Monday Newsletter 2-5-18

New To Our February Clearance Sale!; #Trending; Durand/Durand; Pink Bubbles; Joseph Swan Vineyards; Heymann-Loewenstein: A Master of the Lower Mosel; Burgundy Best Buy; Catena’s Epic Malbecs; Going, Going, …: Nearly Sold Out February Clearance Wines!

New To Our February Clearance Sale!

Falletto di Bruno Giacosa ‘Falletto’, Barolo DOCG 2011 750ML ($219.95) Was $149, Now $139, 24+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2011 Barolo Falletto is a beautifully balanced and determined wine. It spends 30 months in oak and this warm vintage is already showing a quick bottle evolution. This was an early vintage: Fruit was harvested on September 23, which is ten days before average. It shows soft, luscious lines and ripe fruit flavors that are both generous and opulent. Yet, there is a healthy crunchiness and crackle in the mouth that makes for a long aging future ahead. Barolo Falletto closes with pretty aromas of dark fruit, spice and shaved truffle.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $164.99
The average price is $203The February Clearance Sale wines are selling fast

Keep reading to see the ones that just won’t last!

So trendy, we sold out! Don’t worry, more is coming on Thursday:
Caprili Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($59.95) $33.50 pre-arrival special, re-arriving Thursday, February 8th
Case-6 Caprili Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($319.95)
$189 pre-arrival special (that’s only $31.50/bottle!), re-arriving Thursday, February 8th
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Appealing aromas and flavors of cherry, almond, leather, iron and earth are the hallmarks of this muscular red. Remains fresh and persists on the aftertaste, with echoes of iron and tobacco. Best from 2021 through 2035. 3,500 cases made.”
Ian D’agata – Vinous 93 points “Bright deep red. Very perfumed, pure aromas of raspberry, red cherry, flint and violet. Juicy but dense, with vibrant acidity lifting the floral berry and cherry flavors on the long mineral finish, characterized by an especially silky mouthfeel. Knockout Brunello.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Truffle, leather, mature black-skinned fruit and carob aromas emerge from this powerful red. The full-bodied palate delivers succulent wild cherry, black raspberry, licorice, pipe tobacco and grilled herb flavors with big, chewy tannins. Drink 2019–2027.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $36.25
The average price is $44
Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($59.95) $32.50 special
Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 375ML ($29.95) $18 pre-arrival special, re-arriving Thursday, February 8th
Case-6 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($319.95)
$179 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
International Wine Report 93 points
“The 2012 Canalicchio is a beautifully crafted, refined Brunello which spent more than 24 months in medium-large Slavonia oak casks. It slowly opens with aromas of dried cherries ans plums woven together with walnuts, tobacco, leather, dried spices and hints of balsamic. Medium-bodied and firm, with a fine grained tannins and lovely balance leading to the ultra-long, chewy finish. Today this is still a bit austere and will require a few years of additional bottle age before it becomes fully accessible. (Best 2020-2029) – February, 2017 (JD).”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino shows excellent continuity with past vintages and underlines a house style that is specific to this estate. This is a nuanced and delicate expression of Sangiovese that delivers grace and power. It walks a fine line between these two opposites. The bouquet is redolent of wild berry, red currant, grilled herb, wild mushroom and underbrush. I gave the 2011 vintage the same score, although the differences between the two wines are pronounced. The 2011 vintage shows the warm climate with more directness, whereas this edition offers more subtle depth and finesse. Both wines are most appropriate for near or medium-term drinking.”
Ian D’agata-Vinous 92 points “Lively bright red. Primary aromas of raspberry, cherry cola and crushed rocks. At once sweet and austere, with juicy, very pure, red berry flavours, this is rather light in weight with a gentle texture in the typical Franco Pacenti style. Finishes minerally and long with vibrant violet nuances. This ought to blossom nicely given a few years in the cellar.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $34.99
The average price is $39


Eric and Joel are Thirsty like the Wolf

The Durand brothers are making it look easy.  It’s hard to find Northern Rhone wines that combine soul and polish—it seems as if most of the new wines we taste are either hyper glossy or very rustic.  To hit that sweet spot, where your wines speak very loudly of place but are elegant, drinkable and ageworthy—that’s special indeed.  To make those sorts of wines at the prices that the Durand’s charge seems almost unthinkable.

