Monday Newsletter 7-22-2019

In Today’s Newsletter:


2016 Domaine Durand:
Epic Vintage / Northern Rhone Secret

Top Values for the Summer

Cordero di Montezemolo

Reference-Point Napa
Philip Togni

On Sequitur

2017 Merkelbach

Rare Library Cappellano and Burlotto Recap

Top Values from Alto Piemonte
The Excellent Wines of Cantalupo

July Sale Highlights and Roundup


The greatest Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley?
We’ll argue it’s in the top five. 
Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay, Ribbon Ridge 2014 375ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Half-bottle (375ml)
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2014 Chardonnay Richard’s Cuvee knocks it out of the park with a nose of ripe apricots, pink grapefruit and guava underscored by fresh ginger, baking bread, beeswax and yeast extract hints with a waft of jasmine. Medium-bodied, the palate is very elegant and refined, with incredible freshness and depth wrapped in a lovely satiny texture, finishing with long lasting mineral and spices layers. Wow!”
Winery note “Dry-farmed chardonnay from a 1-acre parcel at Whistling Ridge, hand-picked, whole-cluster pressed. After a brief period settling the wine is racked into large French oak vessels. Fermentation and elevage lasts about 21 months on the gross lees. The shallow marine sediment soils and windy environs at Whistling Ridge produce a Chardonnay that is mineral, deep and long with chalky citrus fruit.”

Ask ten Champagne enthusiasts for their favorite value Champagnes, and Bereche NV will feature heavily. We just restocked but odds are this best-price-in-the-USA deal won’t last the week. 

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $40.90 special
2016 base, disgorged January 2019

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $55
Dolcetto is one of the most under-appreciated grape varieties out there. And it’s damn delicious. Fruit forward but with a refreshing bitterness to keep everything in balance, this is what the Piemontese drink while they wait for their Barbera and Nebbiolo to cellar. Abbona makes one of the finest, just ask Italian expert Antonio Galloni.Marziano Abbona Papa Celso, Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2017 Dogliani Papà Celso is a drop-dead gorgeous stunner. One of the most compelling wines in all of Italy, the Papà Celso captures the essence of Dolcetto from Dogliani in stunning style. The warm, dry year concentrated the flavors and textures, and yet all of the signatures are very much in place. A rush of black cherry jam, game, smoke, leather, and licorice infuse this super-expressive, beautifully delineated wine from Marziano Abbona. Don’t miss it.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $26
Any lover of Italian wine should have a case of Il Poggione’s Brunello in their cellar.  The combination of classical proportions and attention grabbing power and complexity is extremely rare in a wine, especially at these sorts of prices.  They are truly Great Brunello, along with names like Biondi-Santi, Soldera, Saliciutti, etc. except at half (or less) the price of its peer group. “precisely the type of year in which Il Poggione excels”
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Case-6 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($419.95) $369 special (that’s only $61.50/bottle and the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!)
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino lives up to the impeccable reputation garnered by this estate over the years. This is a profound and beautifully rendered Sangiovese that delivers bold and luscious fruit quality with black cherry and spicy plum at the start. The bouquet follows through with mild oak notes of smoke, tar and toasted nut. There is another aromatic component that includes crushed stone and dried herb or mint. This Brunello shows elegant evolution in the glass and promises a very long aging future ahead. Some 200,000 bottles were made, so it should be easy to locate this excellent wine.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 95 points “Bright red. Pure, refined red cherry and wild strawberry aromas and flavors complicated by sweet spices and aromatic herbs. Deep and multilayered, the wine boasts polished tannins and a harmonious acid spine that lifts and extends the red fruit on the long, suave finish. An essence of Sant’Angelo in Colle with bigger body and palate weight than, for example, the Brunellos of Montosoli, but still sleek and refined as the best wines of Sant’Angelo in Colle can be. The cool-climate-styled 2013 vintage is precisely the type of year in which Il Poggione excels: this lovely, focused wine is the best classico Brunello from Il Poggione in years. Superb.”

