Monday Newsletter – 3-26-18

In Today’s Newsletter:

April Sales Start Now!
Crowley Wines: A Top Insider’s Pick in the Valley
New Jeb Dunnuck Reviews
Felsina: Last Call & First Call for 2015s

Fattoria dei Barbi: Last Call, Too
Domaine de Beaurenard
Aldo Conterno
March Clearance Sale, Continued

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April Sales Start Now!

No it’s not April yet, but we don’t care—these wines are on sale now through the end of next month (or, more likely, when they run out).  We’ve got an impeccable trio of wines to start out with, all from the acclaimed Tuscan producer Isole e Olena.  Two of these wines are in their Collezione Privata series, reserved for Super-Tuscan styled wines.  They’re always huge hits for the style and some of the best value in Cabernet/Syrah around.  We’ve also cut the price on their 2004 Vin Santo—one of the best in the genre and something that is delicious now but will age for a long time.  Plus, as a bonus, Massolino’s Moscato—a perfect wine for spring.

Don’t forget, there’s less than a week to go in the March Sale, as well, so if you’d like to see all the wines on our Clearance Sale right now, just click here and/or look further on in the newsletter for some highlights!

Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT 2013 750ML ($79.95) Was $66, Now $59 Clearance Price
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata is superb. A delicate, nuanced wine in this vintage, the Cabernet Sauvignon speaks in hushed tones. Silky tannins and highly expressive aromatics add to an impression of total finesse. In many vintages, the Cabernet can be quite big, but not in 2013. This is a brilliant showing from Isole and proprietor Paolo De Marchi.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $65.98
The average price is $69
Isole e Olena Syrah Collezione de Marchi Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2008 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Clearance Price
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2008 Syrah Collezione Privata jumps from the glass with expressive, pungent aromatics and waves of super-expressive dark red/black stone fruits. Mint, sage, tobacco, rosemary and plums all develop in the glass, adding further dimensions of complexity. An intensely floral, savory finish laced with lavender, violets, rose petals and spices rounds things out. At six years of age, the 2008 Syrah remains fresh, vibrant and impeccable in its purity. In particular, the interplay of dense fruit and cooler, varietal Syrah notes is compelling.” AG
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Isole e Olena Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2004 375ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Clearance Price
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “Deep amber-yellow. Sexy, kaleidoscopic nose combines exotic tropical fruits, chestnut honey, raisin, dried fig, caramel and a musky iodine note. Then sharply delineated and penetrating on the palate in spite of its honeyed sweetness, with superb acidity giving spine to the dried fruit and ripe citrus flavors. This wonderfully vibrant yet thick and rich Vin Santo coats the mouth on the long, smooth finish. Great stuff.” ST
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $44.99
Massolino Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($21.95) Was $18, Now $16 Clearance Price
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points “The 2016 Moscato D’Asti is about as delicious as it gets. Peach, orange peel, and juicy citrus all emerge from this beautiful, balanced, hard to resist beauty. Pour a full glass any time over the coming year.”
Winery note “Appearance: bright straw yellow, with fine and persistent perlage; it maintains limited pressure, as recommended by the tradition of this wine. Bouquet: tempting, immensely fresh and intense, it reveals decisive fruit notes, with a clear predominance of sage. Flavour: expansive and enveloping, but not too sweet; the typical aroma of Moscato grapes is naturally prevalent and it has a very long and delicious finish.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $20

Want to see everything on our March and April Clearance Sales?

Just click here to view the entire 65+ wine list on our website!

Crowley WinesA Top Insider’s Pick in the Valley

One of the tragedies of the Oregon wine industry is that most of the great wineries here are very small. This isn’t a problem in and of itself (small is beautiful, certainly) but it means that a lot of the best stuff never makes it out into the rest of the country in a meaningful way.  Tyson Crowley’s wines are perfect example of this.  They’re beloved in Portland, with placements on nearly every important restaurant list in the city, but his annual production is less than 4,000 cases, so most of it stays in the northwest.

If you’ve had Crowley, you know how good the wines are (and all we can say is that you should click here to see all the wines in stock right now).  If not, just know that these are pure and delicious wines that are in the top tier of Pinot and Chardonnay coming out of the valley.

