Vinopolis Midweek Addition 2-14-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

The First Name in Brunello

Bringing Brouilly Back

Trending Wines of the Week

Lewelling’s Underpriced, Culty Cabernet

Seafood Solutions from William Fevre

Call it a Comeback? A Napa Icon, Back to 96 Point Form

Staff Pick: High Altitude Scott Paul Magic

New Wine Spectator Insider Reviews For Mosel Classics

Bedrock Stars in Wine Spectator Insider

February Sale Recap


The First Name in Brunello

The first name in Brunello is Altesino.  While Biondi-Santi may have originated the wine in its current form, no other estate embodies the current ideal of Brunello like Altesino does.  Rugged but polished, bold but approachable, these wines display everything beloved about modern Brunello.  From entry level to Riserva, Altesino overdelivers at prices that few estates can match.  It’s easy to see why Altesino is the go to for many lovers of Brunello and the wines that introduced them to the appellation. (It doesn’t hurt that, alphabetically, the first five of the 47 Brunellos in our webstore are Altesino.)

Altesino is based in Montosoli, in the heart of the Brunello DOCG, and all their wines display the serious, powerful side of Sangiovese that we’ve come to know and love about the estate.  The Montosoli bottling (named for said subzone) is an obvious step up from the basic bottling, but all of their wines deliver character and class in spades.  We’ve amassed a small collection of Altesino’s wines here, across multiple cuvees and spanning several vintages. You’d be wise to stock up on all of them and drink them whenever you’re in the mood for Brunello.

In Stock Now:

Altesino Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“An intense perfume of juniper, bay laurel, sage, rose and berries marks this silky red. The structure is there, yet superb balance and refined tannins help this retain elegance through the long finish. Almost ethereal in its presence. Best from 2021 through 2036.”
Wine Advocate 94+ points “The 2013 Brunello di Montalcino is absolutely unique in terms of its aromatic display. To me, the nose is particularly beautiful because I have a preference for balsamic notes of cola, mint or medicinal herb (that may not be to everyone’s liking). You get those in spades here. These aromas are often more prominent in cooler vintages like 2013 in the Brunello appellation. In this case, they resemble intense eucalyptus. There is subtle fruit at the back, with wild berry and plum. The mouthfeel here is absolutely silky, fresh and streamlined. It is stitched finely together like lace. I am curious to see how a wine like this ages and whether the aromas hold tight or eventually fall flat. I would suggest a slightly shorter drinking window. But for now, this is my kind of Brunello. Bottoms up!”
James Suckling 94 points “A wealth of ripe fruit with spice, orange peel and cherry. Full body, fine tannins and a bright and vivid finish. Drink in 2021.”

Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Case-6 Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2010 750ML ($899.95) $679 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“A stunning red, featuring peony, strawberry, cherry and mineral flavors, accented by notes of wild herbs. Intense and deep, with great purity and elegance, a firmly wrought structure and a long finish. The harmony between fruit, tannins and acidity should allow this to age beautifully. Best from 2019 through 2036.” WS
James Suckling 97 points “Beautiful aromas of dark fruits and minerals. Full-bodied, succulent and chewy. It’s tight and stony. Lots of black olives and wet earth under the fruit. Bright and linear wine with beautiful layers…” JS
Wine Advocate 96 points “Montosoli enthusiasts will not be disappointed by the 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli. This special single-vineyard expression shows a beautifully fragrant and floral bouquet that is exactly in line with what this firmly consistent producer strives to achieve. This wine represents one of the most distinctive expressions of varietal voice and that’s what makes it so precious and rare. Sangiovese sings loud with small berry nuances and loud floral impressions of rose, violet and lavender. Its underlying complexity is further enhanced by anise seed, cola and licorice stick. The wine’s texture is soothing soft and silky. This is one for your cellars to age ten years or more.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750 ML ($99.95) $79 special
Case-6 Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($499.95) $449 special (that’s only $74.83/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“A very ripe style with prune, berry and salted-nut aromas and flavors. Full body, savory intensity and a long, flavorful finish. Lots of juicy, fabulous fruit. Shows the greatness of the vineyard. Drink or hold.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($119.95) $85 special
Wine Enthusiast 99 points
“Enticing aromas of ripe berry, chopped herb, new leather, tobacco and a whiff of eucalyptus all mingle together on this gorgeous, vibrant red. The stunning, savory palate boasts juicy red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and star anise while firm refined tannins and vibrant acidity lend structure and balance. It’s already extraordinary and elegant but also young and primary, so give it time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2043.”
James Suckling 98 points “Fantastic aromas of blueberries, plums, bark and wet earth follow through to a full body, velvety and polished tannins and a wonderful finish. Refined and persistent on the finish. Drink in 2019 and onwards.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 97 points “Good full pale ruby-red. Knockout aromas and flavors of red cherry, raspberry, licorice and minerals, complicated by hints of iris and violet. Extremely suave and polished on the extremely long, pure, mineral finish. Deeper, richer, more tannic and longer than the lovely 2013 Brunello Classico from Altesino, this is an absolutely beautiful Brunello. I especially like that the pristine, refined aromas and flavors of the famed Montosoli site are showcased to maximum effect here. One of the best Brunellos of the vintage.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “Balsamic notes of juniper, sage and eucalyptus are buried underneath the cherry and plum fruit in this expressive, supple red, which is dense and well-structured, with terrific balance and a long iron and saline aftertaste. Just a tad richer and broader than the blended Brunello. Best from 2021 through 2038.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“($150) This delivers intense balsamic notes of juniper, wild rosemary and sage, along with rose, cherry and berry aromas and flavors. Elegant and saturated with flavor, supported by a vibrant structure. Ends with energy and refined tannins. Best from 2022 through 2040. 750 cases made.”
Ian D’Agata 94+ points “Deep red. Captivating floral nuances complement red cherry, mineral and tobacco elements on the nose and on the very suave palate. Surprisingly light-bodied for a Brunello Riserva, but perfumed and very refined. This outstanding Brunello Riserva boasts a finish that lasts and lasts.”


Bringing Brouilly Back

Jean-Claude Lapalu has done something remarkable—made Brouilly as cool as its neighbor up the “Cote”. Since founding his domaine in 1996, he’s become a leader in the natural wine movement in Beaujolais–no sulfur is added until bottling (he uses very little) and his vineyards are farmed biodynamically.  His Brouilly combines the generosity that you usually find in the AOC with a bit more pizazz and spine.  The results are spectacular and these, some of the last 2015’s available, are proof of his winemaking talent.

“one sensual and compelling Beaujolais.”
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Cuvee des Fous, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2015 Brouilly Cuvée des Fous had been racked the day before my visit to the domaine and I tasted this directly from vat. It has an intense dark cherry, cassis and iodine-scented bouquet with gorgeous raspberry ripple scents lurking just underneath. The palate is very well balanced with fine, very lithe tannin. The acidity here is perfectly judged, as it sashays towards a composed and very pure and long finish. Wow – this is going to turn into one sensual and compelling Beaujolais.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
“very well balanced with supple tannin, very gourmand in style”
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Alma Mater, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points
“The 2015 Brouilly Alma Mater was tightly wound on the nose when I tasted it from vat, but clearly very pure with succulent dark cherries, redcurrant, violet and a touch of tinned prune. The palate is very well balanced with supple tannin, very gourmand in style, somehow texturally reminding me of say, Tertre-Rôteboeuf on the Right Bank! Long. It manages to contain the alcohol extremely well and delivers a very composed finish and as such, I expect it will settle towards the top of my banded score.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!


