Monday Newsletter 11-18-2019

In Today’s Newsletter:

Drappier’s Carte d’Or

Featured New Arrival
St. Damien

Trending New Arrival
2008 Roederer Cristal

Top Thanksgiving Rosé Picks

Thanksgiving Wines Edition

Seghesio Defiant
Sold-Out, More Stock Arriving Friday

Collector’s Corner
The Genius of Il Poggione

Staff Pick
Classic St. Estephe from a Great Vintage

A Vinopolis Guide to Port

Drappier’s Carte d’Or

Arriving Friday!

Drappier might sound like a Grande Marque, but they’re really a grower producer at heart.  They own 53 hectares of vines in the Aube (where they were the first to plant Pinot Noir) and make forward thinking wines at a very friendly price-point.  A carbon-neutral house, they place as much care in the cellar as they do in the vineyards—and the wines show it.

Forbes placed the wine we’re offering today, the estate’s Carte d’Or , as the #3 “Best Champagne You’ve Never Heard Of” for good reason.  Drappier makes big, flamboyantly rich Champagne that is always a crowd pleaser—at prices that mean you can actually pour it for crowds.  It’s hard to find better bubbly under $35/btl, so if you’re a Champagne drinker you should stock up now.

Arriving November 22nd:

Drappier Carte d’Or Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Drappier Carte d’Or Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($299.95) $205 pre-arrival special (that’s only $34.16/bottle!)
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 90 points
“The latest release of the NV Carte d’Or Brut was disgorged in November 2017, and it’s showing well today, wafting from the glass with notions of waxy lemon rind, hazelnuts, fresh peaches and lily pollen. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, pure and vibrant, with pinpoint bubbles, brisk acids and good length and definition on the chalky finish. Attractively balanced, it will gain depth with bottle age.”

Shop our complete listing of 197 Champagnes in stock or arriving soon on our web store!
Best-Price Rombauers are arriving tomorrow…

Shop the sale on our web store!

Featured New Arrival

St. Damien

“At Domaine Saint Damien, there are four Gigondas cuvées, although the Clovis Saurel isn’t bottled every year. It’s a small, family domaine with the magnificently mustachioed Joël Saurel at the helm, although son Romain is increasingly confident in the winery. This is a reference point for traditional Gigondas, but the family also owns a small portion of Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu. We finished up with a handful of older wines, which I noted for readers who may have cellared them.” –Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate

Gigondas has become the shooting star of the Southern Rhone—occupying the space that Chateauneuf du-Pape did during the 90’s and early 00’s.  This is a region that’s producing electric, thrilling wines at prices that despite recent increases are some of the best deals in the world of the highest quality wines.  Saint Damien has emerged as one of the best producers in the AOC. These are some of the top wines coming out of the Rhone, at prices that should make other top producers blush.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas La Louisiane Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $38 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“I think the standout in the 2017 is the 2017 Gigondas La Louisiane, a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah from a single lieu-dit near the domaine, which is located further down on the plateau. Incredible notes of blackcurrants, smoked herbs, spring flowers, and peppery meat notes emerge from this full-bodied beauty that has terrific concentration, sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a blockbuster finish. It actually reminds me of the 2007 yet has more structure and focus. It’s an incredible bottle of wine that will drink well for 20+ years.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Bottled in May, the 2017 Gigondas La Louisiane looks every bit as good as expected. Licorice, dark cherries and plums feature on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is silky and rich, just a wonderful balance of power and elegance. It should drink well soon after release and for at least decade thereafter.-JC”

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 95 points
“A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the 2017 Gigondas les Souteyrades—from a clay-based, north-facing site—is rich and earthy, with cinnamon and cola notes accenting dark plums and black cherries. It’s full-bodied and velvety, adding hints of chocolate on the long finish.-JC”
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points “Black cherries, garrigue, leather, and a kiss of spice emerge from the 2017 Gigondas Les Souteyrades, which is Grenache and Mourvèdre brought up in foudre. It’s medium to full-bodied, has light tannins, beautiful balance, and a charming, elegant style. As with the other releases here in 2017, it’s a seamless, layered, complex wine that relies more on elegance and complexity than overt power and richness.”

