Monday Newsletter 4-4-21

In This Newsletter:

Shop Our Spring Kickoff Champagne Sale!

New Week – New Arrivals

New Arrival:
Luigi Giordano

New Champagne Reviews
From William Kelley of the Wine Advocate

New Grapelive Review:

Best Value Malbec for the Money
Amalaya 2019

Dry German Wine #Listicle
Grosses Gewachs from $29 – $50

Shop Our Spring Kickoff Champagne Sale!

Wines arrive Friday but the sale pricing ends
Monday, April 5th at 6 PM
Shop sale wines from Doyard, Gimonnet, Savart, Vilmart & more!

New Week – New Arrivals


J.K. Carriere “Glass” White Pinot Noir St. Dolores Estate Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains 2020 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Winery note
“Our ultimate summer sipper is sporting a new label in honor of its 20th anniversary. 100% Pinot intentionally pressed into a serious and dry rosé.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Ken Wright Cellars Canary Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Brilliant ruby. A highly expressive bouquet evokes fresh red berries, candied rose and baking spices, and a smoky element builds in the glass. Oak-spiced raspberry and cherry cola flavors are underscored and energized by a core of juicy acidity. In an energetic style, delivering firm closing bite and smooth tannins that lend shape and subtle grip to the strikingly long, penetrating finish. 23% new oak.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Harmonious, offering tiers of raspberry, sassafras and savory tea flavors that take on richness and complexity on the long, layered finish. Drink now through 2029. 1,261 cases made. –TF”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “This is one of a pair of Eola-Amity Hill vineyards owned by Ken Wright. Its all-Pommard fruit dates back to the early 1980s, and brings deep, saturated flavors of blood oranges, juicy raspberries and black cherries. The volcanic soils add a suggestion of earth and saline minerality to this fresh and delicious effort. -Paul Gregutt”

Biggio Hamina Cellars Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2017 750ML ($24.95) $14 special
Case-6 Biggio Hamina Cellars Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2017 750ML ($119.95) $79 special (that’s only $13.17/bottle!)
After a decade working for other people, including Beaux Freres, Archery Summit, and Maysara, Todd Hamina launched a label with his wife, Caroline Biggio—and has been making some of the most exciting Pinot Noir in the valley ever since. His wines are perfumed, elegant and site-expressive: exactly what we look for in Willamette Valley Pinot. Stylistically, Todd loves to use whole clusters and extended macerations to provide savory undertones that balance out his rich fruit. Most importantly, his wines deliver outstanding value. These are wines that lovers of Oregon Pinot need to have in their cellars and on their tables. With enough fruit and richness to remind you that they’re from the new world, with a savory, elegant edge that echoes Burgundy, they’re classically Willamette. For the prices we’ve got them at, they’re tough to beat—at least until they’re gone.


Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($134.95) $119 special
No review for the 2018. 2017 review provided for reference.
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points “Lots of cassis, camphor, spice, and violets notes as well as background oak emerge from the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is all Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 22 months in new barrels. With full-bodied richness, awesome purity of fruit, and a powerful, mouthfilling style, it’s in the top two or three Bordeaux blends in the vintage. Give this remarkable 2017 3-5 years of bottle age, longer if you can, and it’s going to be very long-lived. There are 2,863 cases produced.”

Leonetti Cellar Merlot, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
No review for the 2019. 2018 review provided for reference.
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Already bottled, the 2018 Merlot comes from a mix of vineyards in Walla Walla (Loess, Mill Creek, and Leonetti) and spent 15 months in new and once-used French oak. Juicy, vibrant, and pure, yet also with plenty of power, it is loaded with ripe currants and black cherry fruit as well as notes of chocolate, leafy herbs, and graphite. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with ripe tannins, it’s a rocking Merlot that’s going to benefit from just a year or two of bottle age and drink brilliantly for 8-10 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Marietta Cellars Arme, North Coast 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note
“An exemplary California Cabernet aromatic experience filled with dried, minty herbs, and lavender. Blackberries, bright cherries and plums, with hints of leather and tobacco, all intertwine for a wonderfully balanced mouthfeel. This wine is sumptuous yet racy, polished yet spirited, delicious and gratifying- an iconic result in the glass.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

France – Champagne

A special late-disgorgement release of the 2015-base Pierrieres
Ulysse Collin ‘Les Pierrieres’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2015) 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, only 4 bottles available!
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 97 points
“Collin elected to retain some 4,000 bottles of the NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Les Pierrières (2015) for additional maturation on the lees, disgorging them after 48 months in March 2020 with the usual 1.7 grams per liter dosage. Mingling aromas of citrus oil, fresh bread, macadamia nuts, crushed chalk and white flowers, it’s full-bodied, multidimensional and tightly wound, with a deep and layered mid-palate, racy acids and a long, intensely chalky finish. As usual, it’s the most chiseled, mineral wine in the range, but the additional time on lees has given the wine another dimension.”
Disgorged 3/2020

