Thursday Newsletter 11-12-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

2016 Muga Reserva is Landing Tomorrow!

New Releases from Arnot-Roberts

New Week – New Arrivals


Levet’s Cult Classic Cote-Rotie

Collector’s Corner
Cavallotto’s 2016 Bricco Boschis


2016 Muga Reserva is Landing Tomorrow!

Muga is considered one of the finest old producers of Rioja, combining a traditionalist approach with modern cellar techniques.  Up and down the line, their wines offer tremendous value—these are wines that will age into dynamic, complex beauties, but are delicious today.

Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points
“This is really tight and powerful with gorgeous tannins and solid fruit. Full body. Tight and composed. Wet earth, smoked meat and hints of black truffles. Very long and powerful. Wonderful length. Real Rioja. One of the top best-value, high-quality reds in Spain. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The largest volume of the Muga winery is for the red blend 2016 Reserva, a wine that is sold as 2016 Crianza in Spain (for commercial reasons). This has the Muga style and the imprint of the cool and fresh 2016 vintage, one of the best vintages of recent years. 2016 is also a year of harmony and freshness that reminds me a little of the 2010. But the Muga family thinks it’s somewhere between 2010 and 2011, because for them 2011 is not so warm, even if it generally produced quite ripe wines. It has a mixture of red and black fruit with sweet spices that are very integrated and in harmony. The palate is silky and clean, and the tannins are round and gentle. A delicious Reserva/Crianza. They produced around one million bottles of this. It was bottled in January 2019. They like to bottle the wine in winter, perhaps in a couple of months.”

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“This full-bodied, rich, powerful wine has an incredible sense of elegance and finesse”
Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Seleccion Especial Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($549.95) $399 special (that’s only $33.25/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
James Suckling 96 points
“The balance and purity to this wine is really impressive with blackberries, black truffles and dark fruit. Wet earth. Full body. Tight and compact. Structured, long and powerful. Superb length. Compressed and polished texture. Drink in 2022.”
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points “The 2015 Selección Especial checks in as 70% Tempranillo and the balance Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano that’s an old vine and terroir selection. Aged 6 months in new oak followed by 24 months in 90% French oak and 10% American oak, it has a beautiful bouquet of blueberries, black raspberries, crushed violets, incense, and cedar. This gives way to a full-bodied, rich, powerful wine that has an incredible sense of elegance and finesse on the palate. It’s a brilliant Rioja that can be drunk today or cellared for 10-15 years or more.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points “The very perfumed, expressive and floral 2015 Selección Especial is a lot fresher than the stereotype of the vintage I had before I tasted 2015 widely. It’s a year that has turned out fresher than what the weather during the growing season pointed at. It was a dry and warm year, but the wines have very good freshness, which in this case feels exceptional. My first surprise was how aromatic and open the wine is for such a young age, with aromas of lavender and other Mediterranean herbs jumping from the glass. I expected that from the 2016s, but I thought the 2015 was going to be more closed and reticent. The palate is medium to full-bodied with fine-grained tannins, balanced, fresh and very clean. This combines energy and elegance with classical Rioja character. 220,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2017.”

We offer seven wines from Muga in stock now.

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Arriving Tomorrow:

New Releases from Arnot-Roberts

Arnot-Roberts has been one of the vanguard producers of the “New California” movement, making wines that deserve to be paid attention to as some of the best in the United States.  Started by childhood friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts in 2001, they’ve quickly established themselves as some of the best producers of restrained, elegant California wines.  In 2013 the San Francisco Chronicle named them “Winemakers of the Year” in recognition of the quality and consistency of the wines they’re producing.

If you’ve never had the wines before, don’t expect soft fruity wines.  Everything they touch has a backbone to it—a spine of acid and tannin that makes you think of the great wines of France far quicker than their California neighbors.  These are serious wines, built to age—which is how they’ve developed such a following. With a year or three in the cellar, these blossom into wines that rival the best in the world. We get painfully small allocations every year, so grab what you see, while you can.

Arriving Friday, November 13th:

Arnot-Roberts Montecillo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“A captivating wine, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Montecillo Vineyard shows just how magical this Sonoma site is. A whole range of floral, savory and earthy notes gives the Montecillo that trademark aromatic profile that is such a signature. Big tannins add energy as well as shape to a classically built Cabernet that delivers the goods, and then some. What a wine!”

