Vinopolis Newsletter 2-4-17

Jump Start Sale: New Arrivals: Three Wine Co – Ancient California Vines & Rodney Strong/Marc Plouzeau & Les Grands Bois; Coutier for Your Cutie: Staff Pick Champagne Producer; Paitin: Historic Piedmont Producer On Sale Now; Domaine de Montille Sale; Joseph Swan: Icon of Zin; Trending; Lopez Lopez Lopez; Heymann-Löwenstein: Masters of Slate; Late Breaking News: V Kinters Re-Arriving Friday; Budget-Friendly Picks from France Arriving Next Friday; Burgundy Sales Recap: 89 Wines On Super Sale Now!


Jump Start Sale

From one of the oldest wineries in Italy, from the noble Florence house of Frescobaldi:

Arriving February 22nd

Marchesi de Frescobaldi CastelGiocondo, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($69.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Marchesi de Frescobaldi CastelGiocondo, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($359.95) $219 pre-arrival special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points “A firm, silky red with blueberry, blackberry and mineral aromas. Hints of chocolate. Full body, pretty fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Very refined. A standard-bearer.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “Boasting an elaborate style, the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a plump, juicy and opulent red wine from southern Tuscany. The wine is packed tight with the sunshine and the brilliant luminosity of its birthplace. The quality of fruit is quite ripe and soft. The tannins are similarly textured. This is an immediate wine that can be consumed within the next few years. Or, if you have the patience to wait, it promises a steady medium-term evolution. The bouquet is redolent of red fruit, cherry cola and grilled herb.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino is a very pretty wine. Succulent, open-knit and racy, the 2011 offers lovely purity of fruit in a racy, forward style that is best enjoyed sooner rather than later, while the flavors retain their brightness. Sweet red cherry, flowers and spices reappear on the finish, adding a closing burst of energy.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $47.99
The average price is $64


New Arrivals

Three Wine Company

After sixteen years, Matt Cline bowed out of the family’s Cline Cellars to focus his time on smaller production wines with a sense of place. After starting and growing another winery, Trinitas Cellars, he sold the brand to eventually founded the Three Wine Company. Throughout each new beginning, he has worked with many of the same vineyards. After thirty years, he’s grown to appreciate in particular the ancient vines growing in cooler parts of the Contra Costa County – many planted in the 19th century. The Three Wine Co puts the focus on these vines and on three historical Californian varietals: Zinfandel, Carignan and Mataro (more commonly known as Mourvèdre or Monastrell), which you can explore below:

Three Wine Company Old Vines Field Blend, Contra Costa County 2013 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Winery note “This Old Vine Field Blend is a luscious combination of ancient-vine Carignane (47%), Petite Sirah (21%), Zinfandel (16%), Mataro (15%), and Alicante Bouschet (1%). Each of these varietals contribute to the deep purple/black color and piercing, high-toned aromas of boysenberry, violets and dark plum. Massive on the attack, showing off all of its 100+-year-old-vine pedigree. Packed with crushed black fruits and black cherry liqueur, the finish remains firm and vibrant. Drink now (hard not to), or lay down for up to a decade. As with all these ancient-vine reds, oxygen is its friend.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Three Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel, Contra Costa County 2013 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “It’s amazing how this super-concentrated wine smells like chocolate cherries and tastes almost like blackberry syrup, yet it’s nice and dry in style. A firm coating of fine tannins gives grip on the tongue and seems to extend the juicy fruit and dark chocolate notes on the finish.”

Three Wine Company Spinelli Vineyard Mataro, Contra Costa County 2013 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
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 next best price is $29

Also Newly Arrived

Rodney Strong Single Vineyard Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2013 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Robert Parker 94 points “A famous wine from the early days of The Wine Advocate, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander’s Crown Single Vineyard comes from a lower elevation of 250 to 360 feet. The wine displays broad, sweet crème de cassis, black cherry and blueberry fruit, some licorice, graphite, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and outstanding length and purity. This is a beauty, and makes me think back to the great 1974, which was the first one I remember tasting.”

Marc Plouzeau Chinon Rive Gauche, Loire 2015 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
VinopolNote: The working man’s Loire red! Entirely hand-harvested, with gravity-fed tanks and gentle extraction. No lab yeasts, no chapitalization, no fining or filtration. A perfect expression of Chinon terroir – if it’s good enough for the zinc tables in Paris bistros, it’s surely good enough for spring picnics and summer barbecues stateside!

Domaine Les Grands Bois Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Les Trois Soeurs 2015 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Winery note “[Translated On the nose: rich bouquet of spices, cherries, blueberries and fresh flowers.  On the palate, its beautiful body develops a refined tannic structure offering a harmonious round counterpoint to the flavors of small stone fruit, garrigue and mint. Long finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Les Grands Bois Rasteau Cuvee Marc, Rhone 2013 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Bright violet. Ripe cherry and dark berries on the fragrant nose, complicated by smoky incense and garrigue nuances. Supple and broad on the palate, offering densely packed blueberry, cherry liqueur and floral pastille flavors complemented by slow-building spiciness. Youthful tannins give shape to a long, gently sweet finish, which features repeating floral and spice notes.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “More firm, angular and structured than the Cairanne Maximilien, the 2013 Côtes du Rhône Rasteau Cuvee Marc is 50% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre and 25% Syrah that spent 11 months in demi-muids before being bottled unfiltered. Medium to full-bodied, tight, reserved, and compact with notable tannin, it gives up lots of graphite, crushed rock, peppery herbs and dark berry fruit on the nose. It’s certainly an outstanding wine, yet it needs a year or so in the cellar to let the tannin integrate. It should be at its best from 2017-2023.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $24.99


Coutier for Your, Er, Cutie-eh?

