Vinopolis March 3 Newsletter

March 3, 2014

Jump Start Sale


Durand Cornas Empreintes 2011 ($37.95) $26 special
Wine Spectator 91 Points 
“Dark yet fresh, offering blackberry and mulled black cherry fruit, with vibrant acidity, lively olive and tobacco notes and a good brambly feel through the finish. Best from 2014 through 2023. 1,500 cases made. “

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Average price elsewhere is 34% higher ($35)

New Week – New Arrivals

Boedecker Pinot Gris 2012 ($15.95) $14.90 special
Wine Advocate 89 points 
“Boedecker 2012 Pinot Gris – like its Pinot Blanc counterpart under this label, given a day or more of cold soak; vinified in older barriques; and bottled off of its lees in April – is superbly successful. Juicy peach and pineapple are rendered tartly and incisively invigorating by the evocation of peach fuzz and pit along with pineapple core and radish. The counterpoint of lees-enhanced underlying textural richness with the aforementioned piquant and nippy notes is delightful and this outstanding value’s sheer length impressively persistence…”

Chateau Barde-Haut St. Emilion 2001 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Specator 90 points
 “Beautiful red with soft, silky tannins and delicious berry, cherry, vanilla and light tobacco character. Full-bodied, with a caressing texture and a long finish. I like this better than the 2000. Best after 2006. 3,080 cases made”

Chateau De Fieuzal 2009 ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Spectator 92 points 
“Dark and winey, with gorgeous flavors of mulled plum, black currant preserves and roasted fig laced with maduro tobacco, graphite and charcoal notes. The long finish features muscle and cut. Best from 2013 through 2021. 9,800 cases made.”

Chateau Du Grand Bos Graves Rouge 2005 ($37.95) $29 special
Winery Notes 
“15 hectares are planted to red grapes in the proportions: 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Each variety and parcel is vinified separately. Maceration lasts at least a month including a pre-fermentation “cold soak” which occurs before the temperature is raised in the tanks and the yeasts begin working. M. Vincent prefers to use cultivated yeasts for his alcoholic fermentations, a different one for each varietal. By contrast, the malolactic fermentations are carried out with only indigenous yeasts. An initial assemblage is made after the different cuvees have finished their malolactic fermentations. The wine is then aged in oak barrels procured from the Allier which range between 1/2 and 1/3 new, depending on the vintage. The wine matures for 12 to 18 months.”

T. Liger Belair Bourgogne Rouge 2011 ($27.95) $20.90 special

T. Liger Belair Clos Vougeot 2011 ($199.95) $166 special
Stephen Tanzer & Burghound 92-94 points “Bright, dark red-ruby.  Vibrant aromas of blackberry, licorice and wild herbs, along with a smoky carbon suggestion.  Densely packed and highly concentrated, with a firm tannic spine giving shape and definition to the fresh dark berry flavors.  Plenty of stuffing here for balance but this very closed wine will probably need up to a decade of bottle aging to blossom.”

T. Liger Belair Nuits Les Saint Georges 2011 ($159.95) $109 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
 “(all of the barrels for this wine were made from oak planted in white, limestone-rich soils):  Bright red.  Locked up tight on the nose.  Very rich, sappy and concentrated but with a medicinal reserve to the black fruit and spice flavors.  Quite backward today and dominated by its structure.  Most impressive on the very long, firm, mouth-saturing finish, which leaves the taste buds quivering.  Incidentally, Liger-Belair replanted half of his Saint-Georges in April of 2011 due to the severe loss of vines he suffered during the sharp frost in December of 2009.  He produced just 25 hectoliters per hectare of Saint-Georges in 2011 and 11 in 2012.”

T. Liger Belair Richebourg 2011 ($499.95) $389 special
Stephen Tanzer 93-96 points 
“Deep, bright red with a hint of ruby.  Very fresh, pure aromas and flavors of black raspberry, cassis, minerals and flowers.  Combines outstanding density with nearly brutal medicinal reserve:  if the Clos Vougeot is a baby, this is a fetus.  Incredibly tangy wine with outstanding intensity and energy.  Expands dramatically on the sappy, chewy back half, spreading out horizontally to coat the palate with leaving any impression of weight.  With its ripe, chewy tannins and powerful crushed stone character, this really leaves the taste buds humming.”

