Saturday Newsletter 2-11-17

Jump Start Sale: Saint Cosme Wine of the Year 2016; Staff Pick: Matello Library Release; Champagne: Best Grower Bargains; #Trending; Spanish Romance: Two Great Cavas for Valentine’s Day; New Arrival: Xavier Vignon; Back in Stock: Casa Smith Cervo; New Review for Dagueneau; Domaine Coulet; Von Winning Time; Reynvaan; New Wine Spectator Review for Domaine Leflaive; Cantine Lonardo: Arriving This Month; Late Breaking News: 98 & 100 Point Vin Santos


Jump Start Sale

Newly Re-Arrived

Wine Spectator #43 Wine of the Year 2016

In magnum – The Ultimate Party Wine!
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2015 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 24 bottles available
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone 2015 1.5L ($34.95) $29 special, 36 magnums available
Wine Spectator 91 points “Ripe, with vivid blueberry and boysenberry fruit, harnessed on the back end by a bold graphite edge. Anise and violet notes add range. Drink now through 2019.”
Grapelive 92 points “Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme is one of the great wineries in the southern Rhone and produces some of the most sought after Gigondas out there! His little Cotes-du-Rhone though, made of almost entirely Syrah, is one of the region’s best value wines, and this 2015 is stunningly delicious and full of flavor. It always seems odd such a major player in top Grenache based wines like Barruol uses so much Syrah in his Cotes-du-Rhone, but then again so does Chave and Clape too, somehow it all works and the wine is deep in color and character and detailed with dark fruits, a plush mid palate and spicy length. The 2015 was 100% Syrah from Vinsobres and Gard with the grapes partially de-stemmed, with fermenting and aging in tank only, this makes for a fresh style and with just enough tannin to age, though complex enough and plush enough to thrill in it’s youth, and this 2015 does just that and with style! The palate is filled with layers of black and blue fruits, blackberry, boysenberry, juicy plum, fig and a touch of cassis along with cracked peppercorns, olive, lavender oil, violets, camphor, porcini, anise and mineral/stony notes. Round and textured the Saint Cosme Cotes-du-Rhone reaches a full-bodied weight, though still poised and vibrant, this is a class act, especially in this price range, I’ve been a fan of this wine for at least 10 years, I just love it, drink in over the next 3 to 5 years, this 2015 is one of the best yet!”


Staff Pick

New Library Release from Matello

The Best Value ‘Burgundy’ for Under $30

Matello ‘Souris’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2011 750ML ($39.95) $28 super special
The 2011 vintage in Oregon brought the nay-sayers out of the woodwork. It was a cool vintage, and 2011 was known around here as the year without a summer. Some professional reviewers derided the vintage as only producing under-ripe, green wines. With so many wines from warmer-than-typical vintages arriving every week (2014, 2015 and a few 2012s…), it was refreshing to see where this 2011 was in its life.
Representation of the 2011 vintage is slowly dwindling on our shelves, so we jumped at the chance to bring in this library release from Matello – and at an unheard of price. (After such large vintages like 2014, he needed to free up some room in his cellar.) The Souris bottling from Matello is made of the first selection of barrels from his best sites (Whistling Ridge, Durant and Bishop Creek). This release was just Whistling Ridge and Durant, seeing 100% French oak with 40% of it being new. Marcus was kind enough to pop a bottle for us to check in on its progress.
The 2011 was, not surprisingly given his track record, delightfully young and fresh. Richly perfumed aromas of dark red rose and fresh lilac spilled from the glass. The palate gave up blackberry and black tea aromas mixed with a peppery vanilla note. The wine had very fine yet present tannin, moderate acidity and a spicy oak profile that pairs well with the lush aromatics. The long, cool growing season resulted in concentrated flavors balanced by elegance and crisp acidity. As enjoy able as it was right out of the bottle today, this baby is worth cellaring for at least another five years.
Here are Josh Raynolds’ thoughts from July 2014:
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 91 points “($45) (from fruit grown in the Whistling Ridge and Durant vineyards; made with 55% whole clusters and raised in 40% new oak):  Vivid red.  Vibrant red berry and Asian spice aromas are given depth by notes of vanilla and licorice and pick up a minerally nuance with air.  Juicy raspberry and cherry-cola flavors tighten up in the mid-palate and show very good clarity.  Finishes spicy and long, with silky tannins adding structure.” ST

You won’t find this 2011 Souris listed elsewhere;
but the next best price on any vintage of the Souris Pinot Noir is $36.89



The Valentine’s Day Classic

We offer 84 different Champagnes in stock now – total 1,264 bottles

Below are some of our best value Champagnes from our favorite growers!

Aubry Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Aubry Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($479.95) $399 special, 1 case available (that’s only $33.25/bottle!)
Wine & Spirits 92 points “This tastes of pure, pale white limestone transformed into crisp yellow apple. It’s appetite inducing in its zesty freshness, bright white floral notes and clean, lively length of flavor, especially if there are oysters nearby. The Aubry brothers maintain a reserve wine blend composed of vintages going back to 1998; that blend provides 50 percent of this Brut, with the other half from 2013. The varietal composition is also distinctive: pinot Meunier makes up 45 percent, with chardonnay and pinot noir each providing 25 percent and the remaining five percent made up of traditional local varieties including arbanne, petit meslier and fromenteau.”

Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles available
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Brut Grande Reserve emerges from the glass with layers of hazelnut, pear, spice and dried flower aromas. This rich, creamy wine impresses for its balance and sheer richness. I loved it.” AG

Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $33 special, 18 bottles available
Case-12 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($479.95) $359 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $29.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Nature Silver is naturally a very focused, driven wine given the no-dosage style. This shows wonderful nuance and depth all the way through to the long finish, with bright aromas and flavors but less of the toastiness than some of the house’s other wines. The mousse and finish are both utterly impeccable in their elegance.” AG

R.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles available
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Coutier’s NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, 100% Chardonnay from Ambonnay, remains one of the most compelling, under the radar wines in Champagne, not to mention a fabulous value. Round, textured and supple in the glass, the Blanc de Blancs shows the more textured, side of Chardonnay. These soils in Ambonnay confer an unusual level of richness and breadth. In my view, this is Coutier’s best Champagne. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.” AG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $45.27

Thierry Triolet Cuvee Grande Reserve Blanc de Blancs Brut NV 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(11 g/l dosage): Pale gold. Intense citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by notes of honeysuckle, tarragon and iodine. Chewy tangerine and pear skin flavors become silkier and spicier with aeration. Shows a seductive floral quality on the clinging finish, which features a dusty mineral nuance and a touch of buttered toast.” JR

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $42.99

Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Fidele Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2012) 750ML ($89.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-6 Vouette et Sorbee Cuvee Fidele Extra Brut, Champagne NV (2012) 750ML ($479.95) $336 special, 6 half-cases available (that’s only $56/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The NV (2012) Extra Brut Fidele is another fabulous wine from Vouette & Sorbée. Here, the richness of Pinot Noir comes through loud and clear in the wine’s depth and overall richness. Creamy and beautifully layered throughout, the 2012 hits all the right notes. Red berry, mint, flowers, sweet spices and candy fill out the wine’s broad frame effortlessly. What a gorgeous wine this is. Simply put, the 2012 is a total knock-out.”
Staff Pick Notes: The 2012 is best described as a marriage of the previous releases. Here we find the heady fig, floral and orchard fruit notes of the 2009 with the solid acidity and grace of the 2011 and the spice, body, length and structure of the 2010. It’s a mélange of distinct flavors, the complexity is astounding, all balanced by the unique influence of the savory-salty wisp of butterscotch and preserved lemon notes from the reserve wine base. The Fidele is made with a small amount of reserve wine held in solera and topped off with each vintage. It gives the wine a core note of lightly oxidation that shows more or less depending upon the vintage. This year, that note hit the mid-palate with a. I particularly like the way it plays off the richness and aromatics to keep everything in balance. I suggest decanting the Champagne if you must break into it now (the Champagne showed even better the second night) otherwise cellar for a couple years. –Suzanne



Three Wine Company Spinelli Mataro, Contra Costa County 2013 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 35 bottles available
Winery note: “Mataro, also known as Mourvèdre (France) and Monastrell (Spain), is an international varietal fermented into many different styles of wine, from fruity rosés to concentrated dark-reds with strong tannic structures. The Spinelli Mataro is a blend of 81% Mataro, 4% Carignane, 7% Black Malvoisie, 7% Petite Sirah, and 1% Alicante Bouschet. The dusty nose of violets, ripe black-cherries, and chocolate is draped with rich French Vanilla, Provencal herbs, tobacco leaf, and a minerality that sneaks through to the finish. The Petite Sirah adds structure, color, and blue-fruit character while the Black Malvoisie adds softness and a perfumed raspberry aroma. Due to a high level of anti-oxidants, Mataro is an exceptional aging wine. Don’t be afraid to cellar this vintage for five to ten years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $29

Chateau Petit Faurie-Quet, Saint-Emilion 2012 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-6 Chateau Petit Faurie-Quet, Saint-Emilion 2012 750ML ($159.95) $136 special, 3 six-packs available (that’s only $22.67/bottle!)
Winery note “From 35 acres in limestone clay soils. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Aged in 80% new oak barrels and 20% stainless steel vats.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Weingut Kees Kieren Erdener Treppchen Spatlese** Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 29 bottles available
Auction Wine 2016
Mosel Fine Wines 90 points  “This offers a rather gorgeous nose of fresh white minerals, passion fruit, pineapple and a touch of honey. The wine is delicately powerful and rich on the palate and leaves a gorgeously long feel of passion fruit and minerals. Zesty acidity comes through in the after-taste and cleanses the palate. 2025-2040”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Weingut Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese*, Mosel 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 26 bottles available
Auction Wine 2016
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points  “This special bottling of Spätlese * (there is also one offered via regular channels) offers a very elegant and flowery nose of white peach, herbs and spices. The wine is gorgeously fruity and loaded with herbs on the palate. It is lively, fresh and elegant and gradually gains in presence and richness. The finish is however light, airy and incredibly long. What a beautiful wine! 2025-2040”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Numanthia Termes, Toro 2013 750ML ($27.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles available
James Suckling 93 points  “A fresh and spicy red with ripe-blackberry, violet and eucalyptus undertones. Full body, ripe yet firm tannins and a long, mineral and dark-chocolate finish. Needs some time still to soften. Better in 2018.”
VinopolNote: 100% Tinta de Toro from sandy and stony vineyards. Aged for 12-15 months in 30% new barrels.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $18.95
The average price is $26


Spanish Romance

Though the term ‘crowd-pleasing’ might not come to mind for a great sparkler on Valentine’s Day, these two bargains are certain to appeal to any palate for this special holiday!

