In Today’s Newsletter:
Top Deals Reloaded:
Aldo Conterno & Scott Paul
Small Sublime Producers:
Carl Loewen & Merkelbach
New to Our August Clearance
Napa’s Hottest Cab Collection
The Best Whites in Napa:
August Clearance Sale Roundup
Reloading the Hottest Deals of Last Week
This past week saw two smashing deals—one on Aldo Conterno’s Bussia Barolo and one on the beautiful Scott Paul Pinots. We sold them hand over fist and demand still hasn’t let up, so we’ve got more of each arriving this week. After this next drop, though, they’ll be gone for good.
The common theme for these two wines is pricing—we’re offering both the Aldo Conterno and the Scott Pauls far below their usual asking price. In the case of the latter, it takes a special occasion Pinot and makes it into a Tuesday night drinker, for the former: a collectors dream. This is your last chance to stock up.
Aldo Conterno Bussia
(at $25/bottle off!)
Then there’s the price—it would be too good to be true if it weren’t, in fact, true. This is $25/bottle less expensive than our next closest competitor and over $30/bottle less than the average wine-searcher price.
Re-Arriving Friday, August 10th
Poderi Aldo Conterno Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2010 750ML ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2010 Barolo Bussia is a gorgeous expression that hits all the high notes, both in terms of bouquet and mouthfeel. The nose is redolent of pressed cherries, tar, licorice, crushed granite and chopped mint. It offers the special characteristics that are so forth coming with the Nebbiolo grape. The wine caresses the palate with a fine and enduring sense of freshness and structure. The 2010 vintage is a stunner. Drink: 2016-2028.”
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2010 Barolo Bussia is gorgeous and super-classic in every way. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, new leather and tobacco are some of the many notes that take shape in the glass. The 2010 is a beautiful version of the Bussia, with less of the approachability of some previous vintages, but tons of potential for the future. There is a lot to look forward to here. This is one of the best versions of the Bussia I can remember tasting. The 2010 stands out for its precision and crystalline purity. Readers looking for a great 2010 Barolo that won’t kill the budget should check out the 2010 Bussia.’
The next best price is $86.80
The Hottest Willamette Pinot in the Store
Re-Arriving Friday, August 10th
Scott Paul La Paulee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2013 750ML ($39.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “Deep red. Bright and energetic on the nose, displaying intense red berry and blood orange scents, along with candied rose and allspice highlights. Silky, sweet and incisive on the palate, offering juicy strawberry and floral pastille flavors and a spicy kick of white pepper. Closes very long and nervy; fine-grained tannins lend shape and closing grip.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Sophisticated and subtle, this lovely wine expresses varietal elegance, with a bouquet of roses and raspberries to begin. The jumble of pretty fruits is framed with citrus peel and a dusting of chocolate.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2013 Pinot Noir la Paulee comes from fruit sourced from Maresh and Nysa in the Dundee Hills, Azana in Chehalem and from the Ribbon Ridge, matured for ten months in neutral oak. It has a very natural, Côte de Beaune-like bouquet with ample brambly red fruit with hints of black tea developing with aeration. I appreciate the focus and definition here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, smooth in the mouth with just a faint honeyed note. Tart red cherries mingle with redcurrant and strawberry, segueing into a poised and fulsome finish. This should drink well over the next 7-10 years and represents great value.”
Scott Paul La Paulee Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($39.95) $18 pre-arrival special
Winery Note “Brilliant red in color. The spicy nose starts with being savory and leads into an array of fresh raspberry, brambleberry, and marionberry. Finely pronounced tannins combine with layers of fresh elderberry and a great balance of acid are folded into razor focused tannins which has the palate finishing with class. Our home in Carlton, Oregon (a 1915 brick creamery) is an ideal spot to revel in the virtues of Pinot Noir, as we pursue Pinot Perfection. Our sustainably farmed vineyards are among the Willamette Valley’s finest (and dare we say, most perfect). Our 2014 bottling is a selection of superior lots from our blocks of Maresh and Nysa Vineyards in the Dundee Hills and Ribbon Ridge and Azana Vineyards on the Chehalem Mountains. Bold, bright berry flavors unite with a bounty of rose, spice and cherry aromas. Pure Oregon Pinot Noir.”
