Monday Newsletter 4-1-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Wine of the Place & for the People

K Vintners Spring Release

New Releases from Arnot-Roberts

Trending Wines of the Weekend

The Land of 1,000 Rosés
Producer Highlight: Clos Ste Magdeleine

A Case of Vinsanity

New Grapelive Reviews

The Next Keller?


Wine of the Place & for the People

Massican, the personal wine project of star winemaker Dan Petroski, makes some of the best white wines in the Western Hemisphere.  They’re perfect examples of what’s been called the “New California”—wines that are clearly influenced by old-school, old world sensibilities (especially regarding ripeness and balance) but have a certain California-ness about them that they don’t run from.  These wines are the epitome of that—bright, fresh and mineral but with a density and generosity that speaks volumes about their place of origin.

Most of his wines are blends, utilizing a mixture of Italianate grape varieties and some that are common to California. The results are stunning and are wines that are delicious and showy (in the best way).  It came as no surprise to read the praise heaped on the latest releases from Wine Enthusiast. Let’s just say, we’re enthusiastic about these wines, too.

In Stock Now: 

Greco provides minerality and cut to this wine, which is rich and fresh at once.
Massican Gemina, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Editor’s Choice. Wow, this is a beautiful wine. A blend of 77% Pinot Grigio from the Napa Valley’s Chiles Valley and 23% Greco from Russian River Valley, winemaker Dan Petroski melds them both together into a floral and fresh explosion of vivid flavor. Tart apricot and peach meet freshly squeezed lemon as balanced acidity lingers masterfully on the finish.”

Beautiful in 2017 and a great intro to the estate.
Massican Annia White, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 12 bottles in stock now
#24 Wine of the Year – Wine Enthusiast Top 100 in 2018
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “This is a refreshingly stunning blend of 55% Ribolla Gialla, 39% Tocai Friulano and 6% Chardonnay, the latter (from Hyde Vineyard) finding unexpected companionship with its Napa-grown Italian counterparts. Waxy and floral, it tastes of green apple and white peach, with a plush midpalate and lasting tension of vibrant acidity.”

Massican Hyde Vineyards Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Spicy lemongrass, ginger and high-toned acidity immediately invite one in to this vineyard-designated white, a study in grainy texture and a light touch of oak. Green apple and lemon-drop flavors tease the palate effortlessly, evolving constantly in the glass.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $52.99
One of the best domestic SB’s.  Not subtle, but energetic.
Massican Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Floral and stony, this impressively complex and memorable white has a thirst-quenching grasp of gravelly minerality, a core element built around bold, beautiful flavors of fig, Meyer lemon and tangerine.”

K Vintners Spring Release

Arriving Friday

The wines of K Vintners need very little introduction, as the wines Charles Smith makes under this label are some of our most popular year in and out.  If you’re unfamiliar with the winery, know that Charles Smith fashions himself a bit of a rock star and he ought to—he used to manage them.  Then, one day, on a motorcycle trip, he rode through Walla Walla and was struck by the majesty of the terrain and the vineyards.  Within a few years, he had returned to open a winery.His first vintage was 1999 and he produced a mere 300 cases of Syrah under his label ‘K Vintners.’ And the winery has grown by leaps and bounds since.  By our count, K makes more than 15 wines, most of them single vineyard Syrah, and that doesn’t count the additional projects he’s involved in such as Substance and Sixto.

At this point, Charles Smith is one of the defining wine makers for what might be the modern Washington style.  His wines are big, rich, and ripe but polished. They show distinct differences between the vineyards and always have a hint of that savory, bacon-y quality that Syrah can bring to the table like nothing else.  The only thing we can complain about is that we can’t carry them more often.

The spring release arrives on Friday and will receive high scores and move briskly, if past is precedent.