The whites are bright and fresh—no small feat for wines made from Marsanne and Roussane.  They still hold onto their essential Rhone character though, with plenty of power and richness.  The reds walk a similar tightrope, with some whole-cluster usage but not enough to make the wine feel coarse.  They have beautiful, dark fruit and although they should age effortlessly for a decade, they’re delicious now.

Domaine Eric & Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2015 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator 90 points “This has an unctuous feel, with melon, peach and star fruit notes pumping along, carried by light verbena and chamomile details. A flash of bitter citrus adds energy on the finish. Drink now through 2017. 500 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Eric & Joel Durand Saint-Joseph Les Coteaux, Rhone 2015 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “A hint of warm ganache melds quickly into the background, while fig, blackberry and black currant confiture notes emerge steadily, picking up smoldering tobacco, pastis and tar details through the finish. This is stacked. Best from 2020 through 2030. 1,000 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $27

Domaine Eric & Joel Durand Cornas Premices, Rhone 2014 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Offers a ripe, dark profile, with a core of steeped blackberry and plum fruit that picks up bay, white pepper and iron accents through the finish. Shows solid depth and fruit for the vintage, displaying excellent energy. Best from 2018 through 2029. 1,500 cases made.”

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

Love is in the Air

Everywhere We Look Around

Pink Bubbles

So we’ll try and keep our Valentine’s Day related pitches to a minimum, but come on—rosé Champagne is great stuff and we’ll take any excuse to drink another bottle of it.  From the pale and delicate to the rich and opulent versions, we stock a wide range of the good stuff.  It’s also a no-brainer food pairing—you can drink rosé Champagne with anything from fish to more delicate cuts of beef, like a Filet Mignon.  It looks lovely in the glass and it allows for you to have a multi-course meal without worrying about switching wines.  We mentioned they’re delicious, right?  Make one thing about your Valentine’s Day easier—grab a bottle that’s pink and bubbly.

Top Pink Picks In-Stock Now:

Aubry Premier Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Rosé is done in a relatively open-knit style for Aubry. There is a lovely sense of immediacy that makes the Rosé easy to drink with minimal cellaring, even though the flavors and textures show the energy and briskness that are such signatures of the house style. This release is 40% Chardonnay, 40% Meunier, 10% Pinot Noir and 10% still Pinot, all from the 2014 vintage.”
Terry Theise note “All 2014. 40% CH, 40% PM, 10% PN and 10% still PN. Disg 1/2017. Even for a wine in their “classic” series this is original; always very dry and always tasting like ripe blackberry juice from which the sweetness was somehow removed. Iris and berry as always, but an especially fetching and balanced edition of this. The finish is like stirring chalk dust through blackberry juice. It was also more present from the larger glass; less overtly chalky than the ’13, more iodé, ferrous.”

