Saturday Special 4-18-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Weekend Subscriber Special
From Bryant Family to Red Mountain:
The Exceptional Force Majeure

Local, Delicious and (Somehow) Under $20
Two Favorites from Bow & Arrow

Don’t Forget our Trending Subscriber Special
Cool New Pricing on a Hot Rhone Wine

New Arrivals
Including Loewen, Spreitzer,
Raul Perez, Cristom, Sierra Cantabria
Marie Courtin, Tenuta Tascante and More!

Collector’s Corner
Cappellano and Burlotto: Icons of Traditional Barolo


Weekend Subscriber Special

From Bryant Family to Red Mountain

The Exceptional Force Majeure

Force Majeure is a Washington state insider’s wine.  The name doesn’t come up as often as a winery like Cayuse, but these estate grown gems are typically completely sold out to a rabid mailing list.  It’s a tough winery to source—and for good reason. These are big, bold, dense wines with an elegance that keeps them in beautiful balance.  Winemaker Todd Alexander made his name at Bryant Family in Napa before being enticed to Washington and he’s making those epic cult wines for Force Majeure as well.

What really sets Force Majeure apart from many other top Washington producers, though, is their site. It’s relatively rare to have an estate vineyard in Washington (like in Napa, many producers buy grapes from a variety of sites).  To have an estate in the tiny Red Mountain AVA of this quality, though, is a truly special thing—a secret weapon in creating some of the finest wines in the state.

We’re dropping the prices on some of their best (and best value) wines until we close for business on Monday, so lovers of Washington wine ought to take note.  These are some of the most stunning wines made in Washington State, at prices that are fantastically low.

Subscriber Special Pricing Valid Until Monday, April 20th at 6PM PT

In Stock Now

Force Majeure Vineyards Epinette, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($99.95) Was $79, Now $69 Subscriber Special, 5 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“A Pomerol look-alike, the 2015 Epinette is mostly Merlot, yet includes 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet [Sauvignon] and 4% Petit Verdot. It’s another rich, mouthfilling effort and offers lots of darker, plummy fruits, chocolate, and scorched earth aromas and flavors. With building tannin and serious structure, it isn’t for those looking for instant gratification and is going to need a solid 3-5 years of bottle age.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today,
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $89.99
The average listed price is $94

Force Majeure Estate Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $75, Now $66 Subscriber Special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93-96 points
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”

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

Force Majeure ‘Parvata’, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $75, Now $66 Subscriber Special, 10 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Force Majeure Parabellum Rhone Style Red, Red Mountain 2014 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Subscriber Special, 8 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Checking in as a blend of 61% Syrah and 39% Mourvedre, the 2014 Rhone Parabellum sports a vibrant purple, semi-opaque color to go with fabulous notes of black raspberries, cassis, cedary spice and hints of pepper. This is a rich, elegant, incredibly polished red that has terrific purity, ripe, sweet tannin, a graceful personality and a great finish. It’s an entry-level wine that surpasses most estates’ top cuvees.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $52

Force Majeure Parabellum Coulee, Red Mountain 2017 750ML ($59.95) Was $49, Now $39 Subscriber Special, 23 bottles in stock now
Washington Wine Blog 93 points
“The 2017 ‘Coulée’ Red Wine is a fantastic blend of 86% Syrah with the remainder Mourvèdre that was all sourced from the esteemed Force Majeure Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA. Tobacco leaf and smoky undertones collide with suggestions of green peppercorns and smoked black olives that all take shape together in the glass. The soft texture entices as the black and blue fruits mingle with minerals, black tea and chocolate covered brandy soaked kirsch flavors. This is seriously good by superstar winemaker Todd Alexander.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Subscriber Special Pricing Valid Until Monday, April 20th at 6PM PT

Local, Delicious and (Somehow) Under $20

Two Favorites from Bow & Arrow

We can’t say enough good things about Bow & Arrow and the wines they make. Scott Frank seems to have cracked the code to do two things that are nearly impossible for other Oregon wineries. First, he makes wines that are vibrant, fresh and delicious in a truly old-world fashion.   As a result, the wines (especially the wines we’re featuring today) can be compulsively drinkable. We may have mentioned this already, but the wines are great.

