Trending Estate Takes Top Honors: Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle
Edmunds St John: Staying Cool in California
Last Call: Belle Glos Subscriber-Only Special Ends Tonight!
New Arrival & New April Clearance Wine
Altos Las Hormigas: Malbec from the Sky
New Reviews from Antonio Galloni
A Perfect Spring White: Fruitiere’s Clisson
Rare Library Release from Castell’in Villa
Dominus Estate – Cali Perfection
Featured Magnums from Gimonnet & Donnhoff
Trending Estate Takes Top Honors
Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle, Rhone 2015 750ML ($319.95) $236 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 98 points “Bright purple. Explosive, smoke- and spice-accented blueberry, cherry cola, incense and smoky mineral aromas show outstanding delineation and pick up a hint of olive with aeration. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering deeply concentrated dark berry liqueur, fruitcake and floral pastille flavors, along with a suggestion of star anise. The remarkably long, penetrating finish features strong minerally cut, an echo of sweet blue fruit and harmonious tannins that come in late and fold effortlessly into the deeply concentrated fruit. At this stage, this is a contender for the wine of the vintage, at least by estimation.”
The average price is $283
Also newly reviewed – our top trending wine of the week!
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Inky ruby. Suave, mineral-accented scents of ripe blueberry, black currant and Indian spices, along with a slowly emerging floral component. Plush, broad and deeply concentrated, displaying black and blue fruit, licorice and mocha flavors that are energized by an intense, peppery overtone. Finishes extremely long, fleshy and sweet, delivering intense mineral thrust, a subtle cracked pepper nuance and youthful, building tannins.”
The average price nationally is $41
Edmunds St John
Staying Cool in California
Started in 1984, Edmunds St. John has always focused on grape varieties that have been just outside of the mainstream. Edmunds is known for elegant, long lived Syrah and bright, fresh Gamay—a grape that very few in California make (and no one as well as he does). All of his wines now come from the Sierra Foothills and although we think of that region as producing very ripe wines, all of the ESJ bottlings have an elegance and delicacy that is remarkable. These are really wonderful wines, priced incredibly fairly (and our prices are especially good) and they deserve to be in the cellar of lovers of both the old and new world alike.
Newly Arrived Wines from Edmunds St. John:
Edmunds St. John Heart of Gold, El Dorado 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.75 special
Winemaker’s note “Palest gold. Fresh, nervous nose, of ginger and stone. Very lively and fresh in the mouth, with considerable textural depth, and richness to the lengthy finish. Heart Of Gold has now reached its 10th Birthday, and the 2017 may well turn out to be the best one ever. The 2017 growing season was preceded by the wettest winter in California history, and with all that water in the ground, the vines were able to cruise through some significant heat-spikes in Summer and early Fall, without any real dehydration or heat-stress. Harvest was just a bit later in ’17 than it had been during the previous four seasons marked by severe drought. When the grapes were picked they were in beautiful condition, with modest sugar concentration, healthy acidity, and plenty of flavor. 56% Vermentino, 44% Grenache Blanc.”
The next best price is $22
Winemaker’s note “The color in the ’16 is on the light side; it’s a pretty red, slightly tinged with purple. The nose is very fresh, and quite energetic; there’s plenty of fruit, some pepperiness, and a mineral streak. On the palate it’s racy and juicy, sporting a fine texture, and a finish that continues to gain length as the wine ages and integrates. High-stepping stuff! 12.4% alcohol. Edmunds St John harvested its 15th successive vintage of Gamay in 2016 (and vinified its 11th vintage of rosé from Gamay)! It’s gratifying to know that the wines we’ve offered from Gamay have provided substantial pleasure to plenty of folks over those years, enough to have drawn the attention of other growers and vintners, who’ve now undertaken their own plantings, and bottled some Gamay wines of their own. Maybe it’s time for a big party!”
