Kicking off the June Sale
With Isole e Olena
Rosé of the Day:
Newest Releases from Chateau de Manissy
Antonio Galloni Champions Piedmont’s Lesser Wines
Value Rioja Wines
FX Pichler’s Awe Inspiring ’15s
Napa Perfection from Dominus
Kicking off the June Sale
With Isole e Olena
Stylistically, Isole e Olena occupies a place that is at once traditional and modern. Their Chianti Classico and their flagship Cepparello are both firmly rooted in the primacy of Sangiovese and the idea of Tuscan typicity. Elegance wedded to power, both of those wines show the nuance and bright fruit you expect from a classic wine of the region combined with the density and complexity of top tier, noble wines.
In a more modern sphere, de Marchi also produces mono-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah, which are made in a modern idiom. Elegant and polished they represent wines that are at the top of their class for each of the respective grape varieties, no matter the origin of the wine. We’re putting a slew of Isole e Olena’s wines on sale to kick off June and lovers of Italian wines are going to want to act quickly—once these sell out, the prices do too.
In Stock & On Sale Now:
Isole e Olena Collezione De Marchi Chardonnay Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $33 June Sale Special, 26 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points “A pretty chard, showing limes, green apples, kiwis, cinnamon and vanilla. Full body, creamy texture with fresh acidity. I like the roundness here. The finish is harmonious and long. Drink or hold.”
The average listed price is $42
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.”
The average listed price is $77
Wine Advocate 97 points “Hands down beautiful, The 2013 Cepparello is a creation of stunning elegance and balance. A pure expression of Sangiovese, this wine undergoes a sophisticated oak regime that sees ageing in various barrel sizes and barrique of various ages. It lives 18 months of its life in French and 3% American oak before being released. This vintage (that is cooler compared to 2012 and 2011) delivers an exceptionally soft and mellow bouquet with slightly sweet sensations of ripe cherry and fragrant blue flower. Soft tones of spice and cinnamon bring up the rear. The wine is medium to full in terms of body weight, and the finish is driven by cool tones of balsam and menthol herb. The 2013 Cepparello is one of my favorite wines of the vintage.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2013 Cepparello is superb. Polished, silky nuanced and exceptionally beautiful, the 2013 exudes freshness and energy from start to finish. Succulent red cherry, plum, lavender and rose petal are some of the signatures. Aging in French oak shapes the wine nicely without marking it excessively. The purity of the flavors is striking. This is an especially cool, savory Cepparello built on finesse and persistence rather than power. Rain during harvest robbed the wine of some of its breadth. Otherwise, this is a striking Cepparello. I can’t wait to see how it ages.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2014 Cepparello is one of the truly great wines of the vintage. Vivid and intense in all of its dimensions, it exudes purity from start to finish. Silky tannins, expressive aromatics and beautifully delineated, bright, layered Sangiovese fruit are some of the signatures. In 2014, Paolo De Marchi produced an epic Cepparello for the ages. Don’t miss it.”
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $66 June Sale Special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 1.5L ($179.95) Was $149, Now $138 June Sale Special, 9 magnums in stock now
James Suckling 96 points “Shows lots of black cherries, cranberry tea, caramelized orange peel, roasted herbs and citrus peel. Full-bodied with ripe and quite round tannins that frame layers of cherries. Bright and fresh, yet rich and long at the same time. The sangiovese character really springs out of the glass. Drink in 2020.”
The average listed price for the 750ml is $79
The next best price for the magnum is $179
“High-toned nose, rich in dried fruit, marmalade and salted nut aromas. Utterly delicious; intense and crammed with flavour – raisins, figs, orange peel – but relatively light on its feet with cracking freshness.”–Decanter Magazine
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $54.98
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2006 Vin Santo is quite powerful and viscous in the glass, perhaps a bit more so than is the norm. An exotic mélange of dried fig, honey, sage, baking spices and sweet herbs are all thrust forward. This is one of the most intense Vin Santos I can remember tasting at Isole e Olena. The 220 grams of residual sugar are clearly felt in the wine’s heft, yet all the elements are in the right place.” AG
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $55
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A wine of grace and stature, the 2007 Vin Santo is gorgeous. There is plenty of texture and plushness that is typical of the year, and yet the wine has more than enough acidity to play off the caramel, burnt sugar, dried cherry and floral notes. The wine’s midweight, understated style belies the 217 grams of residual sugar.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2007 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico (375-milliliters) aims high in terms of residual sugar (at 215 grams per liter), but you’d hardly know. This dessert wine shows great integration with sweet notes of candied fruit, honey, caramel and almond marzipan. There are floral notes as well with jasmine and honeysuckle, but you also get dusty mineral tones and some herbal notes tucked in at the back. This is a medium-bodied wine with enough balanced acidity to keep it light, tonic and refreshing. As always, Isole e Olena produces one of the most elegant and ethereal Vin Santos in Chianti Classico.”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $54.99
Popular Picks From the Weekend!
