Monday Newsletter 5-22-17

Jump Start May Sale: Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Arriving Tomorrow; New Week – New Arrivals; Red Wines for Summer; Spanish Case Deals; Freemark Abbey: The Resurrection of a California Classic; Arriving This Week: Bootleg/ Maillart Champagne/ Roulot/ Quintarell & Lopez de Heredia; Cameron Dundee Hills Pinot Noir; Trending Pre-Arrivals: Hot Wines from Guigal & Catena Zapata; May Sale Recap


Jump Start May Sale Wine

Best Price on Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 2008

New Release – Arriving Tomorrow

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special, ETA Tuesday, May 23rd
Decanter 93 points “Shimmering pale gold with green lights, radiant clarity; persistent tiny bubbles: riot of white flowers scents, hawthorn, then more stone-fruit than citrus, reine claude (greengage) and elderflower. Vibrant mouthfeel, invigorating, expansive – perfect with saline fruits de mer. Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque 2008 reminds me somewhat of the grace of the exceptional 1995, Cellarmaster Hervé Deschamps’ first solo vintage and still one of his best. Though the two vintages 13 years apart share the same grace and class, the 2008 is more mineral, reflecting a quite sunless summer season. Only the return of warmer weather at the start of September imbued the vintage with a freshness of great Chardonnay in tune with the subtly restrained power of Pinot Noir and a soupçon of rounded Meunier – that final little touch making the wine more pleasurable to drink soon, unlike other wines from the Champagne 2008 vintage, which need a lot more time. Chardonnay is from Cramant, Avize, and Mesnil, Pinot Noir from Ay and Ambonnay in the Montagne de Reims, and Pinot Meunier from Dizy.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $124.99
The average price is $144


New Week – New Arrivals


Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Arrendell Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Robert Parker 96 points “what is usually their finest Pinot Noir hails from Hartford’s oldest vines, planted with the Martini clone in 1975. The 2014 Pinot Noir Arrendell Vineyard is often not picked until after Halloween, as it is one of the coldest vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Its spicy, complex notes of allspice, sassafras, sweet black cherries and Asian plum sauce are exotic, fragrant and intense. The superb fragrance is matched by an exotic, silky, fleshy wine with dark berries (especially ripe raspberries and black cherries), soft tannins, and full body. This is a head-turning “wow” Pinot Noir to drink over the next decade.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $99.94

Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Fog Dance Vineyard Pinot Noir, Green Valley 2014 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Robert Parker 93 points “The 2014 Pinot Noir Fog Dance Vineyard comes from Dijon clones 115, 667 and 777 grown in another cold, windy area in the Green Valley, south of the old hippie town of Forestville. Soft, spicy, tart red cherries in addition to some plum, Asian spice, and forest floor are all present in this luscious, sexy, complex wine that offers up loads of fragrance, medium to full body and a heady finish. Drink it over the next 7-10 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $62

La Jota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain 2013 750ML ($99.95) $77 special
Decanter 98 points “Resplendent aromas of voluptuous blackcurrant and plum. This is certainly rich and concentrated, yet it all seems to be in balance, with firm chocolatey tannins supporting the dense and solid fruit. (Feb 2017)”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “This full-bodied, concentrated wine shows plenty of power in its bringing together of the variety with smaller percentages of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. With a huge presence on the palate that lingers and stays in one’s brain, it shows a reductive quality of toasted oak along with black pepper, bark and leather saddle,. It’s a wine to enjoy from a giant leather chaise, if possible.”
France – Champagne

Christophe Mignon Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Christophe Mignon’s NV Brut Rosé Pur Meunier is tremendous. Sweet rose petal, tobacco, dried cherry, star anise and cranberry are beautifully delineated in a vinous, beautifully textured Champagne that hits all the right notes. Intense, but also light on its feet, the Brut Rosé Pur Meunier is a wine readers will want to follow over several hours. The current release is equal parts 2013 and 2012 vintages, bottled with 6 grams of dosage.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
France – Burgundy

