Vinopolis Midweek Edition 9-6-17


Rose For Fall and Forever; Domaine Chezeaux (aka Ponsot) and 100 Point Chapoutier Prearrival; Dujac 2015 Lands This Month; Molitor Star Show; Highly Rated Cristom Single Vineyards; 2016 JJ Prum: The Next Chapter; Fougeray de Beauclair Value; Mencia’s Many Faces; JUST ADDED – Argiano Solengo 2015




Rosé all Day..and Month and Year


While Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, the weather hasn’t decided to cooperate with the calendar.  It’s warm out there and so we’re continuing to drink as much rosé as we can while the weather is nice enough to justify it. (We’re also proponents of drinking rosé when it’s cold out, but we can talk about that another day).


We wanted to highlight three of our favorites, in order from lighter to richer, that will be perfect for you to sip and enjoy with the remnants of summer—however long it decides to last.


Chateau Puech-Haut Saint-Drezery Prestige Rose, Languedoc-Roussillon 2016 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now

Chateau Puech-Haut Saint-Drezery Prestige Rose, Languedoc-Roussillon 2016 1.5L ($49.95) $39 special, 28 magnums in stock now

Wine Advocate 92 points “Beautiful as always, the 2016 Saint Drezery Prestige Rose offers clean, crisp notes of white peach, strawberries and hints of flowers. It’s a terrific, medium-bodied, elegant beauty to buy by the case.”


Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Rose, Rhone 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now

Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “Bright orange-pink. Ripe red berries and blood orange on the fragrant nose. In a warm, fleshy style, offering juicy, nicely concentrated raspberry and orange zest flavors that turn livelier on the back half. Smooth and seamless on the impressively persistent and penetrating finish, which leaves a sappy red berry note behind.”


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


Chateau de Manissy Tavel Cuvee des Lys Rose, Rhone 2016 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now

Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “Brilliant orange-pink. Powerful, mineral-accented aromas of ripe red berries and citrus fruits, joined by a suave floral topnote that builds in the glass. Sappy and concentrated on the palate, offering fresh raspberry, bitter cherry and blood orange flavors and a hint of honeysuckle. Finishes long, chewy and precise, delivering strong mineral cut and lingering florality.”


This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Rose Link



Special New Prearrival Offerings


Chapoutier and Ponsot by Proxy: Arriving Late September


Two amazing offerings coming in very limited quantities. First, a perfectly-scored Northrern Rhone from Chapoutier that is built for cellaring and eventually, your utmost enjoyment. And secondly, a gem from one of the absolute stars of Burgundy, labeled for the vineyard owners. These are some serious wines for those looking to squirrel away some new showpieces in the cellar.


  1. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon, Rhone 2005 750ML ($349.95) $289 prearrival special

Wine Advocate 100 points “My favorite of the 2005s from Chapoutier, the 2005 Ermitage Le Pavillon is a heavenly wine that comes from one of the greatest sites for Syrah in the world, the steep, granite-dominated hillside of les Bessards. Getting a bevy of expletives in my notes, this insanely good Hermitage offers classic notes of smoked meats, charcoal, liquid rock, burning embers, chocolate and cassis, as well as a thick, unctuous and massively concentrated style on the palate. Changing in the glass, with exotic aromatics, incredible purity and building, polished tannin, Syrah doesn’t get any better. Given the youthful profile here, I’m sure this will see its 50th birthday in fine form, but it still delivers plenty of pleasure today given its texture, purity and balance.”


Domaine des Chezeaux Griottes-Chambertin Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($299.95) $249 prearrival special

Vinopolnote: This wine is identical to Ponsot Griottes-Chambertin 2009. Ponsot’s Griottes-Chambertin is entirely made from  Chezeaux grapes. Ponsot bottles and returns a portion of the wine to Chezeaux for labelling, as payment for the harvest. The wines are identical, including the glass!