Arriving Friday:

Charles Smith K Vintners The Creator Cabernet – Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Winery note
“This is the Creator. Dense, dark, deep. It opens with black plum, olive, tobacco and expansive palate. Blackberry cool ash, gunpowder, graphite that soar forever on a long and satisfying finish. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah / Whole berry (Cab) and whole cluster (Syrah) fermentation / Native yeast / 39 days on skins / 50% new, 50% neutral French oak barriques + puncheons / 21 mo. barrel-aged on lees.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Charles Smith K Vintners River Rock Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Winery note
“This wine smells really good. It is really good! Energy galore, a focused palate. Aroma of undergrowth, raspberry, plum, sandalwood, anise, marjoram and cured meat. All culminating in a lush, taunt delivery and an unending finish. Yes, really good! 100% Syrah / 100% whole cluster pressed / Native yeast / 40 days on skins / 40% new French oak puncheons / 20 mo. barrel-aged on lees.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Charles Smith K Vintners Rock Garden Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Winery note
“Purity speaks! A creature of its vineyard. Stone, Asian five spice, game, cocoa, dried herbs and cold riverbed aromas that waft up from the glass and fill your senses with the most amazing perfume. WOW. 100% Syrah / 100% whole cluster pressed / Native yeast / 35 days on skins / 21 mo. barrel-aged on lees.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
We also have a few bottles of additional K wines in stock now, if you’re impatient:

Charles Smith K Vintners The Boy Grenache, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“Translucent ruby in hue, the 2015 The Boy is superb, wafting from the glass with aromas of Griotte cherry, rose hip, licorice and kirsch. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, satiny and expansive, with beautifully refined tannins, superb concentration and a long, lingeringly fragrant finish. Reminiscent of a top vintage of Emmanuel Reynaud’s Château des Tours, this belongs on any short list of the best Grenache being produced in North America.”

Charles Smith K Vintners The Deal Sundance Vineyard Syrah, Columbia Valley 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“All from the Sundance Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, the 2015 Syrah The Deal (100% Syrah, not destemmed and aged in 30% new puncheons) offers smoking notes of red and black fruits, black olive, smoked earth and a huge meatiness. Full-bodied, silky and seamless, with a rock, mineral, backward style.”

Charles Smith K Vintners ‘Ovide’ Jack’s Vineyard Cabernet – Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2015 Cabernet / Syrah Ovide Jack’s Vineyard is named after Charles’ father and comes from a site next to River Rock, both in the Rocks region of the Walla Walla Valley. A blend of 70/30 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, its deep ruby color is followed by a terrific bouquet of blackcurrants, tapenade, dried earth and dried herbs. It’s rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with beautiful depth.”

New Releases from Arnot-Roberts

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’ve never had the wines before, don’t expect soft fruity wines.  Everything they touch has a backbone to it—a spine of acid and tannin that makes you think of the great wines of France far quicker than their California neighbors.  These are serious wines with serious structures, built to age.  Due to an agreement with our distributor, we can’t list all of the wines on the website (we’ll note which ones don’t have a link) so please give us a call (503-223-6002) or reply to this email (always an option for all the wines) if you’d like to order.

Arriving Friday:

Arnot-Roberts Sonoma Coast Syrah, California 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Syrah (Sonoma Coast) is a gorgeous wine and a huge overachiever in its peer group. Bright red cherry and plum fruit, rose petal, lavender and spice abound in this super-expressive, pliant Syrah. The purity of the flavors is simply remarkable. Medium in body, gracious and beautifully perfumed, the 2017 is a rock-star wine.”

