Sunday Night Newsletter 4-3-2022

In This Newsletter:

Bernard Baudry:
Best Releases Ever?

New Grapelive Review:
G.D. Vajra

Get the Insider Scoop!
New Wine Spectator Insider Review for Bucklin

New Week – New Arrivals


Castiglion del Bosco

Bernard Baudry

Best Releases Ever?

Though Baudry ranks among top-flight producers of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, pricing has never seemed to catch up with the likes of Clos Rougeard and Guiberteau, to our benefit. Though only recently certified organic, it has been more or less farmed organically since the beginning.  

From the low to the high end, everything Matthieu Baudry makes is beautiful, expressive and delicious.  At the higher end are his single vineyard bottlings (Croix Boissee, Clos Guillot and Grezeaux) which are all ageworthy and delicious.  His entry-level wine, Les Granges, is a wonderful value bottling, and in the middle, you can find his best bang for the buck, the Domaine.

“Established in 1975, Bernard Baudry is a relatively young winery in Chinon terms. Son, Matthieu Baudry, joined in 2001. Today, they own 32 hectares across the appellation from valley floor to slopes and plateau. This being Chinon, production is 90% Cabernet Franc with a splash of Chenin Blanc thrown in. The estate has officially been practicing organics since 2006, although Bernard Baudry didn’t previously use any herbicides, so it was not a revolutionary move. The entire wine range displays tender loving care and a light touch: the fruit shows excellent purity. Working with a single variety and no new oak, the site is transparent whether it’s the limestone-based Clos Guillot, which provides a powerful, chalky-textured structure and a long, fine line of acidity, or Les Grézeaux with its shy yet smoky character, fluid texture and gravelly tannins sitting on the front of your tongue.”  -Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous

Arriving Friday, April 8th:

Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanc 2020 750ML ($34.95) $29 pre-arrival special, only 24 bottles available
Winery note
“The white Domaine is a charming wine with notes of white fruit and citrus. Though totally dry, its roundness makes it pleasant in its youth. Quantity is limited. 5-15 year old vines. Slow fermentation in large oak barrels of 500L until the wine is dry (less than 2g residual sugar).”

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The average price nationally is $32

Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges 2020 750ML ($25.95) $20.90 pre-arrival special
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 89 points
“Sourced from a single block on the valley floor, where the vines have their feet in free-draining sandy/gravel soils, the 2020 Chinon Les Granges is made a lighter, fruit-driven style with a fine-grained tannic profile. This flows easily with no sense of anything being forced. It’s full of bright raspberry, violets and a hint of blackberries and cream; there’s a mere whiff of reduction on opening, so give it a little bit of air. Easy to like, bright and fresh and can be enjoyed in youth.”

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“The Grézeaux comes from a lieu-dit whose vines are over 60 years old and cultivated on a mix of gravel and large stones. Aged in old barriques for a year, this is a full-bodied, concentrated and generous yet silky textured and elegant Chinon with remarkable finesse and mineral freshness. The wine ages terrifically well.” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grezeaux 2019 750ML ($45.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special, only 24 bottles available
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 93 points
“Sourced from a single vineyard located at the bottom of Chinon’s slope on alluvial/clay soils, the 2019 Chinon Les Grézeaux is currently a bit shy in terms of revealing its fruit flavors. It’s also a hint reductive with its smoky bacon characters, but that’s unimportant. What matters is the core of fruit and excellent focus. It’s very relaxed and fluid with mouthwatering acidity. The tannins are more serious than the front and midpalate would have suggested and betray a little grittiness. Aged 15 months in cement, this could be opened in one to two years, but the concentration and structure offer drinking over a decade.”

“Clos Guillot… is a slope with soils composed of yellow limestone, millarges, and the kind of hard clay used in pottery-making. The wine ages in four- to 10-year-old Burgundy barrels and partly also on concrete. The wine combines intense dark fruit aromas with leather and flinty aromas. Silky and round and with remarkable finesse and tension, this is a full-bodied, concentrated and quite tannic Chinon with a compact finish that is not astringent when young but with enough intensity and structure for good aging potential.” -Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Bernard Baudry Chinon Le Clos Guillot 2019 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 95-97 points
“Just outside the village, Clos Guillot sits on a slope on clay over limestone. The 2019 Chinon is a serious barrel sample that melts in your mouth with its silken texture. No crushing, very little remontage and a year in used barrels all lend a very gentle touch. The tannins build gradually, coating the mouth with the finest of chalky textures. Excellent acidity keeps things fresh through the finish.”

“The Baudry Estate Chinon comes 80% from millarges (soils composed of sand flecked with yellow and red quartz and mixed with sandstone and iron-rich cement) on the plains and plateaus of Chinon and 20% from young vines on the gravelly soils in Cravant. It is an intense, pure and refreshing red that is pretty irresistible.” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvee Domaine 2019 750ML ($27.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 90 points
“The 2019 Chinon Le Domaine provides excellent concentration of fruit while remaining light on its feet. As well as bright primary fruit, it offers smoky bacon, spice and medicinal characters. There’s lovely sappy texture on the finish, which Baudry puts down to the limestone soils of the Chinon plateau that typically grip the side of the mouth. You can enjoy this in its youth, but it has an additional element of seriousness that means its future will stretch out to the medium term.”

