Monday Newsletter 10-28-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Ends Tonight!
Charles Heidsieck:
Weekend Subscriber Special

Il Seggio- Restocked!

Staff Pick
A Willamette Valley Pinot Classic

Trending Wines

Jean-Claude Boisset:
Best Value in Burgundy

New Arrivals

The Quietly Radical Wines of Bruno Cormerais

Donnhoff’s Stellar 2018 GG’s

Charles Heidsieck:

Weekend Subscriber Special

Ends Tonight: Monday, September 28th at 6 PM

We’ve got a price on Charles Heidsieck’s Brut Reserve that’s so good, we can’t list it online.  This is a fantastic, NV Champagne from a truly classic Grande Marque house that’s a great deal at our normal (quite good) price of $49—but for $10 less you’re going to want to stock up.  This $39 per bottle price is valid for you (email subscribers) only and won’t display in our web store, but we’ll manually adjust pricing before we run your credit card.  You can also call or email to place an order—but these are first come, first served and stock is limited and this price is only valid until we close for business on Monday.

Charles Heidsieck is one of the great, historic houses of Champagne, but because of their small size they tend to be overlooked.  They make wines that are notable for their filigree and elegance, incorporating long aging on the lees and significant amounts (40+%) of older (reserve) wines in their NV blends.  Based on the quality in the bottle and the age required to get there, you’d expect these wines to be 25-40% more expensive than they are.

Subscriber Special Price Will Not Display Online
We Will Adjust Your Price Before Finalizing Your Order
Subscriber Special Price Valid Until 6 PM Monday 10/28/19 , or Sold Out

Arriving ETA Mid-November:

Charles Heidsieck Brut, Champagne 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Subscriber Special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92+ points
“Based on the 2014 vintage, complemented by fully 40% old reserve wines, the new release of Charles Heidsieck’s NV Brut Réserve was disgorged earlier this year. It’s showing very well, opening up in the glass with notes of green apple, dried white flowers, pear, candied peel and walnuts. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with a textural attack and a racier, tighter-knit core than either the 2012- or 2010-base renditions, displaying good concentration and underlying richness. This is a bottling that continues to punch above its weight and which both merits and rewards a few years in the cellar before opening.”

Subscriber Special Price Will Not Display Online
We Will Adjust Your Price Before Finalizing Your Order
Subscriber Special Price Valid Until 6 PM Monday 10/28/19 , or Sold Out

Love Champagne?

Don’t miss our offer on 2008 La Grande Dame!

Veuve Clicquot’s Top Wine in a Top Vintage

“To me, [2008] is one of the best of the last 20 to 30 years”
– Dominique Demarville, Chef de Cave
of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardan

The 2008 La Grande Dame looks to be a classic, and lovers of the style will want to stock up. It is the top vintage since the ’02 (and possibly since ’96—only time will tell).  2008 was a smaller harvest than normal (see: the pitifully small quantity of 2008 Salon, for example), yet yielded exceptionally high quality wines and so it seems unlikely this vintage will be offered for as long as the ’06 or ’04. The Wine Spectator was enamored by the vintage, interviewing Demarville for a special feature on 2008 Champagnes:

“Advocates for 2008 include Veuve Clicquot’s chef de cave Dominique Demarville. ‘2008 is a year I love, very much,” says Demarville. “I’m not sure I’ll have another possibility in my career to have such a vintage. To me, it is one of the best of the last 20 to 30 years.’ Demarville took a dramatic leap in 2008, shifting to an almost entirely Pinot Noir–dominant blend for Veuve Clicquot’s tête de cuvée label, La Grande Dame. The 2008 is 95 percent Pinot Noir, while the 2006 was only 53 percent (with the rest Chardonnay). The 2008 La Grande Dame (95, $150) shines for its sculpted frame of acidity and minerality finely dressed in a lovely range of black currant and spice notes.” -Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, 12/2018

Snap up our offer arriving just in time for the holidays!
Arriving ETA Early November:
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($179.95) $139 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin La Grande Dame Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($999.95) $799 pre-arrival special (that’s only $133.17/bottle!)
Decanter 97 points
“A classic, slow-maturing year picked into October. It’s a pale, pristine hue – a beautifully assembled mix of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Aÿ, Ambonnay, Bouzy, Verzy, Verzenay and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, combining saline-wrapped orchard fruits with great Pinot Noir subtlety yet strength. THE aperitif Champagne, but also try with sea trout. Drinking Window 2020 – 2030.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “An elegant Champagne, powered by a sculpted frame of acidity and minerality, this wears the refined, lacy mousse and well-meshed flavors of black currant, lemon curd, toast and marzipan like finely tailored clothing. Fresh and lasting, with hints of spice and smoke on the finish. Disgorged August 2016. Drink now through 2033.”