Tyson worked in wineries in the Willamette Valley for twelve years before launching his own label thirteen years ago, and that experience shows in the quality of the wines.  A quarter century of working with Willamette Valley fruit means that he works with some of the best vineyards and in a style that’s clearly influenced by his mentors (e.g. Cameron) but is very much his own.

That style is defined by clarity of flavor, in both red and white, that lets all the wines show their terroirs clearly.  They’re Goldilocks wines—just where we want them to be in terms of ripeness and weight.  Oh, they also age beautifully and very attractively priced, especially given the quality involved.  Up and down the line, these wines over deliver and deserve a broader audience, so consider yourself in on the secret now.

In Stock Now from Crowley:

Crowley Four Winds Vineyard Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Limpid yellow. Assertive, mineral-tinged Meyer lemon and pear scents show very good clarity and complicating suggestions of iodine, jasmine and smoky lees. Minerally and precise on the palate, offering energetic orchard and citrus fruit flavors along with deeper suggestions of buttered toast and nectarine. Shows impressive energy and tension and finishes silky and long, featuring a lingering suave floral nuance.”
Winery notes “No matter the heat this wine never slows down. Four Winds Chardonnay comes off of a block of own-rooted Wente clone Chardonnay that was planted in 1990. Every vintage, Four Winds shows low alcohol, singing acid and a citrus nature. Twenty months in neutral barrel broadens the palate and bring a touch of sweet butter and sage.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Crowley Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Always a beautiful wine in its youth, this is actually all Four Winds fruit of barrels declassified from the single vineyard. This year the blend is four barrels of Dijon clone and 9 of Wente with a mix of new, one year old and much older oak. Bottled in December, this is showing very well at the moment with air. The signature note of dried ginger and spice shows beneath a restrained note of citrus and orchard fruit and a creamy texture. Balanced, elegant, and a bargain.
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Crowley Entre Nous Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 90 points
“(made with no new oak) Bright red. A lively bouquet evokes fresh raspberry, candied rose and spicecake, backed by a hint of dusty minerals. Silky and appealingly sweet, offering pliant red and dark berry flavors and suggestions of bitter cherry and licorice. Spicy and focused on the clinging, gently tannic finish, which leaves notes of white pepper and floral pastilles behind.”Crowley Four Winds Vineyard Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($51.95) $44 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points
“Vivid red. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, incense and Asian spices, along with a bright mineral overtone. Juicy, lithe and focused on the palate, offering appealingly sweet, mineral-laced raspberry, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that show impressive tension and reveal a deeper cola nuance with air. Delivers a suave blend of power and finesse and finishes extremely long, featuring harmonious tannins and outstanding clarity.”
Winery notes“Always our fastest selling single vineyard pinot! This unique, eleven acre site is nestled in the Coast Range foothills at 800-850′ elevation. Soils are shallow and predominantly Nekia (marine sedimentary) with a little Jory (volcanic). Our Four Winds Pinot comes from a block of own-rooted Pommard clone, it always has a linear nature with a tendency towards blue fruits and a fresh saline quality. That characteristic freshness combined with a brooding, dark quality and broad shoulders gives this vintage an exciting one-two punch.”

Crowley La Colina Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($51.95) $44 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 93 points
“Brilliant red. A complex bouquet evokes fresh dark berries, potpourri and Moroccan spices, and a smoky mineral quality builds in the glass. Lively, mineral-accented raspberry, cherry cola and floral pastille flavors display excellent focus and appealing sweetness. Unfolds slowly with aeration, gaining depth and finishing with impressive tension, gentle tannins and sappy, red-fruit-driven persistence.”
Winery notes “The very first vineyard to join our lineup in 2005! La Colina is perched on the Southwest corner of Dundee Hills at 550-600′ elevation. Soils are made up of red, volcanic Jory and it’s plated to Pommard and Wadenswil clone Pinot. Wines off this site are generous, showing red fruits (strawberry and especially cherry), baking spice and orange peel. The 2015 doubles down on the spice element with cardamom and sarsaparilla as well as black tea leaf from the soft tannins”

Crowley Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
This wine is always one of the better deals in Willamette Valley, made of declassified fruit from the single-vineyard lots that Tyson works with.  The 2016 is one of the best yet and very true to the house style—intensity without weightiness and a magic aroma.

