Monday Newsletter 8-20-18

In Today’s Newsletter:

Jump Start Sale:
Phelps Insignia

New to the August Clearance Sale
2016 Fourrier
August Sale:
Under the Radar Highlights

La Fortuna New Releases
Altesino Montosoli 2010
A Modern Legend

The Next Burlotto?
August is for Awesome Austrian
August Clearance Sale Recap

Jump Start Sale

Arriving Tuesday, August 21st

Only 12 bottles available!
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($249.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97+ points “Composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc coming from six vineyards and reared for 24 months in 100% new French oak, the 2014 Insignia Proprietary Red Wine has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of crushed blackberries and fresh blackcurrants with touches of cigar box, sandalwood, dried lavender, beef drippings and mocha plus a waft of wild thyme. Medium to full-bodied and incredibly elegant and fine in the mouth, the lively fruit is well structured by grainy tannins and seamless acid, finishing long and earthy. 14,500 cases were made.”
James Suckling 97 points “The blackberry, dark-chocolate and walnut aromas are persuasive. Full body, a dense and fruity center palate and beautiful depth and intensity. The tannin texture is exceptional. Great wine. Drink in 2020 and onwards.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $224

New to the August Clearance Sale

Jermann Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT, Friuli Venezia Giulia 2015 750ML ($27.95) Was $21.90, Now $18 August Clearance Sale, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 92 points
“I like the aromas of sliced pears with hints of stones. Medium body, a dense center palate and flavors of pear skin and light cream. Fruity finish. Screw cap. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Aromas of white peach, flint and hint of banana carry over to the round, ripe palate along with green apple and a note of juicy tangerine. Fresh acidity brightens the creamy flavors and leads to a bright, clean finish.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $23
Love the sales?

Don’t miss all seven additional awesome Austrian additions to the August Clearance Sale (that’s a lot of A’s!)

Keep reading to see the complete collection!

Featured Offer

2016 Fourrier

By all accounts, 2016 in Burgundy looks to be a classic vintage and provides an interesting contrast to 2015. Where 2015 is built on power and ripe fruit, the ’16s are very much centered on more classic expressions of each terroir.  Wines from the vintage have very high quality across the board, with really pure fruit and lovely textures.  Fourrier is a producer who excels in most years, and 2016 very much plays to his strengths.

With each release, the Fourrier wines become more and more hard to find. Allocations keep narrowing and demand keeps rising. We don’t expect our offer to last much beyond the first few readers, so don’t delay and secure your selection now.

Arriving Early September:

Only 2 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Griotte-Chambertin Grand Cru Vieille Vigne 2016 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,199 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 96 points “The 2016 Griotte-Chambertin from Domaine Fourrier is a great wine in the making. The bouquet is pure, sappy and quite expressive, but the palate is still on the primary side and the wine will deserve a fully twelve to fourteen years in the cellar to start to properly stir from hibernation. The nose is a superb blend of red and black cherries, gamebird, a very complex base of chalky soil tones, woodsmoke, spicy oak, mustard seed and a pungent topnote of roses. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and already quite velvety on the attack, with a sappy core, lovely transparency and grip, fine-grained tannins and a long, tangy, refined and laser-like focus. There will be plenty of temptation to drink this on the earlier side, unless it closes up significantly after bottling, but it would be crime to really touch a bottle before at least 2030! 2030-2100.”
Decanter 95 points “The Griotte is beautiful in 2016, the inherent elegance of the vineyard synthesising perfectly with Fourrier’s limpid style. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, rose petal and liquorice mingle with subtle nuances of rich soil, introducing a full-bodied, silky wine, its fine, chalky tannins cloaked in a deep and ample core of pure, glossy and succulent fruit. This should be very special with some bottle age.Drinking Window 2026 – 2050.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $1,399.99

Only 21 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Decanter 90 points “The Gevrey Vieilles Vignes is a great success, and effectively equivalent in quality to several of Fourrier’s premiers crus. It opens in the glass with aromas of red and black cherry fruit, rich soil and a framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep at the core and nicely concentrated, with plenty of succulent fruit. This is the most enrobed and complete of Fourrier’s villages in 2016. Drinking window 2024-2040.”
John Gilman 90 points “The 2016 old vine bottling of Gevrey AC, which hails from parcels on the northern side of the village, was showing very well indeed, offering up a fine bouquet of cherries, black raspberries, raw cocoa, mustard seed, dark soil tones and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is full, plush and generous, with a good core of fruit, fine soil signature, modest tannins and a long, poised and sappy finish. This will want a handful of years in the cellar, just to allow its secondary layer of complexity to emerge and the tannins fall away, but it is going to be very tempting to drink right out of the blocks. 2021-2050.”