Yes, that sounds about right.

Perfect Champagne for Valentine’s Day

Bubbles in your wine make it more romantic, and for us that means Champagne and often grower Champagne, which brings us to the wines of R.H. Coutier, in the village of Ambonnay. They offer a remarkable combination of affordability and seriousness, as well as some of the coolest looking labels in the region (which, of course, we don’t care about, because we drink what’s inside the bottle…but, hey—Romance!). The Rose and Blanc de Blancs, especially, are fantastic wines at even better prices.

Coutier makes wines solely from estate holdings in the village of Ambonnay. Rated Grand Cru, Ambonnay is located in the Grande Montagne de Reims and is regarded as one of the best places to grow Pinot Noir in Champagne.  As a result, wines from the village, including those of Coutier, tend to have a lot of power and richness.  Where Coutier is special, though, is in their holdings of Chardonnay (also from Ambonnay) which provides a delicacy that sometimes is lacking in wines from the commune. The house style and vinification techniques also seek to provide as much elegance as possible to marry with the fruit of the terroir. All of their wines represent excellent value and have great verve and personality. We’re highlighting the Rose, because people buy pink things on V-Day (and also because it’s really good!) but if you have oysters or seafood in your future, don’t sleep on the Blanc de Blancs!

R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 12 bottles available
Wine Spectator 91 points “Elegant and pretty, with floral accents to the black cherry pie, blackberry coulis and spiced plum flavors. This is lightly creamy, with fine balance and a lingering, mineral-tinged finish.”

R.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 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.”

R.H. Coutier Tradition Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 17 bottles available
R.H. Coutier Tradition Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 375ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 8 half bottles available
Wine & Spirits 93 points “[$50 Best Buy] This takes the early, red-fruit richness of an Ambonnay Champagne and charges it with energy. It has stamina that seems to drive right along with the bubbles, the flavors firm and juicy, broadened by clay soils, cut by chalky soil acidity. Finely integrated and lasting.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “The firm acidity is finely meshed in this seamless Champagne, with a rich note of chalky minerality underscoring the creamy palate’s flavors of chopped almond, black currant, fleur de sel and candied lemon zest.”

R.H. Coutier Grand Cru Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($59.95) $46 special, 4 bottles available
VinopolNote: Only produced in the best vintages, R.H. Coutier’s vintage champagne is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay and aged for over three years sur lie.  The 2008 vintage is everything you’d want—classically proportioned and bright, but with depth and nuance that will allow it to age well, though it’s hard to keep your hands off them at the moment.


Give the Gift that Never Expires!

Can’t decide on the perfect gift?

Let them!
We offer gift certificates in any amount with no taxes, fees or expiration date.

Gift certificates are not available through our web store. To order, please stop in, call or email. We are happy to mail gift certificates to any domestic address at no charge.


Azienda Agricola Paitin:

History in the folded hills of Piedmont

Understanding how a family’s tie to their land can influence their wines is terribly important when tasting and appreciating old-world producers. When the family’s ownership over their vineyards predates their country’s unification, you start to understand their grasp of the nuances that can be squeezed out of 42 acres of Italian hillsides.

The Elia family purchased their vineyards in 1796. From atop the hill where the winery sits, you can overlook the two main vineyard sites and understand the difference in microclimate, soil type and techniques for farming. The Bricco di Nieve side of the hill is steep, breezy and has beautiful older vines that produce the gorgeous sori Paitin Barbaresco. The other side of the hill has the looser iron rich soil that is the Serra vineyard. Tasting the two Barbaresco side by side is a lesson in site location and the unique qualities that can be shown, just a stone’s throw away.

Secondo Pasquero-Elia and his two sons, Giovanni and Silvano have enlisted enologist Dante Scaglione to draw even more from such an amazing site. The results offer a glimpse into the future of the winery and the wines to come. The wines are solid, deep, and built to last – echoing the family and their tie to their home and spectacular vineyards.