We’re in love with Nikolaihof’s wines.  They’re bright, precise and mineral drenched with the power and density of the Wachau, their nook on the Danube.  More importantly, though, they have a sense of restlessness and invention about them—which is remarkable given the estate dates back to the fourteenth century.  Whether that’s using a centuries old wooden press or reimagining what wine from the Wachau can be through extended cask aging, they take very traditional techniques to occasionally give us a beautifully refracted image of Austrian wine.The wine we’re highlighting today is a perfect example of this non-interventionist radicalism—a wine made from youngish vines in their top site, Vom Stein.  In the modern world, all wines from the Wachau is bone dry, but in 2006, a vintage with high percentage of noble rot, the Saahs family thought that they’d let nature do what it wanted.  Free of intervention, some of the wine finished with a touch of residual sugar—think of a wine that’s a little drier than a Spatlese, in practice. The winery then aged it in bottle until a few years ago before its release.

The result is fascinating and delicious.  Wines in this style are extremely rare as normally any Austrian Riesling that’s sweet is full-on dessert wine.  Stylistically, the Jungfernlese (“virgin-vintage”—a reference to these particular vines’ first vintage) bottling lies somewhere between the Wachau and the Nahe.  If you can imagine someone like Diel or Donnhoff making wine in the Wachau, this is the sort of thing you’d end up with.  That sort of uniqueness is what the wine so special and so worth trying, but unfortunately supplies are limited (two cases) and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Vom Stein Jungfernlese Riesling, Wachau 2006 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Terry Theise notes: “It means the virgin-vintage, the first crop from young vines. And it’s what the Germans would call Feinherb, and it’s what any sane person would call irresistible! A potion of iris and lavender, spicy and penetrating; very long, seductively earthy, like a really profound Nahe Spätlese, almost the 5-spice and wildflower of Dönnhoff’s Felsenberg.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Love Nikolaihof like we do or want to explore more? Here are six additional top picks from the estate. View the full list of 27 different wines in stock now from Nikolaihof on our web site by clicking here!

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Vinothek Riesling, Wachau, Austria 1997 750ML ($219.95) $149 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 97 points
“Aged for 17 years in a domestic 3,500-liter cask before it was bottled in August 2014, the 1997 Riesling Vinothek is the best part of the regular 1997 Riesling Smaragd Im Weingebirge, which was bottled and marketed in late 1998. The aged Vinothek version offers a fascinatingly clear, bright, deep and multi-layered nose with iodine and ripe as well as intense white-fleshed fruit aromas. Full-bodied, full of finesse and elegant, this dry, transparent and mineral Riesling develops a great intensity, complexity and power on the palate, but never leaves its silky road of purity, finesse and transparency. There is a lot of Spiel and tension here, but the most exciting characteristic trait is the intense and very mineral, almost endless finish. How youthful this wine is! And its further aging potential is still terrific. The wine reminds me of certain sherries, white Riojas and Jura wines, although it is not less oxidative. But it spent a long time in cask and has the freshness, complexity and thrilling taste of those. It’s a great, unique and stimulating wine that was bottled with 12.8% of alcohol, 6 grams of residual sugar and 6.5 grams of acidity.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 97 points “This successor to the almost supernaturally ethereal and haunting 1995 also has to live up to the reputation of a vintage-of-the-half-century. It manages, though! The bouquet is unearthly in its complex amalgam of bittersweetly floral (iris, gentian, buddleia), pungently nutty, subtly smoky (black tea) and elusively mineral (sea breeze, wet stone, faint fusel oil) components. Considering the secondary development signaled on the nose, a surprising intensity of pure white peach, apple and grapefruit emerges sumptuously on the silky palate. The buoyant finish, more tightly clinging and less ethereal than that of the 1995, represents a long, harmoniously undulating interaction of liquid floral perfume, diverse minerality and succulent fresh fruits. I tasted this shortly before its mid-2014 bottling (a rare exception to the Nikolaihof rule against unveiling wines from cask) and did not review that note before tasting seven months later. My first spontaneous word each time was “unearthly.” And happily, my impressions that followed demonstrated that this wine’s amazing personality, including its aromas and textural allure, had made it to bottle scarcely altered. The source vineyard here, incidentally, is the Im Weingebirge whereas the 1995 was from Vom Stein.”