Sublime Small Producers
Carl Loewen & Merkelbach
2017 is a not to miss year for lovers of German Riesling—it reminds us of a more intense 2013, with the good producers making awe inspiring Riesling. We highlighted Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff in our last newsletter (which are selling fast, so we’ve listed those wines at the end of this offer). Today, we’re focusing on two smaller, if no less profound, names.
Weingut Carl Loewen Klosterlay Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “More floral and herbal than fruity. This needs a year or two to open up and give its best. However, it has an impressive concentration and an iron-firm core already. A long and subtle finish. Better from 2019.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 95 points “A Mosel Riesling masterpiece. The fine floral honey on the nose slowly pulls you in. This is a very concentrated and refined wine that is anything but loud. A very graceful, pure finish. Drink or hold.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 96 points “This is so exotic but it is also super clean with a ravishing elegance. A very long and complex finish with enormous minerality. Drink or hold.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 95 points “Pump up the volume! Rich and deep with a kaleidoscope of aromas ranging from exotic fruit to berries and herbs. A very dry, dangerously refreshing finish. Drink or hold.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 96 points “Stunning flint, lemon zest and white peaches on the nose. A stunning combination of mineral power and filigree. A diamond-bright finish. Just beginning to open up, but it has decades of aging potential.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 97 points “Dark and dangerous. Rich and spicy, too. This great Mosel riesling needs a lot of aeration to give its best. Although it is almost dry, it has a super succulent palate. Enormous depth and finesse right through the very long finish. Better from 2019 or 2020, but it also shows long-term aging potential.”Weingut Carl Loewen Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 95 points “A breathtaking Spätlese! Succulent and vibrant with a bright acidity, carrying the long and super clean finish. Better from 2020, but it shows enormous aging potential.”
Terry Theise note “Now this is a Merkelbach wine! Explosively fresh and spicy; here the botrytis is positive; the wine is energetic and flourishing, recalling the ‘15s. You can’t help but love it. It’s sweeter than they usually bottle but acidity carries it.”
Terry Theise note “Same exact parcel, one harvest day apart. This one’s drier and the acid-phenolics are more grippy; a curious departure from their usual type, denser, more inscrutable. A case could be made for combining the fuders…but I didn’t make it. I’m into small-batch.”
Terry Theise note “Probably the masterpiece of their vintage, but not an “easy” wine. Extreme sassafrass, and very stony, but a hyssop-y spice trails along a subtle vein of fruit. Mosel at its most masculine, but hugely impressive, with its serious “resting face.””
Terry Theise note “All from the great cadaster Lang Pichter, this is really remarkable; huge fruit served by positive botrytis, classic “big-vintage” mien; a grand conversation among strawberry and kiwi and licorice and all with lovely surging fruit.”
Don’t miss our Willi Schaefer and Donnhoff 2017 offers
These are limited and moving fast!
Browse the complete list below:
New Deals in the August Sale
Now $36 August Clearance Price
Grapelive 95+ points “The brilliant and exotic Schmitt comes from the steep slate hill above the church, set back from the Mosel. There is great southern exposure here and it less affected by noble rot, a big plus in 2014. It allowed this rich and lush wine to remain crystalline and focused. This is one of the great wines of the vintage! Johannes Selbach’s top wines are not Trocken/Grosses Gewachs, but are single block wines from Cru sites. They are also heavy weighted, dense and medium sweet, but it is not about the sugar: it is all about the terroir and overall balance. These are wines of hedonism, power, textural pleasure and vitality, especially the Schmitt in 2014. It explores the boundaries of perfection in a fantastically difficult vintage. The was a savage thinning of the crop and a tiny window to get the grapes in to make this masterpiece from the old vines at Zeltinger Schlossberg. It is truly amazing with all the problems and heartbreak endured here that a wine of this quality and gorgeous detail managed to happen at all. Somehow this block come through and made one of the most glorious Riesling wines of the year. The 2014 Schmitt by Selbach-Oster starts with a sweet perfume. This wine shows white roses, dripping jasmine, hints of gardenia and tropical essences that lead to a full bodied, Auslese weight palate with apricot, green apple, lime and mango fruits leading the way along with a mix of spicy mineral and flinty stones, briny sea shore notes, soft honey decadence, creamy verbena and sweet peach flesh. The finish carries over the core of fruit and richness, but there is a burst of dynamic acidity and vibrancy. This is not a flabby wine and you are left with a dreamy/haunting impression with lingering tangerine sorbet, crushed stone and wet steeliness. This is fabulous Riesling and one you’ll want in the cellar. This has 100 Point potential and it will also drink well young. It already has poise and elegance, but should last two or three decades! Don’t be afraid of its sugar levels, it drinks like a lavish Grand Cru Corton-Charlemagne and is a spectacular wine from Selbach-Oster!”