The average price nationally is $35
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28.80 special
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $319 special (that’s only $26.58/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“The ruby/purple-hued 2017 Gigondas Vieilles Vignes is a finesse-oriented, medium to full-bodied wine from this estate that has classy notes of dark fruits, kirsch, sappy flowers, and peppery spice. With no hard edges and beautiful balance, it’s reminiscent of the 2011 and will drink nicely for 7-8 years or more.”
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “The 2017 Gigondas Classique Vieilles Vignes was scheduled to be bottled the week after my visit, so I tasted the final assemblage, which is 75% to 80% Grenache and the rest Mourvèdre. Scents of crushed stone, pepper and licorice lead the way, followed by intense notes of black cherries and tree bark. It’s full-bodied, silky and long, with hints of chocolate that creep in on the finish. It looks suppler than I remember it being last year, and it’s for the better.-JC”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $32
Shop our complete listing of 218 Rhone reds in stock or arriving soon on our web store!

Holiday Season Note

Need wines to arrive in time for your November & December fêtes?

Don’t hesitate. 

Purchase now and ship ASAP
to ensure you’re ready for your holiday entertaining and gift giving.

For clients on the East Coast, don’t forget
prime shipping temperatures won’t last much longer!

Trending New Arrival

2008 Roederer Cristal

The 2008 edition of Cristal is a wine that needs little in the way of further hype.  It’s easily the best vintage since 2002, more likely the best since ’96 or 1990.  It’s a stunning wine, which was further evidenced when we tasted it in a lineup of other ’08 Tete du Cuvees.  It was easily the best in class, even among other wines in its prestige category. We’re clearly not the only ones that feel this way, too—the wine has three 100pt scores plus an emphatic 98+ from Antonio Galloni (the only wines from the vintage he scored higher were ’08 Salon and ’08 Cristal Rose).

We’re offering a very special case-6 price on this because it’s a wine that any collector is going to want to stock up on.  It’s incredibly vibrant and engaging now, but this is also clearly a wine that’s going to go the distance.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($339.95) $249 special
Case-6 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML (1999.95) $1,439 special (that’s only $239.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 100 points
“Top Cellar Selection. This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Roederer’s own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Drink from 2020.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2008 Cristal is a perfect wine, and Champagne simple does not get any
better. This incredible wine offers a beautiful perfume of clean, crisp fruits, layers of complexity in its toasted spice and white flowers, and an utterly seamless, yet powerful style on the palate. This is a rich, decadent expression of Cristal yet it’s still crystalline and elegant, with no sensation of weight, and it just glides over the palate. Haut Couture at its finest and this majestic, profound, legendary Cristal can be drunk anytime over the coming 2-3 decades.”
James Suckling 100 points “Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2008 Cristal is a wine that takes over all the senses and never lets up. The brilliance and cut of the Chardonnay finds an extra kick of resonance from the Pinot Noir to carry the mid palate and finish in this stunningly beautiful, chiseled Champagne. Lemon oil, almond, flowers, dried herbs and Mirabelle plum are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop as the 2008 shows off its pedigree. The 2008 is a regal, towering Champagne from Roederer. That’s all there is to it.”
Decanter 98 points “Cristal 2008 is on a roll to yet higher levels of exquisite purity and precision of fruit in a paradoxical balance of weightlessness and depth of flavour, permeated with minerals and a salinity reflecting the greatest terroirs of the Roederer estate. Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon believes that 2008 is his best effort to date, and it’s easy to see why. It’s from a cooler, maritime vintage that came right in the end, with one of the longest harvests ever, running from mid-September to early October. The colour is a stylish pale gold flecked with green. Aromas of white flowers are joined by a cleansing citrus vigour and richer tones of peach and mirabelle. The palate is still quiet, but a tender creaminnes shows through, and there’s so much concentration to come if you drink if after 2021. The greatness of the wine owes everything to the influence of organic and biodynamic precepts in the field – and Lecaillon’s sleepless perfectionism in the cellar towards finer fruit and a careful brake on too much yeasty expression. The acidity is vibrant but better integrated in the 2008 than in the 1996. Magnificent. Dosage 7.7g/l.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 97+ points “Let’s start describing the 2008 Cristal technically first. It is a 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 36 plots in seven grands crus: Verzy, Verzenay, Beaumont and Aÿ for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Avize and Cramant for the Chardonnay. Twenty-five percent of the wine was fermented in oak, and 16% underwent malolactic fermentation to moderate the fresh acidity of the 2008 vintage. The assemblage was bottled in May 2009. After 8.5 years on the second lees (longer than any Cristal before), the first release was disgorged in September 2017 with a relatively low dosage of 7.5 grams per liter.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “There’s a sense of focus and vibrancy to the overall structure, while the palate is all grace and charm. A fine, lacy texture carries a tapestry of ripe white cherry, toast point, blood orange zest, honey and ground ginger notes, with a minerally, mouthwatering finish. A stunning Champagne with a long future ahead of it. Drink now through 2033.”
TL/DR: It’s amazing…

Shop our complete listing of 197 Champagnes in stock or arriving soon on our web store!
Top Thanksgiving Rosé Picks

Rosé is the most useful wine to pour at your Thanksgiving table.  There are precious few categories of wine that easily pair with the cacophony of food that is Thanksgiving dinner, yet most rosés manage to do a good job with everything from turkey to potatoes and gravy to salad and everything in between (except for sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping—nothing pairs with that other than bourbon and shame).