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Baumpresse, Wachau, Austria 2011 750ML ($129.95) $99 special, 11 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93 points
“Nicknamed for the 18th-century “tree press” recently reactivated by Nikki Saahs (the tree in question must have begun growing in the Middle Ages), and now also labeled for its vineyard of origin, this was bottled in 2013 (like the corresponding Smaragd), but only recently released. At 12.5 percent alcohol, this silken-textured Riesling manages, as did other Nikolaihof wines of its vintage, to avoid any sense of heaviness; although there is a rich foundation of succulently ripe white peach and Persian melon, white currant and transparent apple lend tart-edged tang and crunch. A hint of heliotrope hangs over the whole performance, its sweet perfume further pointing to the generous phenolic evolution characteristic of this vintage. There are significant albeit nicely integrated oxidative elements here as well – a legacy of the wine’s upbringing in smaller barrels than are otherwise utilized at the Nikolaihof – with moss, toasted grains and nuts, wet stone and quinine lending a slightly sinister aspect to the long, multilayered finish. As was the case with this wine’s predecessors, Nikki Saahs maintains that it will retain its current level of freshness for many years. I’m skeptical.”
Terry Theise: “It’s painfully spendy, but have you seen that massive press? Apart from which, truth is truth; the wine is superb. Grain and smoke and jasmine and turkey stock and fingerlings at their little sweet best. This wine is intense, though with all of 12.5% alc.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Riesling vom Stein Federspiel, Wachau 2013 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Riesling vom Stein Federspiel, Wachau 2013 1.5L ($99.95)
$79 special, 2 magnums in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The 2013 Riesling Federspiel Vom Stein offers a clear, ripe and well-concentrated bouquet of white stone-fruit aromas along with some nice terroir notes of herbs and stones. Medium-bodied, fresh and elegant on the palate, this Riesling is full of energy, mineral tension and vibrancy and demonstrates impressively, like great Mosel Rieslings do, that great dry wines do not need high alcohol levels to offer an intense, terroir-driven and stimulating taste. Still very young, this pure, piquant and firmly structured Federspiel reveals a good and piquant finish”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points “Caraway and celery root, apple and lemon, hedge flowers and roses: this smells as though somebody blended in Gewurztraminer. A sappy, silky palate incorporates corresponding complexity, with faintly bitter hints of huckleberry and a bite of radish adding stimulation and a suggestion of oyster liquor saliva-inducement to a sustained, infectiously juicy and (at 11.9% alcohol) strikingly buoyant finish.” DS

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

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Steiner Hund Reserve Riesling, Wachau 2010 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 9 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht–Vinous 95 points
“The nose here fascinates in a distinctively Nikolaihof manner. Elusive suggestions of moss and lichen on wet stone, mothball and salt spray, along with herbal and floral essences introduce a palate performance that adds to their presence roasted peanut, white asparagus, almond and pear for an effect at once satiny and soothing, juicy and subtly piquant. The combination of mouthwatering salinity and mineral intrigue to the nearly endless finish resembles a mouthful of oyster with its green innards and briny liquor. This remarkable libation was bottled in the spring of 2014.”

Familie Saahs Nikolaihof im Weingebirge Smaragd Gruner Veltliner, Wachau 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 11 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points
“An intriguing, ethereal nose suggests iris, ginseng, moss, beet root and a hint of blond tobacco. Beet, turnip and kohlrabi inform a plushly textured, expansive yet for Smaragd amazingly buoyant palate. Alkalinity, stoniness and tincture of iodine lend cut and a certain austerity to a finish that flashes back to the complexity of the wine’s bouquet. Those with a predilection for Nikolaihof wines (such as I) are going to appreciate this bottling more than my score might suggest.”