Featured New Arrival

Il Seggio – Restocked!

We’ve often remarked that the best values in Bordeaux come from Tuscany. Poggio al Tesoro’s “Il Seggio” bottling is another argument in that direction.  It’s a blend of four Bordeaux grapes—Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that both reminds us of the Tuscan coast and also is a steal relative to Bordeaux and California.  This has very detailed, old-world styled fruit and just enough grip to let you know that it’ll age for the next 5-10 years without problem.

In Stock Now:

Poggio al Tesoro ‘Il Seggio’ Bolgheri, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“($60) Fresh black currant and leafy flavors announce this juicy red. Wild herb, graphite and olive notes complete the picture as this unwinds on the lingering aftertaste. Very youthful, yet has all the components, including a dense structure. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2021 through 2033.”
James Suckling 93 points “A super refined and pretty red with sweet tobacco, currant and berry character. Red stone. Medium to full body, fine     tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Staff Pick

A Willamette Valley Pinot Classic

We hear time and again that there is no longer any affordable Pinot from the Valley with character. When one paints a region like the Valley with a broad brush, it can be hard to find something distinctive in any given bottle unless the source vineyards are on point. The Crowley 2017 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir blows that argument out of the water.

For this wine, Tyson blends fruit from some of the best Dundee Hills properties available and more than a third from the Four Winds vineyard, one of the most interesting sites in the Valley. The resulting wine is vivid and bright in the glass, with savory notes throughout the nose and on the palate. While the earthy and tart notes create tension, the intense red fruited notes make this far too easy to enjoy. This wine drinks way above its price point in the present, but could easily hang around for some time. There’s never a ton of this wine available, but we’ll keep it on the shelves as long as they’ll bring it to us.

Crowley Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
This wine is always one of the better deals in Willamette Valley, made of declassified fruit from the single-vineyard lots that Tyson works with.  The 2017 is one of the best yet–the vintage brings a lightness and delicacy that makes this an absolute joy to drink young.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $27
Also In Stock Now from Crowley Wines

Crowley Entre Nous Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
The 2017 Entre Nous is mostly fruit from La Colina vineyard, with a touch of Oracle and Four Winds. It spent 20 months in mostly old oak barrels. This vintage saw no whole cluster and is a blend of Wadensville and Pommard clones.

Crowley Four Winds Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
From the cool Four Winds Vineyard, situated at 1,000 feet elevation and nine miles north of McMinnville. This is a mineral-driven Pinot with saline influences. Lots of red fruit and spice. The 2017 is a classically restrained wine that will benefit from time in your cellar.
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $49
Crowley La Colina Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($49.95) $44 special
The 2017 vintage of the La Colina Vineyard Pinot shows the classic cool-iron and blue and black fruit aromas. This is a fantastic release that has savory and black pepper aromas. Don’t let the darker profile fool you, this is an elegant wine more reminiscent of Burgundy than California.
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $50
Trending Wines

It’s big Cabernet weather and Eisele’s “Altagracia” is a stunning bottle of wine for a fair price.
Eisele Vineyard ‘Altagracia’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($169.95) $149 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Lots of violets and dark berries with sweet underbrush and fresh mushrooms, following through to a medium to full body, soft and silky tannins and a succulent and refined finish. It remains supple and beautiful. Hard not to drink now. Better after 2023.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The Altagracia is produced almost exclusively from estate fruit this year and was bottled at the end of June 2018. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Altagracia comes bursting forth with vivacious black cherries, blackberries, wild blueberries and cassis notes with touches of cinnamon stick, cloves, forest floor, violets and dusty earth with a waft of violets. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with loads of iron and mineral accents, finishing long and perfumed.”