T. Liger Belair Vosne Romanee Aux Reas 2011 ($129.95) $88 special
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points
 “(from vines planted in 1954; Liger-Belair does not normally vinify his parcels planted on calcaire soils with their stems): Good deep red. Reduced nose hints at pepper, squid ink and graphite. A bit darker in fruit character than the Toppe au Vert, offering very good intensity and lift and solid underlying minerality nicely buffered by the wine’s flesh. Creamy-sweet, fine-grained wine with a wild raspberry character. Finishes impressively long, with smooth tannins. A great village wine in the making.”

Grange Des Peres Blanc 2010 ($129.95) $99 special

Grange Des Peres Rouge 2010 ($129.95) $99 special

Col D’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino 2008 ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Sweet, rich, lush and layered, yet also remarkably light on its feet, the 2008 Brunello di Montalcino dazzles from start to finish. Sweet roses, red berries, flowers, mint and orange peel all take an appearance in this utterly impeccable polished Brunello. I imagine the 2008 will still be a special wine at age 30. The aromas are naturally still quite primary, so some cellaring is advisable. The brutal August hailstorm took with it a full 40% of the production, but left behind a strikingly beautiful Brunello endowed with seemingly endless layers of fruit and fabulous overall balance. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2038.”

Lopez Heredia Tondonia Gran Rsva Rioja 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…”

Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2011 375 ML ($79.95) $59 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.”




“Vilmart & Cie. is not only one of the greatest grower-estates in Champagne, but one of the finest champagne producers of any type in the region.” 

-Peter Liem, 

“It’s clear to me Vilmart is a Champagne estate of unassailable consequence, a must-have for anyone Interested in the possibilities of this most suavely powerful and graceful of all wines.”

-Terry Thiese, Wine Importer

Désiré Vilmart founded Vilmart & Cie. in the Montagne de Reims region of Champagne in 1890.  In 1989 Laurent Champs became the fifth generation of the family to own and operate the estate.  The estate has been exclusively a récoltant-manipulant, producing what is commonly referred to as Grower Champagne, since its foundation.  The 27 acres of vineyard land is composed entirely of Premier Cru sites lying primarily in the small village of Rilly-la-Montagne with some in the neighboring village of Villers-Allerand.

Vilmart & Cie. grows their grapes organically and sustainably without herbicides and chemicals.  Champs sees himself as a winemaker first and a Champagne maker second.  He carefully ferments and ages his wine in casks and barrels of various size and newness.  The wines do not undergo malolactic fermentation.  His vinification results in wines that show notes of oak that integrate gracefully with a couple years of bottle age and show beautifully into maturity.

The Grand Cellier is a non-vintage blend of the first pressings of grapes aged for ten months in foudre.  The Cuvee Rubis is their non-vintage rose, which contains 10-15% red wine.  The Grand Cellier d’Or contains a higher percentage of Chardonnay and is aged either in barrique or demi-muids, depending upon the vintage.  The Coeur de Cuvee, a top selection among Champagne experts, is sourced from 50 year old vines and vinified in one to three year old barriques.

Vilmart Brut Grand Cellier 1er Cru NV ($79.95) $59 special 24 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
 “(70% chardonnay and 30% pinot noir, with 2009 as the base and some 2008 and 2007 wine; disgorged September, 2011): Light,bright gold. Heady, complex scents of poached pear, vanilla, anise and pungent flowers. Fleshy but focused and pure, offering vanilla-accented orchard fruit and lemon curd underscored by chalky minerality. Finishes long and toasty, with lingering florality and noteworthy clarity.”

Vilmart Brut Grand Cellier d’Or 2006 1.5L ($279.95) $219 special 6 magnums available
Wine Advocate 93 points 
“The 2006 Brut Cuvee Grand Cellier d’Or is a striking wine endowed with tons of class and sheer depth. It shows considerable power in its freshly cut flowers, spices and rich Chardonnay fruit. All of the aromas and flavors build effortlessly to a creamy finish layered with smoke, minerals and ash. This is a fabulous wine in every way, but it will require at least a few more years in bottle. The 2006 is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from Les Blanches Voies Bas. The wine spent 10 months in barrel and a total of four years on its lees.”