The other major puzzle that Scott seems to have cracked is affordability. We often see wines from the US marketed as ‘daily drinkers’ in style but the wines are priced at $30++, well north of a comparable wine from Europe. With Bow & Arrow, though, we’re pleased as punch that a delicious local wine is cheaper than most of the competition from Europe.  To make those already good deals even better, we worked with Scott to drop the prices on two of our favorites, the flagship Rhinestones and his excellent Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

In Stock Now:

Bow and Arrow’s Rhinestones bottling, a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay, has probably done more to define their style and the style of the “New Oregon” than any other.  Juicy, fresh and slightly peppery (from the Gamay) it’s a red wine that manages to refresh with ease.  We sell a lot of it, for good reason—it’s a wine that manages to pair with nearly anything, or be delicious on its own.  Plus, it’s well priced (under $25) and local, two big perks. It’s become one of winemaker Scott Frank’s signature bottlings, representing his outside-the-box thinking and exceptional craftsmanship.

Bow & Arrow Rhinestone Red, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($26.95) Was $21.90, Now $18 special
Winery Note
“To understand Rhinestones we have to talk about the Cheverny region of France’s Loire Valley where, by law, the red wines must be a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir.  We follow this stricture with all the Pinot and Gamay fruit we source from Johan Vineyard.  The blend is determined by nature and vintage.  Aged in a mixture of concrete and old barriques, this wine is the flagship of the Bow & Arrow operation and communicates what we’re about as much as anything we make.  Effortlessly drinkable but rewards detective work if you’re in the mood.”

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

Bow & Arrow may be best known for their Loire-inspired bottlings (like Rhinestones and Air Guitar) but they make a fantastic bottle of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, as well. Crafted from an assemblage of some of the best vineyards in the Van Duzer Corridor, this wine shows a cooler-climate tone that evokes its European influences.  2018 is already starting to look like a special vintage in the Willamette Valley and this bottling shows grace and elegance with a sizzle that we’ve come to expect from the B&A wines.  

Bow & Arrow Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2018 750ML ($24.95) Was $21.90, Now $18 special
Winemaker Note
“[W]hile this ethos of “wine for the people” infuses the entire posture at Bow & Arrow, it’s this wine, the Willamette Valley Pinot in particular, that serves as our proof of concept.  You can make, in the Willamette Valley, a Pinot Noir sourced from Biodynamic and Organic fruit that is lovingly and naturally tended to form start to finish AND sell it at a price that nearly anyone can glass pour.  Assembled mainly from Johan Vineyard, Walnut Ridge and Hughes Hollow fruit, this wine was handled no differently than our single vineyard, top priced Pinot Noir.  Tasted blind I imagine it would hang tough with any line-up of Oregon Pinots of any price or pedigree.  (“I humbly submit” keeps getting auto-corrected to this hubristic nonsense.  I’m sorry.)”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today, 
Now it’s even lower!
The next best price is $23

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Trending Subscriber Special

Cool New Pricing on a Hot Rhone Wine

Chateau de Rouanne is a new project from the team at Saint Cosme, located in Vinsobres, in the northern part of the southern Rhone.  While Saint Cosme had been buying grapes from Rouanne for years, they recently bought the entire property and the 2018 is the inaugural vintage under the Chateau de Rouanne label.  Jeb Dunnuck just reviewed the new (first) release and concludes it’s a winner—exactly what we thought when we tasted it the first time.

Saint Cosme is probably our top selling producer, year in and out.  We carry a variety of their wines, from their single vineyard, estate grown Gigondas to their excellent value negociant bottlings from the Northern Rhone.  When we heard they had purchased a historic estate in Vinsobres, we had high hopes—and the wine lives up.

Chateau de Rouanne dates back to Roman times, with limestone and sandy marl soils planted to a massale selection of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre.  Vinsobres is pretty far north for the Southern Rhone and reminds us of where Gigondas was 10-15 years ago, both in terms of pricing and climate.  In Saint Cosme’s hands, that’s a very, very good thing, as we think you’ll see.

We’ve featured this wine before, but we’re offering you an even better price on this fantastic bottle.  At $28, this was a fantastic buy.  At $24? Well, this is going to distort our perception of value in the Southern Rhone.