At fifteen years, this wine is hitting its stride and shows loads of secondary nuance.
Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2004 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Grapelive 93 points
“Deep, golden and mature in character, the opulent and beautiful 2004 Münsterer DautenpflänzerSpatlese from Kruger-Rumpf is in a wonderful window. It may just be the peak period for this vintage with layers of apricot, quince jelly, candied pineapple, marmalade notes and vinous textural charm along with nice salinity, mineral, rose led florals and light earthy and petrol fume notes in a classic Nahe Riesling. In recent years I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to re-visit some 2004’s and they have really blossomed, losing the year’s awkward form, going from an almost an ugly duckling into a swan in bottle with age. This is especially true in some late releases by Schlossgut Diel and this Weingut Kruger-Rumpf Münsterer Dautenpflänzer Spatlese, both of which can still be found if you look, a well worth it exercise. The VDP Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, a tiny parcel within Kapellenberg, is set on quartzite and loess-clay based soils, which in my humble opinion highlights fruit detail and brings out a yellow fruit profile along with crystal clear mineral intensity with this wine bringing out baked peach core on the palate with hints of honey, fig and liquid stone. Georg Rumpf is moving towards organic in most of the vines with his vineyards being farmed to sustainable  practices with hand harvesting employed to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. There is intense attention to detail here. I was here at harvest in 2016 and saw the team in action as well as the vines, which are steep and well cared for. Rumpf goes for native (spontaneously with ambient yeast) on the cru trockens (dry) and fruity (off-dry and sweeter) Rieslings and he uses large old stuckfass (oak casks) with extended lees aging. This all adds to the wines purity, extract and concentrated depth. This is such a steal, I highly recommend searching for a few bottles, drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $36
CdR is one of the rising star producers of Barbaresco and their Rio Sordo is excellent
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Cellar Selection. This fragrant and structured red opens with alluring scents of crushed rose, baking spice, wild berry and a whiff of menthol. Full bodied and elegant, the focused palate delivers succulent red cherry, crushed strawberry, orange zest, licorice and white pepper framed in taut refined tannins. Fresh acidity lends tension and keeps it balanced. Give it time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2035.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92 points “Cascina delle Rose is a winery that deserves your attention. It is specialized in very classic, elegant and fine expressions of Nebbiolo executed according to local tradition. The 2015 Barbaresco Rio Sordo walks with delicate footsteps. In a vintage that shows many overripe wines from this appellation, Cascina delle Rose gets it right. You do, however, feel the 14.5% alcohol on the finish.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $68

Value Burgundy doesn’t come much better than the bottlings from Collotte.
Domaine Collotte Marsannay Les Boivins, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“The core flavors of black cherry and blackberry are wrapped in oak, lending vanilla and sweet spice details along with a layer of tannins. Just needs a little more time. Best from 2020 through 2028. 110 cases imported.”
Importer Note “The Marsannay Boivins is lieu-dit in Marsannay Villages, on vines over 40 years and varying limestone soil. Aged in oak, 25% new, to round the tannins.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Fevre’s “Domaine” bottling is the sweet spot in their lineup for value.
Domaine William Fevre Chablis, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Burghound 88-90 points
“A ripe and fresh nose offers up notes of iodine, oyster shell, mineral reduction, pear and plenty of citrus influence. There is fine density to the concentrated and sappy flavors that possess fine volume while delivering very good length and solid depth. Good stuff and worth a look.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
This bottling is quickly becoming a reference point for top tier Chianti.
Castello di Ama ‘San Lorenzo’, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $44 special
Case-12 Castello di Ama ‘San Lorenzo’, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2014 750ML ($599.95) $469 special (that’s only $39.03/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2014 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione San Lorenzo flaunts its importance. It boasts confidence and an outward-looking personality that comes as a refreshing surprise. Like all Gran Selezione wines, it is released 30 months after January 1st following the harvest. That means it still has a few more months to go before it hits the market. This expression of Sangiovese shows depth and power with ripe fruit tones of cherry and forest berry. Like many of the other high profile wines I preview-tasted from the difficult 2014 vintage, I am delighted and surprised by the elegant and soft nature of the mature tannins. The wine’s finish offers bright freshness with layers of dark fruit, wet earth and forest floor.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Aromas of exotic spice, pipe tobacco, woodland berry and a whiff of French oak take center stage on this fragrant, elegant red. The racy, ethereal palate delivers tart red cherry, tart pomegranate, cinnamon and vanilla framed in taut fine-grained tannins and vibrant acidity. Drink 2019–2026.”
James Suckling 93 points “This is extremely tangy with plenty of chocolate and lemon character and hints of cedar, too. Medium body, bright acidity and chocolatey aftertaste. Very refined and well-crafted for a 2014. Drink now.”
The average price is $46

Shipping Season is Here!

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

Jean-Claude Boisset:

Best Value in Burgundy

The best values in Burgundy might be coming out of the venerable negociant Jean-Claude Boisset, now helmed by Jean-Charles Boisset and winemaker Grégory Patriat.  Patriat, who did not go to school for enology (and instead worked for a number of venerable producers, including Leroy), crafts wines that have the soul and personality of a small domaine and is the reason that Boisset has emerged as an upper echelon producer of Burgundy.