Vilmart Brut Grand Cellier d’Or 2008 ($99.95) $79 special 2 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 93 points 
“The 2008 Brut Premier Cru Cuvée Grand Cellier d’Or is evocative and intriguing from the very first taste. Pinot notes are especially pronounced, even though the 2008 is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot. Small red berries, flowers, mint and licorice all flesh out in a cool, mineral-infused Champagne loaded with pedigree and class. The 2008 is naturally quite a bit more focused than the 2007 (that is the nature of the years), but both are highly expressive. The 2008 remains texturally alluring all the way through to the finish. This bottle was disgorged in October 2012.”

Vilmart Coeur De Cuvee Brut 2003 ($169.95) $119 special 9 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94 points 
“Light yellow. White peach, quinine and jasmine on the nose and in the mouth, complicated by suggestions of exotic fruits and vanilla bean. Highly concentrated but lithe as well, offering a wild combination of richness and energy, with a dusty mineral component contributing to the wine’s incisive character. Closes sappy and extremely long, leaving smoke, vanilla and floral notes behind. Graceful and lively for the vintage, with the balance to age.”

Vilmart Cuvee Rubis Brut Rose NV ($84.95) $69 special 29 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
 “90% pinot noir and 10% chardonnay): Bright, orange-tinged pink. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of blood orange, strawberry, potpourri and minerals; smells like an elegant, stony red Burgundy. Dry and precise, with very good depth and focus to its sappy red fruit, orange zest and floral flavors. Shows a touch of vanilla on the impressively long, clinging finish, with the strawberry note repeating.”



Belle Pente Vineyards

Belle Pente’s name means “Beautiful slope”- a perfect
description for their Yamhill-Carlton based vineyard

We turn now to one of our esteemed Oregon producers, Belle Pente (rhymes with ‘want’).  Jill and Brian O’Donnell own and operate the winery and vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in the upper Willamette Valley.  They take their inspiration from Burgundy and Alsace in producing wines such as their earthy and age-worthy Pinot Noirs.  They have 16 acres of Pinot Noir vines, used in the Belle Pente Vineyard and Estate Reserve wines, and two of Pinot Gris, among other varietals.  The oldest vineyard plantings on their estate date back to 1994.  Their Murto Vineyard wine is produced from grapes grown to their specifications by Mike and Robin Murto in the Dundee Hills.  Pinot Gris grapes are sourced from two additional vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton: Walker Vineyard and Rivenwood Vineyard.

Belle Pente is a member of the Deep Roots Coalition.  This is an organization of vineyards and wineries that do not use irrigation (dry farm) and do not purchase irrigated fruit from the Willamette Valley.  The Coalition also promotes producing low yields and farming sustainably.  Belle Pente farms organically and biodynmically.

Grapes are hand sorted from managed yields.  The Pinot Noir is vinified separately by block.  In the winery, they use gentle gravity-flow to move wine during its vinification.  Their Estate Reserve Pinot Noir is sourced from select barrels and typically includes most of the complex, old vine fruit from block M1 and a portion of the steep block M2 that produces concentrated wines.  The Belle Pente Vineyard wine includes portions from most of the blocks.  The use of various clones (Dijon selections, Pommard and Wadensvil) adds complexity.  The Murto Vineyard typically produces wines with red fruit, fresh earth and spice aromas.

Belle Pente wines here now; additional quantities are available for most vintages!

Belle Pente Belle Pente Vyd Pinot Noir 2009 ($34.95) $29.90 special 11 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 92 points
 “Saturated red. Potent, spice-accented aromas of raspberry and candied rose are complemented by deeper notes of licorice and sassafras. Sappy and precise on the palate, offering lively red and dark berry flavors that gain weight and smokiness with air. Supple tannins give shape to the long, spicy, floral finish.”

Belle Pente Belle Pente Vyd Pinot Noir 2010 ($34.95) $29.90 special 8 bottles in stock
Belle Pente Belle Pente Vyd Pinot Noir 2010 375ML ($21.95) $17.70 special 12 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 92 points 
“Vivid red. High-pitched aromas of black raspberry, Asian spices and fresh rose. Juicy, penetrating and pure, offering vibrant red berry and bitter cherry flavors that gain flesh and weight with aeration. Darker fruit notes come up on the clinging finish, with its lingering floral and spicecake qualities. Very suave pinot, with the balance to age but plenty of upfront appeal as well.”

Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 ($44.95) $37 special 2 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 90(+?) points 
“Deep red. Smoky red berries and cherry on the nose, with a subtle note of musky underbrush. Tightly wound black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors become fleshier with air and pick up a candied rose quality and dusty tannins. The cherry and herb notes repeat on the long, sappy finish. This very young wine deserves patience.”

Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2009 ($44.95) $37 special 8 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
 “Vivid ruby-red. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes candied dark berries, Asian spices and potpourri, with a bright note of blood orange gaining strength with air. Juicy, expansive and seamless, offering open-knit black raspberry and cherry flavors and a suggestion of candied rose. Shows excellent clarity and power on the finish, leaving notes of singed orange and cherry-cola behind. This exotic pinot is complex enough to drink now with little guilt, but I suspect that it will be even better with another three to five years of bottle age.”

Belle Pente Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 ($37.95) $39 special 12 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 93 points 
“Bright ruby-red. A highly complex bouquet displays sexy red berry preserve, incense and candied rose scents, along with suggestions of cola, mocha and allspice. Sappy, deeply concentrated cherry and raspberry flavors are lifted and braced by juicy acidity and show excellent clarity and thrust. Closes with palate-staining intensity and sweetness, leaving suave floral and Asian spice notes behind. Impressively balanced and fine-grained, with serious cellaring potential.”

Belle Pente Murto Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 ($37.95) $29.90 special 5 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 92 points 
“Bright  red. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of red berry liqueur, potpourri and cola, with a smoky topnote. Broad, open-knit raspberry and cherry flavors show very good depth and energy, with tangy acidity adding spine. Richer and darker in profile on the long spice- and floral-accented finish. This wine benefits quite a bit from aeration.”

Belle Pente Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special 13 bottles in stock
Stephen Tanzer 89 points 
“(12.3% alcohol): Bright red. Raspberry, candied flowers, cola and blood orange on the perfumed nose. Silky and open-knit, offering sweet red fruit flavors and a touch of allspice emerging with aeration. Refreshingly taut and focused on the finish, which shows just a hint of dusty tannins.”

Belle Pente Pinot Gris 2010 ($17.95) $16 special more available soon!


Elisabetta Foradori produces distinctive wines from the visually stunning Dolomite region in the north of Italy.  Viticulturally, the region shows a lingering influence of its long history as a territory of Austria.  The Manzoni Bianco variety is an example of this because it is a hybrid of two varieties still found in the region: Riesling and Pinot Bianco.  Foradori uses this as well as the local varietals Teroldego, an ancient relation to Syrah, and Nosiola in her vineyards.

She began her ownership of the estate at the young age of 20 after her father died young.  She took over a mostly mechanized estate that made as she puts it “some perfectly fine table wine but not much else.”  Over the years since she took over, she shifted toward organic and biodynamic as a way to produce wine that spoke to and of her and her region.  She propagates her vineyards through cuttings of older vines instead of nursery clones (a method known as massale selection).  She ages wine in amphoras produced in limited quantities by a Spanish maker that are not lined in bees wax to maintain freshness.  Today her wines reflect the unique wonder of the Dolomites.

Foradori Granato 2009 ($59.95) $49 special 4 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95 points
 “Once again, the 2009 Granato is flat-out dazzling. The marriage of flashy, opulent fruit and intense underlying minerality results in a wine of superb completeness. Readers will find a wine of immense and immediate pleasure in the 2009. The soft contours and radiant personality are so compelling. Granato fans should cellar the 2010 for a few years and drink the 2009 in the meantime. This is another absolutely glorious wine from Elisabetta Foradori. The 2009 was aged in equal parts cask and barrique.”

Foradori Manzoni Bianco 2012 ($27.95) $26 special 9 bottles available
fermentation, with one week of maceration in cement tank, followed by 12 months of aging in acacia casks.

Foradori Morei Teroldego 2011 ($59.95) $49 special 10 bottles available
James Suckling 95 points
 “This is very racy and beautiful, with currants, blackberries and blueberries on the nose and palate. Full body, wonderfully integrated tannins and a long, flavourful finish. A subtle, soulful red. Made in amphorae. Drink or hold.”