Georges Laval Cumieres Premier Cru Brut Nature, Champagne 2015 3L ($699.95) $599 special, only 3 double-magnums available
John Gilman 94+ points
“This is the exact same blend as the Cumières non-vintage bottling from the base year of 2015 that was released without any vintage-dating on the label in regular-sized bottles two years ago, but the magnums (and jeroboams for those so disposed) were aged an additional two years sur latte and hence are labeled with the vintage date on the front label. The larger-sized formats are also non-dosé. This magnum was disgorged at the end of November of 2019 and offers up a superb nose of apple, discreet tangerine, hazelnut, excellent minerality, a hint of iodine, warm bread, gentle smokiness, acacia blossoms and a whisper of oak (with most of this having been subsumed into the other aromatics). On the palate the wine is pure, racy and full-bodied, with a rock solid core, great delineation and mineral drive, refined mousse and absolutely stellar backend lift, grip and length. When this was first released, Vincent Laval was convinced it was one of the finest vintages of his Cumières bottling in many years, and drinking it now out of magnum with more time on the fine lees, it is awfully easy to agree with him! The extra few years aging sur latte have allowed the fine girdle of acidity to relax here nicely and this wine is now drinking really quite well out of magnum (and probably regular-sized bottles as well), but my bottles are staying put in the cellar for at least another five years! 2020-2055.”
Importer note “1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Pinot Meunier. Premier Cru.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

The reference-point NV Grower Champagne.
Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $52.50 special
Disgorged December 2019. 2017-base. Reviews provided for reference.
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “Disgorged in June 2019, the latest rendition of Péters’ NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cuvée de Réserve offers up a lovely bouquet of citrus oil, pear, pastry cream, dried white flowers, hazelnuts and crushed chalk. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and elegant, with ripe but racy acids, a delicate pinpoint mousse and a long, saline finish. As usual, this is an immensely refined Champagne that exemplifies the timeless style of this Mesnil-based Chardonnay specialist.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($179.95) $159 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“Disgorged in June 2019, the latest rendition of Péters’ NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Cuvée de Réserve offers up a lovely bouquet of citrus oil, pear, pastry cream, dried white flowers, hazelnuts and crushed chalk. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, fine-boned and elegant, with ripe but racy acids, a delicate pinpoint mousse and a long, saline finish. As usual, this is an immensely refined Champagne that exemplifies the timeless style of this Mesnil-based Chardonnay specialist.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Cuvée de Réserve (base 2016) is absolutely delicious and also shows the greater natural harmony of 2016 vis-à-vis 2015. Creamy and open-knit, the 2016 will be easy to drink pretty much upon release, as it is a Champagne of absolutely exquisite balance. White orchard fruit, crushed rocks, flowers and mint all grace this sublime, wonderfully nuanced Champagne from Rodolphe Péters. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.”

France – Rhone

Saint Cosme is one of the notable estates of the Southern Rhone. Louis Barroul is a talented winemaker and is the 14th generation of his family to make wines in the domaine that was founded in the 1500’s. The wines he makes are rich and powerful, with undeniable terroir signatures. The 2018’s are some of the best wines they’ve yet made.

