October 21 Newsletter

October 21, 2013
Jump Start Sale 

Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta 2009 ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Spectator 96 points: “This gorgeous wine deftly balances polished cassis, dark cherry reduction and blueberry notes on a compact frame. Structured, with silky tannins lining the long finish that lingers on with hints of apple wood, spice box and underbrush. Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Best from 2014 through 2020.”
The previous time that Wine Spectator rated Clos Apalta 96 points,
they also proclaimed it: Wine of the Year!
(2005 vintage- 2008 WOTY)



New Week – New Arrivals
Owen Roe Chardonnay Dubrul Vineyard 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
: “Combines deft balance with explosive flavor, offering layers of pear, white peach, floral and crème fraîche that sail smoothly over refined acidity into a long and expressive finish. Drink now through 2017”

Owen Roe Pinot Noir ‘The Kilmore’ 2012 ($44.95) $37 special
The heavyweight champion of 2012 WV Pinot Noir- so far, but the tournament has only just begun.

Evening Land Vineyards ‘Mad Hatter’ Chardonnay 2010 ($39.95) $33 special

Evening Lands Vineyards Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Spectator 92 points:
 “Light, tangy and juicy, with pear and lemon curd flavors, coming together intensely and harmoniously on the finish. Drink now through 2018.”

Evening Lands Vineyards ‘La Source’ Seven Springs Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
: “Vibrant, expressive, focused and concentrated, dancing lightly with an array of toast- and mineral-accented peach, pear, lime and orange blossom flavors, lingering enticingly against refined acidity. Best from 2015 through 2019.”

Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills 2011 ($49.95) $39 special
Evening Land Vineyards Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard 2011 ($59.95) $49 special
Evening Land Vineyards “La Source’ Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard 2011 ($79.95) $66 special

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Laurene 2010 ($69.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds 94 points:
 “Bright ruby-red.  Sexy, highly perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, cherry compote, potpourri and star anise.  Fresh and lively but deeply pitched, offering intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and suggestions of cola and candied flowers.  Shows outstanding clarity and power on the finish, which features slow-building tannins and bright minerality.”

Owen Roe Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($59.95) $49 special

Owen Roe Lady Rosa Syrah 2011 ($49.95) $39 special
Owen Roe Sinister Hand Columbia Valley 2012 ($34.95) $21.90 special

Owen Roe Cabernet Sauvignon Red Willow Vineyard 2008 ($79.95) $69 special
Wine Spectator 94 points:
 “Supple and inviting, with ripe blackberry and blueberry fruit coursing through a layer of cedar and sassafras, lingering enticingly against refined tannins. A graceful wine that should reward cellaring. Drink now through 2018” Stephen Tanzer 93 points: “(cropped at less than two tons per acre, according to David O’Reilly):  Good full red.  Fragrant, highly complex nose combines plum, cocoa powder, minerals, licorice, lavender, eucalyptus and pine nuts.  Distinctly dark fruit in character but not at all a blockbuster style of cabernet.  In fact, this is downright velvety, with lovely inner-mouth lift and flavor intensity.  Finishes long and plummy, with suave tannins.  A beauty.”

Rotie Cellars Northern White Blend 2011 ($29.95) $24 special
Rotie Cellars Northern Red  Blend 2011 ($41.95) $34 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
: “Similarly styled, with a firm feel, the 2011 Northern Blend (95% Syrah and 5% Viognier) opens with beautiful black and red raspberry styled fruit, pepper, game, sappy underbrush and assorted floral qualities to go with a medium-bodied, pure and oh so precise texture on the palate. Detailed, energetic and lively, it makes the most of the cool vintage and is perfectly balanced and a superb drink. It will benefit from 1-2 years of bottle age and shine for 7-8 years, possibly longer given its overall harmony.”