We always try and keep a ton of different rosés on hand no matter the time of year (the current count is 80 different bottling), precisely for occasions like this.  We’re going to run down some of our favorites for the holiday, but you can see all of the different wines in stock in our webstore if you’re looking for more inspiration.

In Stock Now:

Slightly spritzy, this is a perfect aperitif or palate cleanser.
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points
“Shimmering orange-pink. High-pitched red currant, strawberry, orange zest and a bright mineral element on the incisive nose. Lithe and penetrating on the palate, offering intense red berry and citrus fruit flavors that pick up a sexy floral quality as the wine stretches out. Delivers a solid punch of flavor but comes off lithe, betraying no excess fat and finishing very long and precise, with a lingering suggestion of bitter citrus pith.”
VinopolNote: The much-loved and lightly fizzy pink from the Basque region in Spain! A staff favorite. Always light, bright, fresh, salty and fun. The perfect aperitif wine for the summer.

A bit richer in style, this baby-Bandol has a lot going for it and a small price tag.
Chateau Pradeaux Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Neal Rosenthal note
“Comprising 75% Mourvèdre, 15% Cinsault, and 10% Grenache, with an average vine age of 40 years, the 2018 Côtes de Provence Rosé is even closer in character to its Bandol counterpart than it normally is. Serious and strapping, it offers a penetrating chalky minerality, robust red fruits, and a whisper of tannin that contributes to a particularly long and clinging impression on the palate.”

One of the genre-defining rosés of Provence, this is a classic.
Peyrassol ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Peyrassol ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose, Cotes de Provence 2018 1.5L ($51.95) $47 special
Grapelive 93 points
“The famous Cotes de Provence winery, Chateau Peyrassol, is located in the hills of the Var, north of St. Tropez…and is well known for their top notch dry Rosé. This tranquil and picturesque spot is home to vineyards planted to primarily Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah used in the Rosé bottlings…The current release of the Rosé, 2018, is a beautiful vintage for this in demand wine, one of the finest I’ve tried from this estate in fact, in particular I love this Cuvee de la Commanderie, the work horse wine of the domaine. Like all of the Rosés of Peyrassol this one was made in the direct press method, with maceration and fermentation being done with cool temperatures. According to the winery and importer Rosenthal Wine Merchant, this winemaking process gives the Rosés of Peyrassol their beautiful watermelon, and delicate salmon pink color. The fermentation is exceptionally long, resulting in rosés that are both lively, fresh and full-bodied and complex, as this one shows with its layers of tart cherry, the mentioned watermelon, strawberry and citrusy crisp fruits along with a steely/mineral character as well as having a wet stone, dried lavender and rosewater elements.  The Chateau Peyrassol, as it has been known since 2001, is one of the longest running domaines in the region being first established in the middle of the 1200s, when it was founded by the Knights of Templar, it rests near the sea and is surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean forest, with Eighty hectares planted to vineyards which are cultivated on the dry, rocky clay and limestone based soils….I also really like the Blanc and Rouge (made from Cabernet and Syrah) a lot, though the Rosé is certainly the most charming and delicious of the wines and they go great with and without food, though they take on a more serious tone and fill out on the palate with food, I especially enjoy them with seafood like mussels in a Mediterranean inspired spicy broth.”

Rich, yet electric, this is Sancerre in a different (very vinous) form.
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2018 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
Importer Note
“Indeed, the 2018 Sancerre Rosé—clocking in just shy of 14%–is deeper in color than usual, as well as more vinous and commanding on the palate. Pure Pinot Noir produced solely from direct-press juice and aged on its lees in stainless steel, this ’18 manages to carry its weight very well, with ultra-bracing acidity and a sense of lift on the nearly viscous palate. While this wine often drinks much like Crochet’s epic whites—steely and mineral, with enormous cut—one feels the Pinot Noir a bit more in this vintage, but it is ultimately a very interesting and delicious rosé”

