Monday Newsletter 3-15-21

In This Newsletter:

New Piedmont Arrivals

New Week – New Arrivals

Vanguard of the “New California”


10 Top Champagne Picks: $76-$95

Collector’s Corner:

Single Vineyard Talenti Brunello

New Piedmont Arrivals

The Piedmont region in Italy is a joy to explore. Here one finds everyday drinkers that have been enjoyed by the locals for centuries grown alongside the serious and cellar-worthy wines. Food friendly these wines are in spades. So buy a case or two of the week day wines to enjoy while you wait for the special occasion bottles to mature.

Luigi Baudana ‘Dragon’ Langhe Bianco, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 89 points
“The Luigi Baudana 2019 Langhe Bianco Dragon is a blend of 46% Chardonnay, 25% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Nascetta and 5% Riesling. The wine is luminous and bright with bright citrus, nectarine and passion fruit. This is a wholeheartedly open and pleasurable blended white that has the balanced acidity and the fun, aromatic character to pair with exotic dishes with lemongrass, basil or cilantro. The finish is lean and compact, and the wine ends with a taste of salty mineral. An ample 29,000 bottles were made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $19

Castello di Verduno splits the difference between “traditional” and “modern” in a most delightful way: the wines are released after extended aging at the winery (thus more immediately enjoyable) yet have a classical appeal. These are traditional wines without all the austerity, and modern without all the oak. 

Castello di Verduno Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special
Winery note
“The grapes for this wine are selected on some small vineyards located in the village of Neive. The wine matured for 3 months in big Slovenian oak casks, 6months in steel tanks and 2months in the bottle before its release. A deep ruby red packed with purplish highlights opens onto a delicate nose of lovely vinous aromas and red fruits, plums and ripe blackberries with spicy hint of liquorice. It has a smooth palate, medium body with the typical refreshing acidity.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Castello di Verduno Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($37.95) $24.40 special
A superb introduction to the vintage, the importer states it best: “If you want a preview of Barbaresco without spending $70 or more, or if you just love good, red, lip-smacking wine, try this Nebbiolo. All of the grapes come from the Barbaresco vineyards Faset and Rabajà. Lamb chops? Roast chicken? I’m making myself hungry.”

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Castello di Verduno Basadone Pelaverga, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($34.95) $26.60 special
Importer note
“Pelaverga is indigenous to the village of Verduno, it produces red wines that are light in color but savory and distinctive on the palate… This one is aged in stainless steel before bottling without filtration. The winery’s website cannot be improved on for a description: ‘Soft, though bright ruby red. Intense fragrant nose, showing clear spicy overtones of black pepper and nutmeg, as well as fruity sensations reminiscent of cherries in spirit and strawberries. Nicely-balanced, lingering dry flavour.'”

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Castello di Verduno Rabaja-Bas, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($79.95) $64 special
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Wild herbs, camphor, tilled soil, rose and clove aromas mingle with whiffs of oak and star anise. The palate is lean and linear, offering sour cherry, orange zest, licorice and salty note before an espresso finish. Fine-grained tannins and racy acidity provide support.”
Importer note “Rabajà-Bas was formerly a portion of the Rabajà cru, one of the three or four most famous vineyards in Italy. In the 1990’s the cru was divided in two, taking a road that separated the two sites into account. Aromas of wild herbs, rose, and red fruit with a mouth-filling texture. Big, but elegant. Will aged gracefully, and will pair wonderfully with risottos, and braised meat dishes.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

The town of Verduno is also home to Burlotto. Fabio Alessandria, great-great-grandson of Barolo pioneer G.B. Burlotto, makes beautiful wines, and not just his cult Barolo, Monvigliero. Much like Keller in the Rheinhessen of Germany, while Alessandria’s top wines have reached astoundingly high prices, the everyday drinkers remain very much a bargain. Alessandria has a classical palate and a traditional winemaking style. Up and down the line, the wines simply taste the way they should. Never clumsy, never dilute, always balanced and polished, these wines convey a sense of place. The Langhe’s diversity flourishes here. The Langhe Nebbiolo captures the grape’s affinity for the region, while the Barbera d’Alba brings out this variety’s inherent charm. Anyone with a taste for strawberries and well-made Italian wine will end up attracted to the Pelaverga. Grown by the family for two centuries now, this ancient Piedmontese variety adds flair to an already overflowing assortment of delicious wines. Fabio Alessandria tends a fascinating garden of delights and we are overjoyed to share the bounty.