Ramey Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard 2010 ($69.95) $59 special
Robert Parker 95 points
: “The 2010 Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard is a bit brighter and more focused than the Hudson. There is a sense of energy and focus in the 2010 that is remarkable. Sweet floral and spiced notes resonate on the finish. Saline overtones add to an impression of briskness and raw energy, especially on the finish. This is another fabulous showing. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.”

O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2010 ($89.95) $79 special
Robert Parker 96 points:
 “The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain covers every inch of the palate with layers of deep, rich, dark fruit. Blueberries, blackberries, violet and cloves seem to pop right out of the glass in this juicy, extroverted wine. Deceptively approachable, the 2010 has plenty of tannin lurking beneath its massive fruit. I would not be surprised if the 2010 shuts down in bottle. It is one of the deepest, inkiest 2010s I tasted from Howell Mountain. Betty O’Shaughnessy and her winemaker Sean Capiaux make some of the most compelling Cabernets in California. These are among my favorite wines to drink at home. Best, of all they remain exceptionally well-priced considering the quality of what is in the glass.”

Opus One Napa Proprietary Red 2010 ($249.95) $219 special
Antonio Galloni 97 points:
 “One of the highlights among the more recent releases, the 2010 Opus One is flat-out gorgeous. Dark cherries, plums, graphite, cassis and pencil shavings are all woven together in a fabric of notable class and elegance. The 2010 stands out for its exceptional minerality, tension and pure power. Readers will have to be patient. This is a picture perfect rendering of this great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vintage.”

France – Champagne
AYALA Champagne Brut Majeur NV ($49.95) $28 super special
Wine Spectator 92 points
: “There’s a firm, chalky edge to this minerally Champagne, and mouthwatering flavors of candied lemon peel, green apple, crystallized honey and biscuit. This has an elegant texture and an overall sense of style. Drink now through 2020.”

AYALA Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 2000 ($79.95) $59 super special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
: “Vivid gold. Dried lemon and honeysuckle aromas, with suggestions of dusty minerals and green cardamom. Smoother and a touch sweeter than it showed last year, offering sappy orange and lemon curd flavors and a deeper note of pit fruits. An orchard fruit quality lingers on the long, spicy, mineral-driven finish. This should age slowly”

AYALA Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs 2004 ($79.95) $59 super special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points:
 “Light yellow  Candied citrus fruits, white flowers and chalky minerals on the fragrant nose.  Juicy, penetrating and pure, offering lively orange and lemon zest flavors with suggestions of honeysuckle and ginger.  Shows a strong mineral quality on the penetrating finish, which features a hint of toasted almond. “

AYALA Champagne Brut Rose Majeur NV ($59.95) $39 super special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points:
 “(made from 51% chardonnay, 39% pinot noir – about a quarter of which is still red wine – and 10% pinot meunier; disgorged September, 2011):  Pale orange.  Bright, mineral-accented aromas of orange peal, brioche and white flowers, with a spicy topnote.  Silky and open-knit, offering tangy citrus fruit and red berry flavors and a hint of toastiness.  Closes smooth, fruity and long, with good breadth and clarity.”

AYALA Champagne Brut Rose Nature NV ($99.95) $79 super special
Wine Spectator 91 points
: “Crisp, featuring juicy flavors of pomegranate, white raspberry, pastry dough and spice, with a lightly smoky mineral undertow. Well-meshed and balanced, with a delicate finish. Drink now through 2018. 1,500 cases made.”

France – Burgundy
Digioia-Royer Bourgogne Blanc 2011 ($21.95) $18 special
Digioia-Royer Bourgogne Rouge 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special
Digioia-Royer Chambolle-Musigny 2011 ($69.95) $59 special

Simon Bize Savigny-les-Beaune Bourgeots 2010 ($49.95) $39 special
John Gilman 91+ points:
 “The 2010 les Bourgeots was also already racked into tank and was showing very well at the time of my visit. The deep, pure and complex nose offers up a superb blend of black cherries, dark berries, woodsmoke, a very stony base of soil and distinct notes of coffee bean. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and ripely tannic, with fine structure, bright acids and outstanding length and grip on the focused and very transparent finish. A beautiful village wine in the making.”

