Monday Newsletter 7-29-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Spottswoode Re-Arrives Tomorrow!

July Sale: Final Days

Featured New Arrival:
Champagne Savart

Top Pinot Picks from IPNC Weekend

Staff Pick

Trend Alert!

Do Not Miss: 2016 Dagueneau

Argiano Solengo

July Sale Recap

Arriving Tomorrow:


Spottswoode makes one of the most iconic wines in Napa from their beautiful estate vineyard. Their wines have been some of the most collectable, age-worthy wines in Napa since they hit it big in the 80’s and the wines easily compete with cult bottlings twice their price.  We quickly sold out of our allocation of the perfect 2015 version when it arrived earlier this year but have managed to secure another eighteen bottles, arriving on Tuesday.  Now’s your second (and probably last) chance at this landmark Napa bottling—and act quickly because it’s not going to last long.

Arriving Tuesday, July 30th

Spottswoode Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena 2015 750ML ($249.95) $225 pre-arrival special, only 15 bottles available!
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the deep purple-black colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon has a beautiful nose of dried roses, lavender and Chinese five spice over a core of warm blackcurrants, kirsch and wild blueberries, plus wafts of fallen leaves and dusty earth. The medium to full-bodied palate features the most amazing intensity of perfumed red, black and blue fruit flavors supported by exquisitely fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length and depth. Truly stunning.”
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points “A more exuberant, sexy wine than the 2014, yet still in the house style emphasizing elegance and purity, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate knocks it out of the park with its huge nose of crème de cassis, plums, Asian spices, scorched earth, tobacco leaf and graphite. This flows to a full-bodied, opulent, incredibly concentrated wine reminiscent of the 2013 on steroids. Full-bodied, with building tannin, integrated acidity, a stacked mid-palate, and a great finish, this is a tour de force in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from one of the greats. It has three to four decades of life ahead of it.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses off the charts ripeness as well as a level of exoticism that recalls the 2010. An infusion of dark red cherry, plum, white flowers, leather, tobacco and menthol accompany this super-expressive, sumptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Violet, licorice and a host of spiced nuances develop with time in the glass. In 2015, Spottswoode’s Cabernet is decidedly luscious and flamboyant, but I would give it a few years to shed some baby fat. There is plenty to look forward to.”

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

July Sale Ends This Wednesday

Here’s some of our favorites:

A mélange of delicious flavors – this Champagne is warm and inviting. Stock up for the holidays or a chilly night by the campfire.
Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) Was $36, Now $33 July Sale Special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points
“Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $38
The classics get classic for good reason – Delas is the OG in richly concentrated Northern Rhone. 
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes-Marquise de la Tourette, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $59 July Sale Special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $88
Bitouzet-Prieur produces nothing short of classic age-worthy wines that are genuinely reflective of the terroir in each of their parcels. 
Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Pitures, Volnay Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($59.95) Was $56, Now $47 July Sale Special, 18 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92+ points
“Bright red. Classy but reticent nose hints at bitter cherry. Densely packed and seriously concentrated, showing superb stony lift to the flavors of black cherry, violet and licorice. Really wonderful 2013 energy and density here, along with sneaky sweetness of fruit. Shows a youthful medicinal aspect but this is a bomb of primary dark fruits (Bitouzet described it as “a Pommard that changed its sex”). Finishes broad and long, with ripe, dusty tannins.”

To have an estate in the tiny Red Mountain AVA of this quality, though, is a truly special thing—a secret weapon in creating some of the finest wines in the state.  
Force Majeure Estate Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $75, Now $69 July Sale Special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93-96 points
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $79.96
“Dönnhoff is like Bach, another order of being. This ’17 is precisely what this wine is in its best vintages.” –Terry Theise
Donnhoff Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2017 1.5L ($189.95) Was $159, Now $139 July Sale Special, 3 magnums in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points
“This 2017er Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg GG, referred internally at the Estate as Felsentürmchen (there is a tower depicted on the label), delivers a beautifully restrained and delicate nose of may tree, quince, orange blossom, a hint of fennel and coconut, all wrapped into smoke and aniseed herbs. The wine proves superbly zesty and focused on the palate, where it gradually gains in weight and presence. Yet the finish is also quite pure and zesty and tastes fully dry. The after-taste is all about gooseberry, yuzu and smoke. This racy Riesling will need a couple of years to develop its full complexity, but the underlying material is already breathtakingly good. 2027-2047.”
Stuart Pigott-JamesSuckling 95 points “Lovely fresh-pineapple and yellow-grapefruit notes with hints of smoke and flint. The palate is concentrated, cool and dry with a very long, mineral finish. From organically grown grapes. Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $149.99

