Diamond Creek: Subscriber Special Pricing; #Trending: The Hottest Wines of this Merry Season; Christmas Dinner Table Recommendations; Last Minute Shopper’s Guide for Champagnes; Bin End Sales
Subscriber Special Pricing
Sale Ends Wednesday, December 20th at 11:59PM
Al Brounstein and his wife founded Diamond Creek in 1968 on the tranquil Diamond Mountain just south of Calistoga. Planting Bordeaux varietals – with a particular affinity for Cabernet Sauvignon – they’ve grown to be among the most celebrated producers in the country. As pioneers of California winemaking, their efforts helped to establish the state as a force to be reckoned with worldwide.
Renowned by their concentration and intensity, the wines show surprising restraint in terms of alcohol levels. Tannin roars through the layers of the Cabernets; these are considered to be some of the most age-worthy wines in the country.
The domaine covers a mere 20 acres, but with three extremely distinct soils. When he and long-time employee Sergio Canchola were clearing the land, they noticed that their clothes were covered in starkly different hues as they emerged from working each plot. From there onward, each was worked and vinified separately. Volcanic Hill is warmest, with iron-rich soils which makes big, surly, but ultimately approachable wines. Gravelly Meadow is cooler, with quick drainage forcing the vines to struggle to find moisture; these wines are marked by fine minerality and structure. Red Rock Terrace is warmer and supplies the most fruit-forward wines.
There are few reviews so far for the 2015 vintage, but the wines routinely garner high praise from Antonio Galloni of Vinous, Robert Parker and Lisa Perrotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate, and James Suckling, among others!
We will apply it here before charging
Winery notes: “Our second coolest micro-climate is our five-acre Gravelly Meadow vineyard. Originally a pre-historic river bed, this stony, gravelly soil drains rapidly and the vines struggle for moisture. Gravelly Meadow is our lowest yielding vineyard. The wines are described as “earthy, cedary, jammy and ripe blackberry with a spicy expansive finish.”
The next best price is $194.79
The average price is $215
Winery notes: “Red Rock Terrace, a warm microclimate, is 7 acres of north facing vineyard. The red tinted soil is high in iron content. The wine from Red Rock Terrace is the most accessible and earliest drinkable of all our wines. Our winemaker describes Red Rock Terrace as “having velvety tannins, rich and well balanced, medium dark ruby color with cherry, mint and black currant flavors.”
The next best price is $194.79
The average price is $221
Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 375ML ($249.95) Displayed Price: $119, Subscriber Special: $99, 12 half-bottles in stock now
Winery notes: “Volcanic Hill is comprised of 8 acres of south facing hillside vineyard. It is the warmest of all our micro-climates. The color of the soil is gray, and the consistency is that of fluffy, volcanic ash, originally deposited from the eruption of Mt. Konocti 8 million years ago. Volcanic Hill is the longest lived of our wines. Our winemaker describes these wines as “full bodied, loaded with intense ripe berry fruit, cassis, violets and a smoky richness, finishing with good length and firm tannins. The Volcanic Hill bottling includes a small amount of the extra-ordinary Petit Verdot grape.”
The next best price is $194.79
The average price is $217
This is the only listing in the USA for the half-bottle!Don’t Miss Out!
Sale Ends Wednesday, December 20th at 11:59PM
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We will apply it here before chargingWe offer 128 different wines from California (that’s almost 2,000 bottles & magnums in all!). Visit our web store to browse the complete list and shop online!
The Hottest Wines of this Merry Season
With so many excellent wines to choose from (2,779 different options today!) we’ve curated a list of our most popular picks for you!
Need an easy-drinking, easy-on-the-budget white that you’ll feel proud to pour for your pickiest relatives? This delightful Gris from Matello fits the bill:
Matello Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Case-12 Matello Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($179.95) $138 special, 3 cases in stock now (that’s only $11.50/bottle!)
Winery note “Never more than a few hundred cases, this micro-production showcases the beautiful mineral nature of the shallow sedimentary soils of the Whistling Ridge and Bishop creek vineyards. Bright, fresh, pear, lime blossom, hints of hazelnut, and a saline note.”