While the wines are remarkable for their quality, the thing which truly sets them apart is the outlandish value they deliver.  These wines are at prices that are nearly unheard of for this sort of quality.  The village wines drink like premier crus, the premier crus like grand crus and the grand cru wines like some of the top in each vineyard.  These are flamboyant, intensely perfumed Burgundies, with richness and mouthfeel to complement them.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Jean-Claude Boisset Les Greves, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
James Suckling 95-96 points
“Deep and dark with delicate spices. This is a beast of a wine, but in the best sense of that word. Enormous power and great tannic density. Already really well-integrated. A breathtaking finish which makes you think this must be a Grand Cru. Better from 2020 and decades of aging potential.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $64
Jean-Claude Boisset Les Charmes, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($179.95) $138 special
James Suckling 95-96 points
“There’s an attractive perfumed nose with plenty of violets, red cherries and blueberries, leading to a helix-like palate (50% whole clusters). Extremely attractive depth and balance here. The tannins are nicely tamed. Shows terrific freshness and energy, as well as plenty of dark-cherry flavors. A tangy, plum-stone finish. Try from 2022.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Chambolle-Musigny, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
James Suckling 94-95 points
“Very fragrant but very youthful. This is super-concentrated for a village wine. The fine tannins and fresh acidity give this wine a diamond-bright finish, which goes on and on. Better from 2020. Has enormous aging potential.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $84
Jean-Claude Boisset Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($269.95) $219 special
James Suckling 97-98 points
“A very impressive wine that delivers a wealth of rich red cherries and dark cherries, as well as plums, violets and earthy nuances. A very smooth and plush palate that has an incredibly pure, supple and focused array of vibrant cherry falvors, all encased in fine, long tannins. An elegant, seamless and stylish Burgundy. Drink from 2021.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $262
Jean-Claude Boisset Nuits-Saint-Georges, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
James Suckling 94 points
“A charming and delicious Nuits St. Georges with depth and very elegant tannins for this appellation. A very fresh finish, which will make you want to drink this right now. But this has a lot of aging potential. Drink or hold.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Jean-Claude Boisset Pommard, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
James Suckling 94 points
“A blend of two climats (Brescul and La Combotte). This draws on two very different parts of the appellation. A very upbeat style with ripe, red cherries and berries, as well as chocolate and light spices. The palate is very refined. Shows very long and detailed flavors of cherry compote. A long, succulent finish. Superb freshness and dense, fine tannins. Try from 2021”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

New Arrivals

West Coast

Scott Frank’s flagship wine is a knockout in 2018, again.
Bow & Arrow Rhinestone Red, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 special
Winery Note
“To understand Rhinestones we have to talk about the Cheverny region of France’s Loire Valley where, by law, the red wines must be a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir.  We follow this stricture with all the Pinot and Gamay fruit we source from Johan Vineyard.  The blend is determined by nature and vintage.  Aged in a mixture of concrete and old barriques, this wine is the flagship of the Bow & Arrow operation and communicates what we’re about as much as anything we make.  Effortlessly drinkable but rewards detective work if you’re in the mood.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $24
The winery is known for natural wine, but this is just great, mineral Chard.
Les Lunes Wines Chardonnay Barra Vineyard, Redwood Valley 2018 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Winery Note
“Barra Vineyard is a truly unique site nestled in Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. The roots of these 46-year old Chardonnay vines dig deeply into the soils in which they are planted. Barra Vineyard is located in Redwood Valley, just north of Ukiah, on predominantly Pinole gravelly loam soils. The red soils of Redwood Valley and the cooler climate compared to surrounding regions make this an ideal region for growing white grape varieties. The Chardonnay was entirely hand harvested and whole clusters were pressed and allowed to ferment using only indigenous yeast and bacteria. No sulfur was added to the wine at any time during the fermentation, aging or bottling period. The wine fermented in neutral French oak barrels and aged sur lies. There were no further additions to the wine prior to its gentle bottling via gravity in May of 2019.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $34
Old-school Cali in quality and style—this is a savory take on the region.
Les Lunes Wine Coplan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot, Carneros 2016 750ML ($45.95) $36 special
Winery Note
“A deliciously old-school California Bordeaux blend. Fresh fruit, structured and bright acid carry this three-year aged Cab/Merlot.  Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Merlot (75%).  Fermented separately, whole clusters were destemmed and punched down once a day for the fourteen day primary fermentation. No sulfur was added at any stage of fermentation or aging. Upon completion of alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, the wines were blended together underwent a two year elevage in neutral Bordeaux barrels. Bottled in August 2018, the wine has aged for an additional 12 months in bottle before release. Tasting Notes: Straight up old school CA, meaning bright fruit, layered spice, a hint of earthiness and acid to pull everything through. Drink now, but be sure to lay down a bottle or two in your cellar as this wine is built to last. Alcohol: 12.5%”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $42
Old vine Carignan from California is a hidden gem of the state’s wine scene.
Les Lunes Wine Carignane Arnold’s Block, Mendocino County 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Winery Note
“Hailing from the historic Arnold’s Block in Mendocino County, our Carignane was made to capture the delicate intricacies and complexity that only come from working with an old vine vineyard. Arnold’s Block is located just east of Ukiah, in the McDowell Valley, on predominantly Pinole gravelly loam soils. Containing a mixture of sandstone, shale and quartz, these deep, well drained soils were formed from alluvial flows, depositing fist-sized stones along the way. 100% whole clusters were lightly foot tread in the fermenter upon fruit arrival. No sulfur was added prior to the 100% indigenous fermentation. Once a day gentle punchdowns were performed throughout the moderately warm (22-25C) fermentation. One delestage was performed approximately two thirds of the way through fermentation to round out the mid-palate. The wine was pressed after 28 days of maceration. The wine was raised in neutral 60 gallon (225L) French oak barrels for 20 months. 20 ppm sulfur was added following the completion of a native malolactic fermentation, and no sulfur was added prior to bottling in May of 2019.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Only produced in top vintages (this is the second ever), the XXL delivers on its name.
Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee XXL, Rhone 2016 750ML ($599.95) $519 special
Robert Parker 100 points
“Only the second vintage of this cuvée ever to be produced (the other is 2007), the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape XXL is about 75% Grenache, with the rest a mix of permitted varieties. It incorporates “a lot” of whole clusters and matured in demi-muid. It was bottled in May but will likely only be released in November, says Christophe Sabon. Classy aromas of crushed stone, pencil shavings and baking spices start it off on a terrific note, while ripe raspberries and stone fruit unfold on the full-bodied palate. Contrary to the implications of its name, this wine boasts incredible finesse, elegance and length and is in fact more impressive for those qualities than its overall size, power and richness. It will certainly open a few eyes.”

