand Cru in quality (and location).  Most wineries would kill to be able to make any one of those Grand Crus—to produce all three is a luxury that few have.

To produce these vineyards at this quality? Well, it’s only a matter of time before Millot blows up.  These are fantastic bottles of Burgundy, with loads of Vosne character and finessed, pure personalities.  Lovers of Burgundy, you won’t see verticals of these wines available often, so grab them while you can.

See the complete list below or shop on our webstore!

Arriving ETA Late March:


Stunning, Old School, ’16 Gigondas

2016 is widely considered the Southern Rhone’s finest on record. Cool nights produced reds with a level of freshness that is rare in Gigondas, and unheard of when paired with the ripeness achieved that year. This was truly a Goldilocks year.  We’ve been buying everything we can get our hands on from quality producers—the wines are stunning and no-brainers at the table.

Clos du Joncuas is an estate that is just starting to garner the attention it deserves—making it the perfect time to stock up. This can be attributed to the fact that Clos du Joncuas, unlike many of its neighbors, didn’t spend the past thirty years chasing scores with overly modern winemaking practices. Instead, it focused on improvements (like going organic in 1980) that have only recently come into vogue. 

This is authentic old-school Gigondas.  A vintage like 2016 gives a bit more polish to the wine, rounding it out enough to give it widespread appeal, but there’s nothing forced or artificial about this bottling.  The new (high scoring) vintage is in stock, and at under $30/btl by the case, it’s still reasonably priced enough to stock up on.

In Stock Now:

Clos du Joncuas Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Clos du Joncuas Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Vibrant ruby. Smoke-accented cherry and red berries on the highly perfumed nose, which takes on sexy incense and baking spice nuances with air. Smooth, concentrated and appealingly sweet, offering mineral- and spice-accented boysenberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors and a spicy touch of cracked pepper. Finishes silky, sweet and impressively long, with harmonious tannins and lingering spiciness.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Gigondas is a blend of 80% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre and Cinsault. It’s full-bodied, plush in texture and maybe even a bit warm, but this big and balanced wine offers plenty of black cherry fruit and hints of cinnamon and allspice. Velvety and long on the finish, it should drink well for 6-7 years.”
Decanter 93 points “Pure stewed damsons on the nose, really enlivening, with some wild strawberry within. The palate is medium-bodied, with gentle, textural wet-clay tannins and vibrant damson acidity. Drinkable, svelte and very well put together and in good balance.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Staff Pick

Henri Prudhon continues to make some of the most overlooked, yet truly special, wines in Burgundy.  The whites are becoming better known, but their Pinot Noirs are some of my favorite bottles to drink, especially for the prices asked.  To be fair, these are not crowd-pleasing bottles of Burgundy.  Even on the red side, these are wines for lovers of lean, mineral wines.  That said, if you value minerality and aromatics over fruit and finesse over power in your Burgs, you ought to be adding these to your cellar in bulk.

St. Aubin is (like Chassagne) underrated as a red wine terroir. Ironically, much of the village has clay-heavy soils that are much better suited to Pinot than Chard. Producers like Prudhon have made exceptional wines of both colors for generations.  We have a broad assortment of their 2015’s in stock now—a perfect vintage to get a feel for the estate.  St. Aubin remains a cool climate and the wines really show well in slightly warmer years.

By most standards, these are still elegant, finessed wines, even if they are bigger than is usual from the house.  I’m highlighting two wines today as my official staff picks (though you should absolutely explore the full range, red and white, from Prudhon) the drink-now Frionnes and the cellar-worthy Sur le Sentier du Clou.  Both are premier cru vineyards that show off the house style to great effect, with pale colors and beautiful aromatics.  They’re perfect red wines to drink with lighter fare—I’m especially partial to these wines with lentils and a poached egg or some smoked or grilled salmon.

In Stock Now:

Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Frionnes Rouge, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Henri Prudhon & Fils Les Frionnes Rouge, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($479.95) $389 special (that’s only $32.42/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note
“The Prudhons own a solid hectare of vines between 30 and 60 years of age in this premier cru that lies just to the north of “Les Perrieres.” In keeping with the Prudhon house style, “Frionnes” emphasizes the freshness and raciness of Saint-Aubin—there is virtually no new oak used in its elevage, and there’s a certain restraint and brightness to the fruit that feels self-assured and very terroir-loyal.”
Burghound “A spicy and again attractively fresh nose offers up notes of red currant, black raspberry and a hint of violet. The mouth feel of the medium-bodied flavors is also sappy and round with reasonably good vibrancy to the naturally sweet finale. This should be enjoyable young if that’s your preference.”