94 POINTS BURGHOUND “This is notably fresher than the Chapelle with a strikingly elegant and highly complex nose that displays perfumed and notably ripe red currant and cassis aromas that are liberally laced with warm earth and spice hints. There is good intensity and detail to the opulently textured medium weight plus flavors that are blessed with a seemingly endless reserve of sap on the gorgeously long finish. This is a really impressive effort and if the palate complexity can eventually match that of the nose, this should be able to achieve, or perhaps even exceed, the upper end of my predicted range.”




2015 Dujac


Arriving September 15th:


We don’t have to say too much about Dujac.  They’re undisputedly one of the top handful of producers of Burgundy and their collection of vineyards is impressive by any measure.  The wines are incredible—built to last and complex as the day is long.


Dujac is known primarily for their holdings in and around Morey-St. Denis, though recent years have seen them add new parcels to their domaine, especially in Puligny, where they’re crafting some exceptional white wines.  Also, their white Morey St. Denis, a rarity, is not to be missed. We’ve got some of the 2015’s arriving soon, so this is your chance to get these wines before they disappear.




Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special

Wine Advocate 88-90 points “The 2015 Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc sees around 20% new oak. It has a clean, precise bouquet with hints of yellow plum and citrus fruit. The palate is fresh and vibrant, lively in the mouth with hints of nectarine and mango towards the pretty finish with just the faintest of tropical notes. Almost too good to age in bottle, this is a delight.”


Domaine Dujac Monts Luisants, Morey-Saint-Denis Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($199.95) $149 pre-arrival special

Wine Advocate 89-91 points “The 2015 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru Mont Luisants Blanc offers very subtle hints of white chocolate and blanched almonds on the nose that opens with enthusiasm in the glass. The palate is fresh and vibrant with very fine salinity. It is pierced by a keen line of acidity that keeps the mouth tingling long after the wine has departed. I appreciate the tension and race here and it should age with style over several years.”


Domaine Dujac Les Combettes, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special

Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2015 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Combettes has a focused bouquet, subtle and perhaps showing a greater mineral edge than the Folatières. The palate is a little richer than the aforementioned premier cru: veins of apricot and fresh mango, the older vines just imparting more race and tension towards the poised finish. This comes recommended.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!


Domaine Dujac Les Folatieres, Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($219.95) $189 pre-arrival special

Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2015 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Folatières, which comes from two parcels of young and smaller plot of older vines, has a well-defined, austere but focused bouquet with gunflint and smoky scents reluctantly emerging. The palate is well balanced with pretty pear drop and light spicy notes, gently building to a poised finish. This is a well-crafted Puligny Folatières with nerve and focus.”




Maison Dujac Fils et Pere Morey-Saint-Denis, Cote de Nuits 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special

Burghound 88-91 points “Interestingly this is actually a bit more aromatically elegant with its super fresh nose of red cherry, rose petal and lightly spiced aromas. The freshness continues onto the appealingly energetic medium weight flavors that exude a fine bead of minerality on the more complex and slightly more persistent finale.”


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


Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis, Cote de Nuits AOC 2015 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special

Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 89-91 points “Bright medium red. Pure, ripe aromas of raspberry and brown spices. Delivers sappy sweetness and lovely spicy lift to its red berry flavors. This intense, nicely delineated village wine really echoes on the firm, persistent finish.”




It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Molitor World


Star Wines from a Star Winemaker in a Star Vintage


Situated at the center of Wehlener Klosterberg, the Markus Molitor estate cultivates a total of 15 vineyard sites, highlighting the diversity and brilliance of the Mosel. Holdings include parcels some of the region’s highest-regarded vineyards. Molitor took over the vineyard from his father in 1984 – at the ripe age of 20! Many of the vineyards are poised along extraordinarily steep slopes of 80% or greater inclines, necessitating work done carefully and manually. Vines and soils are worked organically, with dense leaf cover over the vines and relative few grapes per vine in order to maximize nutrient supply and extract yield.