The average price nationally is $75
“This is one of the year’s best Brunellos”
Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($89.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 95+ points
“Il Poggione is a Brunello superstar and a vintage like this reveals every reason why that affirmation is true. From the second the 2012 Brunello di Montalcino pours into the glass, you know you are in for something special. The wine is darkly saturated and rich in appearance. Absent are those slightly amber or browning hues you often get with Sangiovese in a hot vintage. Nor does the wine show flat or tired characteristics. Instead, the quality of fruit is vibrant and rich. This is a healthy, generous and exuberant Brunello with dark density and succulent fruit flavors that are followed by integrated spice and tobacco. The balance is impressive and one thing you get here is fresh acidity. This is not to be underestimated, because the acidity quota in the 2012 vintage across the appellation is not as high or evident as usual. This is one of the year’s best Brunellos.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $59.99
The average listed price is $79

2016 Domaine Durand:

Epic Vintage / Northern Rhone Secret

The new 2016’s from the Durands are impressive.   It’s become harder and harder to find this sort of value in the Northern Rhone as the markets (the internet) locates inefficiencies quicker than ever.  Nevertheless, here we are—these are fantastic bottles at prices far below what comparable St. Joseph and Cornas producers are selling for.

Stylistically, these wines are right in the pocket, so to speak.  It’s hard to find Northern Rhone wines that combine soul and polish—it seems as if most of the new wines we taste are either hyper glossy or very rustic.  To hit that sweet spot, where your wines speak very loudly of place but are elegant, drinkable and age-worthy—that’s special indeed.  To make those sorts of wines at the prices that the Durands charge seems almost unthinkable.  You owe it to yourself to check these out and drink these up before they become yet another casualty of rising Northern Rhone demand.

“Consistently brilliant wines emerge from Domaine Durand, which is run with incredible talent and passion by Eric and Joël Durand. Located in the tiny village of Châteaubourg, they pull from roughly 22 hectares of vines, 8.5 hectares in Saint Joseph, 9.5 hectares in Cornas and tiny amounts in Saint-Péray and Vin de Pays. The brothers took over the estate in 1991, and while the winemaking is relatively modern, these are classic, pure, beautifully made wines that speak clearly to their region and terroir.“ –Jeb Dunnuck

2016 Domaine Durand Wines In Stock Now:

Domaine Eric et Joel Durand ‘Caprice’ Viognier, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2016 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 90 points
“The 2016 Vin de Pays Collines Rhodaniennes Caprice Viognier was harvested in October, two weeks after the family’s red wines. It offers plenty of Viognier character in its floral and apricot-like aromas, plump and succulent palate feel, and trace of bitterness on the finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Saint-Peray, Rhone 2016 750ML ($289.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“This team has made a terrific 2016 Saint-Péray, (50/50 Marsanne and Roussanne aged in 15% new oak) from an appellation that continues to produce more and more outstanding wines. Honeysuckle, white flowers, caramelized peach and white currant notes give way to a pure, elegant, layered white that has terrific purity and length. It’s going to drink beautifully for 3-4 years or more.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Pale yellow-gold. Fresh and incisive on the nose, displaying vibrant citrus and orchard fruit scents complemented by hints of honeysuckle and chalky minerals. Shows very good depth of flavor but comes off lithe, offering juicy Meyer lemon and bitter pear skin flavors that pick up a spicy ginger note on the back half. Closes very long and precise, delivering a firm snap of minerality and lingering floral character.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $27.99
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Premices, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Premices, Rhone 2016 750ML ($219.95) $179 special (that’s only $29.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Warm fig, blackberry and black currant fruit gives this a decidedly dark profile, while licorice root, dark olive and bay leaf notes score the finish. A tarry edge adds grip and length. Shows range and depth, and begs for cellaring. Best from 2021 through 2035.”Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Empreintes, Rhone 2016 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special, 15 magnums in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Ripe and focused, with mouthwatering acidity driving the core of steeped red currant, raspberry and blackberry fruit along. A bright iron note zings through the finish, pulling in light anise, savory and sanguine hints. Best from 2020 through 2035.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Cornas Empreintes features hints of cedar, brown sugar and dried spices layered over its plummy fruit (it was aged in 20% new oak, with the bulk in older wood). Full-bodied, supple and ripe, it’s charming but with more stuffing than that word suggests, showing ample concentration and soft, dusty tannins on the long finish. It’s a terrific Cornas to drink over the next 10-12 years.”-JC
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “Deep purple-colored, the 2016 Cornas Empreintes is a smoking good effort. Blackberries, plums, cured meats, pepper, and earthy notes all flow from this rounded, sexy, powerful Cornas that has beautiful mid-palate depth and density as well as a great finish. Drink this smoking good 2016 any time over the coming decade.”