Arnot-Roberts Gamay Noir, El Dorado 2019 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
No review for the current vintage. Review for the 2018 provided for reference.
Decanter 92 points
“A blend of two high-elevation sites in the Sierra Foothills: Barsotti Vineyard (795m) and Witters Vineyard (1,005m). Wild, rustic nose of red plums, pepper and dried flowers then svelte palate that is broad and subtly tannic on the finish. These mountainous sites bring a sturdy, brambly quality to what is an often underrated variety. Singular and delicious.”

Arnot-Roberts Trousseau, Clear Lake 2019 750ML ($39.95) $36 pre-arrival special
No review for the current vintage. Review for the 2018 provided for reference.
Decanter 93 points
“The Trousseau for this vintage mainly comes from the Clear Lake AVA, with smaller portions from Fort Ross-Seaview and Green Valley. It’s fermented whole cluster, basket-pressed and aged in neutral barriques for eight months. Aromas of dried fruit, brown sugar and rust lead to a fine-grained, weightless palate of golden raisins, white pepper and cranberry skins. A poised, rustic and beautiful example of a variety gaining ground in California, in large part due to Arnot-Roberts.”



New Week – New Arrivals

Domaine A. & P. de Villaine Bouzeron (Aligote), Cote Chalonnaise 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points
“Aromas of green apple, pear, white flowers and beeswax introduce the 2018 Bouzeron, a medium-bodied, racy wine with an elegantly satiny attack, bright acids and a long, precise finish. This is a touch more demonstrative out of the gates than the 2017 rendition, but it retains plenty of cut in this warm year and should age well.”

Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers, Beaujolais 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Brilliant violet color. A suave, mineral-accented bouquet evokes ripe red/blue fruits and candied flowers and a spicy nuance builds in the glass. Bright, seamless and appealingly sweet, offering concentrated yet lively raspberry and boysenberry flavors that firm up slowly with aeration. Ripe but graceful in style, finishing gently tannic and impressively long, leaving a sexy lavender pastille note behind.”
James Suckling 92 points “There are some beautifully defined, ripe red and dark berries on offer here, as well as a fine, juicy array of fresh, lively tannins that carry plenty of nicely articulated flavor. Drink or hold.”


La Rioja Alta S.A. Vina Alberdi Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
James Suckling 93 points
“Aromas of subtle red fruit with plums, spice and cedar. Some dried flowers and dried spices, such as paprika. It’s medium-bodied with some pretty, ripe fruit in the center palate, fine tannins and a citrus and cedar undertone to the finish. Drink or hold.”

Raul Perez ‘La Vitoriana’ Lomas de Valtuille, Bierzo 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2017 La Vizcaína La Vitoriana has depth and power, inherent to the vineyard, a cool site that behaves well in a warm year like 2017, but in 2017 I still prefer El Rapolao. The fruit is a little darker and riper without excess (it’s all relative when you compare, and sometimes comparisons are tedious…), as the cooler exposition takes the warmer weather better. It’s textured and serious. 6,300 bottles were filled, as the north-facing exposures like this escaped the frost of the 2017 spring. It as bottled in May 2019.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $40


Royal Tokaji ‘The Oddity’ Furmint, Tokaj-Hegyalja , Hungary 2016 750ML ($19.95) $14 special
Wine Enthusiast 89 points
“This 100% Hungarian dry Furmint has aromas of white flowers, peach and ripe apricot. In the mouth, it is well balanced with flavors of peach, lemon zest and fresh apricot, and it has a crisp, pleasantly tart finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $17



Classically styled Fleurie
Coudert Pere ‘Clos de la Roilette’ Fleurie, Beaujolais 2019 750ML ($34.95) $24 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Bottled only a week before I tasted it, Alain Coudert’s 2019 Fleurie from the Clos de la Roilette is showing beautifully, wafting from the glass with aromas of rose petals, red cherries, raspberries, spices and orange rind. Medium to full-bodied, deep and velvety, it’s elegant and fine-boned, with lively acids, refined structuring tannins and a long, perfumed finish. Readers who gravitate toward classical styles of Beaujolais will prefer the 2019 to the richer, more gourmand 2018, but both are lovely vintages for this reference-point address.”

