Monday Newsletter 4-27-2020

In This Newsletter:

Chateau Simon Subscriber Special

New Week / New Arrival
Including Top Rated Picks from
Arterberry Maresh, De Venoge, Grand Veneur & more!


Staff Pick

Rhone Round Up
A quick guide to some of our favorite estates!

Chateau Simon Subscriber Special

Starts Now / Ends Tuesday, April 28th

Chateau Simone makes a truly iconic rosé.  Although they produce red and white, when someone says “Simone,” their rosé is the wine we think of—for good reason.  This is a brooding style of rosé, perfect for winter drinking and/or a few years of aging.  They go for decades, picking up savory nuance and silky textures along the way.  The 2018 is one of the most powerful versions the estate has made and is a perfect wine to go with all sorts of heartier foods—it’s surprising how versatile this wine is. This slipped in just before the tariffs hit, so this may be the last year to buy this at this price.

Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2016 1.5L ($139.95) Was $119, Now $99, 6 magnums in stock now
Neal Rosenthal Note “The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today, 
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $160

Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($59.95) Was $51.90, Now $45, 4 bottles in stock now 
Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2017 1.5L ($139.95) Was $119, Now $99, 6 magnums in stock now
Neal Rosenthal Note
“The Rougiers’ justly legendary rosé—composed of the same field blend as the rouge, and produced by blending direct-press and free-run juice in equal proportions—may as well be from another planet as the sea of technologically produced pink concoctions flooding the market. Even serious growers often make rosé as an afterthought, using quick and inexpensive methods and rushing it into bottle to sell it before the first glimmer of spring warmth. At Chateau Simone, however, the rosé ferments spontaneously, and spends a full year in large oak foudres developing remarkable depth. Like all great wines, the best rosés require time—note that Simone is releasing their 2017 when almost every other producer is issuing their 2018—and a bit of risk in the cellar. And, whereas rosés fall apart within a year or two of being bottled, Simone’s is notorious for improving for over a decade, developing the savory notes and umami complexity of an aged red wine over time. The 2017 growing season dished out challenge after challenge—hail, frost, hydric stress, even hungry birds and pigs—with a subsequent 30-40% reduction in yields from 2016 (which was itself 15% down from 2015). Given that the rosé comprises only ten percent of the estate’s production to begin with, there is painfully little 2017 to go around. Those lucky enough to snare some, however, will encounter a wine of terrific expression, as those grapes that survived the season’s myriad challenges ended up remarkably healthy and concentrated. Amply fruited but with a core of lean minerality, the 2017 Palette Rosé offers excellent tension, and its flavors of juicy red apples, Provencal herbs, and softly smoky earth are particularly well delineated.” 

These are the lowest listed prices in the USA today!
The next best price for the 750ml is $49.99
The next best price for the magnum is $139.99

Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2018 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 10 bottles in stock now
Neal Rosenthal Note
“The Château Simone Rosé is a wine that belies the notion that rosés are simple wines to be drunk up young. We have indulged ourselves with 10-year old Château Simone Rosé and have marveled at the tenacity, vibrancy and complexity of this very serious wine. The blend is identical to the rouge: 45% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 20% Syrah, Castet, Manosquin, Carignan, Muscat Noir & Blanc. Aged in barrel, it is powerful and age-worthy with a steely character and a grey-tinted aura to the faded rose-petal robe. We import, on average, 1500 bottles per annum for the US market.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

New Week / New Arrivals


We offer 140+ wines from the Willamette Valley in stock now (that’s 2,000+ bottles in the shop). We aim to be the best price in the country, and are matchless in our depth and breadth of in-stock wines. We’re not brokers, we’re invested in our suppliers in that we actually purchase and carry large inventories here now. We put our money where our mouths (and hearts) are to offer you the greatest selection of local and international wines available.