Krug Clos du Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($1099.95) $888 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2004 Clos du Mesnil captures all the pedigree of this epic Blanc des Blancs vintage. A soaring, majestic Champagne, the 2004 dazzles from the very first taste with its crystalline purity and brightness. In two tastings so far, the 2004 has been nothing less than a total showstopper. The vertical structure and pure, tightly-coiled power are the stuff dreams are made of. There is little doubt the 2004 is one of the very finest Clos du Mesnils in recent memory. Will it join the 1979, 1988 and 1996 as one of the all-time greats? Now, that is a tasting I would love to do!”
Decanter 98 points “2004 was a fantastic Chardonnay vintage in Champagne, and there’s no more definitive statement of its grace and beauty than this 1.84ha walled vineyard dating from 1698. The cool winter ceded to gentle mid-summer heat, followed by a prolonged Indian Summer when cooler nights engendered complexity and an almost cerebral linearity. Scents of yellow flowers, nectarine, hints of smoke and slate seduce and beguile, leading to a palate where hints of exoticism are tempered by a firm citric grip and an astonishingly long finish.”
James Suckling 98 points “Aromas of lemon sorbet, chalky notes and white flowers with toasted almonds, backed by a strong, stony mineral thread. Super acidity drive on the palate with a core of pure lemons and grapefruit. Long, smooth-tannin finish. This is both concentrated and elegant. A single location and single variety. Amazing quality here. Drink or hold.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “Evocative of a Bernini sculpture, this vibrant Champagne is equally about the statuesque frame of acidity and chalky underpinning as it is the finely honed details, including the silken texture, the aromas of lime blossom, saffron and incense, and the expressive, woven range of crème de cassis, espresso, kumquat, crystallized honey and toast flavors. Long and focused, echoing the rich profile on the finish. Drink now through 2034. 1,129 cases made.”
The average listed price is $1,075
#Trending Wines In Stock Now
Averaen Eola Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points “(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Vivid red. Spice-tinged black raspberry and cherry scents are complicated by hints of cola, pungent flowers and smoky minerals. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering energetic red and dark berry and vanilla flavors along with suggestions of rose pastille and blood orange that add complexity. Concentrated but vibrant and precise in character, delivering strong finishing thrust, interwoven tannins and excellent, floral-driven persistence.”
The average listed price is $47
Mayacamas Vineyards Chardonnay, Mount Veeder 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2016 Chardonnay is fabulous. A vivid, textured wine, the 2016 possesses remarkable finesse and intensity in all of its dimensions. Lemon oil and white flowers are amped up by the natural intensity of these old vines. The 2016 was fermented and aged in neutral oak, with no malolactic fermentation. Mayacamas is setting a new standard for what California Chardonnay can be. Don’t miss it.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Editor’s Choice. From the mighty dry-farmed site within the secluded appellation, this incredible wine is expressive in tones of flint, fig, pear and lemon peel, with lasting acidity that brightens and freshens the palate. Medium bodied, it’s soft in feel yet structured, balanced and complex.”
Rich, powerful, complex Sonoma Coast stunner.
Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 97+ points “The 2016 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard is pale to medium ruby-purple colored and opens with vibrant cranberries, pomegranate and Bing cherries scents with touches of underbrush, wild sage, red roses and mossy bark with a waft of tilled soil. Medium to full-bodied, the palate packs in the elegant red fruit and earthy layers, finishing on a long, lingering, provocative mineral note.-LPB”
The average listed price is $64
Domaine de Cabasse Jucunditas Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “A blend of 70% Grenache and 15% each Mourvèdre and Syrah grown at about 400 meters above sea level, the 2016 Gigondas Jucunditas is a silky, lush wine. Cherry, apricot and dark chocolate notes swirl about on the nose and palate of this full-bodied offering, which shows great length on the finish, picking up hints of licorice and cracked pepper. It’s a lovely expression of the appellation’s high-altitude terroir.”
Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape Boisrenard, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Case-6 Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf-du-Pape Boisrenard, Rhone 2016 750ML ($499.95) $419 special (that’s only $69.83/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “More complex and nuanced as well as powerful, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Boisrenard is a field blend (two-thirds Grenache and the rest a mix of varieties) that spent 18 months in a combination of older barrels, new barrels, and foudre. Its deep purple/ruby color is followed by a sensational perfume of blackberries, black raspberries, Asian spices, and graphite. With full-bodied richness, building tannin, remarkable purity, and a huge finish, it’s going to rival the 2001 as the best vintage to date. You should have this in your cellar.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Solidly built, with a sappy core of kirsch, blackberry paste and red licorice flavors tightly coiled together and backed by roasted apple wood, warm stone and tobacco leaf notes through the finish. The beautiful fruit should develop nicely with extended cellaring, as this has serious grip and drive. Best from 2020 through 2040. 800 cases made, 250 cases imported. — JM”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Just like the regular cuvée, the 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Boisrenard includes all 18 of the appellation’s permitted varieties, although it’s mostly (66%) Grenache Noir. Strawberries and raspberries shine on the nose, followed by a full-bodied palate that’s creamy-silky and lush but also bright, lively and long. It’s a super effort, at what should be a realistic price.(JC)”
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec, Loire 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
John Gilman 95+ points “The 2017 Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec is a stunning wine in the making. The bouquet offers up a superb constellation of apple, pineapple, quince, very complex minerality, honeycomb, orange blossoms and lanolin. On the palate the wine is pure, nascently complex and full-bodied, with superb depth at the core, bright, seamless acids, laser-like focus and outstanding grip and balance on the long, vibrant and stunning finish. This too will be approachable for a few years and then shut down for an extended period of hibernation, but unlike the Le Haut Lieu Demi-Sec, where early sampling would be perfectly understandable, to waste bottles of the 2017 Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec drinking it in its early window of accessibility would border on a crime! This is a legend in the making. 2018-2020.2030-2090.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec displays an intense golden-yellow color and a ripe, at the moment slightly diffuse bouquet of very ripe fruits, caramel, butterscotch and low sulfur, with very fine earthy notes in the background. Lush and very elegant on the palate, this is a powerful, intense and exuberant Chenin with firm, initially slightly astringent tannins and persistently juicy fruit. The wine is not as seamless at the beginning as the finest 2017s, but it gets much more balanced and juicy-piquant after aeration. At the end of the day, this is a pretty sexy Vouvray with Burgundian finesse. Tasted on March 2019.”
Textbook, excellent value Pinot Grigio.
Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($21.95) $14 special
Case-12 Terlato Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2016 750ML ($249.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points “The 2016 Pinot Grigio from Friuli is a value priced effort well worth your time and money. Citrus blossom, a touch of tropical fruits, and lots of honeyed citrus all flow to medium-bodied, nicely balanced, clean, and straight up delicious white that has plenty of texture and length yet stays fresh and lively. Drink up.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Heady aromas of pear, beeswax and white spring flower take center stage in this lovely white. The medium-bodied palate doles out white peach, citrus and almond flavors, with fresh acidity.”
The average listed price is $20
Rosé of the Day:
Newest Releases from Chateau de Manissy
We love the humble Chateau de Manissy rosés. The two bottlings pack a lot of punch from the biodynamic estate. Florian Andre has been the winemaker since 2004, after having apprenticed at Domaine de la Mordoree.
Just Arrived, In Stock Now:
From an idyllic parcel surrounded by forest, hand-harvested and biodynamic
Chateau de Manissy Tavel Cuvee des Lys Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery Note “Our 30 hectares Tavel vineyard, has very old plants, till 85 years, growing on a soil of sand and pebbles, favourable for Rosé wines. Planted on soft slopes in the ancient bed dating from the Secondary Era, it benefits of a maximum of sun. This strong aromatic wine, prolongs its freshness by an elegant and harmonious finish. Start your evening with this young and modern drink!”
