Monday Newsletter 6-24-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Final Week for the June Sale!

Weingut Keller:
A Staff Pick Estate

Cordero di Montezemolo

St. Damien Magnums

Oregon Spotlight:
Belle Pente

Trending Wines

Schaller’s Back

Thibaud Boudignon

La Fortuna Brunello

THE Rioja For You

June Sale Recap

Final Week for the June Sale!

Don’t miss these and other highlights:

Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) Was $28, Now $24 June Sale Special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2017 Côte de Brouilly is superb, unfurling in the glass with aromas of ripe cassis, candied violets and plums. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, rich and concentrated, structured around fine-grained but chewy tannins and tangy balancing acids, with considerable depth and substance at the core. The wine is still quite primary and will need some time to come together, but it’s an excellent rendition of this storied cuvée that resembles the 2011 vintage.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $29
Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($179.95) $108 June Sale Special
Case-6 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque – Fleur de Champagne Brut, Champagne 2011 750ML ($959.95) $599 June Sale Special (that’s only $99.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Always a light, ethereal style of wine, this is also very fresh and still young. It will age with its taut minerality from the Chardonnay in the blend. A softer background will become toasty over the next few years. The vintage date on this bottle is 200 years after the foundation of this producer. Drink from 2021.”

Lovely now as a Sauternes slayer, lovely in 20 years as a budget-friendly cellar treasure
Muller-Catoir Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten Riesling Auslese, Pfalz 2015 375ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $29 June Sale Special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2015 Riesling Auslese Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten is super pure and fine on the nobly concentrated, stony nose with its honey and bright fruit aromas. Rich, sweet, lush and piquant on the palate, this is an excellent Auslese with great finesse and a lingering piquancy. Despite its sweetness, this is a very stimulating and pure Auslese with great ageing potential. 2022-2050.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $59 June Sale Special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“A regal wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione Privata from Isole e Olena soars out of the glass with tremendous aromatic and palate intensity. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2014 has so much to offer. Once again, De Marchi crafted a Cabernet Sauvignon that exudes character. Today, the 2014 is vivid but also intensely saline and clenched. Another few years in bottle should do the trick. This fruit was brought in during the last week of October and first week of November, quite late, even by the standards of the year.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $76

See the complete list at the bottom of the newsletter!

Weingut Keller

Staff Pick Winery

Weingut Keller is a cult winery. It was a fascinating rise to watch, and trust us, we have mixed feelings, too. When once we were begging folks to just try the 2014 Vol der Fels (and stocking our personal cellars), now the wines barely last the day we send out an email offer.

We just received a handful of wines from the 2018 vintage. John Gilman reviewed and adored these. For those who haven’t heard of the winery, we estimate you have about six hours to pay attention. To those who love them already, please hurry!

Newly Arrived:

Weingut Keller Gruner Silvaner Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special 
John Gilman 91 points
“The 2018 Grüner Silvaner Trocken from Weingut Keller had been bottled only two weeks before my visit, but was showing beautifully. This is 11.5 percent octane this year and offers up a lovely and quite serious nose of tart orange, grapefruit, chalky minerality and a lovely, smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and beautifully balanced, with bright acids and lovely length and grip. Germany’s most popular wine to pair with white asparagus is outstanding this year and a great bargain! 2019-2040.”

