Monday Newsletter 8-26-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Subscriber-Only Unlisted Special:
Rare Winery-Cellared Releases
Comte de Vogue 2009 Bonnes-Mares and 2008 Musigny VV

La Rioja Alta Flash Sale!

New Chianti Reviews
From Antonio Galloni

Rougeard Update

New Grapelive Reviews

Trending Wines of the Weekend

Staff Pick

New Releases of Noteworthy Champagnes

New Wines from Isole e Olena

Sierra Cantabria
Landmark Modern Rioja

Subscriber-Only Unlisted Special:

Rare Winery-Cellared Releases

Comte de Vogue

Winery-cellared through national importer & exclusively offered here.
No second hand bottles!

These wines cannot be listed online. To order, reply to this email or call.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2009 750ML ($699.95) $549 pre-arrival special, only six bottles available!
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2009 Bonnes-Mares is quite big and powerful yet also possesses a seamlessness that is very 2009. Waves of black fruit, spices, menthol and licorice saturate the palate as this large-scaled, dramatic wine opens up in the glass. The Bonnes-Mares boasts a tremendous combination of fruit and sheer structure. The 2009 is more approachable than the 2010 and nearly as dazzling. It will still require quite a bit of time, however, readers need to be patient.”
Burghound 95 points “This is very deeply colored. A notably riper nose of kirsch, spice and earth plus an herbal hint that is also picked up by the powerful and tautly muscled broad-shouldered flavors that possess buckets of extract that buffer the very firm tannins that impart a dusty texture on the superbly long finish. This intensely floral effort is presently quite austere but it has everything that it needs to be great in time. In a word, sensational.”
Jancis Robinson 18/20 points “On red clay from the south-east corner of Bonnes Mares. Rather darker than the Amoureuses though still transparent cherry red. Quite solid and rich – sweet and a little gamey. Solid, with some obviously density and structure, should make delicious old bones – not at all off-puttingly tannic now.”These wines cannot be listed online. To order, reply to this email or call.
Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue Musigny Grand Cru ‘Cuvee Vieilles Vignes’ 2008 750ML ($799.95) $645 pre-arrival special, only six bottles available!
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2008 Musigny Vieilles Vignes is a wine I could smell all day. The explosive bouquet literally jumps from the glass, followed by deep, beautifully delineated layers of fruit. This shows terrific concentration and depth, dazzling finesse, and a nicely pointed, direct finish. It is an eternal wine.”
John Gilman 97 points “At this point in the festivities, I could not believe what I had been tasting, and then the Musigny comes along and takes everything up yet another level. This is a simply profound bottle of Musigny in the making, as the wine soars from the glass in a hauntingly pure and complex blend of cherries, pomegranate, blood orange, wild strawberries, a glorious base of complex soil tones, citrus zest, a touch of spicy oak and a faint topnote of woodsmoke on the breeze. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, long and very intensely flavored, with a great core, perfect focus and balance, ripe, silky tannins and stunning length and grip on the dancing finish. Just a great Musigny. (Drink between 2020-2070).”
Burghound 96 points “Don’t Miss! This is also quite reserved at present with an elegant, airy, cool and pure nose that is kaleidoscopically complex as it offers red currant, plum, black cherry and a panoply of floral and spice notes, in particular violet and anise, before marrying seamlessly into mineral-driven and alluring big-bodied flavors that explode on the powerful and almost painfully intense finish that delivers genuinely stunning length. I love the way Musigny can so effortlessly combine a silky palate impression with serious muscle. This should be quite impressive in time though note that it will need a minimum of 18 to 25 years of cellar time.”
Jancis Robinson 19/20 points “The produce of the vines more than 25 years old goes into this (as opposed to the younger-vine Chambolle Premier Cru). Very dense and introvert. Not nearly as expressive in November 2009 as the domaine’s Bonnes Mares. Extremely serious, ambitious wine. An intriguing floral note that took me straight back to the smell of my grandmother’s flower arrangements. Rich, powerful attack on the palate. Wonderful precision. Sinewy. Then great nuances. This wine has such finesse! Yet it is dense and muscular too and just races away on the palate. Sweetness of fruit at the beginning and then absolutely dry and correct on the finish. Neat, reserved but clearly very special indeed. 19/20 points (JR).”