Vincent Girardin Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “A concentrated white, boasting peach, floral, spice and lemon aromas and flavors. There is density here, but also a sense of style and freshness thanks to the lively acidity. Offers a long, savory aftertaste. Best from 2017 through 2026.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92-94 points “(an assemblage of parcels, including 60% from the cooler, minerally Pernand side of the appellation): Bright, pale yellow-green. Vivacious aromas of white peach, lime blossom, menthol and crushed rock. Dense, tactile and adamantly dry, with excellent acidity giving a light touch and an early tightness to the lemon and lime flavors. This is actually more saline and typical of the cru than the Quintessence even if it has less material. Finishes very dry, classic and long.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Vincent Girardin Les Genevrieres, Meursault Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91-93 points “(from degenerating 60-year-old vines planted on SO4 rootstock; picked on the early side): Bright yellow-green. Vibrant aromas of yellow peach, white pepper, juniper and white flowers. Sappy and savory, but also very dry and uncompromising despite its roundness. This distinctly salty wine conveys a strong impression of soil. Enologist Germain believes that Genevières is more complex than Perrières and that it’s the only Meursault premier cru to merit grand crus status.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Vincent Girardin Puligny Montrachet Premier Cru Les Perrieres 2014 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 91-93 points “(from very old vines on S04 rootstock): Pale, bright yellow. Lovely floral lift to the musky peach and nectarine aromas. Fine-grained, suave and floral, with noteworthy mineral energy giving the wine a weightless impression. Finishes firm, long and vibrant, with a saline element. Really enticing peach fruit here; this wine will merit a score at the high end of my range if it develops more complexity during the final months of its élevage.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Domaine Perrot-Minot Gevrey-Chambertin 2009 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 91 points “An enticing red, packed with black cherry and blackberry flavors tinged by spice. Though solidly structured, with dense tannins, this is also smooth and harmonious. The lingering aftertaste evokes sweet fruit and more spice.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Domaine Perrot-Minot Les Beaux Monts, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2010 750ML ($199.95) $179 special
Antonio Galloni 91-93 points “The 2010 Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts is deep, dark and sensual. It currently comes across as young, but there is gorgeous fleshiness and mid-palate pliancy that makes the Beaux Monts totally irresistible.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $194
France – Beaujolais

Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-a-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2014 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Bright magenta. Exotic, highly perfumed aromas of ripe dark berries, blood orange, potpourri and spicecake, given urgency by a mineral flourish. Juicy and sharply focused, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry compote and violet pastille flavors and a touch of allspice on the back half. Finishes smooth, sweet and very long, with sneaky tannins adding structure and gentle grip to the wine’s plush fruit.”
Burghound 90-92 points “This is also noticeably reduced and impossible to assess aromatically. Here too there is good punch to the focused, intense and more mineral-inflected medium-bodied flavors that possess not only a different texture thanks to the additional concentration but also better depth, length and definition.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-a-Vent Les Perelles 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Burghound 89-92 points “Once again reduction dominates the nose. There is fine intensity to the rich and voluminous flavors that possess both good vibrancy and power before culminating in a moderately austere and impressively persistent finish. Note that this is going to require at least 5 to 7 years of cellaring first.”

Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-a-Vent La Roche 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Deep ruby. Intense red berry, cherry and floral scents along with hints of licorice and smoky minerals. Juicy and precise; a spine of acidity adds lift and structure. Weightier on the clinging finish, which features fine-grained tannins and an echo of sappy raspberry.”
Burghound 90-93 points “Top value. A potent nose of reduction and wood overshadows the underlying fruit. On the palate this is more restrained and tighter yet the mouth feel of the medium weight flavors is sleek, detailed and powerful, all wrapped in a wonderfully long, linear and highly complex finale. This is terrific though note that it’s going to need bottle age.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Thibault Liger-Belair Moulin-a-Vent Les Rouchaux 2014 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Dark ruby. A powerful, highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh dark berries, candied flowers and Asian spices, and a minerally nuance adds vivacity. Sweet, spicy and focused on the palate, offering juicy boysenberry and cherry compote flavors that spread out gracefully with aeration. Suave, seamless and powerful yet lithe, displaying excellent finishing clarity, subtle tannins and a whiplash of sweet blue fruit.”
Burghound 88-91 points “Strong reduction flattens the nose. Otherwise there is good richness to the fleshy and relatively forward middle weight flavors that possess good punch and detail on the well-balanced finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
France – Loire