This is the only listing on the West Coast!
Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
John Gilman 91 points
“I cannot recall ever having a better, basic Riesling Trocken from Klaus-Peter, and I am sure the ramping up of the average age of vines for each bottling is the reason for this! The bouquet is flat out stunning, soaring from the glass in a complex blend of pink grapefruit, blood orange, chalky soil tones, wild yeasts, dried flowers and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and again, really deep at the core, with great acidity and grip, superb focus and a very long, very classy and beautifully complex finish. This is not all that far off the quality level of the GGs fifteen years ago! It is a stunning value. 2019-2050.”
This is the only listing on the West Coast!
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
John Gilman 91 points
“The Limestone Riesling QbA this year is essentially the same wine as the Riesling Trocken bottling, except this cuvée has one full gram higher acidity and finished its fermentation at twenty-one grams of sugar. The wine is superb, offering up a complex bouquet of pink grapefruit, passion fruit, pulverized limestone, apple blossoms and a delicate topnote of wild yeasts. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish, complex and beautifully balanced, with a lovely core of fruit, fine focus and grip and lovely bounce on the long, succulent and flat out delicious finish. Just a lovely wine. 2020-2045.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Only 24 bottles available!
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2018 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
John Gilman 93 points
“The 2018 Limestone Riesling Kabinett was produced from selected parcels in the Kirchspiel and Abtserde vineyards this year. The wine is just beautiful, delivering a marvelous bouquet of tangerine, pink grapefruit, chalky minerality, citrus zest, apple blossoms and an esthery topnote of bee pollen. On the palate the wine is pure, delicate and medium-full, with lovely filigree and grip, great focus and balance, electric acids and a very, very long, complex and dancing finish. A glorious Kabinett! 2023-2060.”
This is the only listing on the West Coast!

Cordero di Montezemolo

Cordero di Montezemolo, in Barolo, was founded in 1340.  We’ll let that sink in for a second. That’s a long time, by any measure, and when you have one family, in the same place, farming the same land, generation after generation, they are bound to become really good at it.  That’s very true here.  Aside from a detour into and out of modernism in the 90’s, the Montezemolo wines have been really wonderful, classic examples of Piedmontese wines in their respective categories.

They’re best known for their Barolo, but don’t sleep on the excellent Barbera as well.  Those wines are delicious—well-made and extremely affordable, especially given the quality and pedigree of the wines produced.  The Barolo deserves the special attention it gets.  Super long lived and extremely complex (their wines from the 60’s and 70’s are stunning today), this version is one of the best 2014 Barolos we’ve tasted—which makes it especially noteworthy for the price..  We’ve just received these two stunners and are excited to offer these to you at outrageously good prices.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Cordero di Montezemolo Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($24.95) $16.60 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“This is rich and fruity, boasting black currant, blackberry, violet and earth flavors. Round and supple, with a light dusting of tannins on the lingering finish. Drink now through 2023. 4,500 cases made.”
James Suckling 90 points “A fruity and straightforward barbera with plum and berry aromas and flavors. Medium-to full-bodied, round and yummy. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Cordero di Montezemolo Monfalletto, Barolo DOCG 2014 750ML ($49.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2014 Barolo Monfalletto is a powerful, deep wine, especially considering that it was bottled not long before this tasting. A somber, dark Barolo, the 2014 is laced with the essence of black cherry, spice, leather and underbrush. Although not massively tannic, it is inward, closed and also unusually potent. I would give it at least a few years to be at its best. The 2014 is a decidedly serious Monfalletto that speaks in a baritone register.”
James Suckling 93 points “A little lift with woody and floral aromas here. The base line red cherries run from nose to palate seamlessly. There’s also an attractive, compressed density to the tannins here. Good polish. This is promising. Try from 2022.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Intense aromas of raspberry compote, forest floor, eucalyptus and oak-driven spice drive the nose on this fragrant red. On the firm, youthfully austere palate, assertive, fine-grained tannins provide support for Marasca cherry, licorice, mint and a note of French oak. Drink 2021–2026.”
Decanter 92 points “From this long established La Morra estate comes this imposing wine, heralded by its intense and pungent sour cherry nose. It’s rich, broad and fleshy, highly concentrated and spicy, showing admirable force and power without being aggressive. Despite the grip on the long finish, there’s a soft core of fruit at the heart of the wine.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $39.98
The average price is $48

St. Damien Magnums

Gigondas has become the shooting star of the Southern Rhone—occupying the space that Chateauneuf du-Pape did during the 90’s and early 00’s.  This is a region that’s producing electric, thrilling wines at prices that despite recent increases are some of the best deals in the world of the highest quality wines.  Saint Damien has emerged as one of the best producers and the recent scores from the Wine Advocate only highlight the quality emerging from their cellar.