If you haven’t heard the exciting news about the 2015 vintage in the Mosel, you are missing out. Stephan Reinhardt recently weighted in on these wines and found them profound. We’ve highlighted some of his thoughts below. Don’t miss our offerings that scored 95 points or higher, including several that reached 98 and 99!


From Stephan Reinhardt: “Although the vintage occasionally brought less yields than initially expected, the wine qualities were often terrific across the board, especially in the medium-sweet and sweet predicate categories of Kabinett, Spätlese and Auslese. There are many great dry and medium-dry single-vineyard Rieslings, too… October was the harvest month for all the producers, with just a few extending the harvest into November; it was cool, dry and very sunny, and provided excellent harvest conditions. The acidity levels were high and the ripeness was just perfect… These outstanding qualities, perhaps the best since 1990, culminate in an incredible series of 26 top Auslese Rieslings at Weingut Markus Molitor…”


Markus Molitor Alte Reben Riesling Trocken WK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 18 bottles in stock now

Markus Molitor Alte Reben Riesling Trocken WK, Mosel 2015 1.5L ($69.95) $51.90 special, 10 magnums in stock now

Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2015 Riesling Alte Reben (formerly known as Alte Reben Mosel) is an old vine selection from crus in Zeltingen, Wehlen and Erden. The wine combines ripe and concentrated Riesling flavors with the typical slate aroma of the Mosel. Highly elegant, with perfectly ripe and balanced fruit and a juicy-piquant, finesse-full finish, this is a picture book dry Mosel Riesling with a lingering salty finish.”


This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!


Markus Molitor Alte Reben Saar Riesling Trocken WK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 24 bottles in stock now

Markus Molitor Alte Reben Saar Riesling Trocken WK, Mosel 2015 1.5L ($79.95) $59 special, 9 magnums in stock now

Wine Advocate 93+ points “Sourced entirely from the Ockefen Bockstrein, the 2015 Riesling Alte Reben Saar has a clear, bright, intense and spicy Saar Riesling bouquet with great concentration and attractive flinty slate aromas. On the palate, this dry Riesling is concentrated, rich and powerful but tightly woven, very precise and provided with piquant acidity and very finessed minerality. The finish is intense and compact, indicating great aging potential. This Riesling from approximately 80-year-old vines in the Bockstein grand cru should be cellared for five to seven years at minimum.”


This is the only listing in the USA today for the magnum!


Markus Molitor Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Auslese *** GK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 17 bottles in stock now

Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2015 Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) offers a very clear, deep, intense and complex stone fruit aroma with some very discreet toast and crushed stone flavors. Full-bodied, rich and powerful but enormously racy-piquant and mineral so that you don’t taste its sweetness, this is a great, expressive terroir wine with a huge inner concentration that comes from the soils rather than dried berries. It is based on grapes with dry raisins due to perfect botrytis combined with healthy berries that deliver the tremendous freshness in this gorgeous Auslese that also reveals some fine tannins from the aging partly in small oak.”


Markus Molitor Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett GK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special, 18 bottles in stock now

Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “The (medium-) sweet 2015 Riesling Ürziger Würzgarten Kabinett (Golden Capsule) displays a clear, intense and remarkably fine nose of perfectly ripe and healthy small Riesling berries. This is a lush, piquant and salty Riesling of great finesse and aromatic intensity. The finish is super long and aromatic, with a very fine mineral grip and a fascinating combination of perfectly ripe, lush fruit and a weightless elegance.”


Markus Molitor Wehlener Klosterberg Riesling Auslese ** GK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 17 bottles in stock now

Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96+ points “The 2015 Riesling Wehlener Klosterberg Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) is very clear, intense and concentrated yet stunningly precise and fresh on the nose. Concentrated, very fine and elegant on the palate, this Auslese has enormously racy yet fine acidity with a very long, crystalline and stimulatingly salty finish. Despite its concentration and sweetness, this wine shows remarkable finesse and elegance, revealing a lean and crystalline style.”

Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “This delivers a beautiful nose of yellow peach, almond cream, pineapple and poached pear. The wine proves juicy and quite ripe on the palate with honeyed flavors of yellow fruits coming through in the long and smooth finish. There is a touch of acidity coming through in the after-taste which lifts up the aromatic. This needs a decade to fully shine. 2025-2045.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!


Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese ** GK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 22 bottles in stock now

Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2015 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese ** (Golden Capsule) is entirely based on healthy, botrytis-free grapes and opens with intensely herbal flavors in the first moments before very fine Riesling, slate and lemon aromas take over. This Auslese is intense, rich and round, perfectly ripe and concentrated but also super precise, highly elegant and finessed. The finish is super fine, endlessly salty and stimulatingly piquant. This is a mouth-watering sweet Riesling with great tension and finesse!”


Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese *** GK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 9 bottles in stock now

Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 99 points “The 2015 Riesling Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese *** (Golden Capsule) is clear, fresh and concentrated on the nose nose where deep and smoky flavors of crushed stones are displayed, giving just a hint of the true potential of this wine. Round and seamless on the palate, with perfectly ripe but vital and fresh fruit, this has a gorgeous mineral raciness and tension. There is also a quiet stream of perfectly balanced and concentrated melting stones and very fine salts that flows over the palate. This is an exiting, very well structured and tightly woven Riesling legend that will still fascinate wine lovers in 50, 60, maybe 70 years. This is a laser beam of great Riesling, tight and concentrated but still not that open like the corresponding Wehlener.”

Mosel Fine Wines 94-97 points “This offers a beautiful nose driven by baked pineapple, apricot, herbs and spices. The wine is beautifully elegant and, despite being creamy and oily on the palate, retains great vibrancy with zesty acidity wrapping passion fruit and other exotic fruits. This beautiful “Auslese lange GK”-styled wine proves superbly well-made as it leaves an ethereally long feel in the intense finish. 2030-2055+.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!


Markus Molitor Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett GK, Mosel 2015 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 15 bottles in stock now

Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This delivers a gorgeous nose of cassis, minty herbs and spices. The wine delivers the rich creaminess of a Spätlese if not Auslese on the palate but leaves a stunningly floral and fruit-infused feel in the long and intense finish. This may not be a light Kabinett but proves an utterly delicious light Auslese. 2025-2045.”




Arriving next week!


Cristom 2015 – Single Vineyard Releases


The 2015 vintage has turned out some unbelievable wines from Oregon, and we’re all chomping at the bit to get the latest offerings from Cristom out the door. The wines are incredibly bright with fruit and perfectly balanced acidity, and in true Cristom style, the structure gives you the impression that these will be around for the long haul. These drink so well immediately, but will be among the best to lay down over the next five to ten years. Buy a good stash to enjoy now, and down the road.


Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special

Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Eileen gives bold raspberry preserves and red currant jelly notes with suggestions of chargrill meat, truffles, forest floor and cedar. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers a solid backbone of grainy tannins and loads of freshness supporting the generous, muscular fruit, finishing with great persistence.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!


Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special

Wine Advocate 94 points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard is scented of kirsch, mulberries and raspberry tart with underlying Chinese five spice, hoisin and mossy bark hints. Medium-bodied, there’s a very seductive mid-palate of red berry and exotic spice flavors, supported by velvety tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with spicy layers.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!


Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special

Wine Advocate 94 points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard has a savory, almost meaty nose over a core of Black Forest cake, red currants, mulberries, cardamom and fenugreek with a touch of potpourri. Medium-bodied, the palate has exquisitely fine tannins and a lively line of acidity supporting generous, multi-layered red berry preserves and spice, finishing with impressive persistence and depth.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!