This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Confidence, Rhone 2016 750ML ($59.94) $49 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Nicely put together, with a gorgeous core of raspberry, cassis and bitter plum fruit that has melded seamlessly with fresh bay leaf, olive, violet and alder notes. The long finish reveals a buried iron hint while the fruit sails through. Best from 2020 through 2035.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95+ points “The 2016 Cornas Confidence is the flagship cuvée of the estate and comes from the La Côte and Tézier lieux-dits in Cornas, both of which are shallow, granitic parcels. It’s slightly tighter and more focused compared to the sexier Empreintes and has more cassis and blackberry fruits as well as lots of cedarwood, ground pepper, and earth-like aromatics. This full-bodied, concentrated 2016 has beautiful purity, a ripe, layered texture, and building tannins. It’s a serious 2016 to drink over the coming 10-15 years.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Top Values for the Summer

Fabio Alessandria has a classical palate and a traditional winemaking style, and the Langhe’s diversity flourishes in his hands. His “Mores” manages to speak of Barolo and Burlotto through a different instrument and is undeservedly overlooked.

G. B. Burlotto “Mores” Langhe Rosso, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer Note
“Mores is a co-fermanted blend of 50% Nebbiolo and 50% Barbera. The Barbera functions very well in softening the tannins of the Nebbiolo and contributing bright acidity and berry flavors. This is a stunning red wine, whether you are a Barolo lover or not, it has all the depth, body, length of finish and finesse you would expect from a glass of fine red. Give it a try!”

The essence of Provence and our workhorse rosé every year. Chateau Peyrassol’s Commanderie is especially elegant and nuanced, with excellent minerality and poise.

Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Peyrassol Cotes de Provence ‘Commanderie de Peyrassol’ Rose 2018 1.5L ($51.95) $47 special
Importer note
“For us, this wine is the classic representation of the pink-tinted wines of this region and is the workhorse wine of the estate. It carries a pale rose color, a lovely fruit blossom nose and finishes crisply dry with a stony touch that gives it class and elegance. The grape blend is usually Cinsault, Grenache and Syrah in varying percentages. The average age of the vines is 25 years or more. The Rosés of Peyrassol are made from the direct press method. The grapes undergo cold maceration before being pressed. This gives them their beautiful watermelon pink color. The fermentation takes place under controlled temperatures and is exceptionally long, resulting in rosés that are both lively, fresh and full-bodied. As production has increased at Peyrassol with the additional plantings, we too have increased our purchases.”

High altitude, cool vintage Pinot from Kelley Fox is a winner. 

Scott Paul The Long Run Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2011 750ML ($59.95) $33 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points
“(12.9% alcohol; 20% new oak): Light, bright red. Sexy, high-pitched red berry and floral scents, with notes of star anise, underbrush and sassafras adding complexity. Offers intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors, along with notes of rhubarb, candied flowers and orange zest. This lithe, focused, pure pinot finishes linear and very long, with echoing floral and spice notes. Pinot purists should definitely check this one out.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Previously labeled as Les Gourmandises, this is now The Long Run in honor of Scott Wright’s completing his first full-length marathon in 2011. It’s all Nysa vineyard fruit, graceful and delicate, scented with rose water and satin smooth. Cranberry and wild strawberry fruit accents lead into a mouthful of cherry soda, delicate but lingering.”

Spanish wines are having a moment, particularly wines from the Bierzo region, and Raul Perez is THE winemaker to know. Perez has walked a different path than most and focuses on wines made from Atlantic-influence climates.  As a result, the wines tend to be impressive, but in an introspective, earthy way. The St Jacques is an excellent introduction to his style.