“Gorgeous and explosive”
Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Grapelive 93 points
“Wow, what a gorgeous and explosive new wine by Louis Barruol, owner of the famed Chateau de Saint Cosme in Gigondas. This Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres is a meaty and deep purple/garnet Rhone red co-fermentation of Barruol’s old vine Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Louis Barruol has long used fruit from this remote area and has recently added this estate to his lineup as a separate label within the Saint Cosme family. [This] makes sense as Vinsobres has been recognized as its own appellation, an upgrade from a generic Cotes du Rhone, which I would argue was long overdue, since this cooler and high quality terroir is unique and deserves to be more widely known as this wine certainly proves. Louis Barruol has coveted this site for years. He notes that, like his famous Chateau de Saint Cosme, Chateau de Rouanne was first founded during Gallo-Roman times, probably dating back to the 1400s. Barruol adds that, most of Rouanne’s vineyards date from the 1960s and are massale selections (special old clones) that offer substantial genetic diversity and low yields that shows in the wine, giving it concentration and depth, while the elevation and soils allow for natural acidity and heightened aromatics. These qualities and characteristics shine in this 2018, like Saint Cosme’s Gigondas it is brilliantly dark and inviting with polished texture and a full body delivering black raspberry, damson plum, boysenberry compote, creme de cassis and cherry fruit along with whole bunches influences highlighted with peppercorns, violets, earthiness and herbs de provence. The Chateau de Rouanne Vinsobres Rouge was crafted in this vintage from 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre grown on sandy, iron rich soils set on a limestone marl base with some clay and was, as noted above, all co-fermented primarily with whole cluster and all indigenous yeasts in concrete tanks, where it was also aged. The wine rested in the cement vat for 18 months, which allows the wine to show absolute purity in its final form and gave it time to fill out before bottling. The vines in Louis Barruol’s Vinsobres are all organic and head trained with a very high percentage of Syrah interplanted here, much more than you’d find in other southern Rhone Crus, which adds to this wine’s distinct profile that seems more northern Rhone in first impression, though the lush Grenache takes the stage mid palate and creates a luxurious harmony here and there is a velvety almost chocolatey element with the touch of Mourvedre adding a contrasting gamey note. This 2018 GSM got way better as the bottle went down and fans of Saint Cosme with want to stock up on this one. It actually reminds me of Barruol’s Chateauneuf du Pape and is almost half the price! Barruol says Chauteau de Rouanne is an extraordinary (and historic) place in many respects, primarily for its terroir – very few locations in the southern Rhone can boast vineyard sites of this pedigree and that he very excited for the potential here, which he compares with Cotes de Nuits Burgundies…, believing that this site will only get better and better as he focuses more attention to it. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, but this stuff is delicious now!”

Italy – Tuscany

Querciabella Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2017 Chianti Classico is bright, floral and beautifully lifted, with lovely red berry and rose petal character. Pliant and supple, with terrific balance, the Querciabella 2017 is one of the more refined, restrained Chianti Classicos readers will come across in this vintage, with Radda very much driving the personality of the wine in its aromatic and red fruit profile. The 2017 finishes with terrific energy and nuance. This is the second vintage in which most of the wine was aged predominantly in 500L barrels and 30HL casks.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Fragrant purple flower, menthol and spice aromas lift out of the glass. It’s linear and elegantly structured, offering ripe Marasca cherry, orange zest, licorice and espresso flavors alongside polished, fine-grained tannins. Drink through 2023.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $32
Italy – Umbria

Paolo Bea Pagliaro Secco, Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Importer Note
“Bea produces perhaps his most renowned wine from pure Sagrantino grown on the prized hilltop site of Pagliaro, situated at 1300 feet above sea level in Montefalco proper. Following the example of the “Rosso de Veo” above, this 2015 is absolutely jaw-dropping in its intensity and presence. Bea’s wines at their best offer a panoply of spices so intoxicating, so far-reaching, and so evocative, as to nearly defy belief. The only wines that approach Bea’s in that regard are perhaps the most un-sculpted Syrah-based wines of the Northern Rhône, but even those feel as if they have governors on their accelerators in comparison to top vintages of “Pagliaro.” Similarly large in scale to the “Rosso de Veo,” this actually presents with greater precision and nuance, its overall attack more subtle but ultimately no less impactful—direct evidence of a great terroir translated with consummate skill.”


Do Ferreiro Albariño, Rias Baixas 2018 750ML ($39.95) $27 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2018 Albariño was very expressive after some time in the glass. This is their house wine, produced with grapes from the 11 hectares and up to 164 plots they work in the Salnés up to 22 kilometers from their winery in Meaño. The wine is very elegant in 2018; it’s vibrant and tasty, with the granite sapidity and the salty finish. I tasted a bottle from the end of June 2019, when the wine had had longer time sur lie, and the year in bottle does it good. 70,000 bottles produced.”

Do Ferreiro Cepas Vellas Albariño, Rias Baixas 2019 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
De Maison Selections note
“In 2019, yields were lower than in 2018, and the quality was excellent. Although acidity is higher than usual, it is well integrated with fully developed phenolic ripeness. This situation bodes extremely well for the age-ability of the 2019 vintage, as some of the greatest vintages of Cepas Vellas have elevated acidity. Yields were down in their Salnés valley vineyards 20%, compared to 2018. Following two vintages with higher than average yields, the vines produced less clusters per bud in 2019, naturally lowering yields. The absence of rain during the first 40 days of ripening resulted in lightweight clusters with very little must. The resulting wine has perfect structure from extremely healthy grapes with balanced acidity, fruit, and alcohol. 2019 is an epic vintage for Cepas Vellas, which will reward a decade or more of time in the cellar.”