The next best price is $21.99
Winemaker’s note “Dark purple-red color, quite saturated. Nose of smoke and pepper, and iron, quite energetic and firm. Very fresh. The initial taste, of blackberry is quickly joined by pepper, and iron. Acidity is refreshing, tannins supple and fine. There is power, but it’s without bombast; it’s coiled, and deep. Definitely a wine for the long haul. Barsotti agreed to permit Ron Mansfield plant Gamay for Edmunds St John in 2005. At the time, there was an adjacent property on which some Syrah had been planted a number of years earlier. The owner of that parcel, apparently in some financial difficulty, abandoned the property, and when it became available, Barsotti acquired it, and Ron set about bringing the Syrah block back into production (no small task). 2013 was the first year when a crop was available, and I expressed interest in a bit of the fruit, which became part of our 2013 North Canyon Road Syrah (which also featured grapes from Fenaughty Vineyard). As harvest in 2014 approached, I decided, based on tasting the grapes in the field, that the Barsotti terroir (soils based on decomposed granite) warranted a bottling of its own, so it became the only Syrah from Edmunds St John in 2014.”
The next best price is $35
Winemaker’s note “Dark, ruby-red color. Fresh, spirited, earthy nose of considerable complexity. Very focused flavors on the palate. Lovely, supple texture, and very good length to the finish. Should be quite something in three or four more years, and likely to be good for many years after. Alcohol: 13.3%. 34% Grenache, 26% Tempranillo, 23% Mourvedre, 17% Graciano. Shake Ridge Ranch, Amador County.”
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Belle Glos ‘Las Alturas Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands 2016 750ML ($54.95) $44—Subscriber Price: $39
Winery note “Deep ruby red in color with intriguing aromas of sun-warmed blackberries, ripe plums, with hints of black licorice. A complexity of dark berry fruits unfold on the palate; blackberries and bing cherries along with dark chocolate flavors. Vanilla and cedar oak undertones on the mid-palate further enhance the wine. The overall impression is rich with refined tannins, firm acidity and explosive layers of ripe fruit.”
Belle Glos ‘Clark & Telephone’ Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley 2016 750ML ($54.95) $44—Subscriber Price: $39
Winery note “The color is a deep scarlet-red with lush aromas of blackberry bramble, nutmeg, and hint of caramel. The wine is fresh and exuberant in the mouth with sumptuous strawberry jam, ripe black cherry, cranberry and warm gingerbread. It is perfectly balanced with refreshing acidity, velvety tannins and a hint of toffee carrying through its long finish. When asked to describe this wine, I simply say it’s like a taste of Christmas, all year long!”
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New Arrival /
New April Clearance Wine
VinopolNote: 2009 base (released as ‘NV’ for this disgorgement). Disgorged June 2015. Published review is for earlier disgorgement.
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 92 points “The 2009 Brut Le Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites is another striking wine from Aubry. Lemon peel, almonds, white flowers and spices are laced together in a Champagne endowed with a real sense of phenolic weight and verticality. Many of the current releases from Aubry are finely cut this year, but the Le Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites is a wine that is very much tied to the ground. The 2009 is 25% Pinot Blanc/Fromenteau, 20% Petit Meslier, 15% Arbanne, 15% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier and 20% Pinot Noir. Bottled February 2014. Dosage is 3 grams per liter.”
This is the lowest listed price for any vintage!
See the complete list of all April Clearance sale wines on our web site by clicking here!
Altos Las Hormigas : Malbec from the Sky
Altos Las Hormigas Gualtallary Malbec, Tupungato 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-6 Altos Las Hormigas Gualtallary Malbec, Tupungato 2014 750ML ($239.95) $189 special (that’s only $31.50/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Wine Advocate 95 points “The other appellation Malbec comes from the hottest place (not in temperature, but in terms of market demand) in the Valle de Uco, where the grapes for the 2014 Malbec Appellation Gualtallary are grown. This is significantly cheaper than most wines of this quality. I was a little disappointed with the performance of this wine in 2013 and was looking forward to 2014. The soils here are rich in calcium carbonate, but in the shape of caliche (a kind of marl with plenty of chalky material, iron and clay), which provide for more tannic wines. The destemmed grapes fermented in small concrete vats with indigenous yeasts without the use of any pumps. The wine matured in used, untoasted 3,500-liter French oak foudres for a period of some 18 months. It feels fresher, perhaps a little herbal and definitely more ethereal than the Altamira. Yes, it’s more tannic, because the tannins are abundant, but they feel very fine-grained. This year I favor Gualtallary over Altamira. There is more complexity here. 9,333 bottles produced and filled after a light filtration in January 2016.”