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Original six-bottle wooden case(s) available to first buyer of 3+ bottles of either or both wines.

La Rioja Alta Flash Sale

Hurry: Ends Tuesday at Midnight!

From the phenom’ ’09 vintage:
La Rioja Alta S.A. Vina Ardanza Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($39.95) Was $30.90, Now $28 Flash Sale, 36+ bottles available
James Suckling 96 points
“Very fresh and vivid 2009 with berries, dark spice and hints of walnuts. Full-bodied, reserved and so held back and muscular, but you don’t feel the tannins and the strength. A great wine. Give it two or three years. Try in 2020.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The current vintage of one of the flagship wines from La Rioja Alta is the 2009 Viña Ardanza Reserva, the second year it has contained 20% Garnacha grapes from their estate vineyards in La Pedriza in the village of Tudelilla in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards averaging 30 years of age in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The hand-harvested bunches were sorted and put in boxes, transferred to the winery at 14 degrees Celsius to be destemmed and crushed, then the grapes fermented in stainless steel, including malolactic. The two varieties were aged separately, 36 months in used American oak barrels for Tempranillo and 30 months for Garnacha, and racked every six months. It was initially closed, shy and serious, riper and a little darker than the 2008 but still very balanced, serious and harmonious. The palate combines power with elegance, with some tannins, focused flavors, some chalky texture and a rustic touch that gives it character. 600,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2014.”
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The average price nationally is $35

New Reviews from Antonio Galloni

Antonio Galloni just published new reviews for the 2016 vintage in Chianti and boy, are we enthused!  He said “I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about Chianti Classico and its wines”—ecstatic praise from someone who’s been covering Italian wines for as long as he has.  He declared that “[t]he top 2016s have turned out to be just as extraordinary as I had hoped.”

How extraordinary? 

Well, Galloni had previous written that “A balanced growing season with no shock events produced a set of truly exceptional, highly promising wines. The 2016s are distinguished by their superb aromatic presence, silky tannins, layered fruit and fabulous sense of harmony. The 2016s I have tasted so far point to a high-quality vintage that may very well turn out to be profound.”

Profound is a pretty high bar and it’s fantastic to know that the region cleared it.  These wines are excellent across the board, but especially at the Riserva level, which Galloni described as “the sweet spot in 2016.”  We’d stock up on as many of these as you can—which is probably a lot more than comparable wines from other regions.  We’ve noted Chianti’s excellent value before and Galloni does too, calling the best of the bunch “wines [that] offer the consumer extraordinary quality and value.”

Newly Reviewed Wines In Stock Now

Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“The 2016 Tignanello is flat out stunning. Dark, dense and resonant, the 2016 is a wonderfully complete wine that will provide readers with decades of pure drinking pleasure. The 2016 is especially dark and brooding, and yet the tannins are incredibly polished to the point of being perceptible. In the glass, the 2016 is complete and regal, perhaps because of the super-classic blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. The pedigree of the vintage comes through in the wine’s extraordinary balance and total sense of finesse. I don’t think there is another wine anywhere in the world made entirely from estate fruit that can match Tignanello for quality, consistency and value within its peer group of top-flight reds.”

Marchesi Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“Once again, the 2015 Tignanello is stunning. Sweet, floral notes give the 2015 striking aromatic intensity to play off a core of red Sangiovese fruit. In 2015, the Sangiovese is a bit higher than the norm, which comes through in the wine’s flavor profile. The tannins are also a bit biting at this stage, but that won’t be an issue in time. Bright red cherry, plum, blood orange mint and sweet floral notes build into a finish laced with energy and tension. The 2015 is utterly captivating. That’s all there is to it.”

Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 1.5L ($119.95) $99 special, 18 magnums in stock now
Felsina Berardenga Rancia, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2016 375ML ($34.95) $28 special, 24+ half-bottles in stock now    

Antonio Galloni 96+ points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is powerful, rich and explosive, with tremendous drive. Even so, several bottles have been quite closed. That is probably a very good sign for the long-term, but readers should not plan on touching a bottle anytime soon. A wine of vertical drive and aromatic nuance, the 2016 Rancia is super-complexed. Only with a few hours of air does it show the nuances and layers that were so evident from barrel. The 2016 is a painfully stubborn wine in the early going, but it will offer superb drinking pleasure for those who can wait.”

Newly Reviewed Wines Arriving This and Next Month:

Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special, ETA August
Case-12 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($419.95) $315 pre-arrival special (that’s only $26.25/bottle!), ETA August
Antonio Galloni 92+ points
“The 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva shows all the quality and pedigree of the year in its layered personality and overall nuance. Cedar, dried cherry, game licorice and tobacco convey the darker, gamier side of Sangiovese that is such a signature at Fèlsina. The 2016 finishes with terrific energy and bright acids that suggest it will enjoy a long life in the cellar, but readers should plan on giving it at least a few years in bottle.”

Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special, ETA Early September
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2016 Fontalloro is bold, hearty and deeply flavored, with all of the Sangiovese wildness that is so typical of Fontalloro. Ripe dark cherry, grilled herbs, smoke, leather, game and incense are some of the many aromas and flavors that open up in a potent, virile Fontalloro loaded with personality and character. In so many ways, 2016 is THE archetype of what Fontalloro is – a Sangiovese that is a bit wild and unruly but also full of charm.”

Felsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special, ETA Early September (only 17 bottles available!)
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“Maestro Raro, Fèlsina’s Cabernet Sauvignon, is gorgeous in 2016. Sage, grilled herbs, blackberry jam and menthol give the 2016 striking savory nuance and brightness to play off a core of dark brooding fruit. Concentrated and powerful in the glass, with remarkable character, the 2016 is another winner in this range from Fèlsina.”

Clos Rougeard Update

Clos Rougeard is one of the toughest wines in the world to source—and older vintages even more so.  These are bottles that are some of the most coveted in the world—the only producer of their stature in the Loire, they’re on par with the highest end Burgundy.  Collectors fight to get mere bottles of current releases, so it’s even more exciting to get our hands on a massive collection of back-vintage Rougeard with excellent provenance.  These just arrived and if you love the wines of Rougeard, you owe it to yourself to jump on these now, while there are still some left.

This is like winning a vinous lottery (if winning the lottery were a result of hard work and careful sourcing).  These wines are directly from the cellar of the importer/distributor for these bottles.  All were bought on release and carefully stored until now—it’s hard to imagine a better source for these outside of buying directly from the cellar of the estate (and good luck with that).  We’re able to offer you excellent pricing as well, as most of these wines are either national wine-searcher lows or very close—and no one else has the sort of sourcing we do.  Feel free to call or email or, as always, you can view and buy the wines in our web store.