Now is your unique chance to study this slice of Italian history. We’ve reduced our prices on two cuvees in-stock now:

Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Sori Paitin’, Barbaresco DOCG 2012 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $35.10, 36+ bottles available
Antonio Galloni 93 points “Dark red cherry, plum, smoke, mint and leather are some of the notes that emerge from the 2012 Barbaresco Sorì Paitin. The Sorì Paitin is quite a bit more complex than it was from barrel, largely because the bottled wine is composed of approximately 30% wine that was originally destined for the Vecchie Vigne. As a result, this is one of the few 2012s I tasted that has real upside potential, even if it is relatively approachable today.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $43

Paitin di Pasquero-Elia ‘Vecchie Vigne’ Sori Paitin, Barbaresco DOCG 2010 750ML ($89.95) Was $69, Now $62.10, 24 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2010 Barbaresco Sorì Paitin Vigne Vecchie hits the palate with fabulous depth and intensity. Savory herbs, smoke, tobacco, incense, menthol and licorice race out of the glass in an intense, structured Barbaresco loaded with class, energy and pure power. There is plenty to look forward to, once the tannins soften a bit. The 2010 has closed down pretty dramatically since the last time I tasted it, about a year ago. Readers will have to be patient. The 2010 spent a total of 30 months in cask.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $79


Domaine de Montille SALE!

“Believe in the future of the bottle” – Hubert de Montille

With their deep history and some of the most sought after terroir in Burgundy, Domaine de Montille  would seem to be one of the venerable producers that sprang from the soil and never need worry about changing. In fact, the de Montille family had lost such a sizeable chunk of their original holdings, that by the time Hubert de Montille was handed the reins only 3 hectares of original vineyards remained. In addition, the winery was spending more time selling wine off to negociants than they were making their own wine. His first vintage in 1947 left a lasting impression, and a desire to see the Domaine regain its stature. Granted, as a lawyer first, the winery and the ability to work with such amazing fruit was a gift, but one that he took very seriously with the belief that it was also his responsibility to be able to pass it along to another generation.

He believed that moving away from negociants and offering the wines themselves would mark a sea-change in Burgundy. Domaines could reestablish the mark of terroir of the tiny little climat dottng the hillsides. The wines took a sharp turn, focusing on single vineyards and expression that reflected Hubert’s personal preference for wines to unfold and reveal themselves over time; often over decades. The family started clawing back parcels, adding a few rows here and there, growing their holdings and the ability to offer collectors some of the most sought after wines in the market.

Hubert’s foresight allowed him to hand the reins to his son, Etienne, and daughter, Alix. Their influence on the Domaine has been substantial. Etienne and Alix, have brought their influence to the winemaking; Alix guiding the whites, and Etienne following in his father’s footsteps. His reds have been softened somewhat, but he stays true to Hubert’s style. “My father imbued me with a passion for authentic wines – pure, balanced, elegant and with an ability to improve with age. I have added some fruit succulence and a velvet texture. The tannins are rounder and leave the charm of certain appellations to open up. I do this never forgetting to respect the terroir and our tradition.”

We’ve highlighted five of the nineteen Domaine de Montille wines on sale now. To see the complete selection of all Burgundy wines on sale, see the bottom of this newsletter!

Domaine de Montille Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Saints Juliens, Cote de Nuits 2013 750ML ($79.95) Was $49, Now $39, 19 bottles available
Burghound 88-91 points “A subtle application of wood frames the attractively floral suffused nose of earth, sauvage and plum aromas. There is fine mid-palate concentration to the delicious and robust middle weight flavors where the supporting tannins are mildly rustic, all wrapped in a long, serious and balanced finish. This is a relatively big Nuits villages that should amply reward up to a decade of cellaring.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine de Montille Les Sizies, Beaune Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($79.95) Was $49, Now $39, 8 bottles available
Burghound 89-91 points “An expressive and relatively deeply pitched nose is composed by notes of dark currant, earth, violets and forest floor. There is solid density and intensity to the vibrant, detailed and lightly mineral-inflected medium weight flavors that exhibit only a touch of austerity on the finish. The tannins are angular but ripe and this should reward mid-term cellaring.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine de Montille Aux Thorey, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($119.95) Was $79, Now $59, 14 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2013 Nuits St Georges Aux Thorey, which is two-thirds whole-cluster fruit and 50% new oak, has a more modern, opulent bouquet compared to the Volnay and Pommard ‘13s previously: quite lush blackcurrant and iodine scents coming through with aeration. The palate is rounded and supple in the mouth, the new wood adroitly assimilated with the fruit and lending weight toward the harmonious finish. There is also an attractive spicy, lemongrass note on the aftertaste. This is showing great potential.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2009 750ML ($179.95) Was $149, Now $135, 18 bottles available
Burghound 88-91 points “This is the first wine to this point to exhibit any appreciable wood influence though it’s not so much as to mask the otherwise fresh, spicy and layered plum and black currant aromas. There is a really lovely mouth feel to the tension and mineral-inflected medium weight flavors that also display just a touch of back end dryness. Still, my sense is that this should mature nicely even if the balance is unlikely to be ideal.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine de Montille Les Rugiens, Pommard Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($199.95) Was $149, Now $129, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 91+ points “(completely destemmed): Healthy deep, bright red. Very expressive, slightly metallic perfume of red berries and iron. Delivers a stimulating combination of sweet, almost candied fruits and penetrating acidity, with an herbal element contributing to the impression of inner-mouth lift. This very savory, intense Rugiens finishes a bit tough; in fact, it went into a shell in the glass.”
Burghound 90-92 points “A subtle hint of wood serves as a backdrop to the very fresh, spicy and ripe nose of exotic tea and black fruit liqueur aromas. There is a lovely sense of tension to the stony, intense and tautly muscular middle weight plus flavors that possess notably better balance and length on the complex finish.”