Comte Leloup du Chateau de Chasseloir Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Cuvee des Ceps Centenaires 2012 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points “This mineral bath of a Melon features a mouthwatering savor akin to oyster liquor, accompanied by refreshingly bright lemon tinged with iodine and suffused with crushed stone. The palate is polished and palpably lees-enriched. Hints of moss and wet stone on the nose are reprised in a sustained finish transparent to a multitude of nuances. With something shy of 25-hectoliter-per-hectare yields, the 2012 crop here amounted to little more than half the Chasseloir norm, and the resulting concentration is formidable without engendering any sense of opacity or weight.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $22

Jean-Claude Dagueneau Domaine des Berthiers Pouilly-Fume 2015 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Case-12 Jean-Claude Dagueneau Domaine des Berthiers Pouilly-Fume 2015 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Winery note “100% Sauvignon blanc from 20 to 30 year old vines grown in Silex and calcaire soils. Golden green reflections. Discreet aromas on the nose with a hint of ripe orange. A taste of fruit drops and lemon peel on the palate.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

France – Rose

Chateau Simone Palette Rose, Provence 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
“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.”–Importer Note

Chateau de Trinquevedel Tavel Cuvee Traditionelle Rose, Rhone 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16.60 special
45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 10% Mourvèdre, 6% Syrah
Cold skin maceration for 12 to 48 hours in cement cuve, Direct press. Alcoholic fermentation lasts 20 days in cement cuve, at 17°C. Wine is aged in enamel-lined, stainless-steel cuves for 6 to 9 months. Wine does not go through malolactic fermentation

Domaine du Gour de Chaule Gigondas Amour de Rose, Rhone  2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
“The Rosé at Gour de Chaulé is made from the direct press method. The juice is quickly drawn off the skins (6 to 9 hours of contact), then fermented. A cold stabilization follows. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and is bottled in the early spring of the year following harvest. The Rosé is composed of Cinsault (50%), Grenache, and Mourvedre. This is a brilliantly colored wine with hues of pink and rose accompanied by flavors and a bouquet dominated by the impression of freshly crushed strawberries. Again, a limited amount of this wine is produced annually, only enough for us to have 1200 bottles per year for the US market.”–Importer Notes

Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2016 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rose, Loire 2016 1.5L ($79.95) $69 special
“Made exclusively of Pinot Noir harvested from several parcels … a mix of Oxfordian “caillottes” and Kimmeridgian “marne”. This Rosé is made using the direct press method with the whole berries entering the pressoir. The musts ferment in temperature-controlled cuves (85%) as well as a small percentage in older barrels (15%). The fermentation occurs over three weeks. The wines is bottled in the spring of the following year.”–Importer Notes
France – Provence

Le Galantin Bandol Rouge, Provence 2013 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 89 points “One of the more charming, forward wines from the vintage is the 2013 Bandol Rouge from Domaine le Galantin. Made from 95% Mourvèdre and 5% Grenache that was mostly destemmed and aged 22 months in foudre, it offers a rounded, fruit forward style to go with savory notes of garrigue, wild herbs and darker berry fruits. It doesn’t have a huge back-end, but it does expand nicely on the palate and will drink nicely for 5-7 years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Weingut A.J. Adam Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2015 750ML ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2015 Dhroner Hofberg Riesling Trocken comes from the south-facing part and from 60 to 65-year-old vines that were picked in the last week of October at 96° Oechsle. It was entirely fermented and aged in a single, traditional fuder barrel. This Riesling is intense in its citrus color and its concentrated, fascinating slate/quartzite and herbal aromas. This is a full-bodied, rich, finessed and elegant Hofberg with an intense and concentrated fruit, as well as a very long, vital and complex finish. It has aromatic fruit aromas in the aftertaste that remind me a bit of lychees, roses and Gewurztraminer. This is a very promising and age-worthy Riesling that should be kept for another 3-8 years.”