Arterberry Maresh Maresch Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Erin Brooks – Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2017 Chardonnay Maresh Vineyard comes from vines planted in 1983. It takes its time to reveal mushroom, tree bark, raw almonds and honeycomb aromas with a core of apple pie and white peaches with a very savory, spicy undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate explodes with flavor layers and lively acidity, finishing incredibly long and minerally. This is stunning!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Bow & Arrow Union School Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Winery note
“From a vineyard in the southern part of the Willamette Valley, Union School was the first site we sourced Sauvignon Blanc from and turned out to be perfectly suited to make this traditional style of Sauvignon Blanc not much in vogue these days.  However, riper, barrel fermented Sauvignon Blanc has a rich history in the Loire Valley of France and is the inspiration for our house style.  Fermented in large format French oak puncheon and aged in the cellar for 10 months.   Think Jasmine blossoms, nectarines and grapefruit peel and you get the idea of how we express this grape variety.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

“Talk about value”
(Charles Smith/Wines of Substance) Golden West Pinot Noir Washington State 2018 750ML ($21.95) $17.50 special
Case-12 (Charles Smith/Wines of Substance) Golden West Pinot Noir Washington State 2018 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 91 points
“A new project by the team at K Vintners being headed up by Charles Smith and Brennon Leighton, Golden West will focus on Pinot Noir from cooler climate, higher elevation sites in the Columbia Valley. The 2018 is the first release and it’s a great bottle of wine that sells for a song. Coming from a mix of clones (777, 115, 2A, and Pommard) vines planted in 2014-2015, the 2018 Pinot Noir was 70% destemmed and spent a full 41 days on skins before spending a year in 15% new French oak. Classic Pinot Noir notes of black cherries, forest floor, autumn leaves, and spice all flow to a beautifully textured, medium-bodied, seamless wine that has present tannins, outstanding balance, and a great finish. It’s easily the best Pinot Noir I’ve tasted from Washington State. Talk about value.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Case-6 Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($359.95) $269 special (that’s only $44.83/bottle!)
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92+ points
“Based on the 2014 vintage, complemented by fully 40% old reserve wines, the new release of Charles Heidsieck’s NV Brut Réserve was disgorged earlier this year. It’s showing very well, opening up in the glass with notes of green apple, dried white flowers, pear, candied peel and walnuts. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, with a textural attack and a racier, tighter-knit core than either the 2012- or 2010-base renditions, displaying good concentration and underlying richness. This is a bottling that continues to punch above its weight and which both merits and rewards a few years in the cellar before opening.”

Charles Heidsieck Brut Rose, Champagne 2005 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“A rich, toasty overtone brings you into the glass of this satiny rosé, offering flavors of baked white cherry and raspberry fruit, saffron, brioche and citrus peel, all deftly meshed with vibrant acidity. Elegant. Disgorged 2017. Drink now through 2029. 100 cases imported. — AN”
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 93 points “This bottle of the 2005 Brut Rosé was disgorged in 2017 with ten grams per liter dosage. It’s a lovely wine that offers up complex notes of red apple, mandarin, white cherries, brioche and nutmeg. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, pure and vibrant, with a fleshy core of fruit, brisk acids, a refined mousse and lovely chalky grip on the finish. This is a serious, vinous rosé that numbers among the challenging 2005 vintage’s successes.”