Chateau de Rouanne, Vinsobres 2018 750ML ($31.95) Was $28, Now $24 Subscriber Special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Decanter 90 points
“There’s some interest here – it’s just a touch rustic perhaps from the ample use of stems, the tannins are a little fibrous and grainy. A good intensity of fruit however, bright, juicy and fresh. Tannins are pretty fierce, so give it a year or two to settle. There’s a whiff of Provençale herbs and oregano with a saline finish. Alcohol is high, but overall the effect is balanced. A solid start. In organic conversion, old vines on limestone marls. The first vintage since this estate was bought by Louis Barruol of Château de Saint-Cosme.”
Jeb Dunnuck 90 points “The 2018 Vinsobres comes from an estate owned by Louis Barruol (of Château Saint Cosme in Gigondas) and checks in as a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, all from a single parcel just outside the village of Vinsobres. Revealing a deep purple, translucent hue as well as lots of mulberry and black raspberry fruit interwoven with notes of ground pepper, violets, and game, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, a rounded, supple, elegant texture, notable purity, and outstanding length. Seeming to have one foot in the Northern Rhône with its gamey, violet characteristics and one foot in the south with its richness and opulence on the palate, it’s a terrific, noteworthy Vinsobres to enjoy over the coming 4-6 years.”
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New Arrivals


One of the more charming, interesting white blends to come out of the W.V.
Evesham Wood Blanc du Puits Sec, Eola-Amity Hills 2018 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
Winery note
“This year again we picked all the Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Traminer, Rieslaner and Kerner and co-fermented them in stainless steel.  This year I allowed the fermentation to start spontaneously with the yeast that came in with the grapes.  The wine displays lots of spice and rose this year with hints of green apple and lime.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

This might be the new value Cab king. Very impressive for under $20.
Luke Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Shows presence and polish, with expressive blackberry, smoked spice and dusty cedar notes that take on structure toward fine-grained tannins. Drink now through 2025. 9,557 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Previously sold out, now back in stock, the ’17’s from Cristom are great.
Cristom ‘Louise Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
James Suckling 95 points
“This cuvée has a very energetic and intense feel with a wealth of fresh and attractive red cherries and raspberries, plenty of florals and subtle herbal, forest-wood and light-chocolate notes. There’s a very keenly articulated feel to the palate with a plush, very fleshy and assertively long, detailed finish. Deep fruit presence here. Drink across the next decade.”
Josh Raynolds 93 points “Vivid red. Expansive aromas of ripe red berries, candied flowers and baking spices, with a smoky mineral topnote that gains strength as the wine opens up. Coats the palate with appealing sweet raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors that tighten up and become spicier on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and floral lift on an impressively long finish that’s shaped by fine-grained, even tannins.”

See above. 
Cristom ‘Eileen Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2017 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds 95 points
“Bright red. An intensely perfumed bouquet displays ripe red/blue fruit, baking spice, incense qualities and a strong, mineral overtone. Offers sweet, penetrating raspberry, blueberry, cherry pit, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors that show serious depth as well as vivacity. Displays impressive clarity and spicy thrust on the finish, which features smoothly interwoven tannins and suave, clinging floral and mineral notes.”
James Suckling 94 points “This has a very bright array of rich red cherries, together with a herbal accent and a thread of rose-like perfume, as well as autumnal leaves and sweet, woody spices. The palate has very assertive red cherries with elegant tannins that are paper-fine, but have combined length and strength. Great detail here. Drink or hold.”