These are some of the top wines coming out of the Rhone and we’re excited to offer rare magnums of their “Souteyrades” bottling from the 2015 and 2016 vintages. The vineyard yields the biggest, richest and most powerful of all of the wines that St. Damien makes and consequently it is the most sought after of the lineup.

The combo of vintage and vineyard mean that these are some of the best wines that St. Damien have ever made, at a price and format that means it’ll be perfect for parties or for laying down for a long time in your cellar.  Quantities are limited (we only were able to source 30 of these bad boys, between both vintages) and anyone who loves massive, dense Southern Rhone wines ought to have some in their cellar.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2015 1.5L ($109.95) $89 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The most opulent and voluptuous of the 2015s, the 2015 Gigondas Les Souteyrades is heavenly juice that, again, drinks well past its humble price point. Just loaded with notions of strawberries, framboise, spring flowers, dried orange peels and spice, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thick, unctuous texture, sweet tannin and a great, great finish. This cuvee is the normal 80/20 split of Grenache and Mourvèdre, aged all in foudre, and there’s just 750 cases made.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Like the La Louisiane, the 2015 Gigondas les Souteyrades spent a year in foudres prior to bottling. It a similar blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, but grown on north-facing gray clays. There’s more pepper and herb here, still wonderfully ripe raspberries but less chocolate. Full-bodied, it’s still silky and refined, with tremendous length on the finish.”
Grapelive 93+ points “One of the Southern Rhone’s most trusted traditional producers, Joel Saurel’s Domaine Saint-Damien …has many old vine cuvees as well as a lovely Cotes du Rhone bottling as well as a Gigondas Rosé that is high demand. The Vieilles Vignes Gigondas lieu-dit “Souteyrades” which sits on a small hill is a blend of 80% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre from a plot of 67 year old Grenache Noir vines planted in 1948 and 38 year old Mourvèdre on an outcropping of pure grey clay soil with a few stones scattered over, it makes for deep fruit intensity and concentration, I believe this is their most powerful cuvee and this is extremely apparent in this 2015, a rich and ripe vintage. The “Les Souteyrades” vinification is old school with maceration lasting for 6 to 8 weeks in concrete vats before moving to large oak foudres for about a year all from organic grapes that are carefully hand picked and sorted. This earthy and extremely dark Gigondas starts with melted black licorice, leather and deep berries, it’s seriously dense and concentrated with lots of heady weight and texture, gaining a ripe tone with extended air, and wonderful length showing layers of black raspberry, boysenberry, plum and grenadine on the full bodied palate along with that anise, floral incense, baked cherry, chalky stones and pepper spices. This Gigondas has a more of an old school Chateauneuf du Pape like presence in the glass, it’s still way too young to be rewarding yet, but decanting and swirling really helps, it will really unfold in the coming years, be patient, a few bottles hiding for a decade will be wonderful treasures, best from 2022 to 2030.”

This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($109.95) $89 special
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The 2016 Gigondas Les Souteyrades checks in as 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre that was brought up all in foudre. It’s another powerful, concentrated, awesome wine that has slightly more exotic notes of black raspberries, crushed flowers, spice, and sappy garrigue. I almost always find a citrus note in this cuvée, which is full-bodied, opulent and mouthfilling on the palate, yet always stays graceful and lively.”
This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!

Oregon Spotlight:

Belle Pente

Brian and Jill O’Donnell’s Belle Pente has been a core winery for us since the shop was founded.  Based out of a beautiful, lovingly farmed estate vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, Brian has been making some of the best wines in the Willamette Valley since he founded the winery in ’94.  They recently received (more) high praise from Josh Raynolds at Vinous and we can’t say we were particularly surprised—though we’re always happy for nice and genuine people to be rewarded for their efforts.