This would be a fun alternative to a white Rhone.
Yves Cuilleron ‘Sybel’ Syrah Rose, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Importer note
“This Rosé is sourced 100% from Syrah grown within the confines of the village of Chavanay. It is produced by the “saignée” method after a brief maceration of several hours. The fermentations are in stainless steel and the elevage continues for about six months before bottling in the spring following harvest.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $16.99
Beaujolais goes well with Thanksgiving, so does Beaujolais rosé.
Domaine du Vissoux Les Griottes Rose, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Glistening pink. Fresh red berries and pungent flowers and herbs on the fragrant nose. Juicy, mineral-laced strawberry, anise and floral pastille flavors show very good clarity, and a peppery quality emerges with air. A silky, expansive finish leaves warm red fruit and tangerine notes behind.”
VinopolNote: This Weygandt-Metzler import has upped its game in 2018. Sourced from the youngest vines that grow alongside Morello cherry (griotte) trees, this rosé reflects its companions with its bright cherry and floral notes. The crunchy acidity makes it a great wine to pair with tangy barbeque or fruit and veggie dishes.
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $17.99

Shop all 76 in-stock rosés on our web store!

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!


Thanksgiving Edition

Champagne is a given, rosé is fun, Clouet is a crowd pleaser and always one of our favorite budget-friendly Champagne producers
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($499.95) $444 special (that’s only $37/bottle!)
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 3L ($399.95) $319 special

William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “The latest release of Clouet’s deeply colored NV Brut Rosé No 3 Grand Cru is showing well, opening in the glass with notes of blood orange, red berries, ripe apples and oatmeal. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and vinous, with ripe acids, a frothy mousse and a moderately intense finish. This is an attractive, gastronomic rosé that hails exclusively from Bouzy.” [Reviewed April 2019]
These are the lowest listed prices in the USA today!
Riesling goes with everything, plus this wine is 8% abv, so you can drink all day.
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Case-12 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2016 750ML ($289.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points
“Opening with nice reduction but precise and ripe fruit as well as crunchy slate aromas on the nose, the 2016 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett is pure and flinty, well-structured and quite aristocratic (though a frivolous aristocrat), with a firm structure, lush fruit and a lovely lightness and buoyancy. Very stimulating and mouthwatering, but it’s far too young to appreciate the full complexity it will deliver in a couple of years. Salty, grippy and fruity—just a perfect Kabinett.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Classic Bordeaux that’s great pick for big red drinkers.
L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-6 L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($159.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – JancisRobinson
“L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.'”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
We had to pick a Beaujolais, of course—and this is great.
Daniel Bouland Chiroubles ‘Chatenay’, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“Bouland’s 2018 Chiroubles bursts with aromas of ripe blackberries, red plums, violets and cracked black pepper. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and layered, with a succulent core of fruit, fine concentration and a long, lip-smacking finish. An especially gourmand rendition of this cuvée, it hails from a steep hillside site and is matured in tank.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Budget bubbles that drink in a Champagne style.
Domaine d’Henri 821 Chardonnay Brut Nature 2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
“Domaine d’Henri has emerged as one of our favorite Chablis producers, so when we heard they (now) made bubbles, we had to get some.  It lives up to expectations, too.  This is Blanc de Blancs done in a Brut Nature style, with great minerality and distinct Chablis chalk in its veins.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
This is a classic bistro red that’s a fantastic accompaniment to a ton of foods.
Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($299.95) $236 special (that’s only $19.67/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Importer Note
“Baudry’s style exemplifies rich, precise fruit picked at perfect ripeness levels and vinified cleanly using state-of-the-art equipment. The Cuvée Domaine is a blend of parcels of older vines (30-35 years old) planted in alluvial gravel bed and hillside clay. It has bigger structure and can use a short aging period in bottle before drinking. The wine has deep, dark ruby color and is beautifully extracted.”
The average price nationally is $25
Entry level Alsatian Riesling that’s dry, crisp and excellent value.
Jean-Baptiste Adam Riesling Tradition, Alsace 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Case-12 Jean-Baptiste Adam Riesling Tradition, Alsace 2016 750ML ($279.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 90 points
“Bright straw. Aromas and flavors of yellow plums and white pepper are complemented by more luscious notes of lemon curd. Very fresh and clean, with a classically dry (2 g/L residual sugar) finish that is extended by laser-like acidity (7.2 g/L total acidity). Made from grapes grown in four plots located in the area of Ammerschwihr plus one plot in the Letzenberg (as the latter gives a wine that differs greatly from the other Letzenberg wines, Adam chooses to blend it in here to add a little more freshness to the finished wine). Lovely, very good entry-level wine that will also age well.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Seghesio Defiant

Sold-Out, More Stock Arriving Friday

A Powerful Zinfandel Blend at Half-Off the Winery’s Price

Seghesio’s “Defiant” is a powerful red blend that’s a big, rich wine perfect for drinking in the winter and fall. It tastes better when it’s half off what the winery charges for the wine (and fully $16/btl off the lowest wine-searcher price.  A blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet and a bunch of other minor grapes, this is a wine with beautiful textures, a full body and silky tannins—and up until now one of the premier bottlings that Seghesio made.  If you’re a fan of The Prisoner or other Zin blends, this delivers all of that dark-fruited style at a much, much lower price—so take note.