De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Brut Millesime, Champagne 2006 750ML ($219.95) $189 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The assemblage of the 2006 Louis XV Brut Millésimé is about the same as the 1995 and 1996—composed of 50/50 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all from grand cru villages. The only difference is that the Chardonnay from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger (10% of the assemblage) spent 12 months in oak barrels. Disgorged in January 2017 (dosage: six grams per liter), the 2006 has a golden color and opens with a deep, ripe, elegant and vinous bouquet with toasty and chalky lemon and fresh white fruit flavors. On the palate, this is an intense, round, fresh and complex Louis XV with great purity and finesse. The wine opens on the palate like a soufflé, coating the whole palate without any pressure or weight—gorgeous! This is a delicate and fresh yet well-structured and persistent Louis XV whose intense and long but weightless finish reveals lovely, almost juicy fruit concentration with perfectly integrated freshness and lasting minerality that seems to give additional structure. The 2006 shows a lot of Chardonnay features right now and drinks perfectly today; however, it can be kept under perfect conditions for decades. Just keep it in the box, because the bottle is white and nothing makes a Champagne age faster than exposure to daylight. (Tasted in November 2017 from Lot LL15067017BT.)-SR”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Only six bottles available!
De Venoge Louis d’Or Brut, Champagne 1996 750ML ($299.95) $249 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 1996 Louis d’Or Brut Millésimé is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir from Verzenay, Ambonnay, Mailly and Bouzy and 50% Chardonnay from Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-sur-Oger and Chouilly. Fermented in stainless steel, with malolactic, and it was disgorged in March 2016 with a dosage of six grams per liter. This luxurious, golden colored vintage Champagne offers a beautifully complex, matured and vinous bouquet with lovely brioche, mushroom and yeasty flavors. The visual CO2 is gone quickly, but on the palate it gives this lean and steely yet enormously complex Millésime a tight structure and enormous length. It is tastes bone dry so that you can fully concentrate on the very complex and mineral character and the lovely austere finish. This is great a Champagne for purists, and the finish is enormous, reminding me of matured dry Rieslings from the good old Rheingau. Many of our readers may eventually ask for more roundness and charm here… But first: this is 1996. And second: this is Louis d’Or, and there is no Champagne like this.-SR”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Now’s the time for tasty and affordable Bordeaux
Chateau Goubau, Cotes de Castillon 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Importer note
“It is well known that gifted winemaker Jacques Thienpont has a knack for sourcing unique and exceptional properties. His latest acquisition reaches beyond the ultra-premium micro-cuvees he is known for with Chateau Le Pin and Chateau L’If. Chateau Goubau (to be renamed Chateau l’Hetre with the 2016 vintage) matches exception quality with value, and naturally, a unique microclimate within the Cotes de Castillon appellation. At 100m on the Saint Philippe d’Aiguilhe plateau, the property is situated at the highest point in Bordeaux. Produced from 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the clay and chalk subsoil is perfectly suited to the biodynamically-farmed vines. Here is an exclusive opportunity to explore M. Theinpont’s first vintage with the property, which is all but certain to go up in value in vintages to come… as demonstrated by Thienpont’s l’If, which has more than tripled in price since the first release in 2012.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

After reading on CellarTracker how perfectly this is drinking now, we just had to bring some in!
Chateau Marsau, Cotes de Francs Bordeaux 2009 750ML ($27.95) $19 special
James Suckling 90 points
“A wine, with pleasing blackberries and mushroom character, medium chewy tannins and a fresh clean finish. Full body. Try in 2014.”
Stephen Tanzer 89 points “Medium ruby-red. Pure aromas and flavors of black cherry, menthol and smoky tobacco lifted by a floral quality. Supple and gentle, with attractive sweetness and impressive volume for the price. Juicy and well-delineated too, without any rough edges. Finishes with dusty, tongue-coating tannins and nice length. A merlot like this in this price range would make a popular restaurant wine.” 

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $21.89


(Alain Jaume & Fils) Domaine Grand Veneur Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points
“The 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is up with the crème de la crème of the vintage and in the same league as the perfect 2010. Awesome notes of blackberries, crème de cassis, charred meats, licorice, and violets all soar from the glass. It’s powerful, opulent, and structured, with building tannin, a huge mid-palate, and a blockbuster finish, yet it never loses its sense of purity and elegance. It’s an incredible achievement from this estate. The blend is 45% Grenache, 45% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah, all aged in 55% new French oak.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “A terrific effort, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah. It’s dense and rich almost beyond belief, packed with super ripe fruit that comes dangerously close to being chocolaty and fudge-like, yet it retains a sense of balance. Earth, spice and dark fruit notes linger for minutes on the long, tannic finish. Give it at least a couple of years in the cellar, and drink it over the next decade and a half. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.-JC”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $131


Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
James Suckling 92 points
“Extremely bright and flavorful with cream, sliced-lemon and lemon-curd character. Full body. Flavored and lively. Layered texture. Drink now. Screw cap.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Sassicaia is the most famous wine from Tenuta San Guido, indeed one of the most famous wines in all of Italy, and their lower tier wines are quite excellent, especially for their prices.  
Tenuta San Guido Le Difese Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-6 Tenuta San Guido Le Difese Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($199.95) $125 special (that’s only $20.83/bottle!)
James Suckling 92-93 points
“Very aromatic and bright with strawberry, cherry and currant character. Hints of oranges. Full-bodied, linear and tight, showing ultra-fine tannins. Potential here.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, the 2016 Le Difese shows a more evident touch of ripe fruit that you don’t perceive in the Guidalberto, which makes me think it comes from the Sangiovese component that is only used in this wine. The overall effect of that ripeness is that it downplays the wine’s inner complexity. But this entry-level red from Tenuta San Guido was never aiming for huge complexity to begin with. Dark cherry and cherry is followed by wild strawberry and tangy rose hip. This wine happily delivers on its promises of freshness and accessibility.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Fonseca Vintage Port, Portugal 1985 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A hard, take-no-prisoners Port, extremely powerful and still closed when last tasted. Deep inky color, with concentrated blackberry and raisin aromas, full-bodied, with massive raisin flavors, a superb backbone and a very long finish.”