G. B. Burlotto Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer note
“Fresh and savory, this opens with aromas of dark berry, ground cooking spice and whiff of chopped herb. The vibrant palate doles out juicy black cherry, clove, star anise and blood orange accompanied by racy acidity.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

G. B. Burlotto Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($31.95) $29 special
Importer note
“The Langhe Nebbiolo is a delicious wine to drink now and over the next few years. Sweet floral and tobacco notes meld into a core of bright red stone fruits, mint and anise.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

G.B. Burlotto Verduno Pelaverga, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer note
“Pelaverga is an hierloom Piedmontese varietal. Matteo Ascheri aims to highlight the grape’s potential as a dry, still red with spicy, dark cherry and red-berry flavors. A medium bodied, fresh and bright red, the Pelaverga pairs well with a wide range of pastas, pizzas and lighter grilled meats and fish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $32

G. B. Burlotto Dives Langhe Sauvignon, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
A more serious Sauv blanc aged in acacia barrels. 
“This estate was the second to plant Sauvignon Blanc in the Langhe after Angelo Gaja. The first vines set root in 1986 and a second parcel was planted ten years later. The folks at Comm. G.B. Burlotto were very happy with the results, and they remain one of the most important proponents of this white grape in a region dominated by red varieties.” –Monica Larner, Wine Advocate (no reviews available)

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $27

We can’t get enough of Dolcetto made in a light & bright style. This is an absolutely gorgeous pop & pour.
Cantina del Pino Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2019 750ML ($21.95) $17 special

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Cantina del Pino Ovello, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, only 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points
“This red is rich and sumptuous, even in aroma. Cherry, raspberry, currant and rose flavors abound, shaded by iron, tobacco and hints of wild juniper and thyme. Balanced and firmly structured, with a long, detailed and mouthwatering finish. Best from 2023 through 2040. From Italy. —B.S.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The estate’s benchmark wine, the 2016 Barbaresco Ovello reveals a pretty, open-knit personality with beautifully concentrated fruit. Dark cherry, blackberry and plum is framed by tar, campfire ash and powdered licorice. The Ovello cru opens onto a large panorama of vines and a sudden drop down to the Tanaro River. These vines at Cantina del Pino enjoy wide open spaces and slightly milder temperatures as a result. These conditions give the wine an open and generous approach. A mere 6,000 bottles were made.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2016 Barbaresco Ovello is fabulous. Bright, punchy and tightly wound, as young Ovello Barbarescos are, the 2016 packs a ton of punch. Crushed rocks, mint, white pepper, sweet red berry fruit and anise reveal themselves with a bit of aeration. The purity of the fruit, searing tannins and translucent energy are what young Ovello is all about. This taut, nervous Barbaresco is classic Ovello and classic Cantina del Pino.”

Luigi Baudana Serralunga, Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2016 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba is a gorgeous entry-level wine in this range. Sweet floral and savory notes open up first, followed by hints of scorched earth, graphite, iron and blood. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2016 packs a serious punch of both Serralunga depth and complexity of aromas and flavors. This is very nicely done.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Barolo del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba achieves a loose and open fiber that gives this wine the most accessible personality among these three Baroli released by Luigi Baudana (owned by G.D. Vajra). On the Barolo scale, the fruit is sharp and straightforward with easily identifiable tones of black cherry, plum and cassis. The intensity of that characteristic Nebbiolo licorice and cola is downplayed in this wine, as dark fruit is the leading force. However, this vintage introduces the acidity and natural structure to play the wine forward for 10 years or more. This release of 8,000 bottles needs a little more time.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Fragrant aromas of blue-flower, forest-berry menthol form the enticing nose. Smooth, taut and delicious, the focused palate delivers juicy Marasca cherry, spiced cranberry and star anise alongside firm, polished tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2023–2031.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $54.99

Shop our entire selection of wines from Piedmont on our web store!

New Week – New Arrivals

Willamette Valley

J.K. Carriere Provocateur Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 91 points
“Deep, bright-rimmed magenta. Smoke- and spice-accented cherry and black raspberry aromas take on a suave floral quality with air. Supple and broad on entry and then more taut in the midpalate, offering bitter cherry, dark berry and candied licorice flavors and a hint of espresso. Finishes long and chewy, with dusty tannins lending final grip. 15% new oak.”
Winery note “The Cliff Notes: The color is deep beet red with a waffle cone nose of concentrated cherry, spice, plum and grilled meat. Experientially, it’s almost as if you had got popped in the mouth in a cherry orchard at harvest — by which I mean, concentrated-saline-Bing cherry on vibrant acidity. The fine emery board texture beautifully meets the acid-laced structure and finishes long. The Name: Provocateurs are, of course, troublemakers. Think of them as emissaries occupying a permeable border between the lands of outright bad and self-righteous good. Now then, who’s up for a trip? A Story: The growing year of 2018 was sunny, warm and powerful, offering a smaller-ish crop — a veritable bruiser, headed for a boozer. Luckily, early September stepped in with some refrain, just in the nick of time, and gave us a week of chill temps that reined in the grapes. The result is pretty massive, but not over-the-top wines that maintain reasonable elegance. Muscles are not the question, but whether or not you can also move your feet.”

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New bottlings from Cameron are always exciting.  Springtime always brings the Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir—an outstanding value in the Cameron lineup.  The Ribbon Ridge is always the darkest and richest of his Pinots and one of the best for drinking young.  It’s sourced from the White Oak Vineyard at Foster Farm, also home to much of his prized Nebbiolo vines. The Pinot was planted in 2006 with recent additions of Martin Ray clones, much of why the bottling gets more and more exciting every year. 2019 is a beautiful wine with power and grip and splits the difference between the bolder 2018 and the more elegant 2017. 