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $43.99
The average price is $49
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2015 750ML ($29.95) Was $24, Now $18 August Clearance Price
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2015 Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Kabinett is deep and smoky on the very clear, refreshing nose with its bright fruit aromas and smoky flavors of crushed stones. On the palate, this is a lush and mouth-filling Riesling with great purity, super grip and lingering salinity. The Schlossberg is surely more complex than the regular Kabinett, but I wouldn’t drink it before 2025. It has 9.5% alcohol and less than 50 grams of residual sugar.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a nice nose of herbs, grapefruit and spices. The wine is gorgeously fruity and elegant on the palate, with some Spätlese presence but also true Kabinett character and lightness. The wine is gorgeously long and elegant. 2023-2040”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Bright and pure, with delightful pear, green almond and green plum notes laced with a fennel streak, ending with finely beaded acidity and a mineral echo through the finish. Very refined. Drink now through 2027.”
The average price is $42
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut Lieu Sec, Loire 2016 750ML ($39.95) Was $33, Now $29 August Clearance Price
Wine Advocate 90 points “From the nine-hectare original vineyard of the Huet family, the 2016 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec shows a citrus color followed by an intense, fresh and chalky-mineral bouquet with lemon and some blossom aromas. Aged in demi-muids and bottled in April 2017, this is a medium-bodied, round, elegant, remarkably lush and delicate Chenin Blanc from calcareous clay soils. The residual sugar of seven grams per liter gives a beautiful exotic fruitiness and balance, the fine tannins a good structure. The 2016 is truly a pleasant Vouvray that already drinks perfectly. Tasted February 2018.”
The average price is $36
Wine Spectator 94 points “Green plum and verbena notes lead the way for now, with a flash of quinine on the finish. This is juicy, but still a bit compact overall, with the core of ample pear, quince and ginger flavors in reserve. Just wait for everything to knit together and stretch out, as the purity and length are there. Best from 2018 through 2028.”
The average price is $42
Terry Theise note “2015 is, at last, the vintage this honorable decent vintner has waited for. In fact he compares it with 2010, and one sees why, though it’s not as bombastic as ’10, and it was more backward on the day I tasted. Young customers haven’t seen what this laudable grower can do at his best. The wines are analogue, with an inferential richness, and they age forever. Old-timers will have learned to treasure Meulenhof as a source of excellent values for true-blue Mosel that really fills the mouth.”
Mosel Fine Wines 89+ points “This offers a slightly sharp nose of brown sugar, mirabelle, herbs and spices. The wine is on the sweet and delicately rich side on the palate, where minerals, delicate yellow fruits and apricot come through. The finish is sweet and more of Auslese presence. This needs time to develop its full potential. We would not be surprised if this exceeds our initial expectations. 2025-2040.”
Meulenhof Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2010 750ML ($39.95) Was $28, Now $24 August Clearance Price
Terry Theise note “In general Justen’s wines are more lush and peachy than, say, Merkelbach; not as stern as, say, Christoffel. They are comparatively straightforward and “easy” to understand because the fruit is overt and in-your-face. Even a cursory glance into that fruit, though, will reveal the proverbial Coat of Many Colors: interplays of flavor and texture that can be absorbing and rewarding. And the wines both keep and age.”
A true “Grand Cru” site in the valley. Beautiful wine.
Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noir Maresh Vineyard, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Winery notes “Destemmed in 1¼ ton lots, Jim’s light touch in the winery allows the intrinsic character of the wine to blossom. Passive temperature management ensures spontaneous fermentation proceeds and is monitored and guided by sensory analysis, gentle extraction techniques and low peak temperatures. Immediately upon reaching dryness, the lots are gently pressed in a half-ton wood bladder press and settle 2-4 weeks before being transferred to 5%-10% new French Oak barrels for 14-18 months. They are only racked to prepare for bottling.”
Different from Maresh but approaching it qualitatively. Fantastic.
Arterberry Maresh Old Vines Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
VinopolNote: This is a blend of some of the oldest vines from both Maresh and Weber vineyards with a vine age averaging over 40 years old–a rarity by Willamette Valley standards. This classy Dundee Hills Pinot is structured to age but surprisingly approachable at the moment. Drink it while you let the Maresh vineyard bottling sleep.
Bow & Arrow Hughes Hollow Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($41.95) $33 special
Grapelive 94 points “The rather exotic Hughes Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir from Bow & Arrow is amazing stuff. It at first is tight and iron-laced in a way that reminds me of young Nebbiolo. A few swirls brings an exciting array of classic Pinot aromas and flavors out and, with further coaxing in the glass, a powerful sensation that you are tasting something otherworldly. Scott Frank, winemaker at Bow & Arrow, has done some thrilling wines from this unique north facing 30 year old site, and this 2015 is impressive. Hughes Hollow Vineyard (located in the South Salem hills on Jory and Nekia soils at about 675 feet [and] now farmed all organic) was a place Frank wanted Gamay from, but had to take Pinot grapes as part of the deal. Mercy be, what deal it has turned out to be…! This vineyard, fast becoming a favorite of mine in Bow & Arrow’s lineup, has its own personality. The vines here are own-rooted and have been dry farmed from the beginning which adds to the intensity of form and with a vintage like 2015, [where] ripe flavors, a savory bite and crisp acidity dominate. It bursts from the glass marked with the volcanic mineral and spice along with dried roses, tangy strawberries and minty herbs (stems?) before gathering its forces for a medium bodied, but powerful palate of black cherry, plum and briar laced raspberry along with cinnamon, black tea, earthy leather/porcini and lavender incense. This is a gripping Pinot, with a firm structure with young Vougeot-like tannins. The length is heavenly and long adding the vintage’s sweetness that offsets the rustic nature of this unpolished wine, this really sexy stuff. Drink over the next 3 to 7 years.”
An incredibly reliable, fantastic Pinot for the price, every year.
Cristom ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvee’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Winery Note “Mt. Jefferson Cuvée is a blend of the Cristom estate Pinot Noir vineyards [68%] along with exceptional fruit we source from neighboring vineyards in the Willamette Valley. These contributing sites have been thoughtfully selected over the years, and are planted on a variety of soil types, elevations and aspects, representing the Willamette Valley Appellation as a broader whole. Each of these vineyards are farmed by committed winegrowers we are proud to partner with, with each site adding to the character, fruit, and structure of the wine, giving “Mt. Jeff” its deserved reputation as one of the most stylistically consistent Pinot Noirs in the world.”
Tons of bang for the buck in a Burgundy lover’s style.
Goodfellow Family Cellars Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($29.95) $26 special
VinopolNote: 100% Whistling Ridge vineyard fruit, declassified to make a wine that’s more approachable young than the single vineyard bottling. This wine shows all of the hallmarks of Whistling/Ribbon Ridge, with spicy black and red fruits and a firm structure that gives the wine nice definition.
Winery Note “(on Whistling Ridge) Whistling Ridge Vineyard was first planted in 1990. The 14 acre vineyard sits on the ridge top, with a slight south-east aspect, catching the evening breeze from the northwest year round. Shallow soils force roots deep in Oregon’s drought summer conditions, creating wines defined by elegance married to structure.”
Back in stock!
Goodfellow Family Cellars Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
Winery Note “This is the perfect introduction to Goodfellow Chardonnay. Our Chardonnay spends 21 months on the lees in neutral and new French oak puncheons. The Willamette Valley bottling is bright and crisp, with the texture and complexity that comes with extended elevage. Vineyard sources: Whistling Ridge & Durant Vineyards.”