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The average price nationally is $28

“The Croix Boissée is another fascinating, always a bit untamed but tightly structured, distinctive Chinon. From a slope facing full south, with a diversity of soils, including sand, silica-streaked clay and white tuff, it is a silky, fresh and refined Chinon with a long, intense and vivacious finish with lingering salinity and palatable tannins.” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate
Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissee Rouge 2018 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special, only 18 bottles available
Rebecca Gibb MW-Vinous 96 points
“The ripeness of the 2018 vintage gives an almost Syrah/Viognier character to the Chinon La Croix Boissée, which offers sweet black fruit and a creamy apricot note. Sumptuous yet never ever opulent, it’s almost as if the wine’s just done a yoga class. Plentiful tannins give the inside of your cheeks a chalky rub, while there’s surprising freshness considering the ripeness, leading to a lengthy finish. This is a baby that will turn out to be a great adult.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2018 Chinon La Croix Boissée displays a deep, intense and elegant bouquet of dark fruits intertwined with black tea aromas. Silky, crystalline and elegant on the palate, this is a full-bodied, fresh and refined Chinon that is slightly leathery toward the finish, which is long, intense and vivacious and has lingering salinity. The tannins are fine, elegant and well integrated yet still palatable. The 2018 might have some volatile acidity, but this makes it a true classic of the appellation and an authentic Baudry. Great aging capacity. Tasted in June 2021.”

In Stock Now from Bernard Baudry:

Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanc 2019 750ML ($34.95) $31.90 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Dry Chenin blanc from estate vines grown on clay and limestone coteaux hills.

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $33

Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissee Blanc 2018 750ML ($49.95) $44 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Jason Wilson-Vinous 91 points
“A surprising Chenin Blanc from Chinon’s tuffeau soils, the result of long, long fermentation (12 months) in 500-liter barrel. On the nose, wet earth, citrus blossom and honeysuckle, then full-bodied with lots of peach, clementine and even mango flavors, a salty core, and a dry, stony finish.”
Winery note “The very chalky soil imparts La Croix Boissée with minerality and a dense body. This is a nice wine for gastronomy with notes of white fruits and a fine salinity. Quantity is limited.”

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Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissee Blanc 2019 750ML ($49.95) $44 special, 15 bottles in stock now

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Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges 2019 750ML ($25.95) $21.90 special, 13 bottles in stock now

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $24

Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grezeaux 2018 750ML ($45.95) $31.90 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92 points
“Baudry’s 2018 Chinon Les Grézeaux is deep, pure, fresh and dark on the nose, with wild and spicy black cherry aromas and lovely concentration and mineral freshness. A classic! Silky, fresh and firm on the palate this is a full-bodied, concentrated and elegant Cabernet Franc with remarkable finesse and sustainable, terroir-driven freshness. The finish is intense and powerful and has this lovely silky, elegant fruit that makes it a top gastronomic wine without being chichi. Tasted in June 2021.”

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New Grapelive Review

Vajra remains one of our favorite producers in the Piedmont.  From top to bottom, the wines are excellent and they’re a real reference point that others are judged against.  The estate has always been good, but seems to have reached another level over the last decade. These are profound wines. 

G.D. Vajra Bricco delle Viole, Barolo DOCG 2017 750ML ($89.95) $75 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94 points
“The pretty and aromatic Bricco Delle Viole, from the warm and small yielding 2017 vintage, over delivers in depth and pleasure in a tough year. I was very impressed, especially coming after such a legendary vintage in 2016. it has a more supple mouth feel and silky red fruits, making it an attractive wine even at this stage. Giuseppe Vajra is one of the region’s brightest stars …This 2017 shows off in the glass with a dark ruby hue and a subtle floral perfume that leads to a full bodied palate of black cherry, fig/hoisin, damson plum and red currant fruits, along with dried herbs, earth, sandalwood, orange rind and tarry anise accents. Bricco delle Viole is one of the historical vineyards of Barolo, it is unique being one of the highest sites and the closest to the Alps. This vineyard, as the winery notes, rises from 400 to 480 meters above sea level, on the Western ridge of the village. Its name, which translates to “Hill of Violets”, comes from the flowers that blossom early here due to the perfect south exposure. Set on classic marl limestone [with] lots of sand and above the fog line, the Bricco delle Viole sees the earliest sunrise and gets the last rays of the sun every day. These vines date back to 1949. They enjoy a dramatic diurnal temperature range that helps this Bricco Delle Viole Barolo with natural acidity and complexity. This is gorgeous stuff with lovely details and balance…”

Shop the complete selection of G.D. Vajra wines on our web store now!


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New Wine Spectator Insider Review

Bucklin’s wines come from the historic vineyard Old Hill Ranch, originally planted in 1851 and organic since before that was even a term. This is a snapshot of American wine history. 

Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Otto’s Grenache, Sonoma Valley 2019 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 16 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Bubbling over with personality yet remains focused and polished, this offers an array of currant and raspberry flavors accented by bitter chocolate, orange zest and smoked pepper beef. Finishes with briary, ripe tannins. Zinfandel, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Mourvèdre, Grand Noir, Syrah and Carignan. Drink now through 2032. —T.F.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

New Week – New Arrivals


Cameron Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge 2020 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
The cold spring in 2020 led to one of the smallest fruit sets in decades, and wildfires certainly didn’t help matters. Yields for Cameron’s Ribbon Ridge bottling were half of a normal vintage yet the grapes themselves were of excellent quality. The marine sedimentary soils bring out the darker fruit profile from this more robust Pinot. It’s bursting with black tea and rose petal notes, with a concentrated savoriness and fine, grippy tannins. 

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Zena Crown Vineyard Confier Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2018 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Offering verve and persistence, this Pinot is taut at first but slowly blooms into dynamic blueberry and black cherry flavors that are accented by forest floor and spice tea. Best from 2023 through 2031. 334 cases made. — TF”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $75

The Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Meunier, Dundee Hills 2018 750ML ($44.95) $39 special, 12 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 93 points
“Aromas of wild raspberries and fresh strawberries with touches of dried roses and leaves. Medium-bodied with fine, silky tannins. Some savory character to the fresh fruit. Soft yet textured on the palate with bright acidity and a racy finish. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Tannic and muscular, this rare varietal bottling is most concentrated in the back half, yet quite aromatic right out of the bottle. Red currant, rose hip, lemon tea and wild raspberry come to mind. The wine gains concentration and lingers through a long clean finish. -Paul Gregutt”
Fermented in neutral oak to 0.0% residual sugar. Only 356 cases produced.

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

France – Bordeaux

Additional stock on this cellar gem. Chateau Canon is one of the Great Names of St. Emilion, a top-class collectible producer that has a track record of producing some of the absolute finest wines in Bordeaux.
Chateau Canon, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96+ points
“[Reviewed in 2020] Deep garnet colored, the 2010 Canon features wonderfully expressive notes of dried mulberries, stewed plums and baked black cherries with hints of mocha, bay leaves and fallen leaves. Full-bodied, opulent and super spicy, it has a plush texture with a racy line supporting the hedonic fruit, finishing with jaw-dropping persistence.”
Decanter 96 points “[Reviewed in 2020] You know you are on the Right Bank limestone plateau with this wine not by the fruit character, which is savoury, dark and concentrated, but by the juicy finish, which remains a little austere even after 10 years. After 15 minutes in the glass it opens up to be gloriously appetising and sapid (a word that is used much more frequently in French, and that sums up why limestone soils can transmit such appetising, drinkable and mouth watering flavours and textures, and why wines of this type work so well with food). At this stage it is the 2009 that delivers a readier-to-drink wine, but this is subtle and complex and has pulsating sense of purpose. Drinking Window 2022 – 2042.”

France – Rhone

Theodoric is as close to Rayas as you can get, stylistically, without paying $400+. A personal project of Weygandt himself, these are beautiful, powerful, old-school wines.

Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse, Rhone 2019 750ML ($89.95) $77 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95-97 points
“The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape La Guigasse is my favorite of the trio, at least at this early stage. Full-bodied aromas and flavors of darker berries, violets, peppery herbs, and chocolate all emerge from this beauty, which is perfectly balanced and has a great mid-palate, silky tannins, and a great finish. This is 100% Grenache that was not destemmed and is brought up all in older demi-muids.”
Decanter 95 points “There’s a cooling herbal streak running through the wine, menthol and pine needles, which give a sense of freshness. The fruit itself is lively, upright and saline. A medium-bodied style that’s full of impact that will work well with food. Not hugely long perhaps but very good. 4,800 bottles made. Owned by Domaine de Cristia, this is pure Grenache grown on sand at the lieu-dit La Guigasse, aged for 24 months in demi-muid. Drinking Window 2022 – 2036.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $84

Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Grand Pin, Rhone 2019 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Decanter 98 points
“A cooling, very fine style, a little gentler on the palate than their Guigasse, finer, but then like a peacock’s tail on the finish. Long, grippy and structural with perfectly ripe berry fruit. Saline, mineral, fresh and vibrant – highly impressive. 3,200 bottles made. 100% old vine Grenache grown on sand in lieu-dit Pignan, no destemming, aged for 24 months in old demi-muids. Drinking Window 2022 – 2041.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points “The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Le Grand Pin is more vibrant and complex, offering notes of juniper bush, white pepper, sappy herbs, and assorted dark fruits. Coming all from the northern part of the Pignan lieu-dit and all Grenache that was not destemmed, it’s full-bodied and has a great mouthfeel, plenty of tannins, and a great finish. It’s another stunning wine from this team.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $84

Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Sablons, Rhone 2019 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95 points
“Looking at the 2019s, all of which are still aging in barrel, the 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Les Sablons can be thought of as the entry level Grenache. Destemmed and aged in older barrels, this round, mouth-filling, medium to full-bodied Grenache offers lots of red and black fruits as well as some meaty, spicy nuances. It will have plenty of up-front appeal.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $56