Nanclares y Prieto ‘A Grana’ Albariño, Galicia 2019 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Importer note
“A Graña is from a single, northeast-facing vineyard of the same name, on sandy granitic soils.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Nanclares y Prieto ‘Alberto Nanclares’ Albariño, Rias Baixas 2019 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Importer note
“Nanclares Albariño comes from 8 parcels in the parroquias (or parishes) of Cambados and Ribadumia.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Nanclares y Prieto ‘Soverribas de Nanclares’ Albariño, Rias Baixas 2019 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Importer note
“Soverribas Albariño comes from a single, southwest-facing parcel named Paraje Manzaniña, located in the parroquia of Padrenda (Meaño).”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Schloss Gobelsburg Tradition Gruner Veltliner Reserve, Niederosterreich 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Editor’s Choice. The aromas of fir honey, salty yeast and white pepper combine on the vivid, spicy nose. Those flavors also play on the slender, juicy palate where glorious sprays of white pepper take center stage against a backdrop of salt, honey and pear. Anne Krebiehl -MW”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “Gobelsburg’s 2017 Grüner Veltliner Tradition is clear, ripe and intense on the slightly oaky but deep and complex nose. Ripe, lush, elegant and intense on the palate, this is a full-bodied, rich and powerful yet spicy-mineral Veltliner with a firm tannin structure and remarkable aging potential. It’s a typical Veltliner and needs five or more years to integrate its phenols and reduce its baby fat. Again, this is entirely based on the Renner fruit. Tasted at Schloss Gobelsburg in September 2019.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $56.99

Newly Arrived:

Luigi Giordano
A small family winery producing elegant and ultra-classic wines from Barbaresco.

Importer note “A stone’s throw from Barbaresco’s village centre, the winery and its vineyards were founded by Giovanni Giordano in the 1930s during a time of profound crisis in the Italian wine world. After a period of growing and selling grapes, Giovanni’s son, Luigi, made the bold decision to vinify his own grapes in 1960. Luigi Giordano is now a fourth-generation winery whose vineyards are planted in some of Barbaresco’s most prestigious crus, including Asili and Montestefano. One particular Barbaresco bottling from the cru of Cavanna showcases the winery’s elegant, hands-off style of winemaking and currently represents the only single-vineyard cru of its kind on the market.”

Newly Arrived from Luigi Giordano:

Luigi Giordano Asili, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Decanter 92 points
“From vines planted in 2000, this has a red fruit nose that’s not very expressive presently, but the palate is fresh and limpid with very ripe fruits but with no sweetness showing, thanks to the lively acidity. It has some tension, persistence and style, with a long finish. “
Importer Note “Definite garnet red colour enriched with delicate orange highlights on ageing; ample and intense perfume with good floral and fruit jammy notes plus ethereal hints ofspices. The flavour is dry, full, elegant and aristocratic. Traditional red wine maceration for 12-15 days with ferment-ation in temperature controlled stainless steel vats using frequent pumping-over. The wine is aged for at least 18-24 months in large (30-50 hectolitre) barrels of Slavonian oak, then refined in horizont-ally-placed bottles for another 6 months.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $58

Luigi Giordano Asili, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($79.95) $64.50 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This red finds a nice equilibrium between sappy berry, cherry and licorice flavors and balsamic notes of eucalyptus, juniper and wild rosemary. It’s harmonious, with a ripe core and long, gripping finish. Best from 2023 through 2040. 400 cases made, 100 cases imported. — BS”

Luigi Giordano Cavana, Barbaresco DOCG 2017 750ML ($44.95) $37.50 special
Importer Note
“Brilliant garnet red colour with orange highlights developing with age; ample and intense perfume with fruity, jammy and spicy notes; dry, full and aristocratic flavour. Traditional red wine maceration for 15-20 days with temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats and frequent pumping-over. This wine is left to age for at least 18-24 months in large (30-50hectolitre) barrels of Slavonian oak and is then refined in horizontally-placed bottles for at least 6 months.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Luigi Giordano Montestefano, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A beam of cherry, strawberry and rose aromas and flavors permeates this vibrant red. Hints of thyme, menthol and tar add depth as this builds to a long, resonant finish. Shows fine energy and intensity on a slim frame. Best from 2023 through 2042. 500 cases made, 150 cases imported. — BS”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Barbaresco Montestefano offers all of the breadth that distinguishes this site while retaining its classic, mid-weight feel. Darker shades of Nebbiolo emerge in the black cherry, plum, lavender, licorice, sage and spice flavors. Like all of these Barbarescos, the Montestefano is super intriguing. The potential here is evident.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Luigi Giordano ‘Vigneto Buschet’ Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Importer Note
“The BUSCHET vineyard situated within the Barbaresco zone. Barbera is a vigorous, bigyielding varietal. Intense purple-red colour and ample, vinous perfume pleasantly fruited with notes of plum and blackberry; the flavour is dry, harmonious and warm, perfectly complementing the wine’s robust structure. Traditional crushing with de-stalking followed by controlled-temperature fermentation and frequent pumping-over. Maceration lasts from 8 to10 days.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Luigi Giordano Brut Metodo Classico Nebbiolo Brut Nature, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Importer Note
“After soft pressing, rosé maceration is performed for two hours, followed by cold draining of the must. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The Champagne method (‘metodo classico’) is used, with the second fermentation occurring in the bottle. Abundant, rose-tinted effervescence with a fine andpersistent perlage. The wine is rose to cherry-pink in colour with salmon highlights. The perfume is intense and ample with notes of raspberry, red berries, citrus fruits and a hint of wilted roses. The flavour is fresh and full-bodied with a soft,clean aftertaste and a slightly tannic finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Luigi Giordano Vino Rosato Nebbiolo DOC, Piedmont 2020 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Importer note
“100 % Nebbiolo from family parcels inside Barbaresco crus of Ovello, Ronchi & Cars. Hand-picked in September. Soft pressing followed by 3-hour maceration. 2,400-bottle production.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Also Newly Arrived from Piedmont:

Roagna Albesani, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A combination of spicy cherry, iron, tobacco and tar aromas and flavors are woven into the dense tannins in this sinewy red. There’s an essence of ripe fruit, yet this requires time to reconcile its gripping structure. Best from 2024 through 2043. 218 cases made. — BS”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2015 Barbaresco Albesani is gracious, floral and lifted, which is not common in Albesani, where the wines tend to be more powerful. Bright acids and lively tannins give the 2015 its shape and energy. This translucent, inviting Barbaresco has so much to offer. “

Love Piedmont?
We have over 180 wines from Piedmont in stock now.
Shop the entire selection, including famous names like Aldo Conterno, Gaja, Vajra, Produttori del Barbaresco and more, on our web store!

New Champagne Reviews

From William Kelley of the Wine Advocate

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne (2018) NV 750ML ($59.95) $52.50 special, 30 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“Disgorged in July 2020 with seven grams per liter dosage, the NV Brut Réserve (2018 base) is the latest rendition of this wine. Bursting with aromas of orange oil, crisp orchard fruit and fresh bread, it’s medium to full-bodied, fleshy and gourmand, with tangy acids and an enveloping, pillowy profile.”

Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($51.95) $44 special, 16 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points
“The latest release of Chartogne’s NV Brut Sainte Anne is based on the 2017 vintage, complemented by 40% reserve wines. Disgorged in September 2020 with five grams per liter dosage, it opens in the glass with aromas of crisp yellow orchard fruit, white flowers and fresh pastry. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping, it’s elegantly textural, bright and precise, with a seamless, harmonious profile.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Hebrart Premier Cru Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 15 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“Disgorged in August 2019, Hébrart’s new release of the NV Brut Premier Cru Mes Favorites Vieilles Vignes is based on the 2015 vintage. Wafting from the glass with aromas of pear, white flowers, blanched almonds and Meyer lemon, it’s medium to full-bodied, bright and pillowy, with a pretty core of fruit, lively acids and a refined mousse. Once again, it derives from superior, south-facing sites in Mareuil-sur-Ay that also inform his Special Club bottling.”

Hebrart Premier Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 5 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“Disgorged in May 2020, the latest release of Hébrart’s NV Extra-Brut Premier Cru Rosé offers up notes of red apple, pear, fresh pastry and Meyer lemon. Medium to full-bodied, bright and pillowy, with racy acids and a pinpoint mousse, it’s crisp and precise, with a charming core of fruit. This is another cuvée where the transition from brut to extra-brut really allows the quality of the fruit to shine.”

Champagne Marguet ‘Shaman 17’ Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Champagne Marguet ‘Shaman 17’ Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 3L ($319.95) $279 special, 2 double-magnums in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points
“Scents of pear, waxy citrus rind, mandarin orange, peach and buttery pastry, Marguet’s NV Shaman 17 is medium to full-bodied, pillowy and vinous, with bright acids and chalky grip. It was disgorged in September 2020. As readers will remember, the “17” denotes the base vintage, which is complemented by reserve wines from a solera established in 2010.”

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

Varnier Fanniere Cuvee Jean Fanniere Origine Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $59 special, 4 bottles in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The July 2017 disgorgement of the NV Extra-Brut Cuvée Jean Fannière Origine is still on the market, and it’s now beginning to take on some mature overtones, mingling notions of dried fruit, honeycomb and warm biscuits with aromas of peach and citrus. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and elegantly textural, with a delicate pinpoint mousse, lively acids and a saline finish, it’s drinking well today.”