Raul Perez Ultreia Saint Jacques, Bierzo 2017 750ML ($22.95) $18 special
Case-12 Raul Perez Ultreia Saint Jacques, Bierzo 2017 750ML ($249.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The clean, floral and 2017 Ultreia Saint Jacques comes mostly from old vineyards from different soils in Valtuille and Villadecanes fermented in stainless steel and oak vats with part of full clusters and matured in used barriques for one year. It’s produced in a fresh and very drinkable way. This is one of the best values from Bierzo and Spain, and a great introduction to Bierzo. It’s a more serious wine than what the wine was when it was first produced, fresh and elegant. It’s very reliable and a great value. There are some 100,000 bottles that were filled in two production runs.”

Weingut Keller is a cult winery, and the staff favorite of the 2018 entry-levels is decidedly the Grüner Silvaner. 

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.”

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..

In Stock Now:

Cordero di Montezemolo Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2017 750ML ($24.95) $16.60 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
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!
The average listed price is $19
Cordero di Montezemolo Monfalletto, Barolo DOCG 2014 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
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 listed price is $46

Reference-Point Napa

Philip Togni

“Time passes, but nothing much seems to change at this reference-point estate on Spring Mountain. Philip, Birgitta and Lisa Togni continue to make classy, elegant Cabernet Sauvignons in a super-classic style that rewards aging. These remain some of the most distinctive wines being made in Napa Valley.” – Antonio Galloni

Philip Togni is one of the last holdouts from what might be called Old Napa.  Based on Spring Mountain, the Togni winery (now in the capable hands of daughter Lisa) has been turning out some of the best wines in Napa since the 80’s and they continue to make every bottle in the same style that made them famous in the first place.  If you want Napa Cabernet that combines rich fruit with structure, spice and earth in a package that isn’t Bordeaux but can age like one, Togni is one of the best remaining options.

In Stock Now from Philip Togni:

Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($169.95) $149 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points
“Medium garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has a very classic nose of cassis, warm plums and crushed blackberries with notions of cigar box, garrigue, damp soil and truffles plus wafts of menthol and underbrush. The palate is medium to full-bodied with a firm frame of grainy tannins and wonderful freshness, finishing long and minerally.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “A fleshy deep, wine, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate exudes richness and sheer exotic beauty from the very first taste. As always, the Togni wines need bottle age to be at their best. In 2015, time will mostly help the aromatics develop, as the tannins are quite soft for such a young wine. Expressive floral and savory notes develop with time in the glass, but the 2015 is years away from hitting its stride. It will be interesting to see where the 2015 goes in the coming years and decades. Sadly, yields are down a whopping 50%.”

Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($159.95) $138 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“A regal wine, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has really shut down following its recent bottling, which is probably a very good thing for its long-term prospects, although it does make the wine harder to read. Today, the 2016 is dark, powerful and quite savory, with tremendous persistence and class to burn. Translucent, deep and exquisitely layered, the 2016 has a lot to offer. Dark red cherry, plum, wild herb, cedar, tobacco and smoke build as the 2016 starts to open up in the glass. This is a jewel of a wine from the Togni family.”
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “A barrel sample, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is deep garnet-purple in color with loads of blue and black fruits—very spicy—with a fragrant earth undercurrent. The palate is medium-bodied and elegant with very fine, firm, ripe tannins and great freshness, finishing vivacious and earthy.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Youthfully tight, this mineral-edged style offers a core of currant and black cherry fruit, framed by iron, bay leaf, menthol and singed alder notes. A mulled spice edge emerges on the finish as everything slowly melds together, ending with a persistent tarry echo. Best from 2022 through 2038.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $146
Philip Togni Vineyard Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tanbark Hill Vineyard captures all the signatures of the Togni house style in a medium-bodied, accessible style that will be easy to drink and enjoy upon release. Savory herb, blackberry, crushed flowers, sweet tobacco and earthy notes give the 2016 its distinctive aromatic and flavor signatures. Silky and gracious to the core, the 2016 Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is a winner.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $70
Other Classic & Elegant Napa Cabs In Stock Now:Corison Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 12 bottles in stock now
#22 Top Cellar Selections in 2018 – Wine Enthusiast
Wine Enthusiast 97 points “This understated, elegant study in the variety opens in beguiling aromas of floral rose before opening into a finely made, structured and gracefully constructed wine that’s fully in balance. Leather, black cherry and dark chocolate highlight a midpalate of finely polished, tamed tannin and integrated oak. This is delightfully enjoyable now, but can stand up to aging; enjoy best 2020–2030.”
Grapelive 96 points “Cathy Corison’s 2015 Cabernet lineup is a spectacular set of wines with her Kronos and Sunbasket rising to utter greatness, but do not overlook her regular Napa Valley bottling which is seriously brilliant stuff and not far off her elite top two offerings. It just might be the best Napa Cab for the money out there… [She is well] known for her non-interventionist approach in the cellar, allowing the grapes purity to be the focus of her attention. Corison’s main wine has been and is a classic. Made since 1987, the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has been sourced from three benchland vineyards located between Rutherford and St. Helena, all on gravelly loams made from an alluvial fan formed from the Mayacamas range to the west. These soils make Napa Valley and are the underpinning of what makes Cabernet so great here giving the wines their depth, complexity and the velvety mouth feel. Corison’s 2015 shows wonderful concentration, a heady dark floral perfume and intense inky color in the glass…I always find a hidden sensation of the exotic in the Corison Cab, and the 2015 does not disappoint with a hint of dry port (without alcohol heat) and crushed violets before opening up on the full bodied palate to black currant, blackberry, blueberry and surprisingly bright cherry fruit along with savory tones, loamy earth, tobacco, sage, black licorice, wild mint and mineral notes, in a gripping and forceful wine that adds plum, creme de cassis, smoky vanilla and a cinnamon(y) spicy bite. Aged 20 months in small Bordeaux barrels, the 2015 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet gets better and better with every sip. It’s a bottle that you do not want to find empty on the table. It goes great with food, in particular with hard cheeses and lots of protein rich dishes, and while I was a huge fan of the 2014, this one is every bit as good and maybe just a bit more sexy.”

On Sequitur

Michael Etzel (founder and iconoclastic winemaker-in-chief of Beaux Freres) planted, farmed and now vinifies this site just up the hill from the Beaux Freres Upper Terrace vineyard. Like the Beaux Freres wines, it’s powerful and rich, with abundant Ribbon Ridge character.  We’ve re-stocked across all available vintages.

In Stock Now:

Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2014 750ML ($119.95) $79 special, 18 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 94 points
“Limpid ruby-red. Smoky, mineral-accented aromas of black raspberry, cherry cola and incense carry a strong spicecake overtone. Stains the palate with sappy red berry liqueur, spicecake and floral pastille flavors that are lifted and given definition and tension by juicy acidity. At once rich and nervy, with no excess fat but showing excellent depth and intensity of flavor. Finishes with sexy notes of candied violet and smoky Indian spices and superb, gently tannic persistence. This wine’s Beaux Freres bloodline is very clear to see.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Broad and spicy, open-textured and generous, with ripe plum and currant flavors, shaded by pepper, sage and coffee notes as the finish sails past fine-grained tannins. Completely harmonious and made to age. Drink now through 2024.”

Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2015 750ML ($119.95) $79 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points
“Deep brilliant red. A strikingly complex bouquet evokes ripe, mineral-accented red berries, cherry cola, vanilla, five-spice powder and sandalwood. Alluringly sweet, seamless and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated black raspberry, cherry liqueur, spicecake and lavender pastille flavors that are given spine and lift by a core of juicy acidity. Delivers a compelling blend of power and delicacy and finishes extremely long and smooth; rounded tannins frame the lingering red fruit preserve notes.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Pale to medium ruby purple in color, the 2015 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a very provocative nose of Bing cherries and cranberries over a core of red roses, game, yeast extract and underbrush. Medium-bodied, with wonderful energy and freshness, it has a lively backbone and long finish paved with very fine, ripe tannins.”
Winery note “Sequitur 2015 Pinot Noir “Two fold,” a collaboration between our Mother, the earth, those of us who “play” in the vineyard and winery, and you, the wine lover.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $100
Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($119.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 96 points
“Glimmering red. A hugely aromatic bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and potpourri, along with a bright mineral overtone and a touch of smokiness. Juicy, seamless and precise on the palate, offering potent, mineral-laced raspberry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Delivers a compelling blend of power and finesse and finishes with silky tannins, outstanding clarity and floral- and mineral-driven persistence.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Sequitur Pinot Noir has a lovely, open nose of black and red cherries and blackberries with notions of wood smoke, turned earth, autumn leaves, cardamom and potpourri. Medium-bodied, it floods the mouth with ripe black and red fruits with wonderful earthy/spicy accents, very fine, grainy tannins and mouthwatering acidity, finishing long with spice and floral layers. 480 cases produced.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.95
Sequitur Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2017 750ML ($119.95) $79 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94-95 points
“Lurid red. Spice-tinged blackberry and cherry aromas are complicated by suggestions of cola, incense and smoky minerals. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated dark berry and spicecake flavors and suggestions of rose pastille and mocha that build with air. Concentrated but also vibrant and precise in style, delivering superb finishing cut, well-knit tannins and impressive, fruit-driven persistence. (30% new French oak).”
Nick Stock-Jamessuckling 96 points “Beautifully deep, blueberries and plums on offer with notes of fresh violets and moist, fresh-tilled earth. This is full of life and very pure. The palate has focused and fresh tannins that sit in very vibrant style with a deep push of concentrated blue fruit, holding the finish in superb style. So fresh and long, this will age well. Drink across the next decade or more.”
Winery Note “TOTALITY—During the growing season of 2017, Oregon was treated to a total solar eclipse, where the moon passed exactly between the earth and the sun.  Day turned to night, the temperature dropped and the farm animals were disoriented.  The moment of awe was tempered with a deep sense of vulnerability, as we witnessed our world bow down to the power of nature.  May this 2017 vintage seeped in “totality,” bring you a fresh perspective.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

2017 Merkelbach

New Reviews!

The Merkelbach brothers are a legitimate cult sensation.  Both are in their 80’s without heirs (and in danger of retiring any year). Their old-school, delicate Mosel wines have captivated Riesling lovers for decades, but their increasing age creates a buying frenzy every year.  2017 is a bit of an unusual year for the estate, as the natural levity and playfulness is tempered by the seriousness of the vintage.  The result, though, is some of the most remarkable wines the brothers have made (possibly since their breathtaking 2012’s). Wine Spectator recently weighed in on three of the wines, featured below.

Newly Reviewed 2017s In Stock Now:

Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Spatlese #1, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“A refined version, with a lean profile, but still very expressive, displaying notes of yellow apple and white raspberry, echoing hints of saffron. Spice details linger on the inviting finish. Drink now through 2030. 102 cases imported.”
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points “The 2017er Kinheimer Rosenberg Spätlese AP 1 was harvested at 89° Oechsle. It offers a lovely and attractive bouquet made of ripe fruits including pear, peach, and a hint of pineapple, all wrapped into smoke and herbs. The wine is delightfully refined on the palate with juicy fruits but also nicely racy acidity. The finish is quite direct, comparatively light, and superbly fruity. While already showing well at this early stage, this fully fruity Spätlese will only really deliver in a couple of years. 2025-2037.”
Terry Theise note “Now this is a Merkelbach wine! Explosively fresh and spicy; here the botrytis is positive; the wine is energetic and flourishing, recalling the ‘15s. You can’t help but love it. It’s sweeter than they usually bottle but acidity carries it.”

Weingut Alfred Merkelbach ‘Urgluck’ Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Offers aromas of quince and honey, with the quince note continuing on the palate and combining with nervy citrus accents. Very suave and smooth, showing enough acidity for balance and dense flavors that carry through the finish. Drink now through 2031. 90 cases imported.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ürziger Würzgarten Spätlese “Urglück” was harvested at a whopping 96° Oechsle, i.e. well into Auslese category. It delivers a captivating and elegant nose of flowers, minty herbs and candied grapefruit. These are joined by riper scents of whipped cream and vineyard peach as the wine gains from airing in the glass. This delightful Auslese in all but name shows quite some creamy and ripe fruits on the palate yet remains at all time very delicate and refined. A touch of exotic fruits and honey make for a smooth and juicy feel in the long finish. A hint of zest comes through in the after-taste. This is a gorgeous Auslese-style wine in the making! 2027-2047.”
Terry Theise note “Probably the masterpiece of their vintage, but not an “easy” wine. Extreme sassafrass, and very stony, but a hyssop-y spice trails along a subtle vein of fruit. Mosel at its most masculine, but hugely impressive, with its serious “resting face.””