Perfectly delicious and perfectly priced!
Bow & Arrow Rhinestone Red, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($29.95) $20.90 special
Case-12 Bow & Arrow Rhinestone Red, Willamette Valley 2019 750ML ($319.95) $228 special (that’s only $19/bottle!)
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 only listing in the USA today!

Château Pesquie Ventoux Artemia, Rhône 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-6 Château Pesquie Ventoux Artemia, Rhône 2016 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $36.50/bottle!)
Decanter-World Wine Awards 97 points
“This is stacked with the black fruits of the region, plus violets, thyme, lavender, dried herbs and tannins that are ripe and of the appropriate proportion. Still very youthful and will flourish with time in bottle. Modern and very classy indeed. Genius wine, very long and intense, its purity magnificent.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “Made from equal parts Syrah and Grenache, the 2016 Ventoux Cuvee Artemia is another terrific vintage for this cuvee. Still young, backward and unevolved, it has tons of potential in its blue fruits, graphite, crushed rock and violet-tinged aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated, with terrific purity of fruit, and fine, building tannin, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for a decade or more.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah, aged in 50% new oak, the 2016 Ventoux Artemia is a tremendous effort. It combines blueberries and stone fruit with cedary notes and then underscores those attractive aromas and flavors with a full-bodied, velvety texture and a bright, crisp finish. Lovely stuff.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Torbreck is one of the truly iconic Australian wineries. They produce wines at every price-point, but in their native land Torbreck is a legendary name thanks to their “RunRig” Shiraz—a towering bottling that sits with Penfold’s Grange and Henschke’s Hill of Grace as one of the country’s best wines. The 2015 is one of the best iterations yet, combining the raw power of Barossa with enough polish to take the wine into transcendent realms.

Torbreck RunRig Shiraz – Viognier, Barossa Valley 2015 750ML ($199.95) $166 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“Who would’ve thought that in the context of Barossa Shiraz, the 2015 RunRig would seem like a relative bargain? It’s certainly much less expensive than Grange or Hill of Grace will be when they’re released. It’s also more approachable in its youth, with enormously appealing aromas of grilled fruit, savory complexities and rich, velvety tannins. Of course, it’s full-bodied and concentrated, with the stuffing to age for up to a couple of decades, and it has a long, licorice-tinged finish. Winemaker Ian Hongell, who joined Torbreck from Peter Lehmann, may not have made this wine, but he deserves a lot of credit for the blending and finishing of this tour de force.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending Pre-Arrival:

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco DOCG, Piedmont 2016 750ML ($47.95) $39 pre-arrival special, ETA January 2021
Antonio Galloni 95 points
“The 2016 Barbaresco is a knock-out. And it is, for lack of a better word, the entry-level wine in this range. Freshly cut flowers, mint, cinnamon, red berry fruit and orange zest are some of the notes that lift from a Barbaresco that is all class. There is plenty of structure, but the purity of the fruit is so striking that the tannins are not especially noticeable. The 2016 is a stunning wine, that’s all there is to it.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The Cantina del Pino 2016 Barbaresco offers a classic portrait of the Nebbiolo grape. This winery always releases its Barbaresco wines one year later than its peers (who are now selling 2017). That extra year of aging serves to further polish and sharpen pretty aromas of wild berry, licorice, camphor ash and dried orange peel. Like the other wines from this terrific portfolio, this Barbaresco is defined by its energy and electric personality. You can drink it now, or put this wine in your cellar for longer aging. It performs beautifully either way. Some 12,000 bottles were made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $45

Vinopolis Wine Shop Curbside Pick Up

Order Online / By Phone / By Email

When you’re ready to pick up, just park in our lot,
give us a call, & we’ll bring your order to your car.

(If another adult is picking up for you,
please let us know their name when placing your order.)



Levet’s Cult Classic Cote-Rotie

Bernard Levet has moved from an unsung hero of the Northern Rhone to a genuine star.  The Cote Rotie he bottles is unlike anyone else’s.  Feral, tannic and uncompromising, his wines need time to blossom, but when they do, there’s nothing in the world of Syrah (or wine, in general) quite like them. These should disappear very quickly, so if you’re interested, now’s the time to act—these are only going to become more scarce and hard to find.