JJ Prum 2016


Another Vintage to Take Your Breath Away


As we start to catch our breath from the hyperbolic vintage of 2015, we turn around and keep running to tell you about the 2016 wines expected in December from JJ Prum. A slow, wet start to the 16 season dropped a lot of fruit in almost every vineyard, but the resulting energy in the vineyard through the long, dry harvest generated fruit of gorgeous purity and lightness. The only thing missing from 16 were the botrytis affected sweet wines. A different experience from hot, dry 2015, but the results are to be enjoyed.


The 16’s promises a lighter style, an even higher elegance than the intensity of the gorgeous 15’s. Take a look at we’re offering below.




Fougeray de Beauclair: Under The Radar in Burgundy


Parceled vineyard ownership can make Burgundy’s Côte d’Or seem chaotic. But this allows small, family growers like Fougeray de Beauclair to produce twenty-one wines from the Côte de Nuits and de Beaune. Founded in 1978, Fougeray de Beauclair grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay across 45 acres, from straight-forward villages like Marsannay and Fixin, to prestigious Bonnes Mares, to richly structured Puligny-Montrachet.


Patrice Olliver has been growing and making wine at Fougeray de Beauclair, created by his parents-in-law, for over two decades. Synthetic fertilizers were abandoned, and the sorting of grapes takes place in the vineyard and at the winery. Quality becomes a matter of pride at a domaine of this size. The wines get oak in the proportion they deserve: 15 months in 30% new for the Gevrey-Chambertin, 18 months in 100% new for the Bonnes Mares, 6 to 8 months in 50% new oak for the Puligny-Montrachet. Barrels come from the Bertrange forest, and are made by master tonnelier François Frères.


Fougeray de Beauclair makes only around 7,500 cases a year. Forty percent of their wine sells in France, but after tasting the wines, we’ve managed to stock a few that we’re pleased to offer. For casual dinners, for late-afternoon sippers, or for special occasions, Fougeray de Beauclair has a wine, and they’re ready for drinking today.


Fougeray de Beauclair Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2014 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock

Winery note “Color: Red, intense color with soft purple when the wine is young, then, with a few years in the bottles, the color of the wine is ruby and orange red. Nose: Red fruits aromas (raspberry and cherry) with cinnamon and leather. Taste: soft and delicate with fine tannins reinforced by red fruit flavors.”


This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Fougeray de Beauclair Puligny-Montrachet Les Meix, Cote de Beaune 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 28 bottles in stock

Winery note “From 40 year old vines grown in clay limestone soils. The wine was aged in 50% new barrels for 6 to 8 months. The nose is fresh and minerally. The taste is of smoky minerals, with an intense note of flint. Excellent potential.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!


Fougeray de Beauclair Fixin Clos Marion, Cote de Nuits 2012 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 21 bottles available

Winery note “Nose: A sumptuous bouquet, dense and complex, revealing aromas of ripe fruit (black cherry). Taste: Ripe fruits and liquorice, long-lasting taste. 10% in new oak vats, the remaining wine in barrels of 1 to 3 wines.”


Fougeray de Beauclair Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2011 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 6 bottles available

Winery note “Nose: smells of red fruits (black currant, blackberry) and violet sustained by woody notes. Taste: Softly spiced, fruity taste, powerful and long finish. Cold maceration for 3 days, then alcoholic fermentation under temperature control of 31°C maximum, in tanks for 2 and 3 weeks. 100% in new oak vats in the cooperage François Forêt de Bertrange for 18 months. Vineyard Age: 25 to 75 years.”






Spain’s Answer to Pinot Noir


While Tempranillo is undoubtedly the greatest grape in Spain, the most exciting one right now is undoubtedly Mencia.  Grown in northwestern Spain, in Galicia (the part above Portugal), it’s a cool-climate grape that seems to have a particular ability to transmit the terroir that it’s grown in.  Stylistically, Mencia often comes off as a slightly fuller-bodied Pinot Noir, though the fruit is often more savory.