In Stock Now:
New Grapelive Reviews

Luxurious & impeccably balanced
Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 95 points
“Domaine du Pegau is one of the go to estates in Chateauneuf du Pape. [It is] run by Paul Feraud and his daughter winemaker Laurence. These hand crafted traditional wines are some of the most authentic and sought after in the region. The Férauds have been growing vines in Châteauneuf-du-Pape since 1670, with titles to their earliest vineyards dating back to at least 1733, but older generations of the Férauds sold most of their production in bulk to top négociants, [such as] Jaboulet-Aine, David & Foillard and Guigal. That changed in 1964, when Paul decided to sell 5,000 bottles under his own label, which brought in a new era of estate bottlings. It was until Laurence came on the scene that the true greatest of the estate became clear, when in 1987 they started the Domaine du Pegau. Pegau now has over 50 acres of prime vineyards with many old vine parcels and Laurence is making some awesome stuff, including this incredible 2015 Cuvée Réservée, which was made from 60 year old plus vines set on limestone and clay soils with scattered stones and some sand. The Cuvée Réservée Rouge by Domaine du Pegau [is an] intense wine with transparent layers of fascinating pure flavors that can only be from this terroir. [It is] dense, luxurious and almost chocolatey, but with studied finesse and with a noticeable lower natural alcohol than some other top wines. The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Réservée Rouge, was made up of about 80% Grenache, 6% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre, and 10% of many other authorized varietals, including Counoise, Cinsault, and Vaccarèse. The Grenache stands out in this warm vintage with loads of creme de cassis, pomegranate, plum and red berry fruit along with hints of tar, earth, spice and roasted herbs leading the way on the full bodied palate. The tannins are firm, but sweet and ripe allowing this concentrated Châteauneuf-du-Pape to deliver its full array of flavors and complex depth. This is absolutely Chateauneuf at its best! The aftertaste is amazing in detail and length and even in this warm year it remains fresh with this deep red wine adding boysenberry, fig paste, camphor, a touch of peppercorns, cedar and black licorice along with a subtle floral essence, including a hint of lilac and lavender. Laurence fermented this vintage using classic techniques with whole cluster and indigenous yeasts in cement vats. She says maceration and primary lasted about two weeks before the juice was racked into a big casks. She uses well-seasoned 5,000 liter oak foudres, the elevage lasted for close to 18 months, [and] then bottled unfined and unfiltered. This brilliant, dark purple/garnet, powerfully rich Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the stuff of legends. Enjoy over the next decade and a half…”From the much-loved Dundee Hills producer: a perfect pick to elevate any meal
Cameron Winery Pinot Gris Ramato, Dundee Hills 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points
“One of the New World’s best ‘Orange’ wines, the Friuli-inspired Cameron Winery Ramato is a skin contact coppery (hence the name) Pinot Gris. [It] is a dry, slightly savory and textured wine that thrills the senses. John Paul, the famed Pinot Noir winemaker at Cameron Winery and Oregon legend, is also a huge Italian wine fan, loving the wines of Piemonte. [He is] also influenced by the wines of Radikon and Gravner, among others in the north-eastern Italy, near the border with Slovenia where these traditional wines are made. Orange wines are in fashion, but are a tiny niche. While some dismiss them as a passing fade, it should be noted they have been around hundreds if not thousands of years and are not going away anytime soon. We are blessed by their presence, especially when there as good and pleasing as this. Made by allowing the wine to spend time on the skins and then being fermented with malo-lactic conversion the amber hued Cameron Ramato, sourced from their estate Abbey Ridge Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, has an intriguing tension between a delicacy of fruit and the soft grip of tannins that provide a structural mouth feel in a dry and brisk wine. As alluded to, Ramato means copper colored in Italian, which Paul’s certainly shows in the glass. This 2018 version is absolutely brilliant. After many years of experience he nailed this vintage, which his calls one of his best yet. (He also makes a full on Rouge de Gris version, which is more of a red wine with full pigment extraction.) This one is pretty and almost luxurious on the palate, while offering a heightened degree of complexity. [It] hits its marks with layers of wild peach, strawberry, red citrus fresh/fruit and rind along with orange tea notes, crushed flowers, dusty cinnamony spices, persimmon and a melon sensation. This wine gains weight as it opens, but never takes on a heavy or flabby personality, staying fresh and lively even as it leaves a serious impression, providing lots of entertaining quality. Sometimes these Orange style wines can be earthy/funky and downright unappealing, but not this almost-opulent/creamy Cameron. It is clean and wonderfully lingering. If you are orange curious, this is one to look for! It goes without saying, you’ll want to grab Cameron’s awesome Pinot Noir(s) first and foremost, along with his old world Burgundy style Chardonnay, but be sure not to overlook their Italian inspired whites and especially their Nebbiolo.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $31.98