One of the best values in top classical, Left-Bank Bordeaux.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien 2014 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Antonio Galloni-Vinous 95 points
“The 2014 Léoville Poyferré is gorgeous. Dark, sumptuous and ample on the palate, it possesses remarkable depth. Dark cherry, plum, smoke, scorched earth, licorice and menthol all flesh out as this radiant, deeply expressive wine shows off its considerable pedigree. The 2014 is going to need time to fully come together, but it is super-impressive. Tasted two times.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2014 Leoville-Poyferre was surprisingly backward and tight on the nose (usually it is the most expressive and generous Léoville in its youth). The precision and focus is intact, but it is broody and sultry at the moment. The palate is medium-bodied with firm structure, which suggests that it has turned volte face since its opulent showing in barrel. Overall, this comes across as perhaps a slightly more austere and masculine wine from Didier Cuvelier, though that is not a criticism, just an observation. I would like to see a little more persistence on the finish, but the tidings bode well for this mercurial and fascinating Léoville-Poyferre. I can see it improving with bottle age, hence the plus sign against my score.”

We’ve restocked a final time on this top vintage of the Tuscan icon.
Tenuta Ornellaia Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($279.95) $219 special
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2015 Ornellaia is a dream wine with magnificent balance. All the elements are in the right place. In most vintages, Ornellaia needs time to fully come together, but the 2015 is just impeccable, even in the early going. The warm vintage notwithstanding, winemaker Axel Heinz crafted and Ornellaia is more about finesse and power. The potent, bruising tannins Ornellaia can show as a young wine are nowhere to be found. Bright raspberry jam, mint, white flowers and pomegranate are some of the many notes that punctuate the finish in a memorable Ornellaia that will go down among the great vintages produced at this reference-point estate.”
James Suckling 98 points “The blackberry and blueberry aromas with fresh sage and bay-leaf character are impressive. Stone, graphite and mineral undertones. Full-bodied and silky and refined tannins. Dusty. Elegance and polish. Shows greatness in strength and refinement. A dialed-in, dialed-back Ornellaia. Drink in 2022.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “A big, brooding red, packed with blackberry, plum and earth flavors, all wrapped in spicy oak. Monolithic now, finishing with saline mineral elements, a leafy tobacco edge and dense, mouthcoating tannins. Terrific potential. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2023 through 2038.”

More Oreno is always a good thing.
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Case-6 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($599.95) $499 special (that’s only $83.17/bottle!)
#25 Wine of The Year – James Suckling Top 100 In 2018
James Suckling 99 points
“Gorgeous floral and deep, dark berry aromas with hints of spices such as cinnamon and hazelnuts. Full body and ultra-fine and strong tannins that are powerful yet so sleek and beautiful. Fantastic length and texture. Deep, dark and profound. Takes you on a long journey and shows you its true character. Better in 2025. Give it time.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%) and Petit Verdot (10%) are assembled with precision and balance. The 2016 Oreno is a fantastic expression from Tuscany that blossoms with each swirl and tilt of the glass. This is a full-bodied red with generous aromas of black fruit, spice, tobacco and soft spice. The wine rests in new French barrique for 18 months. Some 45,000 bottles were produced.”

