Monday Newsletter 10-4-21

In This Newsletter:

Vinopolis’ Grand Fall Champagne Offering
Part One:
Gimonnet, Doyard, Bereche, Hebrart & Roederer

Willi Schaefer 2020 Releases
First Offer

Featured New Arrival:

New Week – New Arrivals:
Bordeaux, Italian Dessert & Pfalz

Super Spaniard: Murrieta’s Dalmau

Cadence: Bordeaux-Inspired Washington Wines

Vinopolis’ Grand Fall Champagne Offering

Part One

What’s the most exciting time of year at the shop? It’s when we receive confirmation of the new batch of Champagnes that will be arriving at our doors in the fall. Champagne is easily one of the top three staff favorite regions. From rare grower bubbles, biodynamic gems, to elite Grand Marques releases, we’re proud and enthusiastic to share our love of these fine wines. 

This newsletter, we’re featuring new offers from Pierre Gimonnet, Doyard, Bereche, Marc Hebrart and Louis Roederer. 

Pierre Gimonnet, Cote des Blancs

Suzanne: Gimonnet is my desert island Champagne producer. Why? The reasons are as numerous as the bottlings. What stands out is the breadth of style with an underlying trademark character, beauty and value at all price points, and the heights achieved with the top releases, which rarely breach $100/bottle. Of course, I have a soft spot for Cote des Blancs Champagne (don’t we all?) and even CdB-based rosés.  

Didier Gimonnet’s wines are pure, classical Blanc de Blancs Champagne.  Gimonnet’s devotion to cool, minerally Champagne made from Chardonnay borders on monastic. At their best, Gimonnet seems to have a quiet resonance, like a beautiful bell struck in a quiet stone hallway. The wines draw you in, not with bombast or noise, but with a clear directness and purity of tone, a personality just as much reflected in the man himself. That pursuit of beauty and elegance, from the entry-level to the top of the line, makes Gimonnet a perpetually top grower in Champagne.

The estate has been on a real roll over the last few years, keeping overall production unchanged but bottling a greater number of wines.  The fractalization of the lineup has seemed to give each individual wine a greater identity and stronger personality, resulting in one of the most compelling sets of Blanc de Blancs in Champagne.  Even the basic NV bottling has greater purity and poise than it used to—and it’s always been one of the best values in Champagne. It’s a can’t miss producer.

“Emphasizing old vines, low yields and ripe grapes, these Champagnes [from Pierre Gimonnet] are site-driven wines…” -William Kelley, Wine Advocate

Arriving Late November from Pierre Gimonnet:

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Rose de Blancs Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Skurnik Imports note
“Cépage: 95% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Noir vin rouge. Assemblage: Mostly 2018. Village/vyd Chardonnay from 26% Cramant Grand Cru, (Buissons and Bateau), 10% Chouilly Grand Cru (Ronds Buissons), 9% Oger Grand Cru (Champ Nérons, Terres de Noël, Brulis), 41% Cuis 1er Cru (Croix-Blanche), 9% Vertus 1er Cru (Justices), Pinot Noir from Cumières 1er Cru Rouge. Elevage: Stainless steel. Sur latte 22+ months”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs ‘Millesime de Collection Vieilles Vignes de Chardonnay’, Champagne 2008 1.5L ($349.95) $289 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Released only in magnum, the 2008 Brut Millésime de Collection Vieilles Vignes is the same wine as Gimonnet’s Special Club, bit it sees more than 10 years sur lattes before disgorgement. Unwinding in the glass with a deep and complex bouquet of pear, green apple, citrus zest, oyster shell, smoke and pastry cream, it’s full-bodied, chalky and incisive, with terrific depth at the core, promising reserve and a long, resonant finish.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut NV 1.5L ($159.95) $125 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“Disgorged in July 2019 with six grams per liter dosage, the latest rendition of Gimonnet’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Cuis is based on the 2016 vintage, complemented by some 30% reserve wines matured in magnum. Offering up aromas of citrus oil, fresh peach, clear honey, white flowers and oyster shell, it’s medium to full-bodied, pillowy and elegantly fleshy, with crisp acids, elegant mousse and chalky back-end grip. Amounting to some 130,000 bottles per annum, this is Gimonnet’s largest cuvée by some margin.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Blanc de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru is such a classic Gimonnet wine. Light on its feet and gracious, with soaring aromatics and tons of nuance, the 1er Cru is a winner. Bright floral overtones, citrus, brioche and apple are some of the many notes that are delineated in the glass. Among the entry-level wines in this range, the Cuis 1er Cru offers the best expression of the Gimonnet style at an affordable price. I loved it. Disgorged: March 16, 2019.”
Skurnik Imports note “Cépage: 100% Chardonnay. Assemblage: 70% 2016, 30% 2012-2015.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Fleuron Premier Cru Brut 2014 750ML ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2014 Brut Blanc de Blancs Fleuron is rich and effusive in the glass. Freshly cut flowers, mint, citrus confit and white pepper soar with notable intensity as the Fleuron shows off its alluring, inviting personality. The Fleuron is one of the most elegant and refined wines I have ever tasted from Gimonnet. Cut like a diamond, the Fleuron dazzles from start to finish.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “To be released this year, Gimonnet’s 2014 Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Fleuron derives from lieux-dits in Cramant and Chouilly that produce more reserved wines, and there are no vins clairs from Oger in the blend. It’s showing brilliantly, unwinding in the glass with aromas of crisp green orchard fruit, lemon oil, freshly baked sourdough and pastry cream, followed by a medium to full-bodied, layered and textural but tensile palate, built around an incisive spine of acidity and concluding with a long, mineral finish.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Oenophile Premier Cru 2012 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2012 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Oenophile Non Dosé is showing very well, offering up a pure bouquet of citrus oil, wet stones and subtle hints of pan d’épices. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, deep and chalky, with an incisive spine of acidity that’s nicely integrated, good depth and concentration at the core and a long, mineral finish. Disgorged in April 2018 without dosage, it’s a steely Blanc de Blancs will appeal to more than just the purists.”
John Gilman 92+ points “The 2012 Pierre Gimmonet et Fils “Cuvée Oenophile” Brut Nature is composed entirely of chardonnay from the villages of Oger, Cramant, Avize and Cuis. The vins clairs are fermented in stainless steel and go through full malo. The 2012 version and was disgorged in October of 2019, after six and a half years aging sur latte. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a refined bouquet of pear, golden delicious apple, almond, a fine base of chalky minerality, fresh-baked bread and a topnote of white flowers. On the palate the wine is crisp, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core, lovely balance and grip, frothy mousse and a long, classy finish. The combination of the ripeness of the 2012 vintage’s fruit and fully six and a half years aging prior to disgorgement allows this wine to drink beautifully, without any dosage. Fine, fine juice. 2020-2040.”

