Vinopolis July 7 Newsletter

July 7, 2014

Jump Start Sale

Here tomorrow


Drei Dona (Tenuta la Palazza) Magnificat Cabernet Sauvignon Emilia-Romagna 2008 ($39.95) $21.90 special
Stephen Tanzer 90 (+?) points
 “Saturated ruby-red.  Pure aromas of black fruits, violet, graphite and herbs, plus a sexy note of sweet vanillin oak.  Large-scaled and thick, with mouthcoating tannins and palate-staining black fruit and herbal flavors.  The finish is long and pure and features great verve for such a big wine, but I would have liked a little more sweet fruit.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Cameron Winery Guiliano White 2013 ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note
: “Cameroni’s blended wine (given the nomer “Giuliano”) consists of the grapes Friulano, Pinot bianco, Pinot grigio and Auxerrois with a small bit of Moscato for floral high tones. This wine tends to be finished with higher acidity and given extensive bottle age (often up to a year) for an elegant extremely food worthy wine.”

Cameron Ramato Pinot Gris Rose 2013 ($27.95) $24 special
Winery note
: “Rame:  Italian for copper, ramato:  copper-colored.  Ramato is a copper-colored Pinot grigio made in the tradition of north-eastern Italy.  A very tricky wine to pull off, the resulting lovely light orange libation is a blend of complex herbal aromas and stunning mouth feel.  Very limited production.”

Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley 2012 ($24.95) $19 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “A fantastic effort that also represents a smoking value, the 2012 Cabernet Franc boast thrilling notes of violets, wild flowers, black raspberry and mulberry styled fruits to go with a medium to full-bodied, voluptuously textured style on the palate. Showing the purity and focus of the vintage, this beauty will have over a decade of prime drinking.”

Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2011 ($34.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “A fabulous success in the vintage, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon is an age worthy effort that gives up classic currant and plum styled fruits, licorice, earth and lead pencil shavings to go with a full-bodied, beautifully concentrated and layered profile on the palate. Opening up a time in the glass and showing impressive mid-palate depth and fine tannin on the finish, it can be consumed anytime over the coming 10 to 12 years.”

Newton Vineyard ‘Red Label’ Chardonnay 2012 ($19.95) $14 special

“Tropical fruit, peach, pear, green apple and lime flavors mark this fruity Chardonnay. It has prominent vanilla and buttered toast flavors, with a nice hit of acidity for balance.”

Newton Vineyard Red Label Claret, Napa Valley 2011 ($24.95) $16 special
Winery Notes
 “A blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot, fresh red raspberry and ripe blackberry aromas are punctuated by layers of rich, earthy, herbal tones. On the palate, the same red, black and blueberry flavors are prominent-all wrapped in a pleasing structure and texture.”

Dominique Lafon Bourgogne Blanc 2010 ($34.95) $24 special
Antonio Galloni
 “The 2010 Bourgogne Blanc is gorgeous. It reveals lovely depth and roundness, with expressive fruit, nuanced aromatics and tremendous overall balance. This is an unusually refined wine within its peer group. The 2010 was made from grapes sourced in St. Veran. Beginning in 2011, the Bourgogne will include fruit from Meursault that Lafon gained access to through the purchase of Domaine Manuel. Anticipated maturity: 2012+. These are the first wines I have tasted from Dominique Lafon’s new label, which he directs entirely on his own. Dominique Lafon is making his wines in a slightly different style than he has become known for at Comtes Lafon, his family’s iconic estate in Meursault. The Dominique Lafon wines are a little bit more laid back and restrained.”
Domaine Pierre Guillemot Bourgogne Rouge 2012 ($27.95) $24 special

Domaine Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie 2011 ($21.95) $17.70 special
Domaine Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie 2012 ($22.95) $19.90 special
Domaine Coudert Clos de la Roilette Fleurie Cuvee Tardive 2012 ($34.95) $29 special

Chateau de Pibarnon Bandol, Provence 2010 ($59.95) $44 special
Wine Advocate 94 points
 “Moving to the classic cuvee and even more impressive (it was one of the top wines I was able to taste for this report), the 2010 Bandol, which is over 90% Mourvedre, sees partial destemming and aging in oak casks, offers both gorgeous aromatic complexity and superb richness and depth on the palate. Giving up notions of pepper, Provencal herbs, underbrush and leather, with a solid core of dark fruit, this medium to full-bodied, pure, layered and beautifully balanced effort needs another 2-3 years of bottle age, and will easily keep for a decade or more past that.”