Simon Bize Savigny-les-Beaune 1er Cru les Talmettes 2010 ($59.95) $49 special
Burghound 89-92 points:
 “Here the nose is quite similar to that of the Serpentières with its violets and lavender scents that combine with notable earth and underbrush-infused red berry fruit aromas. There is good richness, size and weight to the round yet relatively refined medium-bodied flavors that possess a fine sense of balance on the mouth coating finish. I like the mouth feel and if this moderately structured effort can develop more depth in bottle, it just might catch the Fourneaux in time.”
John Gilman 91-92+ points: “The 2010 Simon Bize Talmettes was still in barrel in November, but destined to be racked in the not too distant future. This is still recovering from its late malo and shows a bit of gas on the backend, but there are very clearly some stunning building blocks in place here. The nose is deep, pure and reserved in style, offering up scents of cherries, woodsmoke, venison, a superb base of soil and a nice touch of orange peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very pure, with a rock solid core, ripe, but firm tannins and a long, classy finish.”

France – Jura
Domaine Philippe Bornard Les Cassagnes Savignin Cotes du Jura 2008 ($31.95) $27 special

France – Rhone
Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone Reserve 2010 ($19.95) $16 special
Robert Parker 92 points
: “This is a custom cuvee made for the U.S. market by Eric Solomon from the dynamic, conscientious, remarkably consistent producer of Chateauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone, Christophe Sabon. This Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Reserve, a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 10% Mourvedre and 10% Cinsault aged 12 months in foudre, is gorgeous. Kirsch liqueur dominates the aromatics and flavors. The wine’s deep ruby/purple color is followed by lots of floral, licorice, lavender, pepper, roasted meat and herbes de provence notes. This complex, concentrated, stunning Cotes du Rhone sells for a song. Drink it over the next 3-4 years.”

Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2011 ($21.95) $19 special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
: “Deep ruby.  Highly perfumed aromas of red berries, fresh flowers, white pepper and allspice.  Silky and seamless on the palate, offering flavors of sweet red berries, tangy pomegranate and anise.  Finishes smooth and long, with lingering spiciness and  well-integrated tannins.  This wine is drinking very well right now.”

Mas de Libian Cotes du Rhone Rouge ‘Khayyam’ 2010 ($21.95) $18 special Vinopolpick
Big, rich, structured, & classic.

France – Cahors
Chateau Lacapelle Cabanac Cahors Tradition 2010 ($17.95) $14 special

France – Loire
Comte Leloup de Chasseloir Muscadet Cuvee des Ceps Centenaires 2007 ($21.95) $17 special

Germany – Mosel
Selbach-Oster Riesling Spatlese Bernkasteler Badstube 2012 ($31.95) $24  special
Karthauserhof Riesling Spatlese Trocken Old Vines 2012 ($39.95) $33 special
Karthauserhof Riesling Spatlese Trocken Edition Tyrell 2012 ($49.95) $39 special

Italy – Umbria
Fongoli Montefalco Rosso 2009 ($19.95) $17 special
Wine Advocate
: “The 2009 Montefalco Rosso (Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Montepulciano and Merlot) shows a united front with distinct tones of cherry and spice. Montefalco Rosso can sometimes deliver disjointed aromas due to the nature of the blend. But this wine is distinguished by its focus and streamlined feel. The structured finish explodes with sweet cherry fruit”