El Cep Marques de Gelida Gran Reserva Brut Cava, Catalonia 2012 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “(aged on its lees for 40 months prior to disgorgement) Limpid yellow. Aromas of ripe pear, peach and honeydew melon on the nose; a subtle ginger nuance emerges with air. Supple and broad on entry, then more taut in the midpalate, offering juicy orchard and pit fruit flavors and a refreshing hint of bitter quinine. Finishes dry and spicy, delivering a touch of bitterness, strong mineral cut and very good cling.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Llopart Reserva Brut Rose Cava, Penedes 2013 750ML ($24.95) $18.80 special, 36+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points  “Vivid pink. Spicy and focused on the nose, displaying intense red berry, orange zest scents and a suave floral overtone. Raspberry and redcurrant flavors show a refreshingly bitter edge and flesh out nicely in the mid-palate. Smoothly intertwines power with elegance, finishing sappy and long, with building spiciness and lingering tangerine and rose pastille qualities.”

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


New Arrival

Xavier Vignon
Few in the Southern Rhône can make wine like Xavier Vignon. Grand Veneur’s 100 Point Châteauneuf-du-Pape VV 2010, along with Raymond Usseglio’s 99 Point Cuvée Impériale 2010: Xavier fashioned both. Having studied at Montpellier’s prestigious winemaking school, and polished his skills in places like Napa, Bordeaux, and Australia, Xavier arrived in Châteauneuf in the late 1990s. Following his success there, and heeding industry advice, he began buying specific barrels from some of his winery clients and blending his own line of wines. The wine world has since thanked Xavier for his contribution, and critics like Robert Parker continuously praise his signature bottlings.

Xavier’s mission remains simple: to showcase, and exalt, the character of the Rhône Valley’s most celebrated appellations. The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Vacqueyras, and Rasteau, for example, sing in their purest voices under the guidance of Xavier. His intuition and decades of experience as a Rhône winemaker pay off not just in 99-100 points, but likewise in his own brand of wines. We are offering an assortment of Xavier Vignon wines, all in the 90+ point range, at a fraction of what you’d pay for the wines Xavier makes as consultant.

Newly Arrived Wines from Xavier Vignon

Xavier Rasteau, Rhone 2012 750ML ($34.95) $28.80 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “One of my favorite wines from this estate, the 2012 Rasteau offers tons of ripe dark fruit, crushed rock, licorice and minerality in its full-bodied, concentrated profile. Made from 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, it’s a classic Rasteau to drink over the coming 7-8 years.”

Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône S.M. NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The NV Côtes du Rhône S.M. is thrilling stuff. Made from equal parts Grenache and Syrah and aged half in concrete and half in barrel, it offers a full-bodied, voluptuous and decadent style to go with overflowing notes of plum and darker fruits, licorice and violets. Gorgeous on all counts, it’s a shockingly good Côtes du Rhône to drink over the coming 4-6 years, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it last even longer.”

Xavier Vacqueyras, Rhone 2010 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2010 Vacqueyras was made from a somewhat unusual blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre and 20% Grenache, most of it from the Plateau de Garrigue, near Sarrians in Vacqueyras. This rich effort reveals lots of forest floor, roasted herb, blackberry and cassis notes as well as a hint of acacia flowers. Impeccably pure, rich and long, it should drink well for 6-8 years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2010 750ML ($47.95) $38 special
Wine Advocate 91+ points “Richer, fuller and denser is the 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape, which is composed of 65% Grenache and the rest equal parts Mourvedre and Syrah. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by abundant notes of black fruits, licorice, lavender, Provencal herbs as well as a meaty richness.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $45.99
Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme X 2010 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95+ points  “The powerful, rich 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme reveals an off-the-chart level of extract, lots of glycerin (nearly 16% natural alcohol) and copious black cherry, blueberry, forest floor, lavender and graphite characteristics. This full-throttle red requires 3-4 years of cellaring and should keep for two decades.”

Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme X 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine of the estate, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme is a hidden gem in the vintage! A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise and Vaccarese, from 90-year-old vines and aged in one-third new barrels (although you wouldn’t know it), it possesses fabulous notes of blackberry and currant fruit, big minerality, roasted meats and leather. Full-bodied, with beautiful freshness, big tannin and a layered, thrillingly concentrated mid-palate, it will be better in another year or two, and have over 15 years of longevity. Drink 2015-2026.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Xavier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Anonyme X 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The top wine from the portfolio, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme offers thrilling purity and focus in its lively dark fruits, roasted meats and underbrush-scented bouquet. Full-bodied, ripe and textured, with fantastic polish and sweetness to its tannin, it has a supple, forward feel, yet will easily evolve for 10-15 years.”


Back in Stock:

Best Buy Washington Barbera!

Charles Smith Casa Smith Cervo Barbera, Wahluke Slope 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “On another level, and worth the uptick in price, the 250-case 2014 Barbera Cervo (from vines planted in 1997 and tiny, tiny yields) was brought up all in barrique and is easily the finest example of this variety I’ve tasted from Washington. Elegant, layered and concentrated, with a serious feel in its black cherry, lavender, underbrush and peppery herbs bouquet, this terrific effort is a real head-turner that readers should seek out!”