Only 3 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Morey-Saint-Denis Clos Solon Vieilles Vignes 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special 
“Healthy dark red. High-pitched perfume of cherry, red licorice and minerals. Energetic wine in a rather cool, leanish style, offering good intensity and medicinal reserve. Finishes with harmonious, toothdusting tannins and good length but with its firm acidity, this comes across as slightly tart. “-Stephen Tanzer-Vinous
“Enough wood to notice sets off the ripe and fresh red berry fruit and spice scents. The nicely round, rich and textured middle weight flavors possess a lovely intensity before concluding in a dusty finish where touches of warmth and rusticity appear.”-Burghound

Only 6 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Clos Saint-Jacques, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($999.95) $699 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 94 points “With the shortened crop in Clos St. Jacques, there is no Cuvée Centennaire here this year, just a single, truly lovely bottling of this great vineyard. The nose is pure, nascently complex and very precise, offering up scents of red plums, cherries, gamebird, mustard seed, a complex base of soil, roses and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep full-bodied and classically structured, with a sappy core, excellent backend mineral drive, ripe tannins and a very long, vibrant and promising finish. 2030-2070.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-95 points “Bright dark red. Knockout ethereal nose combines raspberry, licorice, rose petal, lavender, wild mint and spices. Densely packed but juicy, suave and a bit youthfully imploded, conveying an almost magical impression of weightlessness. Cool and reserved but not at all hard, this fully ripe but reticent wine spreads out to saturate the palate, showing a lighter touch than the Combe Aux Moines. Displays a captivating restrained sweetness from start to long finish. As the lower part of his Clos Saint-Jacques parcel was frosted (production for this premier cru was cut by 30% in ’16), Fourrier chose not to make a separate Cuvée Centennaire.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Only 4 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Les Cherbaudes Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($279.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Decanter 93 points “Fourrier’s old vines in Cherbaudes, just below the Clos de Bèze, were planted in 1928, and they have produced one of the highlights of the range in 2016. Aromas of plum, cherry, forest floor and grilled meat are framed by a creamy application of new oak, introducing a full-bodied, concentrated wine with an excellent chassis of rich tannins and good depth at the core.Drinking Window 2024 – 2045.”
John Gilman 92 points “There was no frost damage at all in Cherbaudes and the 2016 from Domaine Fourrier was showing very well at the time of my visit, with a plush and transparent personality that augurs very well for its future development. The bouquet wafts from the glass in a fine blend of red plums, cherries, chocolate, mustard seed, a complex base of soil and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and sappy at the core, with lovely nascent complexity, ripe, seamless tannins and a long, vibrant and classy finish. The vineyard of Cherbaudes can sometimes be a bit sauvage in personality out of the blocks, but the inherent elegance of 2016 has ameliorated this character trait and the wine is already very elegant. 2027-2060.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Only 4 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier La Combe Aux Moines Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93 points “The 2016 Combes aux Moines from Jean-Marie Fourrier was also down by thirty percent in quantity, but is absolutely stellar in quality. The stunning nose soars from the glass in a mix of red and black cherries, grilled meats, raw cocoa, black minerality, woodsmoke and spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and sappy at the core, with great purity and soil signature, ripe, perfectly integrated tannins, bright acids and fine focus and grip on the very, very long and very pure finish. This will take a couple more years in the cellar to come around than the Goulots, but it will be every bit as refined and elegant when it has reached its plateau of maturity. Superb juice. 2028-2065.”
Decanter 91 points “The Combe aux Moines was still quite heavily charged with CO2 when I tasted it, but this warm site has produced another sweet, open-knit wine which offers up aromas of ripe cherry, summer fruits and rose petal, and a rich, full-bodied, ample palate impression. This is just a little brief on the finish, which keeps the score down a touch. Drinking Window 2024-2040.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-94 points “Good moderately saturated red. Deep, brooding aromas of black cherry, licorice and smoky minerality. As mineral-driven as the Goulots but with more size and breadth to its dark fruit and spice flavors. Sweet and seamless in the middle, spreading out horizontally to saturate the palate; lovely floral element. Finishes suave and very long, with fine-grained tannins; at once fully ripe and vibrant. This beauty will need at least a few years in bottle to reveal its full personality.”