The average listed price is $18
Chateau de Manissy ‘La Belle Etoile’ Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Chateau de Manissy ‘La Belle Etoile’ Rose, Rhone 2018 750ML ($159.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)
Importer note “Covering an area of 1.5ha, this site is bathed by the sun and swept by the mistral on a flat plain that rich in limestone with a clay subsoil. Entirely hand-harvested organic grapes that have a cold maceration before being pressed. Low temperature fermentation with indigenous yeasts, which allow the yeast to develop its fruit flavors. Aged in stainless steel tank. Given the name “beautiful star” by the Manissy Brotherhood’s missionary priest, the grapes originate from organically certified vineyards owned by wine-maker Florian André’s mother.”
Want to see all 80 rosés in stock now?
Just click here for the full list!
A Serious Passetoutgrain
Let’s get this out of the way first—I’m aware that Jeanniard’s Coteaux Bourguignon isn’t technically a PTG. On the other hand, I’m also aware that it’s 50/50 Pinot and Gamay and for every ounce of me I can’t figure out why Jeanniard uses the less well known AOC for his bottling. That’s a bit like the man himself, though—nothing’s done the easy way. From the farming of the grapes (all Royat method, which creates lower yields and harder-to-farm vineyards) to vinification (lots and lots of whole cluster), the man seems to march to the beat of his own drum.
That’s cool with me, though, because the wines he makes are fantastic. They’re rustic and old school. If you’ve ever wondered how Burgundy could be described as “hearty,” try his higher tier wines. This wine, with its wallop of Gamay, is bright, fresh and drinkable, though more serious than you’d expect given the price point and the blend. I’d love to slip this into a tasting of top end cru Beaujolais and see what people thought, but frankly it’s hard to hold off drinking them long enough to do something fun like that.
Domaine Alain Jeanniard Coteaux Bourguignons, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 27 bottles in stock now
VinopolNote: 50%Pinot Noir, 50% Gamay from the hillsides of Burgundy. This represents the entry level wine from the domaine and is a delicious vin de soif that drinks especially well in 2015.
The next best price is $23.99
Newly Reviewed & In Stock Now:
Cappellano Gabutti Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, only 6 bottles available
Antonio Galloni (NR) “The 2014 Barbera d’Alba is an intriguing wine in that it speaks more to the personality of the estate than to the year, or even to Barbera. The 2014 is a Cappellano wine, and that’s pretty much all there is to it. Succulent, pliant and expressive, the 2014 has a lot to say. On the palate, the 2014 expresses the mid-weight style of the year. Dark chocolate, plum and spice meld into the super-expressive finish. The 2014 was aged in a combination of casks and new tonneau, with the added textural depth from the smaller format oak quite evident. Many years ago, Baldo Cappellano asked me not to score his wines, so all Cappellano wines show up on our database as NR.”
Cascina delle Rose Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 91 points “Cascina delle Rose’s 2016 Barbera d’Alba offers a fabulous combination of fruit intensity and freshness. Striking aromatics meld into a core of rich, dark fruit, with hints of lavender, licorice and menthol that develop in the glass. Fifteen months in oak is very well judged. More importantly, the 2016 is a wine of real character and class. I loved it.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2015 Barbera d’Alba Superiore Donna Elena sees longer time on the skins and more time in oak than the straight Barbera. Not surprisingly, that approach yields a potent, dense Barbera. Red plum, flowers, white pepper and herbs add shades of nuance. The purity of the fruit is so striking I can’t help wondering if extended time in oak adds anything meaningful here or not. My impression is that it is the latter.”
Antonio Galloni 89 points “The 2017 Dolcetto d’Alba A Elizabeth is a very pretty, understated wine. Black cherry, plum, spice and licorice notes show the natural juiciness of the year, and yet the wine retains its mid-weight sense of structure. All of the fruit is from estate vineyards in the Tre Stelle district. This is very nicely done.”
Value Rioja Wines
In Stock Now:
The entry level wine from the most old-school producer out there.