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Cuvee Special Club Brut 2014 750ML ($119.95) $95 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“Disgorged in May 2019 with four grams per liter dosage, Gimonnet’s 2014 Brut Special Club Grands Terroirs de Chardonnay has turned out beautifully, wafting from the glass with aromas of citrus oil, crisp orchard fruit, white flowers and fresh yogurt that are still quite youthfully reserved. Medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with racy acids and an elegant pinpoint mousse, it’s seamless and complete. Still tightly wound after its recent disgorgement, it will reward patience.” 
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Brut Spécial Club is a blend of fruit taken mostly from Cramant, with Chouilly and Cuis in supporting roles. The breadth and power of Cramant comes through loud and clear. Readers will find a potent, at times austere, Champagne that needs a bit of time in the cellar to soften. The Special Club does not offer the immediacy of the Chouilly or Cramant Special Clubs, but it has plenty of its own allure. Dried pear, spice, crushed flowers and chamomile are some of the aromas and flavors that linger on the imposing finish. Dosage is 4 grams per liter.”

Recently Arrived from Pierre Gimonnet

Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($59.95) $44 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Disgorged February 2021. 2010 – 2017 vintages.
Skurnik Imports note “100% Chardonnay. Assemblage: 73% 2017, 27% 2010-2015. Village/vyd: Cuis 1er Cru, chalky soil. Malo: Yes. Elevage: Stainless steel, reserve wine in 750ml bottles and magnums under 1.5ATMs of pressure for 1-6 years.”

Doyard, Cote des Blancs

Suzanne: While Gimonnet offers up the purity and elegance Cote des Blancs, Doyard offers some of the most precise and refined examples. These are tense, mineral wines yet without the screeching acidity found in less complete Champagnes. With production methods evocative of Vilmart (barrel maturation and mostly non-malo), this is a thrilling winery to explore deeply before the pricing catches up with the quality.

Doyard is a Cotes de Blancs producer, through and through. Based in Vertus, they specialize in Chardonnay based Champagne from their villages and a few neighboring towns—all of which are some of the best places to grow the grape in the world. With holdings in Avize, Mesnil and Cramant, as well as Vertus, their wines have the chalkiness and precision that we always look for in Cotes de Blancs Champagne.

Doyard puts a bit of a twist on the stereotype, though, and uses a combination of extended lees aging plus barrels for fermentation to add richness and texture to their steely base material (that rarely undergoes malo). The results are captivating and this collection is some of the most exciting in Champagne.  

Arriving Late November from Doyard:

Doyard Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95+ points
“The 2013 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru has also turned out beautifully, unwinding in the glass with notes of citrus oil, peach, white flowers and freshly baked bread. Medium to full-bodied, seamless and complete, it’s taut and chiseled, with serious reserves of concentration and a long, mineral finish. Disgorged in spring 2021, while its quality is apparent, this is predictably a little introverted out of the gates, so I look forward to revisiting it later this year.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Doyard Clos de l’Abbaye Premier Cru Extra Brut 2013 750ML ($149.95) $125 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles available
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96+ points
“Disgorged in March 2019 with two grams per liter dosage, the 2013 Extra-Brut Premier Cru Clos de l’Abbaye is brilliant, mingling notes of citrus oil, peach and pear with hints of wheat toast and walnuts in an incipiently complex bouquet. Full-bodied, deep and multidimensional, the vintage’s racy acid spine is cloaked in a textural, enveloping core of fruit, concluding with a long and resonant finish. This derives from a walled 40-are plot of 60-year-old cordon-pruned vines just behind the winery in Vertus; only the first press juice is used. This is a strikingly good Champagne.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Doyard’s 2013 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Clos de l’Abbaye 1er Cru is a gorgeous, expressive Champagne that captures all the pedigree of this great vintage. Ample and creamy on the palate, with tremendous resonance, the 2013 has so much to offer. All the best qualities of Doyard house style come through loud and clear. The 2013 was vinified in neutral French oak barrels and spent 48 months on the lees.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Doyard Clos de l’Abbaye Premier Cru Extra Brut 2014 750ML ($149.95) $125 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96 points
“Disgorged in May 2020 with 2.4 grams per liter dosage, the 2014 Extra-Brut Premier Cru Clos de l’Abbaye is brilliant, unwinding to reveal notes of citrus oil, crisp Anjou pear, mandarin orange, pomelo, walnuts and fresh pastry. Full-bodied, vinous and layered, it’s deep and concentrated, framed by racy acids and chalky structuring dry extract. It’s a serious, muscular Champagne that’s long and intense. As usual, this cuvée derives from a walled 0.4-hectare plot of 60-year-old cordon-pruned vines just behind the winery in Vertus, and only the first and second “serres” of the press are used.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2014 Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Clos de l’Abbaye 1er Cru is positively stellar. Bright and chiseled in feel, the 2014 has more than enough depth to fill out the layers. Tangerine, spice, mint, pear and pastry are some of the many aromas and flavors that grace the 2014. The 2014 is simply exquisite and a real pleasure to taste. Don’t miss it. A wine of real distinction. I love the energy and vibrancy here.”