New Review from Grapelive

The name of Dagueneau is legendary in Loire.
Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly, Loire 2014 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 12 bottles available
Grapelive 93 points “Louis-Benjamin’s wines are living up to the legend of his dad. In fact these 2014’s are without a doubt equal to any young Dagueneau that I’ve tasted in the last 15 vintages. While I have a particular fondness for Pur Sang, this Blanc Fume de Pouilly is a really impressive Sauvignon Blanc. Stunning purity and full of mineral the 2014 Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly (Pouilly-Fume) has a sublime earthy core with layers of lemon/lime, white peach, dried mango and green melon along with wet stones, chalk and brine. This vivid and gripping white fills out on the palate with lees notes and textural feel, but still dynamic, vibrant and vigorous; this is a masterclass in Sauvignon Blanc. As with all Dagueneau, the best is yet to come. Another 5 to 7 years should produce even better things here, though I must say Louis-Benjamin has crafted this Blanc fume de Pouilly in such a way that it shows it’s elegance and intrigue even now. It’s lovely in its charm and fresh detail, where you most certainly would not want to open Pur Sang or Silex for 5 to 10 years, this one can be really enjoyed in its youth. The 2014’s are classic Dagueneau with a subtle character and an almost dreamy nature to them. They are hard to resist, and they are great reminders too, that there is great Sauvignon Blanc out there, lest we forget.”


Cornas from Domaine Coulet

It seems so basic, yet too many winemakers forget: good wine is made in the vineyard. With old Syrah vines growing in granitic soil on select slopes in Cornas, Matthieu Barret knows to let nature take her course. His wisdom is a gift. In charge at Domaine du Coulet since 1998, Barret has farmed his 27 acres of low-yield Cornas (and 12 of Cotes du Rhone red and white) biodynamically. The vineyard ecosystem here has found a healthy balance, which reduces the need for chemical treatments, which retains the purity of grape and wine. In the cellar, Barret avoids new oak altogether, and adds as little sulfur as possible. The results amplify the expression of Cornas – the deep, dark, ripe Rhone fruit, the minerality of granite, the mélange of raspberry and chocolate – into wines whose natural essence has caught more than our attention.

Domaine du Coulet Wines Available Here Now:

Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Billes Noires 2011 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 13 bottles available
Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Billes Noires 2011 1.5L ($199.95) $159 special, 5 magnums available
Wine Advocate 95 points “Even better, the 2011 Cornas Billes Noires, which spends one year in old wood followed by one year in concrete tank, offers blockbuster levels of black raspberry, smoked earth, chocolate, licorice and crushed rock on the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied, long, elegant and with laser-like focus, it nevertheless does not lack for fruit or texture, and has fine-grained tannin framing the finish beautifully. With a scant 600 cases to go around, there’s not much of it, but don’t miss a chance to grab a couple of bottles if you can. It too will drink well for 10-15 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Billes Noires 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 27 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Coming from the upper part of Cornas and seeing 24 months in 400-500 Liter barrels (none new), the 2012 Cornas Domaine du Coulet Billes Noires is an incredible effort that’s up with the crème de la crème of the vintage. Its inky purple color is followed by an awesome bouquet of cassis, bacon fat, olive, peppered meat and iron, with additional minerality coming through with air. Classic in every way, with full-bodied richness, stunning purity and integrated acidity, it’s a big, brooding and concentrated effort that’s reasonably approachable now due to its fruit and texture, yet won’t hit prime time until 6-7 years after the vintage and will have two decades of longevity.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Brise Cailloux 2011 750ML ($69.95) $41.90 special, 18 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Starting out, the 2011 Cornas Brise Cailloux offers up textbook Cornas wildness with its gamy, herbal-styled bouquet delivering brilliant fruit (black cherry, raspberry, blueberry), loads of meatiness, spring flowers and searing minerality. Seeing 18 months all in old wood, this medium to full-bodied beauty has incredibly purity of fruit, great acidity and a knockout finish. Enjoy it over the coming 10-15 years.”

Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Brise Cailloux 2012 750ML ($69.95) $41.90 special, 16 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points  “More elegant and streamlined than the meaty, concentrated Billes Noires, the 2012 Cornas Brise Cailloux has a beautiful perfume of peppery herbs, beef blood, crushed rock and sweet dark fruits. Rounded, rich and layered, with serious minerality as well, enjoy this medium to full-bodied, lengthy and beautifully put together Cornas over the coming decade.”

Matthieu Barret Domaine du Coulet Cornas Les Terrasses du Serre 2009 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 16 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “While they didn’t present this cuvee in 2012, I sourced a bottle of 2009 Cornas les Terrasses du Serre locally to see a slightly older vintage. Classic Cornas, with chewy, meaty, bloody notes of black fruits, lavender, olive tapenade and violets, this beauty has everything you could want from a Syrah from these steep granite slopes. Full-bodied, concentrated and beautifully textured, with integrated acidity and plenty of tannin, drink it anytime over the coming decade or more.”