Doniene Gorrondona Txakoli Blanco, Bizkaiko Txakolina 2013 ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
 “The 2013 Gorrondona white is mainly Hondarrabi Zuri, a young, fresh white with aromas of dried herbs, white fruit, freshly cut grass and a mineral sensation. The palate is light, fresh, well balanced, with great acidity and very good length. It calls for food. Drink now-2015.”

Doniene ‘Gorrondona’ Tinto, Bizkaiko Txakolina 2013 ($29.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 90 points
 “The 2013 Gorrondona Tinto is a rarity, a red Txakoli produced exclusively with the red local grape Hondarrabi Beltza that fermented with indigenous yeast and went through malolactic in vat. It has an herbal nose, not unlike other Atlantic reds from southwest France or the Loire, a bit wild with some chili pepper and floral notes. It has certain elegance, with fine grained tannins. A red for blue fish? Drink now-2016.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Highlight Almost Arrivals – Here this week

Januik Weinbau Vineyard Cabernet Sauvigon 2011 ($47.95) $39 special

Charles Smith K Vintners Stoneridge Vineyard Merlot, Columbia Valley 2010 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 93 points “First produced in 2009, the 2010 Merlot Stoneridge Vineyard would be a perfect introduction into the Bordeaux blends of this estate. Spending 26 months in 50% new French oak, it offers up a ripe, rich array of plum sauce, black olive, kirsch, cedar and gravel to go with a soft, supple and beautifully fruited palate. Medium-bodied, with an approachable feel, it nevertheless has a great mid-palate and at least a decade of longevity. Drink now-2020.”

Charles Smith K Vintners ‘Clifton Vineyard’ Syrah, Wahluke Slope 2011 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
 “Loaded with potential, it exhibits a dense, full-bodied profile to go with already complex aromas and flavors. Showing the freshness of the vintage with its juicy, integrated acidity, it has beautiful ripeness, no hard edges and superb overall balance.  It should be reasonably approachable on release and age gracefully. Drink 2015-2026.”

Opus One Proprietary Red, Napa Valley 2010 ($249.95) $219 special
Antonio Galloni 97 points
 “One of the highlights among the more recent releases, the 2010 Opus One is flat-out gorgeous. Dark cherries, plums, graphite, cassis and pencil shavings are all woven together in a fabric of notable class and elegance. The 2010 stands out for its exceptional minerality, tension and pure power. Readers will have to be patient. This is a picture perfect rendering of this great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vintage.”

Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2013 ($31.95) $28 special
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon 2013 1.5L ($69.95) $59 special

Domaine La Garrigue Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine 2012 ($19.95) $16 special
Wine Advocate 91 points “A year-in, year-out spectacular value, the 2012 Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah that spends 10-12 months in concrete prior to bottling. A custom cuvee made by importer Eric Solomon and consultant Philippe Cambie, it comes from 60- to 90-year-old vines and is basically a declassified Vacqueyras (at a Cotes du Rhone price). Loaded with garrigue, saddle leather, herbes de Provence and both kirsch and blackberry fruit, it is medium to full-bodied, layered and supple on the palate, with fine tannin emerging on the finish. Showing the vintage nicely and loaded with character, it should be purchased by the case and consumed over the coming 4-6 years.”

Elvio Tintero Sori Gramella, Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2013 ($17.95) $14 special
Elvio Tintero Barbaresco DOCG 2010 ($24.95) $21.90 special

La Viarte Friulano Colli Orientali del Friuli 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special
La Viarte Ribolla Gialla Colli Orientali del Friuli 2012 ($24.95) $21.90 special

Grupo Artevino Vina Izadi  Rioja  Reserva 2009 ($21.95) $18 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points “(all tempranillo; aged in French and American oak for 14 months):  Opaque ruby.  Pungent aromas of blackcurrant, cherry-cola and white pepper, plus a subtle floral topnote.  Round and velvety on the palate, offering pleasantly bitter dark berry skin flavors complemented by mocha and candied rose notes.  Becomes brighter, spicier and more red-fruity with air, finishing with excellent cut and tangy persistence.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bandol WinesThe seaside town of Bandol, surrounded by vineyards


The Bandol wine region of France, located near the coast east of Marseille and Cassis, is one of Provence’s most internationally recognized wine regions and one of its oldest, with winemaking in Bandol tracing back as far as the Romans. With the AOC created in 1941, the title covers red, white and rose wines from roughly 3830 acres of vineyards surrounding the Mediterranean coastal town of Bandol.