Maior de Mendoza Albarino Eleusis, Rias Baixas 2016 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special
VinopolNote: From one of the oldest Albarino producers. Vines for this wine average 30 years old.
Winery note “In ancient times, in the Mediterranean basin, mystery rites were held to have influence on heavenly bodies and elements whose aim was to favor harvests. The priestesses were named Eleusinians and the capital of the mentioned cults was Eleusis.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2016 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
“Made from the indigenous grape varieties of Hondarribi Zuri and its red companion Hondarribi Beltza. The wines are fermented in stainless steel and bottled with residual carbonic acid that gives the wine its natural spritz. By adjusting the blend to increase the amount of Hondarribi Beltza, the red txakolina grape, Ameztoi has made this rosé txakolina that retains all the freshness of traditional white txakolina but with a slight taste of strawberries and red candied fruit. Great for sipping while sharing a warm summer evening with friends.”


Reds to Chill (With)

And Also to Chill, Literally

In Case There Was Any Ambiguity


This time of year, there’s nothing we like more than a light red served with a light chill.  Nothing ice cold, mind you, but something a touch cooler than cellar temp.  These are wines that you can serve with almost anything, where the red fruits can go with steak or the texture and the chill make the wines refreshing enough to go with seafood or just a patio and sunshine.

We’ve rounded up a small collection of our favorites in this idiom, but almost anything from Beaujolais or the Jura would work wonderfully, too.  It feels good to finally feel the sun here in Portland and so we’re extra excited to share these with you today.

Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’, Maule Valley 2016 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Maitia ‘Aupa Pipeno’, Maule Valley 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 4 cases available (that’s only $10.67/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The super-tasty and gulpable 2016 Aupa Pipeño is a blend of País with some 30% Carignan (and whatever is found in the old vineyards) from a slightly cooler year. It keeps the style of previous vintages with the bright red fruit and the freshness of short macerations. In the dry-farming part of Maule they only saw 30 to 50 millimeters of rain when in the central valley they got 200! These grapes were harvested before the rain anyway, but the wine retains the freshness of a cooler year, fresher than 2015, more in line with the 2014 and 2013.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

May Sale Wine!
Bow & Arrow Rhinestones Red, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19.60 special, 23+ bottles available
Bow & Arrow Rhinestones Red, Willamette Valley 2015 1.5L ($59.95) $39 special, 30 magnums available
Case-12 Bow & Arrow Rhinestones Red, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($299.95) $219 special, 8 cases available (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Grapelive 94 points ” The 2015 starts with a nose of dark roses, spice, truffle and blue fruits leading to a vivid palate of black cherry, blueberry, plum and tart currant fruits along with walnut/cedar, peppery stones, sage/mint/anise, cinnamon and iron/mineral tones finishing long and lingering with strawberry, earthy beet root and lavender. The texture is amazing and the mouth feel is exceptional considering how alive and bright this brilliant medium weight wine is. It is a satiny stunner with glorious vitality and grace. Don’t over think the grapes or label: this wine is the new Oregon and it deserves your open mind and attention. Drink this over the next 5 to 10 years. What a truly fantastic effort! I’m a huge fan of Frank’s wines, but this is by far the best vintage of Rhinestones.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Maxime Magnon Corbieres Campagnes, Languedoc-Roussillon 2014 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 special, 25 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “Leading off the reds, the 2014 Corbieres Campagnes is terrific, and the greatest wine I’ve tasted from the estate in some time. It’s inky purple color is followed by textbook Carignan (it’s 100% Carignan) notes of black and blue fruits, liquid violets, plums, iodine and freshly crushed rock. This medium to full-bodied, elegant, seamless effort shows the potential of the variety and will benefit from 1-2 years of bottle age and keep through 2024.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Benedicte & Stephane Tissot Arbois Rouge DD, Jura 2014 750ML ($29.95) $21.90 special, 13 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 points “The first red was the 2014 Arbois Rouge DD, produced with one third each of the red grapes form Jura, Poulsard, Trousseau and Pinot Noir; it’s his light red wine with no sulfur. It was bottled one month before I tasted it in April 2015, after three months of maceration. It has an organic nose that mixes blood oranges and sour cherries. The palate is sharp and a little edgy, but it is easy to drink. 2010 was the first vintage for this wine.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Bodegas Avancia Cuvee de O Mencia, Valdeorras 2014 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(initially fermented in large stainless steel tanks, with malo in French oak barrels followed by six months of aging in the same casks before bottling): Deep ruby. Mineral-accented cherry, blackcurrant and licorice scents are complemented by a hint of dark chocolate. Coats the palate with vibrant dark berry and spicecake flavors complemented by candied lavender and licorice. Smoothly melds power and finesse and finishes on a youthfully tannic note, with very good persistence and repeating floral character. Offers serious bang for the buck.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!