Trending Wines of the Week

Its popularity is simple: good Alexander Valley Cabernet, under $20.
The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($27.95) $18 special
Case-12 The Calling Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley 2016 750ML ($299.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Winery Note:
This full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon presents blackberry and plum aromatics typical of the Alexander Valley. On the palate, the rich fruit is complemented by accents of sweet tobacco, vanilla, chocolate, and mocha. The elegant tannins, oak structure and balanced acidity will age this wine for 10-12 years.
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $26.90
The average price is $31
Somewhat surprisingly, pale, dry pink Champagne was popular this week.
Champagne Aubry ‘Sable’ Premier Cru Rose Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points
“The pale-colored 2012 Brut Sablé Rosé Nicolas Francois Aubry is striking in its beauty. The non-dosage style adds briskness, but there is just enough richness to the fruit to balance things out. Cranberry, white pepper and chalky notes add lift and overall precision. The 2012 is 30% Meunier and Pinot Noir done in a co-fermentation, along with 25% Petit Meslier, 20% Arbanne, 10% Chardonnay and 5% still Meunier fermented as red wine.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $87.75
That’s a difference of over $18/btl!
Grand Cru, great vintage, traditional producer Chablis.  Go for it.
Domaine Vocoret et Fils Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
“Pale straw-yellow. Sweaty, savory aromas of fresh peach, ginger, quinine and crushed rock. Wonderfully generous, even silky, on the front half, as much floral and marrowy as peachy in the early going. With its strong impression of terroir, this wine already delivers a lot of personality, but its strong finishing saline minerality and brisk acidity call for at least a couple years of delayed gratification. This very ripe, smooth but vivacious 2014 grand cru should age gracefully.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $79
The entry level wine from a rising star producer in Volnay.
Domaine Bernard & Thierry Glantenay Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
“Thierry Glantenay’s 2015 Bourgogne Rouge is lovely, wafting from the glass with notes of smoky red cherry, cocoa and raspberries. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, supple and delicious, with a succulent core of fruit, light structuring tannins and juicy acids. This will deliver great pleasure for the best part of a decade.” –Wine Advocate
Importer note: 30 year old vines grown in deep clay soil. Thierry Glantenay has taken over at his family domaine and is now producing exquisite, ethereal Volnay and full, powerful Pommard from many of the best terroirs. They farm their own vines and make their own wines ensuring the best available quality. Across the board these wines are precise, focused and reflective of their underlying terroir, with great sappiness and depth in the mid-palates, coupled with brilliant structural integrity that makes them, to me, amongst the finest wines made in the southern half of Burgundy.
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Powerful, brooding Gigondas at a stellar price.
Domaine des Bosquets Gigondas, Rhone 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Jeb Dunnuck 92 points
“Leading off the wines from bottle, the 2016 Gigondas is a classic wine from this estate, offering a deeper ruby/purple color as well as tons of garrigue, peppery spice, and earth intermixed with ample red and black fruits. Polished, rounded and sexy, with sweet tannin, it has a modern style that won’t appeal to traditionalists yet is beautifully done. The blend is 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and the rest Cinsault.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Lively, expansive red berry, floral pastille and white pepper scents, along with suggestions of garrigue and smoky minerals. Sweet, focused and seamless in the mouth, offering juicy raspberry, spicecake and lavender flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Clings with very good authority on the gently tannic finish and leaves succulent floral and herb notes behind.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92 points “Hints of garrigue accent raspberries and Rainier cherries in the 2016 Gigondas. This blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault is full-bodied and supple, with no hard edges, just lovely fruit. Long, seamless and delicious for drinking over the next 6-7 years, it’s a terrific introduction to the fruit-forward style at this estate. Tasted twice with consistent notes.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $31
Dark winter days call for powerful Barolo.
Cavallotto Bricco Boschis, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
Monica Larner – Wine Advocate 96+ points
“Cavallotto is on a roll with some very impressive new releases. The 2013 Barolo Bricco Boschis is a tremendous effort that has an edge on the excellent 2010 vintage in my view. The wine shows a beautifully exuberant but elegant bouquet with the ethereal and undertone fruit and spice aromas you get with Nebbiolo. Although the wine is never overdone, it does show silky persistence and a long finish that comes from the noble nature of the tannins and the wine’s textural finesse. Yet, it is playfully deceiving in a way because behind that polished grace, it delivers impressive depth and power.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This is packed with sweet cherry, currant, floral and spice flavors. The vivid acidity drives the intensity, while dense tannins lend support. This will take some time to harmonize, but should be well worth the wait. Best from 2022 through 2040.”“a serious Saar riesling for the acid hounds”
Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Fass 2 Riesling Extra Trocken, Mosel2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 special
Stuart 91-92 points
“Although this is a serious Saar riesling for the acid hounds, it has plenty of smoky and candied-citrus character. Generous substance, too. Better from 2019.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Lewelling’s Underpriced, Culty Cabernet