South Africa

“a startling, world-class wine that gives Yquem a run for its money”
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance Natural Sweet Wine, Constantia, South Africa 2007 500ML ($119.95) $99 special
Neal Martin – Wine Advocate 97 points
“Although I have tasted the 2007 Vin de Constance on several occasions, this was the first time professionally. It has an explosive bouquet that sprints out of the blocks with a more effervescent, vivacious personality than the 2008. Citrus lemon, Seville orange marmalade, touches of mandarin and a dash of spice all vie for attention. The aromatics are more Sauternes-like than the 2008. The palate is very well-balanced with a viscous opening, a keen thread of acidity and a bewitching sense of poise and focus. This is probably the finest Vin de Constance to date as it fans out marvellously on the multi-layered finish. This is a startling, world-class wine that gives Yquem a run for its money.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Many people don’t think of Chile when it comes to Pinot Noir—after all, it’s Cabernet/Carmenere country, right?  Not entirely—Chile’s a geographically diverse country and they grow some really excellent Pinot Noir in pockets like Las Dichas, in the Casablanca valley.  Montsecano is the most noteworthy producer here.

Montsecano ‘Refugio’ Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2018 Refugio Pinot Noir also follows the line of the 2018 Montsecano. It is fresher and from a cooler vintage when the grapes were picked a little less ripe and the maceration was shortened. The nose is spectacular, a mix of wild herbs, flowers and berries, some rose petals and even a touch of citrus peel, coming through as aromatic and fresh. The palate is perhaps a tad lighter than previous vintages and perhaps a little more “natural.” But it has very good complexity, developing aromas of violets with time in the glass, and it has lots of freshness and balance.”

Marcoux’s Vielles Vignes bottling is one of the true iconic bottlings of Chateauneuf, up there with Beaucastel’s Hommage, Rayas, Cuvee de Capo and Janasse’s VV.  It’s perpetually on the shortlist for wine of the vintage in years that it’s bottled and we just received our allocation of the 2016 today.  This is a stunning wine that encapsulates everything grand about the 2016 vintage in the southern Rhone. Big, rich, flamboyant and yet perfectly balanced, it’s a wine for the ages.

“the wine of the vintage?” – Josh Raynolds, Vinous
Domaine de Marcoux Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($169.95) $135 special
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points
“Bottled end of March (like the traditional cuvée), the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes comes from just two terroirs — Charbonnière and Esquierons — since they no longer use grapes from Galimardes, as it was recently replanted due to disease. The wine was completely destemmed and brought up all in concrete tanks. This rocking effort is still a baby in terms of evolution but still gives up a huge bouquet of kirsch, strawberries Asian spices, candle wax, white flowers, and graphite. Deep, rich, and powerful, yet with the hallmark elegance of the estate, it has fine tannin, an awesome mid-palate, incredible purity and a huge finish. It’s another great, great vintage for this cuvée that readers shouldn’t miss.”
Josh Raynolds 98 points “Vivid ruby-red. Powerful raspberry liqueur, cherry pie, incense, potpourri and spicecake aromas show outstanding clarity and pick up a vibrant mineral nuance with aeration. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering deeply concentrated but shockingly lithe raspberry, cherry liqueur, five-spice powder and lavender pastille flavors given lift and spine by a jolt of juicy acidity. Blends richness and delicacy with a deft hand and finishes wonderfully long and precise, with pliant tannins adding shape and gentle grip. Is this the wine of the vintage? It’s definitely on the (very) short list.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “All Grenache, mostly from sandy soils and aged only in concrete, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is a compelling wine. It offers the essence of ripe Grenache in its notes of ripe plums, purple raspberries and stone fruit, then layers on savory-spicy-meaty complexity. Full-bodied, rich, velvety and slightly warm on the finish (it reached at least 16% alcohol), it should provide thrilling drinking over the next decade.”