One of the best under the radar top German Rieslings.  Too many qualifiers, but the wine’s awesome.
Carl Loewen ‘1896’ Herrenberg Alte Reben Riesling Trocken, Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Grapelive 95 points
“The fantastic Old Vine Trocken from Christopher Loewen is a great way to celebrate Riesling’s birthday…especially well honored by this wine that comes from Germany’s oldest known Riesling vines dating back, to as the label and name suggest, 1896! This particular bottling is Loewen’s alternative top dry Riesling, labeled Alte Reben instead of Grosses Gewachs or a GG, it is a secondary special selection from this Grand Cru site…The dry 2018 Alte Reben Longuicher Maximin Herrenberg is a striking and crisply focused Riesling with classic slate soil influence showing intense minerallity along with brisk citrusy fruit with layers lime, tangerine, white peach, quince along with hints of kumquat, green apple, pineapple fruits as well as flinty wet shale (stoniness), chamomile, saline, verbena and white flowers. This is a wonderfully complex and thrilling Riesling that expands on the medium bodied palate with gripping extract and the sensation of textural grace making for a profound experience!  The Maximiner Herrenberg vineyard was originally planted in 1896, and is now farmed by Loewen using organic methods and carefully sorted….Using modern natural methods in the cellar, the grapes are all whole cluster pressed, and Loewen is careful not to move the pomace so to not get bettering phenolic flavors…Loewen’s ferments are “Sponti” completely natural without addition of enzymes or nutrition, with these single vineyard wines, Christopher notes, being individually block picked with the juice going directly into classic Fuder barrels (or oak casks around 1000L in size) which average 25 years old to age. While the GG’s are awesome, especially the sister Herrenberg version, and Loewen’s majestic Ritch, there are two wines that you don’t want to miss, the 1986 Feinherb, one of the most sought after cult wines in the Mosel and this Alte Reben (Old Vine) Maximiner Herrenberg Trocken, both from the VDP Grand Cru (Grosse Lage) vines, these are exotic beauties that deserve your attention and a space in your collection! Happy Birthday Riesling! Loewen is quickly becoming a name on Riesling lovers lips, he is an outstanding talent and his collection of 2018 wines are stunning.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2018er Longuicher Maximiner Herrenberg Riesling Trocken 1896 Alte Reben is a dry Riesling made from century-old un-grafted vines (planted in 1896) in a plot at the lower end of the vineyard. It is still quite backward and really only hints at herbal and spicy elements of ripe and delicately creamy orchard fruits on the nose. After a while, a fresher side with ginger, grapefruit and aniseed herbs brings some depth to the nose. The wine is all about greengage, whipped cream, mouthwatering minerals and a nice kick of zest (certainly by the standards of the vintage) on the palate. The finish is intense, ripe and rich but is lifted up by grapefruit and chalky minerals. There is clearly some upside, as the wine develops with age. 2023-2033.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Classic Kabinett from 100+ year old, ungrafted vines.
Carl Loewen Longuicher Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Mosel Fine Wines 91 points
“The 2018er Longuicher Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett is made from grapes harvested at 83° Oechsle from up to 100 year-old un-grafted vines situated high up the hill and was fermented down to barely fruity-styled levels of residual sugar (40 g/l). The wine offers a beautiful nose made of grapefruit, pear, melon and aniseed herbs, wrapped into some white flowers. It develops nice flavors of pear and freshly cut apple on the creamy and smooth palate and leaves a nice fruit-zest tension in the long and delicately creamy finish. The sweetness covers a little bit the zesty side (which only comes through in the after-taste). We would therefore opt to enjoy this Spätlese-styled wine in a decade or more, when the sweetness will have receded. 2028-2048.”
Terry Theise note “[+] Ungrafted vines planted in 1903. Do please note the price. Consider what the equivalent wine might cost you from France or Italy or Spain. Then consider why I sometimes get frustrated. This was just a week in bottle yet it was still spicy and expressive and angular and both vivid and deep, with a moderate minty sweetness.”

Auslese from non-botrytised fruit—this is stunning in its purity and depth.
Carl Loewen Thornicher Ritsch Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points
“The 2018er Thörnicher Ritsch Riesling Auslese was made from almost fully clean fruit harvested at 95° Oechsle and was fermented down to fully sweet levels of residual sugar. The wine offers a rather discreet and herbal nose where the fruity elements (including pear, lemon, starfruit, passion fruit and a hint of coconut) only gradually emerge from the glass. The wine may still be on the sweet side on the palate, but it already shows beautifully alluring and multi-layered flavors of pear, lemon, melon, lemoncello and coconut, all wrapped into some apricot blossom in the finish. This is a ripe but complex sweet wine in the making. 2033-2058.”
Terry Theise note “[++] This though is one shining gorgeous piece, and what a piece! As glorious, green and salty as it has ever been. Zero botrytis, fruit to the max, like a confiture of aloe vera and verbena.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $47.70