Lewelling remains a cult classic—the tiny production and meager allocations mean that it’ll never go mainstream.  Nevertheless, it’s a Napa Cabernet that over delivers for the price point, whether at the “basic” level or for their fancier Wight vineyard offering.  Like most years, it’ll sell out nearly instantly and will remain ignored by the wine buying public until we get a small lot in next year and it sells out immediately as well. Needless to say, if you want some, jump on this now.

Just Arrived:

Lewelling Vineyards Wight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Robert Parker 93+ points “Very Pauillac-like (as usual), the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Wight has a similar character, with loads of creme de cassis, smoke, licorice and graphite as well as a full-bodied texture, dense, rich fruit, impressive purity and ripe tannin. This is a beauty, but interestingly, it doesn’t show the dramatic difference in quality that it often does at such a young age, although that may well evolve. Give it several more years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Arriving Later This Month:Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, St Helena 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 92 points
“The inky purple 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon displays plenty of classic creme de cassis and lead pencil shavings along with some licorice, charcoal and vanilla notes. It is full-bodied and opulent, with good integration of sweet tannin and bright acids. This wine is still young but approachable, and certainly capable of evolving for 10-15+ years.”

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

Seafood Solutions

From William Fevre

It’s prime seafood season.  The water is still cold but the weather has a warmer outlook, meaning things coming out of the ocean are at their sweetest and richest.  We’re doing our best to eat as much crab, steelhead, etc. and with it, we’re looking for a white that’s bracing enough to offset the seafood but with just enough richness that the pairing is extremely harmonious.

In that regard, Chablis is a classic for a reason—the wines just work with the food. Fevre is among the top producers, with excellent, powerful wines that are much less expensive than peers like Raveneau or Dauvissat. We’ve accumulated a vast selection, from the “basic” AOC Chablis all the way up to magnums of Grand Crus.  These are wines which are delicious today and will only improve with time in the cellar.  Stock up now and drink (and eat seafood) with abandon!

In Stock Now:

William Fevre Chablis, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($31.95) $33 special
Stephen Tanzer 88-90 points
“(just 18 hectoliters per hectare produced): Hazy medium yellow. At once more fruity and more exotic than the Champs Royaux, offering scents of orange zest, lemon, mango and lichee. Fat, round, rather large-scaled wine with serious volume for a village offering, but kept fresh by a streak of limey acidity. Finishes with noteworthy persistence. This will be good in six months but needs time to knit.”
Burghound 88-90 points “A ripe and fresh nose offers up notes of iodine, oyster shell, mineral reduction, pear and plenty of citrus influence. There is fine density to the concentrated and sappy flavors that possess fine volume while delivering very good length and solid depth. Good stuff and worth a look.”