Stylistically, Belle Pente manages to be classically Oregon while showcasing his vineyards and the local climate, channeling his love of Burgundy to highlight the terroir to its fullest.  He’s also one of the few wineries able and willing to hold onto his wines in bottle before release to allow them to mature (the 2015 single vineyards were released Friday). And mature they will. These are not shy Pinots (they’re from Yamhill and Dundee, after all) but they have enough restraint to them that they taste clearly of the place, not the maker.  If you’re after richer Pinot that has vibrancy and zest and you haven’t had these wines you owe it to yourself to buy them. If you’ve loved Belle Pente in the past, the ’14/’15/’16 trio is among the strongest set of vintages they’ve ever produced and you should stock up accordingly.

New Releases In Stock Now:

Belle Pente Belle Pente Vineyard Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District 2015 750ML ($41.95) $37 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Shimmering red. Powerful aromas of fresh red berries, cherry pit, blood orange and minerals, with a touch of licorice adding depth. Sweet and seamless in the mouth, offering densely packed black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that put on weight and pick up a spicy topnote with air. Shows very good breadth and seamless texture, finishing with impressive clarity, harmonious tannins and a lingering red fruit preserve quality.”

Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, Yamhill-Carlton District 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95 points
“Deep, bright-rimmed red. A highly complex bouquet evokes red berry preserve and cherry aromas, along with sexy Asian spice, rose oil and smoky mineral accents. Shows impressive delineation on the palate, offering concentrated, spice-tinged red fruit liqueur, cola and spicecake flavors that pick up a strong floral pastille nuance with air. Finishes extremely long and pure, with fine-grained tannins providing shape and grip to lingering raspberry and bitter chocolate notes.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($39.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Brilliant red. Highly expressive aromas of fresh red/blue fruits, potpourri, baking spices and candied rose. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering penetrating raspberry, cherry liqueur and spicecake flavors that are highlighted by a zesty mineral note. Intensely flavored and sharply delineated, with an impressively long, perfumed finish that delivers firm mineral cut and resonating floral character.”

Winery Cellared Release!
Belle Pente Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points
“Vivid red. Mineral- and spice-laced aromas of fresh red berries and rose, joined by a hint of blood orange that builds in the glass. Clean and nervy on entry, then deeper and broader in the midpalate, offering energetic black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors complemented by a sweet touch of floral pastilles. Supple tannins build slowly on the sappy, penetrating finish, which hangs on with strong, spicy persistence.”
50% Belle Pente Estate Vineyard (Yamhill-Carlton), 25% Bella Vida Vineyard (Dundee Hills), 25% Murto Vineyard (Dundee Hills)

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Belle Pente Cuvee Contraire Rose, Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special
Winery Note
“We’ve been making this proprietary rose-style blend off-and-on since 2000, and this 2017 version honors our long-standing tradition of making something special out of odd lots and “left-overs” hanging around the winery. The inaugural release in 2000 included “orphan” lots of Pinot Blanc, white Pinot Noir, and Gamay blended together as a “marriage of convenience”, and became an instant hit. In 2017 we had a small lot of Gewurztraminer searching for a home, so we combined it with a few barrels of white Pinot Noir (captured as run-off from our processing line and barrel fermented as a white wine), and a splash of Pinot Gris. Since there is no Gamay in this years rendition, it is much lighter than previous vintages, and makes for a delicious summer sipper. 75% Pinot Noir, 13% Gewurztraminer, 12% Pinot Gris. Enjoy!”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Shop all the wines in stock now from Belle Pente on our web store!

