Thursday Night Newsletter 10-20-22

In This Newsletter:

2018 Burlotto Barolo

Clemens Busch

Wine Spectator Insider
Explores Cayuse & Saint Cosme!

New Review from Grapelive:
Hundred Suns

Best of the Best
Chapter One: Whites!

Reynvaan Unnamed 

To The Sweeter End:
Fabulous Dessert Wines

2018 Burlotto Barolo

G.B. Burlotto was considered among the absolute greatest winemakers in the world for the seventy plus years he was at the helm. After his passing in 1927, the winery and his hometown of Verduno slipped into obscurity. Now Fabio Alessandria, the great-great-grandson has taken over and Burlotto regained the place it deserves among the top echelon of small producers in the Piedmont.

Arriving Friday from G. B. Burlotto:

G. B. Burlotto Castelletto, Barolo DOCG 2018 750ml $399 pre-arrival special, only 3 bottles available 
Decanter 96 points
“For the first time, Fabio Alessandria invested in Monforte, where he now manages a vineyard in Castelletto. The MGA was deliberately chosen due to its easterly exposition, in order to preserve as much as possible the freshness of fruit in this Barolo. Perky orange zest shines on the nose, along with watermelon peel, red currants and balsamic whiffs. Savoury and dense with a significant concentration and thickness, it doesn’t come across as overextracted but the tannins are muscular and dusty, allied to a kernel flavour on the ripe finish. It’s all underlined by firm, quite high acidity. Great tension for the 2018 vintage in this Castelletto, more bony than meaty. One to follow.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Cellar Selection. A new entry for the estate, this cru-designated Barolo has lovely aromas of violet, camphor, red-skinned berry and forest floor. The tightly-wound palate is focused and savory, offering strawberry compote, crushed raspberry, licorice and baking spice framed in taut, fine-grained tannins. Vibrant acidity keeps it balanced. Drink 2026–2038.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95+ points “Here’s an exciting new addition to the growing Comm. G.B. Burlotto family of wines. The 2018 Barolo Castelletto opens to a soft and delicate inner core that is framed by wild cherry, licorice and rose. The wine is beautifully tapered and streamlined on the palate, with very polished and silky tannins. It is great taste to this effort by the “King of Verduno,” (a.k.a. proprietor Fabio Alessandria) and the structured fruit from Monforte d’Alba.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Barolo Castelletto is a new wine in this range from a parcel plant in 1973. It opens with soaring aromatics that then reappear on the palate in the wine’s broad, ample feel. Sage, mint, leather, plum, lavender tobacco and espresso build in a sensual, aromatically beguiling Barolo that captures all of the pedigree of this Monforte site. Fabio Alessandria told me he was intrigued to try his hand making wine from a new site and village, hence the family’s decision to buy this parcel in Monforte rather than bolstering their holdings closer to home. The debut vintage is certainly impressive.”

Tradition is first and foremost for Fabio, going so far as to use gentle crushing by foot followed by a sixty day maceration period, once common but now virtually unheard of in Barolo. The technique is used for the home vineyard of Monvigliero and the soft touch develops a wine of remarkable character with notes of cedar, olives in herbs, and something rich – like truffles – the feel is structurally powerful, but so elegant as to be shimmery. 

The Monvigliero is not listed online per winery request. To order, please call or email.

G. B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero, Barolo DOCG 2018 750ml $439 pre-arrival special, only 10 bottles available 
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 98 points “This wine is just stunning, starting with aromas of fragrant blue flower, red berry, camphor, dark spice and underbrush. Reflecting the aromas, the smooth, delicious palate delivers raspberry compote, ripe cherry, and licorice accompanied by polished tannins while fresh acidity offers youthful tension. Drink 2024–2038.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96+ points “Within the context of this set of new releases from Comm. G.B. Burlotto, this wine stands far apart. The 2018 Barolo Monvigliero is linear and light, but it also shows good fruit weight. This is exactly the classic duality of Monvigliero (a village that traditionally incorporates whole clusters in fermentation). Spice, cola, licorice, grilled herb and dried cherry appear to lift over a fine and delicately tapered mouthfeel.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2018 Barolo Monvigliero is the most reticent of these 2018 Barolos, but it was also bottled nearly a year later. All the signatures are there, though, starting with the effusive bouquet that makes the Burlotto Monvigliero so alluring. Rose petal, spice, orange peel, kirsch and raspberry unfurl gradually in the glass. The 2018 is understated and mysterious today. I can’t wait to see how it ages.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Speaking of unlisted gems, don’t miss the Domaine Leflaive wines arriving Friday! The following are not listed on our webstore per importer request. To order, call, email, or stop by!