Bollinger Rose Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Decanter 94 points “The excellent 2006 vintage encouraged Bollinger to create a vintage rose to reflect the quality of the grapes, especially the Pinot Noir. The fruit comes from 84% grand cru vineyards and 16% premiers cru vineyards. The wine was barrel fermented before spending over 10 years maturing in the bottle. It has a delicious Pinot character, with mulchy red fruits, accompanied by a soft Chardonnay note of delicate bruised apple and some woody breadth. It has a delicious streak of raspberry acidity, and comes across as a finessed and structured champagne that is only at the start of its life. Drinking window: 2017-2032.”
Champagnist 93-95 points “I had the privilege to taste this wine on a Bollinger – life can be perfect – party and once more with the assistant cellar master Denis Bunner at Bollinger. My conclusion remains the same: what a marvelous rosé it is! It spends 10 years on the lees. Lovely copper-rose color with a very delicate, refined effervescence. The nose is very perfumated with Turkish rose oil, rose petals, bergamot, dried mandarin orange, lots of fresh raspberry, violin rosin, a hint of musk, nutmeg and an overtone of old Port (quite oxidative indeed), toast and slate. After warming up in the glass it became smoky, nutty with walnuts, I got a hint of sandalwood, patchouli and that lovely smell of old red currant comfiture and quince jelly. When you give it time in the glass you get cured parma ham and an impression of leather and lots of Alsatian patisserie. In the mouth this is elegant, sexy, dynamic but also compact. On the palate you get raspberry, goji berry, dried redcurrant, bramble, a hint of Fino sherry (Bolly goût Anglaise is back!) and dry toast with lovely acidity of kumquat, mandarin orange, redcurrant and a rather dark – going towards graphite – minerality topped of with rose pepper corns. Perfectly balanced with a fabulous acidity of red berries. Excellent to drink now but this could be a serious competitor for the Grande Année 1996 Rosé after some more time in the cellar.”

Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $59 special
Decanter 96 points “33% Pinot Noir, 33% Pinot Meunier, 34% Chardonnay Tasting notes: The nose on this awesome wine has a perfect balance of fruit and autolytic toasty notes. The palate also has a stunning elegance, beautiful richness and depth, perfect acidity and fruit notes, and a fabulous length that keeps lingering in the mouth.”

Christophe Mignon Brut Rose Pur Meunier, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
2012/2013 Vintages; Disgorged 7/18/2017
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Christophe Mignon’s NV Brut Rosé Pur Meunier is tremendous. Sweet rose petal, tobacco, dried cherry, star anise and cranberry are beautifully delineated in a vinous, beautifully textured Champagne that hits all the right notes. Intense, but also light on its feet, the Brut Rosé Pur Meunier is a wine readers will want to follow over several hours. The current release is equal parts 2013 and 2012 vintages, bottled with 6 grams of dosage. [Review is for 2015 disgorgement of same wine.]”

Ulysse Collin ‘Les Maillons’ Rose de Saignee Extra Brut, Champagne NV (’13) 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
VinopolNote: A cult rosé Champagne like no other – richly vinous and textural in expression. Tiny release! Olivier Collin spent his life working to free his family vines from a strict lease – even studying law with the intent to reclaim the vineyards. When he accomplished this goal in 2003, he quickly became a rising, if divisive, star in Champagne. His wines are profoundly introspective and challenge preconceived notions about what Champagne should be. At the forefront of the new wave of ultra-terroir-driven Champagnes, Olivier produces deeply vinous, mineral and near-tannic wines. True to their terroir, these are reflections of the individual parcels and a tribute to a decades-long struggle to reclaim the land.

If you want a low-alcohol, half bottle of fizzy rosé to start your V-Day meal, look no further than Cameron’s Spritz:

Cameron Winery Spritz Rose, Willamette Valley 355ML ($9.95) $6 special
Winery note “After the bountiful 2016 harvest, collaborated with Heater Allen Brewing to make a small batch of Spritz Rosé, a blend of pinot noir and pinot blanc enlivened with a hint of carbonation. It is conveniently packaged in a beer bottle with a crown cap closure and contains a bit less than 10% alcohol. This light, crisp pink bubbly is the perfect refreshment on a warm summer day while you are relaxing on the patio or floating down the river on an innertube. Thank you for your attention.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Joseph Swan Vineyards

A California Icon Still Going Strong

Joseph Swan Vineyards remains one of the most notable names in California wines.  Joe Swan was a trailblazer and legendary figure in the California’s viticultural history, and his son-in-law Rod Berglund is a talented winemaker of equal skill.  That said it sometimes seems like this winery doesn’t get mentioned as often as it should when we talk about California’s great wineries, which is a shame.