See the complete list of wines on our July Sale at the bottom of this newsletter, or shop them on our web store!

Featured New Arrival:
Champagne from Savart

This is another stellar set of wines from Fred Savart. There is not much else to say. Minimal handling allows for a very pure expression of the sites Savart works with. As always, these are rich, vinous Champagnes built on textured,multi-dimensional profiles.– Antonio Galloni

Savart L’Accomplie Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $55 special
Case-6 Savart L’Accomplie Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($379.95) $309 special (that’s only $51.50/bottle!)
Savart L’Accomplie Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special

Disgorged October 2018. Blend is 50% 2016 and 50% 2015.
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The NV L’Accomplie is a blend of equal parts 2016 of 2015 vintages. Dried apricot, pear, dried flowers and chamomile are some of the notes that grace this mid-weight, sublime, totally refined entry-level Champagne from Fred Savart. All the elements are impeccably balanced in this sublime, refined Champagne. L’Accomplie is 80% Pinot and 20% Chardonnay from Ecueil and Villers-aux-Noeuds. Dosage is 5 grams per liter.” [Review is for November 2017 disgorgement in 750ml]

These are the lowest listed prices in the USA today!
The average price is $68
Savart L’Ouverture Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $44 special
Case-6 Savart L’Ouverture Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($299.95) $249 special

Disgorged October 2018. Blend is 2016/2015/2014.
James Suckling 92 points “A very fragrant blanc de noirs with 20 per cent of the second press and three years on lees. The wild red fruit is super fresh, delicate and floral; the lees time has this on a neat, reductive edge. The palate is very fine, fresh and crisp. Great depth and elegance here. Drink now.”
These are the lowest listed prices in the USA today!
The average price is $68

Don’t miss the vintage Savart Champagnes arriving later this month! View the wines here.

Top Pinot Picks for IPNC Weekend

This weekend is IPNC—the International Pinot Noir Celebration.  Just down the road from us in McMinnville, it brings together Pinot enthusiasts and top winemakers from around the world.  There are focused tastings, lectures and discussion panels on all things related to making and drinking Pinot Noir, culminating with a giant Salmon Bake that’s an exercise in the best sort of excess.  If you haven’t been to IPNC before, we definitely recommend going. It should be a bucket-list event for any lover of the grape.  In the spirit of the weekend, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite wines made from Pinot Noir from all over the world.

Abbey Ridge is one of the most special sites in the Willamette Valley—a high altitude vineyard with old vines in the Dundee Hills.  Cameron is the top producer from the vineyard and their version is a wine we buy to cellar every year.  It’s one of the essential bottlings in the Valley and has everything we love about Oregon Pinot Noir.

Cameron Winery Abbey Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Abbey Ridge is one of the most hallowed sites in the Willamette Valley.  Planted in 1975, the Pinot Noir here is own rooted and at one of the highest elevations in the Dundee Hills.  The elevation and classic Jory soils give the wine an intense personality—high toned, elegant and tensile, with good power and a strong voice.  This bottling has been one of the defining Oregon Pinots since John Paul started making it.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $71.99
Bonus Pick: Cameron’s Abbey Ridge Chardonnay
Cameron Winery Abbey Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Abbey Ridge sits high atop the Dundee Hills; a collection of vines planted on their own roots in the mid-70’s. It’s unquestionably one of the most special sites in the Willamette Valley and though it’s better known for Pinot Noir, the Abbey Chard is fantastic.  This is the most limited of the Chardonnay bottlings from Cameron and isn’t produced every year (there was no 2014 version).
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $72
Sequitur is a new project from an old hand—Mike Etzel, founder and longtime winemaker at Beaux Freres.  Made entirely from the vineyard of the same name that he planted (which abuts the legendary Beaux Freres Upper Terrace), it’s a full bodied, richer style that exudes class and polish. This is classic Ribbon Ridge—dense, bold and full of personality.