Doyard Cuvee Vendemiaire Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“The NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Vendémiaire (2014 base) Doyard’s latest release. It was disgorged in February 2020 with four grams per liter dosage after 89 months on the lees. Wafting from the glass with aromas of honeycomb, yellow orchard fruit, dried citrus peel, warm bread and toasted almonds. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy but incisive, it’s elegantly layered and racy, with a pinpoint mousse and a long, sapid finish.”

Doyard ‘Revolution’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non-Dosé NV 750ML ($89.95) $71.90 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Based on the 2014 vintage and disgorged in March 2020 without dosage, the latest rendition of Doyard’s NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non Dosé Révolution offers up aromas of lemon oil, white flowers, mandarin, golden orchard fruit and buttered toast. Full-bodied, layered and muscular, it’s tangy and incisive, with a satiny attack that segues into a generous core of fruit, concluding with a long, mouthwatering finish.”

Bereche, Montagne de Reims

Suzanne: Bereche, the hands-down favorite NV for staff and customers alike. What makes this wine so magically charming? Who knows… Who cares? It’s just damn good.

Grower Champagne has been a mainstay in the Portland wine scene for over a decade now, and isn’t set to go anywhere. Of these growers, few are as lauded as Bérêche & Fils. Having made champagne as a house since 1847, Raphaël and Vincent Bérêche apprenticed under their father before taking over the estate in 2004 and changing the domaine into what it’s known for today. Already practicing organic, the two brothers introduced biodynamic practices and phased out the use of all chemical based inputs, including herbicide. The house is meticulously traditional in the cellar as well, using ambient yeast for primary fermentation, and cork for secondary in the bottle instead of the industry standard crown cap. What this does for the champagne is allow for micro-oxygenation, allowing for the aromatics and flavors to polymerize together. This creates incredible complexity both on release and after bottle age, a true rarity for non-vintage champagne.  

Arriving Late November from Bereche:

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve NV 1.5L ($149.95) $138 pre-arrival special

Marc Hebrart, Grand Vallée

Suzanne: To quote Peter Liem from his book “Champagne,” a true must-read for any aficionado, Marc Hebrart is “one of the finest estates in the Grande Vallée.” This should be enough to convince anyone, but I’ll elaborate. These are near perfectly crafted, thought-provoking wines to enjoy at nearly any stage of their maturity. There’s grace to be found in the Special Club and wonder in the Reserve. 

“an utter masterpiece of weightless concentration, as huge and yet as penetrable as a cumulous cloud.” – Terry Theise

Marc Hebrart wines have been on a stealthy climb up the ladder of producers to know. The house style has always emphasized balance over power, and while there is plenty of depth to his bottlings they’re always drinkable and delightful. Peter Liem writes, “Hébrart’s wines have a broad appeal: if you like to think about your wines, they’re intellectually engaging enough to satisfy you; on the other hand, if you’re just looking to drink, they’re simply delicious. The wines are full and generous without being weighty, complex and soil-driven without being demanding. Overall, the entire range is of consistently high quality, and represents excellent value for the money.”

Arriving Late November from Marc Hebrart:

Marc Hebrart Cuvee de Reserve Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($59.95) $44.50 pre-arrival special
Wine & Spirits 93 points
“Mostly pinot noir (82 percent), the balance chardonnay, this underwent its primary fermentation in glass-lined stainless steel. Jean-Paul Hébrart based this blend on the 2017 vintage (45 percent), with contributions from 2014 through ’16, all of the fruit from his parcels in the Marne Valley. It’s a powerful wine, almost astringent in its spice notes of coriander and its mineral notes of chalk. But the texture overrides any sensation of tannins, as does the ripe apple freshness, making it compelling to drink.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “There’s a subtle chalkiness to this mouthwatering Champagne. A minerally edge is enmeshed with flavors of Asian pear, white cherry, honeycomb and pickled ginger as they ride the fine, creamy mousse. Disgorged June 2020. Drink now through 2024. — AN”

Marc Hebrart Special Club Brut 2015 1.5L ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special, only 3 magnums available
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“Hébrart produced around 10,000 bottles of his 2015 Brut Premier Cru Special Club, a lovely wine that offers up inviting aromas of fresh pear, warm bread, cassis, white flowers and mango. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, rich and concentrated, with real depth and concentration at the core, chewy structuring extract and lively acids, concluding with a long and precise finish. Tasted from a non-commercial early trial disgorgement, this appears to be a serious Special Club that will reward bottle age in the making.”

This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!

Marc Hebrart Special Club Brut 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, only 6 bottles available
Skurnik Imports note
“Cépage: 100% Chardonnay. Village/vyd: 50% Oiry Grand Cru, Chouilly Grand Cru, and Avize Grand Cru; 50% from Dizy 1er Cru. Elevage: stainless steel. Sur latte: 36+ months.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Roederer, Reims

Suzanne: Folks are probably more familiar with Cristal than with the estate’s name of Louis Roederer. Unlike some other Grandes Marques that let the Tête shine and seem to shrug their shoulders at the NVs (may I humbly suggest less emphasis on knickknacks and packaging?), Roederer is taking inspiration from growers. The estate is constantly pushing the envelope of quality up and down the line, while transitioning to biodynamics and becoming a grower itself. The most recent move to upgrade the quality of the entry-level is case in point. This is a stunning step up from an already profound NV. 