Domaine William Fevre Chablis Bougros Grand Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(50% fermented in oak; from a yield of 35 hectoliters per hectare): Pale green-tinged yellow. Wonderfully expressive, pungent, classic Kimmeridgian nose offers scents of lime, grilled almond and iodiney minerality. Round, plush and seamless on the palate, with its juicy citrus fruit and ginger flavors lifted by minerality. This silky, sedate, rich wine has no corners and seems almost too easy and expressive today for grand cru. But it also has the stuffing and balance to age, and a finishing element of brown spices provides lift.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Cotes Bouguerots 2014 1.5L ($279.95) $249 special
Burghound 96 points
“Once again, based on the nose alone, this could be nothing else but Chablis with its mélange of tidal pool, mineral reduction, citrus blossom and discreet spice nuances. There is fantastic detail to the focused, mineral-driven and powerful middle weight plus flavors that do a slow build from the mid-palate all the way back to the explosively long, balanced and bone dry finish. This appears to be drawn directly from liquid Kimmeridgian and should also amply reward longer-term cellaring. In a word, brilliant.”
Stephen Tanzer 95 points “Very pale yellow. Very ripe but vibrant nose combines lime, spices, white pepper, crushed rock and liquid minerals. Delivers a saline, sappy combination of rich peachy fruit and floral/mineral lift, with a remarkably weightless quality. The chewy, saline, bone-dry finish reinforced by minerality conveys a powerful impression of dry extract and Kimmeridgian soil. Really inexorable on the back end.”Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros Cotes Bouguerots 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points
“Very pale green-tinged yellow. Classic Chablis scents and flavors of white peach, ginger, oyster shell, iodine and flint. Highly concentrated, tactile wine offering an impression of strong dry extract and a compelling combination of pliancy and energy. A very powerful, structured Chablis with a long, chewy, saline finish. Really saturates the palate without leaving any impression of weightiness. Offers splendid potential.”
Burghound 92-94 points “A super-fresh, cool and admirably pure nose exhibits notes of iodine, citrus, white rose petal, sea breeze and mineral reduction scents. Like several wines in the range I very much like the lovely texture of the energetic medium weight flavors that also possess fine concentration before terminating in an intensely saline-infused, balanced and wonderfully long finale.”

Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2016 750ML ($179.95) $149 special
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points
(just 18 hectoliters per hectare produced owing to frost and mildew): Pale yellow. Lovely brisk citrus and apple aromas complicated by gingery spices, white pepper and iodiney minerality. Large-scaled, dense and quite powerful but not yet filled in, with its very concentrated peach and citrus flavors accented by ginger and white pepper. More glyceral in the early going than the Preuses but showing less personality today. This fruit was picked very ripe, with nearly 13% potential alcohol, according to Didier Séguier.
Burghound 92-95 points “An even more complex nose displays excellent Chablis typicity with its combination of citrus, white orchard fruit, sea breeze, mineral reduction and soft oyster shell nuances. The broad-shouldered flavors are rich and concentrated to the point of opulence while managing to retain reasonably good precision on the citrus and solidly dry finale that really fans out as it sits on the palate. This is one of the few 2016s that may need most of a decade to arrive at its peak. In a word, impressive.”

William Fevre Les Lys, Chablis Premier Cru 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Stephen Tanzer 91 points
“Pale, green-tinged yellow. Fresh but reticent scents of lime peel and minerals. Pliant and dense, with intense flavors of lemon, lime zest and underripe pineapple currently dominated by salty, almost metallic minerality. This energetic wine is really stuffed with fruit and it maintains its density through a long finish.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Domaine William Fevre Chablis 1er Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special 
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(23 hectoliters per hectare): Pale, slightly cloudy yellow. Strong mineral notes of shrimp shell and sea breeze currently dominate citrus and white peach on the nose. Densely packed, concentrated and energetic; wonderfully fresh and balanced for the year. Clamps down impressively on the superb, sappy, slowly rising finish, leaving behind piquant notes of grapefruit, lemon zest and minerals. Classically dry, crystalline and taut but not austere. This beauty really spreads out to saturate the palate on the back end.”Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Preuses 2015 1.5L ($249.95) $219 special
Stephen Tanzer 94 points
“Pale, bright yellow. More feminine on the nose than the Valmur, offering aromas of citrus fruits, pear and white flowers plus a soupçon of oak spice. Very silky, seamless and refined but also shows terrific intensity and floral lift. Harmonious acidity leavens the density of this wine, giving it an almost weightless impression in the mouth. Perfectly integrated and balanced from the start. The impressively long, rising finish features piquant notes of citrus peel, minerals and flowers. I’d give this fine-grained beauty a good five years in the cellar before pulling the cork.”
Burghound 93 points “Once again there is a subtle but not invisible application of wood setting off the more elegant aromas of green fruit, almond, citrus, floral, spice and quinine. The super-intense, delineated and vibrant middle weight plus flavors possess both good richness but also the hallmark refinement of a fine Preuses, all wrapped in a more complex and sneaky long finish. Lovely.”

Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Preuses 2016 750ML ($149.95) $128 special
Stephen Tanzer 93-95 points
“(22 hectoliters per hectare): Pungent but reticent nose hints at pineapple, peach, ginger, menthol and subtle crushed-stone minerality. Rich, spicy and sweet, with its ripe orchard fruit flavors leavened by a floral topnote. Very subtle, elegant yet extract-rich wine with terrific dusty length and lift. Ultimately dry and classic, this wine reverberates on the palate for a minute or more. Vincent Dauvissat’s Preuses is frequently the finest and most complete example of this grand cru but the William Fèvre version is often my #2 choice.”
Burghound 92-94 points “A pungent nose consists of a potent mix of fennel, oak, menthol, mineral reduction and essence of pear. There is excellent density and power to the medium weight plus flavors that still manage to come across as quite refined thanks to hugely long, balanced and sappy finish. This classy effort needs a few years to develop more depth but the material is present for that to happen.”

William Fevre Vaulorent, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(all of William Fèvre’s vines in Fourchaume are situated in Vaulorent, where they’re the largest land owner; there’s usually a separate estate bottling labeled as Fourchaume but not in 2016): Pale green-tinged yellow. Musky, complex aromas of citrus fruits, spices, minerals and pepper. Ripe fruit notes are joined by a hint of exotic lichee, but the wine’s pliant texture is nicely supported by pepper, spices and minerals. This fairly large-scaled, savory wine boasts an exhilarating balance of sweetness and acidity. Finishes with explosive length and a strong impression of terroir. The crop level here was just 18 hectoliters per hectare and my notes say that this wine is at the same high level of quality as the Montée de Tonnerre.”
Burghound 91-93 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding! This could be from nowhere else but Chablis with its nose of oyster shell, iodine and strong mineral reduction aromas. The concentrated, mouth coating and serious flavors are at once muscular yet refined, all wrapped in an explosively long and well-balanced finish. As good as the Montée de Tonnerre is, and it’s very good, there is just a bit more overall depth present here.”


Call it a Comeback?

A Napa Icon, Back to 96 Point Form

BV is officially back. There was a period of time where BV’s top wine, the George de la Tour Cabernet, would have been held up as an example of a great winery resting on its laurels, but recent vintages confirm that it’s returned to its perch at the top of Napa’s food chain.  The 2013 is as good a bottle of Cabernet as we’ve seen for at/under $100—the product of a lot of time, money and energy well spent coupled with a tremendous vintage.

In the 70’s and 80’s, any list of the top five Napa Cabs would certainly include BV’s George de la Tour, sourced from some of the best vineyards in the valley and spared no expense or care in the production.  Unfortunately, by the mid-90’s, the wine was unspectacular at best and lingered that way until the mid 00’s, when BV decided to revive its flagship wine.  Money, time and expertise were poured into the project and now it’s clearly one at the top of the class of Napa.  For a Cabernet of this caliber, it’s exceptionally reasonably priced, as well—just $91.50 by the six pack.

In Stock Now:

“a fabulous wine”
Beaulieu Vineyard BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($149.95) $99 special
Case-6 Beaulieu Vineyard BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($899.95) $549 special (that’s only $91.50/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“Ripe, concentrated and intense, with fabulous richness throughout, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve brilliantly melds together elements of both the classic and modern. The flavors are dark and unctuous, but even with the wine’s considerable mid-palate sweetness, the 2013 needs time for the tannins to soften. There is no shortage of potential, but readers will have to be patient.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “One of the two flagship cuvées, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour is a fabulous wine. Obviously, this is the one wine that received the most meticulous attention from their outside consultant Michel Rolland. A great effort in 2013, as one might expect in this vintage, this wine needs 5-6 years and seems capable of lasting 30-40 or more, given the history of the great BV Private Reserves. Inky purple to the rim, with an extraordinary nose of créme de cassis and kirsch, licorice, cedarwood, and a touch of underbrush, the wine hits the palate with a full-bodied, powerful, concentrated, dense style, has great acidity, moderately sweet tannin, and a long, long finish. This wine is young and still slightly unformed, but loaded with potential and upside. Forget it for 5-6 years and drink it over the following half-century.”