The Rheingau has somehow become the most overlooked region in Germany, which is hilarious.
Spreitzer ‘303’ Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Spatlese, Rheingau 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Terry Theise note
“The cadaster is called Eiserberg (iron hill), from which a record-setting wine of 303º Oechsle was gathered back in the 1920s. The record’s since been broken but come on; this is the climate-change era. This ’18 has a blatant fragrance of iron, white flowers and pickled ginger and a mass of pulverized mineral; it’s as sleek as the 2004 and yet as rich as the 2015, and if there’s any botrytis it’s clean and discreet. The sweetness is taut and buzzing. The most exciting vintage in many years! What is this wine, though? It’s somewhat too rich and intense for a typical Spätlese and too buoyant for a typical Auslese, and so it becomes a wine that’s oblique to the notion of “utility,” how it might be used. This can drive you crazy unless you can somehow cherish the whole idea of a wine existing merely because it is beautiful. OK, yes, that’s all well and good, but at some point we decide to open it, and then what, when, why, how? My only answer would be, that we contrive the occasion for the wine to be like a painting on your wall; you look at it and are happier and richer. It doesn’t have to “perform” in any way. It simply returns your life to you as a finer and deeper matter. And if a painting can do this, why not a wine?”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Classic, yellow-fruited Rheingau Kabi.  At once fresh and aristocratic.
Spreitzer Oestricher Lenchen Riesling Kabinett, Rheingau 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special Terry Theise note “We made it drier, at which point it showed more mid-palate and less elbows-and-knees, becoming a frisky balanced wine with a crisp finish; mirabelles, yellow fruits and lemon-zest, salty and salivating. This wine has come a long way from the simpler and fruitier wine it once was.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Raul Perez gets the most attention for his reds, but the whites are often delicious.
Raul Perez Ultreia Godello, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
“There is a new white from Godello, as demand is growing, and they sourced the grapes from a vineyard that produced the first 2016 Ultreia Godello. It’s a north-facing plot that is very cold, and the grapes, picked at the end of the harvest, were only 12% alcohol. It fermented in 300-liter barrels and one 2,500-liter oak vat. It feels super young and undeveloped, with an austere nose and a very tasty palate with superb acidity. 7,000 bottles.”
Decanter 91 points “This is made from a blend of plots on clay and sand, with vines aged between 20 and 43 years. It’s fermented in barrel, and 30% is aged for one year in barrels acquired from Didier Belondrade in Rueda. Aromas of grapefruit lead into a rich body with notes of tropical fruits, enlivened by brisk acidity. Fresh and very long. Drinking Window 2019 – 2022.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

What a wine—this is a symbol of what’s possible in Bierzo.
Raul Perez Ultreia de Paluezas, Bierzo 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points
“One of the few vineyards in Bierzo where the soils have a significant content of limestone is San Juan de Paluezas, in a different valley looking into Las Médulas goldmines. They produce three barrels of the 2016 Ultreia de Paluezas from this vineyard. This year it had a shorter élevage, only around 12 months, as they saw it was ready and was racked out of the wood. Limestone soils always deliver dry, chalk-like tannins and a special tastiness that often translates in an almost salty feeling. It has more bones than flesh; it’s austere and should develop slowly in bottle. In fact, they are now releasing the 2015, as they feel it benefits from some more time in bottle. I like the austerity here. 850 bottles produced from a small plot with very low yields.”

A great value in Mencia.
Raul Perez Ultreia Saint Jacques, Bierzo 2017 750ML ($54.95) $16.60 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The clean, floral and 2017 Ultreia Saint Jacques comes mostly from old vineyards from different soils in Valtuille and Villadecanes fermented in stainless steel and oak vats with part of full clusters and matured in used barriques for one year. It’s produced in a fresh and very drinkable way. This is one of the best values from Bierzo and Spain, and a great introduction to Bierzo. It’s a more serious wine than what the wine was when it was first produced, fresh and elegant. It’s very reliable and a great value. There are some 100,000 bottles that were filled in two production runs.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

In Spain, Sierra Cantabria is considered one of Rioja’s most important wineries.
Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2009 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 95 points
“A dense and very beautiful red with dark berries, hints of chocolate and some mahogany. Full body. Layered. Shows focus and balance. Lovely, linear and energetic nature. Drink or hold.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


The return of the classic.
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Disgorged December 2019
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Blanc de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru is such a classic Gimonnet wine. Light on its feet and gracious, with soaring aromatics and tons of nuance, the 1er Cru is a winner. Bright floral overtones, citrus, brioche and apple are some of the many notes that are delineated in the glass. Among the entry-level wines in this range, the Cuis 1er Cru offers the best expression of the Gimonnet style at an affordable price. I loved it. Disgorged: March 16, 2019.”
John Gilman 90 points “The current release of Pierre Gimonnet “Cuis Premier Cru” Blanc de Blancs non-vintage Brut is from the base year of 2015, with reserve wines dating back to 2010 included in the blend. It was disgorged in March of 2019 and finished with a dosage of six grams per liter, after three years aging sur latte. The wine delivers a pretty nose of pear, delicious apple, almond, chalky minerality and brioche. On the palate the wine is fullish, crisp and complex, with a good core, fine mineral drive, elegant mousse and quite good length and grip on the very nicely balanced finish. This is nicely aperitif in weight and is drinking pretty well right out of the blocks, but like all of the Gimonnet non-vintage bottlings, it is still a tad youthful, should age quite nicely and will be even better with three or four more years in the cellar. Good juice. 2019-2040+.”