Stephen Tanzer – Vinous 94 points “Bright medium ruby. Musky dark berries, molten chocolate, leather, meat and espresso on the nose, lifted by a touch of violet florality; this struck me as a bit like Syrah from the northern Rhône. Very suave, fine-grained, dry wine with insidious intensity and nuance–not to mention lift–to its dark fruit and mineral flavors. Classically dry in an Old World style, showing a sexy mocha reduction today and no excess weight. Finishes with horizontal, fine-grained tannins and outstanding length. This is not quite as tightly wound as the 2013 version last year, but no complaints here! Finishes with dusty tannins and chalky suggestions. Not thick or fleshy wine, just a superb Malbec of terroir. In fact, I wonder if I’m underrating it. This wonderfully concentrated, layered wine finishes extremely long, with fine-grained tannins.”
The average price nationally is $38
Wine Advocate 93 points “There is quite a jump in price for the 2014 Malbec Reserve. Here the grapes are grown on chalky soils with round stones in Altamira, Gualtallary and a touch of Vista Flores (that they are not using anymore) that fermented with indigenous yeasts and without any acid correction. The wine was aged in untoasted 3,500-liter oak foudres for 16 months. There is also a jump in quality, a serious wine where the minerality and freshness rule. This wine will please more advanced drinkers, with its subtle minerality, its balance and tasty, almost salty finish. This is a sleek, fine and elegant representation of the limestone soils of the Valle de Uco. To me this wine should be the one called terroir, and the previous wine should be the ‘reserve’—this feels purer. But there you go. 80,760 bottles produced.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2016 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is powerful and ample, as it often is, but also has quite a bit of aromatic freshness to play off the richness of the yellow orchard fruit. This is an especially savory, mineral-driven style of Chardonnay, with the natural breadth of Carneros, and phenomenal balance.”
Arnot-Roberts Syrah, Sonoma Coast 2016 750ML ($49.95) $44.90 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Syrah (Sonoma Coast) is dazzling. Inky and dark in its fruit profile, but also light on its feet, the 2016 is all class. Hints of lavender, black pepper, mint and cloves grace the palate in an exquisite, mid-weight Syrah that emphasizes freshness and nuance. Deceptively medium in body, the 2016 has enough underpinnings of structure to drink well for many years. This is a fabulous appellation-level Syrah.”
Domaine de la Fruitiere (Famille Lieubeau) Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Clisson, Loire 2012 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2012 Muscadet Sévre et Maine Clisson has an intense yellow color and a deep, ripe yet pure and still subtle bouquet with yeasty, nutty and mineral flavors that indicate a remarkable complexity. Full-bodied, pure and elegant, with a creamy texture and an extensive mouthfeel, this is a refreshing and finesse-full, highly complex and expressive Muscadet with a serious structure and a long, lush finish. Still young in its vitality but with the maturity of almost four years of lees aging, this is a fascinating wine which I would locate between Anjou Chenin Blanc and Burgundy if you don’t have any idea about this kind of Muscadet. Would I buy it? Certainly.”
The average price nationally is $24
One of Chianti’s Finest
Stylistically, these are some of the most old-school and age-worthy wines coming out of Chianti today—wines that make you sit up and realize why the name at one point was synonymous with Italian wine. The Chianti and Riserva are both 100% Sangiovese, aged in large casks for three years before bottling and have that slightly faded glory quality that makes the wines special. Bright fruit, present tannin and a floral, slightly dried cherry quality are all here, with more earth and spice emerging with age.