Joseph Swan Vineyards

A California Icon Still Going Strong

Joseph Swan Vineyards remains one of the most notable names in California wines.  Joe Swan was a trailblazer and legendary figure in the California’s viticultural history, and his son-in-law Rod Berglund is a talented winemaker of equal skill.  That said it sometimes seems like this winery doesn’t get mentioned as often as it should when we talk about California’s great wineries, which is a shame.

The Swan wines aren’t trendy and never have been—they epitomize the idea of classicism and have been made in the same style no matter whether the winds of fashion favored the huge and ripe or the light and lean.  The one constant for Swan has been the idea that the vineyard speaks for itself. Over the course of many decades, they’ve collected an incredible set of vineyards to work from, especially in Zinfandel, where Rod Berglund does some of his best work.

The Joseph Swan Zinfandels are many things, but easy to pin down and describe they aren’t.  Depending on the growing conditions and the vineyard, they can be lighter, spicier wines or bigger, powerful and fruit driven.  They’re never marked by new oak, though, so they always seem to be flexible and comfortable at the table.

Joseph Swan Wines Available Here Now:

Joseph Swan Vineyards Bastoni Vineyards Zinfandel, Sonoma County 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 35 bottles available
Winery Notes  “Located in what I refer to as the Riebli Valley, just a few miles east of Hwy 101, this site has been farmed by the Bastoni family since 1906…. Although the old vines are gone, the replants are going strong and are meticulously cared for….It exhibits what I have come to view as a classic Bastoni nose of deep blue tinged fruit, like a cross between boysenberries and blueberries. There is also a slight hint of cooking spice, perhaps cardamom, and much less pepper than we see in the lower Russian River Valley zins. Good but not overwhelming tannin and acidity and medium to full body.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Joseph Swan Vineyards Mancini Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 30 bottles available
Winery Notes “Planted in the early 1920’s to Zinfandel and a host of other grapes.  This will be the final vintage for this vineyard as a few years after Frank Mancini’s passing, the vineyard was sold. Blackberry, white pepper floral hints, bit of lushness. Complex balanced, elegant. A classic old style zinfandel made with new age sensibilities. And, it is under 13% alcohol!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Joseph Swan Vineyards Ziegler Vineyard Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2011 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles available
Winery Notes “My first impression upon smelling this wine was of a day walking home from grade school with my best friend. They had just repaved a street on the way and there little balls of tar (yes, tar, not what they use today). We gathered some and proceeded to chew them like gum. When we arrived at his house, his mother, who happened to be Italian, was rather amused. Rather than berate us she offered us cookies. We preferred the tar balls! I had forgotten that moment until I put my nose in the glass of this wine! It was a glorious moment but sadly with air it took on aromas of boysenberry/blackberry cobbler. Still a great smell but that initial earthy/tarry note was a wonderful memory. But I digress. This is a wonderful example of wine from this old vineyard. Blackberries, boysenberries, black pepper and other spice. Good acid, soft tannin and lower than usual alcohol (less than 14%!)”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Joseph Swan Vineyards Ziegler Vineyard Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 32 bottles available
Winery Notes  “Like its neighbor across the road, Mancini Ranch, Zeigler Vineyard was planted in the early 1920’s. However, for no explainable reason, it starts its spring growth and ripens about two weeks earlier than its neighbor. Boysenberry and the usual black pepper aromas are there but there is also cardamom, a bit of allspice and dried rose petal. It is super complex. At only 13% alcohol, almost as low as Mancini, it is not lacking at all for body. Our favorite Zeigler in a long while.”



You Picked Them – We’ve Got Them

Cameron Winery Dundee Hills Reserve Chardonnay 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 19 bottles available
VinopolNote: The ‘Reserve’ level of Cameron Chardonnay is an incredible deal.  Made of declassified barrels of Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge, so without the new oak that the lower level bottling sees, this wine shows facets of the grace and intensity of Abbey and the Clos without the pricetag of those higher end bottlings.  In 2014, all of the Abbey Ridge was moved to this bottling, making it an even better deal than usual.

Krug Brut, Champagne 2003 750ML ($279.95) Was $199, Now $179, 12 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points “Like taffeta in texture, this harmonious Champagne is finely honed and fresh. A wonderfully expressive version, with ample spice and graphite accents to the blackberry pâte de fruit, coffee liqueur, dried apricot, singed orange peel and crystallized honey notes. Hard to stop sipping.”
James Suckling 95 points “A rich nose with deep, ripe chardonnay and pinot noir, red fruits, some dark mushrooms and plenty of grilled nuts, plus caramel, some deep spices, dried citrus, lemon peel and bready aromas. The trademark complexity is here and it freshens with air. The palate is intricately detailed and stitched together like needlework; very precise, very even. The acidity is articulated with some finesse and yet it has much more in terms of phenolics as the leading structural component. The phenolics are rich and ripe, sitting polished and even around immensely concentrated fruit with flavors of peach, nectarine and white cherry. The finish is deep, even and resonant. Drink now but rest assured it will hold for a very long time, just like Krug has proven in other warm years like ’76.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $259

Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2009 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe 2009 750ML ($549.95) $438 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points “Green olives, spices and currants on the nose. Full body, with velvety tannins and a juicy finish. Lovely layers of ripe tannins and ripe fruit. Best after 2018.”
Robert Parker 92 points “I clearly underrated this wine from barrel. The finest wine made at this estate since 1982, this opaque black wine is a sleeper of the vintage, with oodles of blackberry fruit interwoven with hints of charcoal, forest floor, licorice and damp earth. Deep, rich, chewy, full-bodied and opulent, this is a fabulous Meyney that, because of its low acidity and very ripe tannin, can be drunk in 3-4 years or cellared for two decades. Bravo!”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $49

Finca La Emperatriz Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($27.95) $24 special, 32 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “I think the 2010 Finca la Emperatriz Reserva could summarize what a textbook Rioja Reserva should be, combining the best of the traditional and modern styles. It’s mostly Tempranillo with 3% Garnacha, 2% Viura (white) and 1% Graciano fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and matured in oak barrels (mostly American) for 23 months. It has the spicy, smoky notes with bright red fruit hinting on blood oranges and signs of developing more complexity and nuances. The medium-bodied palate features grainy tannins, good freshness and length. I see that I liked the 2008, and I think this continues the same line, perhaps fine-tuning the élevage could take this wine a step higher. Keep it up!”



Our Current
Shipping Promos:

Along with Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and California,
we now offer flat rate shipping to Colorado. Here’s the scoop:

Single orders of any quantity of wines qualify for the flat rate;
this does not apply to orders held in storage for any reason
or multiple orders consolidated into one shipment.
The flat reach for each state is, as follows:

-to Oregon for $17,
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California & Colorado for $25

Take Advantage of the Flat Rate!


Lopez de Heredia

Lopez de Heredia is one of the world’s elite wine estates.  This statement isn’t a surprise to anyone who reads at all about Spanish wines, but it bears repeating.  “Why?” you might ask, “would you tell us something we already know?”  The answer to that question is that for all of the grace, complexity, age-worthiness and profundity of the wines, the prices are shockingly low.  You can purchase the entry level wine from the greatest traditional Rioja estate for less than $30.  You can buy their Riservas (for which the current releases are 2003/4!!) for under $40.  Even their great wines–old Gran Riservas, with bottle age, will set you back less than the average bottle of 2010 Mouton.

How can this be?  The idea that you can buy a bottle of Gran Riserva Tondonia from the 1960’s, directly from the winery’s cellar, for the same price or less than a current vintage of top-tier Bordeaux?  We don’t think this will last that long.  We’ve got some new wines from Lopez coming in–from up and down the range, price wise. They all over-deliver.

Lopez de Heredia Wines Available Here Now

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2007 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 91+ points “The 2007 Viña Cubillo Crianza is the most affordable red. It is a wine that was born to go with tapas and to be sold at local restaurants showing a combination of fruit and the earth where the vines grow. It is a blend of the usual 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo fermented in old oak vats with natural yeasts and matured in barrel for three years. The intoxicating nose shows blood orange, bitter cherries, leather and spices in a subtle and balanced way. The palate is sinewy, polished, has good acidity and is not terribly complex nor powerful, but is built more on the subtlety and lightness.This could well be the best Cubillo of recent times.”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 1981 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 2 bottles available
Winery-direct cellar released bottles
Josh Raynolds–Vinous  94 points “Faded red.  Gorgeous, multidimensional aromas of dried red fruits, white flowers, spicecake, leather, underbrush, graphite and lavender sachet.  Silky and seemingly weightless, with a haunting crystalline purity to the sweet strawberry and redcurrant flavors.  Sweetly insinuating on the finish, with lingering mineral and strawberry flavors.  A remarkable wine that’s completely out of step with today’s styles:  this is the stuff that gets die-hard Rioja traditionalists all weepy.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $275

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2003 750ML ($47.95) $33 special, 27 bottles available
Case-12 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2003 750ML ($499.95) $359 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Bright ruby-red. Ripe cherry, vanilla and floral pastilles on the smoky, oak-spiced nose. Sweet and supple on the palate, offering pliant red fruit and spicecake flavors with suave mocha and vanilla bean nuances. Quite lively and fresh for a wine from a hot vintage, and showing no excess fat. Finishes sweet, toasty and very long, with smooth tannins making a late appearance.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Cigar box, cedar and balsamic notes frame cherry, raisin and licorice flavors in this lean, firm red. Displays grip and focus. A traditional style. Drink now through 2023.”