This is a right up there with Tignanello as the best Sangio-blend of ’15.
Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli ‘Siepi’ Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
James Suckling 98 points
“Beautiful aromas of violets, berries and currants. Dried flowers, too. Full body, such intense fruit and acidity. Vivid and complex. Wild raspberry. Tight and dense. A triumph for Siepi. Half sangivoese and merlot. Better in 2022 but hard to not drink now.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This has depth and complexity, featuring black cherry, plum, leather, spice and mineral flavors. The dense texture exudes refined tannins as this stays fresh through the long, saturated finish. Fruit, spice and tobacco elements linger. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2035.”

Young vines but an absolutely inspiring vineyard site (52-72% slopes!) give us this stunner.
Guimaro A Ponte, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“A wine that has surprised many when I’ve showed it in a couple of tastings, the 2015 A Ponte is from the first harvest of incredibly young vines. It has less color and is rather light and ethereal, and in a way, it’s not the same style as most of the wines from Guímaro. It’s a project that has taken a long time, because it involved buying many small plots that have belonged to the family since 1898 (they have records) but were in different hands, so they had to find all the different owners. The land didn’t have vines anymore, so they had to replant it in 2010. It’s like an amphitheatre on a 52% to 72% steep slope on slate soils with lots of quartz, iron and mica. The idea was to plant the five red varieties—Mencía, Caíño, Merenzao, Brancellao and Souson—with 2,000 plants of each, initially with the idea to produce varietal wines. But in 2014, they had very few grapes and decided to use all of the varieties together. In 2015, all of the varieties fermented together with 100% full clusters in an oak vat, and the wine matured in used oak barrels for some 17 months. It’s a young and tender red that’s very elegant and subtle, soft and elegant. It’s quite unusual, and the style might change in the future. The vineyard was hit hard by a terrible hailstorm in 2016, so they couldn’t produce it that year; thus, the following wine is from 2017, and it’s a little more structured and powerful than this 2015, even if they are both from warm and dry years. The nose here is beautiful, and what’s surprising is the complexity and depth produced by the extremely young vines. Pedro Guímaro thinks this is a little light on the palate, but I find it superb. This vineyard has been organically farmed from day one. There are some 2,000 bottles of this first year.”
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This is the new “village level” wine from Guimaro and is a real step up from the entry Mencia.
Guimaro Camino Real, Ribeira Sacra 2016 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“There is a new wine in 2016 from a project that had been in development for two or three years, with the aim to produce a wine between the young unoaked red and Finca Meixeman. Forced by the hail that decimated most of their older vines, they released the first 2016 Camiño Real. This first vintage might not be exactly from all the plots they had in mind, as some were lost that year, but the wine is basically a blend of grapes from plots over 50 years of age in the zone of Amandi in Ribeira Sacra. It might be around 80% Mencía and the rest comprised of all the other varieties found in the old vines. Camiño Real was a path from Doade to Castro Candelas only suitable for horses, not for carriages, that was said to have been used by the kings, hence the name, which means “royal path.” It fermented with 100% full clusters and aged in a combination of oak vats and barriques for around ten months. It’s a subtle and elegant Ribeira Sacra wine that is quite perfumed, with elegant aromas and a polished palate that’s nicely balanced and easy to drink but also has good depth and nuance. It feels very harmonious, and maybe I hit the sweet spot, because the day I tasted it, it was stunning, really elegant and complex. A great debut. 12,00 bottles. It was bottled in late 2017.”
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Only three bottles remaining.
Guimaro Finca Capelinos, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points
“I also tasted the 2015 Finca Capeliños from a ripe and warm year that showed surprisingly fresh, not showing any heat at all. This is a southwest-facing vineyard at 350 meters altitude on schist soils, with nearly centenary vines with mixed varieties but dominated by Mencía. It fermented with 55% full clusters and very long fermentations and a very soft vinification, almost like an infusion to try to not extract too much. It certainly worked fine, and the wine showed great elegance. The palate is super balanced, with very fine tannins and great length. This is very subtle, and it grew in the glass. But it’s in the palate where it shows its greatness. Great showing! It matured in used 225-liter oak barrels for 13 months. This is quite accessible, but it should develop further nuances with some more time in bottle; it kept changing in the glass, developing more balsamic notes, with a hint of mint. 1,100 bottles produced. It was bottled in February 2017.”
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One of Guimaro’s flagship wines, this is an iconic wine of Galicia.
Guimaro Finca Meixeman, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“I tasted the 2015 Finca Meixeman, because the following vintage, 2017, will be bottled and released a little later. Like the rest of the single-vineyard bottlings, they were not able to produce this wine in 2016, as the grapes were hit by hail in August. It comes from vines planted in the 1940s, from the older part of a larger vineyard. The soil mixes slate and granite. They used 60% full clusters to ferment in oak vats with a long, 50-day maceration. The wine matured for five months in oak vats and then was put in used 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for some ten months. Despite the time it has already spent in bottle (almost two and a half years), the wine is still quite tannic and powerful. 2015 was a warm and dry year that delivered concentrated wines. It needs powerful food. 7,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in late 2016.”