Weingut Alfred Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese #7 “Lang Pitcher”, Mosel 2017 750ML ($44.95) $33 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A light, zesty style, with jellied lemon, yellow apple and crème brûlée notes. Very refreshing and mouthwatering, featuring a lithe profile that makes this easy to drink now. Rose water and mineral aromas echo on the finish. Drink now through 2035.—A.Z”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese was harvested at 97° Oechsle. It displays a superbly aromatic, ripe and fruity nose of yellow peach, pineapple, honey, anise and smoke. The wine coats the rather intense palate with juicy yellow and honeyed fruits pepped up by a nice whiff of acidity. The finish is delicately smooth and long. This gorgeous “Auslese GK” in all but name only needs a decade to blossom. 2027-2047.”
Terry Theise note “All from the great cadaster Lang Pichter, this is really remarkable; huge fruit served by positive botrytis, classic “big-vintage” mien; a grand conversation among strawberry and kiwi and licorice and all with lovely surging fruit.”

Also In Stock Now:

Merkelbach Kinheimer Rosenberg Spatlese #2, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points
“The 2017er Kinheimer Rosenberg Spätlese AP 2 was harvested at 88° Oechsle. It exhibits beautifully complex and refined aromatics blending floral elements with vineyard peach, grapefruit and spices. The wine is slightly reductive at first on the palate as it displays quite some racy acidity wrapped into a straight and pure structure. Notes of grapefruit, orange zest and spices emerge in the finish and lead to a slightly herbal and freshly tart feel in the after-taste. This is packed with quite some elements and only needs a couple of years to fully shine. 2025-2037.”

Arriving Late July

Rare Library Cappellano and Burlotto Recap

Top Values from Alto Piemonte

The Excellent Wines of Cantalupo

The Piedmont outside of Barolo and Barbaresco remains a bit of a paradox: lovers of big, collectible Nebbiolo will readily concede that there are some amazing wines made there, but then turn around and proceed never to buy any, despite the fact that the best wines are outstandingly well priced!  If you love Barolo and Barbaresco, you should be paying real (fiscal) attention to the wines from Cantalupo, in Ghemme. Cantalupo remains one of the top producers in the appellation, making wines that are traditional with a touch of polish to them. They deserve to be considered among the elite wineries in Piedmont, not just in Ghemme and we’re excited to have received a new parcel of their wines arriving at the end of the year.

The best part?  The prices.  Most of Cantalupo’s wines are between $20-50, with a good chunk of them in the lower part of that price range.  We’ve got a wide selection of Nebbiolo based reds in stock right now, but also just received their fantastic white, rosé and sparkling brut rosé as well.  Up and down the line, these are wines that are surprisingly serious for their prices.  The white is a blend of Erbaluce and Arneis, the two great native grapes of the region, with a splash of Chardonnay for texture and power.  The rosé wines are based on Nebbiolo and have a bit of the seriousness inherent in the variety, but in a way that complements, not detracts from, the overall quality of the wine.

Just Arrived:

Cantalupo Carolus Bianco, Piedmont NV (2018) 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Case-6 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo Carolus Bianco, Piedmont NV (2018) 750ML ($129.95) $99 special (that’s only $16.50/bottle!)
A blend of Erbaluce, Arneis and Chardonnay.  This wine is all about contrasts–bright and crisp, but with some texture from the Chardonnay.  It has a melange of stone fruit on the nose and palate, but also a pleasant herbaceousness and a touch of spice.  Pairs with just about anything, including just by itself.