Cleto Chiarli Organic Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Emilia-Romagna NV 750ML ($21.95) $16 special, 6 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 91 points
“The freshness, in the form of raspberries, glazed dark cherries and elderberries, is attractive on the nose. The palate, meanwhile, is fresh and linear with some tannins and a fruity finish. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 89 points “Aromas of grape must, blue flower and dark-skinned berry follow over the dry, vibrant palate along with savory notes of star anise and bitter almond. A fizzy mouse and crisp acidity make it incredibly drinkable and food friendly. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Importer note “In 2016 Cleto Chiarli started a collaboration with local farmers in the Castelvetro area that have long embraced organic viticulture practices. These individuals are members of the Cantina Sociale di Settecani, with whom Chiarli has been partners with for many years prior to this project. Chiarli supervises and controls the quality of the farming and viticultural practices of the vineyards. The grapes are brought to Cleto Chiarli at the time of harvest and the Chiarli winemaking team proceeds with vinification. 15 g/L RS.”

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Vietti Roero Arneis DOCG, Piedmont 2021 750ML ($26.95) $24 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“In 1967 Alfredo Currado, enologist and owner of the Vietti winery in the mid-20th century, was the first to re-introduce Arneis during a time when the grape was being abandoned due to its difficult nature or was often used for blending. It was also known as “Nebbiu Blanc” or white Nebbiolo up until this point in time. Today Alfredo Currado is fondly known as the “father of Arneis” and in the half century since then, Arneis has spread to around 2,400 acres of vineyards, mostly in Piedmont.”

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G.D. Vajra Coste & Fossati Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont 2020 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 33 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2020 Dolcetto d’Alba Coste & Fossati offers a bit more depth than the straight Dolcetto but with the energy that runs through all the 2020s here. Dark cherry fruit, leather, spice, tobacco and dried herbs lend notable complexity. This is beautifully done.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Intense and well defined, exuding black cherry, black currant, violet, freshly ground black pepper and graphite flavors. Dense and concentrated, with a lingering aftertaste. Drink now through 2025. 650 cases made. — BS”

“La Ca’ Nova has been one of the hottest wineries in all of Piedmont over these last few years… Stated simply, I can’t recommend these wines highly enough, especially for readers who enjoy deep, classically structured Barbarescos.”  -Antonio Galloni, Vinous

La Ca’ Nova Montefico Vigna Bric Mentina, Barbaresco DOCG 2018 750ML ($54.95) $41.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2018 Barbaresco Montefico Vigna Bric Mentina is fabulous. Most producers would dream of making a wine like this in a strong vintage, much less one that presented so many challenges. Rose petal, goudron, lavender, spice and blue/purplish fruit open first. The 2018 is relatively soft and supple, but that is not a bad thing for a wine from Montefico, where the Barbarescos are often searing in intensity. The 2018 finishes with real weight and intensity.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Ripe berry and dark spice aromas come to the forefront along with earthy truffle notes. On the savory, elegant palate, firm, refined tannins support raspberry compote, mature cherry and baking spice. It’s nicely balanced, with fresh acidity. Drink through 2030. -Kerin O’Keefe”

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La Ca’ Nova Barbaresco Montestefano, Barbaresco DOCG 2018 750ML ($54.95) $41.90 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Cellar Selection. Forest floor, cedar, new leather and camphor aromas take shape in the glass on this compelling, earthy red. Showing a Barolo-like structure, the full-bodied, savory palate has an alluring wildness and energy to it, delivering dried cherry, blood orange, black olive and licorice framed against a backbone of tightly knit tannins. Bright acidity keeps it balanced. It’s still youthfully austere and needs a few more years to fully develop. Drink 2026–2038. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Barbaresco Montestefano is brisk and engaging. This is an especially strict reading of Montestefano that seems to have more of Montefico-like sense of vibrancy and tension. Rosewater, orange peel, white pepper and bright red-toned fruit are all finely cut. The 2018 comes across as a touch severe today. I would cellar it for a few years and see what happens.”

La Ca’ Nova Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2018 750ML ($41.95) $33 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“Balsamic aromas of camphor mingle with blue flowers, new leather and underbrush. Full-bodied and loaded with personality, the structured palate features raspberry compote, baking spice, star anise and an earthy touch of truffle. Firm, velvety tannins and fresh acidity keep it balanced. Drink through 2030. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2018 Barbaresco is a fabulous wine for readers who can’t or don’t want to wait for more structured vintages here to come around. There is plenty of acidity and tannin, but the 2018 also offers lovely mid-palate pliancy. Dark cherry plum, lavender, amaro herbs and spice are all beautifully layered in the glass. The 2018 is an attractive, easygoing, delicious wine to drink over the next decade or so.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Germany – Nahe 

Kruger-Rumpf Abtei ‘1937 Reserv’ Riesling Trocken, Nahe 2020 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 23 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“A truly unique wine that has the most beautiful golden nose that is fruity, but so much more than that. So many wild herb and flower nuances. Stunning concentration, combined with a feeling of weightlessness. Super-mineral finish that dances over the palate and off into the far distance. Drink or hold.”