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
The average price is $95
2011 was the coldest vintage in Willamette Valley history.  The wines were lean on release but have developed into beautiful, elegant wines.  This bottling from Scott Paul, from the Nysa Vineyard in the Dundee Hills and made by Kelley Fox, is a perfect example.  Red fruited, zesty and floral, it’s still young but presents beautifully as an old-world example. 

Scott Paul The Long Run Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2011 750ML ($59.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
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.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
A newer name on the Willamette Valley scene, Averaen’s Eola Springs single vineyard captures the windswept Eola-Amity Hills perfectly. Blending flavors of dark red and black fruits with a distinct minerality that’s reminiscent of the nearby Temperance Hill vineyard, this is a statement bottle.  The pricing is on-point as well—a nice reminder of what you can buy locally for a reasonable tariff.

Averaen Eola Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $42.75
Hartford’s Seascape is an epitome of classically Californian Pinot Noir.  Big, bold and muscular, it nevertheless has a beam of energy imbued by the proximity of the vineyard to the ocean.  This is a powerhouse bottling of a pinot with everything we love from the Sonoma Coast.

Hartford Family Winery Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points
“Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Seascape Vineyard comes from a ridgetop vineyard located west of the town of Occidental. Aged 17 months in 27% new French oak, it offers a savory, marine-influenced bouquet of wild strawberries, cranberries, rose petals, and Asian spices. With medium to full body, supple tannins, and a great, great finish as well as a singular character, this magical Pinot Noir from this team will benefit from a year in bottle and keep for over a decade.”
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”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $66
Arnot-Roberts is a top producer in the Neo-California mold, producing wines that are inspired more by Burgundy than their neighbors.  Wiry, red fruited and floral, this is a testament to a talented winemaking team and a very special site (owned by Ross Cobb). It’s far from the mold of the Hartford Court, but as a pair they illuminate the range of possibilities in the Sonoma Coast.

Arnot-Roberts Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2017 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 8 bottles in stock now
This wine is not listed on our web store, please call/email/stop in to order.
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2017 Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard is another gorgeous wine in this range. Silky, radiant and supple, the 2017 offers a striking combination of fruit richness and the more floral/savory qualities that make this site so distinctive. Dark red cherry, rose petal, sage, mint and lavender meld together in a mid-weight yet rich Pinot loaded with personality. It’s always interesting to taste wines from this Sonoma Coast vineyard that is best known for wines made by Williams-Selyem and proprietor Ross Cobb himself. I loved it.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $75
The average price is $82
Kalin remains a winery that’s un-emulatable in the California wine world.  Classically made and held back decades before release, these wines combine California fruit with the earth and savoriness that comes with age and a restrained style. Their Pinot is unique and this one, from the cool 2000 vintage, is an excellent introduction to the style.

Kalin Cellars Cuvee DD Sonoma Pinot Noir, Alexander Valley 2000 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 10 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 95+ points
“My goodness, where has the time gone? Here is a pinot noir from Frances and Terry Leighton that actually has its roots in the twenty-first century! It happens to be from the Demostene Ranch, home to Kalin’s finest pinot bottlings since at least the 1978 vintage and it is flat out stunning. The deep, pure and beautifully developed bouquet offers up a complex constellation of red and black cherries, roasted gamebird, forest floor, beautiful spice tones (cinnamon, cardamom and cloves), woodsmoke, an exotic hint of eucalyptus and cedary oak. On the palate the wine is focused, complex and beautifully wide open and refined on the attack, with an excellent core of fruit, superb soil signature, still excellent, tangy acids, ripe tannins and a long, perfectly balanced and complex finish. This is still a relatively young wine on the palate (even at age nineteen!) and could do with a bit more time to relax in the cellar, but with decanting, it is awfully easy to drink today. It is still early days for this stunning bottle of pinot. This is one of the best vintages of the Cuvée DD I have ever tasted! 2019-2055+.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Of all the sections, this was the toughest to offer “highlights” from.  We have over 400 different red Burgundies available on our webstore (in stock and pre-arrival) from humble Bourgogne to the grandest of Grand Cru.