Cameron Winery Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Case-12 Cameron Winery Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge 2019 750ML ($299.95) $269 special (that’s only $22.42/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Winery note “We proudly introduce 2019 release of Ribbon Ridge Pinot noir, this year for the first time exclusively from White Oak Vineyard. It presents with deep aromas of cocoa nib, caramel, black currant, and red raspberry and a palate packed with bing cherry, baking spices, cedar and mushroom. The tannins are persistent, but not aggressive.  We imagine it pairing well with savory meals such as game birds or Middle Eastern spiced lamb.”

Cameron Winery ‘Giovanni’ Pinot Blanc, Dundee Hill 2020 750ML ($21.95) $17 special

Winery note “Our 2020 Giovanni Pinot blanc is an indicator of what an incredible vintage 2020 is going to be.  It’s really really good this year and at $18 bottle, we may just drink it all ourselves.  With fruit from the fabulous Abbey Ridge and Bellevue Cross Vineyards, Giovanni opens with aromas of lychee, Anjou pear, lemon curd and citrus blossom.  Elements of peaches and cream are center stage on the palate, with yellow grapefruit and a briny minerality in the wings.  Its piquant acidity makes it pair with almost anything.”


Our favorite value-minded Cali producer has knocked it out of the park with their latest release…again!
Marietta Cellars Gibson Block Syrah, McDowell Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 92-95 points
“The 2017 Syrah Estate Gibson Block is a total knockout. Inky, rich and voluptuous in the glass, the 2017 possesses off-the-charts fruit intensity. Even with all of its density, the 2017 retains a terrific backbone of acidity and graphite-infused minerality that gives the wine unreal brightness. The 2017 is such a distinctive wine. I can’t wait to taste it from bottle.”

France – Champagne

Dom Perignon Luminous Collection Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($279.95) $199 special
#5 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Antonio Galloni 98+ points
“The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous, but quite remarkably, it was even more open when I tasted it a year ago. Bright, focused and crystalline in its precision, the 2008 is going to need a number of years before it is at its best. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the 2008 its chiseled, bright profile. Several recent bottles have all been magnificent. What I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions.”
John Gilman 98 points “The 2008 vintage of Dom Pérignon is an absolute classic in the making and this is destined to be one of the great recent years for this iconic cuvée. It is far more classically structured out of the blocks than the relatively generous 2009 version, offering up a deep, complex and very youthful bouquet of menthol, green apple, a touch of tangerine, a very complex base of minerality and notes of dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with precise mousse, brisk acids and stunning length and grip on the primary and laser-like finish. This will demand some cellaring to start to really stir and should prove to be an extremely long-lived vintage of DP. Stellar juice.”
James Suckling 98 points “The best Dom since 2002. A vintage with very restrained, powerful style that has been released non-sequentially after the 2009. This has a lighter stamp of highly curated, autolytic, toasty aromas than many recent releases. Instead, this delivers super fresh and intense aromas of lemons, grapefruit and blood-orange peel. Incredible freshness here. The palate has a very smoothly delivered, berry-pastry thread with light, sweet spices, stone fruit and fine citrus fruit. This really delivers. Drink now or hold.”
Decanter 96 points “Departing chef de caves Richard Geoffroy says that 2008 is his best DP vintage since 1990. The first half of the growing season was dull and sunless, but good weather returned in mid-September and led to one of the longest harvests, running into October. The summer provided ideal conditions for a classic, cool, maritime vintage of exceptional, subtle aromas with minerality and freshness. This has a vibrant but controlled acidity, and is above all a memorable symbiosis of mature fruit and salinity derived from top terroirs. The poised mouthfeel makes this a perfect gastronomic wine, strong enough for spicy Asian cuisine from the Pacific rim, but still compatible with classics such as roast turbot and lobster.””
Wine Spectator 96 points “There’s power to this graceful Champagne, with the vivid acidity swathed in a fine, creamy mousse and flavors of toasted brioche, kumquat, pastry cream, candied ginger and poached plum that dance across the palate. An underpinning of smoky mineral gains momentum on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2033.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $269

France – Loire

Our favorite bistro-style Sauv blanc!
Domaine Girard Sancerre La Garenne, Loire 2019 750ML ($24.59) $21.90 special
Case-12 Domaine Girard Sancerre La Garenne, Loire 2019 750ML ($249.95) $239 special (that’s only $19.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Importer note
“La Garenne comes from a 2.5-hectare vineyard of that name, a plot on a steep east-facing slope with a very rocky limestone soil. The chalky soil brings out the characteristic flinty, mineral and green notes of Sauvignon Blanc. On La Garenne’s well-drained, warm slopes the grapes achieve exceptional ripeness and fruit. Their is everything one hopes for when thinking about the region: it is bright, lively, pleasantly aromatic, has zippy but low astringency. It is a wonderful food wine that is as versatile as it is easy to drink.”