Spanish Case Deals

(And One Portuguese, too)

Bargains by the Docena (Dúzia)

Case-12 Bodegas Roda Sela, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($399.95) $269 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $22.42/bottle!)
Bodegas Roda Sela, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($34.95) $26 special, 19 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2012 Sela will be released in March 2015, and it’s a great example of Sela. It opens to bright red fruit, more shiny than 2011, and is still pretty young showing faint lactic notes and more traces of the barrel that should be absorbed with time. 2012 could be fresher and more accessible. It’s an elegant and balanced wine, with some fine-grained tannins that will be polished with bottle age. The palate is very tasty and has almost salty flavors that are quite gentle and velvety. In 2012 Sela was a blend of Tempranillo with 3% Graciano and 1% Garnacha.”

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

Case-12 Buil & Gine 17-XI, Montsant 2014 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 4 cases available (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Buil & Gine 17-XI, Montsant 2014 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Brilliant ruby. Highly perfumed, evoking ripe cherry and blackcurrant that are complemented by slowly emerging aromas of cured meat, lavender and minerals. Enlivened by a spicy nuance, the silky, sweet and penetrating palate offers intense dark fruit and floral pastille flavors. Seamless and very nicely concentrated, with smooth tannins lending shape to a very long, fruit-driven finish.” JR

Case-12 Coto de Gomariz Blanco, Ribeiro 2014 750ML ($299.95) $199 special, 5 cases available (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Coto de Gomariz Blanco, Ribeiro 2014 750ML ($24.95) $18 special, 20 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “They have changed the label and image for the white 2014 Coto de Gomariz, which is mainly Treixadura with some 30% between Godello, Albariño and Loureira grown on different soils, granite, schist and clay in the village of Gomariz. This is an unoaked cuvée matured in stainless steel until the following spring when it’s bottled. The wine is very clean and expressive, serious, full of white flowers and with the fuller palate of the Treixadura, which gives it a great textured mouthfeel. Treixadura takes longer to ripen as it’s almost a tannic white variety, with a faint bitter aftertaste. This is a structured, complex white (despite being young), able to age and able to stand to powerful food, including white meat. Great showing for this wine in 2014.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $23

Case-12 Bodegas Triton Tridente Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon 2015 750ML ($249.95) $189 special, 4 cases available (that’s only $15.75/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Bodegas Triton Tridente Tempranillo Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon 2015 750ML ($19.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles available
Robert Parker 94 points “The 2015 Triton Tinta De Toro is a stunning wine from this relatively modest appellation and vineyard owned by Jorge Ordoñez and his partners. The wine, 100% Tinto de Toro, spent eight months sur lie in Burgundy and Bordeaux barrels. It is a killer example of Toro, which produces relatively full-throttle, intense wines from ungrafted vines. This beauty, inky purple in color, offers up notes of graphite, forest floor, blackberry and cassis in a full-bodied, pedal-to-the-metal, long, rich and concentrated style. At $20.00 it is a remarkable value and probably capable of lasting up to a decade, although there is no reason to defer your gratification.”