Arnot-Roberts Watson Ranch Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($44.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is a gorgeous wine. Apricot, chamomile, dried flowers, sage and dried pear are all laced together in this super-expressive, inviting Chardonnay. Readers should be prepared to cellar the 2017, as it is quite closed today. Bright saline notes add freshness and zip to this super-expressive Chardonnay.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $43
Not listed on website, please call/email to order:
Arnot-Roberts Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Fellom Ranch is sensual and nuanced, with tremendous textural finesse. Over the last few years, Duncan Arnot and Nathan Roberts seem to have given this wine an extra degree of elegance – especially in the tannins – that other vintages did not always show. Time in the glass brings out a range of floral, earthy, spiced and cedary notes that are typical of Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernets, along with layers of dimension that flesh out effortlessly.”Not listed on website, please call/email to order:
Arnot-Roberts Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2017 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special 
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2017 Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard is another gorgeous wine in this range. Silky, radiant and supple, the 2017 offers a striking combination of fruit richness and the more floral/savory qualities that make this site so distinctive. Dark red cherry, rose petal, sage, mint and lavender meld together in a mid-weight yet rich Pinot loaded with personality. It’s always interesting to taste wines from this Sonoma Coast vineyard that is best known for wines made by Williams-Selyem and proprietor Ross Cobb himself. I loved it.”

This is lower than any listed prices in the USA today!
The next best price is $74.99
The average listed price is $81
In Stock Now:Arnot-Roberts Sonoma Coast Syrah, California 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2016 Syrah (Sonoma Coast) is dazzling. Inky and dark in its fruit profile, but also light on its feet, the 2016 is all class. Hints of lavender, black pepper, mint and cloves grace the palate in an exquisite, mid-weight Syrah that emphasizes freshness and nuance. Deceptively medium in body, the 2016 has enough underpinnings of structure to drink well for many years. This is a fabulous appellation-level Syrah.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $40
Trending Wines of the Weekend

#5 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($249.95) $189 special
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 going to be trending until it sells out—a few more weeks.
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special
The long-awaited and lightly fizzy pink from the Basque region in Spain! A staff favorite. Always light, bright, fresh, salty and fun. The perfect aperitif wine for spring and summer.

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Beautiful Finger Lakes Riesling for the beginning of spring. From our favorite Gigondas winemaker, Louis Barruol of St Cosme.
Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Jasmine and mustard seed notes lead the way here, backed by a mix of yellow apple, mirabelle plum and citrus oil flavors. Shows good intensity through the finish. Drink now through 2022. 5,773 cases made.”
Winery Notes “Our most important wine aims to reveal the true nature of the vintage and to explore the terroir of lower east Seneca Lake. Due to our focus on this narrow 8-mile stretch of slope on the southeast side which includes 13 of our 14 Riesling vineyards, this is our first labeling under the Seneca Lake AVA. In 2017, we chose not to make our top cuvée, Les Alliés Riesling, and de-classified our fruit in order to ensure the absolute best quality would remain in our core wine. Candied lemon, apricot peel, Asian pear, and anise join with salinity to give impeccable freshness. ‘You and I carry within us the genetic characters of all our ancestors, which have mixed together and made us unique, well-rounded, complex individuals. This is how our Riesling is born: it encapsulates the characteristics of all our vineyard sites and of our unfailing, passionate commitment to excellence.'”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
It’s steak grilling season again!
Anakota Helena Montana Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley 2014 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Robert Parker 93+ points
“The 2014s are 30-year wines, even in such a supple, easygoing and charming vintage. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana has an opaque purple color, a beautiful nose of graphite, creosote, incense, blackberry and licorice, and maybe a touch of charcoal and earth. The tannins are soft, and there is enormous fruit as well as a deep, full-bodied mouthfeel and some coffee in the finish. It should drink well for 25-30 years.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Anakota’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana has turned out beautifully. Dark, sumptuous and beautifully resonant in the glass, the 2014 exudes richness. Red cherry jam, raspberry, mint and licorice abound. Flamboyant and opulent, with soft contours and good structure, the 2014 hits all the right notes.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $111
A fine grilling wine, as well. Perfectly balanced between earth and fruit.
Vinyes D’en Gabriel Plan Elle Carignane, Montsant 2014 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
100% Samso (the Catalan word for Carignan), this is richer and denser than you’d expect from the grape, though it still has all of that trademark lift and brightness.  This is sourced from some of the oldest vines in the property, in a mix of clay, sandy and limestone soils and aged in a variety of barrel sizes before bottling.
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Fresh, delicious and energizing.
Bodegas Albamar Fusco Mencia, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
“Mostly from the Chantada zone in Ribeira Sacra, the 2017 Fusco fermented destemmed in stainless steel and was bottled completely unoaked. It saw a maceration of 20 to 25 days and was bottled after it spent the winter in stainless steel. It’s very pleasant, fresh and easy to drink, but it’s not banal and is more about the granite soils than the variety—simple, transparent, straightforward. A degree more sophisticated and deep than the 2015. There are 13,000 bottles of this.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
The Land of 1,000 RosésProducer Highlight