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Guimaro Finca Pombeiras, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points
“Again, the 2015 Finca Pombeiras was also available for tasting, as it had been bottled for four months. In 2015 they harvested a little earlier, because it was a warmer and drier year. This is usually more exuberant and expressive than Capeliños, but the palate does not show the same finesse, even if it’s still one of the most elegant wines of the appellation. These old vineyards are always a field blend where Mencía dominates, but there are myriad other varieties—Caíño, Sousón, Brancellao, Merenzao, Negreda, Garnacha Tintorera and Mouratón. Unfortunately, only some 800 bottles were filled in February 2017.”

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Guimaro Mencia, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Decanter 92 points
“Must-try red – Guímaro means ‘rebel’ in Galician and Pedro Rodriguez has taken on that mantle at this exciting estate, one of the first to join the new Ribeira Sacra DO in 1996. This is the most basic of the reds he makes, from high-altitude, old-vine Mencía blended with Caiño and Merenzão (Trousseau). It’s unashamedly pure and juicy, with crunchy, ripe, blue and purple fruit, floral perfume and a mineral tang from the slatey soil. A delicious discovery.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2017 Vino Tinto is a young, unoaked red produced mainly with Mencía grapes and is sold locally with great success. After the 2016 hail, they started to source grapes from zones other than Amandi, so they now have grapes both from the Sil and the Miño. And they feel the Miño adds something to the blend, which is always in search of freshness through blending different zones, altitudes and soils. It’s mostly Mencía, but there is some Garnacha Tintorera and perhaps 10% split between Mouraton, Negreda, Caíño, Sousón and Brancellao. It is a good introduction to the general character of the reds from Ribeira Sacra—it’s approachable, round and polished, with fine tannins and a gentle palate. It has an extroverted character, with wild berries, herbs and flowers. They play with the lees less, moving away from the slightly reductive character of some wines from yesteryear. Very good value too. They produced some 130,00 bottles of this.”
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The Quietly Radical Wines of Bruno Cormerais

The wines of the Pays Nantes, best known for Muscadet, are generally of a type: light, crisp, mineral. At best, they manage to coalesce this rockiness into a force of flavor that leaves a lasting impression, but generally, they’re fine—serviceable wines to drink with oysters or plats de mer.  That’s why Bruno Cormerais (now run by son Maxime) describes their wines as “atypical” wines of Muscadet.

Like with Pepiere and Luneau-Papin, the two giants in the world of exceptional Muscadet, there’s a commitment to organic farming here (which is quite unusual in these parts).  What makes the Cormerais wines so special and unusual, however, is their soil (almost all Granit de Clisson) and their commitment to exceptionally long lees aging for their Muscadets.

Whereas most winemakers, even top producers like Pepiere, only age their top wines in take for 12+ months, the Cormerais family ages their base wines for 15 months in tank (and then additionally in bottle) before release.  That extra lees contact, while bad for the winery cash flow, is great for the wine—it gives it body, power and depth that most wines at that price lack.

They step their game up even more on their cru wines, aging them three, four, even up to six years on the lees in tank.  The natural minerality of the region and grape marries with the gras from the extra time and produces something that rivals good white Burgundy for complexity and style, at a fraction of the price.

When we heard that the Cormerais wines would be imported to Oregon, we grabbed as many as we could.  Lovers of exceptional whites would do well to seek out an assortment of these wines, each of which represents something both special in quality and outrageously good for the price.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Bruno Cormerais Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Granite de Clisson, Loire 2011 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
David Schildknecht-Vinous 90-91 points
“I last tasted this via a tank sample in late July 2016 and it was not due for bottling much before the end of that year – one of Cormerais’s experiments in holding back portions of certain top wines for multiple late bottlings. Toasted pumpkin seeds and moss mingle in a matrix of fresh lemon and apple, and a hauntingly bittersweet scent of gentian hovers over the proceedings. This is very polished and proportional for its vintage. There is less brightness, grip or salinity than in most of the best wines at this address, but moss, stones and iodine offer plenty of intrigue on an impressively sustained finish.”
VinopolNote: 71 months sur lie in tank before bottling, from the Clisson AOC–one of the most prestigious sub regions of Muscadet.  This is from the estate’s best vineyards on the special decomposed granite soils of Clisson.