Foradori Nosiola Fontanasanta 2011 ($49.95) $41.90 special 2 bottles available
fermentation with 8 months of maceration in amphorae, followed by 2 months of ageing in acacia and oak casks

Foradori Sgarzon Teroldego 2011 ($59.95) $49 special 11 bottles available
8 months of maceration in amphorae followed by 3 months of ageing in oak casks.


Elisabetta Foradori stands in her vineyards with the Dolomite Mountains behind

Staff Picks

Laherte Les Empreintes Extra Brut NV ($79.95) $45 staff pick special
‘Ethereal’ is the most fitting word I can think of. Perfect balance between floral richness and biting minerality. Notes of pear and apple with a touch of citrus and chalk on the finish. A nice accompaniement to a cheese/charcuterie board but I often forgot about the food in order to just sip and enjoy.

-Afton Boyd
Thibault Liger-Belair Bourgogne Rouge 2011 ($27.95) $20.90 staff pick special
A great find for less than $30 in the world of Burgundy.  Dark fruit profile and the seamless tannin make this a great everyday Bourgogne Rouge.  Silky from the start and it just gets better.  A two hour decant would make this really lovely.  Just 10 cases available.
-Travis Fantz



Valdespino Sherry

Valdespino is one of Spain’s oldest sherry producers, with the origins of this historic bodega dating back to 1264 when Don Alfonso Valdespino, one of the 24 Christian Knights who fought to re-conquer the City of Jerez from the Moors, was rewarded by the king for his efforts with land in the city of Jerez. Thus began Bodegas Valdespino. The heart of Valdespino is its vineyards. They are the only sherry house to make a series of wines from a single vineyard, with four of the house’s greatest wines sourced exclusively from one area.   That vineyard, Macharnudo, is one of the “grand crus” of Jerez, located at the highest altitude and on pure Albariza soils (bright white chalk).

With an unwavering commitment to the demands and expense of traditional Jerez winemaking—and the revered Eduardo Ojeda as its winemaker—Valdespino produces some of the region’s purest Sherries, from some of its oldest soleras. Along with aging their wines well longer than the average, Valdespino is one of the few estates that take the solera system to the extreme,  going way beyond DO minimum regulations for all categories to create an intense yet classically flavored sherry.

Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa En Rama NV 375ml ($13.95) $9.90 special
Valdespino Cream Isabella NV ($15.95) $11.90 special
Valdespino Palo Cortado Viejo NV ($41.95) $33 special

Valdespino Inocente Fino NV 375 ml ($14.95) $10.90 special
Valdespino Inocente Fino NV 750ml ($21.95) $17 special
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 Med-Sweet 1842 375ml ($27.95) $21.90 special
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 Oloroso Don Gonzalo VOS 375ml ($26.95) $21.90 special
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 Pedro Ximenez Ninos VORS NV 375ml ($169.95) $149 special
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.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Average listed price elsewhere today is $188 / 375ml
Valdespino Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS NV 375ml ($169.95) $159 special
Valdespino Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS NV 750ml ($299.95) $279 special
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.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Average listed price elsewhere today is $185 / 375ml
Valdespino Coliseo Amontillado VORS NV 375ml ($249.95) $199 special
Valdespino Coliseo Amontillado VORS NV 750ml ($399.95) $349 special
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.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Average listed price elsewhere today is $225 / 375ml