Only 3 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Les Goulots Vieilles Vignes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 93 points “Normally we will taste Goulots ahead of Champeaux in the lineup chez Fourrier, but I am guessing that the idea was to show the two Gevrey premier crus that escaped frost damage first, followed by the crus higher up on the Combe de Lavaut, where yields were off by an average of thirty percent. Champeaux lies right below Goulots on the slope and the 2016 here is an outstanding wine in the making, delivering a fine nose of red and black cherries, dark chocolate, grilled meats, a lovely base of soil, a touch of fresh herbs, woodsmoke and spicy new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure on the attack, with a sappy core, excellent soil signature, fine-grained tannins and a long, vibrant and nascently complex finish. A beautiful bottle in the making. 2028-2060.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 91-93 points “Good bright-medium red. Tight, dark aromas of black fruits and licorice pastille lifted by a whiff of cranberry. Ripe and broad, but with terrific inner-mouth floral lift and a rocky pungency. Tannins are fully ripe and fine-grained. Offers a rather exhilarating–and uncommon–combination of cooler flavors and full phenolic ripeness. This wine comes from a very cool, east-facing site planted on rock, which had difficulty ripening its fruit prior to global warming. A tighter, more intellectual style than the Champeaux: Fourrier loves the Goulots with sushi, while he’d pair the Champeaux with a rib-eye steak.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Only 3 bottles available!
Domaine Fourrier Les Petits Vougeots Vieilles Vignes, Vougeot Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($499.95) $399 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 89-92 points “Bright, moderately saturated medium red. Rather wild scents of crushed cherry stomp, flowers, medicinal herbs and minerals. Offers a lovely fine-grained texture and sweetness of fruit but still in a juicy style for all its ripeness. Very good for this cuvée but there are just three barrels of this juice from 0.34 hectare–or not much above 20 hectoliters per hectare. Savory and long on the aftertaste, with plenty of tannic support.”
Burghound 89-91 points “A discreet application of wood more easily allows the cool, pure and airy essence of black cherry and floral scents to be appreciated. The equally elegant flavors possess a sublime mouthfeel, indeed the word lacy would be apt, though the finish is sufficiently tight and linear at present that a few years of bottle age should help to flesh it out.”

August Clearance Sale

Under the Radar Highlights

Can you believe summer is almost over? Our August sale is nearly, too! So don’t miss some of these hidden gems and review the full list at the bottom of this newsletter!

If we made it a California wine, you’d call it SQN (and the pricing a bargain).
Orin Swift Department D 66 ‘Pharaon’, IGP Cotes Catalanes 2014 750ML ($189.95) Was $136, Now $119 August Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine is the 2014 IGP Cotes Catalanes Pharaon, and it’s a barrel selection that ended up being an even split of Grenache and Syrah that was aged in 75% new French oak. While the cooler, late vintage didn’t favor Grenache, Richard commented that Syrah excelled, hence the larger portion of Syrah in the blend than normal. About as sexy and textured as they come in the vintage, this beautiful 2014 offers lots of crème de cassis, black raspberry, chocolate and peppery nuances to go with a full-bodied, luxuriously textured, hedonistic slant on the palate. Despite the ripeness level, it stays fresh and lively, with notable underlying structure. Hats off to the team here. This beauty will cruise for another decade.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $160

Bereche’s sublime cuvee: based on a perpetual reserve started in ’85
Bereche et Fils Reflet d’Antan Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($299.95) Was $249, Now $199 August Clearance Price