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Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2018 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Vinous 91 points
“This deep ruby red comes from 35-year-old clay and chalky soils. The 2018 vintage is more lively than the 2017. On the palate aromas of violet and blackberry, fresh berry and black pepper come alive. Thrilling acidity dances throughout.”
Kermit Lynch note “A young, peppery nose with tart red currant aromas that practically jump out of the glass. On the palate, the fruit follows through to a spicy, astonishingly lengthy finish. A satisfying match for charcuterie or creamy fresh goat cheese, which complement the refreshing acidity.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $29

Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Cuvée Terroir, Loire 2018 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Kermit Lynch note
“Cuvée Terroir is born of a parcel of vines just west of Chinon known for its mysteriously Mediterranean vegetation. Fragrant pines replace the emblematic plane trees that typically line the river Vienne, and tiny wildflowers called silènes pop up in the sandy soil amid the vines, a colorful symbol of the area’s extraordinary biodiversity. Domaine Joguet lets the terroir speak for itself, aging the wine in stainless steel to respect its supple, delicate freshness. They call it their “vin des copains”: the wine you want to open with friends, and frequently.”

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Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Varennes du Grand Clos, Loire 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Very pure, featuring beautiful acidity that imparts freshness and energy, with cherry pit and red currant fruit notes gliding along. Medium tannins provide structure and support. The finish is long and expressive. Best from 2021 through 2029. 170 cases imported. — AZ”
Vinous 93 points “From one Charles Joguet’s prime sites at the foot of a gravelly terrace, from 40 to 50 year old vines in siliceous chalk and clay soil. Aged 12 months in barrel, then in stainless steel for 10 months. Cherry, pepper, and herb on the nose. Rich and plush in the mouth with big gravelly tannins. Balanced by cool, fresh dark fruit and a thrilling finish of spice and graphite. Great value.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Soave dialed up to 11
Tamellini Le Bine di Costiola Soave Classico, Veneto 2018 750ML ($19.95) $18 special
Eric Guido-Vinous 92 points
“The 2018 Soave Classico Le Bine de Costiola pulls you close to the glass with a beguiling display of musky apricot and peach contrasted by spiced lemon peel, incense and hints of curry leaf and wet stone. It’s silky and textural, yet buzzing with energy, as tart stone fruits and zesty citrus create inner tension, and honeyed florals form toward the close. This is wonderfully persistent, with a coating of glycerol-like fruits that are washed clean by residual acids and salty minerals.”


Nanclares y Prieto ‘Dandelion’ Albarino, Rias Baixas 2019 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Importer note
“Dandelion From multiples plots in and around Cambados, with 30 to 60 years old vines, trained in the traditional Pergola style and planted mainly on granitic, sandy soils. Wild yeast fermented and raised in small tanks for around a year. Bottled without clarification or filtration. A delicious village wine and a very good value on Grower Albariño!”

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Vaglio Wines Aggie Malbec, Uco Valley, Gualtallary 2019 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Vaglio Wines Aggie Malbec, Uco Valley, Gualtallary 2019 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
No reviews available. Review for prior vintage provided for reference.
James Suckling 95 points
“Wonderful intensity of crushed berries, pink pepper and volcanic salt. Full-bodied, yet fresh and vivid with energy and focus. Extremely long and flavorful. Drink or hold.”

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Vanguard of the “New California”

Arnot-Roberts has been one of the vanguard producers of the “New California” movement, making wines that deserve to be paid attention to as some of the best in the United States. Started by childhood friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts in 2001, they’ve quickly established themselves as some of the best producers of restrained, elegant California wines. In 2013 the San Francisco Chronicle named them “Winemakers of the Year” in recognition of the quality and consistency of the wines they’re producing.

If you’re not familiar with Arnot-Roberts, don’t expect soft, fruity wines. Everything they touch has a backbone to it—a spine of acid and tannin that make you think of the great wines of France far quicker than their peers in California. These are serious wines, built to age—which is how they’ve developed such a following. With a year or three in the cellar, these blossom into wines that rival the best in the world. We get painfully small allocations every year, and only a few wines remain, so don’t miss your chance to experience these benchmark wines of “New California”.

In Stock Now:

Arnot-Roberts Montecillo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“A captivating wine, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard shows just how magical this Sonoma site is. A whole range of floral, savory and earthy notes gives the Montecillo that trademark aromatic profile that is such a signature. Big tannins add energy as well as shape to a classically built Cabernet that delivers the goods, and then some. What a wine!”

Arnot-Roberts Gamay Noir, El Dorado 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Decanter 92 points
“A blend of two high-elevation sites in the Sierra Foothills: Barsotti Vineyard (795m) and Witters Vineyard (1,005m). Wild, rustic nose of red plums, pepper and dried flowers then svelte palate that is broad and subtly tannic on the finish. These mountainous sites bring a sturdy, brambly quality to what is an often underrated variety. Singular and delicious.”