Rene Geoffroy Rose de Saignee Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $51.90 pre-arrival special, ETA April
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points
“Disgorged in December 2019, the latest release of Geoffroy’s NV Brut Premier Cru Rosé de Saignée is derived from the 2015 vintage. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of peonies, mandarin orange and red berries, it’s full-bodied, rich and vinous, with a fleshy core of fruit, ripe acids and a gently phenolic finish. This characterful wine will be at its best at table.”

New Grapelive Review
Monsecco Pratogrande Nebbiolo Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($27.95) $23.50 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points
“The Monsecco Pratogrande Nebbiolo 2016 is an elegant vintage and a beautiful wine. Its classic Nebbiolo personality and profile unfolding on the medium/full palate is impressive and makes for an exceptional value with pretty floral notes, layers of dark berry fruits, earthy elements, dusty tannins and lifting natural acidity. The hills of the Colline Novaresi are set on ancient glacial moraine with mineral rich veins, from volcanic influence and gravelly stones that give these wines a sense of spice, liquid rock and salinity, which this wine shows, along with Nebbiolo’s late ripening depth of flavor and high elevation freshness. There’s a lot to love in this 2016 edition, it is a vintage to stock up on. It has the complexity and seductive charm of some of the finest Piemonte years, but without intensely powerful tannins, which are still here, though more subtle and refined, allowing this vintage to be enjoyed in its youth and still having potential to age. Monesecco’s Pratogrande starts with herbs, savory (gamey) elements, raspberry and wilted rose petals before leading to a mouthful of damson plum, mulberry, red currant, kirsch and anise, along with cedar, mint, underbrush and a hint of orange rind. With air the fruit comes alive and sweetens, it gains tremendously as it opens and especially with protein rich foods. This Nebbiolo is an absolutely delicious wine and a killer bargain at under twenty five bucks, fans of the more famous parts of the Langhe, will certainly need to check out these Monsecco offerings, which are very savvy buys…”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Arriving in June

Best Value Malbec for the Money

Amalaya 2019

Amalaya Malbec Salta, Argentina 2019 750ML ($17.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Amalaya Malbec Salta, Argentina 2019 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Decanter WWA 2020 97 points
“Perfumed attractive nose with layers of spice, crunchy strawberries, ripe red plums and fresh violets. Vibrant on the palate with a lovely freshness in harmony with a dense chocolatey character, ending in an elegant spicy finish.”

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German Wine #Listicle

German Grosses Gewachs Rieslings from $29 – $50

Weingut Maximin Grünhaus has produced extraordinary Rieslings since Medieval times. Roman ruins underlie today’s estate, but it was the Saint Maximin Abbey that made this area famous for wine. The Abtsberg vineyard, known for its concentrated yet supple and perfectly balanced wines, once supplied the Abbott himself. Weingut Maximin Grünhaus continues the tradition of crafting wines fit for the elite. They farm the vineyards following organic principles, keep yields low, and harvest by hand. Large Fuder casks, made from oaks on the estate, help the wines achieve their greatness. Tasting a Riesling from Weingut Maximin Grünhaus means tasting a lineage of German winemaking history.

Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2016 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Fermented in old oak fuders, the 2016 Maximin Grünhaus Abtsberg Riesling “GG” opens with a deep, fascinatingly precise and flinty bouquet of perfectly ripe, healthy Riesling berries and pineapple aromas. Full-bodied (at 12% alcohol), rich, lush and intense, this is a firmly structured yet mouth-filling and very elegant Abtsberg with a very long, crystalline and mouthwateringly salty finish. Still young, this Riesling will benefit from further bottle aging. It’s the finest dry Abtsberg I have tasted here. Impressive. Bottled May 2017; tasted March 2018.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “Quite reductive at first, this only gradually offers fresh and cool notes of gooseberry, smoke, cassis, flowers, mint and white peach. The wine is then, almost surprisingly, playful and fruity on the palate with juicy notes of yellow peach, tangerine and spices. It remains focused and pure in the very long and zippy dry finish. This wine is still hugely primary at this early stage, as Abtsberg wines often are, and it will need a couple of years of bottle aging to reveal its full potential. It should then prove a smashing piece of dry Ruwer Riesling made in an ethereally but no less satisfying style.”

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Dry Riesling from a great producer in a prime drinking window.
Dr. Loosen Erdener Treppchen Alte Reben Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2014 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Born on red slate and sourced from the plot above the Prälat, which gives extremely small berries and results in just one fuder, the 2014 Erdener Treppchen Riesling trocken GG Alte Reben displays a deep and very dense, yet subtle bouquet of nectarines along with beautifully fine slate and flinty aromas. Round, intense and very elegant on the palate, this fully ripe and full-bodied Riesling is piquant and fresh. The wine is spectacular only in the finish, which reveals a noble, rested, perfectly balanced and highly expressive Riesling with an extremely long, complex finish. You can easily drink this beauty today, but you would waste most of its talents. I would not drink before 2022.” 