Cazetiers is as classic a Gevrey-Chambertin vineyard as you can find.  Faiveley’s version is always one of the strongest in the estate’s lineup and represents everything Burgundy enthusiasts love about the village in a top year.  This is one to put away in the cellar for a decade or so, but given time it’s going to blossom into something very, very special.

Domaine Faiveley Les Cazetiers, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 94 points
“From bottle, Faiveley’s 2016 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Cazetiers is showing very well indeed, unwinding in the glass with aromas of blackberries, cassis, dark chocolate, grilled game, bergamot and warm spices. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, textural but full of energy, with a gourmand core of succulent, sapid fruit that cloaks its rich, satiny tannins, concluding with a long, subtly carnal finish. Surpassing my recollection of it from barrel, this is an unequivocally superb Cazetiers.”
Burghound 92-94 points “(from a huge 3.96 ha parcel). Reduction and wood currently overshadow the underlying fruit. There is first-rate intensity and power to the concentrated broad-shouldered flavors that possess a velvet-textured mid-palate while delivering outstanding length on the balanced and only mildly rustic finale. If this can add even more depth it could very well merit the upper end of my predicted range. In sum, this is a classic example and as such, it’s very much destined for a long snooze in a cold cellar. (92-94)/2033+.”
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points “Bright dark red. Reduced on the nose. Then silky, penetrating and classically dry on the palate, conveying an impression of medicinal reserve to its flavors of black fruits, smoke and minerals. The serious, granular tannins reach the front teeth. Very tactile wine but a bit youthfully stunted.”

We’re always on the hunt for rising star producers and Thierry Glantenay looks to be an absolute comet. Based in Volnay, his top wines (of which Santenots is very much one) are pure Volnay in their ethereal lightness.  It’s always hard to call a $90 bottle a steal, but given the way his career and Burgundy prices are trending we expect this will look absurdly cheap in a few years.

Domaine Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Les Santenots, Volnay Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“[Translated] From 55-65 year old vines on clay-limeston and loamy soils. Appreciated for its finesse, the Volnay Santenots is considered the most feminine wine of the Côte de Beaune. Bright ruby, its aromas are delicate and complex: violet, currant, cherry, spices, game, and prune. The freshness, the texture and the tannins are harmoniously balanced to give a charming, suave and fleshy wine, endowed with a beautiful energy.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Vosne is the jewel of the Cote d’Or—the most hallowed place in the world of Burgundy. The old vines botting from Desaunay Bissey has everything typical about the village.  It’s full of spice and silk, with beguiling fruit and aromas that are exotic but not over the top.  Vosne often produces wines you want to smell for hours on end and this is no exception.

Bruno Desaunay-Bissey Vosne-Romanee Vieilles Vignes, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 90 points
“The 2015 Vosne-Romanée Village is excellent, opening in the glass with a classic bouquet of black cherry, currants, game bird and rich soil. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, with juicy acids, supple tannins and a sappy core of fruit. This doesn’t hit the highs of the domaine’s grander appellations, but it is an attractively unpretentious communal wine with creamy old-vine concentration, and it should evolve attractively over more than a decade.”
VinopolNote: From 80+ year old vines, farmed sustainably.  The bulk of the holdings of the estate are in the village of Vosne and the wines show the touch of someone who has lots of experience with these wines. A really superb villages level Vosne.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $77
Value Burgundy in a vintage like 2015 becomes a much easier proposition.  The warm year meant that villages like Marsannay (just north of Gevrey-Chambertin) have more richness, smoother tannins and greater depth than usual. Collotte always produces exceptional value wines this is no exception.