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The average price is $43

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2004 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2004 Viña Tondonia Reserva is a completely different story. It is a worthy follower of the 2001, the greatest of the Viña Tondonia Reservas of recent times. It has the usual blend and usual levels of alcohol and acidity, bottled after six years in oak barrels. The nose feels savory (if that’s possible–umami?) and developed, with tertiary aromas and good balance between spices, leathery notes, cherries and balsamic notes of cigar box and incense. The palate is both round and crisp, with refined tannins. It has very good balance with subtle acidity and very good persistence.”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 1964 750ML ($1,199.95) Was $999, Now $899, 3 bottles available
Winery-direct cellar released bottles
Decanter 98 points, Wine Spectator 95 points “Extraordinary. Sweet vanilla and dried berry aromas and flavors have an unexpected richness in this vibrant red. Impressive for its balance of concentration and elegance; firm tannins meld with a creamy texture. The long finish defines traditional Rioja at its best.”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 1981 750ML ($249.95) Was $199, Now $179.10, 15 bottles available
Winery-direct cellar released bottles
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 1981 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva has a vibrant nose reminiscent of coeval Burgundy, with scents of citrus peel, orange rind, singed leather and a Tuscan delicatessen. The palate has a penetrating orange peel and tart cherry entry with potent earthy notes at its core. It is supremely well-balanced with an energetic finish underpinned by crisp dry tannins. This wonderful Rioja is drinking perfectly now and will age effortlessly. Drink now-2020+” (08/2012)

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Wines Arriving in February

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco, Rioja DOCa 1973 750ML ($999.95) $799 pre-arrival special, 9 bottles available
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 1973 Vina Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva is so sublime, so complete and natural that it may bring tears to the eyes. It has a complex bouquet of beeswax, lanolin, lemon curd and almond that is effortlessly combined. The palate is nigh-perfectly balanced with very good weight. It has a seamless waxy texture and a peacock’s tail of almond, creme brulee, marzipan and dried apricot. There is a beguiling sense of completeness here. Heaven in a glass, and one of the finest Tondonia Blancos I have encountered. Drink now-2020+”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2005 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “A worthy follow up to the 2004 is the 2005 Viña Bosconia Reserva, a wine that they consider the most rustic and powerful in the winery, but that I find as elegant and subtle as it gets. This feels very much in line with the 2004, maybe a notch above even, a lower yielding year. The nose is somehow closed and feels young with the elegant rusticity lurking from the bottom of the glass, clean and precise. The tannins are velvety and there is great acidity–a constant here. The wine is terribly elegant. I simply loved this wine.”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 1961 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,289 pre-arrival special, 6 bottles available
Winery-direct cellar released bottles
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 94 points “Medium red. A highly perfumed bouquet displays red fruit preserves, smoked meat and potpourri. Deeply pitched redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show a slight medicinal reserve, which makes this wine seem far younger than it is. The potpourri note builds with air and carries through a long, chewy, smoky finish. Definitely let this air out for an hour or so. Incidentally, I had the chance to drink two lithe and highly fragrant bottles of the 1961 Vina Bosconia at a restaurant in San Sebastian that had been in their cellar for at least the last 20 years. If you’re lucky enough to own that wine (like these older wines, it is still available from the winery) there’s absolutely no reason to hold off drinking it. I couldn’t hold off, twice.”

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Heymann-Löwenstein: Masters of Slate

Heymann-Löwenstein is the signature producer of Germany’s Terrassenmosel region.  The Terrassenmosel is part of the lower Mosel river valley where the steepness of the slopes requires terraces just to be able to grow grapes. It’s a daunting place to work—everything is so steep that no mechanized work is possible and so every single vine must be tended by hand.

Reinhard Löwenstein fits in with this region, then, as an absolute perfectionist who will do any and everything possible to make sure that his wines are as profound as possible.  His yields and selection in the vineyards are made solely with quality in mind and he holds his wines back longer before release than most German producers—cash flow be damned.

In terms of style, the word that comes to mind when tasting these wines is ‘mineral.’ Not minerality paired with fruitiness, like with much Mosel Riesling, but sheer rockiness in liquid form.  The wines are lean, racy and benefit from air or a few years in bottle, but are incredibly rewarding in the way that only the great wines of the world can be.

Heymann-Loewenstein Winninger Uhlen ‘R’ Roth Lay Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2007 375ML ($99.95) $69 special, 6 half-bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points “Candied citrus, jujube, sweet spice and quince paste aromas and flavors mark this sweet, bracing Riesling, which is light on its feet and resonates on the finish with a mouthwatering feel and echoes of citrus. Best from 2012 through 2045.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Lowenstein’s 2007 Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule Roth Lay (as in the corresponding dry wines, the letter “R” is prominent on the label of this A.P.#9) benefits from counterpoint and collaboration among bright citrus, rich pit fruit essences, and the honey of botrytis. For all of its enormous sheer ripeness and concentration, this retains a striking sense of delicacy. A snappy, spicy, pungent streak – taken together with vivid, diverse pit fruits and citrus – serves for exhilaration in a finish of memorable length and energy, with a vivid impression of crushed stone one hardly expects in a wine of such sweetness and prominent botrytization. There seems to be something of a personality role reversal at work this year, because the corresponding Rottgen Auslese is cool and refined whereas this Uhlen displays more of the piquancy and (as French growers might say) nervosite that I associate with Rottgen. But then, botrytis is always something of a wild card, so that a wine like this is profoundly and unpredictably influenced by the precise microclimatic conditions for and differences in the nature of that fungus. No doubt this too will be worth following for two or more decades.”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Winninger Uhlen ‘R’ Roth Lay Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2010 750ML ($199.95) $149 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “Lowenstein’s 2010 Winninger Uhlen Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule Roth Lay – destined for auction – displays an almost sweaty aromatic alliance of salinity and musky pungency, along with nose-prickling lemon rind such as one might expect from an Eiswein. Suggestions of marigold and narcissus add to the exotic, pungent muskiness on display here. Fig and peach preserves; pear drops; marzipan and salted caramel intensely mark the palate, while zesty, musky, and saline mineral impingement serve for strikingly persistent stimulation. Despite its lower (7.5%) alcohol, though, this comes off not only as more viscous but also less buoyant (let alone “uncannily” so) than its Rottgen counterpart. That wine is an example of botrytis performing its magic and leaving nary a fingerprint behind, whereas here, prints are quite evident, even if fascinatingly smudge-free. This compellingly complex concentrate will not be everybody’s cup of nobly rotten Riesling, but ought to merit at least the better part of two decades attention.”