Summer sun may come and go,
but Clos Ste Magdeleine is forever <3

One of Provence’s most sought after producers” –Kerry Winslow, Grapelive

Can you think of any other wine that better captures in your glass the scenery of its surroundings than the enchanting Cassis rosé from Clos Ste Magdeleine? It is a stunning wine that evokes memories of its seaside peninsula that juts into the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean, quite possibly the most beautiful and natural spot in the world to sip rosé.

The wine tastes like the place—full of sunshine and brightness.  It’s one of the archetypical rosés of Provence and is perfect for getting into a summer frame of mind.  Plus, at this price it won’t be around for long.

Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Case-12 Clos Sainte Magdeleine Cassis Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($449.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Importer Note
“Cassis is not only an active port, but what Kermit calls “an earthly paradise.”  The vineyards of Clos Sainte Magdeleine are particularly stunning. They jut out on a private cape to meet majestic limestone cliffs, poised spectacularly above the sparkling, azure Mediterranean. With landscapes such as these, it is only fitting that writers and poets alike have found inspiration in Cassis. Only a handful of vignerons today are fortunate enough to produce A.O.C. Cassis, and the small quantities available are largely consumed locally with fresh fish—the best way to enjoy them.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $36

A Case of Vinsanity

Special Featurette

La Chablisienne is the classic co-op in the heart of Chablis. Much like the Produttori del Barbaresco, they deliver classic renditions of their appellation at an affordable price point. Fermented in stainless and from a crisp, cool vintage (we can’t get enough 2014), these have all of the stony, green apple qualities we look for in wines from the AOC.—even better, the pricing is throwback.  These are premier cru wines of high quality for the price of many decent growers’ regional bottlings.  The combination is pretty spectacular and by the six-pack, an even more incredible value!

La Chablisienne In Stock Now:

Case-6 La Chablisienne Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($189.95) $144 special (that’s only $24/bottle!)
La Chablisienne Cote de Lechet, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Decanter 95 points
“Flowers with a bit of lemon curd on the nose, giving way to a lively palate with white flowers, herbs and a fine-grained mineral seam running through to the racy, spicy finish.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “This wine comes from one of the coolest Premier Cru vineyards, giving it an initial austerity that then fills out as the wine breathes. It’s crisp and bright with white fruit and intense, lemony acidity. Age it for a few more months and drink from 2018.”
Burghound 91 points “Outstanding. A spicy and super-fresh array of citrus, pear and tidal pool serves as an elegant introduction to the impressively intense and precise middle weight flavors that exude a fine bead of minerality on the lingering and complex finale where a hint of austerity surfaces. Lovely.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Our surprise hit from Chablis with a crunchy vein of minerality
Case-6 La Chablisienne Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($219.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
La Chablisienne Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Decanter 95 points
“An exuberant, complex nose packed full of exotic fruits, asparagus and elderflower with well integrated oak. The palate has a very strong fruity expression with an oily depth and harmony and very impressive length. All the pieces of the Chablis puzzle are in place here.”
Burghound 92 points “Outstanding. As is usually the case this is more elegant, particularly on the floral and white orchard fruit suffused nose that is nuanced by plenty of classic Chablis elements and in particular mineral reduction. There is also a bit more volume to the caressing, intense and voluminous flavors that drip with minerality on the refined but powerful finale where a discreet touch of wood arises. This offers ample development potential and should be lovely with time. Drink: 2021+”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
“a classic Les Lys of finesse”-BH
Case-6 La Chablisienne Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($219.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
La Chablisienne Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Burghound 92 points
“Outstanding! A subtle touch of wood sets off airy and elegant aromas of cool wet stone, tidal pool, algae and green apple. There is an equally cool and restrained mouth feel to the delicate, intense and delineated middle weight flavors that deliver excellent length on the lacy and chiseled finale. This is a classic Les Lys of finesse.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Grapes from this lesser known Premier Cru are often blended with those from Vaillons, yet La Chablisienne has bottled it as a separate wine. The coolness of the site translates beautifully into a crisp fruit expression that’s tight with acidity and minerality, ready to age. Drink from 2019.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