As the old saying goes, for every end there’s a new beginning. This year marks the end of the Roederer Brut Premier line, as the company is now emphasizing estate-based production after 40 years of producing the cuvee. While the Brut Premier was previously sourced from purchased and homegrown fruit, the Collection 242 will be entirely sourced from company plots. In addition to the more focused sourcing, the Collection 242 will also feature a greater assortment of base years, as chosen by the Chef de Cave.  
Sourcing from organic, estate vineyards in the Côte des Blancs, Montagne de Reims and Vallée de la Marne; there’s nothing missing from this Champagne. The encapsulation of freshness, nuance, and breadth make this right at home in the Roederer house and a textbook example of a Grand Marque. We secured a limited allotment of these wines, so be sure to grab these while you can. Much like the Brut Premier these are Champagnes that can be enjoyed on release or cellared for a truly unique expression.  

Arriving Late November from Louis Roederer:

Louis Roederer Collection 242 Brut Champagne NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The NV Collection 242 is a new wine from Roederer that replaces the Brut Premier in the range. The Collection (which now will be numbered by harvest) is a blend of three components: a perpetual reserve done in the classic non-malo Roederer style, reserve wines in oak with a touch of malo, and a base vintage, in this case 2017. That blend results in a NV Champagne that offers lovely richness and resonance, with plenty of yellow orchard fruit and floral character. Whereas Brut Premier was typically a focused, nervy wine that, while consistently excellent, also was not always in line with the Roederer house style, the 242 tastes more like a Roederer Champagne in terms of its complexity. Incidentally, there is no Vintage, Cristal or Cristal Rosé in 2017, so all the best lots went into this bottling…’”
Decanter 92 points “Softly shimmering straw gold, green tints, with a delicate filigree dancing at will around the glass. The nose is gently authoritative; spring flowers garlanding stone fruit, a hint of hawthorn maybe, then lemongrass. The palate has encyclopedic depth, the intricacies of the Perpetual Reserve weaving their early magic; almond, sloe, gingerbread and apples; the finish has a pleasing twist of bitterness, courtesy of the small percentage of oak-aged reserve wine. Maybe the dosage (8g/L) can come down even further, such is the engaging and subtle complexity harnessed elsewhere? Drinking Window 2021 – 2025.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Nature 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2012 Brut Nature is rich, powerful and incredibly expressive. It is also the most complete Brut Nature Roederer has made, as it has less of the austerity of previous releases and more creaminess. Powerful and yet gracious, the 2012 has so much to offer. Dried flowers, chamomile, dried pear and mint are all laced throughout this sublime, wonderfully nuanced Champagne. The Brut Nature is a field bend of 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 20% Meunier taken from three parcels in Cumières and vinified together.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “Coming after 2006 and 2009, this is the third vintage of Roederer’s Brut Nature, a wine Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon makes in collaboration with Philippe Starck. Its production is determined by the years when pinot noir, meunier and chardonnay ripen at the same time, so they can be harvested together and cofermented. It grows in the clay soils of Cumières, what Lécaillon describes as “the dark side,” a contrast to the chalk terroirs that provide Cristal. The 2012 starts out with earth tones, scents of mushrooms and dark spice. And like prior vintages of this wine, it keeps gaining complexity with each successive day open. From a tough and powerful structure, it turns luscious, generous, its flavors of white nectarine carried with a youthfully staccato energy. It’s a wine to decant, or to cellar.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Brut Nature is showing beautifully, bursting from the glass with an expressive bouquet of lemon oil, crisp green apple, wheat toast, hazelnuts and wet stones. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with its generous core of concentrated and delicately sun-kissed fruit girdled by brisk acids and undeniable mineral grip and complemented by a delicate pinpoint mousse. Concluding with a saline finish, this lovely wine is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, reflecting its origins in Cumières.”

Shop our full selection of Champagnes on our web store now!

We do our best to provide the most up to date reviews, but please note that disgorgement dates, lot codes, and base-years may vary. All Champagnes in this offer are the latest releases for the 2021 season.

Willi Schaefer’s Exquisite 2020s

First Offer

Willi Schaefer, one of the Mosel’s most celebrated producers, is known for crafting wines that are approachable when young with beautiful fruit components. However, like all of the valley’s finest exports, they always impress with the ability to maintain vitality and finesse for 15+ years.

“For many tasters, these are the Ne Plus Ultra of Mosel wine, and they have attracted an almost religious following. Thus my most frustrating agency, as there is never enough wine. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what it is that makes these wines so precious. There is a candor about them that is quite disarming. They are polished too, but not brashly so. They are careful to delineate their vineyard characteristics, and they offer fruit of sublime purity. They are utterly soaring in flavor yet not without weight. What many of you seem to have warmed to is their clarity, precision and beauty of fruit, so maybe I’ll leave it at that!” – Terry Theise

New Willi Schaefer Releases Arriving Late November:

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2020 750ML ($44.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points
“The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Kabinett was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It offers an incredibly subtle feel of pear, cassis, bergamot, white flowers, vineyard peach, wet stone, and fine subtle smoky elements. The wine is stunningly vibrant, subtly multilayered with ripe and citrusy fruits, but, above all, incredibly light-footed on the palate. The finish is all about elegance and finesse. This stunning Kabinett is clearly still on the backward side but the airy finesse is simply stunning. This brings us right back to the glorious 1990s! 2030-2050.”
James Suckling 95 points “Feel the dark side of the Kabinett force! Plenty of cassis and grapefruit aromas, but also ripe stone fruit, darker wild berries, wet earth and rocks. And the interplay of these is what makes this wine so exciting. Extremely long and graceful finish that makes it almost impossible not to reach for the glass again. Drink or hold.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2020 750ML ($44.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points
“The 2020er Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It offers a superb nose made of residual scents from the spontaneous fermentation, chalky minerals, wet stone, mirabelle, cassis, melon, pear, and some subtle aniseed elements. The wine is beautifully pure and airy on the palate and leaves a stunningly juicy feel in the long, subtly ripe, and spicy finish. The wine really shines through its incredible silky airiness delivered with the presence and zest of a light Spätlese. This Kabinett is truly remarkable! 2030-2050.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2020 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett is a Schaefer classic that opens with a brilliantly clear and still reductive bouquet of crushed slate and perfectly ripe Riesling fruit. The attack on the palate is vibrantly fresh, but there is also lush fruit and generosity as well as this hedonistic lightness and brightness that makes you quaff this Kabinett masterpiece until the bottle’s end. This is a highly stimulating, cool and grippy wet Riesling with so much Jugendstil. 7.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in September 2021.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $42