Domaine Leflaive Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2020 750ml $1,899 pre-arrival special, only 1 bottle available
Burghound 95-97 points  “Don’t Miss! A wonderfully floral-suffused nose reflects additional notes of petrol, citrus, white orchard and a hint of oak toast. The bigger and richer flavors also possess a gorgeous mouthfeel that is almost delicate yet racy with excellent delineation on the youthfully austere and beautifully balanced finish that just goes on and on. This is potentially a magnificent Bâtard and it’s going to be interesting to compare this with the Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet in a decade’s or so time. In sum, I would offer the same advice – if you can find it, buy it.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2020 750ml $2,499 pre-arrival special, only 1 bottle available
Burghound 96-98 points
 “Don’t Miss! Strikingly elegant, cool and restrained aromas are comprised by notes of citrus confit, mineral reduction, anise, exotic tea and the classic acacia blossom nuances. The almost painfully intense medium-bodied flavors are at once succulent yet chiseled while the practically pungent minerality adds a sense of lift to the hugely long finish that is youthfully austere and Zen-like in its harmony. This is quite simply majestic in its class and grace and is a wine that should age effortlessly for years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Clemens Busch

Clemens Busch has always been ahead of his time, focusing on organic farming, dry wines and lower sulfur levels long before it was fashionable to do any of those things.  That restless spirit, coupled with one of the most dramatically steep vineyards in the Mosel (the Pündericher Marienburg), lead to his current status as a true icon of dry German Riesling.

These are brilliant bottlings that are tautly mineral and yet expressive and aromatic.  These are wines that are tributes to old, weathered slate, farmed well (the slate color is indicated by the color of the capsule).  He bottles his top sites using their old cadaster names (Fahrlay, Falkenlay, Rothenpfad and Felsterrasse)—something else he was ahead of his time about.  We’ve got a few of his fantastic bottlings in stock now! 

In Stock Now:

Weingut Clemens Busch Marienburg Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2018 750ml $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Weingut Clemens Busch Marienburg Riesling Kabinett Mosel 2018 750ml $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“Lightly smoky with some lemon pith and dried spices. There’s some light sweetness here, but it’s nicely balanced out by the edgy acidity. Taut and very precise on the finish. Drink now.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “White peach, apple, honeydew melon and lime are tinged with lemongrass and cilantro on the nose, and with nippy cress on an otherwise polished, lusciously fruited and subtly soothing palate. Nearly 60 grams of sugar manage to come off as entirely supportive, and the lingering finish both soothes and stimulates. (This year’s village-level Busch Kabinett seemed oddly out-of-sorts on the sole occasion – side by side with this Marienburg – that I was able to taste it, so I have left it un-reviewed.)”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Shows yeasty notes at first, with accents of jasmine and hops, followed by electric acidity that fuels the green apple, lemon and nectarine flavors. Balanced and beautiful in terms of texture, exhibiting substance. Smoky details emerge on the well-defined finish. Best from 2021 through 2033. 550 cases made, 60 cases imported. — AZ”
AP #11
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Weingut Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienburg Fahrlay Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2014 375ml $59 special, 3 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2014 Riesling Auslese Fahrlay is a very juicy and fruity, piquant and delicate Riesling with fine acidity and sensual sweetness. The wine is extremely sappy and its sweetness is countered by the piquant and racy acidity. This is a gorgeous Auslese with great aging potential.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Weingut Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienberg Rothenpfad Riesling Auslese Mosel 2014 375ml $59 special, 5 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2014 Riesling Auslese Rothenpfad displays a lovely, clear and slate-like bouquet, with herbal and tropical fruit flavors. Sweet and piquant on the palate, this is a rich and very elegant, well balanced Riesling with a great delicacy, and fruit-intense and piquant finish. Very stimulating. The residual sugar of 135 grams per liter is almost blown away by the acidity and minerality.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Weingut Clemens Busch Pundericher Marienberg Riesling Spatlese Mosel 2018 750ml $33 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Rich and exotic, featuring mango, brown spice, slate, smoke and citrus notes. Open and fluid in style, crafted with precision and intensity. The submerged acidity reveals itself on the finish, along with a tactile sensation on the palate. Best from 2022 through 2038.”
James Suckling 95 points “A very impressive Spätlese that’s so aromatic and expressive; it leads with dried apricots, passion fruit, melon sorbet, milk ice cream and earth. Sweet and powerful for this category, but the acidity runs right through the center palate, bringing the stone-fruit and tropical flavors to life and leaving the mouth with wicked resolve. Drink now.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 91 points “White peach and nectarine are garlanded in heliotrope, leading to a lusciously fruity and perfumed performance on a soothingly creamy palate. The lingering finish is intensely fruity, with just enough brightness and piquancy of fruit pit to push back against the overbearing sweetness.”
AP #14