Arnot-Roberts Clary Ranch Syrah, Sonoma Coast 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2017 Syrah Clary Ranch is striking. Deep and resonant on the palate, the 2017 has so much to say. Some of the angular edges and intense savoriness the Clary Ranch can show have been soften by the intense heat of the year. Silky, fine tannins wrap around a core of dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice and pepper. A Syrah of power and structural intensity, the Clary Ranch is incredibly distinctive, and that is in a lineup in which many of the wines are exceptional. Two thousand-seventeen is a superb vintage for the Clary Ranch Syrah.”

Arnot-Roberts Trousseau, North Coast 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Decanter 93 points
“The Trousseau for this vintage mainly comes from the Clear Lake AVA, with smaller portions from Fort Ross-Seaview and Green Valley. It’s fermented whole cluster, basket-pressed and aged in neutral barriques for eight months. Aromas of dried fruit, brown sugar and rust lead to a fine-grained, weightless palate of golden raisins, white pepper and cranberry skins. A poised, rustic and beautiful example of a variety gaining ground in California, in large part due to Arnot-Roberts.”

Love Golden State wine?
We have 81 wines from California in stock now!
Shop our entire selection, including “New California” favorites like Bedrock and Pax, on our web store now.


A can’t miss value from a staff favorite producer
Castello di Camigliano Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Castello di Camigliano Poderuccio Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
James Suckling 90 points
“Lots of blackberries and tar, together with black-olive character on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and structured. A little raw, but should come around nicely with bottle age. Drink from 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Biondi-Santi occupies some of the most hallowed ground in the Brunello appellation.  
Biondi Santi Il Greppo, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe- Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”

Treading the fine line between traditional and modern is the 2018 Artuke Pies Negros. It’s a fun wine that shows the earthiness and lightness of old-world producers while simultaneously offering a little more fruit and tannin that move the wine into something slightly more hedonistic.
Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke ‘Pies Negros’, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Bodegas y Viñedos Artuke ‘Pies Negros’, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($299.95) $215 special (that’s only $17.92/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2018 Pies Negros was produced with grapes from the Sierra Cantabria in the village of Ábalos, so another village wine, even if it won’t get the official qualification, as they don’t have a winery in Ábalos! It’s a blend of Tempranillo with 15% Graciano fermented with destemmed but uncrushed grapes with indigenous yeasts, and it matured in 500-liter oak barrels for 12 months, except for 10% of the volume that was kept in concrete for that time. This didn’t stop growing in the glass, and the aromas are subtle and elegant. Since they started working with larger oak containers, they had to learn to work under more reductive conditions; they now seem to have mastered it, at least in some of the wines, like this one. The wines are subtler and less immediate than the wines aged in barrique, and this long-cycle vintage has a tendency toward this profile of wines. The palate is very balanced and fresh, with a core of red fruit, with bright flavors and very good precision. 70,000 bottles produced.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

One of the iconic wines of eastern Italy.
Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Case-6 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($499.95) $419 special (that’s only $69.83/bottle!)
Italian Release
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 94 points
“This is one of the cornerstone producers of the Abruzzo, a winery that follows strict tradition but that also appeals to every new generation of wine drinker that encounters a bottle. The wines of Emidio Pepe are in a word, timeless. The 2017 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo flaunts its pedigree with elegant aromas of black fruit, smoke, tar and powdery licorice. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo fares well in the hot vintages such as 2017 thanks to the cool mountain climates of the region, and not only do you get deep textural richness here, the acidity is beautifully preserved and fresh as well. The tannins are firm and polished, all followed by delicate little accents of dried herb and crushed stone.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Top Champagne Picks: $76-$95
We look to friends in NYC for tips on impressive wines that don’t tend to make it the West Coast. When those wines are stunning single vintage, single parcel Champagnes, we take note.
Hubert Soreau Le Clos l’Abbe Brut, Champagne 2010 750ML ($119.95) $95 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“From a parcel of old chardonnay vines located on the border of Epernay and the Côtes des Blancs, the fruit is picked by hand and vinified and aged in neutral 300L barrels harvested from the nearby Hautvillers forest. After 6 years of aging sur-latte, it was disgorged and bottled with minimal dosage. Aromatically, the wine resonates with white fruits, citrus, and a clear, stony, mineral edge. On the palate, the wine is taught, balancing rich texture with electric acidity which gives the wine a feeling of power and weightlessness.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

“Dominique Moreau [makes] tiny amounts of Champagne under the Marie-Courtin label that are gorgeous, precise and elegant, and that I cannot get out of my head.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times
Marie Courtin Presence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc. Harvested from massale selection vines of 1/3 Pinot Blanc and 2/3 Chardonnay averaging 20 years of age. The Pinot Blanc is planted in kimmerdgian-centric soils while the Chardonnay is planted in portlandian soils. Aged in epoxy lined tank, three year elevage sur lie, unfined and unfiltered, zero dosage and zero sulfur added. Dominique Moreau’s Blanc de Blanc blend combines Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grown in the unique kimmeridgian and portlandian soils of the Aube. This zero dosage, no sulfur added cuvee is rich and racy and has a commanding “presence”, if you will, just as we have come to expect from this rising star.”