Domaine Collotte Marsannay Les Boivins, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 90 points
“The core flavors of black cherry and blackberry are wrapped in oak, lending vanilla and sweet spice details along with a layer of tannins. Just needs a little more time. Best from 2020 through 2028. 110 cases imported.”
Importer Note “The Marsannay Boivins is lieu-dit in Marsannay Villages, on vines over 40 years and varying limestone soil. Aged in oak, 25% new, to round the tannins.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Prudhon produces exceptionally mineral Pinot Noir in both colors and the Sur le Sentier du Clou is a standout for both complexity and ageworthiness.  This wine is one of the best values we’ve come across in Burgundy and should be a case buy for anyone who loves classical, old-school wines.

Henri Prudhon & Fils Sur le Sentier du Clou Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Henri Prudhon & Fils Sur le Sentier du Clou Vieilles Vignes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($479.95) $389 special (that’s only $32.42/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Burghound 89-91 points
“This possesses the most elegant and perhaps even the most complex nose in the range with its layered assortment of red and black cherry, plum, violet and freshly turned earth scents. The fine complexity continues onto the solidly concentrated and more obviously mineral-inflected flavors that possess a relatively sophisticated mouth feel while concluding in a balanced and lingering finish. This is really quite good and worth considering.”
Importer (Neal Rosenthal) Note “This wine is from some of the oldest vines in the estate, planted between 40 and 80 years ago (as of 2011). The parcel is about 1.5 hectare in size and sits on a hillside between Saint Aubin and Gamay with an east-southeast exposure. There is an elevage of 15 to 18 months (with very little new oak used). Perhaps the most serious and complex of the red wines of the domaine with a character dominated by red fruits and spices supported by substantial backbone.”

Around the World
Germany produces a number of world-class Pinot Noirs—except that most never leaves the country.  This top bottling from rising-star Thörle comes from an exceptional site that’s basically pure limestone (like the best of Burgundy).  It has loads of class and beautiful aromatics to go along with a lightweight but intensely flavorful palate.

Thorle Saulheimer Probstey Spatburgunder, Rheinhessen, Germany  2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott- Jamessuckling 95 points
“Still quite closed on the nose, because this has just been bottled. However, on the palate there’s a sensational harmony of fine-grained tannins and perfectly ripe fruit, yet the wine has just 12.5 per cent alcohol. Great, chalky dry finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $49.99
Montsecano is Chile’s top producer of Pinot Noir and this wine is their flagship bottling.  Made without the use of oak, it’s hard to deny the energy and personality they manage to pack into the wine.  If you were looking for proof of concept for Pinot Noir in Chile, this would be an excellent example.  A producer and region to watch going forward.

Montsecano Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“One of the best vintages of the grand vin here has to be the eponymous 2016 Montsecano, produced 100% with Pinot Noir from the zone of Las Dichas in Casablanca. The vines were planted in 2006 on red clay and granite soils and, as all the wines here, sees no oak whatsoever; it fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and was kept in egg-shaped cement vats until bottling in February 2017. This is simply delicious. This is not a Burgundy Pinot Noir, there is always a touch of rusticity here, an earthy touch. This is a pure Pinot Noir; it slowly opens up in the glass to an intoxicating mixture of wild flowers and herbs, with that rustic touch. The palate has very fine-grained tannins, tasty and long. I think this captures the intensity of the people that work here. 8,000 bottles produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $45

Staff Pick

A new addition to the lineup from the La Rioja Alta family, the Finca San Martin Crianza is a slight departure from the ultra-traditional Gran Reserva Vina Arana and 904 bottlings. The introduction of some French oak to compliment the usual American oak treatment definitely changes the character adding some vanilla and baking spice to the bright red fruit, light pepper and herbal notes.

We tasted this over two days, and while the intensity of the fruit stood out on day one more of the tannic structure was showing on day two. Still fresh, still very pleasant, but with a building backbone that seems to be leading toward a more serious future than I first imagined. Great for drinking through the end of summer and into fall, but certainly worth holding onto for a little while just to see how the different components integrate. The wine outperforms the $16 price tag.