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #5, Mosel 2020 750ML ($69.95) $56 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points
“Could a modern Mosel Spätlese be more classic than this? Stunningly ripe stone-fruit and floral character, married to considerable richness, with an almost buttery texture on the mid-palate. Long and succulent finish that remains fresh and vivid. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 96 points “The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese AP 05 was made essentially from grapes harvested in the Gerdsgrub and Fergert sectors of the vineyard and was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar. It proves still rather backward and marked by residual scents from its spontaneous fermentation. After a while subtly apricot-infused flavors of melon, cassis, blueberry, blackberry, and aniseed herbs emerge from the glass. The wine proves subtle, intensely cream, and nicely zesty on the palate and leaves a gorgeous feel of ripe and delicately exotic fruits in the long finish. The combination of dark fruits, whipped cream, and juicy acidity packed into mouthwatering sweetness are truly remarkable. 2030-2050.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spatlese #10, Mosel 2020 750ML ($54.95) $44 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points
“Mind-blowing nose of cassis and forest berries with white flowers and a hint of cedar. Staggering depth, packed into a very sleek silhouette, but the brilliant acidity and enormous wet-stone freshness are even more astonishing, because they completely distract you from the natural grape sweetness for a long while. So enjoyable now, but with such a great future ahead of it. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95+ points “Willi Schaefer’s 2020 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese #10 is deep, fine and complex on the still reductive yet clear, dense and elegant nose. Lush and piquant on the palate, this is a very fine and finely concentrated, intense and persistent Domprobst with sustainable juicy fruit and stimulating grip. This is a mouthful of great Mosel Spätlese from one of the region’s finest producers. 7.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in September 2021.”
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Spätlese AP 10 was harvested mainly in different prime sectors of the vineyard and was fermented down to sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a beautiful and subtly exotic nose made of pear, passion fruit, vineyard peach, apricot, whipped cream, aniseed herbs, and fine smoky spices. The wine is gorgeously light-footed on the fruity palate and leaves a superbly intense feel of melon, cassis, wet stone, and herbs in the nicely playfully fruity-styled finish. The aftertaste is intense yet comes overs as light as a feather. This gorgeous Spätlese will turn into a modern-day legend at maturity, in 10 years and more. 2030-2050.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2020 750ML ($59.95) $56 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points
“The extremely fresh white-peach, herbal and savory nose pulls you into this sleek and vibrant Spätlese that’s brimming with white-flower and wet-stone character. Dances over your palate with the greatest of ease. Very long,pure and poised finish. Drink or hold.”

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #11, Mosel 20 375ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special, only 12 half-bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 97 points
“The 2020er Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese AP 11 was made from fully ripe grapes harvested with little botrytis in the Fergert sector of the vineyard and was fermented down to noble-sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a backward yet stunningly airy nose made of pear, quince, whipped cream, carraway, and subtly honeyed elements. The wine is gorgeously light-footed on the palate and leaves the most incredibly complex, discreet yet intense feel in the long and hugely persistent finish. A hint of almond enhances the flavors in the aftertaste. This Auslese is a huge success and shines through its marvelous delicate style! 2030-2060.”
James Suckling 97 points “In spite of the ripeness, which edges in a caramelized direction, this retains dramatic freshness that builds and builds as it flows across the palate. The concentration is underplayed, so that the whole composition comes across as extremely delicate. Lime freshness and floral delicacy at the finish. Who can resist these charms? Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “Picked on October 17, the 2020 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #11 represents the finish of the harvest and is the only Auslese and the highest predicate that was produced last year chez Willi Schaefer. Based on ripe, intense and concentrated yet healthy berries, this Auslese opens with a very clear, precise and fresh, finely flinty bouquet. Lush and round on the palate, this is a dense yet filigreed and beautifully balanced Auslese with a long, intense and stringent finish. The acidity is highly finessed and stimulatingly salty. A gorgeous Riesling filled into 375-milliliter bottles. 7.5% alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in September 2021.”

We offer 18 wines in stock now from Willi Schaefer, including these highlights:

Weingut Willi Schaefer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points
“This “maiden wine” comes from the “new” parcel in the central part of the vineyard which was replanted after the 2011 vintage. This shows a quite smoky nose at first and only gradually reveals a fruity side driven by apricot and orange as well as mint and yellow peach. The wine is creamy and smooth on the palate, with just the right amount of acidity to keep things interesting. The unctuous feel to the finish in the finish adds to the pleasure of enjoying this deep and direct expression of Sonnenuhr Auslese. 2025-2040”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $74.95

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2019 750ML ($54.95) $45 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points
“Play me a love song to the Mosel! Super fresh and super precise, this Spätlese has a ton of floral delight and a wonderful interplay of the most delicate, white and yellow character with vibrant acidity. Such a clean, filigree finish you want to bathe in it. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2019 Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese is precise, fresh and pure on the nose that displays notes grated lemon rind and crushed stones. Round, piquant and juicy on the palate, this is an utterly refined yet sustainable and firmly structured Spätlese with dense and vibrating fresh Riesling fruit whose sweetness is well-compensated by mineral grip, salinity and tension. 7.5% alcohol. Tasted from AP 08 20 in June 2010.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Weingut Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese #11, Mosel 2018 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 17 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 95 points
“According to Christophe Schaefer, the 2018 Domprobst Auslese AP #11 has just a tiny touch of botrytis in it, as it has almost exclusively been produced from golden berries. The wine is truly stunning on both the nose and palate, with the bouquet soaring from the glass in a blaze of pear, yellow plum, fresh pineapple, a gorgeous base of slate, citrus blossoms, bee pollen and lilacs. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and zesty, with a lovely core, great backend mineral drive and outstanding complexity and grip on the vibrant, snappy and electric finish. This is just beautiful Auslese! 2026-2085+. 95.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $95

Shop the full selection of Willi Schaefer wines on our web store.