The two primary regions for growing Mencia are Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra.  Bierzo is a transitional region, more inland than Ribeira Sacra, and links the high plateau of Castilla (where Ribera del Duero is) with the mountainous and cool costal region. As a result, the wines are often more robust and full bodied than their cousins in Ribeira Sacra, though the changing nature of the geography means that it’s possible to find wines (like Raul Perez’s) that come from cool, high altitude vineyards.


Ribeira Sacra, though, is a cool climate region through and through.  The closest analogue to the vineyards might be the Mosel, in Germany, as both have extremely steep slate vineyards that make you wonder who would think it would be reasonable to farm them.  The best wines from here are lean and taut, but with enough fruit to give the structure definition and detail.  We’re highlighting some of our favorites from the grape today, from the plush and rich Palacios wines to the leaner versions of Raul Perez and Guimaro.  No matter which, though, you owe it to yourself to try the wines—they’re something special.


Raul Perez Ultreia de Valtuille, Bierzo 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special

Pre-Arrival ETA September 8 2017

Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2014 Ultreia de Valtuille was very open and expressive, impressive too, with notes of freshness, blood orange, red cherries and also flowers (violets, lilies) and an earthy touch. It’s elegant and complex, with very fine tannins and a velvety sensation. As with all the reds, the oak is unnoticeable, perfectly integrated and folded into the wine.”


Raul Perez Ultreia Mencia, Bierzo 2014 750ML ($21.95) $17.80 special, 33 bottles available

Wine Advocate 92 points “The red 2014 Ultreia is Mencía from various vineyards in the environment of Ponferrada, where the soils are rich in slate, complemented by some 20% of grapes from the zone of Valtuille. It follows the same modus operandi as all the reds: fermentation with full clusters and indigenous yeasts and aging in used, well-seasoned, neutral barrels for one year. There is a mix of floral, spicy and balsamic aromas, subtle with an earthy background. The palate revealed some earthy tannins and fine, focused and subtle flavors.”

VinopolNote: This is the flagship wine of the Ultreia project and is something that any lover of cool-climate red wine should pay attention to. Mostly Mencia, with a few other grapes that accumulated in this part of the Camino de Santiago over the years discreetly blended in, this is a wine that speaks of Bierzo in urgent, though quiet, tones.


La Vizcaina ‘El Rapolao’ Lomas de Valtuille, Bierzo 2014 750ML ($37.95) $29.80 special, 35 bottles available

Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2014 La Vizcaína El Rapolao had a Cabernet Franc-like character that I also found in the 2013, both cold years in the zone. It fermented in a combination of oak and chestnut vats. There are also notes of wild berries and flowers. The palate is serious, with fine-grained tannins and good length. 2014 was not an easy harvest, but somehow his vineyards delivered very balanced grapes and higher yields. Some 3,400 bottles were filled in August 2016. This is the first of the reds to be bottled.”LG

Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “(aged in used barriques and demi-muids) Inky ruby. Smoke-accented blackberry and blueberry scents on the deeply perfumed nose, complicated by violet, peppery spice and game notes. This reminds me a lot of a northern Rhône wine. Densely packed dark berry preserve flavors pick up candied licorice and cola qualities with aeration, along with hints of bitter chocolate and candied flowers. Coats the palate and puts on weight with air, finishing with smoky mineral cut, excellent tenacity and building tannins.”

VinopolNote “This is from Raul’s highest altitude vineyard, with a northeastern exposure and the most influence of the Atlantic ocean.  As a result the wines have long hang times and can be picked late (this is often picked last of the Vizcaina wines) with great freshness and character.  Stunning stuff that we can’t say enough about.”


Aires de Vendimia Mencia de Valtuille, Bierzo 2012 750ML ($44.95) $38 special, only 14 bottles available

Wine Advocate 91+ points “I was quite impressed with the 2012 Aires de Vendimia, especially for a warm vintage. It’s old-vine Mencia which fermented with 50% full clusters in an oak vat with indigenous yeasts and aged for 11 months in contact with the lees in 225- and 300-liter oak barrels. It’s still a bit marked by the oak, clean, good-quality oak, with faint notes of vanilla and other spices over a core of violets, red cherries and blueberries; it is quite harmonious and aromatic but with certain restraint. The palate is medium-bodied, supple with juicy fruit, focused, with good freshness developing a licorice final note.”