Arriving Friday, August 9th:

Torre de Ona Finca San Martin Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91 points
“The modern Crianza 2016 Finca San Martín shows the freshness and elegance of the harvest, with some initial lactic notes that blow off with a little bit of time in the glass, giving way to red berries and spices that are nicely integrated. The palate is medium-bodied, very silky and harmonious, with fine tannins, and it’s nicely balanced and has a clean, refreshing finish. There are some toast and creamy notes that should integrate with a little more time in bottle. A very good clean and modern commercial Rioja that should please a wide audience. 180,000 bottles.”
James Suckling 91 points “This is a muscular red with dark-berry and cherry-skin character. Medium to full body, tight tannins and a fresh finish with a hint of bitterness. Drink or hold.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Trend Alert!

Jacques Thienpoint is the iconic owner of Le Pin, the hyper-rare and sought after Pomerol, and L’If, a cult property in St. Emilion.  He’s recently added a third property to that list—L’Hetre, also named after a tree, in the emerging region of Castillon in Bordeaux.  There are a lot of reasons to think that Castillon is going to be the next big thing in Bordeaux (for one, it’s one of the highest points in the region) and Thienpoint’s investment is an important marker. Customers who bought the first round were so enthusiastic about the wine, we decided to bring in more, arriving August 14th:

L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 re-arrival special
Case-6 L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($159.95) $119 re-arrival special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Julia Harding MW – JancisRobinson
 “L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.'”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Priorat and its neighbor, Montsant, make some of the most profound wines in Spain, at prices that make them exceptionally good buys.  The deals we’re offering today, though, push the quality to price ratio beyond the rational: three wines, all under $20, all with 94 point or higher scores from a reviewer (Jeb Dunnuck) who used to work for the Advocate.

Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 special
Case-12 Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($279.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2017 Black Slate Gratallops Vi De La Vila comes from a warmer region in the Priorat and has a more powerful, ripe, opulent style compared to the Porrera cuvée, which comes from a cooler region. A huge nose of mulled cherries, dried earth, spice, and dusty pebble-like minerality gives way to a medium to full-bodied Priorat that has ripe tannins, an opulent, sexy texture, and a great finish. It’s another wine from Solomon that has classic Priorat character, is impeccably balanced, and drinks way above its humble price point. Don’t miss it! The blend is 58% Grenache, 32% Carignan, and 10% Syrah, aged 12 months in 20% new French oak.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
The average price nationally is $20
Celler Cal Pla Black Slate Porrera, Priorat DOCa 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The 2016 Black Slate Porrera comes from a project of importer Eric Solomon focusing on the specific villages in the Priorat. The 2016 is 60% Grenache and 40% Carignan that was mostly destemmed and spent a full year in used barrels. Thrilling blue fruits, tar, rose petals, and a smoky, marine, iodine-like character all emerge from this full-bodied effort that opens up nicely with time in the glass. Tasting like it cost three times the price, it picks up more minerality with time in the glass, has beautiful balance, and great purity of fruit. It would be hard to find a better value. Drink bottles over the coming 3-5 years.”

Celler Capcanes Mas Donis, Montsant 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Case-12 Celler Capcanes Mas Donis, Montsant 2016 750ML ($219.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“The finest vintage of this cuvée to date, the 2016 Mas Donis Old Vines is 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah (the Grenache comes from a single parcel called Donis) that was 70% destemmed and aged primarily in concrete. Tasting like a top Priorat with its beautiful blue fruits, violets, ground pepper, rose petals, and amble minerality, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, remarkable purity of fruit, and a great, great finish. Almost too good to be true, just pretend you paid more. Drink up.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
We know well before any reviews starting rolling in that this wine would be superb. It has the structure and grace to age with the classic savory-cherry notes of a true Sangio and the profundity you expect from Felsina. All that for under $50/bottle? Yes, please!