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Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Neuburger, Wachau 2011 750ML ($39.95) $28 special, 15 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht–Vinous 89 points
“This soft and (at only 12.5% alcohol) full-feeling rendition of Neuburger emphasizes that grape’s inherent nuttiness, though the usual resemblance to white asparagus still applies. A faintly smoky piquancy adds an intriguing counterpoint to an otherwise soothing finish.”
Terry Theise notes “I’ve been acquiescing to this being discreetly sold “under the table” to a few of you, but this ’11 is entirely convincing—though there’s very little of it. It’s like the nuttiest Amontillado you ever had (with 12% alc!), and is super-sexy like liquid new leather.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

New Reviews

From Jeb Dunnuck

Importer Spotlight: Vineyard Brands

In honor of Robert Haas, founder of Vineyard Brands who passed away on Monday, Jeb Dunnuck published a tribute to his work as importer alongside new reviews for many of the represented estates. Haas introduced American to fine Rhone wines and further shared his passion for the region’s grapes when he cofounded Tablas Creek Vineyard in California. He left a lasting mark on Paso Robles and American wine in general, through his work importing, propagating and selling cuttings of Rhone grape vines from Chateau Beaucastel.

While Haas’s portfolio was grounded in the top estates of Burgundy early on, he quickly branched out to the Rhône Valley followed by other regions of France. Today Vineyard Brands represents reference point producers in just about every top wine region in the world. –Jeb Dunnuck

Newly Reviewed Vineyard Brands Wines In Stock Now:

Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The NV Brut Blanc De Blancs Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger is also terrific. Made from 100% Chardonnay, it has a more chiseled, tight, backward style in its sautéed apple and ripe citrus aromas and flavors. It too has terrific minerality, as well as medium body, a fine, elegant mousse, and a great finish.”

Domaine du Clos de Tart ‘Clos de Tart’ Grand Cru Monopole, Cote de Nuits 2014 750ML ($519.95) $438 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “A sensational 2014 by Sylvain Pitiot and Jacques Devauges, the 2014 Clos De Tart Grand Cru is an incredibly perfumed, elegant wine that shines for its complexity, texture, and length. Beautiful black raspberries, spice, damp underbrush, sous bois, and spice aromas and flavors all flow to a medium-bodied effort that has no hard edges, perfect balance, and polished, yet present tannin. With surprising length and building tannin, it needs 5-7 years of cellaring and is going to knock your socks off over the coming two decades.”

Famille Perrin Vinsobres Les Hauts de Julien, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2015 Vinsobres Les Hauts De Julien comes from the Vinsobres region, which is a cooler terroir located in the northern part of the southern Rhône. Based largely on very old vine Syrah blended with Grenache, it offers a vibrant purple color as well as a sensational bouquet of blueberries, cracked pepper, violets, lavender, and exotic spices. Incredibly textured, full-bodied, deep, and opulent, with awesome purity of fruit, it’s another sensational vintage for this cuvée that would pass undetected in a blind lineup of top Cornas. Drink it anytime over the coming decade.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Newly Reviewed Vineyard Brands Wines Arriving This Spring:Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2007 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special, ETA April 2018
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The standout in the lineup was the 2007 Brut Blanc De Blancs Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger which is 100% Chardonnay all from grand cru vineyards. It offers a ripe, sexy, full-bodied style as well as classic notes of baked apples, brioche, buttered citrus, and hazelnut. With roughly 70-80% of the blend going through full malolactic fermentation, this powerful, concentrated beauty is drinking terrific today, yet will certainly keep for another 10-15 years.”

Massolino Vigna Rionda Riserva, Barolo DOCG 2011 750ML ($159.95) $138 pre-arrival special, ETA March
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“Killer notes of kirsch, blackberries, tapenade, and exotic spices all emerge from the 2011 Barolo Vigna Rionda Riserva, which is medium to full-bodied, silky, sexy and elegant on the palate. First made in 1982, this cuvée comes from roughly seven different parcels in the Vigna Rionda vineyard, which covers 2.3 hectares in Serralunga. Aged 3.5 years in Slovenian oak followed by 2.5 years in bottle, it’s gorgeously polished, elegant and layered, with incredible charm and character. With fine, sweet tannin, integrated acidity, no hard edges, and a great finish, it’s a sensational Barolo to enjoy over the coming two decades or more.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Last Call & First Call

Final release of 2015 Chianti Classico from Felsina is coming at the end of April. This is our most popular CC so don’t miss your final chance at this “stunning, spatial wine” to quote Antonio Galloni!