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $289.99

Scarce quantity and rare quality
Lucien Le Moine Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2010 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $49 August Clearance Price
VinopolNote: Lucien Le Moine (the nom de plume for Mounir and Rotem Saouma) is one of the hottest names in Burgundy.  The rise has been meteoric due to the scarcity of the wines (under 100 barrels) and that they only work with grand and premier cru vineyards—with the exception of a tiny amount of Bourgogne.  To understand why the Le Moine Bourgogne rouge is such an exceptional wine, the first thing to understand is that the house doesn’t make, or set out to make, anything close to average wine.  Jaspar Morris MW calls them an “haute-coture negociant” and just like a high end designer, they want everything they do to make a statement.  The Bourgogne is a blend of village and premier cru wine from some under-the-radar appellations and even some Premier and Grand Cru barrels that don’t quite meet the exceptionally lofty standards to be sold under the vineyard names. Less than 500 bottles make it into the US, so the chance to acquire some is a special opportunity. When you couple that exceptional raw material with the Le Moine house style, which is heavily influenced by Jayer, you end up with wines in a very exclusive peer group.  That style produces exceptionally sensual wines—wines that have textures like silk and explosive fruit that seems to arrive in waves from nowhere.  They’re the opposite of rustic—polished and luxurious.  These are wines that any wine lover should covet and take pains to acquire for their cellar. 2010 is looking like an all-time great Burgundy vintage.  This bottling gives a clear picture into why.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Heiligenstein is a Grand Cru wine, year in and out.
Schloss Gobelsburg Heiligenstein Riesling Reserve Erste OTW Lage, Kamptal 2016 750ML ($69.95) Was $59, Now $44 August Clearance Price
James Suckling 96 points “This is still quite yeasty, but in a rather attractive way. Behind that yeasty creaminess, which will fade somewhat with time, is a great wine that is deep, firm and complex. The finish expands like a concertina until the minerality envelops you. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “An aromatic cloud of orange and lemon zest rises from the glass. With air, the citrus notions become more heady and intense. They perform the same trick on the palate, shimmering in an aromatic array of bergamot, lemon, tangerine and orange. There’s a vein of freshness, unforced concentration and the promise of a long future ahead. Drink 2020–2030.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $62.83

“Vivacious and charmingly fruity”
Weingut Hiedler Ried Kogelberg Riesling Reserve Erste OTW Lage, Kamptal 2016 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $31.90 August Clearance Price
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “A tart kind of ripeness recalling zesty orange and crisp yellow apple creates immediate appetite on the nose of this wine. The palate follows through with fizzing lemon and lime zestiness, great concentration and a rich, leesy texture. The finish is dry, lipsmacking and wonderfully refreshing.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 91-92 points “The 2016 Zöbing Ried Kogelberg 1ÖTW Riesling opens with a bright, pure, nicely piquant and elegant nose with refreshing mineral aromas. Full-bodied, round and juicy on the palate, this is a nicely finessed and vital Riesling that is not as complex as the Gaisberg or Heiligenstein, but it is vivacious and charmingly fruity. Tasted as a sample in July 2017.”
Terry Theise note “A relatively high-elevation site on mica-schist and amphibolite, the wine is firm and aristocratic, standing at attention. It reminded me of Rüdesheimer Berg, actually. Not so much minerals as rocks and not so much rocks as BOULDERS. It isn’t in the least austere—it has a ton of flavor, grill-marks and shoe-polish and physalis, and for all it’s an upstanding-citizen it is also generous.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

See the complete list of August Clearance Sale wines at the bottom of this newsletter!



Cool climate Syrah for a ridiculously cool price. Arriving Tuesday, August 21st this wine kicked off our September Clearance sale:
Matello Fool’s Journey Deux Vert Vineyard, Willamette Valley 2011 750ML ($24.95) Was $18, Now $11.90 pre-arrival September Clearance Price
Case-12 Matello Fool’s Journey Deux Vert Vineyard, Willamette Valley 2011 750ML ($249.95) $119 pre-arrival September Clearance Price (that’s only $9.92/bottle!)
90% Syrah, 10% Viognier from the Deux Vert vineyard (planted 1994) in Yamhill-Carlton. Deeply colored, with fountains of dark fruit and spice, and smooth tannins. Only 130 cases were produced from these non-irrigated vines. Bottled at 12.7% alcohol, at Matello’s winery in McMinnville.
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Big, rich Chardonnay in the August Sale!
Orin Swift Mannequin, California 2015 750ML ($34.95) Was $21.90, Now $18 August Clearance Price
Case-12 Orin Swift Mannequin, California 2015 750ML ($359.95) Was $279, Now $199 August Clearance Price (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Winery Note
“Bursting aromatics of honeydew, honeysuckle and ripe peach are complemented by a hint of jasmine, pineapple and cream. With lots of weight and viscosity, the full-bodied palate brims with ripe stone fruit, wet stone and a touch of sweet Meyer lemon. The fleshy, golden mid-palate evolves into a pointed, textured finish that closes with lots of minerality.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $24.90
Different grapes than the Prisoner, but the same attitude.
Orin Swift Abstract Red, California 2015 750ML ($37.95) Was $24, Now $21.90 August Clearance Price
Case-12 Orin Swift Abstract Red, California 2015 750ML ($419.95) Was $259, Now $239 August Clearance Price (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 90 points
“Moderately complex, though loaded with zesty, supple fruit and offering appealing notes of black raspberry, smoky beef and cracked pepper. Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. Drink now through 2022.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $29.92