“the 2016 Rancia is shaping up to be epic”-Antonio Galloni
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special
Decanter Magazine 97 points
“The south-facing Rancia vineyard reaches altitudes of 420 metres, overlooking the lower-lying vineyards of Colli Senesi. It boasts complex soils of calcareous clay layered with the chalky white limestone-like alberese and schistose galestro. This 2016 vintage is simply stunning. It’s stately yet gracious, with personality for days, leading with a sumptuous nose of smoke, exotic spice and iron-rich earth. Ripe fruit coats the mouth yet it remains buoyant and tangy as chalky tannins charge in to frame the palate. A seductive wine with an appetising, savoury edge and a long, long life ahead. Drinking Window 2023 – 2041.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia knocks it out of the park. Like the other new releases from Fèlsina, this pure expression of Sangiovese needs more time to evolve and improve with bottle age. But even at this young stage, you are made fully aware of the beautiful intensity and complexity of the quality fruit at its core. There is so much energy and tension here, further reinforced by the fresh acidity of the vintage. There are vibrant tones of wild cherry, raspberry and spice, followed up by white truffle and tilled earth.”
Antonio Galloni 94-97+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is yet another magnificent wine in this range from Fèlsina. Silky, gracious and inviting, the 2016 starts off gradually and then builds, gaining volume and explosiveness with air. A wine of breadth, textural intensity and pure power, the 2016 Rancia is shaping up to be epic. That’s pretty much all there is to it.”

Do Not Miss: 2016 Dagueneau

“Tasting a Dagueneau wine for the first time was a revelation. His Sauvignon Blancs had an unexpected purity and clarity to them. The flavors were intense but nuanced. It wasn’t the fruit that was piercing, as in so many Sauvignon Blancs, but the freshness and the focus. As powerful a personality as he was, his wines did not exalt the stature of the winemaker so much as the beauty of the terroir.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times

2016 was an unqualified success in the Loire–a vintage that combines the classicism of ’14 with a hint of ’15’s richness.  For the Didier Dagueneau estate (now helmed by son Louis-Benjamin), these are some of the best wines they’ve produced, which is a testament to how Louis-Benjamin has grown into his role as winemaker after his father’s death.  These wines still have the richness and texture that made them famous, but with a laser-beam of minerality and cut that makes the wines truly memorable.  The Silex is especially noteworthy this year, a monument to Sauvignon Blanc grown on flint.

Arriving August 12th:

Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly, Loire 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Pur Sang, Loire 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special

Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fume Silex, Loire 2016 750ML ($159.95) $125 pre-arrival special

Argiano Solengo

In Montalcino there are the super-traditionalists and then there are the unapologetic forward leaning estates that are bringing advancements in winemaking technology. Argiano is an estate with Tuscan roots dating to the 16th century, but the past twenty years have brought changes to the estate that excited many critics and fans of the international style.

The Solengo is a stunning wine in the best vintages, especially the back-to-back great years of 2015 and 2016. Cab based but with a good portion of Petit Verdot give great swirling floral notes high above the the dark fruit, leather, and granitic stoniness. A backbone of tannins and vibrant acidity give this wine amazing life. Bordeaux fans should take special note: this isn’t an overripe Bolgheri interpretation. It’s a wine to love.

Big and powerful in the style of Napa meets Left Bank Bordeaux.
Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 32 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“Fantastic aromas of flowers such as violets and roses with dark purple fruits and hints of stones, too. Full body with ultra-fine tannins and a long and linear finish. This is a return to the great Solengos of the mid-1990s. The best since 1997. Cabernet sauvignon 50%, petit verdot 30%, merlot 15% and sangiovese 5%. Drinkable now but better in 2020.”

Arriving Fall 2019

Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($79.95) $64.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $59.83/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
James Suckling 99 points
“Very complex aromas of fresh flowers, blackberries and black licorice follow through to a full body, integrated tannins and a long and linear finish. Focused and racy. The tannins are so polished. Better in 2022, but already such a joy to try.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points “A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Petit Verdot (25%), Merlot (20%) and Sangiovese (5%), the 2016 Solengo is a terrific wine and I enjoyed my sample down to the very last drop that I coaxed from the bottle with happy enthusiasm. This is a full-bodied red (but not in an exaggerated manner) with plump and fruit-forward aromas of dark cherry, blackberry, plum, spice and sweet tobacco. The wine is balanced with excellent depth and mouthfeel momentum. I highly recommend this wine from both the 2015 and 2016 vintages, which are both terrific. Some 25,000 bottles were made.”

The average price nationally is $67

July Sale Recap

Only Two Days Left!

Thank you for reading!