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Kruger-Rumpf sits closer to the Rhine, geographically, than some of the other big names in the area and their wines have more intrinsic power to them as a result. These are some seriously good Rieslings, at prices considerably lower than what you’d pay from other name producers. The estate dates back to the 1700s and includes some of the greatest terroirs in the area. The wines are well-crafted from the vineyard, which is in transition to certified organic and managed with an eye toward biodiversity, to the modern winery where ferments are mostly spontaneous and where terroir expression is the main goal of winemaking.

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – Jamessuckling 93 points
“Quite a powerful ripe wine, but with a serious acidity that you’ll either go for or you won’t. If the first impression doesn’t decide that, then the whiplash finish will either knock you into ecstasy or knock you out of the game! Drink now and for many years beyond.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Suggestions of rutabaga mingle with thyme, oregano, and intimations of fresh lemon on the nose, then translate into a brightly juicy, intriguingly earthy impression on a palpably high-extract palate. This finishes with glowing piquancy, consummate refreshment and plenty of intrigue. It should prove fascinating to follow.”
Wine Advocate 91+ points “From quartzite soils with loess and slate and fermented in 1,200-liter oak vats, Georg Rumpf’s 2016 Nahe Riesling (Münsterer) Dautenpflänzer “GG” is round, rich and juicy on the palate but also light and well structured by fine and grippy tannins. Very long finish.”

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Kruger-Rumpf Im Pitterberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 750ML ($51.95) $46 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2018 Im Pitterberg Riesling GG is bright and floral on the fragrant and elegant, spicy-mineral nose. Full-bodied and intense on the palate, with rich and concentrated fruit that is balanced by a tight and mineral structure and lingering salinity, this is an elegant, very complex and sustainable dry Riesling with crunchy stone flavors and a gripping finish. This is a great Nahe wine from the 2018 vintage. Tasted in July 2019.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Scents of white peach anticipate the cool juiciness as well as the peach fuzz invigoration and peach kernel piquancy that emerge on a firm palate. A bright influx of fresh lime lends animation and enhances refreshment on a finish that also features mouthwatering veal stock savor and vivid wet stone. (For background on the naming of this site and the origin of its fruit, consult my review of the corresponding 2015.)” 

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Kruger-Rumpf Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94+ points
“Coming from a tiny incredibly steep Grand Cru site, the Burgberg Vineyard, that is set on volcanic and quartz soils near Munster in the village of Dorsheim. The Kruger Rumpf Burgberg GG is one of the most exciting wines of vintage at this small winery… It is fantastically mineral-driven dry Riesling. This latest set of wines, especially the Rieslings, from Georg Rumpf and his family are some of the best yet from this estate. The GG’s and the Premier Cru Trockens are gorgeous wines. No one is going to want to miss these 2018 Nahe offerings, especially the Pitterberg GG, the Abtei Erste Lage 1937 old vine, one of my secret favorites and this beautifully detailed Burgberg GG. Rumpf has turned to mostly all organic practices, and the Burgberg parcel is farmed organic. [He] prefers to do natural fermentations, or Sponti, with his Cru wines with the GG’s getting less aging in large cask, Stuckfass, to allow less reduction and enhance generosity, while retraining freshness and vitality in the wines. [It] shows here in this barrel sample of Burgberg… These Kruger-Rumpf GG’s are some of the best values out there, they really deserve much more attention, as do the lesser bottlings and their wildly tasty Scheurebe, which is one of the best examples in Germany…”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “From low-yielding vines planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the 2018 Burgberg Riesling GG is absolutely great on the pure, clear and refreshing, super flinty and mineral nose. On the palate, this is an intense, highly complex and elegant dry Riesling with crystalline acidity and a long and refreshing, crystalline and salty finish. Bottled and tasted in July 2019.”

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Carl Loewen took over the historic Schmitt-Wagner estate and has elevated it to new heights, returning a slew of historic vineyards back to the esteem they were held to in the 1800’s. His wines are textural, rich and complex and often from old, ungrafted parcels within vineyards. 2017 continues the estate’s rise and plays into their strengths, as the savoriness and minerality of the year ally perfectly with Loewen’s aims.

Weingut Carl Loewen Thornicher Ritsch Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling 96 points
“Stunning flint, lemon zest and white peaches on the nose. A stunning combination of mineral power and filigree. A diamond-bright finish. Just beginning to open up, but it has decades of aging potential.”