New Grapelive Reviews

We love following Kerry Winslow’s exploration of the greater wine world. Travel with us as he takes us to Saar in the Mosel and Alto Piemonte!

Peter Lauer ‘Barrel X’ Saar Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 48 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 91 points
“One of the most exciting producers along the Saar River is Peter Lauer. One of the best values in this part of the Mosel region is his Barrel X Riesling Feinherb, especially in vintages this great such as this exceptional 2017. This Barrel X is fruity and generous on the palate, but drinks wonderful crisp and drier than you’d expect with radiant yellow fruits, crunchy mineral tones and plenty of mouthwatering salinity and stony elements. Adding heightened aromatics and a nice mouth feel, Peter Lauer’s little Riesling is quite seductive and transparent with lime, green apple, peach, tangerine and rose hip tea notes in the glass. 2017 is ripe, dense and expressive, but still has reserves of lively acidity. The wine is very energetic and nervy [allowing] for balance and dynamic tension, which if we are honest is what we are all looking for in Riesling. The Barrel X delivers it perfectly and at a great price. Florian Lauer, head of Weinhaus Peter Lauer and famous for their the Kupp Fass 18 Grosses Gewachs, is currently one of the greatest winemakers in the Saar. His drier wines are in stark contrast to his famous Saar neighbors Egon Müller and Hanno Zilliken. At Lauer, notes their importer Vom Boden, the focus is on the dry-tasting Rieslings, as opposed to the higher residual sugar wines of the aforementioned more traditional Egon Mueller and Zillken. Vom Boden adds that Lauer’s wines find their own balance, and they tend to be more textural, deeper and more masculine in style than others in the region. They have a natural vigor and a sense of balance that can be described as singular, while displaying all of the hallmarks of the Saar, purity, precision, rigor, mineral. In Lauer’s lineup, this Barrel X is the appellation-level or regional expression. It is Lauer’s Platonic ideal of what a Saar Riesling should be. This is always a thrilling off-dry and steely version, lightly sweet, not overtly complicated, impossible to resist and a gateway wine to his more impressive Grand Crus. Maybe not as complex or as seriously severe as his GG bottlings, this is a stupidly good Riesling to drink any place or time. It is remarkably flexible and can be sipped and quaffed on its own by the pool or great for a warm afternoon picnic or BBQ, as well as with a range of cuisine choices. This 2017 Peter Lauer Barrel X Fienherb is pure and vibrant adding wet stones and quince to its profile with air and shimmers in the glass with a greenish, pale golden hue. This is a fun and soulful Riesling of fine quality and value. Drink now through 2026.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo ‘Agamium’ Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 91 points
“The smooth and structured Agamium from Alberto Arlunno at Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is all from the Ghemme zone, but labeled Colline Novaresi DOC, which is known as Alto Piemonte. [The region was] a once remote and rustic area that is now one of Italy’s major hot spots for Nebbiolo with well-draining rocky soils and old vines. The terroir here was formed in ancient times as the great Monte Rosa glacier receded leaving morainic rock, alluvial deposits with the vineyards being rich in easily fragmented pebbles providing the vines with a quantity of minerals. The vineyards are planted mostly to Spanna, local name for Nebbiolo (80% in fact) with Vespalina and Uva Rara, which makes up a minority of the blends and adds aromatics, color and a light fruity note to the very structured and complex Nebbiolo. Arlunno uses stainless tanks to ferment and he ages mostly in large Slovenian oak casks and a small amount of French barrels, usually reserved for the top Ghemme offerings, and not in this fresher style wine. The 2016 Agamium by Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is delicately perfumed, lightly spicy and with exceptional purity of form with layers of classic Nebbiolo flavors including cherry, damson plum, strawberry and tangy currant along with faint tar, cedar, mineral tones and black licorice as well as the rose petal essences you find on the nose. There is good bright acidity [and] silken tannins, which highlights a vintage that should not be missed… Subtle earthy/savory elements come through on the background of this very pretty Colline Novaresi wine. This is absolutely a producer to check out and follow, and this wine is a beauty and top value. It can be enjoyed now and has enough stuffing to go 5 more years with ease.”