Trending Wines of the Weekend

Serious Dolcetto at a very, very friendly price. 
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 on the West Coast!
Altesino Riserva’s are always grand, the 2012 is one of the best yet.
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“($150) This delivers intense balsamic notes of juniper, wild rosemary and sage, along with rose, cherry and berry aromas and flavors. Elegant and saturated with flavor, supported by a vibrant structure. Ends with energy and refined tannins. Best from 2022 through 2040. 750 cases made.”
Ian D’Agata 94+ points “Deep red. Captivating floral nuances complement red cherry, mineral and tobacco elements on the nose and on the very suave palate. Surprisingly light-bodied for a Brunello Riserva, but perfumed and very refined. This outstanding Brunello Riserva boasts a finish that lasts and lasts.”One of the best estates in Cornas in a fantastic year—stock up!
Domaine Courbis Cornas Les Eygats, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“The 2016 Cornas Les Eygats is the gem in 2016 and has a fresh, focused, backward style that carries notes of crème de cassis, spring flowers, pepper, and crushed rocks. With full-bodied richness, good acidity, and impeccable balance, it’s a brilliant wine, but it’s going to need 2-3 years of bottle age to show its full potential.”

Molitor’s just-barely-off-dry green caps are some of the best Rieslings out there.
Markus Molitor Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Spatlese Green Capsule (Feinherb), Mosel 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Molitor’s 2016 Riesling Bernkasteler Badstube Spätlese (Green Capsule) is ripe, intense and still yeasty on the deep and complex nose (bottled in July 2017). The wine is piquant, pure and lush on the palate, with remarkable finesse and mineral tension providing this elegant, refreshing, straightforward Spätlese a pretty dry and food-friendly style. There is beautiful grip and mineral tension in the aftertaste.”
Stuart Pigott-jamessuckling 93 points “Fine peachy fruit and delicate herbal notes. There is a great balance of fruit and freshness here. An earthy note at the long finish that makes this wine very distinctive. Drink or hold.”

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The average price is $29
Amphora aged, fresh yet deep, and under $20.
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’, Valencia 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 92+ points
“Only in its second vintage, the 2016 Safrà is already a reference for the winery—it’s more vibrant and livelier than Parotet but produced with the same grape, Mandó, which is complemented here with 10% each Garnacha Tintorera and Monastrell. It fermented in stainless steel and stone lagars with 30% full clusters and indigenous yeasts. Malolactic was in amphorae, where the wine matured for some six months. It has plenty of aromatic herbs, balsamic; in a way, it reminded me of a vermouth. At the end of the day, 2016 was a short vintage—the grapes ripened earlier, so they harvested them pretty early, keeping the freshness. The palate is light to medium-bodied but very tasty, with deep flavors and great persistence; it has more concentration than it seems. It’s not as light as the 2015 and feels more complete. They used more stems than in the initial vintage, and that also helped to keep the freshness and balance the juicier fruit. It feels like a good improvement over the previous year, a very good value and the benchmark for Mandó reds. 15,000 bottles were filled in July 2017.”
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2015 remains a standout vintage for CdP and this is a notable example.
Chateau de Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Sourced from three lieux-dits (including La Crau), Saint Cosme’s 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of approximately 60% Grenache, 20-25% Mourvèdre and bits and pieces of other varieties. It’s full-bodied, rich and spicy, with hints of cumin, licorice, cinnamon and clove all swirling about on the long finish.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $56

Staff Pick

Don’t worry too much about the pronunciation, instead focus on what’s in the bottle (though it’s German, so you can just sound it out—no hidden or silent vowels here). Ingrid Groiss makes beautiful, pure wines that are always just a delight to drink.  This is a field blend from a single vineyard planted by her grandmother.  The mix of seventeen different grapes comes together to form something that’s more than the sum of its parts.When I drink it, I love how it always combines pretty orchardy fruit with a touch of cool herbalness and a citrus-oil freshness. That makes sense to me—all of the grapes ripen at different times and so when they’re all harvested together you get something that’s prismatic in its complexity.  For the price, it’s a wine that I find myself drawn towards as it manages to pair with just about anything you’d want a white for.  The 2017 just arrived and I couldn’t be more excited.