La Fortuna

New Releases

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

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

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

Just Arrived:

A standout of the 2013 vintage, rich and pure.
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($319.95) $259 special (that’s only $43.17/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points
“Aromas of blackberry and cherry with flowers. Smoky. Hot stone. Medium to full body, firm and fresh tannins and a delicious finish. Beautiful now but needs a year or two to soften.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Stellar back-vintage:
La Fortuna Giobi, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Perfumed aromas of strawberry, cherry and rose burst from the glass, while wild berry, spice, tobacco and tea notes follow through and linger on the finish. Though tannic, there is sweet fruit to match. Shows fine equilibrium overall. Best from 2018 through 2032.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $127.49



Riviting Sicilian Wines

Calabretta exists outside the whims of fashion in wine.  Much like Lopez de Heredia or Bartolo Mascarello, there is only one way to do things, and that’s the way they’ve always been done.  Sometimes, that means that they’re in line with the ideals of the moment—the vineyards have been farmed organically since the beginning and the winemaking is very hands off.  Sometimes it isn’t—the packaging isn’t very fancy and the winery website looks like it’s twenty years old.

The wines, though, hit all the right notes, especially if you like soulful, old-school wines.  Calabretta makes wines off of Etna that remind us of traditional Barolo—but at a fraction of the price.  Long macerations of grapes from old, often own-rooted vines (grown at extreme altitude) mean that these are profound and focused, with some grippy textures that will allow them to age into legendary status.

We recently acquired a broad assortment of bottlings from Calabretta.  From the inexpensive and quaffable NV Cala Cala rosso all the way to their Piede Franco and Vigne Vecchie bottlings, these are wines that belong in all serious drinkers’ cellars.  These are wines with real soul and stature—wines to move you.

In Stock Now:

Calabretta Cala Cala Rosso, Sicily NV 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Importer note “95% Nerello Mascalese & 5% Nerello Cappuccio. Aged partially in large botti and partially in stainless steel. The current bottling is a blend of 2005, 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016! Sourced from a mix of young and old vines. Cala Cala means “Gulp, Gulp” says Massimiliano, meaning you should gulp this one down because it’s so tasty!”

Calabretta ‘Gaio Gaio’ Rosso, Sicily 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Winery note “[Translated] A red wine from young, newly planted vineyards in the Calderara district by a rigorous selection massale. Fruity, floral, and slightly spicy. Dedicated to my father when he was a child (Gaio).”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Calabretta Carricante Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer note “95% Carricante, 5% Cataratto & Insolia. From seven hectares of vineyard in the area around Etna. Hand harvested. 1/3 of the fruit for this wine comes from old vines averaging 60-80 years old — some vines even over 100 years old and 2/3 of the fruit comes from a young vineyard planted in 2004. Aged in stainless steel. Practicing organic.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Calabretta ‘Cappuccio’ Rosso Terre Siciliane IGT, Sicily 2013 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Importer note “Since the winery’s founding in 1900, the Calabretta family has farmed and produced wines from Etna’s ancient indigenous varieties—including Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio—in the mountain’s unique noble vineyards. Historically, the family had sold its wine in sfuso or in barrel to restaurants and to private customers, many of whom travelled long distances to pick up their wine. But in 1997, third and fourth-generation father and son Massimo and Massimiliano Calabretta decided to bottle their best wine under their own label to ensure the winemaking traditions of their family and Etna would not be lost.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Calabretta Nerello Mascalese Vigne Vecchie Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2007 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points “Deep red-ruby. Underbrush, tar and licorice dominate the red fruit aromas and flavors. A hint of shoepolish emerges on the long tactile and slightly warm finish. This big wine has plenty of personality but I would have liked a little more grace. (15% alcohol)”

Calabretta ‘Piede Franco’ Ungrafted Rosso, Sicily 2015 750ML ($54.95) $46 special
Ian D’agata-Vinous 91+ points “Bright dark red. Camphor and herbs complicate red cherry and berries on the nose. Dense and youthfully chewy with brooding flavors of red fruit and spicy herbs. Finishes long and savory with a tactile mouthfeel. This is deeper than the regular (not made from ungrafted vines) Rosso, but is also currently less well delineated. (12.5% alcohol)”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Calabretta Pinot Nero, Sicily 2016 750ML ($34.95) $26 special
Winery note “[Translated] Pinot Noir: the ‘enfant terrible’ of world viticulture returns to the Etna area… It is planted in a vineyard where the temperature changes between day and night are more than 20 ° C, the wind beats undeterred and the sun warms and illuminates the leaves.  The production of grapes per plant is extremely low and the fermentation is cured and studied specifically to better develop the sensory qualities of this wonderful grape.”