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuvee Oenophile Premier Cru Extra Brut – Non Dose, Champagne 2008 750ML ($89.95) $61.90 special
Gilbert & Gaillard 94 points “Light yellow-gold. The nose displays splendid minerality then reveals pastry and almond notes. The palate shows seductive precision. Refined texture and mouth-filling freshness. Well-structured, strict and elegant. A stellar Champagne with a real sense of place.”
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2008 Oenophile Extra Brut offers an invitingly clear, bright and fresh bouquet of crisp apples, lemons, brazil nuts and grated hazelnuts along with some hints of herbs and flowers. On the palate this is a very elegant, firm, fresh and minerally accentuated Champagne of with a good grip and an animating citric finish. It is a crisp, elegant, refined and a really stimulating aperitif on a really high level. Beautifully structured and mineral, I just can’t get enough!” WA
Maison Leroy Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras, Rhone 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
One of the best kept secrets in wine, buy one of each.
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Gelber Muskateller, Wachau 2007 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Gelber Muskateller, Wachau 2008 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Gelber Muskateller, Wachau 2009 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Gelber Muskateller, Wachau 2010 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Gelber Muskateller, Wachau 2011 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Terry Theise note “The quick-&-dirty on the vintages: ’07 is good and ’08 is stunning and wonderful, ++ quality. ’09 is yellow-fruit, more vintage than Muscat. ’10 remains a favorite, sweet and giving, it nurses the palate. ++ ’11 is Muscat and then some! Even has some Riesling mojo going on. +”
Familie Saahs Nikolaihof Gelber Muskateller, Wachau 2012 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Terry Theise note “Just bottled when I tasted it, standing outside in the sun upon arriving, as a welcome-drink. I wanted to grab the bottle and just slug it, honestly. But I forced myself to be mature, and drank it from a fine stem, and noticed how sapid and almost creamy it was, with its subtle lemon; starchy and spicy and with the extra dimension of oyster-shell that makes it the best Muscat among my Austrian offerings. Peony and white lilac also, and three atmospheres of length.”
Napa’s Hottest Cabernet Collection
Larkmead is a historic property on a hot streak over the last decade. Perhaps no producer in Napa has seen their stock rise over as much over the last decade. Built on a combination of exceptional terroir and the talented winemaking of Andy Smith and Dan Petroski, Larkmead is one of the most in-demand producers in the Valley. The string of high scores over the last decade hasn’t hurt demand, either.
Founded in 1895, the winery was an important pre-prohibition producer before a decline and rebirth in the late 90’s under the stewardship of winemaker Andy Smith and then (current winemaker) Dan Petroski. Under their guidance, Larkmead has become one of the most coveted producers in Napa.
Located in a unique area of the Calistoga bench, Larkmead’s vineyard has the enviable quality of turning out wines that combine the intensity of mountain fruit with some of the soft textures of valley floor wines. The result is a series of bottlings that manage to be fantastic young and still better over time. All the wines manage to pack a lot of power and intensity and reward lovers of the modern Napa style.
These are must have wines for anyone who digs Napa Cabernet. The combination of quality and scarcity means these wines only come to us once per year and sell out quickly—don’t blame us if you wait and miss out!
Larkmead Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 93 points “The 2014 “White Label” red wines include the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, which is a beauty. An elegant, Pauillac-style wine with notes of chocolate, cedar wood, fruitcake, unsmoked cigar tobacco and underbrush, it is dense, full-bodied and rich. It is a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot aged 19 months in 75% new French oak. There are 2,705 cases of this wine, which finished at 14.7% natural alcohol. It should drink well for 20-25 years, but there’s no reason to defer your gratification.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Larkmead’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a very pretty, understated wine. Bright red stone fruit, floral notes and spice give the 2014 its refreshing, vibrant personality. The fruit is nicely pushed forward, but the 2014 is light on its feet and gracious, especially for a Calistoga Cabernet. Even so, this is a relatively laid-back style built on finesse more than power.”
Larkmead Vineyards Dr. Olmo, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The “Black Label” wines include the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Olmo, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the clone of Cabernet that is also called Eisele. This wine spent 20 months in 62% new French oak. A magnificent wine by any standard of measurement, with notes of scorched earth, lead pencil shavings, charcoal embers, and blackberry and cassis fruit, this dense purple wine has undeniable minerality, a beautiful, full-bodied texture and a voluptuous finish. Drink it over the next 25 years.”