Newly Arrived:

Weingut Ingrid Groiss ‘Braitenpuechttorff’ Gemischter Satz, Niederosterreich, Austria 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“This is redolent of freshly sliced green apple, featuring lemon oil, tarragon and dandelion hints. Savory midpalate, with a firm, minerally structure and vibrant acidity. The finish reveals accents of anise and spice. Drink now through 2023. 1,000 cases made, 192 cases imported.”
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “The hints of sun-dried hay, russet pear and bright lemon that mark the nose of this wine combine into zesty freshness on the palate. It’s ripe and concentrated, with a dry, lemony zing that lingers until the very last echo.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $26

Noteworthy Champagnes

Arriving September 6th

You can tell autumn is approaching—the Champagne train is gathering steam and leaving the station.   We’ve got the first of what will be many new Champagne arrivals coming the Friday after Labor Day and this set is pretty spectacular.  From the razors-edge Blanc de Noirs of Marie Courtin to Pierre Gimonnet’s single-village Special Club, there’s a lot of great stuff coming in.

Arriving Friday, September 6th

Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($99.95) $61.90 pre-arrival special
(No reviews yet for the 2014 vintage)
“Efflorescence is from an east-facing vineyard with 40-year-old vines (sélection massale) on Kimmeridgian soils. Fermented and aged for one year in pièces and 36 months on the second lees before the disgorgement…” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate, writing on the 2013 vintage

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Diebolt-Vallois Brut Tradition, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Bright, with citrusy acidity, this harmonious Champagne offers a creamy mousse and a minerally underpinning layered with flavors of apricot, honeysuckle, salted almond and biscuit. A crowd-pleaser. Drink now through 2020. 125 cases imported.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $40
Diebolt-Vallois Prestige Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Wine & Spirits 94 points
“It’s a delicate, pure chardonnay that becomes dramatic in its intensity and breadth. The precision of the flavors will serve this well as it ages.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “Pretty floral and spice notes are delicately woven with flavors of ripe green apple, slivered almond, fleur de sel and biscuit, while citrusy acidity and a minerally note drive the finish. Drink now through 2021. 375 cases imported.” [Review is for June 2017 disgorgement]
Winery note “The Champagne Blanc de Blancs Prestige is made entirely from vines in the village of Cramant (a village classed 100% Grand Cru). The reserve wines age 2 to 3 years in 40 hl casks. These reserve wines bring richness, complexity and roundness to this 100% chardonnay cuvee Blanc de Blancs Prestige.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $59
Doyard ‘Revolution’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non-Dose, Champagne NV 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Non Dosé Révolution is the new name of the former Cuvée Vendémiaire Extra Brut, and it is sourced only in grand cru villages. This intensely yellow colored cuvée is based on 2011 (plus reserve wines from 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007). It offers a deep, ripe and intense but pure, fresh, very precise and expressive nose with ripe, concentrated citrus fruit aromas and some greenish chalky notes that demand further bottle aging. Full-bodied, round and creamy, with great elegance, finesse and complexity, this is another promising cuvée from Charles Doyard who sadly passed away in April 2017. It is nicely finessed but needs even more years to find its final character. Highly promising, though. Tasted April 2018.”
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Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Chouilly Grand Cru Special Club, Champagne 2012 750ML ($169.95) $138 pre-arrival special, only five bottles available!
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Elegant and well-meshed, this layers lively, lightly mouthwatering acidity, a fine, chalky texture and a delicate range of poached apple and pear fruit, dogwood blossom and biscuit notes, and minerally saline and oyster shell accents. Disgorged July 2017. Drink now through 2028. 100 cases imported.”
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Bereche Crus Selectionnes ‘Cote’ Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Grand Cru, Champagne 2005 750ML ($119.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“An elegant Champagne, with a rich, savory streak of mineral underscoring the layered pear tart, lime blossom and crushed white cherry flavors. Creamy, with finely honed acidity chiseling the finish. Drink now through 2027. 330 cases made.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.89
The average price is $102