The Next Keller?


Wine lover with increasingly limited access to Keller seeks new Rheinhessen producer.

Winemaker must be talented, ambitious, preferably a member of the VDP, and make compelling wines from some of the finest vineyards in the region.  Preference is given to applicants working in a reductive, mineral-driven style, whose wines come from vineyards top vineyards such as Hipping and Pettenthal.  Ageworthiness and profundity are a requirement—please don’t apply if your wines aren’t capable of holding their own with other tip-top producers in Germany.

Additionally, top candidates will display proficiency in a variety of wine styles, from intense, powerful GG’s to pretty, off-dry Kabinett and Spatlese.  Long aging and late releases are seen as a sign that you are a serious producer and will be considered a big plus. The ability to craft top wines from multiple grapes (like Sylvaner) is a plus as well.  Availability is a requirement, but we understand that a top candidate’s wine may be relatively limited—we can work with anyone whose wines are easier to find than Keller.  In short, we’re looking for an ambitious candidate to work with for a few years until we can no longer afford or acquire your wines.  Serious applications only.

“Schätzel is one of the most exciting Riesling producers along the Rhine River and even if you don’t like his firmly structured and straightforward Rieslings and gorgeous Sylvaners when young, you will be impressed by their mouth-filling and structured character after a couple of years. Even the wines of the so called “entry level” are full of expression and they can (or should) age very well, probably better than some of the praised GG wines produced in Germany today… You can’t find better Kabinett Rieslings (well, Keller would be a rival) and the quality of the dry, entry-level Riesling is already spectacularly high. Riesling lovers have to check out this domaine.” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate

Arriving ETA September from Weingut Schätzel:

Weingut Schatzel Olberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Stuart 94 points
“Considering this has only 11.5 per cent alcohol, there is extraordinary depth and vitality. The long finish is sleek and fine-grained, without any hint of edginess. Attractive white-fruit aromas, too. Drink or hold.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Schatzel Niersteiner Pettenthal Riesling Kabinett S, Rheinhessen 2017 ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Stuart 95 points
“Forget the rules, pack your bag, grab this bottle and leave your old life behind! Savage mineral beauty, combined with light body and enormous brightness. Drink or hold.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Schatzel Nierstein Hipping Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Stuart 94 points
“Could a white wine be fresher than this? Fabulous white-peach and herbal character with lots of mineral power at the complex, racy finish.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Schatzel Nierstein Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2017 ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Stuart 92 points
“So much freshness and energy with tons of elderflowers and white fruit. Super-crisp and very clean palate and a breathtaking finish. Drink or hold. Screw cap.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Schatzel Nierstein Silvaner, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Schatzel Reinschiefer Riesling, Rheinhessen 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Stuart 92 points
“Delicate white-fruit character and a delightful lightness of touch make this rather charming, in spite of its slightly eccentric personality. Long, lemon and mineral finish. A blend of wines from the top sites in Hipping, Ölberg and Pettentha. Screw cap.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

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