Case-12 Goodfellow Family Cellars Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2014 750ML ($419.95) $299 special, 14 cases in stock now (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Case-6 Goodfellow Family Cellars Bishop Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2014 750ML ($219.95) $166 special, 5 six-packs in stock now (that’s only $27.67/bottle!)
Grapelive 91 points “Delicately layered and spicy, the 2014 Bishop Creek is a pretty effort, especially for a richer vintage in Oregon. Made by Marcus Goodfellow, the ex-Evesham Wood and Westerly man, [he] is coming into his own as a talent, inspired by Doerner of Cristom and John Paul of Cameron. You can see the style showing through here. Bishop Creek, planted to Pommard and Wadenswil (old Swiss clone), [is] now owned by Nicolas Meo of the famed Burgundy Domaine Meo-Camuzet. [The vineyard] ([which is] not far from Shea Vineyards) formed this wine with its distinct strawberry and racy red cherry core along with the mixed spice, mineral tones and light wood influence. Its southern exposure and Willakenzie soils (dark rocky marine sediment) give warmth and grace. Planted in 1988, the vines ripen without flamboyant extraction, allowing more finesse to show through. At 13.9% this medium weight wine offers fine detail, opulence and restrained, almost earthy, soulfulness. Hints of bitter herb, cedar and candied citrus rind add a tangy note to the whole and the finish echoes the red fruits in subtle fashion with a touch of wilted roses lingering on. It shines right now, though best to enjoy it with cuisine to match as it is a tad shier than other 2014 Oregon Pinots (I’ve tried) and needs time and coaxing to reach its beautiful peak. Best from 2018 to 2022.”
The next best price for any vintage is $36
Robert Parker 98+ points “From their steep hillside vineyards on Pritchard Hill, the 2014 Proprietary Red IX Estate is an old-fashioned Médoc blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, but with some Cabernet Franc (rarely seen in the Médoc these years) as well as Merlot and Petit Verdot. Striking aromatics of violets, forest floor, loamy soil nuances, blueberry, black raspberry and blackberry soar from the glass of this spectacular 2014. The acidity seems reasonable but on the lower side, the texture is magnificent, and the overall purity and equilibrium flawless. This is a wine pushing, even demanding, a three-digit score once again, but I’m holding back – at least for now. This magnificent effort from Colgin should drink beautifully for 25-30 years.”The Brunier brothers of Vieux Telegraphe and the irrepressible importer Kermit Lynch have revitalized the historic Domaine Les Pallieres estate. No serious Rhone drinker can doubt the craftsmanship behind their now thirty year run with the 500 year old estate. The estate’s renaissance is full of joy: a tradition that will be preserved into the future by passionate experts.
Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable, Rhone 2013 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Les Pallieres Gigondas Terrasses du Diable, Rhone 2013 750ML ($539.95) $359 special, 5 cases in stock now (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Dark ruby. Candied red berries, cherry compote and potpourri on the highly pungent nose; a mineral element adds vivacity. Energetic black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show excellent clarity and a hint of licorice pastille that builds as the wine opens up. The energetic finish repeats the floral and mineral notes, while supple tannins lend shape and grip.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “Offers a taut, slightly sinewy feel, with cedar-laced grip cutting through the core of dried cherry, red currant and raspberry flavors. Displays a lightly chalky spine on the finish, with an ample tobacco note.”
The next best price is $39
Antonio Galloni 93 points “A deep, powerful wine, the 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva has quite a bit of depth for a cool, late-ripening vintage. Sage, tobacco, menthol, smoke and dark cherry hit the palate in a deep, beautifully layered Chianti Classico endowed with real personality and class. This is another terrific wine from Fèlsina. Hints of leather, smoke and licorice reappear on the deeply expressive, virile finish.”