Antonio Galloni 92-95 points “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Dr. Olmo is holding back quite a bit of its potential. Dark cherry, smoke, licorice, tar and menthol give the Dr. Olmo much of its brooding personality. The tannins are quite firm, but that should be less of an issue as the wine won’t be released for about a year.”
Larkmead Vineyards Firebelle Red, Napa Valley 2014 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 94 points “A blend of 72% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2014 Firebelle finished at 14.9% alcohol. It is a beautifully rich, chocolaty wine with notes of savory spices, black cherries and mulberries, some fudge and coffee bean. It has medium to full body, outstanding purity, concentration and length. It was aged in 66% new French oak for 19 months prior to bottling. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2014 Firebelle, Larkmead’s Merlot-based wine, is terrific. Succulent black cherry, lavender, mint and dark spices infuse this pliant, creamy wine. Expressive savory and mineral-infused notes punctuate the finish. The tannins need time to soften, but there is plenty to like and look forward to.”
The Best Whites in Napa
Aren’t What You Think
Massican Leads an “Alt” Movement
Dan Petroski leads two different winemaking lives. By day, he’s the winemaker at Larkmead, a historic California winery known for high point scores and powerful Cabernet-based reds (see above). By night (proverbially), he runs his own tiny label, called Massican, and produces white wines inspired by the majestic whites of Friuli, in northeastern Italy. Starting in 2009, he’s produced these quietly-revolutionary white blends, challenging Napa orthodoxy with some stunning stuff.
Stylistically, the wines he makes are finely balanced between richness and freshness. Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla and Friulano all have steely acidity, so either by themselves or paired with Chardonnay (which is a traditional grape in Friuli), the wines always have great brightness. Napa sun gives the wines richness and the resulting blend is a wine that is able to pair with a seemingly endless variety of foods. These are wines that are destined to become modern classics and we’re excited that they’re finally available outside the winery’s mailing list.
Massican Annia White, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Winery note “Grapes: ribolla gialla – 55%, tocai friulano – 39%, chardonnay – 6%. The 2017 vintage in napa will always be remembered because of the wildfires that began on the evening of Sunday, October 8. We are very fortunate that not only were all our grapes harvested before the fires broke out but also that our vineyards were spared from harm; however, we cannot say that for all our neighbors who have been impacted by this tragedy. Our ANNIA in this vintage shows the quiet side of her persona an opportunity to remain thoughtful and thankful for all the good graces we receive not only this year but every year.”
Massican Gemina, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Winery note “Grapes: pinot grigio – 77%, greco – 23%. With our hearts and minds attached to the wildfires that ravaged our community during the early part of October we often forget that the vintage was defined by another incredible weather event – the record breaking heat wave that lasted from June through Deptember. It was a relentless heat wave but we are fortunate for GEMINA to be made from two grape varieties, one of those varieties is greco which is accustom to savage climate of southern Italy and can face the intensity of one hundred degree days.”
Massican Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Winery note “Sauvignon blanc – 100%. The 2017 vintage in Napa Valley will always be remembered because of the wildfires that began in the late evening of Sunday, October 8. The fires spread with lightening speed because of the heavy winds that night and not only many homes were lost but also many lives in the area. Each day we take a step to repair the physical and emotional loss due to the fires but we will never forget how fragile our planet is and how quickly mother nature will remind us of the breadth and ferocity of her power.”
Massican Gaspare Bianco, Colli Orientali del Friulii, 2016 750ML ($37.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Winery note “Grapes: tocai friulano – 43%, ribolla gialla – 29%, chardonnay – 28%. This is a wine about friends and family. without massimo there would be no trip to Sicily. without George there would be no ribolla gialla in the United States without Christian and Serena there would be no inspiration for this wine. All my friends are my heroes and my motivation. annia is named after my American mother and our first Italian wine vintage is named after massimo’s father GASPARE. Without massimo there would be no massican he gave the support to make this dream a reality a million thanks to friends and family we could not have done it without you.”