Throughout Provence are a series of low coastal mountain ranges and ridges, creating varied microclimates. This stretch of coastline that is home to the Bandol and Cassis appellations protects the vines from cold north winds, allowing the vines here to enjoy sheltered, warm growing conditions on soils of silicon and limestone. Those soils and the warm, coastal climate are ideally suited for the late ripening Mourvèdre grape, the major varietal of the region. Ample sun and scarce rain gives the late-maturing Mourvèdre the time it needs to ripen, these sun baked soils providing further complexity.

For both the red and rosé wines, Mourvèdre must account for at least 50% of the blend, though most producers will use significantly more, with Grenache and Cinsault usually filling out the rest of the wine’s composition. With a high percentage of the spicy, powerful Mourvèdre grape, Bandol produces very characterful wines of great power and depth, possessing a complexity and nuance of flavor shared by few other appellations. The resulting reds are dark and rich, characterized by cherry and blackberry flavors, an earthy (sometimes herby) flavor and plenty of pepper in its youth.  Bandol reds’ strong flavors are made for aging and bottlings from top producers, such as Domaine Tempier, can age for decades. Bandol roses, which account for about a third of total output from the area, rank among the more distinguished roses that France has to offer. Known for their spicy, earthy character as well Bandol rosé is taught and trim where its red counterpart is round and robust. Bandol rose is, for many, the standard by which all other roses should be judged; dry, crisp, and herbaceous, with strong minerality and bright acidity. With few wines providing the specific character that these reds and roses possess, they are a must try for wine lovers searching for high quality, age worthy wines.


Stock List – Bandol Wines – Available Now

Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose 2013 ($24.95) $19 special 2+ cases available
From the winery (translated)
 “This Rose produces about 80,000 bottles a year, consists of Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Grenache. It is obtained by direct pressing of Mourvèdre and 24 hour maceration of Grenache and Cinsault. Malolactic fermentation is carried out according to variety. The wines are then aged for 4 to 10 months in tank before bottling.”

Domaine du Gros Nore Bandol Rose 2013 ($37.95) $31.90 special 17 bottles available
Importer’s note
 “This stunning rose is a delicious reminder of Bandol’s rightful place at the top of the rose hierarchy.  It is right at home with a bowl of black olives and a sunset.  40% Mourvèdre, 40% Cinsault, 20% Grenache.  30 years average vine age.”

Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rose 2013 ($39.95) $33 special 2+ cases available
Importer note
 “The Bandol Rosé from Pradeaux is perhaps the most serious wine in this category. Robust, rich, and complex with an ability to age gracefully, this wine is based on Cinsault (50%) and Mourvèdre (50%), taking its slight orange tint from the latter cépage.  The younger vines of the domaine (average age: 25 years) are utilized to produce a rare rosé with staying power and exceptional complexity.  The Rosé is vinified by a direct pressing for 24 hours followed by fermentation in cement tanks at a controlled temperature of 18 degrees Celsius for about 15 days; the malo-lactic fermentation is blocked and the wine is usually bottled in mid-April of the following year.  We import approximately 600 cases (7200 bottles) annually of this exceptional wine.”

Chateau De Pibarnon Bandol Rouge 2010 ($59.95) $44 special 2+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points 
“Moving to the classic cuvee and even more impressive (it was one of the top wines I was able to taste for this report), the 2010 Bandol, which is over 90% Mourvedre, sees partial destemming and aging in oak casks, offers both gorgeous aromatic complexity and superb richness and depth on the palate. Giving up notions of pepper, Provencal herbs, underbrush and leather, with a solid core of dark fruit, this medium to full-bodied, pure, layered and beautifully balanced effort needs another 2-3 years of bottle age, and will easily keep for a decade or more past that.”