The Swan wines aren’t trendy and never have been—they epitomize the idea of classicism and have been made in the same style no matter whether the winds of fashion favored the huge and ripe or the light and lean.  The one constant for Swan has been the idea that the vineyard speaks for itself. Over the course of many decades, they’ve collected an incredible set of vineyards to work from, especially in Zinfandel, where Rod Berglund does some of his best work.

The Joseph Swan Zinfandels are many things, but easy to pin down and describe they aren’t.  Depending on the growing conditions and the vineyard, they can be lighter, spicier wines or bigger, powerful and fruit driven.  They’re never marked by new oak, though, so they always seem to be flexible and comfortable at the table.

Joseph Swan Wines Available Here Now:

Joseph Swan Vineyards Bastoni Vineyards Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 19 bottles available
“Located in what I refer to as the Riebli Valley, just a few miles east of Hwy 101, this site has been farmed by the Bastoni family since 1906…. Although the old vines are gone, the replants are going strong and are meticulously cared for….It exhibits what I have come to view as a classic Bastoni nose of deep blue tinged fruit, like a cross between boysenberries and blueberries. There is also a slight hint of cooking spice, perhaps cardamom, and much less pepper than we see in the lower Russian River Valley zins. Good but not overwhelming tannin and acidity and medium to full body.”–Winery Notes

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Joseph Swan Vineyards Mancini Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points
“The 2012 Zinfandel Mancini Ranch has a medium garnet color and nose of raspberry preserves, cherry pie and baking spices, plus a waft of anise. Light to medium-bodied, soft, fresh and spicy on the palate, it has lovely poise and expression.”
“Planted in the early 1920’s to Zinfandel and a host of other grapes.  This will be the final vintage for this vineyard as a few years after Frank Mancini’s passing, the vineyard was sold. Blackberry, white pepper floral hints, bit of lushness. Complex balanced, elegant. A classic old style zinfandel made with new age sensibilities. And, it is under 13% alcohol!”–Winery NotesJoseph Swan Vineyards Ziegler Vineyard Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2011 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 27 bottles available
“My first impression upon smelling this wine was of a day walking home from grade school with my best friend. They had just repaved a street on the way and there little balls of tar (yes, tar, not what they use today). We gathered some and proceeded to chew them like gum. When we arrived at his house, his mother, who happened to be Italian, was rather amused. Rather than berate us she offered us cookies. We preferred the tar balls! I had forgotten that moment until I put my nose in the glass of this wine! It was a glorious moment but sadly with air it took on aromas of boysenberry/blackberry cobbler. Still a great smell but that initial earthy/tarry note was a wonderful memory. But I digress. This is a wonderful example of wine from this old vineyard. Blackberries, boysenberries, black pepper and other spice. Good acid, soft tannin and lower than usual alcohol (less than 14%!)”-Winery Notes

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Joseph Swan Vineyards Ziegler Vineyard Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 14 bottles available
“Like its neighbor across the road, Mancini Ranch, Zeigler Vineyard was planted in the early 1920’s. However, for no explainable reason, it starts its spring growth and ripens about two weeks earlier than its neighbor. Boysenberry and the usual black pepper aromas are there but there is also cardamom, a bit of allspice and dried rose petal. It is super complex. At only 13% alcohol, almost as low as Mancini, it is not lacking at all for body. Our favorite Zeigler in a long while.”–Winery Notes

A Master of the Lower Mosel

The Terrassenmosel (A part of the lower Mosel steep enough that terraces are required to farm it) is a spectacular place to behold.  Steep and daunting, it makes sense that singular wines would emerge from here.  In that sense, then, the wines of Reinhard Löwenstein are perfectly in sync with expectations, provided your expectations are lofty enough.