Winning Time:

Clutch Wines from Von Winning

Von Winning holds the title of greatest wine producer in the Pfalz, if you ask us.  Sure, there are some other producers whose wines are slightly more expensive, but if you ignore cost as a “prestige” rating, the wines of Von Winning speak to us in a voice that is clearer and more interesting than anything else we’ve tried from the region.  This shouldn’t be a surprise–the wines are from the best sites in the region and made with a hands-off attitude.

The wines speak volumes and they speak in mineral tones.  These wines are dry, as the top producers of the Pfalz are wont to focus on, and unlike some of their neighbors, powerful fruit isn’t the goal here.  No, the Von Winning wines speak the language of the floral and mineral flavors that are both intense and furtive and also seemingly unable to be coaxed out of these vineyards by anyone else.  They demand your attention, even when they speak under their breath.

We have a few 2015’s left on pre-arrival (check but we really wanted to highlight some of the wines we have in stock from the 2013 and 2014 vintages.  They may lack the power and majesty of the best of ’15, but they also lack the ‘great vintage pricing.’  That, combined with the fact that these wines are stunning–right now–in a way that the 2015’s aren’t make them a perfect set of wines to buy and drink while the other wines age into their full potential.

Von Winning Wines In-Stock Now:

Von Winning Deidesheimer Kalkofen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2013 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Bright and pale green in color, the 2013 Deidesheim Kalkofen Riesling trocken GG from predominantly old vines on limestone/marl soils offers noble upfront fruit aromas of nectarines and yellow plums. Medium to full-bodied it is the mixture of purity, piquancy, juiciness of ripe fruit and the lovely salty texture that makes the tightly woven Kalkofen one of the finest Rieslings of the 2013 vintage in Germany. Fermented in 500-liter barrels, it can age for ten or more years.” WA

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Von Winning Deidesheimer Kalkofen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 6 bottles available
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points  “Surprisingly floral for a Kalkofen Riesling, this leads with head-turning freesia and lavender perfume, behind which are intimations of white peach and passion fruit that then saturate a polished, almost plush palate. Sweet suggestions of almond paste enhance the mid-palate sense of richness, but brightly juicy white peach and grapefruit serve for consummate refreshment and floral-herbal impingements for invigoration in a seductively sustained finish. The chalk that is part of this site’s namesake may be implicated in its energetic finish, but there is no overt impression of chalkiness let alone austerity to be found here; on the contrary, this is the richest and most winsome of the youthful Von Winning single-vineyard 2014s.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2014 Deidesheim Kalkofen Riesling trocken GG comes from a plateau above the Grainhübel where the grapes ripen a few days later. The soil is chalky and marly, and delivers a rather discreet but very potent wine that needs more time to develop its talents. The 2014 shows a chalky, powdered nose with fresh lemon flavors and rather white fruit aromas. Full-bodied, very round and elegant on the palate, this is a well balanced Riesling with a Burgundian touch thanks to the stimulating, finesse-full salinity and the okay kiss that also gives this Riesling a very delicate tannin structure. I recommend to store this well structured and juicy wine for another three years.” SR

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Von Winning Kirchenstuck Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2014 750ML ($149.95) $106 special, 15 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Crushed stones with a dash of lemon juice on the clear, precise, fresh and concentrated nose of the 2014 Forster Kirchenstück Riesling trocken GG lead to a full-bodied, intense, pure, very clear and salty wine with discreet power but great length and finesse. This is purity in its most complex and elegant expression. There is no richness of fruit and no alcohol that tries to impress you; everything here is terroir and subtle winemaking. The wine is cool and almost delicate, and much fresher and stimulating than a Kirchenstück used to be. This von Winning was bottled with less than 12% alcohol and one can surely discuss if a great Kirchenstück needs to have 13% or more of alcohol. The proud price of 140 United States dollars is even more than you have to pay for the prestigious Kirchenstück from Bürklin-Wolf.” SR

Von Winning Deidesheimer Langenmorgen Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2012 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 9 bottles available
Terry Theise  “It’s the manly side of Pfalz Riesling, and we debate whether this is a Grand or just a Premier Cru; yet the wine is articulate, herbal and peppery, cedary and woodsy, long, studious and spicy, with an almost urgestein minerality, suave even while it’s rural, and gentle even as it prods with its leafy message.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Von Winning Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling Trocken, Pfalz 2013 750ML ($34.95) $27 special, 22 bottles available
Terry Theise  “Tasty, barley and cask-y notes behind a grainy delineated Riesling; less creamy than the ’12 and showing some of ’13’s more pointed edge, but it delivers length, clarity and some ineffable Pfalz-ness, and they tell me it will be smoother by the time its bottled.”