Chateau Pradeaux Bandol 2007 ($41.95) $36 special 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 91 points
 “The tobacco, warm ganache and espresso notes lead the way in this version, with plum and blackberry paste flavors held in check by a pronounced charcoal spine and a tight core. Singed mesquite and cedar accents guide the finish. This may prove too roughly hewn for some folks, but offers solid depth and range. Best from 2015 through 2022. ”
Neal Rosenthal “95% Mourvèdre and 5% Grenache, with the Grenache adding spice to the bouquet and leavening some of the drama provided by the intimidating structure of the Mourvèdre. One of the hallmarks of Pradeaux is that the grapes are never destemmed…Average age of the vines is approximately 35 years…no new oak.”

Domaine Tempier Bandol Rouge 2009 ($41.95) $33 special 4 bottles available
Wine Spectator 91 points
 “This is focused on its graphite and slate flavors, with crisp accents of dried raspberry and cherry in the background. Cream and cocoa powder notes linger on the refined finish, supported by medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2018.”

Domaine Tempier Cuvee Cabassaou Bandol 2010 ($99.95) $79 special 5 bottles available
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.”


Tempier Bandol Rose – Arriving This Week

Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose 2013 375ML ($29.95) $24 special 2 cases available
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose 2013 750ML ($49.95) $38 special 2+ cases
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose 2013 1.5LITER ($119.95) $89 special
From the winery
 “An intense fruit and floral nose make this an attractive rose. The palate is rounded and full with fruity aromas of peach and pomegranate, followed by delicate spice notes and a pleasant freshness created by acidic balance.”


Burgundy of the Week

Of all of the growers in Savigny, there are but a few that are considered among its elite; one of the first always mentioned is Jean Marc and his son Hugues of Domaine Pavelot. Routinely worthy of accolades reserved for wines costing twice to three times what Savigny-les-Beaunes fetch, the wines of Pavelot are, according to Burghound’s Allen Meadows,  “wines worth a serious look each and every vintage… and absolutely worth your attention”.

There have been Pavelots in Savigny for many generations. Hugues, the 4th generation at Pavelot, maintains the domaine today. Though he studied and worked in Beaune and Australia, Hugues maintains that his most important ‘school’ was his father Jean-Marc. The house style is very focused and linear, with virtually always 100% destemmed fruit, the resulting wines clean and direct. Pavelot wines are pure, concentrated and fruit-driven with enticing sweetness and excellent balance.The domaine has impressive holdings: eight plots of premier cru Savigny-les-Beaune, three of which are in the famed valley of Bouilland. The premier crus reflect the respective characteristics of each vineyard, and are proven to be long lived every vintage. The emphasis at Domaine Pavelot is the work in the vineyard right from harvest to reduce yields from their various vineyards. Jean-Marc and Hugues Pavelot have consistently fashioned the most sought after, high-scoring, terroir-driven wines of the appellation. The father and son team of Jean-Marc and Hugues ensure a future of outstanding wines that have, in Robert Parker’s words, “for more than two decades been a source for fascinating, affordable, ageworthy reds”.

Domaine Pavelot Savigny Les Beaune 2010 ($44.95) $24 special
Burghound notes
 “Here the fruit is ripe though distinctly different as the Savigny style earth character is quite prominent on the somber dark pinot fruit nose. There is a velvety texture to the supple and relatively forward flavors that possess good concentration and fine balance on the sappy finish. This isn’t an especially elegant effort but it is certainly delicious and satisfying.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
The average listed price is $33 / bottle

Domaine Pavelot Savigny les Beaune Les Peuillets ($59.95) $44 special
Burghound 90 points
 “A more elegant and slightly fresher nose features a pretty mix of red berries along with hints of violet and plum. There is also more of a mineral character to the appealingly detailed, complex and delicious flavors that are shaped by more refined tannins while offering fine length. A classic Peuillets of finesse.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Staff Picks

Remelluri Rioja Reserva 2009 ($39.95) $31.90 special
“This is the first vintage to not have purchased fruit from other suppliers. All sourced from three valleys surrounding the estate. Great concentration of red fruit, spice, and a touch of vanilla. Tannins are finely integrated, giving the wine exceptional length, texture, and complexity.”