Donnhoff 2020s will hit our shelves at the same time, including multiple 100 point wines.
Miss our offer? Shop our Donnhoff selections on our web store now!

Featured New Arrival


In the beginning there was Biondi-Santi.  

Yes, Biondi Santi is the genesis of modern Brunello: the combination of bottling 100% Sangiovese wine from Montalcino, propagating the Sangiovese Grosso clone, and, in 1966, helping draft the regulations for the Brunello DOC. The foundational work did not stop there however, with Biondi Santi undergoing some of the first Massale or heritage selections on their estate to identify the best clones for winemaking. These results paid off in spades, with Biondi Santi’s genetic material being some of the most sought after clones of Sangiovese in the world.

Biondi-Santi makes Brunello that all other estates are judged against.  Their estate, Il Greppo, occupies some of the most hallowed ground in the Brunello appellation, in the heart of Montalcino.  Their standards are high (they rarely release riservas) and their style defines classic. The wines are powerful, but not overwrought, elegant but emphatic. With the oldest vines on their estate now approaching 90 years old, there’s a level of depth and power in Biondi Santi that’s unprecedented anywhere else in Montalcino.  

Newly Arrived from Biondi Santi:

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 1983 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,199 special, only 2 bottles available
***Winery Cellared Release***
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points
“[Reviewed July 2021] This precious bottle is part of Biondi-Santi’s late-release program for collectors (I tasted bottle number 10,723). The 1983 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is showing beautifully on its aging timeline, although this bottle is slightly more evolved since I last tasted this vintage in 2019 before the pandemic. With slow and measured determination, the bouquet embraces dried fig, cured bresaola, burnt caramel, wet campfire, dried oregano and a familiar aroma that reminds me of the Florence leather market. However, there is a lot of life and vertical lift in this Riserva, thanks in great part to the beautiful freshness that keeps the tannins alive and adds a pop of pretty acidity to the close. The wine shows its age with pride and grace, and the final results are quite spectacular. In fact, I’m opening the drinking window up by an additional five years thanks to the latitude and depth shown here.”

Mixed Case-3: Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Vertical MV 750ML ($2,299.95) $1,899 special, only 1 mixed case available!
Mixed case: 1x 2008, 1x 2012, 1x 2013. No substitutions.
Review for 2008 vintage:
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The delightful 2008 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is expressive and feminine with crushed chamomile, forest fruit, bramble, tar and licorice. It renders a stirring, melodic performance that plays out slowly but with determination. Drink: 2017-2030.”
Review for 2012 vintage: Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97 points “You will notice the dedication printed below the label of the wine label. It reads: “Dedicato a Franco Biondi Santi.” Indeed, the Biondi-Santi 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is the last vintage made by the towering father figure of Brunello whom most everyone referred to as the “gentleman of Montalcino.” Il Dottore, as he was also respectfully addressed, died at age 91 in April 2013, and he was very active in the winery as this magnificent wine took shape. This Riserva is a true work of beauty. It is released one year later than usual. The wine reflects the natural heft and power of the 2012 vintage, and it also shows that distinctive open-knit and accessible personality that characterizes this warm and sunny growing season. Il Dottore’s magic touch is revealed in the level of fine detail and precision that transcends vintage, grape and territory. That extreme focus is an achievement of this estate alone located in the celebrated Il Greppo property. This Brunello pours from the bottle with a magnificent garnet color, and it evolves in the glass with dark fruit, candied orange peel, spice, licorice, anise seed, cola and balsam herb. The aromas are magical and ethereal, albeit slightly ripe and soft as expected of this vintage.”
Review for 2013 vintage: Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points “The Biondi-Santi 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a stunning wine from all points of view. Seamless integration and elegant complexity are what stand out, and it’s worth dedicating a few extra lines to the aromatic depth that is put so beautifully on display as the wine slowly unfolds. The bouquet starts off with wild cherry, earth, wet ash, crème de cassis and pruny chocolate. With extra time, there are hints of dried tobacco leaf, sandalwood and mossy forest floor. These lead to a fine tail of dried herb, bay leaf and a touch of rusty nail. The Riserva comes in numbered bottles, and I opened number 04277. To the palate, the wine is streamlined and silky with smooth tannins and a well-managed 13.5% alcohol content. The oak presence is reduced to a minimum, offering mild hints of spice and the delicate sandalwood or dried fig aroma I described above. Fresh acidity is the glue that gives the wine buoyancy and staying power. At this young stage, this 2013 vintage could be considered a bit shy or slow to start, but this will play out to great advantage in the long term as the wine continues its bottle evolution.”

Also In Stock Now from Biondi Santi:

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe- Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $90

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($579.95) $419 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94+ points
“Dark red. Musky nuances give way to brighter red fruit, licorice and herbal aromas. Rich and dense, with flavors of red cherry and minerals lifted by hints of orange peel and bergamot, not to mention noteworthy but harmonious acidity. Finishes long with youthfully chewy tannins and lingering hints of violet. This strikes me as a slightly readier to drink version of Brunello Riserva from Biondi-Santi, but as always, it improves greatly with aeration so decant at least six hours ahead for maximum enjoyment.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “A warm summer yielded this rich and opulent 2011 Riserva. Only fruit from the estate’s oldest vines (some up to 80 years of age) makes it into this bottling, and that old-vine concentration shows in the wine’s dense flavors: notes of black cherry and umeboshi plum layered with iodine, basil and smoke. The tightly packed flavors need time to unfold, so it’s best to decant this several hours before serving.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Shop our illustrious collection of Brunellos, including superstars of the region such as Stella di Campalto, Il Poggione, & La Gerla, on our web store now!