New Wines from Isole e Olena

For many, Chianti symbolizes Italian wine and no winery symbolizes the modern quality of the region like Isole e Olena.  Since the arrival of Paolo de Marchi in 1976, Isole e Olena has been a leader in quality in Tuscany.

Stylistically, Isole e Olena occupies a place that is at once traditional and modern.  Their Chianti Classico and their flagship Cepparello are both firmly rooted in the primacy of Sangiovese and the idea of Tuscan typicity.  Elegance wedded to power, both of those wines show the nuance and bright fruit you expect from a classic wine of the region combined with the density and complexity of top tier, noble wines.

In a more modern sphere, de Marchi also produces mono-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Syrah, which are made in a modern idiom.  Elegant and polished they represent wines that are at the top of their class for each of the respective grape varieties, no matter the origin of the wine.  We’re getting in their new releases, including the absolutely jaw-dropping 2016 Cepparello, at the end of next month and we’re excited to offer them for the first time today.  Given the (justified) hype surrounding ’16, we expect these to move quickly.  Collectors and enthusiasts should take note and act quickly.

Arriving ETA Late September:

Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($219.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2016 Cepparello is dense, dark and also very closed in on itself. Those qualities bode well for the future, but readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and new leather gradually open up in the glass, but the 2016 is not ready to show all of its cards. This fruit was brought in during the second week of October, which is pretty much optimal at Isole e Olena. The 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, with a bit less than 30% new oak, and a few months in cask prior to bottling. An explosion of floral and spice notes punctuates the super-refined finish. The 2016 is shaping up to be epic. Don’t miss it!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $84.99
The average price is $93
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 750ML ($359.95) $279 pre-arrival special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG 2016 1.5L ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Broad and complex, delivering plum, black cherry, almond, leather and earth flavors. The tannins are dusty and well-integrated, while vibrant acidity keeps the flavors pumping through the long finish. Best from 2021 through 2036. 11,666 cases made, 4,166 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico is a gorgeous wine that very much captures the essence of the house style. Bright floral and savory notes, sweet red cherry fruit, tobacco and mint are all finely knit in this super-appealing, mid-weight Chianti Classico from Isole e Olena. As always, the Chianti Classico here is lithe, aromatically precise and all about elegance.”
Decanter 92 points “Despite being known for one of Tuscany’s top 100% Sangiovese wines – Cepparello – Paolo De Marchi believes in blending this grape. Here, he includes a generous portion of Canaiolo Nero to give some spice and also likes a pinch of Syrah, especially in lighter vintages. The aromas are very precise, with black raspberry, violet, heather and juniper. It’s dense without being rich or heavy, with a rousing core of appetising juiciness. Grainy, ripe tannins will support this effortlessly for at least a decade. Drinking Window 2019 – 2029.”
This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($99.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of elegance and finesse that shows the effects of rain during harvest in its decidedly mid-weight, lithe construction. Even so, the 2015 offers lovely aromatic presence and persistence. Grilled herbs, crème de cassis, licorice, violet, plum, spice and licorice all develop, but the 2015 remains decidedly delicate for this bottling. My impression is that it will age more on its freshness rather than on its concentration.”
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The next best price is $89.99

Sierra Cantabria

Landmark Modern Rioja

Sierra Cantabria is one of the landmark modern producers of Rioja—a name known both for excellent value bottlings as well as some of the true pinnacle bottlings of the region (see yesterday’s newsletter for our offer on the singular and rare “Magico”).  From top to bottom, these are some of the richest and most voluptuous wines in Rioja.  They’re really special wines, aged in French rather than American oak and given a tremendous amount of care in the production process.