When Principessa Coralia Pignatelli della Leonessa and her husband bought their 13th century farmhouse and estate in Tuscany in the late 1960’s their intention was not to become one of the leading producers of traditionally-made Chianti Classico. Rather, the goal was simple: find a place to settle down and raise a family. The vineyards were simply part of the traditional Tuscan mix of agriculture.
Over time, though, more and more of the property became planted to vineyards (the estate currently has about 40 producing hectares out of ~300 on the property) and in 1985, tragedy struck. Her husband died and earlier in the year a hard freeze had decimated her olive trees (oil production was a significant source of revenue). She seriously considered selling the estate and moving elsewhere but instead doubled down, committing to make the best wines in the region. To say that she achieved her goals would be understatement—these are some of the best wines in Tuscany and a benchmark for what Sangiovese can be with age.
In Stock Now, Direct From the Winery:
Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 1993 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 1993 Chianti Classico Riserva is another stunning wine. It boasts gorgeous depth and purity, not to mention fabulous overall balance. Sweet dark cherries, licorice, mint and spices are woven together in this fleshy, supple Riserva. The firm tannins are there, but the 1993 has more than enough fruit to stand up to the wine’s structural components. Today the 1993 comes across as slightly smaller scaled version of the 1990. This is a fabulous wine with at least another decade of fine drinking ahead of it.”
Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 1994 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 1994 Chianti Classico Riserva is more immediate and juicy than the 1993. There is plenty of underlying structure, but it is buried by the wine’s generous fruit. Sweet dark cherries, plums, tobacco and incense meld together on the exotic, spiced finish. This is a relatively fleshy wine for Castell’in Villa. I have a slight preference for the 1993, but the truth is that all five wines from the 1990s are fabulous. I would be thrilled to own any of them.”
Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 1995 750ML ($279.95) $249 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 1995 Chianti Classico Riserva is another marvelously complete wine. Waves of fruit saturate the palate in this intense, full-bodied Riserva. The 1995 is another wine endowed with massive fruit and equally imposing structure. It is the first wine in this tasting that is still not ready to offer maximum pleasure. Today it comes across as a young version of the 1990. This is another tremendous showing.”
Castell’in Villa ‘Poggio delle Rose’, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 1996 ($159.95) $128 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 1996 Chianti Classico Riserva Poggio delle Rose emerges from the glass with generous fruit, which is given additional volume and richness from the French oak. The 1996 is a big, big wine, especially within the context of the vintage. Because 1996 is the debut vintage, the percentage of new barrels is higher than in subsequent years, and the wine remains marked by the oak. Smoke, licorice and tar wrap around a muscular finish supported by firm, insistent tannins.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 2001 Chianti Classico Riserva is a big, layered wine bursting with energy. It possesses striking aromatic nuance and delineation from the very first taste. Today the fruit is quite vibrant and the tannins, while present, are not completely unapproachable.”
Castell’in Villa Santacroce Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2004 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 2004 Santacroce is silky, layered and impeccably balanced. Sweet red roses, red berries and spices are all woven together beautifully in this refined, expressive wine. This is a lovely showing. The 2004 captures the essence of the 2004 vintage in a relatively soft, supple style built for near and mid-term enjoyment.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “[Reviewed Jun 2012] The 2005 Chianti Classico Riserva is an impressive wine for the vintage. It boasts a serious core of fruit backed up by considerable structure. The sheer purity and delineation is fabulous. I won’t at all be surprised if the 2005 blossoms into an even better wine than this note suggests. There is no shortage of potential. Ideally the 2005 should be cellared for at least a few years.”
Want to see the rest of the library release from Castell’in Villa? Just click here to view a list of all of their wines on our website.
The Perfect California Estate?
Dominus Estate does it again – another perfect vintage – only 12 bottles available!
Wine Advocate 100 points “Bottled in July 2017 and composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, the Dominus 2015 Proprietary Red Wine leaps from the glass with notes of fresh wild blueberries, crushed blackberries and black currant juice with touches of wild thyme, underbrush, iron ore and aniseed with wafts of lavender and pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has incredible energy and vivacity, with the firm, pixelated tannins and lively backbone skillfully framing the muscular fruit, finishing with wonderful length and depth.”