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 re-arrival special
Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($59.95) $49 special, 24 magnums in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“A stunning, spatial wine, the 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a wine to buy by the case and savor over the next 20 or so years. All the natural richness of the 2015 vintage comes through in a creamy, voluptuous Chianti Classico that hits all the right notes.”
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Berardenga is a tight and elegant wine with bright berry notes followed by mineral tones of clay and chalky soil. You really taste those Castelnuovo Berardenga signatures here on the bouquet. The finish carries forward with grace, elegance and determination.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Dense yet rich, this red offers black cherry, earth and graphite aromas and flavors. Needs a year or two to find balance, yet the lingering, tobacco-inflected finish and refined tannins indicate the potential here. Best from 2019 through 2028.”

But what’s our most popular Chianti Classico Riserva? That’s easy: Felsina! The 2015 vintage is on its way, too, and we’re equally excited:

Also arriving late April:

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva Berardenga is a wine of increased depth and power. The bouquet is redolent of dark fruit, dried cherry, grilled herbs and moist clay that has been wetted by rain drops. The wine shows power and determination on the close that gives it momentum and persistence. This wine shows good possibility for further evolution in the bottle over the next five years or more.”
Antonio Galloni 92+ points “The 2015 Chianti Classico Riserva is just beginning to show the first signs of opening in its bouquet, but it is much less giving on the palate. Readers should plan on cellaring it for at least another few years. The 2015 is a terrific example of the wild, feral Chianti Classicos that are typical of Castelnuovo Berardenga and Fèlsina.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Fattoria dei Barbi

Your Additional, Second Chance

The 2010 vintage in Brunello is widely considered by professional reviews to be one of the greatest. The growing conditions were near perfect, with ideal warmth during ripening and strong diurnal temperature swings that allowed for phenolic ripeness with retained acidity. The best, like this showstopper from Fattoria dei Barbi, show lush fruit, bright acidity and strong tannins, suggesting an aging potential of 10-20 years.

Re-Arriving Wednesday

Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points “Aromas of burnt orange peel and cherry with hints of dried bark and mahogany. Full-bodied and very tight and dense, with a beautiful fruit, tannin and acid balance. Finesse and strength. Best wine from here for ages. Needs until 2018 to show its true quality.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $51

Domaine de Beaurenard

Arriving Wednesday

A family-run estate since its founding in 1929, this now-biodynamically farmed estate is run by brothers Frederic and Daniel Coulon. Many vines are older even than the estate, and from those 100+ year old vines, the brothers propagate new vines through selection massal.Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape Boisrenard 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 97 points “This is loaded with beautifully rendered fig, blackberry and boysenberry confiture flavors that are seamlessly intertwined, while warm fruitcake, melted black licorice and black tea notes chime throughout. The finish ripples with energy, showing finely beaded acidity and a terrific graphite edge. Best from 2020 through 2040. 500 cases made.–JM ”

–Wine Spectator Top 100 2017–
Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015 750ML ($59.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “A beautiful wine, with dark fig, warm boysenberry reduction and alluring creamed raspberry flavors streaming forth, accented by graphite, black tea and pastis. There’s a healthy dose of singed apple wood through the finish, but it’s well-embedded as everything pulls together. Best from 2020 through 2040.–JM “
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $44

Aldo Conterno

Poderi Aldo Conterno has been producing remarkable wines ever since it was created in 1969 by the man whose name is on the label.  Sick of fighting with his brother over the winemaking style to be used at the family’s estate, the venerable Giacomo Conterno, Aldo left and never looked back. Over the course of the next several decades he established the winery as one of the most important in Italy.