Staff PickHigh Altitude Scott Paul Magic

With all of the Scott Paul wines to have come through the shop, it took some time to get around trying the Azana. This was the sole estate vineyard for Scott Paul – steep, and high altitude with massive southwestern exposure. This was the area of the Chelalem Mountain AVA that was washed out by the Missoula Floods bringing many different types of soil into play. While the vines are comparatively young, the fruit was impressive and made wines that might not be as complex as some of the others in the line up, but the potential was certainly there for these to continue evolving.At first crack, the wine was a little quiet, but after a half hour or the aromas of bright cherry and raspberry lifted off. The 13 vintage was definitely one of the more elegant, and while there was plenty of pop to the wine the power was balanced. Even on the second day, the wine showed raciness and verve. This is a great wine to get into while waiting for your other Scott Paul purchases to come around.

Scott Paul Azana Pinot Noir, Chehelem Mountains 2013 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Josh Raynolds 92 points
“Brilliant red. Fresh red berries, cherry compote and a hint of blood orange on the highly perfumed nose and in the mouth. Juicy and lithe in character, with no rough edges; a suave floral pastille nuance emerges on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and spicy cut on the finish, which hangs on with strong, floral tenacity.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Scott Paul Azana Pinot Noir, Chehelem Mountains 2014 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Broad and spicy, open-textured and appealing, showing balletic balance and featuring black cherry, rose petal and white pepper character that glides into a long and inviting finish. Drink now through 2024. 141 cases made.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $33.24

New Wine Spectator Insider Reviews

For Mosel Classics

Arriving Friday:Merkelbach Urziger Wurzgarten Lang Pitcher Auslese #7, Mosel 2017 ($44.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A light, zesty style, with jellied lemon, yellow apple and crème brûlée notes. Very refreshing and mouthwatering, featuring a lithe profile that makes this easy to drink now. Rose water and mineral aromas echo on the finish. Drink now through 2035.—A.Z”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Arriving ETA March:

Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 750ML ($49.95) $45 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “($52) Graceful, floral and flavorful, filled with elderflower, melon and star anise notes. This is very  harmonious and complex, picking up durian and mineral details midpalate, coming together on the long conclusion. Drink now through 2029.—A.Z.”

Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 1.5L ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
” ($43) Racy, with powerful acidity and amazing purity, this shows flavors of lemon curd, peach and dandelion tea. Herbal notes emerge toward the finish, providing added interest. Long and complex on the mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2028.—A.Z.”

Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Joh. Jos. Prum Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel, Mosel 2017 375ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“($141) A beautifully sculpted and compelling sweetie, concentrated yet light-footed and defined by a lively structure, with bright acidity behind the intense flavors of dried apricot, clementine, violet walnut conserve and mineral. Displays terrific harmony, followed by an ethereal, marathon finish. Best from 2023 through 2043. From Germany.—A.Z.”


Bedrock Stars in Wine Spectator Insider
Arriving February 22nd:

Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County 2017 750ML ($39.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“Distinctive, showing briary complexity, with deep and expressive smoky anise, black cherry, black olive and green peppercorn flavors that build toward refined tannins. Zinfandel, Carignane and Mataro. Drink now through 2026.”

Bedrock Wine Co. Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Old-school meets new in this Zinfandel, with just enough polish and plumpness to match the briary rusticity. Offers expressive black cherry, smoky anise and white pepper flavors. Drink now through 2024.”

February Sale Recap

We’ve slashed prices on Tuscan icons, Chateauneuf, great red Burgundy and classic Cote Rotie (and a whole lot more).  It’s an amazing way to begin the month (provided you like excellent deals on outstanding wines) and we’re excited to bring you more in the days/weeks ahead. As with all of our Sale Wines—these prices are limited to stock on hand, so once we sell out, the sale pricing is gone forever.  View the complete list below, and shop our web store by clicking here.

Thanks for reading!