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Donnhoff is perhaps our favorite German producer. The estate excels at both dry and off-dry wines, producing some of the top dozen Rieslings in nearly every vintage. Part of that is a privileged location— Helmut and Cornelius Dönnhoff own some of the best vineyards in the Nahe, one of the most geologically diverse parts of Germany. The other part is the exceptional drive and focus of father and son, who will stop at nothing to produce the best wines in Germany.

Weingut Donnhoff Kreuznacher Krotenpfuhl Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling 95 points
“This might have happened by accident, due to the high level of ripeness that resulted from the frost damage and very low yield, but it works really well. Ripe citrus and peach aromas, but there’s great freshness and very lively acidity that animates the medium-full body and lifts the long finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Multilayered, featuring well-sculpted and concentrated flavors of baked apple, gooseberry, roasted pineapple and vanilla bean. Acidity cuts through, delivering freshness midpalate and presenting ripe melon and quinine notes on the finish. Best from 2022 through 2030.”

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Spreitzer is one of the unsung heros of German Riesling, making beautiful wines that are typical of the lyric side of the Rheingau. At a time when most of the great old names of the Rheingau have been resting on their laurels, Spreitzer has turned themselves into a truly must-buy producer. These have the classic aristocracy of the Rheingau, but with beautiful fruit and lively personalities that make them very easy to drink young.

Weingut Josef Spreitzer ‘Rosengarten’ Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheingau 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Pure and focused, with underlying silkiness giving this a seductive texture, while flavors of guava, kiwifruit and quince blossom lend ample charm. Very open despite the high acidity, exhibiting more than enough flesh for harmony. Well-made, showing a lemon-lime mix on the finish. Best from 2021 through 2034.”
Terry Theise note “Herbs, quince, mint, pea-shoot and a curious underlying stoniness; it made me think of oolongs and Sencha and grassy green teas; a singular Riesling of leaf upon leaf.”

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Weingut Josef Spreitzer Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheingau 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92+ points
“The 2018 Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Rheingau Riesling Trocken “GG” is subtle and deep on the nose, with bright yet concentrated fruit flavors. Full-bodied, lush and mineral on the palate, this is a tensioned, stimulatingly salty Wisselbrunnen with a firm structure and very good length. Tasted at Schloss Johannisberg and in Wiesbaden in August 2019. “
Terry Theise note “I can’t recall when a young Wisselbrunnen was this present, even more than the ’17 was. There’s a fine refined aroma of hickory nuts and conifer, that leads into a serious and suavely firm and substantive palate with lots of echo and umami, and then a stoniness enters, and the finish just doesn’t quit. Reminds me of 2012 at its graceful best, and it’s a pure Rheingau Grand Cru (at least from the riverfront), self-assured but not haughty.”

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Doctor Crusius is one of the leading producers in Germany’s Nahe growing region. Located just south of the country’s most celebrated terroirs, Nahe is a favorite amongst German wine insiders. Great values abound, however no other Nahe producer delivers world-class wines as consistently as Doctor Crusius.  After decades of aggressively acquiring many of the region’s finest vineyards, Crusius has assembled a vineyard portfolio that is the envy of his neighbors. Celebrated growing regions like Traisen and Schloßböckelheim would be household names if located in the Mosel, but instead offer smart buying opportunities for those in the know. 

Dr. Crusius Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Nahe 2016 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 4 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling 94 points
“Another cool and minty wine from Dr. Crusius, but this has quite a bit more power and depth than the other GGs of this vintage from this producer. A crisp apple and mineral finish of considerable intensity and length. Drink now and for a few decades to come.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2016 Nahe Riesling Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg “GG” is precise, fresh and intense on the nose, with very clear and perfectly ripe fruit aromas intertwined with delicate flint notes. Full-bodied, well concentrated, lush and with remarkable finesse, this is a very elegant and frisky Felsenberg with a long, intense and concentrated finish. The mineral expression is very fine and lingers. An impressive wine.”

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Dr. Crusius Muhlberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Nahe 2016 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49, 11 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott – Jamessuckling 91 points
“A very minty cool nose, then a sleek and cool wine that’s really underplayed, but has quite some power behind it. A long, rather complex finish. Should be more open from 2018 and drink for some years beyond.”
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points “This delivers a ripe and fruit-driven nose of quince, pear, peach, gooseberry and dried mango. With airing, notes of smoke and licorice join the party. The wine is broad and juicy on the palate, and the initial feeling of fruits and smoothness is nicely balanced out by some tickly acidity as well as quite some tartness. The finish is spicy and slightly powerful. This ostentatious expression of dry Nahe Riesling will please lovers of more forceful expressions of dry Riesling.”

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Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.