Valdespino’s Mancharnudo vineyard

 Domaine Berthet-Bondet
Located about half way between Dijon and Geneva, the pocket-sized region of the Jura makes some of France’s most unique wines. “Vin de voile,” a technique otherwise practiced only by Spanish sherry producers, refers to the top layer of yeast that develops in wine barrels, protecting the wine from oxidation and giving it a unique flavor of dried fruits and nuts as it ages. Though Berthet-Bondet does not have the long history of other Jura producers, today their wines are some of the very best in the region. Despite being distantly descended from a family of winemakers, Jean Berthet-Bondet and his wife Chantal had no direct wine-making experience when they bought their 10 hectare domaine in 1984. After reviving the farmland that had remained dormant for 50 years, Chantal and Jean released their first wines in 1985. Over the past thirty years they have perfected their style of classic Jura wines. The winery’s holdings cover 10 hectares, 5 in the Cotes du Jura appellation and 5 in the very prestigious Chateau-Chalon appellation, where a composition of limestone and red and gray marne confers both power and great finesse to these wines. Viticulture here has been fully organic since 2010 and fermentations take place with wild yeasts.
Berthet- Bondet Cotes du Jura Rubis 2012 ($23.95) $19 special
From the Winery 
“Made with 45% Trousseau, 45% Poulsard and 10% Pinot Noir this wine is characterized by it’s lightness and the complex bouquet of red fruits and earthy character. It can be kept for up to 5 years and is best served at 14ºC with charcuterie, smoked meats, grills and meat with fruit dishes such as pork with roasted apple.”Berthet- Bondet Cotes du Jura Nature 2011 ($26.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
 “Apple, fennel seed and creamed melon notes glide along, woven with a waxy hint and followed by an echo of salted butter on the finish. Nice persistence and range. Naturé is a synonym for Savagnin.”Berthet-Bondet Cotes de Jura Chardonnay 2011 ($24.95) $21.90 special
Importer Notes 
“100% Chardonnay, 17 year old vines.  Gravel and marl soil.  A pure Chardonnay that speaks clearly of the Jura region. It is barrel-aged for 12 months in principally neutral barrels (the % of new oak varies from 8 to 16%), according to classic methods with topping up to avoid oxidation. The wine is fresh, pure Chardonnay with the distinct notes of the Jura terroir or earth and hay. Serve it with poultry or veal associated with mushrooms, and cheese. ”



Flash Sale
Dominio de Pingus Flor de Pingus Ribera del Duero 2010 ($99.95) $69 flash sale special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points 
“Vivid purple.  Ripe cherry, cassis, potpourri and cracked pepper on the intensely perfumed nose, with subtle licorice and woodsmoke qualities adding complexity.  Deep, sweet and expansive, offering explosive dark berry compote, floral pastille and anise flavors.  A spicy quality gains strength on the finish, which leaves smoke and mineral notes behind.  This bottling has been going from strength to strength in recent years and offers superb value relative to its ritzy Pingus sibling.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA
The average listed price is 33% higher ($92)

The Betz Price in the USA
Pre-arrival offer – here late March

Betz Clos du Betz Red 2011 ($69.95) $51.90 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points 
“(67% merlot, 28% cabernet sauvignon and 5% petit verdot; aged in 65% new oak):  Good bright, deep red.  Redcurrant, cocoa powder and musky tobacco on the nose.  Gentle and creamy in the mouth for 2011, with harmonious ripe acidity framing the sweet red berry, cherry and cocoa powder flavors.  This floral merlot-based wine is supported by firm acids and tannins but comes across as quite feminine in style.  Betz notes that 2011 was a very good year for merlot.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Best listed price elsewhere today is $55.99 / btl
Betz Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 ($79.95) $66 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 94+ points
 “(blended with 9% petit verdot and 3% merlot):  Good bright red-ruby.  Musky red berries, licorice, thyme, rosemary and pepper on the scented nose.  Creamy-sweet, suave and deep but at the same time precise and youthful, offering lovely perfumed flavors of red berries, cocoa powder (from the Taransaud oak?) and anise.  Very intensely flavored cabernet with terrific lift and aromatic persistence and remarkably suave, dusty tannins.  Betz describes 2011 as a year with lower total polyphenols, higher acidity and lower pHs than 2010.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA
Best listed price elsewhere today is $74.50 / btl

Time to say Goodbye


Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Red 2011 750ml ($59.95) $39 special
Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Red 2011 1.5L($119.95) $89 special
Wine Advocate 93 points 
“A blend of 40% Mourvedre, 30% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Counoise, the 2011 Esprit de Tablas has a core of sweet black raspberry and cassis that is cut by more savory, meaty nuances, pepper and spice. Medium to full-bodied, rich and beautifully textured, with ripe tannin, it’s a more streamlined, fresh version of the cuvee that relies more on elegance and complexity than sheer depth and richness. It will have 10-12 years of longevity.”
These are the lowest listed prices in the USA today
Best listed price elsewhere today is $46.95 / 750ml
The average listed price today is $55 / 750ml

Tablas Creek vineyards with the estate at its heart