Algueira Mencia, Ribeira Sacra 2015 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 42 bottles available

91 POINTS JOSH RAYNOLDS–VINOUS “(raised entirely in stainless steel tanks) Bright magenta. Lively dark berry and floral scents, along with smoky mineral and white pepper flourishes. Juicy, focused and light on its feet, offering nervy boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter on the back half. Smoothly plays power off delicacy and finishes long and gently tannic, leaving a subtle violet note behind.”


Guimaro Finca Meixeman, Ribeira Sacra 2014 750ML ($41.95) $36 special, only 4 bottles remaining

94 POINTS JOHN GILMAN “The 2014 Finca Meixeman” from Guimaro is outstanding, wafting from the glass in a complex melange of sweet dark berries, slate minerality, cigar smoke, pomegranate, tree bark and a topnote of violets. On the palate the wine is pure, full and complex, with superb soil signature, fine-grained tannins, excellent focus and balance and a long, refined and intensely flavored finish. These are seventy year-old Mencia vines, which are foot-trodden and raised in old French casks for twelve to fifteen months prior to bottling. Fine, fine juice.”


Bodegas Avancia Mencia, Valdeorras 2014 750ML ($41.95) $26 special, 21 bottles available

Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93 points “(fermented and aged in new French oak for 14 months): Bright purple. High-pitched cherry and blue fruit scents are complemented by a suggestion of candied lavender and accented by white pepper. Silky and sweet on the palate, offering intense boysenberry and cherry-cola flavors and a repeating lavender quality. Blends richness and vivacity with a deft hand and closes subtly tannic, with excellent focus and mineral-driven persistence. These vines were reportedly planted between 1902 and 1920 at an altitude of nearly 1,500 feet.”


Bodegas Avancia Cuvee de O Mencia, Valdeorras 2014 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special, 29 bottles available

Josh Raynolds–Vinous 91 points “(initially fermented in large stainless steel tanks, with malo in French oak barrels followed by six months of aging in the same casks before bottling): Deep ruby. Mineral-accented cherry, blackcurrant and licorice scents are complemented by a hint of dark chocolate. Coats the palate with vibrant dark berry and spicecake flavors complemented by candied lavender and licorice. Smoothly melds power and finesse and finishes on a youthfully tannic note, with very good persistence and repeating floral character. Offers serious bang for the buck.”






This just in!


Arriving early 2018 – Argiano Solengo 2015


In Montalcino there are the super-traditionalists and then there are the unapologetic forward leaning estates that are bringing advancements in winemaking technology. Argiano is an estate with Tuscan roots dating to the 16th century, but the past twenty years have brought changes to the estate that excited many critics and fans of the international style.


The Solengo is a stunning wine in the best vintages, and the 2015 promises to be one of the best for this wine since the late 90’s. Cab based but with a good portion of Petit Verdot give great swirling floral notes high above the the dark fruit, leather, and granitic stoniness. A backbone of tannins and vibrant acidity will give this bottle amazing life. It will drink well now with enough air, but this wine will develop and grow nicely through the next decade. Bordeaux fans should take special note: this isn’t an overripe Bolgheri interpretation. A wine to love.


Argiano Solengo Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 prearrival special

Pre-Arrival ETA February 2018

James Suckling 97 points “Fantastic aromas of flowers such as violets and roses with dark purple fruits and hints of stones, too. Full body with ultra-fine tannins and a long and linear finish. This is a return to the great Solengos of the mid-1990s. The best since 1997. Cabernet sauvignon 50%, petit verdot 30%, merlot 15% and sangiovese 5%. Drinkable now but better in 2020.”


This is the only listing in the USA today!