That care isn’t surprising for wines that are (deservedly) $500+, but to find that same attention to detail in a wine that’s $30 or $50 is a testament to the single-minded focus of the winemaking team.  There’s a reason these wines have excellent scores from critics with very diverse palates (Luis Guiterrez’s traditionalism vs. James Suckling’s love of richness)—these are bottlings that appeal to anyone who’s serious about Spanish wines.  We have a diverse parcel arriving this Fall and think you should stock up.

Arriving ETA September:

Only 5 bottles available!
Sierra Cantabria ‘Magico’, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($749.95) $619 pre-arrival special
Individual Hinged Wooden Box Package
James Suckling 100 points
“A wine with incredible soul and purity, reflecting the land and history. Blackberries, black olives and hot stone and gun metal. Full and layered with incredibly polished and refined tannins. Old bark and mushrooms. It’s like holding an old and special book. Phenomenal. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points “Some years ago, they started a number of projects to produce some single-vineyard wines. For one old vineyard that was part of those experiments, in the early days, they selected the Tempranillo and produced it separately. Then in 2010, they started vinifying all the varieties together—red and white, except for the Garnacha. The first vintage to be sold is the 2016 Mágico, a wine that is sold en primeur. They also have vintages 2010 to 2015, which might be sold at a later time. This comes from a vineyard that was planted in the early years of the 20th century. This vineyard is in the village of San Vicente, in a part called El Bardallo, with very shallow soils at some 600 meters in altitude, the last zone to ripen the grapes. This has a profile that combines elegance and power, with the expressive nose of the 2016 vintage, quite elegant and nuanced. This has eight grape varieties, including red and white grapes, somewhat unusual, and the mix seems to provide very good complexity. It has the Eguren signature of new oak, and the Garnacha matured in a 500-liter oak barrel. 2,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2019. The wine is very good, but the price is another story. ($1200)”

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Arriving ETA Fall:Sierra Cantabria Garnacha, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($27.95) $22.75 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sierra Cantabria Garnacha, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($319.95) $249 pre-arrival special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points
“This is a phenomenal wine with blood-orange and blueberry aromas. Hints of wet earth. Medium to full body. Chewy tannins, yet integrated and gorgeous. Fantastic value. From vines planted in 1927. Drink or hold.”

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Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($549.95) $419 pre-arrival special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 95 points
“A dense and very beautiful red with dark berries, hints of chocolate and some mahogany. Full body. Layered. Shows focus and balance. Lovely, linear and energetic nature. Drink or hold.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Sierra Cantabria Reserva Unica, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Sierra Cantabria Reserva Unica, Rioja DOCa 2015 750M ($379.59) $299 pre-arrival special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“This shows a wonderful center palate of dark berries and hints of licorice and lavender. Full yet lively and energetic with polished tannins that give the wine form and texture. Mostly old tempranillo with a touch of graciano.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Arriving ETA December:Sierra Cantabria Finca El Bosque, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points
“2016 was a cool and slow-ripening year, and the 2016 El Bosque reflects those qualities, combining power and elegance. It’s Tempranillo from only one vineyard, planted in 1973. It fermented in new French and central European oak barrels for 18 months. It’s a serious and structured wine that has a subtle nose, with integrated oak, combining power and elegance. It has very good freshness, and it has the floral and red fruit character of the 2016 vintage. This wine should have a long life in bottle. I love the 2016 vintage here. 5,000 bottles were filled in July 2018.”
James Suckling 95 points “The depth and focus to this is so unique with fantastic blackberries, blueberries and licorice. Full body. Powerful and intense. This needs four to five years to soften and open.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $138

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