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Domaine Bruno Cormerais Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Granite de Clisson, Loire 2013 750ML ($34.95) $27 special
51 months sur lie in tank before bottling, from the Clisson AOC–one of the most prestigious sub regions of Muscadet.  This is from the estate’s best vineyards on the special decomposed granite soils of Clisson.
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Domaine Bruno Cormerais Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Tess, Loire 2012 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
This exceptional Muscadet spends 72 months sur lie in tank before bottling.  The long lees time gives it unusual weight and richness for a wine made from Melon.  A sneaky great substitute for leaner white Burgundy.

Donnhoff’s Stellar 2018 GG’s 

Donnhoff is perhaps our favorite German producer.  The estate excels at both dry and off-dry wines, producing some of the top dozen Rieslings in nearly every vintage.  Part of that is a privileged location— Helmut and Cornelius Dönnhoff own some of the best vineyards in the Nahe, one of the most geologically diverse parts of Germany.  The other part is the exceptional drive and focus of father and son, who will stop at nothing to produce the best wines in Germany.

As good as their wines are every year, they may have outdone themselves in the 2018 vintage.  On the whole 2018 is a very good year and Dönnhoff is very much in the tip-top of the class.  The Nahe, which naturally combines the zest of the neighboring Mosel with the depth and gras of the Rhein, has been on a roll recently, but the nature of ’18 seems to play to its strengths, with intense powerful wines that are buttressed with ample acidity.

We’ve got a brilliant collection of their wines in stock now, plus are now offering their 2018 GG’s (and a few other things) on pre-arrival, as well.  If you’d like to see all of the wines available from this classic Nahe producer, you can just head to our webstore, but we’ve got the ’18 GG’s highlighted for you below.

Arriving ETA Late Fall:

Weingut Donnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Weingut Donnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 1.5L ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points
“The 2018 Felsenberg GG is also absolutely outstanding this year. The bouquet is impressively expressive at this early stage, soaring from the glass in a blaze of pear, tart orange, a beautiful base of slate minerality, wild yeasts, a touch of fleur de sel and a potpourri of floral scents in the upper register. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, focused and seamless, with outstanding mid-palate depth, powerful mineral drive and great cut and grip on the long, perfectly balanced and youthful finish. This will be show stopping juice in the fullness of time. 2028-2070. 94.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Weingut Donnhoff Norheimer Dellchen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 1.5L ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 95 points
“To my mind, the Dellchen often produces the most muscular Grosses Gewächs bottling from Weingut Dönnhoff, so I wondered how it might turn out this year, where there was already so much potential for power inherent in the vintage. Much to my surprise, the 2018 Dellchen is supremely elegant this year, offering up a sophisticated bouquet of sweet grapefruit, tart apple, wild yeasts, a beautiful base of minerality, orange blossoms and lemongrass. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, racy and utterly suave in its sense of balance and inner harmony, with bright acids and a very long, primary and promising finish. A great wine by any measure! 2030-2070. 95.”
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This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 1.5L ($219.95) $199 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 97 points
“Cornelius Dönnhoff has crafted one of the very best dry Rieslings that I tasted on this trip from the Hermannshöhle in 2018! The bouquet is deep, complex and again, so very elegant out of the blocks this year, delivering scents of pink grapefruit, tart tangerine, white flowers, a superb base of slate, lemongrass, citrus peel and just a dollop of upper register wild yeast tone. On the palate the wine is racy, focused, full-bodied and extremely mineral-driven, with a great core, laser-like focus and seamlessly balanced on the very, very long, very complex and utterly refined finish. Chapeau! 2033-2075+. 97.”
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Weingut Donnhoff Krotenpfuhl Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 Krötenpfuhl GG is absolutely superb this year. The wine is very pure on the both the nose and palate, with the bouquet delivering a lovely mix of pink grapefruit, tart orange, salty minerality, a touch of wild yeasts and a topnote of citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very well-balanced, with a lovely core, ripe, vibrant acids and great focus and grip on the long, nascently complex and very elegant finish. Superb juice. 2026-2060. 93.”
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Weingut Donnhoff Hollenpfad Im Muhlenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2018 750ML ($89.95) $66 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93+ points
“The Grosses Gewächs bottling from the filet section of the Höllenpfad im Mühlenberg is also very promising and again, shows the beautifully elegant refinement of all the dry Rieslings from the Dönnhoff family this year. Helmut estimates that this is thirteen percent octane or just under in this vintage. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a very refined and expressive blend of tangerine, blood orange, salty minerality, citrus peel, smoky overtones and a topnote of dried flowers. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and really packed at the core, with racy acids, great soil signature, laser-like focus and a very long, youthfully complex and very promising finish. 2028-2060+. 93+.”

Thank you for reading!