Trending Wines

Lovers of Rayas, rejoice—this is fantastic stuff!
Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2016 750ML ($499.95) $389 special (that’s only $64.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 95-97 points
“As I predicted last year, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape La Guigasse has smoothed out considerably and seemingly absorbed the stemmy elements I noted previously. Still not yet bottled, it now offers wonderful fruit purity and intensity. Raspberries and cherries are delivered on a full-bodied, rich and creamy palate that somehow avoids any sense of heaviness. It looks to be a stunning example of 70-year-old Grenache from the sandy lieu-dit of the same name.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “Made from 100% Grenache in the La Guigasse lieu-dit, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse boasts a deeper ruby/purple color as well as a sensational bouquet of kirsch and black raspberries, spring flowers, rose petals, and exotic spice. This beauty builds on the palate, with terrific concentration, yet it always holds onto the more ethereal, elegant, seamless style of this estate.”
The average price is $76
2008 was a stellar vintage across Champagne and this is delicious.
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($399.95) $359 special (that’s only $59.83/bottle!)
Decanter 96 points
“It is quite something to be invited to the launch of Champagne Veuve Clicquot 2008 at Clos des Lambrays, one of the finest grands crus of Burgundy’s Côte de Nuits and acquired by LVMH in April 2014. It was rumoured to have paid close to €100m. The Veuve Clicquot 2008 is VC Chef de Caves Dominique Demarville’s first solo vintage. What fascinated him at Lambrays was winemaker Thierry Brouin’s consummate talent in capturing from the red iron-rich soil a wonderfully bright character in the wine- so fresh, rich yet elegant, density and delicacy in magical harmony. The same can be said for my two coups de coeur in Clicquot 2008. — Veuve Clicquot 2008 (Magnum) — Shimmering green-gold. Easily up several notches from the bottle. Perfect balance of freshness, ripe acidity and complex vinosity to come. Near perfect wine, patina of seasoned spice of subtle oak. — Elegant and complex Champagne with plenty of fine mousse and flavours of toast, smoke and roasted fruit notes to balance the fresh acidity. A refined and refreshing fullbodied wine in a gastronomic style with the potential to drink well for many years.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Very elegant, this is chiseled by racy acidity that’s swathed in the refined, creamy mousse and flavors of crème de cassis, preserved lemon, biscuit and dried apricot. Long and lacy on the smoke-tinged, minerally finish.”
Gilbert & Gaillard 93 points “Light yellow. Refined nose showing subtle notes of stone fruits and brioche. Lovely refined texture and bubbles, ethereal freshness and a tense profile on the palate. Precise yet streamlined. A beautiful rendition of minimalist elegance.”

From a rising star producer, this Cornas is stop and take-notice good.
Domaine Courbis Cornas Les Eygats, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Cornas Les Eygats is the gem in 2016 and has a fresh, focused, backward style that carries notes of crème de cassis, spring flowers, pepper, and crushed rocks. With full-bodied richness, good acidity, and impeccable balance, it’s a brilliant wine, but it’s going to need 2-3 years of bottle age to show its full potential.”

From the family behind Beaucastel, this Gigondas is truly special.
Famille Perrin Gigondas Domaine du Clos des Tourelles, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Case-6 Famille Perrin Gigondas Domaine du Clos des Tourelles, Rhone 2015 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
“The finest vintage to date, the 2015 Gigondas Le Clos des Tourelles comes from a tiny vineyard located just inside the village of Gigondas. Incorporating a touch of Syrah, this Grenache dominated beauty reveals a deep ruby/purple color as well as off the chart notes of black raspberries, black cherries, pepper, garrigue, and tons of that classic Gigondas spice. I wrote “Wow” more than once in my notes and this full-bodied 2015 has ultra-fine tannin, perfect balance, and a stacked mid-palate. Give bottles 2-3 years and drink over the following 15+ years.”