Altesino Montosoli 2010

A Modern Legend

2010 is already a modern legend in Brunello.  The wines across the board are the best since…2001? 1990? Better balanced than the 2007’s, more graceful than ’06 and with more power than the 2004’s, 2010 is a vintage that even just a few years later we wish we had bought twice as much of.  So when we had the opportunity to acquire more of Altesino’s Montosoli from the vintage, we jumped all over it.

This is a pantheon-level Brunello, with critical praise to match.  Altesino is one of the most reliable producers in the region and this, their flagship wine, is a fitting testament to the enduring appeal of the vintage.  We’re offering a new tranche at the best price in the country and this is an exceptional opportunity to backfill on one of the wines of the decade.  Don’t let it pass you by.

In Stock Now:

Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Case-6 Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2010 750ML ($899.95) $679 special (that’s only $113.17/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 98 points
“A stunning red, featuring peony, strawberry, cherry and mineral flavors, accented by notes of wild herbs. Intense and deep, with great purity and elegance, a firmly wrought structure and a long finish. The harmony between fruit, tannins and acidity should allow this to age beautifully. Best from 2019 through 2036.” WS
James Suckling 97 points “Beautiful aromas of dark fruits and minerals. Full-bodied, succulent and chewy. It’s tight and stony. Lots of black olives and wet earth under the fruit. Bright and linear wine with beautiful layers…” JS
Wine Advocate 96 points “Montosoli enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli. This special single-vineyard expression shows a beautifully fragrant and floral bouquet that is exactly in line with what this firmly consistent producer strives to achieve. This wine represents one of the most distinctive expressions of varietal voice and that’s what makes it so precious and rare. Sangiovese sings loud with small berry nuances and loud floral impressions of rose, violet and lavender. Its underlying complexity is further enhanced by anise seed, cola and licorice stick. The wine’s texture is soothing soft and silky. This is one for your cellars to age ten years or more.”

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In Stock Now!

Sourced from 150 year old in the high altitude Guardiola district of Sicily’s Mount Etna – this intensely complex red is crafted from Nerello Mascalese, the indigenous variety offering a depth and profundity that is Mt Etna’s answer to a fine Burgundy or Barolo.

Cusumano Alta Mora Guardiola Etna Rosso, Sicily 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 96 points “The crystal-clear nose of jasmine, slate, quartz, wild strawberries, blueberries and tons of orange rind, not to mention chocolate shavings and walnuts, is stunning. The full-bodied palate is expansive and fruit-forward yet so minerally and uplifted by a fresh line of acidity that culminates in a long finish. Tight and refined in terms of tannin texture. So good now but better in 2019.”

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The Next Burlotto?

The Castello di Verduno’s Star is on the Rise

While Burlotto’s cru Barolos have skyrocketed in price and scarcity over the last two years, the other major producer in their village, the Castello di Verduno, remains a relative bargain.  This is a classically styled producer making wonderful, traditional wines and for the immediate future they’re both available and exceptionally priced.  To an Italian from Piemonte, the discrepancy in pricing between Burlotto and the Castello di Verduno would seem fantastical—cases are easily made for both producers as being the top dog in the town—which means that this is a prime buying opportunity for us.

The Castello di Verduno, as you might guess, is a historically important producer of Barolo, located in Verduno, but also owns a cellar and important vineyard property in Barbaresco.  The estate is owned by Gabriella Burlotto and Franco Bianco, who have made it a mission to create some of the finest wines in the region.  Their holdings are heavily skewed towards great vineyards—Rabaja and Faset in Barbaresco and Monvigliaro in Barolo, meaning their entry level wines show incredible class and purity as well.  Everything they do (including the rare Pelaverga) is very traditionally vinified, with aging in older barrels (or stainless) and no new or small-format oak.