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Heymann-Loewenstein ‘von Blauem Schiefer’ Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 22 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 89 points “The 2015er Trocken vom blauen Schiefer is made from fruit out of the Koberner Weissenberg, Koberner Fahrberg and Klottener Brauneberg. It offers an inviting nose of spices and herbs as well as mirabelle and some wet slate. The wine proves nicely full-bodied but packed with glorious zesty acidity and minerals on the palate and leaves a long and powerful yet mouth-watering finish. This needs a few years in the bottle to shine. 2017-2023”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Kirchberg Erste Lage, Mosel 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 11 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “This wine is rather reduced but offers a gorgeously flowery nose of pear and Provence herbs. It proves superbly elegant on the palate where grip and saltiness define the aromatics. Great multi-layered complexity already comes through in the long and airy finish. This is still very primary and in need of bottle age to balance out but this beauty will easily turn into the most complete and elegant expression of Kirchberg we have taste to date. This is hugely impressive and has even some upside potential. 2018-2025.”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Rottgen Riesling Erste Lage, Mosel 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 9 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “The wine proves slightly bold at this stage as it delivers ripe scents of canned peach, mirabelle, quince, herbs and spices on the nose and a delicate baroque and toffee-infused side full of grip on the palate. These elements are nicely framed by minerals in the intense finish, leaving one with a complex and very individualistic set of flavors in the after-taste. This wine is nicely made in the richer style that has made the success of Heymann-Löwenstein and, consequently, will need some time find its inner balance. 2018-2025.”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Schieferterrassen Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 20 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines “The 2015er Trocken Schieferterrassen is made from the Estate’s holdings in Winningen (Domgarten, Brückstück and Hamm) and Kobern (Fahrberg and Weissenberg) as well as from declassified fruit from its “cru” vineyards. It offers a gorgeous nose of marzipan, herbs and spices. The wine is delicately baroque and full of character on the palate as ripe yellow fruits are nicely complemented by spicy herbs and a hint of tartness in the finish. 2018-2025”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Stolzenberg Riesling Erste Lage, Mosel 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 10 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 90+ points “This offers a gorgeous nose of ripe peach lifted up by a hint of honey, marzipan and dried herbs. The wine is delicately rich yet balanced on the palate and leaves a nicely clean feel of spices in the finish. This delicately full-bodied expression of Stolzenberg delivers great elegance in the finish and could easily exceed our initial expectations. 2017-2025.”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Uhlen B Blaufusser Lay Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 7 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “A gorgeously elegant nose of greengage, almond, fresh herbs and spices as well as slate and smoke leads to rich flavors of minerals and good grip on the palate. Spicy herbs come through in the long finish, adding a gorgeously complex and multi-layered side to the wine. This is still quite backward and needs several years to develop its balance. We would not be surprised if it even exceeds our expectations once it reaches its maturity plateau. 2018-2025.”

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Heymann-Loewenstein Uhlen Laubach Lay Riesling 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 12 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a gorgeously elegant and refined nose of pear, mirabelle, ginger, fresh herbs and spices. The wine proves ostentatious yet loaded with flavors in the finish and leaves a gorgeously multi-layered feel of minerals, herbs and a slight touch of power in the finish at this early stage. The raw material is beautiful and only needs time to integrate and deliver a full-bodied wine with multi-layered complexity. 2020-2030.”

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Arriving in April:

Heymann-Lowenstein Uhlen ‘R’ Roth Lay Riesling, Mosel 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Mosel Fine Wines 92-95 points “We tasted the three different casks which will make out the final Uhlen R. While there are differences in structure and mouth-feel between the casks, all casks offers a similarly gorgeous nose of candied grapefruit, yellow peach, wet stones and fine dried spices. The wine is beautifully well balanced on the palate, marrying aromatic precision with silky smoothness and delicately tickly zest as fruit and minerals coat the palate. The finish is beautifully pure and multi-layered. There is huge potential here if the wine’s presence and finesse will make it into the bottle and shine through at maturity. 2020-2030.”

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Late Breaking News!