Felsina Vin Santo 2004 375ml ($47.95) $36 special
“Take my word for it (and also the 97 points from Antonio Galloni): this is the Vin Santo to try. Dense, lush, and extremely well balanced. This wine fills the palate with nuts, toffee, dried peach and candied fruits. Its exotic sweetness is balanced by bright acidity, making a long smooth finish that begs for another sip. Serve just slightly chilled with the traditional biscotto and you will never want the bottle to end. “




Walter Scott Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 ($49.95) $39 special 
“Due to thicker skins, this wine produces a slightly bolder style of Pinot not often found in the Willamette Valley. Nice depth and complexity. Notes of cherry and plum give way to spice and subtle hints of chocolate. Very nice.”


Clos De La Roilette Fleurie 2012 ($22.95) $19.90 special
“This wine is silky on the palate with notes of wild strawberries, black cherries, baking spices and a subtle note of thyme.  It could easily age for another few years, but enjoy this with a quick decant tonight.  This wine has the finest of tannins on the finish and proves that far too many people do not take Beaujolais seriously enough.”





Champagne of the Week

Champagne Rene Geoffroy was founded in the 1600s and today owns 14 hectares of vineyard land in the Marne Valley.  After World War 2, the Geoffroy family focused their efforts on making their own Champagne wines and in the 1970s they stopped selling their grapes altogether.  Jean-Baptiste is the fifth generation of the family to operate it.  He is passionate and energetic, constantly challenging norms and experimenting with improvements.  He recently moved production into a new gravity-flow winery in downtown Aÿ that also increased his space to work.  He planted a field-blend plot that includes the three standard Champagne varieties along with Petit Meslier and Arbanne.  Jean-Baptiste is a member of the Ampelos group of growers that practices integrated pest management, known as Lutte Raisonnee in French.  The group limits the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides in their vineyard to just shy of organic and enforces its restrictions with random inspections.  Integrated pest management encourages the use of cover crops and natural predators to limit pests and weeds.

Rene Geoffroy wines show a vibrancy and energy often not found in other Champagnes from the village of Cumieres in the Marne Valley.  Cumieres’ sunny slopes face south-east and are some of the first vineyards harvested in Champagne.  It is the land of red wine grapes, and most of the estate’s vines are Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  Due to the greater warmth of the region, Jean-Baptiste guards against any malolactic fermentation in his wines, which helps them to retain higher acidity and brightness and allows for a greater aging potential.  He only uses the first 1,800 liters from the press for the “cuvee” or first juice drawn off, which is 200 liters less than standard.  These 200 liters are instead included in the “premiere taille” the first pressing after the cuvee to increase the quality of the premiere taille.  The resulting Champagnes are bright, dramatic and full of complex red-fruit aromas for which the Marne Valley is famous.

Stock List – Rene Geoffroy Champagne – Available Now

Rene Geoffroy Empreinte Premier Cru Brut 2006 375ML ($31.95) $26 special 19 half-bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “(76% pinot noir, 14% chardonnay and 10% pinot meunier, all from 2006; disgorged 05/12/11): Light gold. Musky citrus pith, redcurrant and pear skin on the nose, complicated by scents of licorice and spicecake. A broad, sappy Champagne that offers gently sweet blood orange and pear flavors, with hints of toasty lees and dried rose adding complexity. Finishes with strong thrust and noteworthy clarity, spiciness and energy.”

Rene Geoffroy Blanc de Rose Extra Brut NV ($119.95) $89 special 9 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
 “Light orange-pink. High-pitched, incisive aromas of fresh red berries, blood orange, white pepper and rose, with a strong mineral component. Dry and focused in the mouth, showing noteworthy intensity to the zesty strawberry, raspberry and bitter rhubarb flavors. The mineral and floral notes repeat on the long, sappy, penetrating finish, which features an intense spicy quality. I love this vibrant, pure style of rose Champagne.”

Rene Geoffroy Extra Brut 2002 1.5L ($319.95) $279 special 5 magnums available
Wine Advocate 92 points
 “The 2002 Extra Brut Millesime is a rich, broad shouldered wine graced with tons of fruit. Vinification in French oak barriques gives the wine considerable depth, volume and spiciness. Layers of ripe, expressive varietal fruit flow from this rich, dramatic Champagne. A caressing, multi-dimensional finish rounds things out in style. As good as this is – and it is outstanding – I prefer Geoffroy’s wines made in steel. The blend is 60% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 5% Pinot Meunier, with 2 grams per liter of dosage”

Rene Geoffroy Rose de Saignee Premier Cru Brut NV ($89.95) $69 special 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points
 “The NV Brut Rose de Saignee is 100% Pinot Noir from the 2008 vintage. The rich, vinous style is beautifully balanced by the coolness and minerality of the year. This is a gorgeous, complete Champagne bursting with personality and sheer class. The wine boasts fabulous depth and remarkable nuance without ever coming across as heavy. To be sure, this is an intense, bold style that needs to be paired with food. Disgorged July 5, 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018.”