New Week – New Arrivals

France – Bordeaux

Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion ‘Le C des Carmes’, Pessac-Léognan 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Jeff Leve – Wine Cellar Insider 92-94 points
“Fresh, sweet, black fruits and boysenberry, with licorice and smoke to complicate the character. Silky, fresh fruits, soft tannins, with a juicy plum and salty, mineral driven finish that has body, finesse, length and the ability to age. Using, 25% whole bunches in the vinification, the wine was made from 51% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. 14% alcohol, with a pH of 3.5. The harvest took place September 28 to October 8.”

Chateau Montrose, Saint-Estèphe 2016 750ML ($279.95) $249 special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points
“Unquestionably one of the top 2-3 wines of the vintage, the 2016 Château Montrose is a monument in the making. Checking in as a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc raised in 60% new French oak (the balance was in once-used barrels) and representing a tiny 36% of the production, this deep purple-colored 2016 possesses powerful, incredibly classic Saint-Estephe notes of creme de cassis, graphite, damp earth, lead pencil shavings, and burning embers. With a powerful, full-bodied style on the palate, a huge mid-palate, lots of underlying structure and tannic grip, and perfect balance, this magical wine will need upwards of a decade or cellaring and keep for 40-50 years.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 99 points “Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Montrose is a little youthfully shy to begin, but with coaxing, it unfurls to reveal the most beguiling scents of wilted roses, oolong tea, crushed rocks, wild sage, star anise and candied violets over a wonderfully pristine, well-defined core of crushed blackcurrants, black raspberries and kirsch plus wafts of pencil lead and wood smoke. The taut, muscular, medium to full-bodied palate straddles jaw-dropping intensity and finesse superbly, featuring a solid backbone of ripe tannins and giving a firm frame right through the incredibly long, exquisitely nuanced finish.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 99 points “The 2016 Montrose has a tightly wound bouquet that is extremely well focused. This is one of the most pixelated aromatics I can remember on a Montrose at this stage, featuring blackberry, boysenberry and cedar and real mineralité underneath. The palate is medium-bodied with fine density and wonderful salinity. There is tremendous precision with razor-sharp tannin, and a brightness on the finish that is exceptional. This is a Montrose that will comfortably sit alongside the canon of great vintages from this Saint-Estèphe estate. As my score implies, it’s up there with the first growths. Stunning.”

Italy – Dessert

Buglioni ‘Il Recioto’ Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2019 500ML ($49.95) $41.90 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $59.82

Castello di Volpaia Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2015 375ML ($69.95) $59 special 

This is the only listing in the USA today for the half-bottle!

Feudo Montoni – Passito Rosso NV 375ML ($39.95) $33 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94 points
“Bright deep red with an orange rim. The nose really opens with aeration to offer sweet red plum, dehydrated red cherry, cinnamon and raisins. Then similar flavors to the aromas lifted by juicy, harmonious acidity. Finishes very long and suave with saline nuances and repeating notes of raisins. Lovely, light on its feet dessert wine that seems less sweet than it really is thanks to its piercing acidity. One of the best sweet wines I have tasted so far this year. This is a blend of air-dried Nero d’Avola and Perricone aged in wood barrels for seven months and then twelve months in bottle prior to going on sale.”

Germany – Pfalz

“…this may well be the best and most consistent producer of great dry Riesling in the world.” –Joel Payne, Vinous 

Dr. Burklin-Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
James Suckling 92 points
“Slightly funky (from wild ferment) but also great citrus, pear and peach aromas. Good concentration for a village wine with quite a linear profile. Very clean finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $24.99

Dr. Burklin-Wolf Estate Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16 special
James Suckling 92 points
“Very fine, peachy nose with hints of herbs and fresh almonds. Ripe yet racy with a long, clean, mineral finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $18

Dr. Burklin-Wolf Wachenheimer Altenburg P.C. (Premer Cru) Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2017 750ML ($39.95) $24 special
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points
“Piquant notes of apple and citrus pith mingle on the nose with crushed stone and struck flint, suggesting this interpretation of Altenburg will likely reflect the austerity and rigor of its gravelly soil and coolest of all Bürklin-Wolf microclimates. On top of that, I suspect this wine is suffering the most from its recent bottling of any Bürklin’s vintage 2017 P.C.’s. Even so, the site’s character is irrepressible. The firm palate musters more than enough primary juiciness to guarantee refreshment, and its piquant, pithy combination of hickory nut, lemon seed and stone carries into a mouthwateringly saline, formidably gripping, practically mouth-shaking finish. Give this time! (It already responds well to a good shaking.)”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

We’re Open for In-Store Shopping!

10 AM – 6 PM Daily

Local mandates require properly worn masks for all regardless of vaccination status.
We also offer Curbside Pickup & Shipping

Order Online / By Phone / By Email

Super Spaniard:

Murrieta’s Dalmau

Looking for an alternative to a super Tuscan? In addition to the traditional Rioja wines in their portfolio, Marques Murrieta also sources a red blend from one of their oldest vineyards. Comprised primarily of Tempranillo with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon and a sprinkle of Graciano, this could be called a “Super Spanish” due to the inclusion of Cabernet.