Portugal – Porto
Fonseca Vintage Port 2011 ($119.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 97-99 points
: “The Fonseca 2011 is typically more forthcoming on the nose compared to the bashful Croft: a strident bouquet with lifted scents of freshly picked blackberries, kirsch, crushed stone and a dash of Hoi Sin and oyster sauce. It is very well-defined, very focused and direct. The palate is silky smooth with not a rough edge in sight, though not a typically voluptuous Fonseca because of the keen thread of acidity and the structure that lends this mighty Port wonderful backbone. A slight viscosity on the finish lacquers the tongue and indicates a core of sweet fruit is ticking away underneath that will surely explode several years after bottling. A tincture of salted licorice on the aftertaste is very attractive. This will turn out to become an outstanding Fonseca, the growing season taming its exuberance with spectacular results. So much potential, but just 6,000 cases were produced. Tasted May 2013.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port 2011 ($119.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 96-98 points:
 “The 2011 Taylor’s Vintage 2011 has a multifaceted, Pandora’s Box of a nose that is mercurial in the glass: cassis at first before blackberry and raspberry politely ask it to move aside, followed by wilted rose petals and Dorset plum. Returning after one 45 minutes that nose has shut up shop. The palate is sweet and sensual on the entry, plush and opulent, with copious black cherries, boysenberry and cassis fruit, curiously more reminiscent of Fonseca! It just glides across the palate with a mouth-coating, glycerine-tinged finish that has a wonderful lightness of touch, demonstrating how Vintage Port is so much more accessible in its youth nowadays. But don’t let that fool you into dismissing the seriousness or magnitude of this outstanding Taylor’s.”

Taylor Fladgate Vintage Port Vargellasses Vinha Velha 2011 ($249.95) $219 special
Wine Advocate 96-98 points
: “As a reminder, the Vinha Vilha is a selection of old vine fruit from the terraces of Polverinho and Renova do Armazem. Comparing it directly with the Taylor’s, there is even more complexity and volume on the nose, with black currant, dark plum and a more accentuated crushed stone aroma that lends it wonderful terroir expression. Like the Fonseca, it develops compelling marine scents after 30-40 minutes in the glass, like stepping over rock pools when you were a kid. The palate is medium-bodied with sumptuous, sensual ripe tannins that layer the mouth. There is a palpable sense of harmony and composure to this Vinha Velha and there is a lot of horsepower, more so than the Taylor’s, on the multi-dimensional finish. The intensity of fruit means that it does not quite have the same degree of tension as the Taylor’s, but the depth and breadth of this young Port suggests it will be a seriously long-term fortified wine” 

WA/ID Flat rate shipping – $20 any size order,
Oregon Flat rate shipping – $17 any size order,



Chianti Makes More Than Chianti,

And Chianti Much Better Than Chianti!

Over the last twenty years, Chianti, a vast area of central Tuscany, has begun to emerge from a vinous confusion; a confusion mostly of its own making. There are cultural as well as wine considerations in play. The Chianti region – basically the hilly area surrounding and, most importantly, between Florence and Siena – has an enormous cultural draw. It absorbs the artistic and architectural glow of these two magnificent cities, their art, and their storied place in the history of European culture. The gently hilly landscape here is both very beautiful and of a human scale – densely wooded areas yield to vineyards and fields and are dotted with castles, abbeys and hill towns. The mild climate is mild, which led the English and other north Europeans to buy derelict properties after the second world war and turn them into idyllic residences. The result of all this is that the simple name ‘Chianti’ appeared to confer a high value on any product with which it was related, above all wine. Unfortunately the wine often did not live up to the name.

Chianti as a commercial wine region has a history spanning back to the Middle Ages. In the 13th Century Chianti was a white wine. Commerce evolved as the villages nearest Florence formed their Lega del Chianti (League of Chianti). As the wines of Chianti grew in popularity other villages in Tuscany wanted that their lands too be called Chianti. The boundaries of the region have seen many expansions and sub-divisions over the centuries. The variable terroir of these different macroclimates contributed to diverging range of quality on the market and eventually consumer perception of Chianti was often associated with basic mass-market Chianti sold in a squat bottle enclosed in a straw basket, called a fiasco; a word that earned broader implications.