Case-12 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro, Vinho Verde, Portugal 2015 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 1 case available (that’s only $16.58/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Quinta do Ameal Loureiro, Vinho Verde, Portugal 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 11 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2015 Loureiro (bottled January 19, 2016) is unoaked, dry and comes in at 11.5% alcohol. I’ve been talking a lot about the great 2015s and also about how well this estate has performed over the years. (Check out the reviews of library wines this issue.) If it seems that the fates are pointing in this direction–you bet. The category, perhaps, also deserves some reevaluation upwards, but right here, right now, this has to go down as one of the best moments for the “regular” Loureiro in this fine estate’s history. (Admittedly, as I see some older ones continue to age and notably improve with age, the competition is increasingly stiff. They’ve exceeded expectations.) In any event, this 2015 is astonishingly wonderful, gloriously fresh and alive. It is one of the more aromatic wines I’ve had from Ameal. It is fun to just smell in its youth, very floral and almost exotic. It is also remarkably powerful. If it seemed quite nice on the first day, then on the second day the big acidic core took over, a hint of herbs popped up and it became even more powerful. The fine tension on the finish allows the fruit to linger and grip the palate. The juicy finish can make you drool. Reasonable in body for the grape, which in some years is more on the ethereal side, it seems multilayered, transparent and bursting with controlled flavor. As good as it was on the first two days, it seemed like the essence of Loureiro on the third day. As much as I preferred the library versions this issue for drinking now, here is an example of how delicious and exciting they can be when young, too. In that regard, this is built to age and we might have to wait a few years to be sure how truly great it is. If you don’t know top-end Vinho Verde and Ameal, you may be shocked at that. This will become more complex and (I suspect) flesh out over the next few years. It is, if anything, a bit too aggressive just now. You get this amazing value only because owner Pedro Araújo labors in Vinho Verde, where the top wines are undervalued. Take advantage. This is something you can buy a case (or two) of and likely drink happily over the next 15+ years. It will be something different and wonderful every time you come back to it.”


Freemark Abbey:

The Resurrection of a California Classic

Founded in 1886 by the first female winemaker on record in Napa, Freemark Abbey’s modern era started in 1967, when the winery was purchased and it quickly transformed into one of the most recognized and prestigious wineries in the 70’s and 80’s.  Unfortunately, over time, quality slipped and the reputation of the once legendary winery fell into a bit of obscurity.

After a few ownership changes, the winery was sold in 2005 to Jackson Family, who have poured money and attention into it in a way that hasn’t been seen since the original heyday of the winery in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Winemaker Ted Edwards was brought in and the winery has been on a steady path upwards ever since.  The wines are great and fairly priced, as well—they’re some of the best values in California Cab, Chard and Merlot.  We’re happy to present these old, new wines to you today:

Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($37.95) $34.40 special, 32 bottles available
Robert Parker 92+ points “The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Freemark Abbey’s generic bottling from Napa, is a brilliant example, and at $50, a heck of a value. It is also one of their larger cuvées at 24,332 cases. A blend of 75.1% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.9% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, this wine spent nearly 26 months in oak. Opaque purple in color, it exhibits beautiful blackberry and blackcurrant fruit with hints of white chocolate, allspice and tobacco leaf. It is rich, full-bodied, seriously concentrated, and has 2013’s relatively serious structure and tannic clout. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 25-30 years.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price is $40

Freemark Abbey Merlot, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 16 bottles available
“I tasted two Merlots from Freemark Abbey. The 2013 Merlot Napa, which comes from multiple sources, is their biggest cuvée (89.1% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec aged almost 16 months in oak). A deep ruby color, with notes of mocha, white chocolate, black cherry and dried herbs, the wine is medium-bodied, shows loads of supple, lush fruit, easygoing soft tannin and a round juiciness. Isn’t this exactly what buyers of Merlot are looking for? Drink it over the next 7-8 years.” –Robert Parker


Arriving This Week

Here’s a brief look at five of the many new wines arriving this week!

Bootleg Red Blend, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Bootleg Red Blend, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($419.95) $333 pre-arrival special (that’s only $27.75/bottle!)
Robert Parker 94 points “The 2013 Proprietary Red from Bootleg is a major sleeper of not only the vintage, but in its entire concept. There are just over 8,000 cases of this wine, which has been culled from KJ vineyards on Atlas Peak, Oakville, Mt. Veeder, Rutherford and Spring Mountain. The wine is a blend of 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petite Sirah, 21% Zinfandel, 12% Merlot, and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. That’s like throwing in the entire kitchen sink, but the result is a stunningly delicious, complex, big-time, sexy style of wine with a deep, opaque purple color, a beautiful nose of blackberries and blueberries, with some lavender Provençal herbs, licorice and a touch of espresso. The wine has a fabulous texture, a plush, full-bodied mouthfeel, and beautiful purity and depth. It’s something that could only be made in California, given the blend, but it is off-the-charts in terms of its hedonistic appeal. At the same time, it is complex enough to satisfy the intellectual senses as well. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. A big-time winner.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price is $35