These are some of the most sought after wines in Germany—monuments of mineral, most dry, aged for a full year longer than most of his peers before bottling and release because, cash-flow be damned, it’s about making the most impressive wines possible.  If you haven’t had them and have any interest in dry Mosel Riesling, you should change that.  If you have, you’ll notice how sharp our pricing is!

Top Picks In-Stock Now from Heymann-Loewenstein

Heymann-Loewenstein ‘von Blauem Schiefer’ Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 26 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points
“The 2015 Riesling Vom Blauen Schiefer opens with a beautifully clear and slatey bouquet of perfectly ripe Riesling flavors. The wine is round, piquant and salty on the palate, reveals picture book finesse and transparency and is extremely stimulating in its dry but perfectly balanced finish. The aftertaste is pretty long and already complex. If you are looking for a picture book wine of the terraced Lower Mosel, this is the one you have to taste. Thirteen percent of alcohol can hardly taste lighter and more stimulating.”
VinopolNote: Soil is blue slate, brownish clay with iron oxide

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Heymann-Loewenstein Kirchberg Erste Lage Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 10 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points
“This wine is rather reduced but offers a gorgeously flowery nose of pear and Provence herbs. It proves superbly elegant on the palate where grip and saltiness define the aromatics. Great multi-layered complexity already comes through in the long and airy finish. This is still very primary and in need of bottle age to balance out but this beauty will easily turn into the most complete and elegant expression of Kirchberg we have taste to date. This is hugely impressive and has even some upside potential. 2018-2025.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Riesling Kirchberg ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ opens with a generous and warm, ripe Riesling aroma intertwined with some herbal and iron lemon flavors on the clear and elegant nose. This is a full-bodied, charming, finessed and elegant wine with fine tannin structure and a dry and persistent finish. Still young, the Kirchberg will benefit from further bottle aging.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Heymann-Loewenstein Schieferterrassen Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 26 bottles available
David Schildknecht – Vinous 89 points
“A penetrating and unusual aromatic mélange features zesty grapefruit, gooseberry, lemon peel, dill and musky floral perfume. Full-bodied and glycerol-rich, this finishes with strongly alkaline and stony undertones as well as fruit pit piquancy and fenugreek pungency, its tart elements contributing slight edginess but also undeniable invigoration. This is serious stuff for an intro-level wine, even if “serious” also implies a certain lack of charm. I suspect that bottle development will provide further fascination.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $32.99
Heymann-Loewenstein Stolzenberg Erste Lage Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 6 bottles available
David Schildknecht – Vinous 92 points
“Lovely perfume of gentian, iris and lavender mingles with coriander and white peach in a striking aromatic display. This comes to the palate quite lushly even though tart suggestions of green plum and piquancy of fruit pits lend invigorating counterpoint. The impressively sustained finish incorporates glowing piquancy reminiscent of the corresponding Hatzenporter Kirchberg, but everything else about this strikingly floral and more generously fruited wine is dramatically different, even though the vineyards are only some 150 yards from one another. (Note that – for reasons given in introducing this estate – unless you squint or employ a magnifying glass, you’ll overlook the initials “GG” on its label that indicate this wine is a Grosses Gewächs.)”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Heymann-Loewenstein Uhlen B Blaufusser Lay Erste Lage Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2015 Riesling Uhlen B ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ from the Blaufüsser Lay offers the purity and perfume of the Vom blauen Schiefer but with more intensity, ripeness and complexity. This is perfectly ripe Riesling fruit on milled blue slate. Lovely flinty flavors here. On the palate, this is Riesling as a melting rock! Finessed purity and elegance with a great, very clear and salty finish. This Uhlen B is tightly woven but nevertheless transparent, finessed and elegant.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Heymann-Loewenstein Uhlen Laubach Lay Grosse Lage Riesling 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points
“From the Laubach formation of the grand cru, the 2015 Riesling Uhlen L ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is super flinty, refined and elegant on the nose where perfectly ripe Riesling and white truffle aromas are displayed. On the palate, this is an intense, dense and finessed Riesling with great tension, salinity and complexity. The finish is aromatic, pure and very long, really what Reinhard Löwenstein was aiming for: to serve the intellectuals as well as the hedonists. A great and age-worthy Riesling.”Heymann-Loewenstein Winninger Uhlen ‘R’ Roth Lay Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2007 375ML ($99.95) $69 special, 24+ half-bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Candied citrus, jujube, sweet spice and quince paste aromas and flavors mark this sweet, bracing Riesling, which is light on its feet and resonates on the finish with a mouthwatering feel and echoes of citrus. Best from 2012 through 2045.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Lowenstein’s 2007 Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule Roth Lay (as in the corresponding dry wines, the letter “R” is prominent on the label of this A.P.#9) benefits from counterpoint and collaboration among bright citrus, rich pit fruit essences, and the honey of botrytis. For all of its enormous sheer ripeness and concentration, this retains a striking sense of delicacy. A snappy, spicy, pungent streak – taken together with vivid, diverse pit fruits and citrus – serves for exhilaration in a finish of memorable length and energy, with a vivid impression of crushed stone one hardly expects in a wine of such sweetness and prominent botrytization. There seems to be something of a personality role reversal at work this year, because the corresponding Rottgen Auslese is cool and refined whereas this Uhlen displays more of the piquancy and (as French growers might say) nervosite that I associate with Rottgen. But then, botrytis is always something of a wild card, so that a wine like this is profoundly and unpredictably influenced by the precise microclimatic conditions for and differences in the nature of that fungus. No doubt this too will be worth following for two or more decades.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Burgundy Best Buy