The original inspiration for the Defiant bottling was the wineries centennial celebration in 1995.  The name paid tribute to the founding spirit of the winery and the generations that kept the winery alive (through prohibition) and the wine is bold in tribute to them and their spirit.  We’re offering it today at an astounding price—just $14/btl by the case.  That’s $16 less than the winery charges and $21 less than the average wine-searcher price.   This is one to stock up on for winter drinking—though if you end up cellaring some for a few years, that won’t be so bad, either.

Arriving Friday:

Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Sonoma 2015 750ML ($32.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Sonoma 2015 750ML ($379.95) $168 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Savory black cherry aromas lead to well-framed flavors of sage and pepper. A new blend from this winery offers the zest of Zinfandel with the focus of Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante, Barbera and Syrah. Drink now through 2027. 5,000 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $29.94
The average listed price is $35
Shop all 85 California wines in stock now on our web store!

Collector’s Corner

The Genius of Il Poggione

Let’s cut to the chase: any lover of Brunello—no, any lover of Italian wine—should have a case of Il Poggione’s Brunello in their cellar if they can afford it.  The combination of classical proportions and attention grabbing power and complexity is extremely rare in a wine, especially at these sorts of prices.  They are truly Great Brunello, along with names like Biondi-Santi, Soldera, Saliciutti, etc. except at half (or less) the price of its peer group. Il Poggione made some of the wines of the vintage in both 2013 and 2012 (both excellent to all-time-classic years) and we’ve stocked up.  We’re offering these wines at exceptionally sharp pricing, just in time for gifting to yourself (let’s be honest here) or others.

If you’re unfamiliar with the wines of Il Poggione, let’s catch you up quickly.  They are a classic Brunello Brunello producer working with very traditional methods in the subzone of Sant’Angelo in Colle, a region that tends to produce wines with big, bold personality.  Whereas some of Il Poggione’s neighbors take this natural abundance and add plenty of new wood and extraction, the attitude at Il Poggione is much more minimalist.  The resulting wines are both crowd pleasing (rich fruit, up front aromatics) and intellectually stimulating (age-worthy, not obstructed by new oak) in way that is nearly unique in Brunello outside of names that trade for significantly more money per bottle.

That combo, and that pricing, is what makes Il Poggione a contradiction in the best way—a traditional Brunello that’s often approachable young.  An ageworthy wine that doesn’t have to be aged.  A wine that’s top tier collectible and respected while remaining in the reasonable stratosphere of affordability.  It’s a lot for a wine to be, but luckily there it is and we’ve stocked up.  We have the top tier 2012 and ’13 vintages in stock now and are excited to offer you excellent pricing on these fine wines.

In Stock Now:

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

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $75
“This is one of the year’s best Brunellos”
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($89.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Il Poggione is a Brunello superstar and a vintage like this reveals every reason why that affirmation is true. From the second the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino pours into the glass, you know you are in for something special. The wine is darkly saturated and rich in appearance. Absent are those slightly amber or browning hues you often get with Sangiovese in a hot vintage. Nor does the wine show flat or tired characteristics. Instead, the quality of fruit is vibrant and rich. This is a healthy, generous and exuberant Brunello with dark density and succulent fruit flavors that are followed by integrated spice and tobacco. The balance is impressive and one thing you get here is fresh acidity. This is not to be underestimated, because the acidity quota in the 2012 vintage across the appellation is not as high or evident as usual. This is one of the year’s best Brunellos.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $79
Shop our complete listing of 39 Montalcino wines in stock now on our web store!

Staff Pick

Classic St. Estephe from a Great Vintage

My fascination with Chateau Meyney goes back almost 2 decades, and many vintages. I have yet to find a better bellwether for a vintage on the left bank than Meyney, and while the last few vintages have seen some changes in the cellar, the wine is still remarkably true to what I have been tasting over the years. In a vintage with as much hype as 2016, getting to see a clear picture as to what one might expect of more expensive purchases is always welcome. Then again, in such a vintage, the wine of Meyney really has a chance to shine on its own.