Shop our complete selection of 500 German Rieslings in stock now!

Wine Spectator Insider

Explores Cayuse & Saint Cosme!

Newly Reviewed:

Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ml $149 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“An impressive wine, finely structured and dynamic, with blackberry and red currant flavors accented by river stone, black olive and savory meat. Builds richness toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2032. —T.F.”

Cayuse Vineyards Camaspelo, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ml $128 special, 3 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“A dynamic red, with vibrant red and black currant flavors that interplay with zesty pepper, savory herb and stony mineral accents, building toward refined tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. Drink now through 2031. —T.F.”

Shop our full selection of Cayuse wines on our webstore now!

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides, Rhône 2020 750ml $128 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A rich, velvety red, showing both power and grace, this is introduced with heady steeped cherry and incense. Reveals raspberry coulis and charred plum flavors that race alongside black licorice and iron. The supple palate is quickly hemmed in by fine-grained tannins, with singed herbs and white pepper notes dancing through the long finish. Best from 2024 through 2035. —B.S.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux, Rhône 2020 750ml $119 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Earthy, savory and inviting, with smoked meat, bay leaf and singed wild herbs infusing a base of plum sauce and cherry. Gains support from fine-grained tannins, but a spine of iron gives real form to this layered wine, with black olive tapenade, balsamic and black pepper notes filling out the lengthy finish. Drink now through 2035. —B.S.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Poste, Rhône 2020 750ml $119 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 96 points
“A behemoth of a wine, with dense layers of sweet, ripe plum sauce and mulled cherry that take a dark, savory turn on the palate, coated in melted iron, black licorice, balsamic reduction and singed herbs. Despite its massive power and coiled energy, this is surprisingly delicious now, with beautiful harmony to the texture and structure. A wine to savor and contemplate. Drink now through 2040.—B.S.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


New Review from Grapelive:

Hundred Suns

Hundred Suns Syrah, The Rocks District 2020 750ml $44 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94 points
“The open knit and pure Hundred Suns Syrah comes from The Rocks District, a sub appellation of the Walla Walla Valley, with intense stony soils, just on the Oregon side of the border with Washington State and made famous by Christophe Baron of Cayuse. Iit shows both the terroir and the unique winemaking employed by Grant Coulter, who is mostly known for his amazing set of Willamette Valley Pinots, who used a whole-cluster fermentation in terra-cotta amphora here… this wine is absolutely gorgeous with expressive layers of fresh crushed blackberries, plum, kirsch and blueberry compote, along with the whole-cluster crunch, spice and carbonic like roundness. The tannins are ripe, sweet and smooth, allowing youthful enjoyment already, while subtle earthiness, floral perfume and mineral notes adding to the pleasure here, reminding me quite a bit of Maxime Graillot’s Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage. There’s a lot to like here and after a swirl or two you get even more dimension from this Syrah and it lingers on and on with hints of creme de cassis, anise and bitter dark chocolate… I’m super excited about the new 2021 releases that are just coming out now, as they look to be on the next level!” 

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Best of the Best

Chapter One: Whites!

Tan Fruit Maresh Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2019 750ml $69 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 97 points
“The 2019 Chardonnay Maresh Vineyard comes from Dijon clones planted in 1991, and it was matured in about 35% new oak. This vintage is pure and tensile, with scents of tarragon and fragrant herbs, beeswax and almonds, with plush white peach fruit. The palate combines intense ripe fruit with a spine of tangy, tense acidity, and it finishes with tremendous length. Allow it another 3-5 years in bottle.”