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Cantalupo Il Mimo Nebbiolo Rosato Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($21.95) $17 special
Importer Note
“Estate-grown Nebbiolo fruit, crushed and left to macerate overnight, then pressed off and fermented at low temperature. This is the first rosè from Nebbiolo that I remember from northern Piedmont, maybe 15 years ago, and it’s just delicious: raspberries, strawberries, fresh acidity. Nice bright flavorful complement to all kinds of foods (salmon, roast chicken, pork, salumi…). Don’t hold the price against it!”Cantalupo ‘Mia Ida’ Spumante Brut Rose, Piedmont NV 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92 points
“Very pale pink. Boasts extremely refined floral nuances to the vanilla and red cherry aromas and flavors. Bright and clean, with a lovely creamy presence on the palate and boasting sneaky concentration and complexity, not to mention a long precise finish. Lovely.”
Winery note “Light cherry, crystalline color, with fine and tenacious pearl. Fragrances of fruits, such as red apple, and violet flowers. Ready to drink, supple, fresh and with a good sapidity.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Other great picks from Cantalupo, in stock now:Cantalupo Anno Primo, Ghemme DOCG 2011 750ML ($47.95) $39 special
Cantalupo Anno Primo, Ghemme DOCG 2011 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Importer note
“Made entirely of Nebbiolo, normally picked in the middle of October. About ten days on the skins, aged in Slavonian oak casks of 1,500 and 3,000L capacity for 24 months before bottling. If you love Barolo and Barbaresco you owe it to yourself to try this wine; chewy but refined tannins, beautiful texture, very flavorful and aromatic, showing many of the same notes as Barolo and Barbaresco would, but with a mineral overlay that is very attractive. Completely traditional and also completely clean winemaking, my favorite. Drinkable now but will age beautifully for 20 years or more.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2010 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2010 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 92+ points
“The 2010 Ghemme Collis Breclemae is a powerful, austere wine and also the most tannic of the three Ghemmes I tasted from Cantalupo. Readers should be prepared to cellar the 2010 for at least a few years, as the bruising tannins are going to need time to soften a bit. Black cherry, wood smoke, licorice, tobacco and incense add to an impression of virile intensity. The Collis Breclamae is another wine with tons of cellaring potential.”
Winery note “Made entirely of Nebbiolo grown in the hillside vineyard called ‘Collis Breclemae,’ picked in the second half of October. About two weeks of maceration with the skins, then the wine is aged for 36 months in used barrels ranging between 900 and 2800L. Very rocky soil, which presumably explains the very distinctive mineral character the wine shows. Very round tannins that remind me of 70% dark chocolate, not at all bitter, just savory; this will age brilliantly, but if I’m eating ribeye now I would drink this with it in a second. Really big wine with excellent balance.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Cantalupo Collis Breclemae, Ghemme DOCG 2011 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special
Importer note
“Soil is made up of moraine (glacial deposit) which is high in minerals, rocks, gravel and sand. Grapes were destemmed and delicately pressed keeping the rolls of the destemmer sufficiently distant from each other in order to avoid the ill-treating of the grapes as much as possible. After the fermentation at 28-30 degrees Celsius, two pressings a day were carreid out in order to favor the extraction of the anthocyans and the polymerised tannins from the skins, which give that characteristic velvety, sweet and at the same time austere taste to this wine.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Cantalupo ‘Agamium’ Nebbiolo Colline Novaresi, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Grapelive 91 points
“The smooth and structured Agamium from Alberto Arlunno at Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is all from the Ghemme zone, but labeled Colline Novaresi DOC, which is known as Alto Piemonte… The 2016 Agamium by Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is delicately perfumed, lightly spicy and with exceptional purity of form with layers of classic Nebbiolo flavors including cherry, damson plum, strawberry and tangy currant along with faint tar, cedar, mineral tones and black licorice as well as the rose petal essences you find on the nose. There is good bright acidity [and] silken tannins, which highlights a vintage that should not be missed… Subtle earthy/savory elements come through on the background of this very pretty Colline Novaresi wine. This is absolutely a producer to check out and follow, and this wine is a beauty and top value. It can be enjoyed now and has enough stuffing to go 5 more years with ease.”
Importer note “Sourced from the vineyards of Carella, Baraggiola and Valera. Soil is made up of moraine (glacial deposit) which is high in minerals, rocks, gravel and sand. Hand harvested. Grapes were destemmed and then delicately pressed. The skins were left to soak for a relatively short period. Once the malolactic fermentation was complete the wine was transferred to small 9 hl. casks until Autumn. Agamium is Latin for Ghemme, wine region already known during the Roman era and even before that, during the Celtic era.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

July Sale Recap

Ten days left!

Vive La France!