Henri Prudhon & Fils Sur le Sentier du Clou Rouge Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Burghound 89-91 points
“This possesses the most elegant and perhaps even the most complex nose in the range with its layered assortment of red and black cherry, plum, violet and freshly turned earth scents. The fine complexity continues onto the solidly concentrated and more obviously mineral-inflected flavors that possess a relatively sophisticated mouth feel while concluding in a balanced and lingering finish. This is really quite good and worth considering.”
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note “This wine is from some of the oldest vines in the estate, planted between 40 and 80 years ago (as of 2011). The parcel is about 1.5 hectare in size and sits on a hillside between Saint Aubin and Gamay with an east-southeast exposure. There is an elevage of 15 to 18 months (with very little new oak used). Perhaps the most serious and complex of the red wines of the domaine with a character dominated by red fruits and spices supported by substantial backbone.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $37.99

Looking for more wines from the Prudhon family?

Check out all twenty-one different bottlings (in stock and arriving this month) available in our online store.

Trending Wines

Under $30 Barolo? Fuggeddaboutit.  Unless it’s Veglio, in which case, don’t.
Veglio Michelino & Figlio Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($39.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 92 points
“Some swanky, glossy oak adds toffee aromas to the ripe red cherries. Plenty of vanilla here, too. The palate delivers a fullish and round impression with plenty of oak again in the mix. Praline and ripe red cherries in abundance here. Try from 2022.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

The ’16 vintage continues to overdeliver across Tuscany.  This wine is rocking.
Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points
“Shows raspberries, pepper and black olives. Medium to full body, round tannins and a fresh, crisp finish. Linear and bright. Classic style. Drink now.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Rich and supple, laced with black currant, black cherry, violet and earth notes. Vibrant, firming up as the fruit-stained aftertaste lingers. Best from 2020 through 2033. 6,000 cases made, 300 cases imported.”

A perfect bistro wine for when you have a roast chicken and can’t leave the house.
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 750ML ($359.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 1.5L ($59.95) $49 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Importer Note
“When Charles Joguet took over the family vineyards in 1957, he set out to do something that was unheard of in the Loire Valley. Rather than blending all the fruit from his varied parcels, he opted for a more Burgundian approach and began vinifying each individually, highlighting Chinon’s diversity of soils and exposures and playing with the nuances of vine age to propose a gamut of different wines of unique character. It is in this spirit that the domaine’s current vigneron, Kevin Fontaine, crafts the cuvée Les Petites Roches, named for the estate’s gravelly terroirs. Given light treatment in the cellar, this wine shows off Cabernet in its most delicate, charming form, rife with aromas of roses, damp earth, and little red berries, along with a gentle tannin holding it all together. This classic representation of Cabernet Franc from Chinon can be enjoyed over the next five or so years with roast chicken, pork chops, or game.”

The average price is $23

You can tell there was a Sommelier exam in Portland when this is trending.
Weingut Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienburg Raffes Riesling, Mosel 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“This is my second rating of the 2013 Riesling Raffes, almost one year after I tasted it for the first time. The wine shows a good fruit intensity and ripeness today (oranges), along with nice and pure slate-like flavors. Rich, pure and juicy on the palate, this is a full-bodied Riesling with a juicy texture and a very sensual sweetness, but only 12.5% alcohol. The acidity is really piquant here and you might think it’s like a dry Auslese with a higher degree of sweetness. The finish is enormous and very promising. Don’t drink this wine too soon.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Dutton Ranch Russian River Chardonnay for under $15/btl by the case?  Sold!
The Calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2018 750ML ($34.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 The Calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley 2018 750ML ($379.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Winery Note
 “Inviting notes of honeysuckle, white rose, lemon meringue and baked brioche on the nose. Balanced yet with crisp acidity on the palate with flavors of ripe Asian pear, melon and Meyer lemon with a lingering, elegant finish. Dutton Ranch is composed of 1,100 acres of premium Sonoma County vineyards planted on coveted Goldridge sandy loam soil. Fruit for this vintage was sourced from several locations within Dutton Ranch’s Russian River Valley vineyards. Plots in the warmer end of the valley contributed ripe tropical elements, while those from cooler areas lent minerality and a structural backbone.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $31

Portugal remains one of the best sources for value in big, bold reds.
Quinta do Vale das Escadinhas ‘Quinta da Falorca’ Reserva, Dao 2011 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2011 Reserva Quinta Da Falorca Lagar is a blend of Touriga Nacional (70%), Alfrocheiro (15%) and Tinta Roriz (15)%, aged for 18 months in new French oak. On opening, this didn’t seem anywhere near as silky as the Touriga Nacional, also reviewed. On the second day, if anything, it was more so, very Burgundian and very graceful, but also more powerful, with a bit more astringency on the finish. There are expressive fruit flavors around the edges, but, as with the Touriga, this is unevolved and needs time despite its late release. It is potentially a big winner, but I liked the Touriga slightly better just now. That could easily change.”