In Germany, Crusius is considered every bit the equal of Dönnhoff. This is why.
Dr. Crusius Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2016 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Stuart Pigott – jamessuckling . com 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.”
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “This offers an aromatic and smoky nose with plenty of fruity notes including quince, apricot blossom, apple, and a touch of banana, as well as mint and anise. The wine is beautifully balanced on the palate where it delivers presence and intensity as well as finesse and delicacy. The after-taste is full of smoke, delicately salty tartness and ginger. This is an outstanding slightly spicy dry Riesling in the making. 2021-2031”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Great value in more “serious” Prosecco.
Bisol Crede Brut, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG 2017 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Importer Note
“This wine is made from Glera, Veradiso and Pino Bianco grapes grown on the steep hills of the Bisol Vineyards. The first two varieties enjoy an ideal habitat in the clay-laden earth with subsoil of marine sandstone known as “crede” that is common to this part of the countryside. This type of terrain is particular and beneficial to the grapes, which do not suffer from aridity during critical periods but instead become notably enriched with noble acids, varietal aromas and fruitiness.”

Schaller’s Back

The Schaller family is a prime example of what we’re looking for in Burgundy.  These are honest, excellently made wines from a family with a long history of farming and a new generation bringing energy and commitment to the winemaking side of things.  They’re beyond fairly priced, which reflects their status as a relative unknown, but these wines are classic in every sense of the word.

Camille and Laurent Schaller are bright, young and talented and committed to making a name for themselves in the world of Chablis.  The Schaller family has grown grapes in Chablis for generations, but it wasn’t until the current generation went through enology school that they started bottling any on their own.  Initially they only made one wine (an AOC Chablis) but as grape contracts to negociants have ended they have increased the number of bottlings produced under their own label.

These are wines to buy and winemakers to watch—we expect them to be considered one of the stars of Chablis in the next decade.  Mostly fermented and aged in stainless, they use a small percentage of (used) oak on some of their top wines.  The results are stunning—bright, mineral and with that Chablisienne quality.  They just arrived and we’re excited to feature them for summer drinking or time in the cellar.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Domaine Camille et Laurent Schaller Chablis, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Domaine Camille et Laurent Schaller Chablis Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy 2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 special

Domaine Camille et Laurent Schaller Vaucoupin, Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 special

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Camille et Laurent Schaller Vau de Vey, Chablis Premier Cru 2017 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Just Arrived:

Thibaud Boudignon

Thibaud Boudignon has been one of the breakout stars of the last year or two.  The Savennières-based producer has rare gift of taking all of Chenin’s energetic richness and compressing it into a linear beam of mineral electricity.  These are some of the most electric white wines we’ve seen in the last few years and completely justify the hype and the high prices (relative to the region). Quantities are more limited than usual because of frost and hype, so if these are wines you’re after, grab them now.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc, Loire 2017 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc, Loire 2017 1.5L ($99.95) $85 special
Importer note
“With a tight core of saline terroir enveloped within ripe medium bodied fruit, this chenin blanc delivers a focused example of Thibaud’s style of ripe fruit matched with elegance and precision.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
The average price for the 750ml is $46
Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc ‘a Francoise..’, Loire 2017 750ML ($79.95) $61.90 special
Importer note
“Cut like a diamond with clean lines and explosive fruit. Long detailed finish that fans out with a touch of creaminess. Still evolving and will reward the one who has patience. A worthy homage to his mother and grandfather.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Thibaud Boudignon Rose de Loire 2018 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Importer note
“80% Cabernet Franc, 20% Grolleau from 25+ year old vines grown on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite (volcanic soil) and clay. Indigenous yeast fermentation of direct press rosé with no malo. Aged in stainless steel.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

La Fortuna Brunello

If geography were destiny, La Fortuna would be one of the most famous estates in Brunello.  It’s lucky for you and us, though, that their impeccable wines fly under the radar—the pricing for these beauties is well under what the market generally asks for this sort of quality.