Re-Arriving Friday, February 10th

Charles Smith K Vintners Charlotte, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “A new, tiny production cuvee named after Charles’ Daughter, the 2013 Charlotte checks in as a blend of 45% Mourvèdre, 31% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 8% Counoise and the rest Grenache Blanc and Picpoul, which was all harvested at the same time and co-fermented. From two vineyards: Rock Garden and River Rock, they purposely hang a touch more crop on the Syrah to help the ripening even out. One of the more elegant, perfumed and complex releases in the lineup, it gives up perfumed notes of rose petals, kirsch, framboise, olives and dried herbs on the nose. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, seamless and downright silky, with fine, fine tannin and a great finish. This is high class stuff to enjoy anytime over the coming decade.”

Charles Smith K Vintners Klein Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2013 Syrah Klein got a big “wow” in the notes and from a difficult vintage for Syrah, it’s an incredible blockbuster, full-bodied beauty that readers should beg, borrow or steal to get a hold of. Giving up layers of kirsch, blackberries, graphite, lavender and dried earth, this puppy hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a layered, silky texture and fine tannin that keeps the finish going. I love it. Give bottles 2-3 years of cellaring and enjoy through 2028+.”

Charles Smith K Vintners Milbrandt Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Probably the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2014 Syrah Milbrandt Vineyard is 100% Syrah, fermented with 100% whole clusters, that spent 15 months in 20% new French oak barrels and puncheons. This beauty is overflowing with notes of cassis, caramelized meats, licorice and spice, which gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated, superbly textured Syrah that can be enjoyed today, or cellared for a decade.”

Charles Smith K Vintners The Beautiful Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-97 points “A blend of Syrah co-fermented with 2-3% Viognier, aged all in puncheons, the 2014 Syrah The Beautiful (which now comes all from the Powerline vineyard in Walla Walla… it previously included grapes from Phil Lane and The Rocks) reveals an inky purple color as well as classic Syrah notes of aged beef, olive tapenade, chocolate and ripe dark fruits. Full-bodied, pure, layered and elegant, it lives up to its name and will be up with the top handful of wines in the vintage.”

Charles Smith K Vintners The Cattle King Syrah, Snipes Mountain 2013 750ML ($89.95) $79 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2013 Syrah Cattle King is a smokin’, layered, sexy, voluptuous Syrah that does everything right. Coming from the River Rock Vineyard in Walla Walla and the Upland Vineyard in Snipes Mountain, not destemmed and brought up all in larger barrels, this beauty offers a sensational perfume of smoked meats, pepper, licorice, black olives and assorted ripe black fruits. Deep, layered and concentrated, yet always light on its feet and elegant, this fabulous Syrah has a terrific mid-palate, a core of sweet fruit and blockbuster length. It’s a tour de force in vintage and certainly one of the top wines. It needs a decant if drinking anytime soon, but should be at its best from 2020 to 2038.”


Arriving Friday Feb 10

Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Les Coutes, Loire 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Importer note “A single hillside plot of 50 year old vines on chalky Kimmeridgian Marne (aka Terre Blanche), hand-harvested at 45 hl/ha. Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. Bottled unfiltered.”

Domaine Collotte Bourgogne Cuvee de Noble Souche, Burgundy 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Importer note “Bourgogne “Noble Souché” translates to the “noble vine” from almost 70 year old vines planted in 1947 on Marsannay Cailloux soil from Champforeys. Entirely, de-estemmed, slow fermentation with 5 days of pre-maceration. Aged for 11 months 90% in stainless steel tank, this is a lovely, subtlety rich Côte de Nuits wine.”

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Domaine de la Berangeraie Cuvee Maurin, Cahors 2014 750ML ($17.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Importer note “In 1971 André Berenger came to Cahors from Provence with his wife Sylvie, who is originally from Champagne, and planted their vineyard near Grezels, on the red clay/ iron stone soil known as Grèzes. Their two children, Maurin & Juline not only joined them in the family business, but brought in their respective spouses. Thus the 3 couples all work together and do everything on this 35 hectare domaine themselves. Pruning, the sustainable farming of the vineyards (Terra Vitis certified) and harvesting are all done by hand; a disappearing practice in Cahors where harvesting is now done almost exclusively by machine. Moreover, Maurin, and his wife, Marlène, are graduates of oenology school with diplomas in oenology. Complemetary, Juline and her husband, Henri, both studied at viticulture school. The Bérangeraie wines are proof that hand-made artisanal wines of character yet accessibility, are still being made in Cahors today.”

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Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rouge, Provence 2013 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Solidly built, with dark tobacco and Turkish coffee notes leading the way to a core of steeped plum and blackberry purée flavors. Leather and juniper details drive the muscular finish. Best from 2018 through 2025.”

Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage Classique, Rhone 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Winery note “The traditional cuvee is produced from Syrah vines grown on the three village terroirs: Mercurol, La Roche de Glun and Pont de l’Isère. There are several plots planted at different times, but the average age of vines is 20 years. The Crozes Hermitage red 2015 is ruby red with a nose of forest berries; the tannins are supple and elegant. It is ideal with white meats.”


Burgundy Sales Recap

We’ve reduced prices on 89 Burgundy wines – see the complete list below. To read reviews and order, visit our web store!

january burgundy sale spread sheet