Based in the Bussia hamlet in Monforte, the estate’s wines have always been powerful yet polished, with dark rich fruit.  These wines are bold Barolos, with great density and power—though they still have nuance and complexity.  We’re getting in a small assortment of wines in from two heralded vintages, 2008 and 2013, both excellent years.  Antonio Galloni rated the 2008 vintage in Barolo at 96 points and obviously 2013 is shaping up to be one of the best years in a long time as well.  Needless to say these wines are epic and if you like powerful Barolo, you should buy as much as you can.

Arriving April 6th:

Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia Cicala, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 99 points “The aromas of flowers, blackberries, and white truffles are superb. Full to medium body and ultra-fine tannins. The finish lasts for minutes. An amazing Cicala. Don’t miss this. Drink in 2022.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia Cicala is a beautiful wine with impressive depth and a profound sense of sharpness. This part of the Bussia cru sees a mix of clay soils (40%) with limestone (60%). In a sense, Cicala is the most indicative of the greater Bussia cru both in terms of its geological properties and its general taste profile. You get a lot of fruit in this wine followed by tannic firmness and evident power. Together, the wine presents balanced results. The alcohol here is 14.5% and I’m told that the upcoming 2016 vintage is almost a full degree stronger.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This starts out with brilliant macerated cherry flavors, accented by rose, tar, spice and mineral elements. Firm, yet pure, complex and long, with a dense matrix of tannins shoring up the finish. Offers a fine, brambly aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2043. 400 cases made.”

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The average price is $154
Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2008 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Round and supple, with a fleshy profile enveloping pure cherry, raspberry and spice flavors. Ripe and harmonious, with no shortage of structure. A mineral element emerges on the tight finish. Best from 2016 through 2035. 200 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2008 Barolo Colonnello is super impressive. It shows gorgeous richness and depth in its focused, energetic fruit. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices are woven together beautifully in the 2008 Colonnello. The elegant side of Barolo comes through, but with an extra degree of muscle. The oak, sometimes noticeable in this bottling, is very well integrated. Floral notes are woven throughout the finish. The Colonnello often gives the impression of being early to mature relative to the estate’s other Baroli, but the 2008 is surprisingly powerful and structured.”Poderi Aldo Conterno Colonnello, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Terrific aromas of blackberries, walnuts, spices, bark and mushrooms. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and bright acidity. So beautiful now but be patient. This needs four or five years to come completely together. Wow. What class and precision define this wine. The aromas show such subtle complexity and beauty. Full and tight with a solid core of fruit. Polished tannins to the maximum. Better in 2021. ”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Camphor and leather notes introduce this rich red, which transitions to cherry, licorice, spice and tobacco flavors. Firm and intense, with a lingering aftertaste of mineral, licorice and spice. Terrific now, but should be even better with time. Best from 2021 through 2042. 400 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2013 Barolo Bussia Colonnello is the most ethereal and delicate of the Bussia series of wines. Fruit is sourced from a portion of the Bussia vineyard that is located closer to the village of Barolo (one kilometer away) than it is the village of Monforte d’Alba (five kilometers away). The sandy soils found here make for softer and tamer tannins especially when compared to the other parts of Bussia. The bouquet opens to aromas of blue flowers, spice, wild berry, licorice and white truffle. This is a softly nuanced and finessed Barolo made with fruit from 45-year-old vines.”