Chianti of course evolved into a red wine, but for most of that time it was a red Sangiovese based wine that required the usage of 15% white grapes. Through various stages of regulatory evolution, In the Chianti Classico Denominacion, 80% Sangiovese is now required and 20% other red grapes allowed. In the other Chianti regions, 70% Sangiovese is now required and 15% white grapes is allowed. Many of the Chianti Classico wines along with the best of the rest of Chianti can now take a spot on the roster of our world’s best wines.

But parallel to this evolution, over the past three decades a revolution has also manifested in the lands and wineries of the Chianti zone. These are wines, often superior,  that either cannot be called Chianti according to Denominacion, or that the wineries simply choose not to use the Chianti name. The wines were at the outset consigned to usage of the base Vino da Tavola designation by Italian wine regulation. And yet, they were, for the most part, recognized for their superiority by consumers and quickly earned the tag ‘Super Tuscans’  in the wine media and marketplaces.  Of late, these wines have been awarded a more lofty designation, Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT).

The roster below is all year now, and not a fiasco among them.Chianti Classico DOCG:
Vignamaggio Castello di Monna Lisa Riserva 2006 ($31.95) $27 special, 7 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer & Wine Advocate 90 points:
 “($48) Dark ruby-red. Bright floral and red cherry aromas are lifted by notes of black pepper and licorice. Dense, juicy and focused, with light redcurrant and dark plum flavors that extend on the finish thanks to high but harmonious acids. A well-made, solid wine.”

Ruffino Chianti Riserva Ducale Oro 2007 ($39.95) $26 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 91 points:
 “This has an almost roasted nose, and offers dark plum, leather, chocolate and earth flavors. Rich and powerful, yet stays focused, with fine balance and a lingering finish. Best from 2013 through 2022.”

Castello Di Ama Riserva 2007 ($44.95) $33 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points
: “The 2007 Chianti Classico Castello di Ama is fabulous. There is so much going on in the glass, as endless layers of perfumed dark red fruit caress the palate in stunning style. The wine’s precision, elegance and overall sense of harmony are all first class. Smoke, tar and roses add the final layers of complexity on the finish. Today the wine is mostly remarkable for its exceptional silkiness; readers will have to wait at least a few years for the aromatics and flavors to develop tertiary nuances. The Castello is a wine that sets a new standard for what is possible within the Chianti Classico appellation. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2027.”

Castello Di Ama Riserva 2008 ($41.95) $30.90 special, 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points:
 ” Good medium-deep red. Black cherry, redcurrant, licorice and menthol aromas are lifted by a floral element that carries through on the palate. Flavors of dark cherry, licorice and underbrush are complicated by a tarry quality. Finishes suave and smooth, with harmonious tannins and good subtle, spicy length. I was impressed by the purity of the sangiovese fruit, given the fact that the wine also includes cabernet franc and merlot components; chalk up another winner to the dynamic duo of Lorenza Sebaste and Marco Pallanti.”

Felsina Classico 2010 ($24.95) $19 special, 3+ cases available
Antonio Galloni 91 points:
 “The 2010 Chianti Classico is beautiful, pointed and articulate. Sweet red berries, anise, flowers, spices and licorice are some of the many notes that flow from this gorgeous Chianti. The freshness and vibrancy are pure 2010. The Chianti Classico is 100% Sangiovese aged in a combination of casks and smaller French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.”

Felsina Riserva Rancia 2008 (49.95) $33 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points:
 “The 2008 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is one of the more slender wines in this line up, in keeping with the personality of the vintage. That is not a bad thing for readers who are cellaring some of the bigger, richer vintages that may take longer to mature. Silky tannins frame a core of black cherries, plums, licorice and tobacco through to the vibrant finish. The 2008 speaks of textural finesse and silkiness first and foremost. I will not be surprised if the 2008 blossoms further with more time in bottle. Today it is immensely beautiful. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2028.”