With an average vine age of 60 years old and located at 1,500 feet above sea level you get an unobstructed snapshot of Lower Rioja’s terroir. With their estate in one of the warmest parts of Rioja, Murrieta is able to deliver exceptional phenolic development with the classic elegance of the house style. This is attributable to the confluence of high elevation and exceptional winemaking talent on staff, with accommodating vintage conditions to boot! Given the low production of old vines, we were only able to secure a limited amount of this bottling so grab it while you can. 
Marques de Murrieta Arriving This Month:

Marques de Murrieta ‘Dalmau’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Decanter 96 points
“One of a very small number of wines in Rioja that includes Cabernet Sauvignon – for historic reasons – this is an elegant, distinguished red blend based on Tempranillo with 3% Graciano completing the cuvée. Aged in new French oak, it’s a Bordeaux-influenced style showing refined tannins, notes of cassis, blackberry, cedarwood and a fresh, mineral-edged core. Drinking Window 2023 – 2035.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points “Opaque ruby. Expansive, oak-spiced cherry, black currant and floral oil aromas are complemented by suggestions of vanilla and licorice. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering intense dark berry, cherry preserve and spicecake flavors and a repeating vanilla note. Shows velvety texture and appealing sweetness on the impressively long, juicy finish, which features repeating florality and polished, slow-building tannins.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Editor’s Choice. A fully ripe nose runs deep with balsamic black fruit aromas as well as complex notes of graphite and fine oak. A plush palate offers that elusive depth of character that great wines display, while this modern-style Rioja tastes of black fruits as well as chocolate. A silky smooth finish shows barely any grit or bite. Drink now through 2028. -Michael Schachner”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94-95 points “Exceptionally, I also tasted an unbottled sample of the 2016 Dalmau Reserva, which will be launched in January 2019, as they want to show the public the change in the 2016 vintage. 2016 saw a very good growing season, and the harvest was in late September. It feels like a very young Bordeaux blend, elegant and powerful. And as I saw in the other 2016 I sampled (the Reserva), this has gained in precision (it fermented at 24 degrees Celsius, quite cold for a red), avoiding too much extraction, and that seems noticeable in the texture and the quality of the tannins, sleek, velvety, more elegant, focused and sophisticated. This has all the traces to be the most elegant and finest vintage of Dalmau to date.”


Bordeaux-Inspired Washington Wines

Arriving Late October

Cadence remains one of the best kept secrets in Washington wine—producing wines that are both singular in their pursuit and also incredibly reasonably priced for their quality. They should be a name that sells out a mailing list instantly.  Yet we’re able to get healthy amounts and these Bordeaux-influenced blends, solely from the Red Mountain AVA, are among our favorite to drink and to cellar every year.  Don’t expect fruit bombs here, though, as the wines are classically built in style—they remind us of old-school Napa wines in that way.

Ben Smith and Gaye McNutt launched their winery, Cadence in 1998 after purchasing 10 acres of now highly regarded Red Mountain vineyards.  In retrospect, being so new to agriculture and winemaking in general, Ben Smith says “that was the most fortuitous decision we made along the way.”  Ideally located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range and consisting of sandy loam soils, the Red Mountain AVA has developed a reputation for producing some of Washington’s best fruit, providing grapes for many of the state’s most sought-after cult wines

Inspired by the Old World and an affinity for well-structured wines in general, the couple decided to focus their winemaking production to Bordeaux style blends.   The Bel Canto is a blend of primarily Cabernet franc, with smaller percentages of Merlot and Petit Verdot grown on their Cara Mia vineyard that was established in 2004.   The Tapteil Vineyard comes from the oldest vines that Cadence works with, expressing a more mineral driven approach and truly showing Red Mountain’s highly acclaimed character.  The Tapteil blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (Ben Smith’s favorite variety).

“This is easily the finest set of releases I’ve tasted from winemaker Ben Smith and he’s hit a home run in 2018. As always, these are classic Bordeaux blends from Red Mountain, yet I was blown away by the quality of the tannins as well as the seamless, elegant textures Smith was able to build into his wines. Don’t miss these beauties!” –Jeb Dunnuck, 2021

Cadence Wines Arriving Late October:

Cadence Winery Camerata Cara Mia Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Moving to the reserve wines, the 2018 Camerata checks in 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc that saw a longer élevage, spending 23 months in 50% new French oak. Incredible notes of blackcurrants, black olives, tobacco, damp earth, and sous bois define the bouquet, and it’s a magical, full-bodied, incredibly balanced Cabernet with ripe, silky tannins, no hard edges, and a monster of a finish. As with the Bel Canto, it’s one of the finest wines I’ve ever tasted from this estate.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cadence Winery Bel Canto Cara Mia Vineyard, Red Mountain 2018 750ML ($69.95) $53.50 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2018 Bel Canto is a Cabernet Franc-dominated blend that includes 17% Merlot. As with the Camerata, it spent 23 months in 50% new oak. Gorgeous notes of cassis and ripe black cherry fruits as well as leafy herbs, forest floor, iron, tobacco, and spice all soar from the glass, and this head-turning beauty is full-bodied, with a seamless texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a great, great finish. It’s one of the finest wines I’ve ever tasted from Ben Smith and should be snatched up by readers! It’s going to keep for 15+ years or more. Wow.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cadence Winery Coda, Red Mountain 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
“Editor’s Choice. A blend of 48% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 18% Petit Verdot and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromas show great purity, with notes of raspberry, flowers and herbs. The red fruit flavors show the freshness of the vintage and the palate the structure of this producer. -Sean P. Sullivan”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cadence Winery Tapteil Vineyard Red, Red Mountain 2018 750ML ($49.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“The 2018 Tapteil Vineyard is slightly more Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated and checks in as 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, and 20% Merlot. It too saw 18 months in 40% new French oak. Ripe red and black fruits, leafy herbs, chocolate, charcoal, and earthy nuances give way to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured, concentrated red blend with the fruit and opulence to shine today yet the structure and balance to evolve for 15-20 years. Give it a few years if you can.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cadence Winery Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2018 Ciel Du Cheval is based on 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot. It comes from unquestionably one of the top vineyards on Red Mountain and spent 18 months in French oak. Lots of classic Red Mountain tannins and minerality as well as notes of cassis, currants, dried herbs, graphite, and loamy soil define this beauty, and it’s medium to full-bodied and wonderfully balanced, with a round, expansive mouthfeel and a great finish. Well worth seeking out, it’s going to deliver the goods for a solid two decades.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.