In Stock Now from Massican:
Massican Hyde Vineyards Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 19 bottles in stock now
International Wine Report 91 points “The 2016 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay is a terrific showing in this vintage. Winemaker Dan Petroski harvested his Chardonnay twice. The first fruit was picked early in August, which was planned for use in his ‘Annia’ white to add structure to the blend. The second pick took place within a few weeks, but was slightly delayed as a result of the cooler weather in Carneros. Nonetheless, this Chardonnay opens to vibrant aromatics of citrus, nectarine and crushed stones followed by hints of jasmine and almond. On the palate it possesses a beautiful texture with wonderful balance of minerality and acidity lasting through the finish. While this Chardonnay is already offering plenty of early appeal, it also shows the potential to further evolve with some short-term cellaring. (Best 2018-2025).”
One of the most classical Provence rosés.
Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Chateau de Calavon Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rose, Provence 2017 750ML ($249.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 90 points “A blend of 65% Cinsault, 20% Grenache and 15% Syrah, Calavon’s 2017 Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Rose is another solid rosé effort from the portfolio of American importer Peter Weygandt. This one is medium-bodied, quite taut and perfumed, with hints of garrigue, stone fruit and lingering citrus on the finish.”
Winery note “This is the unique cuvée of rosé from Calavon. It comes from a rigorous selection from the best parcels of Calavon. The vintage 2017, issued from a majority of Grenache, black and gray, offers the originality of a blend with Syrah and Rolle. Both round and fresh, it is the perfect rosé for summer lunches by the sea: grilled red mullet in garlic cream, bouillabaisse or lamb tajine with candied lemon.”
Classic Cali Pinot at a great price.
Maggy Hawk Afleet Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2009 750ML ($69.95) $39 special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92 points “Bright ruby. Aromas of fresh red berries and candied rose are complicated by notes of sassafras, vanilla and allspice. Juicy and sharply focused, offering intense raspberry and cherry flavors that put on weight with air. Shows impressive clarity on the finish, which lingers with suave floral and spice qualities.”
The next best price is $86.99
German Pinot Blanc—it’s tasty (and dry)!
Selbach-Oster Pinot Blanc Dry, Mosel 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
David Schildknecht – Vinous 89 points “This bottling now encompasses some vines in Wehlener Klosterberg (epicenter of Markus Molitor’s memorable Pinot Blancs) as well as those long established by the Selbachs in Zeltinger Himmelreich. It’s raised largely in tank, supplemented by fuder. Apple blossom, corn shoot and smoky hints of toasted nuts combine for a pungent nose, which segues into a palate Pinot Blanc-typical in its delightful combination of textural creaminess and fresh apple juiciness. Due to hail in the parcel of Himmelreich where most of this was grown, the Selbachs ended up picking it in two tranches to compensate for late ripening of secondary buds. The upshot is 12.5% alcohol yet a welcome sense of buoyancy, and a tension of richness and tartness that is pleasantly stimulating on the seriously sustained finish.”
Single parcel Morgon from a master.
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon Roche du Py ‘Cuvee Camille’, Beaujolais 2016 750ML ($44.95) $38 special
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon Roche du Py ‘Cuvee Camille’, Beaujolais 2016 1.5L ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds 94 points “Brilliant ruby-red. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red fruits, Asian spices and minerals, along with an exotic touch of incense in the background. In a distinctly elegant style, offering appealingly sweet raspberry, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors that show very good depth as well as finesse. A spine of juicy acidity adds support and cut to an impressively long, floral-driven finish that’s shaped by silky, harmonious tannins.”
“one of the best wines in Rioja in 2013”
Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points “This is an excellent 2013 with such purity and finesse. Cherry, stone and light cedar aromas follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Hints of cedar. It shows a focused energy. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “Jorge Muga told me he’s very proud of their 2013 Reserva, which he considers the most challenging vintage he’s seen: cold, rain, botrytis, vigor, mud … horrible! They only produced this Reserva, there’s no Selección Especial Torre Muga or Prado Enea, and they even produced less than the average volume of this bottling. This is the year they introduced optical sorting for the grapes, and they reckon that really helped to achieve the quality of this wine. In this price range and volume, it has to be one of the best wines in Rioja in 2013. It has the classical Muga character, polished and drinkable.”
August Sale Roundup
Want to see all the wines in the August Sale? Just click here to view the list on our web store or see below for the full list!