What’s the Best Value Pinot for the Money We’ve Ever Carried?

Old Vine Bourgogne Rouge from Olivier Larochette

Originally from Pouilly-Fuisse, Olivier Larochette began producing wines in 1992 under the domaine name Larochette-Manciat. In 2008, he launched his own eponymous label, sourcing fruit from growers he had known since primary school. The Bourgogne Rouge Vieille Vignes is made from grapes grown just outside of the town of Macon. The vines are 40 years old with an east facing exposure in chalky soils. The tasting profile from the 2009 vintage is suggestive of Pommard village wine, with notes of dark, fresh fruits, purple flowers and hints of iron balanced by refreshing acidity and a touch of tannin. It’s such a crazy deal, we bought out our distributor to offer it all to you.

Olivier Larochette Bourgogne Rouge Vieille Vignes 2009 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
Case-12 Olivier Larochette Bourgogne Rouge Vieille Vignes 2009 750ML ($199.95) $138 special (that’s only $11.50/bottle!)
It’s an old vine bottling from a small nego Olivier Larochette. Ruby red in color. Intense aromas of crushed black raspberry, fresh plums and violets with a light herbal note underneath that’s akin to Sencha tea. The rich aromas translate into rich initial flavors at the first sip with a lingering, zippy acidity and very fine tannins. The note of fresh red plums continues on the palate accented by toasted almonds and red raspberries.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Catena’s Epic Malbecs

Catena is the standard bearer for what we think of as classical, high end Malbec, you know–the stuff that rivals Bordeaux and California.  We scored an incredible deal on two of their top wines.  The Wine Advocate and James Suckling loved them, and we think you will, too. The average prices on Wine Searcher are over $100 and we’re almost half that.  These are a stupendous wines and, for the price, unbelievable values.

Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyards Malbec, La Consulta, Argentina 2012 750ML ($129.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2012 Malbec Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard feels fresher and more harmonious than the 2011, when in reality the vintage character is the opposite. It is sourced from the vineyard that names the wine and that is located in Altamira. The Malbec grapes fermented in open barrels and cement vats with 15% whole-cluster Cabernet Franc. There is one extra level of precision and harmony here. It has an elegant nose and the palate almost reflects the tension in the skin of the grapes with its a velvety texture and great acidity. This is really tasty and long, it could be the best Nicasia ever produced.”
James Suckling 95 points “Vivd aromas of currants and blackberries. So much dark fruit. Violets too. Full body, yet buttressed with a center palate of salty acidity and firm tannins. From grapes grown in Altamira. Persistent and vibrant. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price is $109
Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, Uco Valley, Argentina 2012 750ML ($129.95) $89 special
James Suckling 98 points “Very dense and powerful with a tight palate of blue fruit and raspberry undertones. Salty with wonderful length and intensity. A blend of malbec from Nicasia Vineyard in Altamira and Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary. Drink in 2022 but so great now.”

Going, Going, ….

Nearly Sold Out February Clearance Wines!

Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2011 750ML ($399.95) Was $346, Now $279, 1 bottle in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“Bryant’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Bryant Family Vineyard is incredibly silky, polished and vibrant. Sweet red berries, mint, wild flowers and crushed rocks flow across the palate in an energetic, tense wine loaded with focus and cut. The 2011 is a bit understated relative to previous years, but its balance is terrific. High-toned floral and savory notes add an attractive upper register to the finish. I won’t be surprised if the 2011 flies under the radar for a while. Wines from this property have a way of developing beautifully in bottle.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $581
Michael Mondavi Family ‘Animo’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2011 750ML ($89.95) Was $49, Now $39 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“The Animo Vineyard in the Foss Valley subzone of the Atlas Peak AVA is situated in the southeastern quadrant of Napa Valley.  The 15-acre vineyard rises from an elevation of 1,270 to 1,350 feet and features rolling hills and varied exposures. Atlas Peak’s stony, volcanic terroir supplies structured Cabernet Sauvignon from a temperate, high elevation zone of Napa Valley that soars above the fog that regularly blankets the southern reaches of the valley. The Animo Vineyard provides fruit for the Animo Cabernet Sauvignon. Our vineyard’s soils and altitude offer a complexity of layered dark fruit and bountiful aromatics. The aromatics of tart boysenberry, fine cassis, warm winter spice and cigar box perfume the glass. The layered body of the wine mirrors the aromatics and provides a pleasant freshness of acidity allowing for the richness of the cabernet to balance providing complexity and profound depth of character to the wine.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $80
Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage, Alexander Valley 2012 750ML ($59.95) Was $37, Now $29 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator
“Dense and extracted, this serves up a complex range of flavors, from black cherry to wild berry to currant, all shaded with light oak and a touch of espresso. Shows a measure of finesse and refinement overall. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2026.”
Wine Advocate “The 2012 Proprietary Red Symmetry, a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, exhibits chocolaty, blackberry and black cherry fruit intermixed with earth and spice characteristics, medium body and a supple, round, seductive mouthfeel. Elegant and mid-weight, it is best drunk over the next 7-8 years.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $51

Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru 2011 750ML ($199.95) Was $179, Now $159, 2 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“Bright, deep red. Showy nose melds cherry, raspberry, white pepper, coffee, spices and smoky underbrush. Utterly suave, silky and fine-grained, but with firm tannins giving the fairly full mid-palate plenty of support for two decades or more of positive development in bottle. Most impressive today on the very long, subtle, rising finish, which leaves the mouth feeling refreshed.”
Burghound 93 points “This offers a further step up in aromatic complexity with its ripe and expressive nose of red berry fruit liqueur, cassis, plum and violets. There is a very suave and seductive texture to the medium weight plus flavors that possess an abundance of mouth coating extract, all wrapped in a long, balanced and delicious finish where a touch of wood is in evidence. This is certainly very good but somewhat curiously it does not seem to separate itself as much as usual from the Les Loups though it is clearly more structured.”