Trending Pre-Arrival, ETA June

“For many growers, the 2016s are not just epic, they are career-defining wines” – Antonio Galloni
G.D. Vajra Bricco delle Viole, Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2016 Barolo Bricco delle Viole is going to need a few years to emerge, but it has all the qualities to develop into a truly special wine. Dark red/purplish fruit, hard candy, mint, lavender and sweet spice give the 2016 striking inner perfume. On the palate, the 2016 is a tightly wound, classically austere Barolo that will especially delight readers with traditionally leaning palates. In this late-ripening vintage, there is a great balance of structure, aromatics and mid-palate sweetness. I absolutely loved it.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $90

Staff Pick

Bistro Chinon

Like many wine lovers, I adore Kermit Lynch’s classic Adventures on the Wine Route.  It’s responsible for my interest in a lot of wine regions, but none more so than Chinon.  Lynch’s description of the magnetic Charles Joguet captivated me and is certainly part of the reason I love the wines of the Loire.  The dirty secret, though, was that for a period of time in the late 90’s/very early 00’s, the wines from Joguet weren’t particularly great.  Charles had retired and the new winemaking team wasn’t quite up to his exacting standards.

Thankfully, Kevin Fontaine, the current winemaker, is a talented individual who has fully restored the Charles Joguet to the very top tier of producers in Chinon—recent releases have made me a believer again.  The wines have more polish than in the past, but they do so without sacrificing the character of the place or the ageability of the wines.  He’s really doing justice to one of the best collections of vineyards in the Loire—and being Chinon, prices are still reasonable.

On the lower end of their lineup, I really enjoy the Petites Roches bottling.  It’s a perfect bistro Cabernet Franc, showing off the elegance and charm of gravelly terroirs in Chinon. This is a step up from their entry-level bottling (the Cuvee Terroir) that we’re able to offer for entry level pricing (less than $20/btl by the case!).  Whether I’m looking for a wine to drink with a roast chicken, steak or kale and bean soup, this is a perfect weeknight warrior.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 750ML ($359.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Les Petites Roches, Loire 2016 1.5L ($59.95) $49 special
Importer Note
“When Charles Joguet took over the family vineyards in 1957, he set out to do something that was unheard of in the Loire Valley. Rather than blending all the fruit from his varied parcels, he opted for a more Burgundian approach and began vinifying each individually, highlighting Chinon’s diversity of soils and exposures and playing with the nuances of vine age to propose a gamut of different wines of unique character. It is in this spirit that the domaine’s current vigneron, Kevin Fontaine, crafts the cuvée Les Petites Roches, named for the estate’s gravelly terroirs. Given light treatment in the cellar, this wine shows off Cabernet in its most delicate, charming form, rife with aromas of roses, damp earth, and little red berries, along with a gentle tannin holding it all together. This classic representation of Cabernet Franc from Chinon can be enjoyed over the next five or so years with roast chicken, pork chops, or game.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Rhone Round Up

Your quick guide to some of our favorite estates!


Value Favorite, Up & Down the Line

The Lafage family produces some of the best value big reds out there, under labels as diverse as Bastide Miraflors, Chateau Saint Roch and Tessellae.  Based in the Roussillon, with its wealth of old vines and warm sun, they make wines that are massively built, with rich, sumptuous fruit and seductive textures.  These are wines that are some of the best sellers in the shop’s history and so we’re always looking to bring in new bottlings.  These are highly rated, powerful reds from a variety of old vines across the Roussillon.  Compared to similar wines from the Rhone, these are fantastic bargains and we expect them to sell as briskly as their predecessors.

Top Picks In Stock Now:

Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2017 750ML ($249.95) $175 special (that’s only $14.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“A blend of 74% Syrah and 26% Grenache that was brought in a mix of tank and used barrels, the 2017 Bastide Miraflors has a fabulous minerality as well as terrific kirsch, black raspberry, wild fennel, white pepper, and hints of black licorice aromas and flavors. Pure, medium to full-bodied, silky, and seamless on the palate, it’s perfectly balanced, and way over-delivers. Drink it over the coming 2-3 years.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2017 Cotes du Roussillon Bastide Miraflors is a 70-30 blend of Syrah and Grenache, aged in a combination of tanks and barriques. It has some Ribena-like aromas, then delivers waves of ripe cassis and blackberries. Full-bodied and concentrated, it remains fresh and streamlined on the palate, finishing in a soft flurry of dusty tannins.”