Nicolas Maillart Brut Rose Grand Cru, Champagne NV ($71.95) $44 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, all from Bouzy; 6 g/l dosage; disgorged in January, 2014; L282143): Pale orange. Deeply pitched scents of redcurrant, orange pith, musky rhubarb and buttered toast. Densely packed red berry flavors are underscored by a chalky mineral note and pick up a hint of white pepper as the wine opens up. This lithe rosé packs a serious punch, finishing with excellent cut and length and repeating minerality.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $49.99
The average price is $57

Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy, France 2010 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “Roulot’s 2010 Bourgogne is another gorgeous entry-level wine. Smoke, slate, citrus and yellow stone fruits burst from the glass in this deep, fleshy Bourgogne. In 2010, the Bourgogne is rich and enveloping from the very first taste.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Veneto 2009 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: Giuseppe Quintarelli, the “Master of the Veneto,” established a fantastic reputation as the benchmark producer in the Veneto in the northeast of Italy and the inspiration for and instructor of many well-known producers in the region, including Romano Dal Forno.  When he passed away at the age of 84 in 2012, he left behind a sixty-year legacy as the stalwart supporter of a traditional and conscientious approach to winemaking.  His family now follows in his footsteps as the managers of the estate. Giuseppe’s attention to detail and quality in the vineyard and during the long process of winemaking are what set him apart.  He encouraged drastically small yields and trained the vines in the traditional Pergola Veronese system.  The Valpolicellas are intense with structure, finesse and great aging potential.  Due to the limited production levels, the exacting production methods requiring almost a decade before release, and the high demand for these wines, they are often difficult to find.

May Sale Wine!
R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Cubillo’ Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2008 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92 points “The first of the reds here is the 2008 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza from a cooler vintage that produced some austere and serious wines–a year with higher acidity and lively fruit. It feels effervescent and it makes you salivate. This is usually a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from 50-year-old vines that ferments in ancient oak vats, and ages in barrel for three years. This cuvée has increased its quality tremendously since the 1990s. These cooler years provide citric freshness, and a very fine texture and vibrant acidity. This is so easy to drink that it can be dangerous.This was the Rioja clarete fino–the everyday red. It’s both elegant and powerful. Very good value, too.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price is $27


Cameron Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

Arriving June 2nd

Cameron Winery Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($31.95) $24 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: Declassified barrels of Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique. This is the budget-friendly wine to pour to show the world what Oregon can do. Year in, year out, it’s one of the best values from the Dundee Hills. There’s red & black fruits, loamy soil and spice. Drink it now, save a case for later. Just do yourself a favor and stock up before it’s gone. Because Cameron wines never last on our shelf for long.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Newly Arrived from Cameron Winery:

Cameron Winery Spritz Rosé, Willamette Valley 355ML ($9.95) $7.90 special
Winery note “After the bountiful 2016 harvest, collaborated with Heater Allen Brewing to make a small batch of Spritz Rosé, a blend of pinot noir and pinot blanc enlivened with a hint of carbonation. It is conveniently packaged in a beer bottle with a crown cap closure and contains a bit less than 10% alcohol. This light, crisp pink bubbly is the perfect refreshment on a warm summer day while you are relaxing on the patio or floating down the river on an inner tube. Thank you for your attention.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Trending Pre-Arrivals

From Two Illustrious Producers

We’ve seen an incredible response for the new releases from Guigal & Catena Zapata. We’re offering two wines from both producers at some of the best prices in the country. Hurry – these are selling out fast and we anticipate all bottles will be sold before they arrive!