R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Case-6 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($179.95) $133 special (that’s only $22.17/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92 points “The red they say was born to go with tapas and sold in local restaurants is the 2009 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza. 2009 was a warm and ripe year, and this blend of Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha (or the masculine Garnacho they like to use) plus 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo from limestone soils with quite a lot of clay, feels juicy and soft. It fermented with natural yeasts in large oak vats and matured in used barriques for three years. This is a bottling that has grown and improved a lot since 2004-2005. It shows very good balance between fruit and more developed aromas, with hints of leather and cherries, spices and smoke, very clean and with good volume in the palate. It’s usually a little riper and with higher alcohol than Tondonia or Bosconia, with the character, finesse and elegance of a classical Reserva. 93,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2013.”
The average price nationally is $28
R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($44.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $33.17/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion’s share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is a remarkably lively wine for a 12-year-old Rioja with notes of licorice and dried cherries and a very elegant tannin structure that runs through the medium to full body of this red like a silk thread. The dry finish is long and polished. Drink or hold.”
There are a few modern touches here, giving Muga’s flagship excellent richness
Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($319.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Josh Raynolds 92 points “(aged for two years in a combination of new and used French and American oak barrels) Bright ruby. Expressive aromas of ripe red fruits and candied flowers, along with allspice, vanilla and pipe tobacco topnotes. Juicy and appealingly sweet, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry-vanilla and mocha flavors and a spicy nuance that emerges as the wine opens up. Finishes sappy, penetrating and quite long, with smooth, slow-building tannins that fold smoothly into the wine’s sappy fruit.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “The 2014 Muga Reserva checks in as a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and the balance Mazuelo (aka Carignan) and Graciano. This deep ruby/purple-colored effort gives up textbook currants, smoked earth, leather, espresso, and graphite aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, ripe, voluptuous and sexy on the palate, with sweet tannin, it’s a charming, forward vintage of this cuvée that dishes out loads of pleasure.”
The average price nationally is $28
Remelluri Rioja Reserva, Rioja 2012 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Remelluri Rioja Reserva, Rioja 2012 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Deep ruby. Ripe red berries, dried flowers, illicit herb and smoky minerals on the exotically perfumed nose. The palate offers spicy, penetrating, concentrated flavors of black raspberry, cherry compote and floral pastilles, with a zesty mineral quality building in the glass. Shows excellent clarity and intensity on the very long, floral, gently tannic finish.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The flagship 2012 Reserva was cropped from a year when they started seeing the results of improvements made to the work in the vineyards that started in 2010. 2012 was not as warm and ripe as 2011, and the wine comes through as a nice balance between power and elegance, with some earthiness, good fruit and a fine palate. It has a personality between the Labastida and San Vicente bottlings of the Lindes bottlings. It matured in barrique for 18 months, but the wood feels very well integrated. 2012 was a shorter crop, and they produced some 281,000 bottles. It was bottled in April 2015.”
The next best price is $36.95
Remelluri ‘Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de San Vicente’, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Remelluri ‘Lindes de Remelluri Vinedos de San Vicente’, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($179.95) $128 special (that’s only $21.33/bottle!)
James Suckling 96 points “Some richer, darker and deeper fruit character with plums, blackberries and a dark, earthy streak. The tannins are more upright, more elevated, and the fruit is richer and darker than in the Labastida. This has real presence, grip and energy. Try from 2021.”
A stellar value, traditionally minded Rioja from an old-school sherry house.
Bodegas Hidalgo Tradicion H Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2012 750ML ($31.95) $16.60 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Cellar Selection. Heady aromas of malted milk ball, ripe berry fruits and tobacco are warm and welcoming. Hailing from a warm year, this feels full but playful, with tannins that are only mildly scratchy. Flavors of vanilla, tobacco, butter, herb and dried berry fruit are textbook for Rioja gran reserva, while this takes a while to fully unfold on the finish. Drink through 2035.”
Bodegas Exopto Bozeto, Rioja DOCa 2017 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 35 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 90 points “The full, plum-cake nose and the supple and slightly sweet palate make this easy to drink, but there is some structure behind all that and the finish is well balanced and quite long.”