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Marie Courtin ‘Indulgence’ Extra Brut Rose, Champagne 2015 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2015 Extra Brut Rosé Indulgence is 100% Pinot Noir that sees a maceration of about 48 hours. Pomegranate, mint, dried flowers, game and dried pear are all finely knit. Lifted floral and savory notes suggest at least some whole cluster influence. This is such a classy and expressive Champagne. Here, too, I see what appears to be more finesse than in the past. No dosage. Disgorged: November, 2018.”
Importer note “50 year old Pinot Noir vines from .30 hectares. Sandy marl with veins of kimmeridgian. Balanced above all else, the Indulgence rose is made from 100% Pinot Noir that macerated for four days. Not too fruity, not too meaty…just right! Non-dosé.”

Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier d’Or Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2014 Brut Grand Cellier d’Or is one of the best vintages of this wine I can remember tasting. Bright, explosive and full of energy, the 2014 captures a striking balance of depth and vibrancy. All the elements meld together in a beautifully sculpted Champagne loaded with character. The 2014 is even more impressive today than it was when I tasted it earlier in the year. Dosage is 7 grams per liter.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Aromatic, with floral and ripe berry and cherry fruit notes, this harmonious Champagne shows a zesty underpinning and a creamy mousse. Fresh and mouthwatering throughout, showing hints of chopped almond, Meyer lemon peel and pastry dough. Offers a lingering finish loaded with fragrant spice and graphite accents. Disgorged June 2018. Drink now through 2029. 400 cases imported.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “Disgorged in June 2018, the 2014 Brut Premier Cru Grand Cellier d’Or is an attractive rendition of this wine, which derives from south-facing lieu-dit Les Blanches Voies. Unfurling in the glass with aromas of crisp white peach, citrus oil, toasted bread and spices, it’s medium to full-bodied, taut and precise, with a chiseled core of ripe but racy fruit, lively acids and a lingering finish. This will unwind beautifully with a bit of bottle age.”

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The average price is $104

Charles Heidsieck Brut Millesime, Champagne 2006 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Decanter 94 points
“For those who like their champagne delicate, with the smile of a warm summer, this is the vintage to go for. Fine-drawn and elegant, It has a nice structure and well-defined flavours of red fruits, quince and a touch of apricot, accompanied by a subtle spiciness. The one criticism aimed at 2006 is that the wines can lack acidity – but not this one. Ready to drink now, maybe with blinis. Disgorged in 2017.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Rich notes of pastry, crushed cherry, espresso cream, saffron and spice are well-meshed with vibrant acidity in this expressive Champagne. Fine and creamy in texture, with a racy, tightly knit finish that should unfold nicely with age. Disgorged in 2017. Drink now through 2028. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 90 cases imported.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2006 Brut Millésimé spent nine years on the lees and was disgorged in 2017 with ten grams per liter dosage. The wine expresses the sunny vintage, exhibiting generous aromas of mirabelle plum, crisp yellow orchard fruit, confit citrus, toasted nuts and dried white flowers. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, ample and mouthfilling, with a youthfully boisterous but elegant mousse, a fleshy core of fruit and a rich, expansive finish. This is a gourmand vintage of Heidsieck’s vintage Brut, and it will be best enjoyed at table; it will age more on its concentration and extract than its acidity. The blend is a classic 59% Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay.” [Disgorgement date may vary.]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $101

Champagne Aubry ‘Sablé’ Premier Cru Brut Nature Rosé, Champagne 2014 750ML ($119.95) $79 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2014 Rosé Sablé Nicolas Francois Aubry is a real pleasure to taste. It is also much more giving than the 2013 at this stage. Crushed flowers, cranberry and chalk all flesh out in a Rosé that offers terrific depth as well as energy. It is another classy, polished Champagne from the Aubry brothers.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “Disgorged in October 2018, Aubry’s 2014 Brut Nature Rosé Sablé Premier Cru is showing very well, wafting from the glass with a complex bouquet of oatmeal, fresh peach, woodsmoke, orange oil and dried linden blossom. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, vinous and crisply textural, with racy acids, a delicate low-pressure mousse and a long, penetrating finish. While I found the 2013 rendition—reviewed last year—a little austere, the more generous 2014 vintage is more naturally giving and inviting in the wine’s chiseled, bone-dry register. A saignée of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier gives the wine its color and amounts to some 30% of the unusual blend, complemented by fully 20% Arbanne and 25% Petit Meslier, the balance coming from Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay.”
[Disgorgement date may vary.]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $90

Nicolas Maillart ‘Les Chaillots Gillis’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Winery Note
“Champagne from a specific area from old vines of Chardonnay. Produced only in great years, this Champagne is produced with limited quantity. A wine of Champagne before being a Champagne. Origin of the grapes: Ecueil 1er cru . Sourced from different parcels of old vines only, exposed on the south hills and different plots in the middle of the vineyard. Winemaking and aging: Slow, gentle pressing using gravity flow techniques. This wine is vinified exclusively in wooden vats . This Champagne has had a long maturation on wooden vats and no filtration took place before the bottling. Disgorged by hand and laid down at least six months before sale. Dosage : 0 g/L Tasting notes Eye : Golden yellow with a fine, lingering bead Nose : really delicate with notes of minerality and toasty notes. Palate: A lovely fresh, vinous attack. This is an intense Champagne that will do great justice to a meal.”