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Von Winning Pechstein Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Pfalz 2014 750ML ($119.95) $86 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “Very complex but also subtle and fresh in its purity and intensity, the 2014 Forster Pechstein Riesling trocken GG intertwines ripe but discreet fruit aromas with the stony basalt flavors form this prestigious vineyard. Full-bodied, pure, round and juicy, this is a nobly textured, piquant and very long Riesling; it has great power, tension and a very long and aromatic finish that displays ripe peach, as well as also some passion fruit aromas. The lingering and stimulating salinity is really characterizing this wine that will get even finer with age. ”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 95 points “An even more riotous diversity of aromatics is on display here than in the corresponding Ungeheuer: pungent but cooling sage, wintergreen and peppermint; zesty orange, grapefruit and lime; resinous oak. Except that instead of turning into a riot, these all seem to collect themselves as they strikingly inflect luscious pear and white peach on a seamlessly polished, expansive, faintly buttery palate. Suggestions of nut oils enhance a sense of enveloping richness rare in youthful Pechstein Riesling, while chalky, stony undertones serve as sounding board and salinity for helpless salivation in a vibrant, sensationally sustained finish.”
Terry Theise notes “Though it is clear that Kirchenstück is the greater and more profound wine, it’s also apparent that many Pfalz amateurs’ favorite wine is Pechstein. It scratches an itch almost no other wine can reach, that lysergic blend of riotous flowers and primordial salts is close to unique among wines. This has a sublime aroma, all sweet lilacs and wisteria and wintergreen; the palate is an apex of salt and mineral with notes of orchids; what a Cru this is! It makes a compelling case that Riesling is—vastly—in its own class.”

Von Winning Ungeheuer Riesling Grosses Gewachs Trocken, Pfalz 2013 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 7 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points  “At this early stage, the citrus colored 2013 Forster Ungeheuer Riesling trocken GG (with lime green reflections) seems to be von Winning’s most impressive Riesling of the vintage. Intense, ripe and piquant fruit aromas of limes and grapefruit on the nose lead to a very juicy and salty palate where an almost perfect amalgam of minerals and fruit juice gives a very elegantly structured, medium to full-bodied wine. Then comes a delicious finish followed by a persistent and piquant length. This is a great, bright and energetic wine, whereas the Pechstein and Kirchenstück are still very closed at the moment.” WA



Powerful, Hard to Get, Washington Syrah

Way back in 2007, who would have thought a start-up could rocket into the first ranks of Walla Walla wine? Reynvaan, though, wasn’t like other start-up wineries in the area. Family-owned and -run, this is a hands-on operation that dedicated itself from the start to producing the finest wines from some of the region’s best vineyard sites. They spare no expense to keep quality high and sought out two of the most interesting vineyards in southeastern Washington.

Reynvaan owns two vineyards: ‘In the Rocks’ recalls the Rhone valley with its rocky ancient riverbed soil.  It’s basically a field of baseball-to-football sized stones–how anyone thought it would be a good idea to plant it is a testament to the overarching pursuit of quality over logic and sense.  The ‘Foothills in the Sun’ vineyard, on the other hand, looks like a ‘normal’ vineyard in Washington. However, despite its gently sloping hillside, it’s one of the highest-elevation vineyards in the state at 1600 feet. The result is near 40 degree temperature swings between day and night, preserving freshness in the wines. Once in the winery, the pursuit of terroir and Washington style becomes Reynvaan’s modus operandi. Are the wines good? Well, there’s a waiting list to buy the wines and they keep being called the “next Cayuse” so we think so.  We were lucky enough to get some through distribution and wanted to highlight them today.
Reynvaan Family Vineyards ‘The Contender’ Syrah – Marsanne, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 94-96 points  “Checking in as a mix of 94% Syrah and 6% Marsanne, the 2014 Syrah The Contender is another elegant, medium to full-bodied, layered wine from this estate that offers plenty of texture and length. Blackberries, violets, plums, pepper and hints of iron all emerge from this beauty, which can be enjoyed on release or cellared for a decade or more.”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Hills Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Another beauty is the 2014 Syrah In the Hills, which is this estate’s take on a Cote Rotie and incorporates 5% co-fermented Viognier. Raspberries, bacon fat, violets and olive all emerge from this medium-bodied, elegant, ethereally textured beauty. It too will drink beautifully for 10-15 years.”

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Reynvaan Family Vineyards In The Rocks Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($99.95) $88 special, 25 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “From a warmer terroir and the estate’s vineyard in The Rocks region of Walla Walla, the 2014 In the Rocks Syrah (5% Viognier) sports an inky purple color to go with flat out gorgeous notes of liquid blackberries, violets, earth and spice. Concentrated, ripe and sexy, it should knock your socks off right out of the gate, yet cruise for 15 years in the cellar.”

Reynvaan Family Vineyards The Unnamed Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 92-94 points “Incorporating 8% Grenache Blanc and from the Rocks region of Walla Walla, the 2014 The Unnamed Syrah offers a unique profile with pretty notes of white peach (from the Grenache Blanc no doubt), dried violets, plums and bouquet garni. Medium to full-bodied, supple, layered and beautifully balanced, it should shine right out of the gate, yet also evolve gracefully.”


New Reviews from Wine Spectator

For Domaine Leflaive

If one winery represents the sublime potential of white Burgundy, it is Domaine Leflaive. Three centuries of family ownership and dedication to the terroir of Puligny have resulted in a symbiosis of vineyard, wine, and vigneron, which have become a sort of holy trinity. Leflaive consistently achieves excellence, in part thanks to biodynamics, terrific vineyard holdings, and a formidable budget, but mostly because of the family’s commitment to their vines and wine. In lesser years the Leflaive line-up shines, and in better years, like 2014, the wines have us wondering about divine inspiration.

The releases have captured the hearts and minds at the Wine Spectator, too:

Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($699.95) $599 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Spectator 97 points  “Intense, exhibiting lemon, apple and honeydew melon flavors over a backbone of crackling acidity. Linear and persistent, this resonates on the long aftertaste of spice and mineral. Has an extra dimension. Best from 2020 through 2032.”