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Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Auslese Gold Cap, Nahe 2020 375ML ($59.95) $49 special, 11 half-bottles in stock now
James Suckling 98 points
“Such an exotic nose with a slew of passion fruit, mangosteen and King Alfonso mango. Compact and concentrated, but the more important things are the coolness and gracefulness of this moderately sweet Auslese that turns in a dark, “earthy” direction at the powerful finish. Very limited production. From organically grown grapes with Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2020 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Auslese is super clear, precise and coolish on the concentrated but highly refined and flinty/stony nose. Round and refined on the palate, this Auslese has a highly refined raisin tone intertwined with crunchy slate aromas. The wine comes across as a very complex and juicy but always highly finessed Auslese with eternal beauty. Almost zero botrytis, but the most perfect berries of the vintage made it into this adorable Auslese. 8% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in July 2021.”

Weingut Donnhoff Oberhauser Brucke Riesling Spatlese, Nahe 2020 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 30 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“Wonderful white-peach, mandarin and orange-blossom nose that also has something dark and “earthy” behind all the charm. So much depth and energy that it makes your bones rattle! Staggering intensity at the vibrant, lemony finish. The grape sweetness is there, but way in the background. From organically grown grapes with Fair’n Green certification. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2020 Oberhäuser Brücke Riesling Spätlese is super clear, refined and fresh on the rather coolish but fruit-intense and elegant, slightly flinty nose. Salty-piquant and highly stimulating on the palate, this is a gorgeous, very elegant and juicy Riesling with a crystalline, laser-sharp acidity that is highly refined as well and carries this Spätlese to a long and intense finish. 8.5% alcohol. Tasted at the domain in July 2021.”

Germany – Mosel 

Weiser-Kuenstler Ellergrub ‘GE – Gross Eule’ Riesling, Mosel 2020 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“The 2020 Ellergrug “GE” clocks in at 13% alcohol, which is surprising based on its cool-toned fruit and brisk energy. This wine is nearly impenetrable on opening; there is a profound slate minerality, a phenolic grape quality. There is the smell of fermentation and grape stalks and skins, green and fresh. I mean, fawk this just smells like mineral water. These are wines for minimalists. Yet, a few hours in, a ultra-dense and compact citrus fruit rises – mandarin orange citrus oils, phenolic, perfumed, a bit spicy and herbal. On the palate, the wine is just so obviously deep, much deeper and more concentrated than the Gaispfad; this density and compactness is simply outrageous. There is more structure, more grip – almost tannic. It is more gushing; not large in size but deeper and more earthen – slate ground into sand or earth. After a few hours the fruit emerges on the nose, as described above, but the palate remains just a polished sphere of slate. This wine is fucking beguiling. If you can, do not decant, yet keep the wine open for as long as you can; it is only more intriguing on days three and beyond.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Weiser-Kuenstler Gaispfad ‘GE – Gross Eule’ Riesling, Mosel 2020 750ML ($59.95) $51.90 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“The Grand Cru dry wines of Weiser-Künstler are among the most cerebral dry Rieslings made in the Mosel. They are wines of meditation, wines that seem to have something more to do with distillates or teas made from stone, ore and flower. They have very little easy fruit to hang one’s hat on. In other words, they are among the most thrilling wines from this fabled place. Gaispfad is always one of my favorite wines from the Mosel, and from Wei-Kü. This is one of the most beguiling, forest/fruit noses in the wine world, with a perfumed nose that quivers between tart alpine strawberries (there are tons of wild strawberries in the vineyard), tart blueberries, melon – herbal elements that recall quinine, with a complex forest medley of pine needles, tulip stalks framed by an iron-rich slate, a just fantastical array of minerality and flakey sea salt – it feels so tactile, like it’s right in front of your nose. There is something fatty and meaty here too, raw – like a steak freshly strewn with salt before grilling. The wine is finely woven, delicate, porcelain in nature, lean and airy, defined yet not aggressive or cut – it is as if every sharp angle has been finely polished, like a stone that’s been rounded by centuries of glacial water. On the palate, there is a diffuse yet energizing array of mellow citrus, a sunrise of earth and citrus. If you can, do not decant, yet keep the wine open for as long as you can; it is only more intriguing on days three and beyond. How this elemental wine comes from fruit I do not understand.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Weiser-Kuenstler Steffensberg Riesling, Mosel 2020 750ML ($47.95) $44 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Importer note
“The 2020 Steffensberg is the leanest of the wines, at least in alcohol, clocking in at a brisk 11.5%. There’s a subtle base of citrus, ripe lemon and into the sharper, more herbal orange oils. Of all the Grand Crus, the Steffensberg is the broadest – the soil here is a fine, weathered slate with more hummus, so it holds more water. The wine can have a certain power, a certain grip that isn’t quite sticky, but has a texture to it, even if the overall feel is tart and salty – tangy. If you can, do not decant, yet keep the wine open for as long as you can; it is only more intriguing on days three and beyond.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Weiser-Kuenstler Wolfer Sonnenlay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2020 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points
“The 2020er Wolfer Sonnenlay Riesling Kabinett was made from fruit harvested at 84° Oechsle on the original Schlossberg hill and was fermented down to fruity-styled levels of residual sugar (50 g/l). It offers a rather subdued nose made of cassis, herbs, spices, and floral elements which are eventually joined by more yellow fruits as it develops with air. The wine is as light as water on the palate yet packed with incredible refined and animating flavors and enhanced by a most beautiful ripe feel of acidity. The finish is juicy, gorgeously bitter-sweet, and hence full of tension. This fruity-styled wine bares more than a resemblance with the finest fruity-styled wines from the 1990s. What an incredible success! 2028-2040.”