Ricasoli Colledila 2007 ($59.95) $51.90 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 92 points
: “A fruity Chianti, delivering attractive berry and vanilla aromas and flavors. Medium- to full-bodied, with silky tannins and a delicious finish. Balanced and very pretty. A new single-vineyard wine from Ricasoli. This is lovely now, but will be better with bottle age. Drink now.”

Ricasoli “Brolio” 2008 ($21.95) $17 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 88 points
: “Ricasoli’s 2008 Chianti Classico Brolio is an attractive red loaded with dark cherries, plums, smoke and spices. Firm tannins round out the powerful finish. This is a fairly hearty, rich style of Chianti that can be enjoyed today or cellared for at least a few years. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018.”

Riecine Riserva 2006 ($49.95) $24 special, 3+ cases available
Stephen Tanzer 94 points
: “Good medium, bright red. Pure mineral-driven aromas of sour red cherry, raspberry and sweet spices, with a hint of licorice. Nicely delineated and sweet, with a strong red cherry quality complicated by nuances of blackcurrant and flint. Finishes long and smooth, with a captivating violet lift. Readers may also want to look for the 2005 Riserva, which is similarly excellent.”

Chianti Classico Vin Santo:
Felsina Vin Santo 2004 375ML ($49.95) $39 special, 3+ cases available
Antonio Galloni 97 points:
 “The 2004 Vin Santo del Chianti Classico is fabulous. A reference point wine for the region, the 2004 captures the heart and intellect with its superb balance and pure pedigree. The style is moderately sweet and oxidative, in the best of the Vin Santo tradition. Savory herbs, dried flowers, leather and lightly burned sugar add complexity on the finish. Vin Santo? Felsina remains one of the 2-3 reference points, it’s as simple as that. As for the 2004, well, it is utterly majestic.”

Chianti Rufina DOCG:
Fattoria Selvapiana Bucerchiale Riserva 2009 ($37.95) $29 special, 30 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 95 points:
 ” Medium saturated red. Red plum, redcurrant, tobacco, forest floor and potpourri spices on the sexy, very complex nose. Dense, sweet, suave and deep, with insidious intensity to the multilayered flavors of blueberry, tobacco leaf and loam. Wonderfully silky and sweet Chianti, finishing with fine-grained tannins and lingering ripe red cherry and spice flavors. The 2009 vintage doesn’t get any better than this. An outstanding wine, and everything a Chianti ought to be.”

Toscana Centrale IGT:
Fontodi “Flaccianello della Pieve” 2009 ($99.95) $89 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 96 points
: ” The first impression of this red is purity and finesse, as black currant, raspberry and violet aromas and flavors stay focused and persistent. An earthy leather element and mineral notes chime in on the finish, backed by a vibrant structure. Sangiovese. Best from 2015 through 2032.”

Castellare “I Sodi Di San Niccolo” 2007 ($79.95) $59 special, 25 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points
: “The 2007 I Sodi di San Niccolo saturates the palate with masses of rich, dark fruit. The 2007 is very much a product of the year. Warm, open and resonant, the 2007 is one of the bigger wines made at Castellare over the last three decades. There is an immediacy that is quite appealing, but the wine’s bombastic personality needs some time to settle down. Although delicious today, the 2007 should also age quite well based on its sheer opulence. It is best cellared for at least a few years. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2032.”

Castellare “I Sodi Di San Niccolo” 2008 ($74.95) $59 special, 3+ cases available    

Alta Valle della Greve IGT :
Podere Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione 2010 ($89.95) $69 special, 3+ cases available
Antonio Galloni 97 points
: “The 2010 Carbonaione (Sangiovese) is a stunner. Deep, rich and utterly impeccable, the 2010 boasts breathtaking richness, energy and power. The flavors remain incredibly primary in a wine that will require years to develop. Graphite, crushed rocks, blue/black fruit, plums and smoke emerge over time. As phenomenal as the 2010 is today, it really should be cellared for at least a few years. This is a drop dead gorgeous wine from Vittorio and Jurij Fiore.”