Case-12 Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2014 750ML ($269.95) $199 special, 10+ cases in stock now (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2014 Pétalos del Bierzo was already up for tasting as they sell the wine quite quickly even if the volumes are not small, but the wine had only been in bottle for one week and it might have been a little closed, especially when compared with the aromatic 2013. However, the aromas, if subtle, are phenomenal, very complete and balanced, with an extra degree of complexity when compared with the 2013. The harvest was a little healthier without being easy (or dry). There is great volume in the palate, fleshy, juicy and rich without being heavy, medium-bodied, somehow similar to the 2012 even if it still needs to develop further complexity. There’s always a subdued minerality, a texture and mouthfeel difficult to find in wines of this price level. This is approachable now, but it will be better in one year and should develop nicely in bottle. Drink: 2016-2022.”
James Suckling 92 points “A pure mencía with wild strawberries, black pepper and underbrush. Balanced and pretty red showing subtle berry character throughout. Silky tannins. The entry-level red of the famous Bierzo estate. Drink now.”
The average price nationally is $20
Case-12 Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’, Maule Valley, Chile 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 7 cases in stock now (that’s only $10.66/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The super-tasty and gulpable 2016 Aupa Pipeño is a blend of País with some 30% Carignan (and whatever is found in the old vineyards) from a slightly cooler year. It keeps the style of previous vintages with the bright red fruit and the freshness of short macerations. In the dry-farming part of Maule they only saw 30 to 50 millimeters of rain when in the central valley they got 200! These grapes were harvested before the rain anyway, but the wine retains the freshness of a cooler year, fresher than 2015, more in line with the 2014 and 2013” –LG
Wine and Spirits 92 points “David Marcel, from France’s Basque country, was working in Maule as a bulk wine broker while building his own project, Maitía, back in 2012. That’s when he fell in love with the refreshing pipeños, the traditional wines of Chile’s south, usually made from país… The result is a lovely, refreshing and red-fruited pipeño, with vivid, shining acidity. It’s the kind of wine you won’t stop drinking.”
Christmas Dinner Table Recommendations
Beaujolais (and Oregonian Gamay) offers an easy flexibility with most any dish the holidays present, all the way to cookies! Pop open a bottle or two for your feast:
Joseph Drouhin Domaine des Hospices de Belleville Fleurie, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “Vivid ruby. Very fresh and expressive on the nose, offering intense cherry and red berry liqueur qualities and a smoky mineral overtone. Shows very good freshness and thrust on the palate; vivacious raspberry and bitter cherry flavors become sweeter on the back half. Displays excellent clarity and delineation and closes long and sweet, featuring lingering red fruit character and harmonious tannins.”
Burghound 92 points “A distinctly earthy and peppery nose combines ripe purple fruit and black cherry aromas. There is excellent volume and richness to the concentrated middle weight flavors that possess first-rate complexity on the firmly structured and impressively persistent finish. This fine effort is built-to-age and will certainly need at least a few years first.”
The next best price is $64.99
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Limpid purple. Ripe, highly perfumed red berry and cherry scents are complicated by suggestions of peppery spices, smoked meat and incense. Sappy, concentrated and focused on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors and a suggestion of spicecake. Brawny yet surprisingly lively, closing with powerful thrust and silky, even tannins that sneak in late to add shape and gentle grip.”
Case-12 Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($339.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
VinopolNote: Brouilly is normally considered to be the lighter cousin of the Cote de Brouilly. In the hands of Chermette, though, this is a wine that has depth and power, with the finesse that the 2016 vintage brings with it. This is still a pretty wine and among the most drinkable in the Vissoux lineup, but
Last Minute Shopper’s Guide
Best Picks at Any Price!
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 3L ($319.95) $269 special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($519.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Brut Grande Reserve emerges from the glass with layers of hazelnut, pear, spice and dried flower aromas. This rich, creamy wine impresses for its balance and sheer richness. I loved it.” AG
Case-6 Arlaux Grande Cuvee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($239.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The nose of this wine seduces you straight away with a great balance of autolytic and fruit aromas: toasted hazelnuts, warm apple tart and kaya (coconut and egg) jam. The palate is equally well balanced providing plenty of evolved fruit and toasty / yeasty flavors. Small, fine bubbles, seamless use of dosage and a long nutty finish. This fine if relatively unknown Brut NV takes first place in the derby – a shocker even for me!”