The flagship estate of Gigondas continues to over-deliver and y’all continue to love it.
Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2017 750ML ($599.95) $419 special (that’s only $34.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Grapelive 96 points
“Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas is one of the most iconic Rhone wines. [It’s] certainly one of the greatest in terms of quality and value and one of my absolutely favorite wines. Almost nothing comes close in terms of drinking pleasure for the money, and this 2017 is just awesome, beautifully lush and richly textured, but with fine balance, spiciness and serious palate impact. As noted in my long history of reviews, the Chateau de Saint Cosme estate is located north to the village of Gigondas and is one of the oldest wineries in the region. It stands on an ancient Gallo-Roman villa which very probably already had its own vineyards. Records show that it was founded at least as far back as 1416 with Barruol’s family buying the famous site in 1570. Set in a slightly cooler zone of the appellation, Saint Cosme’s vines are on mainly the classic limestone marl and Miocene sandy soils, all wonderfully situated to produce profound wines, which this year’s Gigondas is, no question. There’s plenty of stuffing and structure, making for a wine with instant gratification, but that can age a long time in the cellar… Cha^teau de Saint Cosme 2017 Gigondas  was made using about 70% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 15% Mourve`dre and 1% Cinsault. Brilliant in detailing, this vintage has an underlying beauty and perfume, while still being dense and powerful. It’s a thrilling whole cluster version, which adds more dimension and a sultry earthiness that sets against the deep fruit perfectly… this wine blows away many Chateauneuf du Pape(s) that sell for two or three times the price. Layered with a core of vinous black fruits, this Saint Cosme Gigondas shows boysenberry, creme de cassis, dark plum, pomegranate and misson figs along with violets, cinnamon, dried lavender plus a touch of bitter chocolate, leather, cedar and black licorice. The inky purple-hued 2017 edition, pretty much as per normal was aged for twelve months, getting about 20% in new oak, which I believe are puncheons, with close to 50% of the wine resting in casks used for 1 to 4 fills and 30% in concrete vat, giving it a well-rounded mouth feel and exceptional purity. Barruol’s wines are always hedonistic and authentic in style. They and in particular this one never disappoint, especially with hearty cuisine. I suggest that you don’t miss this vintage!
Wine Spectator 93 points “($60)This offers a mix of dark cherry, currant and blackberry compote flavors, scored liberally with singed alder, dried sage and warm earth accents through the finish. A flash of chestnut at the very end keeps this in the old-school camp. Solid for the vintage. Best from 2022 through 2035.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “The 2017 Gigondas is another terrific vintage for this cuvée, and it’s a quintessential expression of Saint Cosme. Ground herbs, graphite, gunpowder, pepper, black raspberries, and cassis all emerge from this full-bodied, ripe, polished Gigondas. With solid concentration, building yet ripe tannins, and a great finish, you’ll be thrilled to have a case in the cellar.”

Collector’s Corner

Prime Burgundy Edition

A gem of a wine, with extra power in this vintage but bright and ringing.
Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($799.95) $699 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points
“An appealing mix of lemon cake, peach, citronella, floral and stone flavors, this white is light-footed, yet intense and luminescent. Beautifully integrated acidity drives the long finish, where elements of mineral, citrus and spice linger. Best from 2020 to 2032.”
Burghound 93-95 points “Don’t Miss! A pungent and more expressive nose offers up a broad assortment of aromas that include notes of matchstick, white orchard fruit and in particular white peach, exotic tea and plenty of citrus nuances. The mouth feel of the big-bodied flavors is notably more refined than usual yet the underlying power of a fine Bâtard is certainly present and especially so on the hugely long, firm and built-to-age finish. In a word, impressive.”

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The average price is $739

It’s DRC from a great vintage—those don’t come around very often.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru 2002 750ML ($4,199.95) $3,799 special, 1 bottle in stock now
[Back label significantly stained]
Wine Spectator 95 points
“The most forward of the ’02s in both barrel and bottle, this floral- and cherry-scented red verges on opulent, yet remains fresh, pure and succulent. There’s a more decadent feel to this Richebourg.–Non-blind 2002 DRC tasting (February 2005). Best from 2014 through 2032.”
Burghound 95 points “(fashioned with <70% whole clusters). I had not tried the ’02 Riche in several years so it was interesting to see how it’s progressing. The expressive though very cool nose is finally beginning to display the initial hints of maturity with the classic dried rose petal and spice nuances adding both elegance and breadth to the pretty mix of red fruit and plum scents. There is a beguiling mouth feel to the intensely mineral-driven broad-shouldered flavors that are at once powerful but sleek, all wrapped in a muscular and palate staining finish. The refined palate impression is considerably enhanced by the dense but extremely fine tannins, in fact so much so that while this is still very clearly on the way up it could actually be drunk now with pleasure. That said I would still strongly advise holding this strikingly pretty effort for another 6 to 10 years first. I should note that while I have had relatively consistent notes over the years, occasionally I land on a bottle that seems herbaceous and almost vegetal; why this variation occurs isn’t clear but nonetheless it does happen.”

