Vinopolis April 7 Newsletter

April 7, 2014

Jump Start Sale


Clos Ste Magdeleine Cassis Blanc 2011 ($34.95) $21.90 super special
40% Marsanne, 30% Ugni blanc, 25% Clairette, 5% Bourboulenc
Great wine, great place, great people

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today




Ayres Lewis Rogers Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 ($34.95) $29 special
Ayres Perspective Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 ($29.95) $26 special
Ayres Pioneer Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 ($39.95) $33 special

Bucklin Zinfandel Old Hill Ranch “Bambino” Field Blend 2011 ($26.95) $21.90 special
Bucklin Zinfandel Old Hill Ranch “Ancient” Field Blend 2011 ($39.95) $33 special
Bucklin Cabernet Sauvignon Old Hill Ranch 2011 ($34.95) $28 special

Angel Vine Columbia Valley Petite Sirah 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special

Domaine & Selection Bonnes Mares Grand Cru Elevage Laurent Ponsot 2009 ($349.95) $319 special, 5 bottles available
Domaine & Selection Chambertin Grand Cru Elevage Laurent Ponsot 2009 ($349.95) $319 special, 3 bottles available
Domaine & Selection Echezeaux Grand Cru Elevage Laurent Ponsot 2009 ($249.95) $219 special, 4 bottles available

Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie Cuvee Classique Ampodium 2011 ($79.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points & Robert Parker 90 points “Dark ruby.  Ripe cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by notes of anise and allspice, with subtle smoke and black pepper nuances in the background.  Then brighter on the palate, offering vibrant cherry and bitter rhubarb flavors and a late note of candied licorice.  Shows very good energy and a touch of licorice on the intensely spicy, persistent finish.”

Rene Rostaing Cote Rotie La Landonne 2011 ($169.95) $139 special
Wine Advocate 94 points 
“More substantial, with a meaty, muscular feel, the 2011 Cote Rotie La Landonne exhibits lots of olive tapenade, underbrush, crushed rock and blackberry-styled fruit on the nose. Full-bodied, nicely concentrated (especially for a 2011) and yet voluptuously textured, with moderate, fine tannin, it will round into form relatively early, yet evolve gracefully for 15-20 years.”

Rene Rostaing Syrah Les Lezardes 2011 ($39.95) $31.90 special
Rene Rostaing Viognier Les Lezardes 2011 ($39.95) $31.90 special

The Hill of Hermitage

Along a sharp bend in the Rhone River lies the AOC region of Hermitage.  The AOC has long been recognized as one of the great sites in France, gaining significances in the 17th century as the favorite of the Sun King, and in the 18th and 19th centuries for boosting the quality of Bordeaux into which it was blended.  The AOC covers the south-facing vineyards planted on the granite hillside.  It experiences intense heat during the day, which is trapped and released by the granite at night.  Reds are 100% Syrah showing typical notes of leather, coffee and red berries with rich tannins.  They are highly prized for their longevity, and can be aged for over 30 years.  Whites are mostly Marsanne, with occasional touches of Roussanne, and can age for at least 15 years.  Within the appellation, there are several lieu dits.  Les Bressards is the most famous and lies on the western side which sees greater sunlight.  It produces the most long-lived from its shallow soil.  Le Meal has loose soil producing richer and riper wines and L’Hermite surrounds the iconic Chapel of St. Christopher.

Stock list – All here now

M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal Rouge 2010 ($319.95) $299 special , 4 bottles available
Robert Parker 99 points
 “From the warmest site of these three vineyards, the 2010 Ermitage Le Meal has sweet creme de cassis, blackberry, bacon fat and a meaty, bloody steak component to its richness. It has good acidity, but is clearly the most voluptuous and succulent of this quartet of monumental wines from one of the greatest appellations for wine in the world, Hermitage. This wine needs a good decade of cellaring and should continue to evolve for 40-50+ years.”

M. Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne 2004 ($89.95) $44 special , 5 bottles available
Wine Spectator 91 points
 “Slightly firm, with taut, sinewy tannins driving the black cherry, currant, tobacco and mineral notes. Purple fruit and flowers on the focused finish.”
Stephen Tanzer: “Dark red. Wild, funky, game- and earth-accented dark fruit aromas, with strong iron and graphite components. Packed with bitter cherry and dark berry skin flavors, plus deeper espresso and dark chocolate notes. Finishes with powerful tannins and real grip, suggesting that this serious, structured Hermitage needs to be left alone for some time.”

M. Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeranne 2007 ($129.95) $99 special , 20 bottles available
Robert Parker 90-93 points 
“The 2007 Ermitage La Sizeranne displays a similar deep ruby/purple-tinged color in addition to sweet aromas of raspberries, black currants, smoke, gun flint, and spice. This full-bodied, well-made wine reveals outstanding richness, purity, and overall balance. Consume it over the next 15-20 years.”

M. Chapoutier Ermitage L’Ermite Rouge 2005 ($499.95) $349 special, 1 bottle available
Robert Parker 99+ points
 “Lastly, from the very dome of the granite hill of Ermitage is the 2005 Ermitage l’Ermite. An extraordinarily powerful wine that probably needs 10-15 years in the bottle (last year I thought 20 was probably conservative), this is a 100-year wine and probably best appreciated by our descendants rather than anyone currently over the age of 30. Dense purple to the rim, with notes of crushed rock, charcoal, roasted meats, and enormous quantities of blue and black fruits, this wine is almost painfully rich and thick, with mouthsearing levels of tannin and zesty acidity. Monumental! Anticipated maturity: 2020-2080.”

Colombier Hermitage Rouge 2009 ($89.95) $59 special , 21 bottles available
Robert Parker 94 points
 “There is not much of it, but the 2009 Hermitage is sensational. Abundant aromas of blackberry fruit, white chocolate, espresso roast and acacia flowers jump from the glass of this opulent, full-bodied, powerful Hermitage. With great intensity as well as silky tannins, this chewy, thick, well-endowed wine should evolve for 20-25+ years.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards 2009 ($399.95) $299 special , 2 bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points 
“The most prodigious wine I have yet tasted from the Delas portfolio is the brilliant 2009 Hermitage Les Bessards. Its inky/purple color is followed by abundant notes of acacia flowers, blackberries, black currants, new saddle leather, roasted meats and graphite, amazing concentration, a skyscraper-like texture, supple but significant tannin and low acidity. The result is a perfect example of Syrah from this great vineyard site in Hermitage. It will offer immense pleasure for 40+ years.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Les Bessards 2010 ($299.95) $249 special , 3 bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points
 “The uber-impressive 2010 Hermitage Les Bessards ranks alongside the perfect 2009. The strikingly intense powdered stone/granite minerality is apparent in this wine of great intensity, prodigious, almost skyscraper-like texture, massive body and high tannins. It is only for true connoisseurs who have a cold cellar as well as the patience to wait a minimum of a decade for it to round into drinking form. Filled with potential, it is one of the single greatest Hermitages I have ever tasted. There is no hint of its 100% new oak aging!”

Delas Freres Hermitage Tourette 2009 ($149.95) $99 special , 26 bottles available
Delas Freres Hermitage Tourette 2009 1.5L ($279.95) $219 special , 9 magnums available
Robert Parker 98 points 
“The magnificent 2009 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes boasts a black/purple color as well as a wonderful nose of creosote, incense, charcoal, blackberry jam, acacia flowers, white chocolate and a hint of espresso roast. Full-bodied and unctuously textured with low acidity and magnificent density, this 2009 can be drunk in 5-6 years or cellared for 30-50 years.”

Delas Freres Hermitage Tourette 2010 ($119.95) $99 special , 4 cases available
Robert Parker 96 points
 “One of the finest Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes I have ever tasted is the 2010, which comes close to rivaling their prodigious 2009. A wine of great intensity, it possesses an inky/purple color, plenty of creme de cassis, licorice, lead pencil shavings, camphor, flint and barbecue smoke characteristics, and a thickness and viscosity that eclipse that of the 2009. Full-bodied and powerful with sweet tannins, a striking floral/mineral component in the mid-palate, and a huge, massive finish, this brilliant Hermitage should be consumed between 2018-2035.”

Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge 2008 ($219.95) $149 special , 6 bottles available
Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge 2008 1.5L ($449.95) $289 special , 5 magnums available
Wine Spectator 94 points 
“This is suave, with a smoldering tobacco note running from start to finish, while truffle, cocoa, braised fig and warm black currant confiture notes fill in the remaining space. Dense, but very silky along the edges, with remarkable harmony for the vintage.”

Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2008 ($219.95) $189 special , 1 bottle available
Wine Spectator 95 points
 “Lush yet precise, with green tea, honeysuckle and quinine notes rippling through the core of green plum, pear and Jonagold apple fruit. The finish has mouthwatering minerality and subtle persistence. Seamless and long. Best from 2012 through 2022.”

Special Burgundy Pre-Arrival ETA May 2014

Faiveley Gevrey-Chambertin 1ER Cru Cazetiers 2002 ($149.95) $119 special, 6 bottles available
Burghound 92 points 
“I especially like the freshness of the highly layered nose with its shy secondary nuances that add depth to the complex and distinctly earthy dark berry fruit aromas. The rich and impressively concentrated middle weight flavors possess an attractive texture as well as plenty of minerality on the detailed, mouth coating and, like the 2001, quite firm finish. While clearly still youthful there is good balance here and again like the 2001, I would be inclined to let this snooze in the cellar for a while longer first.”

Meo Camuzet Nuits St Georges Aux Murgers 2009 ($219.95) $199 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points
 “This rich red is saturated with black cherry, blackberry, licorice and mineral aromas and flavors. Its texture is supple, yet there’s plenty of grip, and the concentrated fruit flavors pulse through the resonant finish. Fresh and harmonious. Best from 2015 through 2032. 10 cases imported.”

Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru Clos des Ruchotte Monopole 2010 ($799.95) $699 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95-97 points 
“The 2010 Ruchottes-Chambertin is an intensely cool, reticent wine. The bouquet recalls the Mazis, but then the firm Ruchottes tannins set in. Ultimately the Ruchottes is built on purity, definition and nuance. The chiseled aromas and flavors possess stunning detail, but it will be some time before the 2010 is ready to drink. Still, I very much like the energy and drive. Bright, floral notes add lift and vibrancy on the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2025-2045.”

Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru 2011 ($1799.95) $1499 special, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94+ points 
“Good dark red.  Expressive aromas of blueberry, woodsmoke, earth and game, plus an ineffable floral complexity.  Moderately sweet and very intense, with purple fruit and spice flavors conveying an impression of energy.  Tight, serious wine with outstanding breadth and a firm tannic spine to support a slow and graceful evolution in bottle.  Leaves behind intense black- and blueberry flavors on the building aftertaste.  In November, Rousseau told me he preferred 2011 to 2012 but noted that the ’12s demonstrated their terroir character more accurately.”

Armand Rousseau Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($1799.95) $1499 special, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 95+ points 
“Bright, deep red, darker than the 2012 today.  Wild, soil-driven aromas of blueberry, violet, black pepper, leather and game.  Lush, velvety and compellingly sweet, with a magically fine-grained texture and outstanding concentration to the dark berry, violet and earth flavors.  This is fat with fruit, and the noble tannins allow the back end to open and expand.  Compared to the 2012 version, this may show a bit less inner-mouth tension but it’s richer and more complex at this stage.”

Armand Rousseau Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($599.95) $499 special, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer & Burghound 89-92 points 
“(two-thirds from Mazoyeres):  Good full medium red.  Expressive nose melds redcurrant, mocha, rust, minerals and flowers, plus a suggestion of game birds.  Sweet, smoky and nicely concentrated, with a musky quality to the complex flavors of redcurrant, smoky minerality, mocha and game.  Finishes with supple tannins and excellent length.  Very Gevrey.”

Armand Rousseau Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1er Cru 2011 ($999.95) $899 special, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93+ points
 “Good full red.  Spicy red berries, cherry, licorice and a hint of horseradish on the nose.  Juicy, brisk and taut; not hugely fleshy but energetic and penetrating.  Conveys an impression of density without weight in the manner of the best 2011s.  Tightly wound and very backward, finishing with terrific spicy persistence.  Eric Rousseau bottled his 2011s in April of 2013; his bottles now have the domain name embossed on the bottom of the glass.”

Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St Jacques 1er Cru 2011 ($399.95) 249 special, 2 bottles available
Burghound 89-91 points 
“This is also reduced and here it’s enough to render the nose unreadable. There is plenty of energy and precision to the intensely mineral-tinged medium-bodied flavors that possess an elegant mouth feel on the youthfully austere finish. A classic Lavaut that should reward 8 to 10 years of cellar time.”

Armand Rousseau Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru 2011 ($599.95) $499 special, 2 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer & Burghound 91-93 points
 “Good bright, deep red.  Wild, vibrant nose offers black cherry, black raspberry, minerals and spices; conveys a small-berry feel.  At once dense and juicy; more masculine than the Charmes-Chambertin but also sappy and fined-grained.  In a more backward style but already conveys excellent soil accuracy.  Finishes with serious but well-buffered tannins and strong soil tones.”

Armand Rousseau Ruchottes Chambertin Grand Cru Clos des Ruchotte Monopole 2011 ($699.95) $599 special, 6 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 92-95 points 
“Bright, deep color.  Wild, musky, ripe dark berries, black cherry and botanical herbs on the captivating nose.  Dense and sappy, offering an exhilarating high-wire act of sweetness and acidity.  Complex flavors of black raspberry, licorice and game birds.  Seriously concentrated, expressive grand cru with great purity and round, mouth-saturating tannins.  In its tension and fruit persistence, this is close to a 2010 in style; the same could be said for Rousseau’s Mazy-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche.”

The Sherrification of America
“… sherry has few peers in the wine world. Its rich diversity of styles ensures that there is a wine to accompany virtually any dish, and the peculiar qualities of sherry itself- the flor- influenced characteristics of fino and manzanilla, and the oxidative complexity of other styles- contributes to its compatability at the table.”  Peter Liem, Sherry, Manzanilla & Amontillado

Sherry, hailing from DO Jerez, is one of the oldest styles of wine still being made today, and is one of the flagship wines of Spain. All true Sherry comes from the vineyards around Jerez de la Frontera and the nearby coastal towns of Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda, forming the three points of the ‘Sherry Triangle’. Made in an oxidative style using a solera system, a practice of aging wines in old barrels and blending casks of different vintages, these wines are known for their nutty flavors. Excellent as an apertif or a dinner wine, Sherry has recently seen a recent resurgence in popularity for its wide array of flavors, ranging from the dry and briny Finos to the dark, concentrated sweetness of Pedro Ximenez.

Stock List – Sherry – All Here Now

Fernando De Castilla Fino Classic NV 750ml($19.95) $16  special  2 bottles available
Fernando De Castilla Fino Antique NV 500ml ($29.95) $23  special  24+ bottles available
Fernando De Castilla Oloroso Antique NV 500ml ($39.95) $31.90  special  3 bottles available
Fernando De Castilla Amontillado NV 500ml ($41.95) $33 special   7 bottles  available

La Cigarrera Manzanilla Pasada NV 375ml ($49.95) $39 special  1 bottle available
Tio Pepe Fino En Rama Gonzalez & Byass ($26.95) $21.90 special   17 bottles available

Alvear Festival Pale Sherry NV ($14.95) $7.70 special  24+ bottles available
Alvear Fino En Rama 2004 500ml ($19.95) $9.90 special    5 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points
  “It was aged for two years in 500-liter American oak barrels. This non-fortified, unfiltered Sherry is loaded with flor (the yeast that forms a film on the surface of sherry during fermentation) and reveals aromas of roasted nuts and sea salt. Round and full-flavored on the palate, this lengthy effort is a superb example of its type.”

Alvear Fino Sherry NV ($14.95) $7.70  special   24+ bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 90 points 
“Subtle, very delicate aromas of fresh bread and almonds. Round but shapely; easygoing and fresh. Lovely shape. Not at all austere.”

Alvear Pedro Ximenez De Anada 2011 375ml ($79.95) $59 special   24+ bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points 
 “Alvear’s 2011 Pedro Ximenez de Anada is the most amazing Pedro Ximenez I have ever tasted. It may also be one of the first to be vintage-dated. The grapes were hand-harvested in September, then allowed to dry in the sunshine until they began fermentation, which is ultimately arrested by the addition of spirits. The wine spent six months in large American oak prior to being bottled. It is an amazing effort that looks like molasses. Notes of macerated figs, chocolate and caramelized tropical fruits emerge from this full-bodied, unctuously-textured wine. While sweet, it has enough acidity to balance out its richness. This astonishing 2011 Pedro Ximenez will last as long as any reader of this newsletter.”

Vevi Dorado ‘1954’ NV 375ml ($21.95) $18 special   8 bottles available
A very traditional style of Verdejo, this amazing wine opens a window to the past, and will change your ideas of how Spanish wines should (and could) be tasted.  Left to ferment at its own pace for two years under a veil of yeast, like the wines of Jerez, this is then entered into a solera system, begun ~ 1954, where it gains in complexity and color by mixing with other vintages. Apparently, back in the day, nearly all Rueda whites were made this way; on the palate, it comes off like a very drinkable, dry, lighter-bodied Palo Cortado, with flavors of macadamia nut, rice milk, jasmine, and kiwi

Bodegas Tradicion Fino NV ($49.95) $39 special  10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points 
“The NV Fino Viejo Tradición is purchased from suppliers, it averages 12 years old, and is used to feed their Amontillado, but the (limited) market demand for this kind of wine has convinced them of producing 1,500 bottles now, and they will bottle another 1,500 in October. Unfiltered, unfined, this would have been considered a Fino Amontillado in the past. Golden color, pungent and powerful nose, with flower notes, it has a big palate, but it’s still a Fino–a fine wine– it’s old, extremely complex, low in acidity, but keeping the freshness, a little saline with the typical bitter end. This should have an interesting evolution in bottle. Drink 2013-2016.”

Bodegas Tradicion Amontillado VORS NV ($79.95) $69 special  10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points
 “The NV Tradición Amontillado VORS, certainly has the more complex and subtle nose of all these VORS and is on average 45 years old. It has a very clean nose, with elegance and complexity, powerful but subtle notes of hazelnuts, honey and even some dates. The medium-bodied palate shows a sharp wine with strong salinity, it has the power and the lightness, in a very difficult combination. Drink 2013-2020.”

Bodegas Tradicion Cream VOS NV ($79.95) $69 special  11 bottles available
Importer Notes
 “This is the most recent addition to the portfolio (so new that it has yet to be reviewed) and completely transcends the Cream category. It also represents the only blend bottled by the bodega with 70% coming from 35+ year old Oloroso barrels and 30% from young 5 year old PX barrels. Here the intensity of old Oloroso blends seamlessly with the dried fruit concentration of the Pedro Ximenex, creating a wine that appeals to both dessert wine drinkers and those seeking a pairing for sturdier main dishes. Being a VOS, it is certified by the Consejo Regulador to be greater than 20 years average age at bottling, an extremely rare Cream sherry indeed.”

Bodegas Tradicion Oloroso VORS NV ($84.95) $71.90 special  11 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The single vintage wines are different, but they are not necessarily better than the solera wines. In fact I preferred the Oloroso VORS to the two single-vintage; I found it more complex and fluid, while the single vintages were more concentrated and powerful, but not as nuanced. I’m talking about the NV Tradición Oloroso VORS, on average 45-50 years old, which gives the wine a concentration of glycerin and dry extract that is amazing. Silky, very interesting to see the wine that has been blended over the years is more complex. The proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove, it is full-bodied, and still follows the same, clean, elegant, precise line of the rest of the wines from Tradición. Drink 2013-2025.”

Bodegas Tradicion Pedro Ximenez VOS NV ($89.95) $79 special  11 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “The NV Tradición Pedro Ximenez 20 anos VOS, produced from Pedro Ximenez grapes and aged in a solera for an average of 23-25 years (which was originally purchased from Domecq & Harveys), is bottled ‘young’ to preserve the character of the grapes and make it more drinkable. The alcohol is also kept at the allowed minimum of 15%. It lacks the rancio notes of others, and is looking for the balance between age and fruit, raisins, dates, dried plums, cappuccino coffee, and licorice while following the clean and precise profile of all the wines they produce. The palate is equally balanced and elegant. This little monster has around 420 grams of sugar, and should be served at 12-14? C. The wine gets more focused with a little time in the glass. Drink 2013-2018.”

Bodegas Tradicion Palo Cortado VORS NV ($109.95) $89 special  12 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “The NV Palo Cortado Tradición VORS, averages 32 years of age, which they consider the correct age for Palo Cortado, so it is not just an old Sherry. Light amber-colored, the nose has a sweet sensation, apricots, and almonds but then the mouth is very dry and saline, fine and light, with flavors of hazelnut, a little varnish, very elegant, intense, pungent, a little spirity. It has a delineated palate, superb intensity, and very long finish. Classical, elegant, clean, intense and delicate could be common descriptors for all their wines. A textbook Palo Cortado. Drink 2013-2019.”

Bodegas Tradicion Oloroso Anada 1970  ($379.95) $249 special  3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “There are only six bodegas in Jerez with approved añadas, single-vintage wines and only Gonzalez-Byass, Lustau and Tradición have any in the market. Tradición doesn’t want to release anything younger than 20 years old. The 1970 Oloroso Añada is being released right now. Older, more concentrated, more refined, these wines benefit from air (they need a big glass, not a small tasting glass), as they are always initially closed and need a little time to get rid of some reductive aromas. The complexity of aromas next to the 1975 is amazing, and it is extremely powerful on the palate. The volume loss to get to VORS is 45%. They become more concentrated and with a very high extract. Drink 2013-2030.”

El Maestro Sierra Palo Cortado Sherry NV 375ml ($99.95) $81.90 special  5 bottles available
El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 1830 NV 375ml  ($99.95) $81.90 special  3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “Next in sweetness is the light amber colored non-vintage (Vinos Viejos) Amontillado 1830 VORS, which has been aged at least 50 years in the solera system. It is racy and intense and would work well with lobster bisque”

El Maestro Sierra Oloroso 1/14 Sherry NV 375ml ($99.95) $81.90  special  3 bottles   available
Wine Advocate 93 points 
“The (Vinos Viejos) Oloroso 1/14 VORS is medium amber and spicier than its predecessor, with just noticeable sweetness, complex flavors (toffee and caramel come to mind) and outstanding length”

Hidalgo La Gitana En Rama Manzanilla NV ($34.95) $28  special  4 bottles available
Hidalgo Gitana Manzanilla La Gitana NV 500ml ($19.95) $14 special  11 bottles   available
Wine Spectator 91 points 
“Bright, with saline, sunchoke and blanched almond notes backed by a piercing, chalk-framed finish. This is all precision and cut. Drink now.”

Hidalgo Gitana Manzanilla Pastrana NV ($31.95) $24  special  6 bottles  available
Wine Spectator  91 points
 “Dried lemon peel, fennel seed, salted almond and citrus oil notes course along here, featuring crunchy acidity through the finish, with a briny energy. Drink now.”

Hidalgo Palo Cortado Wellington 20 Year NV 500ml ($49.95)  $38 special   7 bottles   available
Wine Spectator  91 points
 “A clean, racy style, with almond and hazelnut husk notes backed by toasted corn, walnut and singed sandalwood accents. A touch of dried persimmon echoes on the very dry finish. Drink now.”

Toro Albala Don Px Reserva Especial 1949 ($249.95)  $219 special  6 bottles  available
Wine Advocate 97 points
 “The 1949 Don PX Reserva Especial differs from the other old wines from the winery as it is less dark, it even has a (very dark) translucent tone compared with the others, maybe because it has 2% more alcohol. It feels incredibly elegant and balanced, fresher in comparison than the beasts from 1962 and 1946, medicinal, full of spicy notes of cinnamon, cloves, a touch of ash, and the smell of an antique shop. The palate is fluid, sweet and fresh. Putting a drinking window to these wines feels a bit silly. You should drink it whenever you have the occasion. Drink 2013-2040.”

Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa En Rama 375ml ($13.95)  $9.90 special 21 bottles available
Valdespino Cream Isabella ($15.95) $11.90 special   3 bottles available

Valdespino Inocente Fino 375ml ($14.95) $10.90 special   8 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
  “The NV Fino Inocente must be one of the few wines in Jerez that is still fermented in 600-liter American oak botas, which is an incredible amount of work compared with fermenting tens of thousands of kilos of grapes (or even more) in a big stainless steel tank. This method was the norm of yesteryear, but is so labor intense that it was discontinued in most wineries, and gives a big diversity of wines, as each barrel has its own character, which contributes to the complexity of the blend. Furthermore, the bottled wine is on average 8 to 10 years old. One other thing that makes it apart from other Finos is that the grapes are exclusively from the high part of the Macharnudo vineyard, so this is a single-vineyard Fino. The nose is very complex, showing the effect of the long lees contact: chalk, dried hay, aromatic herbs and salty almonds. The palate is full, but at the same time elegant and balanced, powerful and fine, with the texture of a Meursault rather than a Puligny. A very complex wine, that manages to be both powerful and elegant. Inocente is great value for money. Drink 2013-2016.”

Valdespino Oloroso Don Gonzalo VOS 375ml ($27.95) $21.90 special   3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points 
“The NV Don Gonzalo Oloroso 20 Anos VOS, produced with Palomino grapes from the Carrascal vineyards, is fermented in stainless steel and aged for over 20 years in oak botas. It is a very serious Oloroso, even if it’s not totally dry. It offers bitter almonds, hazelnuts, incense, Cuban cigar ash, and dark chocolate as well as a complex, a very intense, round and ample palate. This wine really fills your mouth. Very intense and with great acidity, it represents very good value for the quality it delivers. A tamed beast. Drink 2013-2019.”

Valdespino Oloroso Med-Sweet 1842 375ml  ($27.95) $21.90 special   23 bottles available
Wine & Spirits 92 points
 “Soft notes of sweet, dried fruits lead into this subtle Oloroso. The flavors balance saline and sweet elements, an elegant composition that finishes fresh and clean. Serve this with scallops au gratin.”

Valdespino Palo Cortado Viejo ($41.95) $33 special   5 bottles available
Named after the street where the original Bodega once stood, and hailing from the same Macharnudo Alto vineyard as many of Valdespino’s prized cuvees, comes this mind bending expression within the PC spectrum. The average age here is 25 years, and like all magical, mysterious PCs (wines that determine for themselves whether or nor they want to be more like a Fino or more like an Oloroso) this is a profound expression of Sherry. Anyone with a serious palate, sherry drinker or not, will be floored (no pun intended) by the expression here.

Valdespino Pedro Ximenez Ninos VORS 375ml ($169.95) $149 special   1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 98 points 
“The NV Ninos Pedro Ximenez 30 Anos VORS is again a monumental wine, redolent of its sibling, Moscatel Toneles, as often the extremely old wines have so many similarities that even the grape and the origin is diminished. This beast of a wine has 470 grams of sugar. It’s believed to average 50 years of age, and shows a dark mahogany, almost black color. Being extremely concentrated, is not just power, it has finesses and balance. Curry, spices, coconut, balsamic notes (eucalyptus), tar, Cuban cigar, and nutmeg can be identified in its nose. The palate is velvety, dense, thick, long, and intense, with pungent acidity but at the same time it feels smooth. Again, choosing between Ninos and Toneles might be purely academic. Drink 2013-2035.”

Valdespino Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS 375ml ($169.95) $159 special    3 bottles available
Valdespino Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS 750ml ($299.95) $279 special   3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 99 points
 “The NV Palo Cortado Cardenal VORS, like the whole VORS collection from Valdespino is outstanding. It is fed from the solera of the Palo Cortado C.P. where the Palomino grapes come from the Macharnudo Alto vineyard, fermented in American oak botas. It’s 22% alcohol and has nine grams of (undetectable) residual sugar which makes it very drinkable. It’s a monumental wine of dark mahogany color with a green edge, a complex, ever-changing, concentrated, clean and delineated nose of spices, dark chocolate, Cuban cigar and balsamic notes of incense, and a sharp, saline palate. It is highly concentrated, powerful and clean, with an eternal, lingering aftertaste. Deciding between Coliseo and Cardenal might be splitting hairs, and as much as I love Coliseo, I felt Cardenal was just one notch above. At the quality helm of Palo Cortado. Drink 2013-2025.”

 Valdespino Moscatel Toneles NV 375ml ($299.95) $269 special  1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 100 points
 “The NV Moscatel Toneles has reached a mythical status locally in Spain. It’s an extremely old, concentrated and powerful sweet wine that was long forgotten, because there was no market for it. The color is dark brown, almost opaque with amber-green edges. The ever-changing nose is an explosion of spices (curry and cinnamon) and noble woods, and from the sheer concentration it displays a myriad of roasted coffee, dark chocolate, balsamic herbs and even a note of coconut. After some time in the glass the roasted orange notes of Muscat come back intermixed with very spicy incense notes. Give it more time and it smells of camphor. It’s fascinating to smell it over the course of a few hours? even days. The palate is immensely concentrated, with the alcohol perfectly integrated and the extreme sweetness compensated by a piercing acidity that reminds me of some century-old Madeiras. It ends with an acute coffee note. The aftertaste is eternal. It is exceptional that such an old wine (it could be over 80 years of average age) keeps the freshness and balance, but when this happens, the wine is exceptional. A world-class sweet wine that shows what aged Muscat is able for. With its 430 grams of residual sugar, this wine is indestructible, but only 100 bottles are withdrawn and bottled yearly from a single, large cask. Drink 2013-2034.”

Valdespino Coliseo Amontillado VORS 375ml ($249.95) $199 special   1 bottle available
Valdespino Coliseo Amontillado VORS NV ($399.95) $349 special   1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 99 points 
“The NV Amontillado Coliseo VORS, is an extremely old (much older than the 30 years certified by the VORS classification) and concentrated wine. It is unique, as its origin is from Sanlucar de Barrameda, mainly from the Pago Miraflores, which produced very sharp wines. Dark mahogany colored, with a bright green border, is very aromatic, balsamic and complex, with wild herbs, candied orange rind, spices and dates. The palate is extremely concentrated, dry, and intense but it has no edges, with lively acidity and an eternal finish. It’s an extreme wine, some might find it too much, but it’s certainly unique and among the greatest wines in the world, to be sipped slowly and in tiny quantities. One of the greatest Amontillados in existence today. Drink 2013-2025.”



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Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 ($99.95) $71.90 special
Robert Parker 93 points
 “Signorello’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc) exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as sweet notes of cedar, black currants and spice box, medium to full body, and good acidity and purity. Accessible now, it is capable of evolving for 15+ years.”

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Palazzo Cabernet Franc Napa 2008 ($79.95) $44 special
Robert Parker 92 points 
“The 2008 Cabernet Franc, a wine Palazzo seems to have a Midas’ touch with, has a deep bluish/ruby/purple color. Notes of cedar wood, spice box, bay leaf, black currant and black cherry fruit jump from the glass of this medium to full-bodied, elegant, ethereal wine. It displays good ripeness and moderately sweet tannin. It should be better in 2-3 years and evolve for 12-15+.”

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Amuse Bouche Proprietary Red Napa 2009 ($299.95) $149 special
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 93 points
 “The 2009 Amuse Bouche is laced with freshly cut flowers, sweet spices and expressive red berries. Today, I find the 2009 beautifully expressive, with gorgeous aromatics, layers of fruit and lovely overall balance. This is a decidedly feminine, refined style, but it all works nicely. Layers of fruit continue to blossom through to the structured, powerful finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.”

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The next lowest listed price in the USA is $225 / bottle
The average listed price in the USA is $238 / bottle

Au Sommet Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa 2009 ($299.95) $149 special
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 93 points
 “The 2009 Au Sommet is a bit lighter on its feet than the 2008. Sweet, silky tannins frame the fruit. Unlike the 2008, the 2009 is not particularly wild or exotic. Instead, it is a wine that stands out for its textural finesse and understated personality. This mid-weight, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon should be cellared for another year or two and enjoyed over the following decade. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024”

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The average listed price in the USA is $248 / bottle

Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2011 ($99.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
 “Vivid red. Sexy, smoke- and spice-accented aromas of candied red berries, vanilla and rose pastille. Juicy and expansive, offering vibrant raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a touch of star anise. Very fresh, with excellent finishing clarity and sneaky tannins. There’s “a lot of Gap’s Crown” fruit in here, according to Browne.”

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Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River 2011 ($99.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
 “Deep ruby. Heady scents of raspberry, cherry-cola, floral oil, Asian spices and vanilla. Juicy and penetrating, with superb inner-mouth perfume to its sweet red fruit and candied rose flavors. Becomes spicier with air and finishes with excellent clarity, breadth and persistence.”

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Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Santa Lucia 2011 ($99.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points 
” Full ruby. A powerfully scented bouquet displays smoky black raspberry, cherry, licorice and oak spices. Pliant dark berry flavors gain energy with air, taking a turn to zestier raspberry and bitter cherry. Impressively deep but focused and energetic pinot, with excellent finishing lift and lingering spiciness.”

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Joseph Carr Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2012 ($19.95) $11.90 special

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The average listed price is over 40% higher- $17

L. Aubry Champagne Brut Premier Cru NV ($44.95) $33 special
Case-12: L. Aubry Champagne Brut Premier Cru NV $359 special (That’s just under $30 / bottle)
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 “(45% pinot meunier, 25% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay, with the rest arbanne, petit meslier and fromenteau; disgorged in April, 2013):  Bright straw.  Pungent aromas of Meyer lemon, pear and fig, with a gingery accent adding lift.  Sappy, penetrating citrus fruit and floral flavors are given a refreshingly bitter character by notes of pear skin and peach pit, with a waxy note coming up on the back half.  A smoky nuance lingers on the finish, which shows very good clarity and length.  Fifty-five percent of this blend is from 2010 and the rest is reserve wines, mostly from a solera that was begun in 1998.”

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Piollot Champagne Cuvee de Reserve Extra-Brut NV ($39.95) $24  special
Rowland Piollot is a 5th generation grower in Polisot, Cotes des Bar. A zealot in respect to organic practices, and literally married to Champagne- his wife is Dominique Moreau, she of Marie-Courtin acclaim. This wine is nicely balanced in all respects; the light touch on dosage (extra-brut) adds a verve to the richness inherent in a 50% Pinot Noir blend from the relatively warm Cotes des Bar, in the southern reaches of the Champagne Appellation.

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The average listed price in the USA is $38 / bottle

A. Margaine Champagne Premier Cuvee Le Brut NV ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 90 points
 “(90% chardonnay and 10% pinot noir; bottled in July, 2013 after 26 months on its lees):  Bright straw.  Fresh melon and peach on the nose, with a dusty mineral quality adding complexity and lift.  Juicy honeydew and pit fruit flavors are concentrated and energetic, picking up bitter quinine and toasty lees notes with air.  Finishes with good focus and lingering floral and spice qualities.”

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Ayala Brut Rose Majeur NV ($59.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 90 points
 “(made from 51% chardonnay, 39% pinot noir – about a quarter of which is still red wine – and 10% pinot meunier; disgorged September, 2011):  Pale orange.  Bright, mineral-accented aromas of orange peal, brioche and white flowers, with a spicy topnote.  Silky and open-knit, offering tangy citrus fruit and red berry flavors and a hint of toastiness.  Closes smooth, fruity and long, with good breadth and clarity.”

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De Sousa Brut Rose NV ($69.95) $39 special 18+ bottles available
Josh Raynolds 91 points
 “Dark pink, with a hint of onion skin; the color of a red wine from Arbois, even darker than some. Deep and smoky on the nose, with a spicy, vinous raspberry and cherry tone verging on Burgundian in character. Quite spicy, the cherry and wild berry flavors tinged by notes of clove, mace, cracked pepper and cayenne. A singular wine that would go perfectly with pungent cheeses or cured meats.”

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Henri Billiot Reserve Brut NV 1.5 LITER ($149.95) $89 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “Richly spiced, with a skein of ground clove, ginger and cardamom winding through flavors of dried apricot and apple, currant candy, passion fruit and lemon zest. Beautiful texture and balance here, followed by a long and mouthwatering, mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2020. 300 cases imported.”



Huet Vouvray Petillant 1998 ($44.95) $24 special 



Domaine Maume Mazi-Chambertin Grand Cru 2007 ($199.95) $99 special
Burghound 90 points 
“Traces of crushed herbs and cassis add depth to the spicy and elegant yet sauvage nose, which is admittedly an interesting contrast in character. The rich, full and intense flavors offer good if not exceptional size and weight though there is a taut muscularity to the mineral suffused finish that coats and stains the palate…”

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Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve 2009 ($29.95) $14 special

Next best price listed in the USA- $25.99

Trimbach Riesling Clos Sainte Hune 2005 ($249.95) $179 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “In its aromas of lime, apricot, narcissus, chalk dust, red currant, and musk, the 2005 Riesling Clos Ste-Hune is surprisingly a bit more open and expressive than the Frederic Emile. On the palate this exhibits amazing, chalky density, firm citricity and a satiny, slippery, glycerin-rich texture. Tart red berry, pungent citrus zest, and quarry dust dominate in a finish that is unsurprisingly unyielding but promisingly long. Only time can reveal this wine’s true degree of superiority to the Frederic Emile, and the latter might well nip at its heels indefinitely! “

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Average listed price in USA is $215.95



Tempier La Tourtine Bandol 2010 ($79.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 93 points 
“Densely packed, with a brooding feel, offering plum eau-de-vie, kirsch and blackberry paste notes held in check behind a wall of charcoal, loam and singed rosemary sprig. Features ample, fine-grained grip, revealing a mouthwatering sanguine echo at the very end. Mourvèdre, Grenache and Cinsault. “

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Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge 2010 375ml ($27.95) $18 special
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge 2010 ($39.95) $29 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
 “Notes of sanguine and rosemary line the core of taut cherry preserves and red currant paste. A singed alder hint flitters through the finish, showing good persistence. Mourvèdre, Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan. Drink now through 2020.”

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Domaine Tempier Cuvee Cabassaou Bandol 2010 ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Spectator 93 points 
“The pure, solid core of kirsch and blackberry pâte de fruit is studded with rosemary, bitter plum, ganache and anise notes. This slowly yields to extra juniper, iron and sanguine accents that play out through the long, layered finish. This needs time to unwind fully. Mourvèdre, Syrah and Cinsault. Best from 2017 through 2020.”

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Selbach- Oster Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese* 2010 ($59.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “Honeysuckle, lily and heliotrope; apple and white peach essences ravishingly scent the Selbach-Oster “one-star” 2010 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese*, then reconvene on a creamily-textured yet insistently juicy palate that conveys an irresistible sense of tenderness, delicacy, caress, yet at the same time vibrancy. The savor of browned butter, salt, and deep nut oils here are like catnip to the salivary glands. This glorious epitome of its great site finishes with extraordinary, multi-layered, and in the end almost ethereal persistence. The berries here were still largely green-gold, freckled, but only delicately (“perhaps 20-25%”) botrytized, relates Johannes Selbach, and this seems to me entirely recognizable in the glass. I would hope to follow and be spoiled by some of the 2,000 liters of this for the next quarter century.”

Was $44 – Final 24 bottles – average elsewhere $50
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Donnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spatlese 2010 ($49.95) $33 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
 “Cherry blossom, lily, and peony scent Donnhoff’s 2010 Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spatlese, persisting on the palate accompanied by succulent white peach and refreshing lime. As with this year’s Kabinetts, here is buoyancy and elegance along with a lusciously-lingering, kissed-stone finish. Look for at least 15 years of delight.”

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Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett 2010 ($34.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “Enhanced levity to Donnhoff’s 2010 Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett, even when compared with the corresponding Krotenpfuhl, may well be the effect of these vines’ literally slate underpinnings. In any event, this displays a lovely hint of creaminess allied to refreshment, and features a dynamic finishing interaction of fresh lemon and grapefruit, herbs, and wet stone. I would anticipate 12-15 years of high-performance.”

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Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Beerenauslese 2006 375ml ($119.95) $79 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “A racy style, sporting lime, dried apple and peach flavors. Has a glycerol texture and finishes cleanly. There’s a lot packed into the slim frame. Drink now through 2032. 140 cases made”

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The average listed price in the USA is $136 / bottle



Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico Reserva 2007 ($59.95) $44 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points 
“The 2007 Barbaresco Riserva Montefico is all about energy and sheer power. The Montefico is quite virile, even in this vintage, with a certain austerity in the tannin that will require time in bottle to soften. Dark red fruit, leather, anise and spices are some of the notes that wrap around the insistent, pointed finish. There is plenty of nuance here, but not the early appeal of the year. This is a great showing, but readers will need to be patient.

Final 19 bottles
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Marziano Abbona Barolo Terlo Ravera 2007 ($79.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points 
“The 2007 Barolo Terlo Ravera is a little more reserved than the Pressenda. It comes across as rather inward, with lovely definition in its sweet red fruit, mint and floral notes. The Terlo Ravera impresses for its length and energy rather than for its sheer power. It, too, is dazzling, though, and should drink well for a number of years. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”

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$57.95+ anywhere else

Bruna Grimaldi Barolo Camilla 2009 ($37.95) $26.60 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
 “The lovely 2009 Barolo Camilla opens to characteristic Nebbiolo aromas of wild berry, dried mint, licorice tar and pressed rose. The wine is elegant and feminine overall with fine, silky tannins at the rear. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025”

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Caparzo Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 ($49.95) $33.50 special
James Suckling 93 points
 “Love the flowers, ripe berries and minerals on the nose here. Light dried fruits too. Dried porcini! Full bodied, round and fruity, with a decadent and fruity finish. Try in 2013.”

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Caparzo Brunello Vigna La Casa 2006 ($89.95) $48 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna La Casa boasts a deep, dark core of fruit. Ripe black cherries, tar, leather and licorice are some of the nuances that emerge from this resonant, expressive Brunello. In 2006 La Casa shows plenty of muscle but without abandoning the house’s medium-bodied style. Anise and menthol reappear on the creamy, generous close. This is a beautiful, deceptively medium-bodied Brunello from Caparzo. In particular, I admire the way the wine turns minerally on the finish. The Vigna La Casa spent 36 months in Slavonian and French oak casks, but of a slightly smaller size than those used for the straight Brunello. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026.”

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Casanova Neri Brunello Di Montalcino 2008 ($49.95) $33 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points
 “The 2008 Brunello di Montalcino sweeps across the palate with superb richness and depth. Dark cherries, plums, spices, tobacco and menthol blossom as the wine opens up in the glass. A decidedly large-scaled, dramatic wine for the year, the 2008 impresses for its pure resonance and rich, enveloping finish. This is one of the most rewarding 2008s to drink upon release, but it should also age well for a number of years.”

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The average listed price in the USA is $48 / bottle

Casanova Di Neri Brunello Cerretalto 2006 ($249.95) $199 special
James Suckling 99 points
 “Aromas of ripe strawberries, sandalwood, and flowers follow though to a full body, with soft tannins and a fruity finish. This is so long and gorgeous, with intense fruit and a defined and beautiful structure. Amazing fruit at the finish. Gorgeous now, but will age beautifully. The palate builds and show such depth. So wonderful now, but better in 2015.”

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Cerbaiona Rosso di Montalcino 2010 ($59.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
 “The 2010 Rosso di Montalcino is drop-dead gorgeous. Sweet dark cherries, spices, menthol and new leather are woven together beautifully in the glass. Savory herbs and licorice notes appear later as the wine opens up in the glass. There is a beautiful weight to the 2010, but no sense of heaviness whatsoever. The firm 2010 tannins are present yet unobtrusive. With time in the glass, the aromas and flavors brightness up in a wine that is pure class.”

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Cerbaiona Brunello Di Montalcino 2008 ($199.95) $139 special
Antonio Galloni 93+ points
 “Succulent red cherries, dried roses, violets, tar and spices are some of the many notes that are woven together in the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino. Intensely perfumed, the 2008 shows many of the classic Cerbaiona signatures, even if it is a touch less polished than some of the recent vintages. At the same time, the 2008 has come together nicely over the last few years, so it will be interesting to watch what happens with further time in bottle. Dried rose petals and spices add complexity to the subtle, layered flavors. This is one of the stronger wines of the year.”

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Cerbaiona di Diego Molinari Brunello di Montalcino 2005 ($149.95) $89 special
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 93+ point
s “Succulent red cherries, dried roses, violets, tar and spices are some of the many notes that are woven together in the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino. Intensely perfumed, the 2008 shows many of the classic Cerbaiona signatures, even if it is a touch less polished than some of the recent vintages. At the same time, the 2008 has come together nicely over the last few years, so it will be interesting to watch what happens with further time in bottle. Dried rose petals and spices add complexity to the subtle, layered flavors. This is one of the stronger wines of the year.”

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The average listed price elsewhere is $106 / bottle

Castello di Ama Chianti Riserva 2008 ($41.95) $28 special
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points
 “Good medium-deep red.  Black cherry, redcurrant, licorice and menthol aromas are lifted by a floral element that carries through on the palate. Flavors of dark cherry, licorice and underbrush are complicated by a tarry quality.  Finishes suave and smooth, with harmonious tannins and good subtle, spicy length.  I was impressed by the purity of the sangiovese fruit, given the fact that the wine also includes cabernet franc and merlot components; chalk up another winner to the dynamic duo of Lorenza Sebaste and Marco Pallanti.”

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Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello 2006 ($69.95) $39 special
James Suckling 95 points 
“Frescobaldi’s Brunello always delivers great quality in just about any vintage. Gorgeous nose of ripe berries and slice plums with an almost peach undertone. Full bodied, with a solid core of gorgeously clean and clear dark fruits. Dense and integrated tannins on the finish. So long and fascinating. Best after 2013”

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La Gerla Brunello Riserva Gli Angeli 06 ($79.95) $51.90 special
La Gerla Brunello Riserva Gli Angeli 06 1.5L ($199.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “Ripe plum, cigar box and iron notes are backed by solid tannins and lively acidity in this muscular red. There’s also a suppleness in the texture that should increase as the tannins are absorbed. Best from 2015 through 2032.”

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Piccolomini Brunello Montalcino 2007 ($69.95) $49 special
#9 WINE 2012 Wine Spectator 94 points
 “Though dense and rich, this red is also sleekly proportioned and harmonious. The cherry, raspberry, licorice, earth and tobacco flavors meld with the solid structure. Offers fine length and complexity that increases with aeration. Best from 2014 through 2025”

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San Felice Campogiovanni Brunello 2008 ($49.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “The 2008 Brunello di Montalcino is strikingly beautiful in this vintage. Sweet floral notes meld into raspberries, flowers, mint and spices. A sexy, radiant wine, the 2008 impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. The long, polished finish is impeccable. All the elements are in the right place. I don’t expect the 2008 to be a long-term ager, but it is very appealing today.”

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Gaja Ca Marcada Magari 2010 ($79.95) $51.90 special
Wine Advocate 94 points 
“Showing spectacular traits of the vintage, the 2010 Magari (50% Merlot and 25% each Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc) is a dark and modern wine with a thick fabric of dark fruit, blackberry preserves, spice and tobacco woven tightly together. The mouthfeel is exceedingly plush and there’s a sweet oak note of toasted almond or Spanish cedar on the close. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2026.”

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The average listed price in the USA is $63

Lopez de Heredia Vina Bosconia Reserva Rioja DOCa 2003 ($37.95) $26 special
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “(80% tempranillo, 15% garnacha, 3% graciano and 2% mazuelo):  Medium red.  Ripe red fruit, flowers and spices on the nose, with a smoky nuance emerging with aeration; very fresh for this notoriously hot vintage.  Concentrated but not at all heavy, with intense red berry and floral pastille flavors and a deeper note of singed plum.  The finish is bright and high-pitched, with lingering cherry and raspberry flavors and a hint of candied licorice.”

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Dominio Pingus Flor de Pingus Ribera del Duero 2011 ($99.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 93-95 points
 “The 2011 Flor de Pingus demonstrates wonderful purity on the nose, perhaps more feminine and wily than the 2010 with luscious raspberry, blackberry and forest floor notes. The palate is full-bodied with filigree tannins and a little more volume than the 2010. It seems generous and very supple at this early juncture with a caressing, peppery finish that is extremely well focused. There 2011 has awesome potential and I cannot wait to taste this after two or three years in bottle.”

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The average listed price elsewhere is $100 / bottle

Bodega Riojanas Monte Real Rioja Gran Reserva 1998 ($59.95) $39 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points
 “Dark red with a pale rim. Pungent, spicy nose shows pure cherry, redcurrant and plum complemented by succulent herbs, vanillin oak spice and a hint of dried flowers. Supple, lush and deep, with sweet red fruit flavors framed by gentle, harmonious tannins. Fleshy and sweet on the back end, with impressive concentration and focus. This should age well.”

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Pocas Junior Vintage Port 2009 ($59.95) $41.90 special
Wine Spectator 95 points #20 Top 100 2012
 “Elegant, with a deep purple color and complex, refined flavors of dark currant, ginger, blackberry and dark plum. Boysenberry and licorice notes chime in as well, lingering on the suave and silky finish. Fruity and complex. Best from 2016 through 2034.”

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Average listed price elsewhere is $56 / bottle




Leo Alzinger Gruner Veltliner Steinertal Smargd 2011 ($69.95) $49 special
Falstaff report 96 points
 “(translated) Bright Green Yellow. Fine yellow peach fruit, delicate orange flavor, mineral touch, multi-faceted bouquet, succulent, very elegant texture, fine stone fruit touch, balanced, underlaid with a finesse acid structure remains very good stick, mineral finish, very good from an inspiring transparency, aging potential”

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Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2012 ($12.95) $7.50 special
Case 12: Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2012 $79 special (That’s $6.583 / bottle)
Wine Spectator 88 points
 “Offers a lightly roasted feel, with an espresso frame and notes of ganache, steeped plum and blackberry fruit hanging through the finish, where white pepper flickers”

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Staff Picks


Chapoutier Luberon Ciboise 2012 ($14.95) $9.90 special
“A fantastic bargain from a fantastic producer. Ciboise is a blend of Syrah and Grenache from one of the Rhone’s sunnier regions, offering notes of berry and plum along with peppery spices. Soft and silky straight through the finish, this is both enjoyable now and could easily be held onto for the next few years.”




Crowley Willamette Valley Chardonnay 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special
“This just-released WV Chardonnay from Crowley is a rare treat.  All Four Winds Vineyard fruit, the wine was barrel aged on its lees, giving it aromas of graham cracker crust, pears and warm spices.  Yet this is no butter-bomb!  Mouthwatering acidity keeps it light and keeps you coming back for another sip.  Did I mention we have the best price in the USA today?”



Time to say Goodbye

Vito Catania, owner of Azienda Gulfi : “Since 1996, we have been making the wines we love at Gulfi. We never accepted irrigation, we always have considered the best practices of other organic and biodynamic environments. We went our own way like the best wine estates have done in differents parts of the world. Of course we are influenced by the most delicate burgundy wines as well as by the greatest Rhone Valley wines, particularly Chateauneuf du Pape, but our wines have first of all a taste of their true origins, of their deep sicilian roots.”

Rediscovered in the last 10 years, Sicily’s native grape Nero d’Avola continues to gain recognition as much more than a blending grape. Azienda Gulfi is a champion of the varietal, winning praise for their 100% Nero D’Avola wines, uncovering layers of delineation and nuance more common to the great wines of Piedmont than those of Sicily. Gulfi was created in 1995 through a collaboration between Milanese businessman Vito Catania and wine grower Salvo Foti. The project has not only protected old vines from being pulled up in favor of newer, more densely planted vines, but it has made Nero d’Avola its grape variety of choice, creating six great varietal wines, of which we offer the historic crus from the sea-level vineyards of Pachino, which face the coastline of south-eastern Sicily.

Gulfi Nerobaronj 2008 ($49.95) $31.90 special, 3+ cases remaining
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The highlight among these new releases is the 2008 Nerobaronj. An exotic melange of juicy dark cherries, freshly cut flowers, licorice and tobacco takes shape as this huge, racy wine shows off its irrepressible personality. The integrity of the fruit and the wine’s sheer balance are both marvelous to behold. Layers of fruit fill out the broad-shouldered finish beautifully. In 2008, the Nerobaronj is striking in every way. I loved it. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023”
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “(14% alcohol):  Dark ruby-red.  Aromas of black cherry, minerals and flowers are complicated by hints of capers and thyme on the captivating nose.  Suave, sweet and fine-grained, with enticing suggestions of tobacco, dried flowers and fresh herbs.  Very broad and lush yet somehow airy, this wine conveys a lovely light touch for what is usually a more pungently herbal wine.  Finishes with broad tannins and lovely spicy lift.  Made from 35-year-old vines on slightly calcareous soil, this may well be the best Nerobaronj vintage to date.”

Gulfi Nerobufaleffj 2008 ($49.95) $36 special, 23 bottles remaining
Stephen Tanzer 93 (+?) points 
“(14.5% alcohol):  Bright, dark red.  Very sweet, enticing aromas of red cherry, raspberry jam, cinnamon and marzipan.  Sweet, dense and silky, with lovely life to the rich, ripe red cherry and red berry jam flavors.  Finishes pure and very long, with a mineral nuance and melting tannins.  This opulent, almost Amarone-like red handles its 14.5% alcohol gracefully and doesn’t come across as hot or heavy.  Nero d’Avola and Sicilian red wine do not get much better than this, although those who prefer their reds bone-dry might be less enthusiastic than I.”

Gulfi Neromaccarj 2008 ($49.95) $37 special, 25 bottles remaining
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “The 2008 Neromaccarj is one of the firmer, darker wines in this range. There is also an element of inner reserve that is utterly beguiling. Dark black cherries, plums, licorice and minerals sit on a firm backbone of tannins that give the wine its energy. Notable for its intensity and power, the 2008 brings together ripeness and structure in a complete wine that is an absolute joy to taste. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.”

Just a small portion of Gulfi’s expansive vineyards and estate