At the moment the wine is a touch more rigid than in ‘15 or ‘14. The structure is clearly evident – similar to the 2010. Smoke, spice, and anise wrap around the cherry core. It is denser than almost any I have had and built for the long haul. If you’re drinking it now, open it early. I like to think of the 95/96 vintages. ‘96, similar to ’15 in its warmth and open aromas was an immediate drinker. ’95 & ‘16 seem to take three days to fully reveal the full scope of the wine, but it is worth the wait. For a $39 foray into “serious” Bordeaux, you can roll the dice on seeing just how long you can go with this bottle. Preferably, you’ll cellar it for the short term, but you won’t be disappointed with the results if you give it air.

In Stock Now:

Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Wild nose. Impressive, deep hue and a wealth of fresh, violet-like aromas, as well as cassis, graphite and dark cherries. The palate has a very sleek, fine, powerful core of tannins that bring a lot of depth and deliver rich dark-fruit flavor. A classic Meyney. Best since 1961! Try from 2023.”
Decanter 94 points “Rich and full, this is very St-Estèphe: round through the mid-palate, with an amazingly tasty balance of richness and freshness leading to salinity and minerality on the finish. It will need another five to eight years before being ready to drink, but it has to be one of the value picks of the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2016 Meyney is a bold, powerful wine. Tobacco, menthol, chocolate, spice and torrefaction notes all add shades of darkness. Meyney is potent and quite broad in feel, and yet everything is very nicely balanced. Although not especially subtle, Meyney delivers the goods, and then some.”

Shop our complete listing of 28 Bordeaux reds in stock now on our web store!

A Vinopolis Guide to Port

The holiday season is the perfect time to explore and stock up on Port. This fortified dessert wine is an excellent wine for sipping and an exceptional pairing with seasonal desserts (Tawny Port with pumpkin pie, Vintage Port with fruit/jam/chocolate cookies or any category with cheese, nuts, and dried fruits!). Let’s explore our offerings, but first: a primer.

Port can be broadly divided into Vintage, Ruby and Tawny. Vintage is aged for a short time in barrel before being bottled. The wines show flavors such as ripe red and black fruits, chocolate, and spice and can cellar for decades in bottle. Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) Ports are held in oak for longer and are similar to Vintage in style but can be approachable on release. Ruby is a non-vintage wine similar in style to Vintage and LBV, but not intended for aging. Tawnies are aged in oak for much longer, and are often designated by how long on average the wine was aged at minimum (10 year, 20 year, etc). They are often described as having nutty, toffee, and caramel aromas. The rarest category is Vintage Tawny, or Colheita. This is a single vintage wine held in oak for very long periods of time. These can be drunk on release.

We carry a large selection of Ports in stock and arriving early next year. Browse top picks and the full list below or shop the entire selection on our web store!

Top Vintage Ports for Drinking Now:

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 1977 750ML ($349.95) $299 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Note on condition of bottles: labels and bottles show wear and tear of 40 years in cellar.
Wine Spectator 97 points “Good ruby color still. The nose is fresh, with lots of crushed berry and plum, with a hint of piecrust. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a caressing texture. This delivers loads of complex fruit and spiciness. Medium-sweet. A beauty. Will improve for decades, but why wait? ’77/’85/’97 blind Port retrospective. Drink now.”
Robert Parker 96 points “This house must certainly be the Latour of Portugal. Their ports are remarkably backward yet still impressive when young. Of all the vintage ports, those of Taylor need the longest time to mature and even when fully mature seem to have an inner strength and firmness that keep them going for decades. Their tawnys are also among the very best, though somewhat expensive. The 1977 has consistently been at the top of my list of vintage ports in this great vintage, although the Dow, Graham, and Fonseca are equally splendid. It is a mammoth, opaque, statuesque vintage port of remarkable depth and power, but is should not be touched before 2000.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2003 1.5L ($299.95) $249 special, 4 magnums in stock now
Robert Parker – Hedonist’s Gazette 100 points
“…I was blown away by the 2003 Taylors vintage port. The Great Wall of China, Black Tie Dinner.”
Pierre Ravoni – Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2003 Taylor’s has a lovely ripe, primal bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, vanilla and marmalade that shows slightly better delineation than the Fonseca. The palate is medium-bodied with very composed, refined tannins that belie the heat of that summer. There is wonderful focus here and fine tension, the finish offering precise notes of black cherries, mulberry, cloves and white pepper. This is one of the finest Ports of a precocious vintage. Tasted May 2013.”