Importer notes: “Arlaux is a small family-run champagne house producing only 5,000 cases a year located in a small village on the Petit Montagne de Reims called Vrigny. Arlaux has been producing champagne since 1826 but the Arlaux-Marchal family have lived in Vrigny since the 13th century. Exclusively 1er Cru Champagne with a minimum of 4 years aging. They only use their own grapes from 20 to 100 year old vines which are hand-picked in order to select only the very best. All Arlaux cuvées are 100% Premier Cru and 100% Tête de Cuvée (meaning that they only use the juice of the 1st press).”
PPR.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $35.80 special
Case-12 R.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($499.95) $399 special (that’s only $33.25/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 93 points “One of the stars in this year’s crop of new releases, Coutier’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is powerful, ample and flat-out delicious. As always, the Blanc de Blancs is one of the hidden gems in this range. Varietal Chardonnay notes are amped up in this super-expressive, powerful Champagne. Disgorged: June 2017. Dosage is 7 grams per liter.”
The average price is $41Under $50
Base vintage: 2014; Disgorged 4/8/2017
VinopolNote: A perennial favorite NV Champagne at the shop, this wine is 100% Chardonnay from Grand Cru estate vineyards in the Cote des Blancs. The base vintage is 2014, but it also contains perpetual wine from 21 vintages: ’88, ’90, ’93 and ’95-2013 with the exception of ’99 and ’03. The wine is aged in a mix of stainless steel, oak casks and concrete and on the fine lees for 24+ months.
Terry Theise note: “Based on 2014, it has a riotously attractive aroma and a richer, more patisserie palate; napped with Satsuma marmalade; more exotic, with a clinging brown-butter finish. I think the “average drinker,” (whoever that person is…) will like it even more. Péters does the “perpetual reserve” with his NV, which means that the current wine is 50% of (the latest vintage) and 50% the previous blend, so today’s wine is half-2014 and half last year’s wine, which was half-2013 and half the previous year’s wine. The wisdom of this approach is manifest and tangible; it assures “house style” without creating uniformity, because vintages differ. Rodolphe continues to clarify his preferences the longer we know each other. For example, he hates the “quince” flavor and wants it nowhere near his wines. And he’s suspicious of the “saffron” descriptor because, he says, it results from botrytis, and he prefers his wine from pristine fruit.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Clouet’s 2008 Brut Millesime shows quite a bit more tension and focus than the 2007, hardly a surprise given then personality of the vintage. Bright, saline notes frame expressive red fruits, flowers and sweet spices. The 2008 Brut is a gorgeous wine with plenty of appeal today, but it will also develop beautifully in bottle. Stylistically it is less overt than the 2007 but places more emphasis on length. Brut Millesime is mostly Pinot, with 30-40% Chardonnay.” AG
The average price is $64
Wine Spectator 93 points “Sleek, with a smoky underpinning and a lively, detailed bead, this firm version offers flavors of black currant, toast, lemon curd and honey. Lingering finish. Drink now through 2030.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Just beginning to mature, this balanced, ripe wine is complex, with bright acidity, toast and pear and green-plum fruits. It is rich, with a tight mouse that shows intensity as well as a stylish character. This is a fine wine just coming into its own but well worth aging further until 2020.”
Gilbert & Gaillard 97 points “Coppery orange-pink. The nose is shy on first pour then delivers delicate red fruit, dried fruit and mild spice notes after swirling. Fleshy attack, fine bubbles and superb freshness. A tense, elegant rose. Hugely successful, almost a foregone conclusion.”
John Gilman 94+ points “The final blending of the 2006 La Grande Dame was completed prior to Dominique Demarville joining the team at Veuve Clicquot, so we will have to wait for the release of the 2008 version to see his impact on this bottling. The 2006 Grande Dame is a blend of fifty-three percent pinot noir and forty-seven percent chardonnay and was finished with a dosage of eight grams per liter. The wine is excellent, wafting from the glass in a complex blend of apple, pear, wheat toast, fine minerality, a touch of smokiness and a nice note of caraway seed in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, deep and complex, with elegant mousse, fine focus and grip and a very long, vibrant and zesty finish. This is drinking beautifully, but has the balance to age long and gracefully as well. High class juice. 2016-2040.”