Mount Eden Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2016 750ml $79 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“The 2016 Chardonnay Reserve is the stuff dreams are made of. Towering and statuesque in its pedigree, the Reserve shows why the Santa Cruz Mountains is such a special place. The 2016 is deep, powerful and intense, and yet it remains remarkably finessed as well. Tangerine oil, mint, chamomile and lightly honeyed notes all develop with a few hours of aeration. The Reserve is a blend of 11 barrels (all neutral oak) that spends its second winter on its lees in tank, an approach that is common in Burgundy, but that is not often seen in California. All I can say is: Wow!”
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2016 Chardonnay Reserve improved over several days and is just beginning to hint at more to come with bottle age. The nose offers warm citrus and floral perfume with a deep core of orchard fruits. The palate is silky and expansive, with a streak of mineral-like undertones, a flush of juicy acidity and long, layered finish. It deserves more time in bottle. 231 cases were made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Louis Jadot Domaine des Heritiers Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ml $219 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“From vineyards owned by the inheritors of the Louis Jadot estate, this wine has all the power expected from this vineyard. Its density and richness are palpable, even when crispened by a fresh citrus edge. Wood aging adds spice and enhances the aging potential. Drink from 2024.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 94+ points ” (Jadot bottled 35 barrels, representing a normal yield; the harvest lasted into the beginning of October): Very pale, bright yellow. Knockout nose combines lemon, ginger, botanical herbs, shiso leaf and crushed-rock minerality. Seriously concentrated wine, showing the juicy side of the 2016 vintage and the impeccable balance that was possible when yields were normal. The sharply delineated citrus, spice and mineral flavors are framed and intensified by harmonious acidity (“which was easy to control because we had so many barrels,” according to Barnier). Conveys an impression of outstanding density without weight and finishes with great palate-staining length, herbal lift and salty grip.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93+ points “Aromas of yellow orchard fruit, waxy lemon rind, iodine and smoky new oak introduce the 2016 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (Domaine des Héritiers Jadot), a full-bodied, satiny and nicely layered wine that’s deep, concentrated and persistent. It’s a youthfully reserved but decidedly impressive Corton-Charlemagne that will reward bottle age.”

#6 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 2017
Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Le Mont’ Demi-Sec, Loire 2016 750ml $41.90 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 95 points
“This tilts toward the flattering side of off-dry, showing a plump feel to the core of creamed pear, white peach and yellow apple fruit. Lovely verbena, honeysuckle and mineral accents keep this balanced and driven, with a long finish that lets the fruit echo. Drink now through 2032.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Reynvaan Unnamed:

Arriving Friday

Reynvaan The Unnamed Series Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon/ Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ml $28 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Expressive and multilayered, with vibrant red currant, black olive, violet and licorice tones that build polish and richness toward refined tannins. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2030. 525 cases made.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points “From the team at Reynvaan and a blend of 42% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Merlot The Unnamed Series /Cab Sauv/Cab Franc sports a ruby/plum hue to go with some classic Rocks notes of mulled plums, blueberries, lavender, iron, and tapenade. These all carry to a medium to full-bodied, round, lush, textured wine with ripe tannins, loads of fruit, and just a character-filled, balanced style to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

To The Sweeter End:

Fabulous Dessert Wines

In Stock Now:

Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Cuvee Constance’ Moelleux, Loire 2015 500ml $159 special, 8 500ml-bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 99 points
“Stunning from the start, with a silky and refined feel despite the panoply of dried quince, fig, pear and apricot flavors that are exotic in nature. Lovely green tea, orange blossom and persimmon notes fill in the background. Obviously sweet, but with persistent dry almond and orange extract details that lend latent tension through the seamless and nearly endless finish. The first Cuvee Constance bottling since the 2009 vintage. Drink now through 2060.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “Rarely produced and selected from the vineyards Le Haut-Lieu, Le Mont and Clos du Bourg, Huet’s 2015 Vouvray “Cuvée Constance” offers a deep, clear, intense and concentrated nose of ripe stone fruits, peanut butter cookie, spicy, earthy-mineral and some volatile aromas. Sweet, salty, piquant and mineral with a firm structure and very elegant, concentrated, refined fruit, this is a sweet wine with great purity and mineral finesse on the very long, promising finish. The 2016 is still pretty sweet (142 grams of residual sugar) and should be cellared for at least two or three decades. Total production: 2,800 500-milliliter bottles. Tasted February 2018.”
John Gilman 98 points “I have been looking forward to the release of Domaine Huët’s 2015 Cuvée Constance ever since I tasted a year ago the rest of the stunning range of wines produced here in the vintage. It is a great vintage for Domaine Huët and the Cuvée Constance is everything one could hope for from the confluence of this great estate and a legendary vintage. The wine is still very youthful, but its ultimate brilliance is very easy to see, as the wine wafts from the glass in a celestial constellation of orange, fresh apricot, incipient tea leaves, a nice touch of soil, hints of lanolin, orange peel, barley sugar and a hint of upper register smokiness. On the palate the wine is pure, full and nascently complex, with laser-like focus, a bottomless core, great acids and marvelous balance on the very, very long, zesty and energetic finish. This is still a very young wine and will need years to start to show its secondary and tertiary layers of complexity, but they are lurking here and in the fullness of time, this will be breathtaking in its beauty. (Drink between 2025-2100)

This gently sweet Oloroso Sherry is crafted from Pedro Ximénez grapes
Alvear Asuncion Oloroso, Montilla-Moriles NV 375ml $29 special, 12 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
“A burnished orange-meets-tawny color and lively aromas of caramel and apricot get this oloroso off to a fine start. A richly intense palate with bold acidity offers plenty of depth, while toasty flavors of coffee and walnuts finish with notes of chocolate and café latte. Overall, this is stylish and a cut above. -Michael Schachner”

Castello di Volpaia Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2015 375ml $59 special, 10 half-bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 93 points
“Made of 60% Trebbiano and 40% Malvasia, this opens with aromas of maple syrup, ripe apricot and vanilla. The aromas carry over to the rich palate along with marzipan and acacia honey notes. It’s well-balanced and has a long finish. -Kerin O’Keefe”

Arriving Late November:

Winery library release!
Dal Forno Romano ‘Vigna Sere’ Rosso Passito Veneto IGT 2004 375ml $169 pre-arrival special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 99 points
“The 2004 Passito Rosso Vino Dolce Vigna Seré (500-mililiter) is a masterpiece that is impossible to repeat. In fact, the wine has not been produced since 2004. Even if a vintage as good as this did come along, we’d need to wait another 13 years before we could enjoy this level of maturity and evolution. Formally a Recioto della Valpolicella, this sweet red wine is made with air-dried fruit as local tradition dictates. Luckily no botrytis set in that year, because that would have eroded the wine’s deep and luscious color saturation. The bouquet delivers a generous flow of dark spice, bitter chocolate, espresso, raisin, plum, barbecue spice and teriyaki smoke. The concentration and layering of the wine are both rare and distinctive. The mouthfeel sees sweet flavors with a syrupy mouthfeel. The finish offers hints of caramelized brown sugar and savory hickory. The aging window is impossible to predict, but the wine is surely built to last. I can think of no other wine that comes close to matching this unique style.”
Antonio Galloni 98+ points “The 2004 Vigna Serè is the perfect conclusion to a vintage that will go down as one of Dal Forno’s most magical. Sweet, silky tannins support layers of super-refined, elegant fruit in this magical sweet red. Mocha, espresso, new leather, raspberry jam and spices emerge with time in the glass, but this is really a wine that shows off textural finesse more than anything else. I have tasted this wine many times since it was in barrel and later in bottle. It has never been anything less than spellbinding. It is one of the most magical sweet dessert wines I have ever tasted. At eight years of age the 2004 remains an infant. (375 ml)”
Decanter 98 points “A Recioto in all but name, as Dal Forno withdrew from the appellation after the 2003 was rejected by the Consorzio for its atypical astringency. This is a profound sweet red wine that will probably live forever. The superb floral nose features violet lift, with a macerated cherry character in the mouth which heralds plum, crushed berries and sweet spice. This is so well balanced it’s almost savoury in nature, the clean line of acidity sweeping away all before it. There’s some creaminess on the finish, reminding you of its startling youth.”

We offer an incredible selection of dessert wines including Maderia, Sherry, Vermouth, and Sauternes/Barsac selections on our webstore now!

Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.