Chateau Saint-Roch ‘Kerbuccio’, Maury Sec 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“One of the greatest values in the wine world has to be the Kerbuccio cuvée from Jean-Marc Lafage’s Chateau Saint Roch estate in Maury. The 2017 isn’t going to break the trend. Checking in as a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, it’s a blockbuster, deep, massive effort that just screams Grenache from Maury. Ripe blackberries, melted chocolate, black cherries, and cured meat notes all emerge from this beautifully textured, layered, opulent wine that stays balanced and pure. Brought up in 80% new demi-muids, it shows no sense of its oak élevage, has beautiful purity and freshness, and tastes like it cost 4-5 times the price. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $27.99

Domaine Lafage Fundacio, Cotes du Roussillon Village 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Lafage Fundacio, Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“One of the finest wines I’ve tasted from the estate is unquestionably the 2016 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Fundacio, which is 60% Syrah from Maury with the balance Mourvèdre and Grenache, vinified and aged in small barrels. Full-bodied, incredibly pure, elegant, and silky, it boasts awesome notes of crème de cassis, black olives, leafy herbs, and subtle gamey, salty nuances. It’s a rich, powerful wine yet just glides over the palate with no sensation of weight or heaviness, sweet tannins, and a great finish. It should keep for a decade.”

Domaine Durand:

Long Time Under-the-Radar & Locally Imported Gem

Durand is a producer on the rise. The last two vintages (’15 and ’16) are the finest wines they’ve ever produced—which makes the ’17’s even more impressive. The 2017s are the best young drinking Durand’s we’ve tasted—more delicious now than the ’15’s were at this stage, which is saying something.

“One of my favorite estates in Cornas (although the domaine is in Châteaubourg), Domaine Durand is run with incredible talent and passion by Eric and Joël Durand, who also get consulting help from Fabien Ozanne. This estate falls in the quasi-modern camp and produces beautiful wines that have pure, clean fruit and classic profiles. In general, the wines are mostly destemmed and the new oak percentage falls into the 15-25% category. These are terrific wines that offer pleasure in their youth yet also age gracefully.” –Jeb Dunnuck

Top Picks In Stock Now:

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($479.95) $399 special (that’s only $33.25/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 95 points
“($48) Loads of chalky grip keeps this wrapped up tight, but the core of steeped plum, fig and blackberry fruit is brimming with energy, while bay leaf, licorice root and charcoal notes chomp at the bit on the finish. Cellaring will rein this in. Best from 2021 through 2035. 700 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Produced from 30-year-old vines and aged in 20% new oak, the 2015 Cornas Empreintes features classic Cornas notes of crushed stone, bloody meat and red plums. It’s full-bodied, rich and packed with fruit and tannin but supple at the same time. It’s mouth-filling and round, then finishes long, dry and mouthwatering.”
Jeb Dunnuck 93+ points “The 2015 Cornas Empreintes is unique in the lineup as it comes 30% from more limestone soils. It’s 75% destemmed and aged in 20% new French oak. It’s more elegant and focused than the opulent Premices and gives up lots of blackberry and cassis fruits, leather, crushed rock and pepper aromatics. Deep, rich, beautifully concentrated and pure, it needs short-term cellaring but is a brilliant wine that’s going to impress for 10-15 years.” 

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Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Premices, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“Lots of blueberries, jammy blackberries, violets, licorice, and floral notes emerge from the 2017 Cornas Prémices. This fleshy, sexy, full-bodied beauty is a quintessential, hedonistic Cornas that’s already hard to resist. Nevertheless, it has enough sweet tannins to keep for over a decade. This cuvée comes from slightly younger vines (15 to 30-year-old vines) and is aged in 20% new French oak.”

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Sleeping Giant of the Rhone

Delas is one of the most notable landholders in the Northern Rhone, with holdings in some of the best vineyards in every major AOC, yet they still manage to be overlooked when people put together collections of wine from the region.  We’d like to remedy that, so permit us a few seconds to sing their praises.

Delas makes some of the most powerful, intense wines in the Northern Rhone at prices that make them one of the superior values in the region. Density and richness are a hallmark of both the reds and the whites—there are no shrinking violets in the lineup.  We turn to them for big, bold wines that often show very well young—a remarkable trait in their part of France.