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Peter Lauer Feils Riesling Fass 13 GG, Mosel 13 2020 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 96 points
“This ravishingly beautiful, ripe GG has tons of ripe pear, quince and melon. Generous and mouth-filling, but very silky and polished, this builds to a major-key crescendo finish. Delicate herbal freshness holds it back from tipping over the top. Drink or hold.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points “On the nose, Florian Lauer’s 2020 Feils GG Fass 13 is his clearest and finest grand cru today, and it reveals a delicate slate and Riesling bouquet that indicates perfectly ripe and intense fruit. Lush and round on the palate, this is a mouth-filling, dense, round and crystalline Feilser with stimulating salinity and grippy tension. A classic at a top level. Tasted in Wiesbaden in August 2021.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93+ points “The 2020er Feils N°13 GG, as it is referred to on the central part of the label, comes from this south-south-east facing Lieu-dit overseeing the Saar (legally part of the Ayler Kupp vineyard). It offers a beautifully refreshing and smoky nose of minty herbs, cassis leaf, pear, stone fruits, black pepper, grapefruit, raspberry, bergamot, and a hint of beeswax. The wine proves full of presence and intensity on the palate. Some fruity flavors of pear and peach add a sense of smoothness to the experience. The finish has more lightness, yet the whole thing remains on the riper side. It may however develop finesse and warrant an even higher score with time. 2026-2035.”

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The average price nationally is $58

Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Fass 18 Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2020 750ML ($69.95) $55 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 95 points
“Complex nose of wet ferns, wild berries and smoke. As cool and still as it is deep in the woods, this concentrated, tightly wound wine is just beginning to open up. Very classic, stony finish with noble austerity. Drinkable now, but best from 2023.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “The 2020er Kupp N°18 GG, as it is referred to on the central part of the label, comes from the central part of the original Kupp hill. It proves rather reserved at first and only reveals some faint scents of smoke, roasted spices, cardamom, anise, fresh water, grapefruit, and greengage. The wine already shows some great finesse, presence, and intensity (from dry extract) on the palate and leaves a beautifully sharp, precise, and energetic fell of salt and spices in the very long and bone-dry finish. The aftertaste is all about smoke, herbs, and lime. This will need a couple of years to reveal all its complexity. 2025-2040.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92+ points “Lauer’s 2020 Kupp GG Fass 18 shows a clear and pure yet intense, still a bit yeasty bouquet. The palate is quite rich and powerful but elegant, revealing a Kupp that needs some years to develop more finesse and charm. The wine is quite intense and lush and provided with tannins that still dry the palate a bit. Tasted in Wiesbaden in August 2021.”

Peter Lauer Schonfels Fass 11 Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Mosel 2020 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 5 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 98 points
“An amazing dry white that takes you very close to the edge of a precipice and gives you a breathtaking thrill along the way. I love the unique nose of curry powder and curry leaf. Great concentration and structure, the fine tannins exactly matching the profoundly mineral acidity. Wonderful, salty finish with enormous tension. Drinkable now, but best from 2023.”
Mosel Fine Wines 96 points “The 2020er Schonfels N°11 GG, as it is referred to on the central part of the label, comes from this steep south-east facing hill overseeing the Saar (legally part of the Ayler Kupp vineyard). It offers a magnificently fresh and elegant nose of white flowers, bergamot, minty herbs, grapefruit zest, lime, rosemary, and white peach. The wine delivers plenty of fresh flavors of mint and spices on the superbly focused palate. The finish has some crisp and chiseled citrusy fruits, and, above all, plenty of salty elements. The wine proves incredibly persistent and gorgeously intense, without any disturbing feel of power. It proves a stunningly complex dry Riesling in the making! 2026-2040.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94+ points “Lauer’s 2020 Schonfels GG Fass 11 is deep, intense and pure on the still yeasty nose that exhibits ripe fruit intertwined with herbal/floral and stony aromas. Crystalline and lean on the palate and with enormous length, this is a pure and refined, vegetal-flavored dry Riesling with remarkable finesse and tension. More classic maybe than the richer van Volxem. Tasted in Wiesbaden in August 2021.”