Always impressive, this is beautiful again in ’14.
Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($99.95) $61.90 special
(No reviews yet for the 2014 vintage)
“Efflorescence is from an east-facing vineyard with 40-year-old vines (sélection massale) on Kimmeridgian soils. Fermented and aged for one year in pièces and 36 months on the second lees before the disgorgement…” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate, writing on the 2013 vintage

A wonderful wine for under $40, again.
Aubry Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($44.95) $39 special
Importer Note
“(+) Meunier expresses here as barley, rusks, crackers, and so the wine tastes rusky, coppery-saline, iodé, mineral and appetizing. It’s beautifully expressive of a corner of Champagne and tastes as though it were fined with sel gris.We’re up to a 2016-base now, though it’s just 45% of that base, with 55% the perpetual reserve. Deg 1/2019, 30% Meunier, 30% PN, 35% CH and 5% “other” by which I infer whatever didn’t fit in the tanks of other cuvées. I’m starting to really like ’16 in the NV blends; this is an excellent edition, classically coppery and salty but with unusual elegance. Last year and this one seem to herald a new era at Aubry—at least for this calling-card wine.”


Pizza wine? Pizza wine.  Great entry level Etna Rosso.
Tenuta Tascante ‘Ghiaia Nera’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2016 750ML ($24.95) $16.60 special
Case-12 Tenuta Tascante ‘Ghiaia Nera’ Etna Rosso, Sicily 2016 750ML ($299.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Falstaff Magazine 91 points
“[Translated] Bright medium-density ruby garnet. Opened with notes of fresh cherry and pomegranate, some flint. Shows pithy tannins and fine fruit.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “An elegant red, balanced and fresh, featuring sculpted tannins that frame flavors of crushed plum and cherry fruit, with lemon thyme and smoke-tinged mineral accents. Drink now through 2026. 4,986 cases made, 940 cases imported.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

2017 has scaled up even “humble” wines into powerful, bold new territories.
Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Case-12 Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($449.95) $315 special (that’s only $26.25/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“Plum, fragrant blue flower, leather and ripe berry are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this fragrant, delicious wine. It’s chewy and enveloping but also boasts a weightless elegance, delivering juicy Marasca cherry, cranberry compote, licorice and tobacco while velvety fine-grained tannins offer polished support. Drink through 2023.”
James Suckling 93 points “The nose of this Chianti Classico is unique, with abundant fresh rose petals, orange zest and lemon peel. Medium-bodied and very lithe yet firm on the palate. Elegant and very taut and tangy on the finish. So well done in a challenging vintage. Drink now.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “Rampolla’s 2017 Chianti Classico is a powerful, dense wine that shows all of the natural richness of the year. Super-ripe dark cherry, spice, licorice, new leather and lavender give the 2017 its decidedly flamboyant personality. I would prefer to give the 2017 a few years in bottle, but there is plenty to look forward to. Today, the Chianti Classico is youthfully exuberant and full of promise. Sadly, production is down by 50% because of frost in May, hail in August and then dehydration on the vine later that month.”

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



Collector’s Corner

Cappellano and Burlotto: Icons of Traditional Barolo

Two of the most heralded names in traditional Barolo are Cappellano and Burlotto, both known for old-school, age worthy wines that are some of the most profound bottlings in the region.  Both use long macerations and age their wines only in large botti (casks).  The result are wines that can often be austere in their youth but blossom over the decades into sensual, intellectually and hedonistically satisfying bottles.

We secured a large parcel of back vintage wines from both producers at prices that are excellent given the provenance and market conditions for these wines.  These are very hard to find on the secondary market, as well—unlike some names, collectors of these bottles tend to drink rather than re-sell.  Now is your chance to secure some rare bottlings.

Unfortunately as you’ll see below, the quantities on each individual bottling are small, so you’re going to have to act quickly.  You can view the entire list from each producer below or click here to see all of the wines from Cappellano or here to see the wines from Burlotto that are available for purchase.

Please Note: Cappellano is adamantly opposed to the idea of numeric score being attached to a wine and requests his wines not be reviewed.  As a result, these wines lack the scores and reviews we usually publish. If you’re unfamiliar with these wines, we encourage you to search the internet for more information about these bottles—we’re sure you’ll only be more excited to drink them.


Thanks for reading!