For whatever reason, the market has yet to catch up to the quality coming out of Delas’ cellar.  The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest markets in the wine world, with many wineries getting expensive overnight.  That hasn’t happened to Delas—yet.  With the quality of recent vintages and the scores involved, we definitely see it happening soon, though, so if you love these wines now is the time to back up the truck.

Top Picks In Stock Now:

Delas Freres Condrieu Clos Boucher, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points
“Pale green-hued yellow. Penetrating, mineral-tinged aromas of fresh citrus and pit fruits are complemented by chalky minerals, violet and fennel accents. Juicy, focused and concentrated, offering intense pear nectar, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that show outstanding clarity and minerally lift. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through a silky, appealingly sweet finish that hangs on with superb focus and tenacity.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “A step up, the bigger, richer 2016 Condrieu Clos Boucher is blockbuster stuff, offering serious notes of crushed rock, buttered citrus, orange blossom, and a smoky, meaty, mineral character that’s hard to describe. Possessing full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate concentration and a seamless texture, this beauty will be even better this time next year and keep for 4-6 years.”
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Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards, Rhone 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points
“The top cuvée from Delas is the 2015 Hermitage Les Bessards, and it’s always 100% Syrah from the steep, broken granite soils of the Bessards lieu-dit. Aged 18 months in 30% new barrels, its purple/plum color is followed by a huge nose of blackcurrants, graphite, toasted spice, crushed rocks and saddle leather. Powerful, massively concentrated, and tannic, it has a broad, expansive, heavenly texture, a thick mid-palate (you could almost use a fork for this beauty), and a great finish. Despite the richness level, it stays balanced and graceful on the palate, and is never over the top or heavy. It’s a perfect Hermitage that will start to shine with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for three decades or more. Bravo!”
Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection! There’s a striking balance here calibrating bold, almost muscular ripeness against an invigorating granite edge. This wine is plump and full bodied, full of supple blackberry and plum flavors balanced by pert acidity and taut, penetrating tannins. It should be in peak from 2020–2035 but hold further.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The top cuvée is the 2015 Hermitage les Bessards, which comes from the middle to lower portion of the steep, granite hillside known as Bessards, unquestionably one of the best terroirs for Syrah in the world. Its inky purple color is followed by a full-bodied, rich, thrillingly concentrated red that has huge tannin, bright acidity and a solid mid-palate concentration. It still tastes like it just came from the press and will need to be forgotten for a decade. As normal, it’s completely destemmed and will see 18 months in 30% new oak.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points “Inky ruby. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes candied black and blue fruits, along with complicating suggestions of smoky minerals, candied flowers, olive and vanilla. Deep, chewy and expansive in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and salty olive flavors that are complicated by a hint of smoky minerality and a building floral pastille note. Distinctly rich and powerful but surprisingly graceful as well, showing noteworthy clarity and mineral-driven thrust on the strikingly long finish.”

Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2016 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Delas Freres Saint-Joseph Francois de Tournon, Rhone 2016 750ML ($279.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Saint Joseph François De Tournon comes from more schist and gneiss soils and spent 10-14 months in mostly used barrels, with a small part in tank to preserve more freshness. It’s another ruby/purple-colored effort from this estate and gives up lots of blackberry and blueberry fruits intermixed with earthy minerality, ground pepper, and hints of damp earth. Rich, layered, and textured, it will be better in a year or two and keep for 8-10, if not longer.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Features a solid core of dark currant and blackberry fruit, inlaid with notes of tar, anise and warm tobacco leaf. Reveals a tug of iron through the fruit-laden finish. Best from 2020 through 2026. 1,033 cases made, 123 cases imported. — JM”
James Suckling 92-93 points “This has fragrant and floral character with wild raspberries and red plums. The peppery palate has a vibrant array of ripe, red and purple fruit. Good depth and drive here. Barrel sample.”

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The average price is $43

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Vinopolis is an independent wine shop in Portland that opened in 2004. Our goal has always been to offer the finest, broadest, and largest selection of wines at the best prices to our customers in Portland, in Oregon, across the West Coast, and throughout the United States. Thank you for reading and for continuing to support our team at Vinopolis!

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