FX Pichler’s Awe Inspiring ’15s
Sommelier and Riesling Legend Paul Greico once said, “If F.X. was a guitarist, Jimmy Page would stand aside” and no truer hyperbole has ever been uttered in the world of wine. F.X. Pichler stands as one of the two or three most important Austrian producers and hands down the winery crafting the most powerful, complex and bombastic dry Riesling and Gruner Veltliner on the planet.
The wines of F.X. Pichler are unique, in that no one else seems to wrangle power, freshness and complexity into a single package quite like this wizard of the Wachau. With a combination of intensive viticulture, native fermentations and great terroir, the wines are unlike anything else in the world. Broad and powerful, with a cut and minerality that’s unique, these are wines to drink now and to age, as well.
In Stock Now:
F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Kellerberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 19 bottles in stock now
F.X. Pichler Durnsteiner Kellerberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2015 1.5L ($179.95) $133 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points “Like the Liebenberg from weathered granite and gneiss soils, but in a higher and cooler spot, the 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Kellerberg opens with an intense and herbal-flavored, rather spicy and stony bouquet of ripe and concentrated bright fruits. Full-bodied, ripe and piquant on the palate, this is a rich and powerful, well-concentrated and elegant Kellerberg with a rich extract and a long and persistent finish. The 2015 should be cellared for at least another 3-5 years.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today for the magnum!
Wine Advocate 93-94 points “The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg comes from 70- to 80-year-old vines on a rare calcareous slate soil. The wine displays a very clear and pure, pretty open and lovely spicy, crystalline and flinty bouquet with ripe pip fruit aromas. Very distinguished and rather coolish in its expression. Full-bodied, round and elegant, with tension, salt and grip in the finish, this is a charmingly ripe and juicy but also challenging mineral and piquant Veltliner from one of the most exciting terroirs. The finish is powerful and complex but also fresh and stimulatingly piquant. Pichler has bottled this wine since 2010.”
The average listed price is $53
Wine Advocate 92-93 points “From probably the warmest vineyard of the Wachau, the 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Loibenberg is a full-bodied, rich and intense, very juicy, but also piquant and mineral Veltliner with tobacco flavors on the nose. Dense and with an old-vines intensity, this Loibenberg offers ripe yellow stone fruits with a tropical touch, but is also very well structred and finishes with a long and salty aftertaste. An impressive wine.”
The average listed price is $47
F.X. Pichler M Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2015 1.5L ($189.95) Was $169, Now $149 special, 1 magnum in stock now
Wine Advocate 94-95 points “The 2015 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd M is a selection of the ripest (overripe) grapes from the Loibenberg, Kellerberg and Liebenberg. Harvested in the last week of November and macerated for 20 to 24 hours, this is a rich and creamy textured yet elegant and vibrantly fresh Veltliner monument with finesse and purity and a long and tension-filled finish. Great salinity and concentration. An elegant and expressive wine for XXL drinkers.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Freshly cut pear, some peardrop candy and a wonderfully zippy lemon freshness combine on a light, slender body into a very refreshing, even exciting palate that also has very slight echoes of yellow miso and fresh lovage. There is focus and precision—but this may need a little bottle age before unfolding completely. Drink 2017–2022.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 95-96 points “A pungently smoky, incisive, savory mélange of sage, dark tobacco and black pepper is allied to ripe peach and garlanded with heliotrope in a head-turningly intense nose. That full range of elements reprises on a polished palate, whose textural caress and sweet sense of ripeness are combined with welcome, tangy, chewy counterpoint of peach skin and a refreshingly juicy squirt of fresh lime. The finish offers a mouthwateringly prolonged, kaleidoscopic interaction of fruity, savory and smoky elements – plenty rich, yet with rare cut and animation for its vintage.”
F.X. Pichler Loibner Loibenberg Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2015 375ML ($39.95) $33 special, 4 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “Warm and intense on the nose, ripe and concentrated white fruit aromas open the 2015 Riesling Smaragd Loibner Loibenberg, which is pure and citric on the nose and very inviting. Pure, fresh and piquant on the palate, this is rather coolish and stunningly lean and pure Loibenberg compared to the corresponding Grüner Veltliner. Lucas believes that Riesling has eventually stopped the ripening process during the vegetation period. This 2015 has grip and tension and a rather coolish character.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Offering a predictably riper impression than the corresponding Steinertal, this delivers peach, Persian melon and banana, with a garland of rose petals that could have come from Gewürztraminer. Yet for all of its ripeness and the expansiveness of a glycerol-rich palate, it manages to convey a lovely sense of lift, while hints of peach kernel and grapefruit zest lend welcome, stimulating counterpoint to the impressively sustained finish.”