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Tyrrell’s Wines Semillon, Hunter Valley 2019 750ML ($21.95) $19 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Winery Note
“A selection of some of our top Semillon vineyards around the Hunter Valley. Most of the vineyards are dry grown and have an average vine age of 40 years.The grapes were machine picked in the cool of the night before gentle pressing and fermentation in stainless steel tanks. The wine then spent a short amount of time on yeast lees to gain extra complexity and mouth feel.”

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Ovum ‘Big Salt’ White Blend, Oregon 2021 750ML ($21.95) $17 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Big Salt™ is a white wine that embodies a day at the beach. It’s bright, fresh, dry and a bit salty (although no salt is added of course!) – once it’s done you’re left wanting more. We achieve this experience by letting mother nature create complexity – that is to say we allow all of the grapes to ferment together, with native yeast..rather than making a blend in the laboratory. Finding the right vineyards throughout Oregon that share the same cool climate is what it’s all about.”

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This is one of the estate vineyards for Flaneur whose winemaker, Grant Coulter, is an alumni of Beaux Freres and also makes wine under his Hundred Suns label. It’s a beautiful site with great potential, evident in this bottling and the Flaneur line up.
Patricia Green Cellars La Belle Promenade Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains 2019 750ML ($41.95) $37 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Shimmering ruby-red. A hugely perfumed bouquet evokes raspberry, cherry and boysenberry preserves, overlain with building floral and baking spice notes. Shows very good depth as well as energy to the sweet red and blue fruit, candied rose and cola flavors, which betray no rough edges. Melds richness and finesse with a sure hand and finishes on a repeating floral note, with wonderful persistence and rounded tannins adding subtle grip. 8% new French oak.”
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Stonestreet Estate Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($44.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“Moving to the reds, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 19 months in 37% new French oak) offers impressive notes of tobacco leaf, damp earth, cedar, and blackcurrants. It’s look-alike for a top Bordeaux, has nicely integrated acidity, plenty of tannins, and is going to keep for over a decade.”

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The average price is $45

Felsina has been a major leader in this quality revolution, with their single vineyard Riservas being among the most collectible in the appellation, as well as age worthy. Their “Rancia” is sourced from a single vineyard formerly used to supply the Benedictine Monks with sacramental wine in the Middle Ages. Felsina rehabilitated the site and cloned the best vines throughout the vineyard, eventually spreading them throughout their other holdings. The dominant soil type of the vineyard is albarese, a type of limestone-infused sandstone that’s famous for the aromatic punch it contributes to the wine.    

Felsina Berardenga Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2017 750ML ($59.95) $48 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points
“Plenty of fruit concentration with cherry and strawberry aromas and flavors. Full-bodied with chewy tannins and lots of concentration. Intense and rich. Give it a year or two to come together.”
Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia is incredibly polished and sophisticated. Silky tannins give the 2017 its racy, sleek personality. Over the last year, the 2017 has really settled into a gorgeous place. There is plenty of vintage 2017 intensity, but Rancia is distinctly medium in body and restrained. The wilder side of Sangiovese, one of the signatures of Rancia and Fèlsina more broadly, tastes a bit baked out. I can’t wait to see how the 2017 develops over the coming years and decades.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Rancia is always one of my favorite wines from this storied appellation (and the Castelnuovo Berardenga subzone). This vintage threw quite a few challenges at the winemaking team, but the Fèlsina 2017 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia emerges intact, intense and beautiful. It is virtually unscathed by the heat and drought that marked this growing season. In fact, that brilliant radiance, linearity and energy of the Sangiovese grape comes through loud and clear. The bouquet is redolent of red fruit, wild berry, toasted almond, violet and potting soil. My score is a little lower (compared to past vintages) in terms of mouthfeel because I found this edition to be a bit shorter and less impactful on the finish, but not by much. It ages in barrique for up to 20 months.”
Decanter 93 points “In 2017, Giovanni Poggiali describes the work in the vineyard as focused on the vines’ root system to reduce water stress. Harvest started 15 days earlier than average and at the beginning of September he did a qualitative thinning to get rid of any shrivelled bunches or those showing problems with ripening. Fèlsina’s flagship wine, Rancia is still brooding. Plum and tar show up on a backdrop of vanilla and exotic spice. Though fruit is supple, layers of assertive tannins need time to loosen their grip. Appetizingly savoury, this finishes with an intense, irony character.”

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Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2020 750ML ($24.95) Was $21.90, Now $19, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Shimmering orange-pink. Pungent cherry and red berry scents take on floral and spice nuances with air. Shows silky texture and good depth to the zesty red currant and bitter cherry flavors, which turn sweeter through the midpalate. Smoothly blends heft and energy and finishes long and nervy, with a hint of bitter orange pith adding final bite.”
Importer note “The pink sibling of Ameztoi’s flagship white, this vibrant rosé is made from a mix of red and white indigenous grapes and is bottled with a little residual carbonation to give it a light spritz.”