Big / Bold / Beautiful
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2009 Brut Fleuron is round, voluptuous and racy. Explosive and spherical on the palate, the 2009 exudes richness, with plenty of the radiance of the year on display. Tropical inflections abound in a deep, boisterous Champagne that feels very ripe by Gimonnet standards. Still, there is so much to like, especially the way the wine maintains so much freshness given its intensity. Vineyard sources are 42.5% Cramant, 30% Chouilly, 18.5% Cuis and 9% Oger. Dosage is 4.5 grams/liter.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 96 points “Very refined peach, rose hip and wild berry on the nose. Stunning concentration, elegance and finesse make this one of the stars of the vintage on the Nahe. The super-mineral finish almost literally takes your breath away. Drink now or hold.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “From slate and porphyry soils, the 2016 Nahe Riesling Norheimer Dellchen “GG” is very pure, precise and mineral on the elegant, subtle nose, where ripe seed fruit aromas are displayed. Very sensual! Full-bodied, rich and round, this is a highly elegant, intense and dense Riesling with a persistent finish. Very aromatic and sensual, but it needs some time to gain even more finesse.”
Terry Theise note “A conglomerate of slate and porphyry, the site entails the little hollows between cliff-sides; it’s very steep and terraced and quiet, which may account for the wines’ riddlesome nature, wines of pure inference and umami that need several years not just to blossom, but simply to say what they taste like. This is especially true of the dry wines. This ’16 is relatively overt and smoky, but no sequence of descriptors will be useful—it’s just too soon. The texture seems more lush than usual, and there’s an earthy note, and as compelling as it is, I respect the shroud and will wait patiently.”
Weingut Donnhoff Niederhauser Hermannshohle Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Nahe 2016 1.5L ($199.95) $179 pre-arrival special, only 6 magnums available!
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 97 points “The 2016 Hermannshöhle GG from Dönnhoff is once again one of the top dry rieslings of the vintage in Germany thanks to its stunning combination of concentration and finesse. The super-mineral finish tugs at your lapels trying to pull you with it into the distance. Don’t resist! Good for several decades at least.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “From weathered gray carbon slate, the 2016 Nahe Riesling Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle “GG” is excitingly pure, coolish, fresh and crystalline on the nose, where flinty scents are displayed and intermix with ripe, precise and subtle fruit aromas. This is an aristocrat! Full-bodied, intense and lush on the palate, this is a highly elegant Riesling with very fine crystalline acidity and lingering piquancy. Dense and aromatic on the aftertaste but far too young to be enjoyed today, keep it at least for another 5 years.”
Grapelive 96 points “The 2016 Donnhoff Hermanshohle GG starts with subtle white flowers, loads of flinty spicy mineral and stone leading to a brisk youthful palate of steely citrus, peach and green apple with a core of lime, white currant, a hint of gooseberry and citron that highlights the extract. While tight, focused and compact now, it looks set to be a classic. Lingering melon, faint mango, saline and wet stone adds to the complexity of detail in a wine of true potential. I hope I get a chance to re-visit this beauty in 10 years, in the meantime don’t miss Donnhoff’s the Krotenpfuhl Kabinett, a stellar value. This Hermannshohle GG should be in your cellar when released this fall, it has a rewarding future, I’d put it in the same league as Roulot Meursault and Raveneau Les Clos quality wise, drink from 2022-2035.”
Terry Theise note “Cornelius describes this as a “grand dry wine with a Mona-Lisa smile,” but I usually find it less enigmatic, and in 2016 it is clearly, definitely and obviously fantastic. Intense yet filigree. Focused, and directed towards the conclusion of a complex argument, letting you follow the logic and the beauty of the thoughts, and then you perceive the grace of the language and you wish you could read it out loud to someone—to anyone. It’s not as electrifying as the ’15 was, it’s more deliberate. But that very sense of careful unfurling seems born of love.”
Thank you for reading!