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Benoit Dehu ‘La Rue des Noyers,’ Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The NV (2015) Extra Brut Cuvée La Rue des Noyers speaks with real authority, and yet the 2015 is one of the more delicate versions of this cuvée so far. Time in the glass allows the wine to blossom nicely. Dried pear, smoke, herbs and dried flowers fill out the wine’s creamy frame effortlessly. Once again, the Rue des Noyers is one of the most distinctive wines in Champagne. Dosage is 1 grams per liter. Disgorged: July 2017.”

Pierre Gerbais L’Originale Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2013) 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 7 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2013-base. Reviews are for reference.
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“One of the most surprising wines in this range, the 2014 Extra Brut L’Originale is 100% Pinot Blanc from vines that mostly date back to 1904. Pinot Blanc is increasingly seen in Champagne, but very rarely on its own. Creamy and ample in feel, with striking aromatic top notes, L’Originale has so much to offer. Citrus peel, orchard fruit, mint and bright floral notes are all laced throughout. Dosage is 3-4 grams per liter. Disgorged: May, 2018.” [Disgorgement date may vary.]
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “There can’t be many, if any, other 100% Pinot Blanc Champagnes. Allowed in the appellation, the grape is only really found in this southern Aube region. It comes to the fore with Aurélien Gerbais (fourth generation), produced from vines planted in 1904. This wine is a soft, creamy and immediately drinkable, with ripe apple and pear flavors. It would repay a few months more in bottle; drink from 2017.”
Importer note “Disgorged January 2018. 100% Pinot Blanc. Vine Age: Majority planted in 1904. Terroir: Kimmeridgian, mostly from lieu-dit Les Proies. Viticulture: Certified sustainable (Ampelos) since 1996, no synthetic chemicals. Vinification: Indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks, full malos, aged on fine lees. 36 months sur lattes with organic yeast. Extra-brut dosage of 3-4 g/L, about 30 mg/L total sulfur.”     

R. Pouillon & Fils ‘Les Chataigniers’ Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($119.95) $84 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Importer Note
“Les Châtaigniers is a vineyard parcel located in the village of Festigny on the left bank of the Marne valley. Here the concentration of clay in the soil makes this terroir an ideal expression for pinot meunier. François farms meunier vines of 10 and 25 years old with the same organic rigor he applies elsewhere.”

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Collector’s Corner:


Vintage Port remains one of the best deals in the world of classical fine wine—top flight, epic bottlings from historic producers with long track records at prices that seem unfathomable given their pedigree.  These are wines that compete with Grand Cru Burgundy and First Growth Bordeaux at prices that are fractions of their peers. 

In Stock Now from Dow

“The freshness coming through in these wines being a defining feature of this vintage.'” –Mark Squires, Wine Advocate
Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 98 points
“This packs a lot of fun, with a wallop of blackberry, fig, boysenberry and açai berry compote flavors working together, laced with a mouthwatering licorice snap note and driven by a fresh, well-detailed finish. A roasted apple wood accent is integrated as well, lending textural contrast through the vivacious finish. Best from 2030 through 2055.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Very floral, intense and ripe, this is a wine that is based around big black fruits as well as fine acidity. It is obviously destined for long aging with its powerful dry tannins and perfumed acidity. Drink this wine from 2028.”
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of blueberries, blackberries and dried flowers plus hints of slate follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a driven and linear finish. Orange peel and dried fruit. Sleek and racy. Ready to try in 2024.”

Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 375ML ($69.95) $59 special, 24 half-bottles in stock now
Dow’s Vintage Port, Portugal 2017 1.5L ($249.95) $219 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 98 points
“The 2017 Dow’s Vintage Port showed a slight reduction and required more time to really open in the glass. Typical of Dow’s it has a more backward and introspective bouquet compared to its peers, scents of blackberry, clove, wild mint, cassis and vanilla, gradually gaining more intensity with aeration. The palate is simply glorious. It is built around a compelling tannic frame that seems finer than any Dow’s I have encountered apart from the ethereal 2011. There is so much energy coiled up in this Port, a sense of symmetry that is enthralling and yet you just know that it needs to be cellared for 15-20 years for it to reveal its full potential. For serious Port-lovers. One of the vintages most cerebral offerings. Total production is 5,250 cases.”
James Suckling 98 points “Pure grape aromas that remind me of fermenting must but then goes to stems and dried flowers. Full-bodied, medium sweet with fine-grained tannins that coat your palate. Powerful and muscular yet remains agile and beautiful. Grows on your palate. Wonderful ripe fruit in the middle palate. Try after 2030.”
Decanter 97 points “Based on fruit from the predominantly south-facing Quinta do Bomfim in the Cima Corgo and Quinta Senhora da Ribeira in the Douro Superior, with Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca making up 80% of the blend. This is opaque and closed in but powerfully ripe with underlying pure berry fruit. It’s seemingly quite introverted compared to some of its peers at this stage, but it’s still full, rich and opulent on the palate. It also shows the latent power of the vintage, made as it is in a slightly drier style (3.4 Baumé), with lovely minty fruit and full, ripe sinewy tannins all the way through the finish. Long and lithe, and very fine.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A dense, thickly textured version, dripping with warm salted licorice, tar and açaí paste notes, while plum and blueberry pâte de fruit, chai spice and chocolate elements fill in behind. Lots of brambly grip flows underneath. Shows a very sappy feel on the finish. Best from 2035 through 2055.”
Wine & Spirits 95 points “This wine seems more accessible than young Dow vintages of the past, perfumed with purple-fruit freshness that’s completely integrated into the wine’s dark tannins. The structural power of those tannins grows more apparent as you spend time with the wine. Though they seem articulate, spicy and grand from the start, they continue to give fruit flavor after the bottle has been open for three days. The details range from cinnamon bark to mincemeat, plum skins and minerals, all of it surrounding the healthy purple-red fruit at the center of this wine. A beautiful and satistfying vintage from Dow, this will develop for decades.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Opening with dramatic color, this adds violets on the nose. It retains elegance while seeming subtly concentrated rather than jammy. Then, it finishes with pop and controlled power. For those who remember the powerhouse Dows in the past, that’s not quite this for the most part. It is an accessible and elegant Dow, relatively speaking. Charles Symington said that the higher proportion of Touriga Franca compared to some years contributed to that. That said, this still has the structure to age and develop. It seems wonderfully fresh and lifted all the while, but it’s neither rich, nor intense nor austere. This is a Dow that still needs some time to become more expressive and complex, though. There were 5,250 cases produced. The 2017 Vintage Port, bottled in May for release in the third quarter of 2019, is mostly a 42/38 blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca with old vines and miscellaneous others (including about 8% Alicante Bouschet) for the rest. It was bottled about a month before this tasting after 18 months in seasoned vats, but the just-bottled sample was not actually used for fear it might be in shock. This, accordingly, was actually a pre-bottling sample. It comes in with 106 grams of residual sugar.”
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “Black core with purple rim. Very different from the Stone Terraces just tasted, sweet and somehow more lifted as if more volatile. Hedgerow fruits on the nose, floral too, and again that real sweetness of fruit on the palate. Intense, firmly built but very generous in its sweet fruit character even if not analytically sweeter. Fine-grained but still grainy tannins with some hints of dried fruits on the finish. When I tasted this a second time on a different occasion, it seemed much fresher and more vibrant so I increased my score and lengthened the drinking window.”

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Single Vineyard Talenti Brunello

Arriving ETA October

“Riccardo Talenti sources fruit from five vineyards spread out between higher elevations of Sant’Angelo in Colle and lower elevations of Castelnuovo dell’Abate to create a southern yet wonderfully balanced expression of Brunello, one that is capable of pleasing a broad range of palates. What’s more, with the 2015 vintage, Talenti releases their first single-vineyard wine, the Brunello di Montalcino Piero, which emerges from a two-hectare parcel first planted by PierLuigi Talenti in the 1970s. The 2015 is one of the top wines of the vintage, and the 2016 is an excellent follow-up, once again ranking high in my tastings… The process of converting to all organic practices throughout the vineyards is the latest development here.” –Eric Guido, Vinous

Talenti Piero, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Eric Guido-Vinous 97 points
“The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Piero is an excellent follow-up to the 2015 that wowed me earlier this year. It takes a much more refined and darkly alluring approach, as an air of crushed stone gives way to masses of blackberry and cherry, further blossoming to show notes of sage, a dusting of cedar, mocha and leather strap. There’s an exotic flair here without ever straying from Sangiovese purity. The textures are pure elegance, like silk being draped across the senses yet perfectly balanced by zesty acids and hints of sour citrus, as depths of red/black fruits give way to inner floral and earth tones. You can hardly feel its tannic heft until the finish, where structure rules, clenching the palate with youthful poise while allowing hints of balsamic spice to linger on. There is simply so much going on here and so much more to come over time.”
James Suckling 97 points “This is really beautiful with so much black-cherry and blackberry aromas, as well as walnut and cedar. Some black truffle, too. It’s full-bodied, yet ever so tight and polished with solid tannin tension and focus. Goes on and on. Structured and beautiful. Try after 2024.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points “This is the second vintage of Piero, a wine that pays homage to the winery’s founder. The Talenti 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Piero shows a bigger and bolder style next to the classic 2016 Brunello; however, this wine remains graceful and lifted nonetheless. It does not make the mistake of showing too much extraction or concentration (it is aged in tonneau for two years), and its pretty personality is especially bright and chiseled in the 2016 vintage. The mouthfeel shows a little more weight (and maybe less freshness, or the impression of less freshness) compared to the classic bottling. There is a just a touch more fruit concentration and richness with the 4,000-bottle release.”


Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.