Toscana IGT:
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno 2008 ($89.95) $79 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points:
 “The 2008 Oreno is stunningly beautiful. An open, expressive bouquet laced with mint, red berries, roses and spices emerges with superb clarity and balance. The tension between the minerality of the vintage and the rich expression of fruit that is one of the house’s hallmarks play off each other beautifully here. The finish is utterly exquisite in its beguiling beauty. The 2008 isn’t the most powerful Oreno ever made, but it is quite possibly the most elegant, impeccably refined wine I have ever tasted here. Simply put, it is fabulous juice! In 2008 the percentage of Sangiovese is way down and Oreno is predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, a decision that has paid off handsomely. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”

Vignamaggio Vignamaggio 2006 ($79.95) $66 special, 14 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points
: “The 2006 Cabernet Franc is marvelous in its ripe dark fruit, violets, graphite, espresso, Venezuelan bittersweet chocolate and minerals. The interplay between fruit and structure here is simply magnificent, while the wine’s focus and crystalline purity are something to behold. This beautifully sculpted, powerful Cabernet Franc captures plenty of varietal expression married to an unmistakable sense of Tuscany. It is a magnificent effort from Vignamaggio. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026.”

Antinori “Tignanello” 2010 ($99.95) $88 special, 10 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 96 points
: “Antinori’s 2010 Tignanello is stunning, as it has been since I started tasting the component wines in 2011. Firm yet sweet, silky tannins form the backbone for this gorgeous, vivid wine. Dark red cherries, plums, cloves, mint and sage inform a Tignanello that impresses for its delineation, nuance and power. Clean, saline notes support the mineral-drenched finish. The 2010 isn’t huge, but rather is a vertical wine endowed with tremendous energy and vibrancy. I can’t remember a Tignanello with this much crystalline tension and pure energy. Simply put, the 2010 Tignanello is a magnificent, towering wine from Antinori.”

Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum 2008 ($29.95) $20.90 special, 3+ cases available
Case-12 Arceno Il Fauno Di Arcanum Toscana 2008 ($299.95) $228 special, 7 available
Wine Advocate 94 points
: “A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot, the 2008 Il Fauno di Arcanum opens with an inky dark color and perfectly ripe aromas of plump cherry and blackberry. Beyond the enticing fruit aromas is a long list of spice and tobacco-related characteristics. This is a thickly layered and opulent Tuscan blend that is enhanced by territory-driven aromas of grilled herb and rosemary oil. The best part for me, however, is the soft richness this wine delivers in the mouth. Anticipated maturity 2014-2027.”

Castello Di Bossi “Corbaia” 2008 ($59.95) $49 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 96 
points: “The 2008 Corbaia is striking in this vintage. A delicate, graceful bouquet gives the impression of femininity, until layers of fruit hit the palate with relentless energy and focus. The 2008 impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. The tannins are still huge at this stage, but I sense that as they melt away the wine’s true pedigree will begin to emerge. This is a great, great showing from Castello di Bossi. Corbaia is 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in new French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Felsina Fontalloro 2007 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special, 3 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 96 points
: “Good full red with a palish rim. Pure, superripe aromas of red cherry, violet, iodine and nutmeg. Superrich, highly concentrated and seamless, with densely packed flavors of raspberry, dark plum and marzipan. Finishes creamy-rich and explosively long, with a pretty violet note. This was so good I really had trouble letting the glass go. It’s also the only time I can remember Fontalloro outclassing Rancia (of which I am a huge fan) by such a wide margin, something I had noticed even when tasting barrel samples of these two wines in the estate’s cellar two years ago. I’d wait a good five years on this one, then enjoy it for another two decades. Proof positive that sangiovese is one of the world’s great grape varieties.”