Rene Geoffroy Cumieres Pinot Noir Coteaux Champenois 2006 – Non-sparkling ($69.95) $59 special 5 bottles available
Importer’s note
 “The 2006 Cumieres Rouges is a still red made from Pinot Noir. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and spent one year in barrel.  The Pinot Noir for the Rouge Millesime comes from Premier Cru sites in Cumieres.”


Producer Highlight: Lopez de Heredia

“Perhaps no winery in the world guards it’s traditions as proudly and steadfastly as López de Heredia does,…it is paradoxically a winery in the vanguard, its viticulture and wine-making a shining, visionary example for young, forward-thinking producers all over the world…At López de Heredia, there is serenity that comes with adherence to core principles…” 
– Eric Asimov


The Lopez de Heredia family

When speaking of R. López de Heredia, nothing comes to mind more than ‘tradition’. As with other regions around the world, many winemakers have chosen to abandon traditonal methods in favor of more modern styles and techniques for the everyday consumer. With very little change and for over 137 years, three generations of the López de Heredia family have continually devoted themselves to producing some of Rioja’s most interesting wines, and of superlative quality. In 1877, founder Don Rafael López de Heredia discovered Rioja Alta’s ideal combination of soil and climate, offering the perfect environment for what would eventually become world-famous wines. Since the beginning,  López de Heredia has continued to produce 100% estate, single vineyard wines from their four vineyards; Viña Tondonia, Viña Bosconia, Viña Zaconia and Viña Cubillas.

View of the Bosconia vineyard

Bodegas López de Heredia is one of the few family-run bodegas regulated by the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja – DOC . The winery is now currently operated by Don Rafael’s great-grandchildren; Maria José, Mercedes, and Julio César Lopez de Heredia. Each succeeding generation has adhered to the founder’s philosphy: “old vines, low yields and careful, gentle handling.”

One of the many ways R. López de Heredia maintains their tradition is by continuing to use their own cooperage, making them the only bodega in Spain to use hand-crafted barrels to age their wines.  Whole trunks of American oak trees from the Appalachian mountains arrive to the winery, to be put in the meticulous hands of the coopers. Fermentation takes place in their 72 large oak vats, some of which are 139 years old. After fermentation, the wines are ready to be aged, in these 14,000 hand crafted American oak barrels. Extended barrel aging plays an important role in the development of the wine’s distictive bouquet. Their incomparable barrel aging processes create a particular silkiness and a complex range of aromatic nuances, flavors and infinite lengths.  Bottle aging in their cellar also plays a vital role, with even their most commercial wines being aged for a minimum of six months before being released for sale. This iconic producer expresses their traditions and cherishes their heritage in some of the most well-respected ways.

R. López de Heredia, Bosconia Reserva 2003, 750ml ($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.”

R. López de Heredia, Tondonia Reserva 2001, 375ml ($29.95) $24 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
 “The 2001 Vina Tondonia Reserva is bridled with a lovely nose of decayed red fruit, fireside hearth, a touch of mulberry and small red cherry. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, crisp red fruits (wild strawberry and cranberry) with a sharp, vibrant, tense, tannic finish that has immense precision. There is a slight saline note lingering in the mouth after the wine has (regretfully) departed…”

Time to Say Goodbye

Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Grand-Vin Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 1.5LITER ($899.95) $679 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
 “The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin opens with the most beguiling bouquet imaginable. Freshly cut flowers, mint, cinnamon and licorice all make an appearance as this vivid, beautifully delineated wine opens up in the glass. A model of total finesse and elegance, the 2009 wraps around the palate with what feels like endless layers of aromas and flavors. This totally seamless, polished Cabernet Sauvignon is virtually impossible to resist today, but it will be even better in another few years. The 2009 is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2039. Kapcsandy’s 2009s have developed beautifully over the last year.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
The next lowest listed price is $899 / magnum