The average listed price for the 750ml is $55
David Schildknecht–Vinous 91-92 points “Reliance on late-harvested Loibenberg fruit resulted in a bottling that finished with too much residual sugar to qualify as Smaragd. (More thoroughly shriveled Loibenberg fruit resulted in a B.A. and T.B.A.) Lusciously ripe peach is tinged with banana and mingled with almond extract and liquid heliotrope perfume. Fortunately, a measure of grapefruit is not only pungently fragrant but also brightly juicy and piquantly zesty, helping – along with piquancy of peach kernel – to offset this bottling’s enveloping richness and sheer surfeit of ripe, sugar-reinforced fruit. The impressively sustained finish is, however, not at all overtly sweet.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “A flinty whiff of reduction shows what a young wine this is. Otherwise the nose is still tightly closed. The palate promises sleek concentration and is still taut and tightly coiled. There is a firm promise of citrus fruit, zest and freshness. The purity already sings. This will take time to blossom, so wait and you are in for a fabulous, zesty, fresh treat. Drink 2019–2035.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93-94 points “White peach and grapefruit aromas mingle with honeysuckle on an enticing nose, and the three reunite on a glossy palate lusciously ripe and loaded with liquid floral perfume but simultaneously exuberantly and invigoratingly bright. The finish offers prolonged counterpoint of fruity, floral and stony elements. This bottling displays a combination of penetration, refinement and balancing acidity that is rare for an Austrian Riesling of its vintage.”
Napa Perfection from Dominus
Wine Advocate 100 points “A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc aged in 40% new oak, the 2016 Proprietary Red Wine is deep purple-black in color and quite reticent at this youthful stage to begin, offering up subtle notions of potpourri, Indian spices, cigar box and iron ore over a core of crushed blackberries and black cherries with intermittent wafts of black and red currants, new leather and smoked meats. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a densely packed mid-palate and oodles of freshness framed by very ripe, finely grained tannins and laced with compelling earthy accents. It offers incredible vibrancy with tons of black and red fruit sparkle in the mid-palate leading to a provocative mineral element on the very long finish. If I could give more than 100 for this one, I would. To be released in May 2019.”
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points “Another possible legend in the making is the 2016 Dominus, a classic blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot and the rest Cabernet Franc brought up in 40% new French oak. Pure, pristine notes of charcoal, cold fireplace, smoke tobacco, and both blue and black fruits all flow to a full-bodied 2016 that has incredible elegance and finesse, yet also depth and density. It’s more backward and reserved than the 2015 and needs 4-5 years of cellaring. It will unquestionably live for 25-30 years.”
James Suckling 98 points “The opulence of fresh flowers and dark fruit is so impressive. There’s so much going on, from flowers to currants. The palate is full and powerful, but what impresses most are the ripe tannins and the amazing poise at the finish. Tightens down at the end. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, eight per cent petit verdot and eight per cent cabernet franc. Drink in 2021.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2016 Dominus is a dark, somber wine. I don’t quite see the explosive energy of the 2013 or 2010, not the seductiveness of the 2012, but the 2016 has a distinct charm that is all its own. Quite frankly, I can’t remember a young Dominus with this combination of fruit density, freshness and polished tannins. A huge center of fruit emerge with time in the glass in a big, large-scaled Dominus that should provide readers with a long drinking window of pure pleasure once some of the baby fat wears off.”
Dominus Estate Napanook, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 96 points “This is a flamboyant red that offers hazelnuts, dark berries and a hint of chocolate. Full-bodied with round and soft tannins. So fresh. So rich, enticing and layered. A blend of 84 per cent cabernet sauvignon, nine per cent petit verdot and seven per cent cabernet franc. Delicious now. Drink or hold. April 2019 release.”
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