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The average price is $186
Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($249.95) Was $189, Now $169, 3 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 96 points
(View From the Cellar): “The 2013 Clos des Lambrays will be another legendary vintage for this great cuvée. The stunningly refined nose delivers a brilliant constellation of red and black cherries, dark plums, cassis, woodsmoke a beautiful base of minerality, espresso, gamebirds, cocoa and a deft framing of new wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and very transparent in personality out of the blocks, with a rock solid core of sappy black fruit, fine-grained tannins and stellar length and grip on the laser-like and dancing finish. This will end up being one of the greatest vintages of Clos des Lambrays from the Brouin era, and there have been an awful lot of great wines made during his tenure here!
Wine Spectator 94 points “Spicy and aromatic, featuring sandalwood, green olive, cedar and nutmeg notes, framing cherry and currant flavors. Crisp, taut and balanced. Best from 2019 through 2035”
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The average price is $207
Domaine des Lambrays Les Folatieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($149.95) Was $119, Now $99 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Burghound 91 points
“As is often the case immediately after wines have been bottled there is a trace of reduction so I would suggest decanting this if the wine is less than 2 years of age. By contrast there is lovely freshness and vibrancy present on the very rich and round medium weight flavors that culminate in a clean, saline and well-balanced finish. This should be accessible young but reward 5 to 7 years or so of aging.”
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Remoissenet Pere & Fils Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2011 750ML ($279.95) Was $199, Now $169 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93+ points
“The 2011 Chapelle-Chambertin is not lacking in personality, that much is obvious. A savory, almost wild Burgundy, the 2011 Chapelle is laced with dried herbs, tobacco, black cherries and cured meats are some of the notes that blossom in the glass. It will be interesting to see where the 2011 goes; will it always remain a bit gamy, or will it find a bit more finesse in bottle?” AG

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Vignobles Prissette Villa Symposia Coteaux du Languedoc l’Origine 2011 750ML ($41.95) Was $29, Now $24 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2011 Languedoc Origine checks in as a blend of Syrah and Grenache that spent 18 months in foudre. Slightly fresher, with bright berry and purple fruits, licorice, roasted herbs and ample background meatiness, this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, impressive purity of fruit and loads of texture. It should impress over the coming 5-7 years or so, and certainly, there’s no harm in drinking now.” JD
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Giacomo Conterno ‘Cerretta’, Barolo DOCG 2012 750ML ($249.95) Was $199, Now $169 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points
“A wealth of cherry flavor is surrounded by cut grass, tar, tobacco and iron notes in this complex, intense red. There is plenty of tension and a long aftertaste of licorice, tar and mineral. Balanced yet austere, this needs time to integrate fully. Best from 2023 through 2042.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2012 Barolo Cerretta is intriguing to taste next to the Francia, as it is much more shut down and affected by its recent bottling. Today the tannins are searing and large-grained, a characteristic this wine did not show from barrel. The clay-rich soils in Cerretta tend to give a broader style of Barolo compared to Francia, where limestone is prevalent, and that is very much what comes through today. Hints of dark red cherry, plum, smoke, leather, tobacco and licorice struggle to emerge from a wall of tannin. Today, the Cerretta is a brute, with little of the perfume and finesse it showed in cask. Readers will have to be patient. The only question is how much.
Wine Advocate 94 points “To be released in October 2016, the 2012 Barolo Cerretta opens to a profound and buoyant bouquet that is particularly driven by menthol freshness, as well as pretty nuances of balsam herb and forest fruit with licorice, tilled earth and truffle. The wine is balanced and ethereal. It’s so difficult to achieve this level of aromatic definition (especially in a warm year like 2012), but Roberto Conterno has done so with a deft hand. This is a complete expression of Barolo with aromatic intensity that is matched by an enduring sense of structure and medium-weight appeal.”

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The average price is $220
Giacomo Conterno Francia Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2003 750ML ($149.95) Was $128, Now $119 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is soft, silky and very nicely balanced, especially in its tannins, where the wine really stands out next to so many peers. Readers should open the 2003 at least an hour in advance to allow the aromatics to open up. This is a very sexy and open young Barolo from Conterno with very little signs of the challenging growing season.”
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