“The modest, soft-spoke Agnès Levet is clearly reveling in the extra space of her expanded cellar, which sits just behind the family’s storefront on the main (only) drag of Ampuis, which is tricked out with modern, highly efficient new equipment, notably floating top tanks, which she says ‘helps the work happen more quickly because of the extra space.’ But things remain unchanged when it comes to vinification. The wines are still being made with a high percentage, up to 100%, of whole clusters and aged in large, old foudres and mostly neutral demi-muids. These are always wines that deserve time and their drinking windows can go way out there, as numerous examples of bottles from the ‘80s have consistently proven to me. They can be extremely stubborn in their early years, especially the La Chavaroche, so impatient wine lovers need not apply. There’s always a certain wildness to the wines as well, and their character hearkens back to the Côte-Rôties of the old days, which has earned the Levets a steadily growing, highly enthusiastic following. Two thousand seventeen ‘has classic lines but the wines are rich as well,’ Agnès Levet told me. ‘They have depth but also good tension and strong but not severe tannins, so they are definitely wines to age.'” — Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media

In Stock Now:

Vignobles Bernard Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche, Rhone 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 96 points
“Dark purple. Ripe dark fruit, floral and spice qualities on the expressive nose, along with hints of licorice, black cardamom, espresso and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with deeply concentrated cassis, bitter cherry and candied violet flavors that slowly unfold and take a sweeter turn through the midpalate. Youthfully chewy tannins add firm grip to a strikingly long, energetic finish that emphatically echoes the cassis and mineral notes. Made with 100% whole clusters.”

Vignobles Bernard Levet Cote Rotie Les Journaries, Rhone 2017 750ML ($89.95) $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds 95 points
“Inky ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and dark berries, licorice, exotic spices and potpourri and shows outstanding definition. Stains the palate with appealingly sweet black raspberry, blueberry and cherry preserve flavors that slowly tighten up on the back half. Shows superb energy and floral lift on an impressively long, focused finish shaped by steadily mounting tannins. This is quite a powerful wine (about 70% of the fruit comes from La Landonne, by the way) for one that checks in at only 13% alcohol. Made entirely with whole clusters.”

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Collector’s Corner

Cavallotto’s 2016 Bricco Boschis

Cavallotto is a top tier, old school producer of Barolo. They make wines that are impressively age-worthy, rivalling some of the region’s most expensive wines. We notice that our customers who buy Cavallotto buy a lot of Piemontese wines—they’re very in the know drinkers.

These are incredibly expressive wines and are very true to their vineyard terroirs. Antoni Galloni describes them as “made in a style that offers the fruit density of contemporary Barolos with the structural underpinnings that are found in more traditionally made wines.”

We’ve secured an additional allocation of the legend-in-the-making 2016 Bricco Boschis —a stunning wine with a 98-point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and a 99-point score from Kerin O’Keefe at Wine Enthusiast. That’s incredible praise for a wine under $100, much less under $80, but we’re able to offer it for just $75. It re-arrives next week, however we expect this allocation to disappear just as quickly as the last.

Pre-Arrival ETA November 20th:

Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2016 750ML ($89.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Kerin O’keefe-Wine Enthusiast 99 points
“Aromas of woodland berry, underbrush, hazelnut and camphor form the nose along with a whiff of rose petal on this captivating, delicious wine. The full-bodied structured palate is still young and primary but already shows raspberry compote, ripe Marasca cherry, star anise, tobacco and the barest hint of game. Tightly knit noble tannins and fresh acidity provide the firm frame and impart serious aging potential. Hold for even more complexity. Drink 2026–2056.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points “All of these wines from Cavallotto deliver a very floral and perfumed subtext that gives lift and delicate buoyancy to the overall bouquet. This is the Castiglione Falletto magic that shows so well in this classic vintage. The 2016 Barolo Bricco Boschis offers dried cherry, sandalwood, bramble and forest floor. The wine reveals a slightly wild and untamed character that adds to its interest and personality. Overall, this is an elegant wine with a streamlined and elegant finish. The aromas are focused and bright. I can’t wait to taste the Riserva expression from this site when it is released in three years’ time.”

Love Barolo? We have over 80 Barolos currently available.

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Thanks for reading!