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The average price is $679

Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($899.95) $766 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 97 points  “Vivid and tense, setting the stage for lemon verbena, green apple, nut oil, chalk and spice flavors. A hint of tannins is present on the long, bracing aftertaste. Racy and refined. Best from 2020 through 2032.”

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The average price is $819

Other Great 2014 White Burgundies, Available Here Now:

Domaine Leflaive Sous le Dos d’Ane, Meursault Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2014 Meursault 1er Cru Sous le Dos d’Ane has a stony, slate-scented bouquet, perhaps more Puligny-like than Meursault. The palate is crisp and fresh with a fine line of acidity. This is a pretty Meursault with a detailed, citrus peel finish that is poised and pure. I appreciate the Zen-like personality of this Meursault that dovetails nicely with its Puligny ‘cousins.’”

Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($599.95) $569 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2014 Bienvenue Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru has a come-hither bouquet that is very immediate: passion fruit, apricot blossom, cold stone and even a faint touch of strawberry winegums. The palate is well balanced with a keen line of acidity, good weight in the mouth with a touch of citrus lemon and lime, but perhaps just needing more complexity and terroir expression to come through on the finish. This is one of the best 2014 Bienvenues that I have come across — an absolute delight.”

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Domaine Bachelet-Monnot Les Folatieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The 2014 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru les Folatières is a slightly riper and more tropical bouquet, perhaps more “2014” than the Referts with hints of tinned peach and fresh pear on the nose, lime developing with continued aeration. The palate is clean and fresh with a killer line of acidity, vibrant and poised, and with more density than the 2014 Referts with superb salinity towards the finish. Beautiful, just beautiful.”

Domaine des Lambrays Clos du Cailleret, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2014 Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Caillerets, from vines planted in 1947, has a very different nose to the Folatières with apple blossom, white peach and apricot scents. The palate is underpinned by a keen salinity, very structured with more mineral/limestone towards the finish. This is another superb white from Thierry, perhaps even more bewitching than the Folatières.”

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Louis Latour Cailleret, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) Was $79, Now $69, 20 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “This stony, mineral wine is still way behind in its development. It is crisp and tight in texture, with refreshing acidity that lifts the white fruits with lime highlights. It’s a full wine that will develop well. Drink from 2019.”

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The average price is $84

Philippe Pacalet Chassagne-Montrachet 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 13 bottles available
Burghound 89 points “Outstanding. A restrained nose displays notes of rosemary resin, petrol and mostly white orchard fruit aromas that are cut with subtle lemon rind nuances. There is again fine richness and volume to the seductively textured medium-bodied flavors that also culminate in a clean, dry and lightly saline finale. This is worth a look.”

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Domaine Remi Jobard Les Genevrieres, Meursault Premier Cru 2014 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 23 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 93 points “(this fruit was picked at 12.2% potential alcohol and was chaptalized to 13%): Pale lemon-yellow color. Complex, refined aromas of white peach, citrus fruits, nut oil and white flowers. Dense, tactile and saline, boasting terrific purity and precision to its piquant fruit and rocky mineral flavors. This very classy wine finishes with succulent salinity and terrific juicy length. The yield here was around 40 hectoliters per hectare, the highest among these Meursault bottlings, but this wine displays lovely balance and an exhilarating light touch.”

We offer 22 different Cote d’Or White Burgundies in stock now. See the complete list below, including pre-arrivals. You can read reviews and shop online at our web store!

2014 white burgundy spread sheet


The Special Southern Italian Wines of Cantine Lonardo

Arriving This Month

When it comes to Italy, Tuscany gets all the glory. Part of the reason for that is where we (Americans) vacation, part of that is wealth and history, but we should be paying more attention to the wines of Southern Italy. Campania, the area around Naples, has been famous for its wines since the Greeks settled it. There are numerous references to the quality of the wines in Roman writings and if the wines of Cantine Lonardo are any proof, the region should be famous again.

Sandro Lonardo is a schoolteacher who also makes wines, both from vineyards he farms and from grapes he buys from local farmers. Mostly he makes wines from the Aglianico grape, which is the “Barolo of the South” according to popular wisdom.  Unlike some producers, he resists the temptation to use lots of barrique or new wood and yet the wines aren’t rustic monsters. There is a freshness and approachability that surprises, given the reputation of the grape and the warm climate. Lonardo also makes a white from a nearly extinct grape called Grecomusc, which is almost like Chenin Blanc in its texture and acidity.

Cantine Lonardo Wines Available Here Now:

Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Taurasi DOCG, Campania 2007 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 5 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2007 Taurasi is a gorgeous, round Taurasi with impeccable class and elegance. Ripe dark fruit, smoke, minerals and ash flow from this graceful, elegant wine. The Taurasi here can at times be a touch rustic, but not in this vintage. The 2007 impresses for its sensual personality and harmony. It is a brilliant effort that makes me look forward to the Riserva with great anticipation. The Taurasi saw 30 days of contact on the skins and was subsequently aged for 18 months in 500-liter French oak barrels. The wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined.” AG

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Aglianico Rosso Irpinia, Campania 2013 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 15 bottles available
Winery note “Intense ruby red colored wine, dense and opaque. The nose is rich and lingering with hints of ripe fruits, balsamic notes and a spicy quality. The taste is warm, with austere tannins and some persistence.”