These are wines to pay attention to, both for their absolute quality and for the value they represent in a world of increasingly expensive Barolo and Barbaresco.  They arrive at the end of next month and we’re waiting with bated breath already.

Arriving This Friday, August 24th

Given the vineyard sourcing, this remains a steal.
Castello di Verduno Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2015 750ML ($47.95) $38 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “The village Barbaresco from Verduno is a model of its type, showing absolutely typical aromas and flavors of redcurrant, fraise de bois, sandalwood and rose. Elegant, delicious when young but will age for many years in a good vintage. The grapes come from the Faset and Rabajà vineyards; vinification is traditional, with 21 days on the skins, and the wine is aged for 19 months in large Slovenian oak barrels (made by Stockinger, an artisan cooper from Austria) before bottling. (Barbaresco is only required to be aged in wood for 12 months, and I think this extra time in large barrels makes a difference.)”

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Castello di Verduno Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Importer Note “If you want a preview of Barbaresco without spending $70 or more, or if you just love good red lip-smacking red wine, try this Nebbiolo. All of the grapes come from the Barbaresco vineyards Faset and Rabajà, the vinification is shorter than that of the Barbaresco (7 days) and the wine is aged for 2 months in large casks and 6 months in stainless steel, no wood.”
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Not many grow Pelaverga, a delicious, delicate, red grape.
Castello di Verduno Basadone Pelaverga, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($26.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Winery Note “Soft, though bright ruby red. Intense fragrant nose, showing clear spicy overtones of black pepper and nutmeg, as well as fruity sensations reminiscent of cherries in spirit and strawberries. Nicely-balanced, lingering dry flavour.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Castello di Verduno Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Austria, Pure and Clear

If you’re looking for some of the most vivid, detailed and precise white wines in the world, look no further than Hirsch, in Austria’s Kamptal.  These are wines that have a compact power and intensity, with flavor in high fidelity and at prices that seem silly relative to their quality.

Hirsch’s wines, from the low to the high end, are some of the best deals in the world of fine wine.  Both Grüner and Riesling are crisp and delineated, with clear terroir signatures and real gutsiness.  They represent what’s best about modern white wine making, with a stainless steel polish backed up by a spine of real soulfulness.  We have an assortment arriving on the 24th and are offering them to you at unusually low prices—great values made better deals.

Arriving August 24th

Weingut Hirsch Hirschvergnugen Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($21.95) Was $17, Now $14 August Clearance Price
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “A riper aspect of Bosc pear plays about this Grüner. The palate, however, reins this back in with punchy, zesty flavors of arugula, lemon rind and green pear. There is quite some concentration on the core as well as real verve and nerve.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The average price is $23
Weingut Hirsch Kammern Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $18 August Clearance Price
David Schildknecht–Vinous 91 points “This cuvée, formerly (and, as Hirsch readily grants, misleadingly) labeled “Heiligenstein” because that name can also designate a Grosslage, is possessed of tangy freshness of apple and lime, an incredibly active sense of crystalline mineral impingement, transparency to greenhouse-like flower and foliage nuances, and invigorating nips of white pepper on a refreshing yet richly ripe finish. True, that description seems to fit Riesling more than Grüner Veltliner. But an earthy undertone of beet emerges with air to accompany the crunch and piquancy of which this beauty has absolutely no shortage. And while there is a flattering hint of textural creaminess, this wine’s sense of clarity and animation are also remarkable for the vintage. If one bears in mind that this cuvée is dominated by lesser lots from Grub, Lamm and Renner, then its sheer quality might not be so surprising. But as for its vintage-atypical personality, an attempt to explain that would have Hirsch taking us back to biodynamics and other imponderables.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $23.68
Weingut Hirsch Kammerner Renner Gruner Veltliner Erste OTW Lage, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($44.95) Was $36, Now $24 August Clearance Price
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92-93 points “Last tasted from tank, this smells esterously and sweetly of ripe quince, lychee, honeydew and caramelized parsnip, almost as if it were a blend incorporating Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer. A glossy and enveloping midpalate delivers a luscious reprise of the aforementioned elements, accompanied by seductive inner-mouth chamomile perfume, while alkaline and mossy notes lend intrigue to the soothingly sustained finish.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “The nose is rather shy and merely hints at green Conference pear. The palate is soft but very peppery, the ripeness of yellow-stone fruit bathes the flavors in a warm light. This slowly but irredeemably draws you to its delicious, fruit-driven core. Balance comes by way of lemon freshness and savory spice. Enjoy!”