Arriving This Month

E. Guigal Condrieu, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special, ETA Late May
Wine Advocate 95 points “Guigal’s 2015 Condrieu is a blockbuster that, if not for its big brother, would be one of the wines of the vintage. Aged in one-third new barrels and two-thirds in tank, it’s a rich, unctuous, thrillingly textured beauty that has plenty of orange blossom, flower oil, tangerine and peach. Fruit-loaded, with just a touch of minerality, it should be drunk over the coming 2-4 years.”
James Suckling 94 points “Peach and apricot-pie character that’s very showy and very much within the sweet-pastry spectrum. There’s also some spicy appeal to complement notes of cumquat rind. Pithy and focused. The palate has an exotic, tropical thread of mangoes, peaches and cantaloupe melon. Very hedonistic and regal — full of fat and very convincing viognier. A great vintage. Drink young whilst exuberant!”

Arriving in September

E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, Rhone 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special, ETA September
Wine Advocate 99 points “Easily one of the greatest Condrieu I’ve ever tasted is the 2015 Condrieu La Doriane. A wine that needs to be tasted to be believed, it possesses a huge nose of toasted brioche, liquid rocks, apricot, flower oil and salty minerality. Unctuous, full-bodied, massively rich, yet also elegant and graceful, with beautiful freshness, enjoy this tour de force over the coming 5-6 years.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price is $104

“Nicolás Catena Zapata is justly credited with putting Argentinean wines on the world map—by the best expedient of focusing entirely on quality. It’s great to know he has started a wine dynasty, too.” –Jancis Robinson

Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino, Uco Valley, Argentina 2012 750ML ($129.95) $69 pre-arrival special, ETA September
James Suckling 98 points “Very dense and powerful with a tight palate of blue fruit and raspberry undertones. Salty with wonderful length and intensity. A blend of malbec from Nicasia Vineyard in Altamira and Adrianna Vineyard in Gualtallary. Drink in 2022 but so great now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $108

Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyards Malbec, La Consulta, Argentina 2012 750ML ($129.95) $59 pre-arrival special, ETA September
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2012 Malbec Catena Zapata Nicasia Vineyard feels fresher and more harmonious than the 2011, when in reality the vintage character is the opposite. It is sourced from the vineyard that names the wine and that is located in Altamira. The Malbec grapes fermented in open barrels and cement vats with 15% whole-cluster Cabernet Franc. There is one extra level of precision and harmony here. It has an elegant nose and the palate almost reflects the tension in the skin of the grapes with its a velvety texture and great acidity. This is really tasty and long, it could be the best Nicasia ever produced.”
James Suckling 95 points “Vivd aromas of currants and blackberries. So much dark fruit. Violets too. Full body, yet buttressed with a center palate of salty acidity and firm tannins. From grapes grown in Altamira. Persistent and vibrant. Drink or hold.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $113

More Great Finds

Arriving in September

Chateau Gazin, Pomerol 2009 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 96 points “Ferocious extract, huge tannin, an opaque purple color, and enormous richness all make for a potentially brilliant wine from this vineyard, located on the plateau of Pomerol just adjacent to Petrus. Probably a late finisher of malolactic given its showing on three separate occasions, this wine, which is enormously endowed, very rich, and full-bodied, has a chance to be the best Gazin ever made. However, patience will be a virtue, as the wine will certainly need 5-8 years of cellaring” RP

Chateau Gazin, Pomerol 2010 750ML ($149.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 96 points “Wow! This wine exceeded my enthusiastic barrel tasting notes. A big, back-strapping blockbuster from Gazin, in which the oak seems to be pushed into the background (thankfully), the wine offers up notes of caramelized black cherry and black currant fruit interwoven with mocha, white chocolate, subtle toast and hints of coffee beans and tobacco leaf. The exceptional aromatics are easily followed up by a full-bodied, powerful, broodingly backward, rich, intense wine with multiple dimensions, layers of fruit, and a sensational finish of close to a minute. This is one of the all-time great efforts from Gazin. It should be forgotten for 6-10 years and drunk over the following 30 to 40.”

Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc 2010 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Chateau Lanessan, Haut-Medoc 2010 750ML ($359.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “Aromas of currants, plums, and minerals follow through full body, with chewy tannins and a chewy finish. Needs time to soften. Serious depth to this wine. Better in 2015.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!


May Sale Recap

The Countdown to June Continues… Nine Days Left!

See the complete list of wines on sale now below!

may sale 5-22-17


Thank you for reading!