Felsina Fontalloro 2008 ($59.95) $37.50 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points
: “The 2008 Fontalloro is the yin to the Rancia’s yang. It is also characteristically beautiful, open and expressive at this stage. Layers of sweet red fruit, flowers and spices blossom effortlessly from the 2008 Fontalloro. The intensely saline finish that is present in the Rancia is found in Fontalloro as well. I am usually not the biggest fan of Fontalloro, but there is no denying the superb pedigree and sheer class of the 2008. This is a wonderfully, sophisticated, polished wine from Felsina. In 2008 the slightly drier microclimate at Fontalloro vis-a-vis Rancia is the main reason this wine is such a huge success in 2008. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2026.”

Felsina Maestro Raro 2008 ($59.95) $49 special, 26 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
: “The 2008 Maestro Raro is beautiful in this vintage, a year in which Cabernet Sauvignon varietal character reigns supreme. Plums, cassis, wild herbs, leather and licorice all come together gracefully in this gorgeous, expressive wine. The 2008 impresses for its length and striking, pure finish. This is a great showing. Maestro Raro is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Malvasia vines that were grafted over beginning in 1984. The 2008 is understated and classy, but its all there. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Isole e Olena “Cepparello” 2008 ($69.95) $58 special, 9 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92+ points:
 “The 2008 Cepparello emerges from the glass with sweet herbs, flowers, mint and licorice. There is a distinctly high-toned register to the 2008 that is largely the result of a year with very cold temperatures in the final phase of ripening. This mid-weight Cepparello stands apart for its pure energy and drive. Though outstanding today, the 2008 also appears to have plenty of potential for the future. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2029.”

Isole e Olena “Cepparello” 2009 ($79.95) $69 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points:
 “The 2009 Cepparello is gorgeous. It brings together the radiance and ripeness of a warmer year with the medium-bodied structure of a cooler vintage. Today the 2009 is a bit reticent and appears headed for a period of dormancy. From time to time hints of its ultimate potential come through in attractive layers of dark red fruit. The rich, textured finish bodes well for the future. Paolo De Marchi describes 2009 as a year with a cold spring and a hot summer that also brought hail in early August. The 2009 Cepparello is clearly one of the wines of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2034.”

Montevertine “Montevertine” 2009 ($59.95) $44 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points
: “The 2009 Montevertine comes across as more classic than the Pergole Torte. Firm yet well-integrated tannins support expressive sweet red cherries, freshly cut flowers and mint. The 2009 is a highly attractive, pointed Montevertine that oozes class and elegance. Clean, saline notes inform the beautifully pointed, delineated finish. This is far from an easygoing 2009. The wine still needs time to fully come together. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2029.”



Time To Say Goodbye

Montepeloso A Quo Suvereto Toscana 2011 ($24.95) $17.70 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points:
 “Once again, Montepeloso’s entry-level A Quo is fabulous. I expected to find a rich, powerful wine given the year, instead the 2011 A Quo is fresh, vibrant and beautifully delineated. Hints of raspberry jam, rose petals and sweet spices literally jump from the glass. The 2011 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant. This is a terrific showing from proprietor Fabio Chiarellotto.”

Alvaro Palacios Priorat Camins 2011 ($21.95) $15.70 special
Josh Raynolds 91 points
: “Bright purple.  Aromas and flavors of ripe red berries, cola and spicecake, with a deeper note of licorice emerging with air.  Lush and seamless, with very good finishing breadth and spicy persistence.  Shows plenty of upfront appeal but this wine has the concentration and balance to reward at least mid-term aging.”

Nekeas Vega Sindoa El Chaparral Old Vines Garnacha 2011 ($17.95) $9.90 special
Josh Raynolds 91 points:
 “(malo in small French oak, followed by five months of aging on its lees):  Brilliant ruby.  Highly perfumed, exotic aromas of black and blue fruits, vanilla and incense, with a floral overtone.  Lush, expansive blackberry and boysenberry flavors stain the palate, picking up a smoky nuance with air.  Velvety and broad but lively too, finishing with impressive breadth spicy persistence for its price range.  All of these wines are ridiculous values, as they have been in most recent vintages.”