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There’s no one like Dugat-Py, especially in a warm year like 2009.
Domaine Dugat-Py Pommard La Levriere Vieilles Vignes 2009 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Burghound 89-92 points
“A very ripe nose features nose of plum, cassis and warm earth aromas that lead to rich, full-bodied and very serious big-bodied flavors that possess excellent mid-palate concentration and a sappy, long and mouth coating finish. This is an exceptionally good villages.”

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“a wine of indisputable class” – Burghound
Sylvain Cathiard Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($2,799.95) $2,499 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Burghound 94-97 points
“A dazzlingly complex, perfumed and pure nose reveals a bit of wood influence yet remains strikingly elegant with its superb scope of spicy red berry fruit aromas that are followed by ripe, seductive and beautifully intense flavors that display marvelous depth and perfect balance on the sappy and naturally sweet finish of monumental length. This is a wine of indisputable class and a model of grace and understatement that should age effortlessly for 20 to 30 years.”

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Dujac’s Clos de la Roche always competes for the title of the best wine of the Cote de Nuits.
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($699.95) $579 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Jasper Morris, MW 95-97 points
“A satisfactory yield approaching 45 hl/ha. Medium deep purple. Refined, reserved and really classy. Do not expect an explosion from Clos de la Roche but do expect something to make a long term classic. The balance on the palate is exquisite and subtly nuanced, as always it is a drier style but the fruit is infused throughout. Exceptional persistence. Magical. (Jan 2018)” 
John Gilman 95 points “The 2016 Clos de la Roche from the Seysses family was really singing at the time of my visit. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a refined blend of red plums, cherries, gamebird, a touch of fresh nutmeg, superb soil tones and a deft base of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very elegant out of the blocks this year, with a sappy core of fruit, outstanding backend soil signature, ripe, suave tannins and a long, complex and tangy finish. I love the balance and breed this exudes this year. 2030-2075. (Nov/Dec 2017)” 
Stephen Tanzer 93-96 points “(the estate made a full crop of 40 hectoliters per hectare, as there was no frost here): Full, dark red. Captivating aromas of raspberry, strawberry, spices, flowers and sweet new oak. Juicy, intense and aromatic on the palate–youthfully imploded in a positive way. Projects compelling energy and subtle sweetness to its red berry and spice flavors. Finishes very long and tight, with an exhilarating wild berry element. A knockout sharply delineated Clos de la Roche that offers terrific intensity without any sense of weight.”

The best wine from Gevrey-Chambertin? This prestige cuvee from Faiveley ticks all the boxes.
Domaine Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Beze Les Ouvrees Rodin Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,199 special, 3 bottles in stock now
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 97 points
“The 2016 Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru Les Ouvrées Rodin is showing brilliantly from bottle, unfurling in the glass with a rich bouquet of cassis, cherries, red berries, grilled game, licorice, spices and smoky new oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and expansive, with a deep and intense core of sapid fruit that cloaks its satiny but abundant structuring tannins, underpinned by succulent acids and concluding with a seriously long, penetrating finish. This special cuvée hails from a parcel of vines planted in 1966 on the Chambertin side of Clos de Bèze, and its name commemorates a Faiveley family connection with the sculptor Rodin.”
Stephen Tanzer 95-98 points “(like the “regular” Clos de Bèze, this special cuvée from 60+-year-old vines on the Chambertin side of the cru was totally destemmed): Dark red-ruby. Less expressive but slightly riper aromas of purple and black fruits and pungent spices. Then utterly seamless and suave on the palate, offering a lacy, feminine texture with great energy and sophistication. The penetrating red berry and white pepper flavors are amplified by the wine’s mineral underpinning. The endless rising finish combines serious power and refined tannins. Ultimately a bit less expressive and tight-grained than the classic Clos de Bèze but this is even deeper.”
Burghound 94-97 points “(a selection of the oldest vines in one of their 3 parcels). This is aromatically similar to the regular cuvée save for being even spicier and displaying a bit more wood influence. There is almost painful intensity to the super-sleek big-bodied flavors that possess a positively gorgeous mouthfeel due to a mid-palate that brims with sappy dry extract that coats the mouth on the hugely long and impeccably well-balanced finale. While this may change given that these are barrel samples but based on the two that I tasted, this is actually slightly less structured though I emphasize slightly. Either way, this is a seriously impressive effort that should age effortlessly. (94-97)/2034+.”

Thank you for reading!