Champagne Guide 96 points “(disgorged early 2014; 53% pinot noir, largely from Verzy and Verzenay, with a touch of Bouzy, Ambonnay and Ay; 47% chardonnay, predominantly from Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger; 8g/L dosage). In response to the generous, rounded, supple 2006 season, Demarville’s predecessor, Jacques Peters, increased the share of chardonnay in his final La Grande Dame. Demarville confessed to some nervousness at launching the 2006 after the caliber of the linear and refined 2004. The two seasons certainly stand in contrast, with the 2006 already much more approachable and immediate. It launches confidently into generous, rich ginger, honey, toast, roast nuts and brioche, well into its phase of secondary evolution, yet in no way broad or developed. Citrus-zest liveliness defines a honed focus, while a fine chalk mineral structure keeps the finish lively and energetic.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The prestigious 2006 La Grande Dame is made from 47% Chardonnay and 53% Pinot Noir, and assembles the fruit of eight grand cru villages. Very intense and complex on the nose, this is a full-bodied, round, rich and mouth-filling, but also refined prestige cuvée; it reveals a fascinating purity, precision and freshness. The finish is long and complex, and shows a spicy minerality. There are coffee beans, bread and toast aromas in the aftertaste. This comes highly recommended.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “A waft of spring blossom draws you into this elegant Champagne, whose subtle notes of poached quince, toasted brioche and mandarin orange gracefully ride the satiny mousse, supported by a vibrant backbone of acidity. Disgorged February 2016. Drink now through 2029.”
The average price is $153
Decanter 93 points “Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque 2008 reminds me somewhat of the grace of the exceptional 1995, Cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps’ first solo vintage and still one of his best. Though the two vintages 13 years apart share the same grace and class, the 2008 is more mineral, reflecting a quite sunless summer season. Only the return of warmer weather at the start of September imbued the vintage with a freshness of great Chardonnay in tune with the subtly restrained power of Pinot Noir and a soupçon of rounded Meunier – that final little touch making the wine more pleasurable to drink soon, unlike other wines from the Champagne 2008 vintage, which need a lot more time. Chardonnay is from Cramant, Avize, and Mesnil, Pinot Noir from Ay and Ambonnay in the Montagne de Reims, and Pinot Meunier from Dizy. Shimmering pale gold with green lights, radiant clarity; persistent tiny bubbles: riot of white flowers scents, hawthorn, then more stone-fruit than citrus, reine claude (greengage) and elderflower. Vibrant mouthfeel, invigorating, expansive – perfect with saline fruits de mer.”
The next best price is $119.98
The average price is $148Bonus Category!
Best Bet Under $30
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “(90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir; 10 g/l dosage): Light yellow. Vibrant, mineral-accented aromas of fresh citrus and orchard fruits, with suave floral and candied ginger notes adding complexity. Fleshy and broad on entry, then tighter in the mid-palate, offering juicy green apple and orange zest flavors and a touch of white pepper. Closes silky and smoky, with good clarity and length.”
The next best price is $34.98
The average price is $37
Bin End Sales
The Kermit Lynch Nouveau!
On sale now
Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais 2017 1.5L ($49.95) Was $36, Now $31.90, 13 magnums in stock now
Importer note “Tradition runs deep in the family, but each generation has also managed to add something new, including increasing the property. Today it is comprised of one hundred hectares, about forty percent of which is consecrated to vineyards. Strong advocates of the lutte raisonnée approach to vineyard work, they tend their vines without the use of any chemicals or synthetic fertilizers. The vineyards, planted primarily to Gamay, face Southeast, South, and Southwest, and about two thirds of the property is on granite-based soil. The grapes are harvested manually and vinified completely without SO2. The wines are not chaptalized, filtered, or degassed and only natural yeasts are used for the fermentation. The wines of Dupeuble represent some of the best values in the Beaujolais today and are widely regarded for their very high quality and eminently reasonable price.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
See the complete list of bin end sale wines below: