Vinopolis January 13 Newsletter

 January 13, 2014

Jump Start Sale 

Kalin Cellars Semillon 2000 ($39.95) $29 special
Robert Parker 93 points (in December 2013)
 “Even better, the 2000 Semillon is a blend of 75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc with some of the Semillon coming from 100-year-old vines. The wine was fermented in French oak for ten months and bottled without filtration in August, 2001. It displays a light gold color as well as aromas of wet gravel, honeysuckle, candle wax, orange marmalade and earth. Full-bodied, exceptionally fresh, rich and long, this remarkable white wine should drink well for 10+ more years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA


New Week New Wines

Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir 2009 ($26.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
 “Offers density, richness and depth without much weight, weaving earthy, spicy notes through the dark blueberry and plum flavors, lingering softly. Drink now through 2017.”
Wine Advocate 91 points “While the Momtazis intended their young vines “Three Degrees” cuvee to be a bargain, it is their 10,000 case bottling 2009 Pinot Noir Jamsheed – sourced from all portions and vine selections of their vineyard – that proves to be the more amazing value. Fresh boysenberry and purple plum are garlanded with bitter-sweet flowers; tinged with brown spices; underlain with clean red meatiness; and suffused with saliva-liberating salinity in a Pinot of refined tannins and outstanding persistence.”

Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Rocheaux 2010 ($49.95) $40.90 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “The Le Cadeau 2010 Pinot Noir Rocheux spent 15 months in one-third new barrels, and delivers a pronounced blue and black fruit sweetness I associate especially with the Dijon clone 777 that made up half of its eventual blend (the rest being Pommard selection that almost certainly is responsible–perhaps along with the rocky site itself–for the results being anything but superficially fruity and shallow). Subtle notes of nutmeg and vanilla along with a satisfying savor of pan drippings and generally animal fat savor add allure to the rich fruit on a satiny palate, and this finishes with soothing and persistently, mouthwateringly seductive richness. I expect one will want to follow it for at least ten or twelve years.”

Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Diversitie 2011 ($49.95) $40.90 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points
 “Dark red.  Black raspberry, cherry-cola, Asian spices and woodsmoke on the pungent nose.  Fleshy and expansive, offering sweet but sharply focused red and dark berry flavors and a sexy touch of candied rose.  There’s surprising depth here for this wine’s vivacity.  Becomes spicier and smokier with air and finishes with excellent thrust and smooth, even tannins that give shape and focus to the juicy fruit.  No way I’d have guessed that this pinot came from a challenging vintage.”

Le Cadeau Pinot Noir Merci Reserve 2011 ($79.95) $61.90 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “The Le Cadeau 2011 Pinot Noir Merci Reserve – a bottling first essayed in vintage 2009 but tasted by me for the first time this year – is named for the generosity of those who made it possible for Mortimer to plant the stony lowest section of Le Cadeau with a who’s who (as well as a hush-hush or two) of California heirloom selections. The rough break down of selection heritage is nearly half Calera and most of the balance around equal parts Swan and Mount Eden. Vinification (which in my Issue 202 report I erroneously attributed to Steve Ryan) is overseen by Jim Sanders, who tells me that – just as one’s palate suggests – “it’s a different animal you’re dealing with in the cellar from these vines,” though he left most of his explanation of that difference at a metaphoric level, noting for instance the tendency of the fruit from these selections to “come down on itself, and need structure from the cooperage to hold it up and expand it.” There were three barrels’ worth (two new), bottled in June. Nutmeg, ginger, and fennel pollen alluringly accent concentrated red berry fruit, while a level of carnal, umami and saliva-inducingly saline savor emerges that I haven’t witnessed in previous Le Cadeau bottlings. There is also a striking sense of vibrancy to the finish here that perfectly complements this Pinot’s satiny texture and sense of lift. Exciting though it is today, I have high hopes that this will gain further complexity and refinement over the next dozen or more years in bottle. (“The 2012 is frightening,” reports Sanders. That sounds to me like a recommendation.)”

Seghesio Family Sonoma County Zinfandel 2012 ($21.95) $18 special
In Sonoma, 2012 was marked by an extended and warm ripening season. Results on display here are a smoothish wine, with the briarish essence of zinfandel not lost to lush. Fully flavorful, restrained short of full blown brute. But then, we always like this wine…

Louis-Antoine Luyt Carmenere 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special
Louis-Antoine Luyt Primavera 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special

Michael Steinberger in his recently published book ,The Wine Savant  “… the finest wines coming out of Chile these days- some of the finest wines in all South America, in my opinion- are being made by a transplanted Frenchman. Louis-Antoine Luyt, a protégé of the late, venerated Beaujolais winemaker Marcel Lapierre, is crafting sensational wines…” (if you’d like to follow Mike more closely, or buy a book, )

Vouette et Sorbee Champagne Cuvee Fidele Extra Brut NV (2010) ($79.95) $59 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points 
“The Extra Brut Fidèle bursts from the glass with an exciting melange of aromas and flavors. The Pinot is very much alive in the glass in a rich, textured Champagne loaded with class and elegance. Dried pears, marzipan, dried flowers and licorice flesh beautifully. This striking wine from Vouette et Sorbée is oozing with personality.”

Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Cuis 1er Cru Brut ($49.95) $39 special
Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Cuis 1er Cru Brut 375ml ($29.95) $24 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points
 “80% 2010 wine, 10% 2009, 4% 2008, 5% 2007 and 1% 2002; disgorged in May, 2013 after 30 months on its lees):  Green-tinged yellow.  Intense, mineral-accented aromas of orange zest, pear and white flowers, with an iodiney quality building in the glass.  Chewy in texture and nicely concentrated, offering precise citrus and bitter quinine flavors and a strong topnote of dusty minerals.  Finishes clean, bright and very long, with lingering chalkiness.  This would make a superb match with fresh oysters or crab.”

Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Cuvee Gastronome Blanc de Blancs 2008 ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
 “The 2008 Brut Chardonnay Premier Cru Cuvee Gastronome is a blend of fruit from Chouilly, Cuis, Cramant, Oger and Vertus. Here the fruit begins to take on slightly greater textural richness and depth. Crisp yellow-fleshed fruits, flowers, almonds and spices are all woven together beautifully. The 2008 stands out for its inner perfume, sweetness and inviting personality.”

Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Fleuron Blanc de Blancs 2006 ($69.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points
 “Pale gold.  Smoky pear and nectarine aromas are brightened by zesty minerals and deepened by hints of toasty lees and iodine.  Intense orchard fruit and melon flavors stain the palate, picking up citrus pith and floral honey qualities with air.  Turns firmer and more minerally with air, finishing with excellent lift and smoky persistence.”

Pierre Gimonnet Champagne Special Club Brut 2005 ($79.95) $69 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
 “Gimonnet’s 2005 Brut Special Club is made predominantly from old vines in Cramant, Oger and Cuis. It offers better balance than the 2005 Non Dose, as a little dosage, in this case 5 grams per liter, unleashes the aromatics and fruit to a considerable degree. Pears, pastry, lemon oil, almonds and exotic flowers all meld together nicely. The 2005 Special Club remains tightly wound and vibrant, with none of the awkward notes that are found in so many wines in this vintage”

Domaine d’Elise Chablis 2012 ($21.95) $18 special

This wine has been pleasing people here each vintage beginning with 2005. This just arrived 2012 is denser than most years; has a markedly Chablisienne character; the best under $20 Chablis anywhere.

Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Beze 2008 ($1499.95) $1099 special, only 2 bottles
Antonio Galloni 96 points 
“Rousseau’s 2008 Chambertin-Clos de Beze is off the charts. Textured and layered throughout, this exquisite, captivating wine graces the palate with endless fruit framed by silky, refined tannins. All of the elements build effortlessly to the dazzling, impeccably crafted finish. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2038.”

Faiveley Corton Clos des Corton Grand Cru 2011 ($179.95) $149 special
Stephen Tanzer 93-96 points
 “Good deep red. A bit darker on the nose than the grand crus from Gevrey-Chambertin, offering explosive aromas of crushed raspberry, black cherry, exotic spices and a touch of smoke. Compellingly rich and seamless in the mouth, with terrific sappy verve to the urgent flavors of red berries, minerals and game. The very long, slowly rising finish boasts outstanding energy and thrust and saturates the mouth with sweet perfume.”

Faiveley Chambolle-Musigny 2011 1er Cru Charmes 2011 ($99.95) $89 special
Burghound 90 -92 points
 “This is notably more refined aromatically than the Beaux Bruns with a pure and relatively high-toned nose composed primarily of various red berries with hints of plum and violets. There is equally comparable refinement on the palate as the delicious and attractively precise flavors are supported by very fine grained tannins on the admirably persistent finish. Textbook.”

Faiveley Chambolle-Musigny 2011 1er Cru Combe d’Orveaux 2011 ($139.95) $119 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 -94 points
 “(25% vendange entier; the lieu-dit is Petit Musigny):  Medium red.  Raspberry, pungent smoky minerality and truffley underbrush on the perfumed nose.  Juicy, tactile and saline, with musky red raspberry fruit complicated by crushed-stone minerality.  Mounts impressively on the chewy aftertaste.”

Faiveley Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2011 ($159.95) $136 special
Burghound 92-94 points
 “An attractively complex and unusually refined nose speaks of red currant, kirsch, soft earth and a hint of wood spice. There is a refined mouth feel to the larger-scaled flavors thanks to the fine grain of the ripe and well-integrated tannins on the mildly austere and impressively long, indeed even explosive finish. This is terrific and the backend offers the same excellent depth the nose promises. Lovely stuff.”

Faiveley Chambertin Clos de Beze 2011($319.95) $259 special
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points 
“Good deep red.  Deeply pitched, slightly reduced nose dominated by smoky minerality, musky soil tones, game bird, gunflint and dried rose.  Thick, sweet and very intense, offering terrific smoky, soil-driven complexity but not yet displaying its underlying fruit.  Finishes with big, fine-grained tannins and excellent length.  Doesn’t yet show the sheer eclat of the Mazis, but this may be going through an awkward stage.”

Loosen Brothers Riesling Mosel “Dr. L” 2012 ($11.95) $8.90 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
  “A succulent white, filled with plush red peach, cherry and white currant flavors that are supported by zesty acidity.  Long and creamy on the finish, offering plenty of spicy overtones. Impressive for the category. Drink now through 2016.”

JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2012 ($49.95) $39 special
JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2012 1.5L ($149.95) $99 special
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points
 “This is a gorgeous wine which oozes yellow peach, apricot, pink grapefruit and white flowers as well as a touch of mango. The wine is firmly Auslese in style and delivers a great playfully creamy feel on the palate and in the nicely juicy yet salty and fresh finish.

JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese GK 2012 1.5L ($249.95) $199 special
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points
 “This offers a deliciously rich and soft feel of flowers, herbs and ripe fruits, in which a hint of apricot, mango and also honey come through on the palate and in the finish. The wine is quite rich and smooth and leaves an airy and spicy feel in the long aftertaste. It lives from the fascinating botrytis complexity and it will be fascinating to see how it will develop in the coming decades”


JJ Prum Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2012 ($44.95) $36 special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points
 “This beautiful wine is driven by comparatively ripe flavors of yellow fruits, smoke and bergamot. The feel on the palate is racy yet, at the same time, delicately creamy. The finish is long and smooth, with a tickly acidic feel bringing a joyful side to the experience”

JJ Prum Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2012 GK ($99.95) $79 special
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points
 “Made exclusively from the parcel forming the original Sonnenuhr, this delivers a great fresh nose of bergamot, quince and mango which turn into more botrytized and honeyed flavors of exotic fruits including passion fruit and pineapple on the palate. The zesty and fruity finish makes one magically go for another sip. This is gorgeously made.”

Von Winning Estate Riesling 2012 ($21.95) $18 special
Terry Thiese
 “This sits next to Dönnhoff as the zenith of quality at the estate-Riesling level. It’s unchaptalized, and has a delicate note of cask. It’s perfectly dry because it isn’t brutally dry. It’s sexy and spicy in that gingery Pfalz way, and it’s juicy in the way of the vintage. It has some of the angular charm of Meßmer’s Muschelkalk bottling, but with even more finesse and curvaciousness. It’s amazingly seductive. Your customers will love you for pouring this, or putting it into their shopping baskets.”

Von Winning Paradiesgarten Riesling Trocken 2012 ($29.95) $26 special
Terry Thiese
 “This was literally astonishing. I never anticipated such quality from this site, which sits above the Leinhöhle just below the woods- perhaps an advantage in the new climate era? I mean serious WOW; soursop and ginger and talc in an enticing bouquet; explosively expressive on the palate, like some cool spice-drenched pudding; perfectly balanced and insanely attractive.”

Von Winning Ruppertsburger Reiterpfad Riesling Trocken 2012 ($47.95) $39 special
Terry Thiese
 “The appetizer for the main course(s) to follow. It isn’t mineral, but rather smoky, belly-rich and robust, corporeal and mouth-filling and butterscotchy, spicy and generous, and yet solid and refined even with its big open bones.”

Von Winning Langenmorgen Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2012 ($69.95) $59 special
Terry Thiese 
“It’s the manly side of Pfalz Riesling, and we debate whether this is a Grand or just a Premier Cru; yet the wine is articulate, herbal and peppery, cedary and woodsy, long, studious and spicy, with an almost urgestein minerality, suave even while it’s rural, and gentle even as it prods with its leafy message.”

Vietti Dolcetto d’Alba Trevigne 2012 ($21.95) $18 special
G. Mascarello Dolcetto d’Alba Stefano Perno 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special

Cantina del Pino Dolcetto d’Alba 2012 ($19.95) $16 special
Antonio Galloni 88 points 
“The 2012 Dolcetto d’Alba is soft, pretty and nicely balanced. Red berries, sweet spices and licorice meld together in a juicy, fruit-driven Dolcetto to drink over the next 2-3 years.”

Cantina del Pino Langhe Nebbiolo 2011 ($24.95) $19 special
Wine Advocate 90 points
 “All of the best qualities of the vintage come to life in the 2011 Langhe Nebbiolo. Round, sweet and inviting, the 2011 wraps around the palate with layers of rich, expressive fruit. This gorgeous, caressing Nebbiolo is a great introduction to the house style and the 2011 vintage. Even better, it is a fabulous value. The Nebbiolo is made from young vines in Starderi, Gallina and Ovello. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Albesani 2008 ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni & Wine Spectator 94+ points
 “Cantina del Pino’s 2008 Barbaresco Albesani shows the heights of pure elegance Nebbiolo is capable of. An exotic array of plums, black cherries, menthol and violets come to life as the Albesani shows off its pedigree. Silky, refined and polished, the Albesani is simply magnificent from the very first taste. The deep, resonant finish stayed with me for hours. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Cantina del Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2008 ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
 “Layers of sweet, Pinot-like fruit emerge effortlessly from the 2008 Barbaresco Ovello. Incredibly refined from the very first taste, the Ovello impresses for its overall balance and sense of harmony. Expressive floral notes reappear on the finish in a Barbaresco that is unusually refined for this site, where the wines are typically a bit more taut.”

Tikves Rkaciteli 2012 ($11.95) $9.90 special
Tikves Vranec 2011 ($11.95) $9.90 special

That’s the Republic of Macedonia. Rkaciteli is an indigenous white grape, and in this wine rather nuanced and flavorful in a pleasingly understated way. The red, Vranec, is big, bold, and assertive. Lot’s of fun in this set , couldn’t resist them here.

Agusti Torello Cava Kripta Brut Nature 2006 ($89.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 92 points 
“The 2006 Kripta is a blend of 45% Macabeu, 20% Xarello and 35% Parellada from 60+-year-old vines with no dosage. It has a lovely almond and brioche-scented bouquet with lemon rind and lime leaf, all with superb delineation. The palate is very refined on the entry with palpable minerality, great tension and poise. It possesses a minimalist, focused finish with hints of green apple, lime and a little vanilla pod. Excellent. Drink now-2018+.”

Pingus PSI Ribera Del Duero 2011 ($44.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
 “Glass-staining ruby.  Dark berry, bitter chocolate and potpourri on the perfumed nose.  Spicy, penetrating black and blue fruit flavors show impressive clarity and lift, with a zesty mineral nuance adding bite.  Smooth and seamless on the subtly tannic finish, which leaves juicy blueberry and violet pastille notes behind.”

Pingus Flor de Pingus 2011 ($109.95) $69 super 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.”

Vega Sicilia Valbuena 2008 ($149.95) $119 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points
 “Opaque ruby.  Sexy, oak-spicy aromas of dark berry preserves, pipe tobacco, licorice and vanilla, with a smoky overtone.  Plush, expansive blueberry and cherry-vanilla flavors show superb depth and pick up Indian spice and bitter chocolate nuances with air.  Finishes sweet and seamless, with slow-building tannins and a whiplash of sweet blue fruit.”

Vega Sicilia Unico 2003 ($399.95) $319 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
 “This red is generous and expressive, delivering dried cherry, tobacco, mineral and spice flavors in a rich, round texture, with a good balance of well-integrated tannins and racy acidity. More harmonious than assertive, but shows plenty of depth. Drink now through 2023.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Vega Sicilia’s 2003 Unico, mainly Tempranillo with a balancing 8% of Cabernet Sauvignon, was aged in wood for nearly seven years before being bottled, starting with 15 months in large oak vats, followed by 25 months in new barriques, before being transferred to used ones for another 17 months and ending its elevage with a further 22 months in those large wood vats again. As I uncork the bottle, the aroma reminds me of a classical Tempranillo, with some dill notes from the American oak and a minty hint from the Cabernet. It actually makes me think of traditional Rioja, believe it or not. The wine doesn’t show the heat of the vintage, and manages to transmit a general sensation of balance and finesse that is quite remarkable for the characteristics of the year. The aim here was to avoid the confited and raisiny notes of the fruit and the spirity character so common in that vintage. It starts off slightly lactic, with notes of cafe au lait, coconut and cola. With a bit of time, it turns more flowery and shows more red fruit. It is very aromatic, with plenty dry herbs, thyme and rosemary, even pine nuts, a bit of resin and some cured meat, and overall has a very complex nose. The mouth is a little more transparent toward the heat of the vintage, it is powerful and full-bodied, but manages to keep freshness. The minty note is there, with some hints of chalk that make it very tasty. It feels briary and opulent”




Arriving this Week
Here by Friday Jan 17

Domaine Servin Chablis Vieilles Vignes Selection Masalle 2010 ($27.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 92-93 points 
“The Servin 2010 Chablis Vieilles Vignes Selection Massale that I tasted this June in tank – representing a small portion held to test the effects of really long elevage – is so remarkable that I feel obliged to make an exception to my rule of not reviewing wines under names that it may be difficult to disambiguate. There will in fact be a numerical code ending in 13 – for 2013 – embossed perpendicular to the name of the word “Chablis” on the label of this one; and anyway, if your merchant can demonstrate that he or she bought some of this 2010 cuvee that was not shipped until late 2013 or early 2014, then it’s this particular batch that they got. The saline-sweet, saliva-inducing savor of fresh scallop that I associate with Pargues (and also, among others, with Preuses) is present here in irresistible spades, accompanied by fresh apple and grapefruit, kelp and seaweed, along with unmistakably vivid oyster liqueur. The word “mouthwatering” scarcely does this justice and it combines lush texture with refreshing and energetic brightness, its myriad nuances layered and undulating in a long, luscious finish. Look for it to be profoundly satisfying through at least 2016”

Domaine Bouland Morgon Corcelette Vieilles Vignes 2011 ($27.95) $21.90 special
John Gilman 94 points
 “Daniel Bouland’s small parcel in the lieu à dit of Corcelette was planted almost entirely in 1925, making these venerable vines eighty-six years of age in the 2011 vintage. The old vines have done an admirable job in this classic vintage, offering up a deep, complex and nicely reserved nose of cassis, black cherries, stony soil tones, woodsmoke, a touch of espresso and lovely topnotes of fresh thyme and sage. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully focused, with a rock solid core of pure black fruit, bright acids, excellent focus and balance and a very, very long, tangy and modestly tannic finish. This is one of those bottlings of Morgon that will go on forever and ever- based on its truly exceptional balance, more than on its overtly tannic structure, as it is one of the more politely-structured Morgons of the vintage. A complete classic. 2014-2050.”

Bastide Blanche Bandol Rouge Fontaneau 2010 ($31.95) $26 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “Shows plenty of muscle behind the intense and concentrated flavors of dark plum, raspberry, mocha and spice, revealing hints of paprika and chocolate. Firmly tannic on the finish, accented by roasted coffee bean. Drink now through 2020.”

Toro Abala Don PX Reserva 1949 ($249.95) $219 special
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.”



Domaine de Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2011 ($79.95) $44 special
Case-12: Domaine de Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2011 $499 special (that’s$41.59 / bottle)
Wine Advocate 93 points
 “Beautiful in the vintage, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape is a forward, perfumed example of the cuvee that has classic Pegau black fruits, tobacco leaf, pepper and leathery notes as well as medium to full-bodied richness and depth on the palate. Early-drinking by this estate’s standards, there’s nevertheless good mid-palate density and fine tannin. It should have 15 years or so of overall longevity.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today
The average listed price elsewhere is $80 / bottle

Christian Moreau  Clos des Hospices, Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2011 ($119.95) $75 special
Antonio Galloni 94-96 points
 “Expressive yellow stone fruits, spices, graphite and subtle French oak flow from the 2011 Chablis Les Clos Clos des Hospices. Hints of slate, smoke and oyster shells come to life on the beautifully delineated finish. There is great energy in the glass, but this is an infant. Here, too, I have a slight preference for the 2011 over the 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2013+.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
$85-$115, average $101 elsewhere


Chateau La Clemence Pomerol 2000 ($99.95) $69 specialRobert Parker 91 points “This looks to be the strongest effort to date from the Dauriac-Rolland team. Deep, opaque purple-colored, with a tight but promising nose of truffles, licorice, underbrush, incense, and black fruits, this big, huge, dense, full-bodied Pomerol shows no compromising for readers looking for something immediately drinkable. As the French would say, a true vin de garde. This backstrapping, muscular wine is loaded, but patience is most definitely a virtue. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2022+.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
But- subscribers only until Jan 17:
We’ll sell you an…
original wood case of 12 for $720!




Meet Samantha

Poe Winery was founded in 2009 by Samantha Sheehan, a young lady with a focus Burgundy and Champagne. Her mission as she describes was to show that California too has incredible and distinctive terroir, varying dramatically from one microclimate to the next. Poe produces only  Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, only single vineyard wines (only three in total) to show that distinction, and picks not by targeted sugar level numbers, but rather when the fruit is balanced and flavorful.

With limited volumes, Samantha has been successful from the outset. The Poe Winery’s sales have been mostly to local restaurants such as Michael Mina in San Francisco, The French Laundry in Yountville, and Mustards Grill in Yountville. But it wasn’t long until SF Bay area wine mavens started showing up at her winery door to supplement their home cellars. A threshold leap for her was when she was very well acknowledged by wine critic John Gilman for her works with the 2011 vintage, with comments such as these published in his ‘View From The Cellar’ periodical :

2011 Poe Vineyards “Ferrington Vineyard” Chardonnay (Anderson Valley)  I was really impressed with all four wines I tasted from Poe Vineyards, which were new to me, and their 2011 chardonnay from the Ferrington Vineyard in Mendocino is a lovely and quite youthful bottle. The deep and classy bouquet offers up a fairly primary blend of white peach, apple, very gentle leesy tones, a nice base of soil, lemon blossoms and a stylish touch of buttery oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a fine core of fruit, lovely, ripe acids and very good length and grip on the focused and still quite youthful finish. Structurally, this wine is not particularly forbidding or snappy, but in terms of flavor and aromatic development, it is still a puppy and could use at least a year or two in the cellar to start to develop its secondary layers of complexity. It is a very well-balanced wine at 13.4 percent alcohol and a lovely new addition (at least to me) in the firmament of California neo-classicists. 2014-2019+? 91+

2011 Poe Vineyards “Angel Camp Vineyard” Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)  After having been so impressed with the quality of the 2010 pinot noir from Poe Vineyards, I reached out to the winery to see if I could get samples of the 2011s for this article as well and was delighted to have their chardonnay and pinot noir arrive at my doorstep towards the end of June. Not surprisingly, given the cool vintage character of 2011, this wine comes in a tad lower on the alcohol scale than the very well-made 2010 version (13.6 percent versus 14.1 percent for the previous year) and the wine is exceptional. The fine bouquet is quite transparent in its blend of cherries, blood orange, a touch of beetroot, woodsmoke, fresh thyme, mustard seed, a dollop of new wood and a lovely base of soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and full-bodied, with a fine core of fruit, lovely intensity of flavor, fine focus, modest tannins and outstanding length and grip on the complex and classy finish. This wine is really light on its feet and most impressive! 2013-2030. 93.

And what were we doing then? Well, we were thinking that we’d best be looking elsewhere because rising stars in all the underground cult-wine letters are not good candidates for out-of-State retail trade.
But the 2012 vintage was generous in both quality and yield; and Samantha is not one to be addled by praises. So, here we are with her 2012s arriving towards the end of this week; just a few cases and not the start of something big.

Poe Chardonnay Farrington Vineyard Anderson Valley 2012 ($47.95) $39 special
Winery notes
 “The Chardonnay this year stands out for its purity and focus. The nose of white flowers, lemon oil, crushed rocks, and honey is enticing. This wine has beautiful bright acidity and envelopes the palate with flavors of peach, apricot skin, pear, quince and citrus. High-toned floral and stone fruit notes add lift on the linear, lengthy finish.”

Poe Pinot Noir Hudson Vineyard Carneros 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Winery notes 
“The Hudson Pinot Noir is by far our most feminine. The nose gives off aromas of roses and violets, sweet red berries and spice. There is a rush of raspberries, cherries, and a silky lingering texture. The beautiful acidity and luscious mouth feel linger with soft, cashmere-like tannins.”

Poe Pinot Noir Manchester Ridge Vineyard  Sonoma 2012 ($49.95) $41.90 special
Winery notes
 “The Manchester Ridge is earthy and wild. There is an explosive array of aromatics including pine sap, earth, fresh herbs, flowers, pie spice and berries. On the palate is dark red cherry, rhubarb, plum, spice, with a freshness and structured acidity. The finish is long and generous. The 15% whole cluster gives the wine incredible complexity and hits of fresh herbs that should be picked for the kitchen. Smelling this wine immediately takes me to the vineyard, high in a forest on the Mendocino Ridge.”



The Cellar Below

Last call on these – cellared here – since initial release


Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico Riserva 2004 ($69.95) $59 special 3 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 93 points
 “The 2004 Montefico is another of the larger-scaled wines in this lineup. It reveals a profile of ripe red fruits, spices and menthol wrapped into a seamless yet structured frame. This Barbaresco doesn’t quite have the level of profoundness of the finest wines in this vintage, but it comes awfully close. Shades of Bruno Giacosa’s 1971 Barbaresco Montefico linger on the long and immensely satisfying finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2024.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Pora Riserva 2004 ($59.95) $47 special 3+ cases remaining
Antonio Galloni 91 points
 “The 2004 Pora is a dense, chewy offering loaded with ripe red cherries, licorice, tar and sweet wild herbs. The wine’s sheer concentration and power are impressive but today the tannins seem to lack the extra level of elegance that characterizes the best wines in this vintage. Despite its slightly rustic personality, this medium to full bodied wine delivers plenty of drinking pleasure in an intense style. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2024.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Rio Sordo Riserva 2005 ($59.95) $49 special 14 bottles remaining
Wine Spectator 93 points
 “Chocolate and ripe plum aromas verge on overripe. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and lots of richness. This is a powerful young wine. Makes your mouth pucker. Best after 2012.”

Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja Riserva 2005 ($79.95) $66 special 12 bottles remaining
Antonio Galloni 94 points
 “The 2005 Barbaresco Riserva Rabaja reveals gorgeous inner perfume in a powerful, structured style. This is a big, hulking Barbaresco, but its potential is evident, as the wine’s balance is impeccable. Still, readers will have to exercise considerable patience here. I have seldom been disappointed by older bottles of the Rabaja and expect the 2005 will turn out to be another fine vintage for this bottling as well.”



Highlights – Arriving in February

Isole e Olene Cepparello Toscana 2010 ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96+ points
 “Isole e Olena’s 2010 Cepparello is magnificent. In particular, I admire the way the wine fleshes out in all directions, with seemingly endless layers of dark, mineral-infused berry, plum and pomegranate notes. A primal wine in need of significant cellaring, the 2010 is easily one of the highlights of the year. Bright, saline notes support the precise finish. Today, the 2010 is naturally quite backward and undeveloped, but it should be a gem in another 5-10 years. This is an especially dark, structured Cepparello built for the cellar. The 2010 brightens up with time in the glass, but it remains one of the darker, more brooding wines made in the estate’s history.”

Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2011 375ml ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
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.”

Valdespino Moscatel Toneles NV 375ml ($299.95) $269 pre-arrival special
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.”

Leoville-Poyferre Saint Julien 2009 3.0L ($1799.95) $1499 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 100 points
 “One of the more flamboyant and sumptuous wines of the vintage, this inky/purple-colored St.-Julien reveals thrilling levels of opulence, richness and aromatic pleasures. A soaring bouquet of creme de cassis, charcoal, graphite and spring flowers is followed by a super-concentrated wine with silky tannins, stunning amounts of glycerin, a voluptuous, multilayered mouthfeel and nearly 14% natural alcohol. Displaying fabulous definition for such a big, plump, massive, concentrated effort, I suspect the tannin levels are high even though they are largely concealed by lavish amounts of fruit, glycerin and extract. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040”





Time to say Goodbye

Chateau Saint Pierre Saint Julien 2009 ($169.95) $133 special
Robert Parker 98 points 
“The all-time greatest wine I have ever tasted from Saint-Pierre, this estate, the smallest of the grand cru classes of St.-Julien, has an opaque purple color and a spectacular nose of subtle charcoal, creme de cassis, blackberry, and incense. Full-bodied, with striking intensity and flamboyantly rich, exuberant flavors bursting with extract, the St. Pierre has no hard edges, but rather massive, incredibly well-endowed blockbuster style, which should prove to be monumental. Give it 6-8 years to take on more definition and calm down, but this is a 30- to 40-year wine. Bravo!”


Thank you for your reading time!