La Fortuna’s vineyard sits smack dab in the middle of some of the best names in Brunello, just barely west of the town of Montalcino.  Casanova di Neri is less barely more than a half mile east on the same ridge and Fuligni is the next address down the road.  Luciani and Lazzeretti sit on the other sides of the vineyard, too—by all accounts this should be a Very Famous Estate.

Instead, La Fortuna’s wines represent a bargain for Brunello.  The winemaking shows lots of skill, but their humble personalities have kept prices reasonable, at least for now.  These are some of the most striking wines in the DOCG, with bold, rich flavors and lots of complexity.  Until the secret gets out, these wines represent some of the best opportunities in Brunello di Montalcino to drink fantastic wines (especially the 97 point Riserva) at below market prices.

In Stock Now:

La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Aromas of blackberry and cherry with flowers. Smoky. Hot stone. Medium to full body, firm and fresh tannins and a delicious finish. Beautiful now but needs a year or two to soften.”

La Fortuna Giobi, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Some ash and spice undertones to the cherry and berry aromas. Medium to full body, silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Linear and focused. Better in 2020.”

La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Spectator 97 points
“Perfumed, with wild herb aromas and a subtle mix of strawberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant and dense, with fine acidity driving the long finish. Though elegant, there is intensity and fine energy on the aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2028.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $93
La Fortuna Giobi, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Perfumed aromas of strawberry, cherry and rose burst from the glass, while wild berry, spice, tobacco and tea notes follow through and linger on the finish. Though tannic, there is sweet fruit to match. Shows fine equilibrium overall. Best from 2018 through 2032.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Arriving in September

The Critics Agree, this is THE Rioja For You

Since its founding in 1890 by five growers looking to pool together to make quality-minded, ‘modern’ wines, the estate has never backed down from its goal. They have expanded over the years to purchase some of the best vineyards in the Rioja Alta region. Today, they are still the standard bearer of the region. We’re excited to offer their 2009 release of the Gran Reserva 904. 2009 catches them in full flight. It’s a magnificent wine we’re offering at well below the national average!

ETA September:

La Rioja Alta S.A. Gran Reserva 904, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 97 points
“This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine… A wine for the cellar, but why wait?”
Tim Atkin, MW 96 points “(13.5%) Reflecting the excellence of the vintage, as well as its power, this is the latest in a superb run of 904 Gran Reservas. Combining Tempranillo with 10% Graciano for added backbone and grip, it’s a wine that is (as ever) supremely drinkable on release, but will reward further cellaring. Spicy, aromatic and enticing, with the vanilla sweetness of American oak, savoury tannins and a core of stylish, balsamic-edged fruit. Traditional Rioja with a modern accent. 2018-29.”
Peñín Guide to Spanish Wine 96 points “Podium Award Winner. Colour: pale ruby, brick rim edge. Nose: old leather, fruit liqueur notes, cigar, spicy. Palate: light-bodied, balanced, classic aged character, fine bitter notes, reductive nuances.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95+ points “This super classical cuvée showcases the wines from Haro, silky and elegant after long aging in oak and a good future in bottle. 2009 was a powerful vintage, ripe but with good balance. The blend is approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with a 78-day natural malolactic. The aging was in four-year-old American oak barrels crafted by their own coopers; the wines aged from April 2010 until April 2014. During that time, the wine was racked every six months, to be finally bottled in November 2014. This is usually my favorite wine from the portfolio, where the balance between aging and youth reaches its highest point. It’s developed but it keeps some fruit character, plenty of spices and balsamic aromas. The palate is polished but has some clout, with clean, focused flavors and a long, spicy and tasty finish. This represents good value for the quality it delivers. Drink: 2018-2034.”
Wine & Spirits 95 points “A ‘Year’s Best Rioja Wine.’ …This is the most inviting kind of Rioja, melding its American oak scents and delicate maturity of fruit into elegance. It has the kind of robust delicacy that would match seafood paella.”

June Sale Recap

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