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Weingut Hirsch Lamm Gruner Veltliner Erste Lage OTW Reserve Trocken, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $49, Now $39 August Clearance Price
Grapelive 94+ points “Johannes Hirsch’s Lamm Gruner is truly majestic. It’s a dense, dry and powerful Gruner Veltliner that is comparable to a Grosses Gewächs; it’s a gorgeous single Grand Cru trocken white with tremendous class and pedigree. Lamm has to be considered one of the greatest vineyards in Austria, and this wine shows why! This 2015 Lamm is richly and heavenly textured with silky finesse and vital energy, hiding its powerful engine under a velvet cushion with stunning concentration and the purest minerality with layers of lemon/lime, minty almond oil, white anise, white plum and crushed stones. The vineyard Lamm is set on a core of loess and mica with a sandy/brown rocky top soil which in years like 2015 give weight and depth, without sweetness or high alcohols, meaning you can have a masterpiece like this one is. This wine when open, transmits joyous harmony, pleasure throughout and subtly sprinkles in earth, spice and even a sweet/meatiness. It’s beautiful detailed and nervy or cat-like in a smooth leopard kind of way. This is greatness in the glass. Drink this Gruner Cru over the next 5 to 10 years, and be sure to check out all of the Hirsch 2015’s!”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $50
Weingut Hirsch Zobing Riesling, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $18 August Clearance Price
David Schildknecht–Vinous 90 points “Fresh apple, lime and vintage-typical honeydew melon are mingled with bittersweet gentian and iris perfume, crushed stone, iodine, and pungent green herbs in this firm but infectiously juicy performance whose sustained finish leaves the palate lightly shaken and profoundly refreshed.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Clean-cut zesty freshness pervades nose and palate with lively, ripe and toothsome citrus zest: mandarin and lemon dominate. The palate is sleek and slender with focus and verve. Wonderfully bracing.”
Terry Theise note “The structure is what I call ‘horizontal,’ but if you accept a wine that doesn’t jab at you, this has regions of herbs, smoke and irises, and a suggestive and fine, smoky finish.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $25
Weingut Hirsch Zobinger Gaisberg Riesling, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $49, Now $36 August Clearance Price
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93-94 points “The haunting, esterous nose suggests rowan and white peach accompanied by kirsch and blueberry distillates. Firmer in feel than the corresponding Heiligenstein but bursting with midpalate flavor, this finishes with downright reverberative intensity; eye-watering brightness such as one least expects from 2015, not to mention mouthwatering salinity and consummate sheer refreshment. It seems to leave behind a load of crystalline stone and an alkaline residue you’ll have to scrape from your teeth.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “The nose just gives a gentle hint of ripe apricot. The palate, on the other hand, speaks freely of zesty citrus: ripe lemon and fresh Seville orange, full of tart zestiness and refreshing zing. This is slender and linear, taut but chock-full of fruit. There is drive and energy and total refreshment.”
This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $55.99
Weingut Hirsch Ried Heiligenstein Riesling Erste Lage, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $49, Now $36 August Clearance Price
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “The perfumed, otherworldly scent of blood orange works its charm on the nose of this lovely wine. The palate is remarkably fine acidity, great finesse and a very long and salty finish that is also pure and finely aromatic. The 13% alcohol comes along light and vital, and the tension in the finish is full of positive vibrations. A great dry Riesling from one of the world’s most spectacular vineyards for Riesling. Highly recommended!”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93-94 points “Last tasted from tank, slightly ahead of its July bottling, this leads with effusive and alluring scents of buddleia and freesia. The palate impression is oily, rich, peachy and nutty, but remains transparent to crystalline nuances and incorporates inner-mouth echoes of heady floral perfume. Peach kernel piquancy and smoky, alkaline notes reminiscent of Loire Chenin Blanc add counterpoint to the lusciously lingering, at once soothing, shimmering and vibrantly stimulating finish. One could long for the brightness and mouthwatering scallop-like briny sweetness of the 2014, whose rating I would now upgrade by a point from last year’s assessment, but this gorgeous 2015 will provide years of self-indulgence and fascination, especially if followed in parallel with the evolving 2014 and 2013.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $44.99
The average price is $52

August Clearance Sale Recap

Want to see all of the wines in our August Clearance Sale?

Just click to head to our website or check out the full list below:

Thank you for reading!