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Coste, Taurasi DOCG 2009 750ML ($89.95) $59 special, 2 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2009 Taurasi Coste will reward readers with glorious drinking over the next 15-20 years, perhaps longer. Rich, ample and racy on the palate, the 2009 shows the more voluptuous side of Taurasi, with layers of dark fruit that continue to open up in the glass. Earthy, leathery notes add nuance on the powerful finish. The 2009 is very much old school in style, but with a touch of early approachability that is a positive for such a big wine.” AG

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo ‘Grecomusc’ Campania IGT 2013 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 7 bottles available
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 90 points “Dark yellow. Intense pear, baked apple and sweet spice notes on the aromatic nose. Bright and fresh, with tactile orchard fruit and stony flavors complicated by a savory quality. The very long finish shows a repeating lemony nuance and peppery zing. Outstanding stuff. Lonardo deserves praise from wine lovers everywhere for having resuscitated Grecomusc’, a rare aromatic white variety from Campania.”

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The average price is $28

Cantine Lonardo Wines Arriving This Month:

Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Taurasi DOCG, Campania 2011 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous Media 94 points “Deep ruby. Ripe black cherry, flint and herbs on the profound, complex nose. Bright, dense and rich; lively acidity lifts the almost decadently ripe red cherry fruit, nicely framed by sweet, polished tannins. Finishes long and ripe with a bright, refreshing floral nuance. Outstanding Taurasi that manages the neat trick of being remarkably concentrated yet very light on its feet. Bravo!”

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Aglianico Rosso Irpinia, Campania 2014 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous Media 89 points “Medium red. Reticent nose hints at red berries, licorice and wild herbs. Then bright and juicy, with excellent spine to the flavors of red fruits, licorice and minerals. Well-balanced wine with an echoing finish, if not the greatest complexity.”

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Coste, Taurasi DOCG 2011 750ML ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous Media 94+ points “Deep ruby. Floral nuances complicate the red and dark berry, ink, sweet spice and flinty aromas and flavors. Dense and seamless, showing a multilayered personality and remarkable complexity of flavor. Finishes very long and with repeating, lingering hints of ink and flint.”

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Vigne d’Alto, Taurasi DOCG 2011 750ML ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous Media 94+ points “Deep ruby with a purple tinge. Reticent nose at first, only hinting at dark cherry, sassafras and sandalwood. Then very concentrated and dense, displaying almost opulent, sweet nuances of oaky torrefaction to the coffee, cocoa and dark cherry flavors. This outstanding Taurasi finishes extremely long, rich and seamless. It’s virtually impossible to pick between Lonardo’s two crus in 2011, and both will have many admirers.”

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Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo ‘Grecomusc’ Campania IGT 2014 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous Media 90 points “Bright straw. Lime and botanical herbs on the fresh nose. Rich and dense but juicy, showcasing precise fresh citrus and spicy flavors that linger long on the almost creamy aftertaste. Lovely Grecomusc’ from the producer who first rediscovered this long-forgotten aromatic variety that gives wines not unlike dry white Muscat wines. (Grecomusc’ is what the grape is called in dialect; the variety’s official name is Roviello.)”

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Late Breaking News: 98 & 100 Point Vin Santos

“Avignonesi is one of the reference-points in Montelpulciano” –Antonio Galloni

From Monica Larner of the Wine Advocate: “Avignonesi is of course the name behind one of the world’s finest dessert wines. The Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice defies all convention and exceeds all expectations. This wine offers a deep sense of visceral joy and pure excitement to those lucky enough to get their hands on a bottle. Liquid nectar may be hyperbole, but it certainly applies here. I am overjoyed to report that, after a long and often checkered past, the Avignonesi pendulum is swinging strongly towards quality under Virginie [Saverys]’s dynamic leadership. Congratulations.”

Arriving in May:
Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2001 375ML ($319.95) $279 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 100 points “This wine merits every one of these 100 points. The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice (375 milliliters) is a singular work of art and a profound expression of Tuscany. I know Avignonesi owner Virginie Saverys would like to draw attention to the other wines in her portfolio, and she has every right to do so. But I just want to cry. When you have a wine as profound and perfect as this, everything else fades fast into the background. Virginie likes to say that Occhio di Pernice (made with red grapes) is the “male” and the Vin Santo di Montepulciano (made from white grapes) is the “female.” This is a great observation. The bouquet here is smoky and savory, but brilliant and sophisticated at the same time. You get an infinite array of caramel, maple syrup, espresso bean, licorice and candied fruit aromas. There’s so much dried fig as well. The concentration and thickness is out of this world. This wine is built like a tank and I’m not sure it will ever exit its drinking prime.”

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Avignonesi Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany 2001 375ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2001 Vin Santo di Montepulciano (375 milliliters) is a divine and superbly delicious sweet blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia and Grechetto. The results are super concentrated and simmered down to a virtual reduction sauce of deliciousness. There are so many aromas to name, but some of the most evident highlights include candied orange peel, almond marzipan, caramel, toasted coffee bean, vanilla stick, mocha, dark honey and fragrant yellow rose. The mouthfeel is creamy, rich and deeply layered. I’m suggesting a slightly shorter drinking window here compared to the Occhio di Pernice. But, the truth is: I have no idea. I’m pretty sure these wines will outlive anyone of legal drinking age.”