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Vintage Ports for Cellaring:

#42 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 33 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points
“This is a superb baby Noval that reminds me of the 1966. Chewy yet so polished. The light sweetness suggests an overall dialing back of the sugar content. Stemmy and lightly green. A truly classic Noval. Almost all from Pinhao. Buy. Better in 2025.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “This has terrific energy from the start, with a bramble note inlaid in the core of cherry and plum paste flavors. Sappy, sweet and fresh, with a plum cake-infused finish. Gains focus and polish as it stretches out in the glass.—Non-blind Quinta do Noval vertical (May 2018). Best from 2030 through 2055. 6,000 cases made.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in with 82 grams of residual sugar. This was in bottle for only about seven weeks when seen, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. It looks super, with plenty of room to grow in the cellar. Christian Seely likes to say that this regular Noval and the Nacional are not better than one another, just different. In fact, I usually prefer Nacional, but in this vintage I make a case for equality and endorse that view. This was stunning from the first smell, promising concentration, intensity of fruit and great things to come. It had a 100-point nose that made me go “wow!” No wine I tasted had a better nose than this. Violets and blue fruits lead off, with a trace of eucalyptus. I tend to think Noval is a producer that always shows mid-palate finesse, but this seems pretty deep too. It is also intense. The tannins won’t sear your mouth because the balance is impeccable. To be sure, it might close down, but it is surprisingly approachable now, notwithstanding that intensity. Rest assured that this lively young Porto still has all the materials to make old bones. Needless to say, “approachable” does not mean “ready.” You need to toss this in the cellar for a decade, at least. Purists will say to double that or more. When the palate becomes as expressive as the nose—if it does—this will be entitled to an uptick. No pricing was set yet.”

#4 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 30 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 100 points
“OMG. This is really the most amazing young Taylor’s I have ever tasted. Full-bodied and lightly sweet with super power and intensity. So racy and focused. Yet this has such muscle and intensity. Needs at least eight years to show you everything it has to offer. Drink in 2025.”
Wine Spectator 98 points “This is packed with raspberry, blackberry and blueberry fruit flavors that play off one another, melding with anise, fruitcake and ganache notes. A warm tarry edge coats the finish, revealing an echo of bramble. A seriously grippy, strapping Port, this revels in its power. Best from 2032 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Ripe, structured while also fruity, this intense, perfumed Port is opulent while also elegant. Its tannins and great fruit are finely integrated and are rich with potential. Black fruits, berries and a juicy aftertaste add freshness to the wine. Drink from 2028.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 97 points “In 2016 Taylor’s began picking in Vargellas on 17 September, followed by Pinhão Valley estate on 23 and 26 September. The 2016 Vintage Port has an aristocratic bouquet with tight wound aromas of blackberry, bilberry, crushed stone, black olive and a light, marine-tinged element, perhaps almost peat-like. The palate is just beautiful with fine, chiseled tannins and a perfect line of acidity. There is that almost “arching” structure one always seeks in a great Taylor’s with a gentle but insistent grip towards the finish. It is everything you really want from a Vintage Port. Production is 6,200 cases.”

Late Bottled Vintage Port

Ramos Pinto Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal 2013 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-6 Ramos Pinto Late Bottled Vintage Port, Portugal 2013 750ML ($169.95) $136 special (that’s only $22.67/bottle!)
Decanter 95 points
“A ripe, intense, full-flavoured vintage-a-like with rich juicy plums and berries, earthy spice and opulent tannins. Elegant, complex and plenty of wine for the money!”

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Tawny Ports 

Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom Retiro Tawny Port 750ML ($79.85) $66 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Case-6 Ramos Pinto 20 Year Old Quinta do Bom Retiro Tawny Port 750ML ($399.95) $369 special (that’s only $61.50/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Decanter 98 points
“From a single estate where a quarter of the vines are more than 80 years old: soft and seamless, boasting waves of dates, dried figs, brazil nuts and toasted almonds. Suave silky texture and wonderful savoury- sweet length. Supremely good.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Old gold in color, this is the most complete style of aged tawny. The long barrel aging (in old barrels) has given concentration, a touch of oxidation and a wonderful spicy character. It is rich, luscious and beautifully ready to drink.”