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The next best price is $23.99

Castiglione del Bosco

It goes without saying that the 2016 vintage in Brunello is one of the best in recent memory. You can tell a lot about a Brunello vintage by how early we start getting asked about it. In the case of the 2016s, well, let’s just say this is a pretty anticipated set of wines. After the relatively hot and dry 2015 vintage, groundwater reserves were restored by a wet and snowy winter, setting the stage for an even longer growing season after generous dormancy. The 2016 vintage is known for having very similar climactic conditions, with the most standout being a lack of heat spikes against cool evenings. 

A vintage that Wine Spectator described as “textbook”, the growing season yielded wines of elegance, freshness and harmony. More red fruited than Brunello’s excellent 2015 vintage, but offering similar levels of concentration, these are wines that are drinking beautifully young but will also age beautifully. Castiglion Del Bosco exemplified this perfectly from their forested perch in the Northwest corner of the appellation. 

Arriving in April:

Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 750ML ($62.95) $54.50 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Tuscany 2016 750ML ($359.95) $309 pre-arrival special (That’s $51.50 per bottle) 
James Suckling 99 points
“The complexity and beauty to this is really something with cherry, walnut, tobacco and cigar-box character. Sweet cherries. It’s full-bodied and deep with super intensity and power. Layered and beautiful. Really refined tannins. Some whole-berry fermentation gives this added character. Goes on for minutes. Try after 2025.”
Decanter 97 points “We were lucky enough to have a splendid entry from Brunello di Montalcino this year, as this zone’s other Gold and Platinum medals testify, drawing on both the superb 2015 (Reserva) and 2016 vintages. Much effort went into scrutinising these wines to find a worthy candidate for our Best In Show collection — and here it is. Translucent black-red in colour, shading to a glowing garnet rim, with refined, artfully composed scents of subdued berry fruits, warm summer forest, dried mushrooms and soft suede. The wine is intense, deep, perfectly pitched in structural terms between lively, well-rounded acidity and brisk, sober tannins: a dignified, grave yet rewarding wine for a fine dinner. It is fully accessible now, yet the quality of its fruit and its balance suggest many years’ ageing potential, too.”
Vinous 95 points “The 2016 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino really stands out with its vivid display of crushed raspberries, lavender and clove. Further depths are found with each swirl, adding mentholated herbs and flowery undergrowth. It’s dense and dark-fruited, enveloping the palate with notes of black cherry, plum, exotic savory spice and minerals. This is soothing and pliant in spite of the 2016’s youthful state, balancing brisk acids and fine tannins to create a push and pull of structural tension. The symmetry here is spellbinding, and everything is in the right place for a long and fruitful evolution over the next ten to fifteen years. Tasted twice with consistent results.”

In Stock Now from Castiglion del Bosco:

Castiglion del Bosco Campo del Drago, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2016 750ML ($169.95) $139 special, 6 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
“Another structured, layered red with blackberry, plum, walnut and cigar-box aromas and flavors. It’s full-bodied with depth and intensity. Tight and structured. A wine with a long future. Fine-grained and refined. Try after 2025.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A balanced, expressive style, offering plum, cherry, fruitcake, iron and spice flavors, which are fused to muscular tannins, but also vibrant acidity, keeping this energetic and defined. Fine balance overall and terrific length on the finish. Best from 2025 through 2048. 667 cases made, 150 cases imported. — BS”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino Campo del Drago (with only 8,000 bottles made) comes from a little vineyard measuring just 1.5 hectares. It is located at a high 450 meters above sea level, and what this parcel lacks in size, it makes up for in terms of view and exposure. The entire Castiglion del Boco property is surrounded by thick shrub oak forests, as the very name of the estate suggests (“bosco” means “forest” in Italian), with wild boar, roe deer and foxes (plenty of foxes). You most certainly smell aromas of underbrush and forest floor in this wine along with dark fruit, cherry and plum.”

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Bonus Brunello:

Arriving in September

Talenti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($69.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Eric Guido-Vinous 93 points
“The bouquet on the 2017 Brunello di Montalcino is to die for, offering cloves and balsamic spices that give way to crushed cherries, sage and fresh mint. It’s elegant yet lifted in feel, with silky textures carrying the ripe wild berry fruits effortlessly across the palate. Saline-minerals combine with grippy tannins toward the close, slowing the 2017’s momentum ever so slightly, yet still permitting the most beautiful display of hard red candies and violet florals to linger incredibly long. What a gorgeous 2017, and with short-term cellaring potential as well. Of note is that Talenti’s production was down by 25% due to the conditions of the vintage, and there will not be a Riserva, as all of the juice went to the Brunello.”
Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Scorched earth, underbrush, menthol and coconut aromas make their way to the forefront. The warm, brawny palate features dried cherry, prune steeped in spirits, coffee bean and licorice set against a backbone of firm, fine-grained tannins. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92 points “The Talenti 2017 Brunello di Montalcino shows a lot of soft and ripe fruit with blackberry and cherry confit at the front. Spice, leather, crushed flower and potting soil follow in due course and so does the wine’s impactful 15% alcohol. This wine is a bit thin and short on the mid-palate, but otherwise, this is a solid effort for this difficult vintage. Some 25,000 bottles were rolled out.”