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The average price is $144
Poderi Aldo Conterno Granbussia, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($499.95) $389 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 100 points “Incredible aromas of blackberries, blueberries, dark chocolate and hints of cream. Roses, rose petals and leaves. Speechless. Full-bodied, tight and concentrated. The finish is endless. Perfect harmony. Made from a selection of the best grapes from the oldest vines: 70% romirasco, 15% cicala and 15% colonnello. All co-fermented and macerated for one month in wood. Aged in a 25-hectoliter cask for 33 months. Five years in bottle. Only 3,000 bottles. Perfect now and it will improve with age for decades ahead.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2008 Barolo Riserva Granbussia is an unexpected wine and is perhaps the least characteristic of the three Granbussia vintages presented in this mini vertical. The wine opens to a deeply ruby red color and bright aromas that show some very distant touches of jam or marmalade. This is a big surprise given the generally cooler conditions of the vintage. Franco Conterno tells me fruit was harvested very late —at great risk—during the first week of November. The Nebbiolo grape loves a long growing season. The aromas are dense and dark with blackberry, plum and black fruit. Those super charged tones continue with leather, spice and tar.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This is beginning to open, with fragrant cherry, rose, leather and sweet spice aromas and flavors. Vibrant and intense, with a terrific finish of sweet fruit, spice, tar and mineral notes. Shows fine presence and harmony, yet this should only improve over the next decade. Best from 2018 through 2030. 250 cases made.”
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The next best price is $448
The average price is $495
Poderi Aldo Conterno Romirasco Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($219.95) $159 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 98 points “Beautiful dark fruits of crushed raspberries and blueberries plus hints of champignon mushrooms and black truffles. Lavender undertones. Full and chewy with lots of tannins. Old vines give this a mossy, bark-like undertone. Needs five to six years to come around.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “The stunning 2013 Barolo Bussia Romirasco represents a stylistic blend between the elegance of Monforte d’Alba and the brooding power of Serralunga d’Alba. These are magnesium-rich soils mixed with limestone and clay. Romirasco is also home to some of the estate’s oldest vines at 55-years-old on average. This beautiful wine opens to a dark and rich garnet color that comes from the concentrated fruit produced by these old plants. The bouquet is laced with mineral and iodine-like nuances with rust and iron. It comes across as rich and intense and the mouthfeel is slightly softer, but denser overall. The wine ends with long balsam tones of rosemary and dried ginger.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This packs some vanilla- and Bourbon-scented oak aromas, with a core of cherry, leather, tar, iron and tobacco flavors. Solidly built, with dusty tannins clinging to the long finish. A powerful example, this should gain finesse with age. Best from 2022 through 2040. 400 cases made.”
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The next best price is $187.99
The average price is $210

March Clearance Sale, ContinuedLess than a week left!

Here’s some top hits to get your sales-fever going

Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2014 750ML ($34.95) Was $28, Now $24 special
Wine Spectator 94 points “Elegant, leading off with perfumed aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper. The profile is sleek, with a solid base of acidity and tannins. Shows terrific length, evoking fruit and mineral on the aftertaste. Best from 2019 through 2033.”
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Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) Was $77, Now $69 special
James Suckling 97 points “Fantastic aromas of blueberries, plums, bark and wet earth follow through to a full body, velvety and polished tannins and a wonderful finish. Refined and persistent on the finish. Drink in 2019 and onwards.”
Wine Enthusiast 97 points – Cellar Selection – Top 20 Brunello “Balancing power and grace, this wine delivers alluring aromas and flavors of ripe black cherry, raspberry compote, grilled herb, licorice and tar. Vibrant acidity and firm, velvety tannins provide freshness and structure, while a hint of pipe tobacco closes the lingering finish. Drink 2020–2032.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This finds good equilibrium between the ripe berry, cherry, tobacco, iron and tea notes. Firm and chewy, with hints of leather and under-brush on the long aftertaste. Best from 2021 through 2035.”
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The average price is $94
Band of Vintners Consortium Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $28 special
VinopolNote: This is a delightful wine for anyone who likes Napa Cabernet, but with a relatively lighter touch (both in style and on the pocket book). The wine opens with a rich nose of plum and blackberry with hints of dried herbs in the background. On the palate are notes of graphite, red cherries and ripe plums that are held together with just enough tannin and acidity to keep everything in balance before the finish adds notes of spices and dried herbs. This is a wine that pairs nicely with good friends and good food.
Winery notes “Band of Vintners is the outcome of seven wine industry friends who regularly get together to taste wine and talk shop. The collective “insider” knowledge of where the best fruit can be sourced, where the deals can be found, and where favors can be called in when needed, was contagious, and surprised even us. The outcome, is a wine we believe makes a strong case for one of the best QPRs in the Napa Valley, and something we’re proud to share with our friends, family, and neighbors.”
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Don’t miss the rest! You can see the complete list, including the E. Pira Barolos, Faiveley Clos des Cortons, and Montevertine wines on Clearance, by clicking here!
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