The average price is $75
Colheita (Vintage Tawny)

Burmester Colheita Port, Portugal 1952 750ML ($449.95) $349 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“This is an astonishing wine for its age. It shines with fruit and with rich toffee flavors that are balanced by acidity. It’s a warm, ripe wine, intense and concentrated. The dryness of such a long wood aging (the wine was only bottled in 2015) is really only a background to the richness.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 1952 Colheita, bottled in November 2015, is a field blend coming in at 127.9 grams per liter of residual sugar. When people talk about old Tawnies being dried out, maybe they should taste this. Lush, surprisingly fresh and enticingly sweet on the finish, this is a rather elegant Burmester that is perfectly balanced and very friendly, yet nicely concentrated. It proves its age by the fine tension on the finish coupled with the complex medley of flavors that old Tawnies produce. The acidity gives this some life and vigor that many others do not have. It retains that classic, long finish. This seems so young and lively that it will be hard to stop drinking it. It doesn’t immediately make you go “wow,” but it is so easy to drink that you may not stop until there’s none left.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Budget-Friendly Buys

The house style of Quinta do Infantado is lower residual sugar than most producers, making it a great pairing with lighter desserts or fine cheeses.
Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port, Portugal NV 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Quinta do Infantado Tawny Port, Portugal NV 750ML ($21.95) $19 special 

White Port is an aperitif style often used in mixed drinks, thought this Ramos Pinto is so delicious, you’ll want to sip it straight!
Ramos Pinto Lagrima White Porto, Portugal NV 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Importer Note
“The Lágrima is a special port made from extremely ripe grapes which confer body and density to the wine. It is a favorite of the Portuguese, who enjoy it at any time of day. This is the sweetest of all Port wines with around 140 grams of sugar per liter. This port has a predominantly golden color. Within its characteristic fruit and sweetness, floral aromas of chamomile and orange blossom stand out with hints of honey. It has a light, unctuous palate with flavors of ripe fruit surrounded by an intense freshness. It has a rich, persistent finish with a pleasant touch of honey.”

Ramos Pinto Tawny Port, Portugal NV 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Importer Note
“Ramos Pinto’s wood-aged ports are blended from several vintages and several quintas. Unlike the majority of port houses, Ramos Pinto owns almost all of its own vineyards and controls the grape quality from pruning to harvest. The Tawny is a three to five-year-old blend obtained by blending wines with different degrees of maturity brought about by the ageing process in barrels and hogshead casks.  This is a tawny red with a topaz meniscus. The first aroma gives the impression of buoyancy and develops into a great smoothness acquired from having been matured in wood. In the mouth, it feels light, warm and very soft as a result of its ageing. This adolescent Port is mature and fruity, with a complex and delicate character. Its finish is perfectly balanced, giving it some delicateness.”

2017 Vintage Port Arriving in February

Niepoort Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 99-100 points
“The 2017 Vintage Port is a field blend from old vines (80 to 100 years old). It comes in with 89 grams per liter of residual sugar. This was set for bottling in two weeks, but it was the final blend. Even when open for a couple of days, this was still tight, muscular and concentrated, grabbing the palate and never letting go. On opening, it was fragrant and delicious, but even then, there was plenty of muscle and evident concentration. The concentration and power merely improved as it aired out—unlike a lot of 2016s (which year Niepoort did not declare). Tasting it after several days open showed that it shut down and closed up in terms of expressiveness, but it definitively proved that it’s an old-school, long-haul wine. Dry, stern and long on the finish, this is brilliant. It is hard to think of any basis on which this is not perfection just now—Niepoort says it is the best he’s ever made. It’s certainly the best I’ve seen from him, and it is a leading candidate for “Wine of the Vintage,” although certainly not the only one. Finally, this is going to require patience. Nothing about it says “drink me now.” It should age brilliantly. If you lack a cellar and patience, look away.”
James Suckling 98 points “Wow. Smoky and intense on the nose with dried fruits and slate undertones. Lots of wet earth too. Full body, sweet yet dry and tannic on the palate. Very powerful and focused. Racy and powerful. A fantastic center palate of fruit. A blend of touriga franca, tinto cao, tinta francisca, tinta amarela, sousao, tinta roriz and others. Drink in 2025 and onwards.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 96 points “The 2017 Vintage Port was picked early to obtain optimal ripeness, commencing 24 August and finished 26 September. Yields are some 30% below the previous year. The fruit was foot-trodden in granite lagares and matured in large barrels in Vila Nova de Gaia. It has a refulgent purple colour. The nose is explosive, a heady cornucopia of blueberry, black cherries and crème de cassis, later just a touch of lavender. There is no holding back on these aromatics. The palate follows suit with sumptuous black fruit, quite tannic but simultaneously rounded and lavish/velvety in texture. Touches of fresh fig and raisin appear towards the finish. Drop dead gorgeous.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Shop our complete listing of 32 Ports in stock or arriving in February on our web store!
Shop our complete listing of 32 Ports in stock or arriving in February on our web store!

Thank you for reading!