Vinopolis Newsletter 5-27-24

 In This Newsletter:

New Arrivals: Opus One! PLUS Arnaud Lambert, Thibaud Boudignon


Featured Close-out wine: Domaine du Tunnel
New Arrivals

Extremely limited!
Unlike 1976’s infamous Judgement of Paris, this wine is a celebration of transatlantic winemaking collaboration rather than a competition. When two of the world’s most famous winemakers, Bordeaux’s Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Napa’s Robert Mondavi, joined forces to create a unique masterpiece in 1979, this new winemaking legend was born.
Opus One, Napa Valley, USA 2017 750ml $358 special, 2 bottles available
Decanter 96 Points ” A fist of late summer cherries, raspberry and bilberry fruits set out their stall, all with the juicy character that confirms, even in a hot vintage like 2017, Opus can deliver balance and sculpted elegance. Beautiful grip, creamy texture with a strikingly powerful tannic frame. As the wine stays in the glass the floral aromatics begin to bloom up. A brilliant Opus. 20 days maceration – around half what it would have been a decade ago. 54% native yeast, as part of their native yeast project. 5% Merlot and 1% Malbec complete the blend. Harvest spread out over September 5 to October 8, just before the fires, by which time they had less than 10% of the fruit still out on the vines.”
Arnaud Lambert.
While soft-spoken and humble, Arnaud Lambert is a leading voice in the natural wine movement in the appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. His goal is to re-discover each individual terroir and its potential through organic viticulture and less-is-more, precision based winemaking. Arnaud strives for consistent methods in the cellar, so that the terroir of each of his five crus is what shines through.
This wine never lasts long on our shelves… grab this premiere summer wine while you can!
Arnaud Lambert ‘Breze’ Saumur Blanc Clos de Midi, Loire, France 2022 750ml $23.50 special, 36 bottles available
No reviews for the 2022 vintage. Recent review provided for reference.
Wine Spectator 93 Points “This offers an expressive mix of yellow apple, persimmon and Meyer lemon flavors infused with light notes of hazelnut and hints of smoke. The acidity is electric, giving this plenty of verve and carrying all the elements to the long and seductive, lightly floral finish. Best from 2022 through 2034.”

This is the lowest price in the United States today!
…also recommended from Arnaud Lambert:
Arnaud Lambert ‘Breze’ Saumur Rouge Clos Mazurique, Loire, France 2022 750ml $21.90 special, 12 bottles available
Importer Notes “There are few wines in the world that carry this level of class, sophistication and low price. Straight out of the gates this Cabernet Franc overflows with perfumes of red and dark cherry, persian mulberry, persimmon, mandarin orange, strongly-scented red and white flowers, gravel, wet forest and minerals. Yes, this little guy is extremely complex!
Arnaud Lambert Saumur Blanc La Coulee de Saint-Cyr, Loire, France 2020 750ml $41.90 special, 15 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 Points “From an east-facing 1.7-hectare plot (Les Perriéres) on top of the SCB hill, the 2018 Saumur Saint-Cyr-en-Bourg Coulée de St-Cyr opens with a deep, pure, yet intense and complex bouquet of ripe fruits intertwined with notes of crushed limestone and popcorn. Pure, refined and salty on the palate, this is a full-bodied, quite rich yet tight, fresh and persistently salty Chenin with fine yet sustainable tannins and a lot of nervy lime juice, salt and tension. This is a fantastic Chenin from limestone terroir (topped with a 50-centimeter layer of clay and salt) that is normally used for Cabernet Franc. I tasted the wine from the same bottle over 14 days, and I’d say the wine got finer and finer.”

Thibaud Boudignon.
“Thibaud Boudignon is unquestionably one of the most exciting figures in wine today. Originally from Bordeaux, he honed his winemaking craft while working at Philipe Charlopin in Gevrey-Chambertin during the early 2000s…It is wines like these that make us remember why we love this business. Just when you think you’ve had the best a region has to offer, a new discovery comes along to rock your world. Boudignon is such a discovery, with wines that speak so clearly of their place of origin.” -Skurnik Wines
Thibaud Boudignon Rose de Loire, France 2023 750ml $26 special, 24 bottles available
Winery Notes “A noble, supremely saline rosé with an exquisitely delicate texture. Made like a white wine to preserve minerality and structure. The wine is full of bright flacors of wild raspberries, blood orange zest, and red currant, all in a refreshingly silky package.””A noble, supremely saline rosé with an exquisitely delicate texture. Made like a white wine to preserve minerality and structure. The wine is full of bright flavors of wild raspberries, blood orange zest, and red currant, all in a refreshingly silky package.”
Lopez Heredia.
Lopez de Heredia’s wines follow the path started by Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Lopez almost 150 years ago, using only estate grown fruit, including the famous Tondonia vineyard, which produces many of the most coveted wines in all of Rioja. These bottles are as classic as they come, representative of the accumulated wisdom of many generations of Spanish and French wine masters. This Tondonia Reserva features an incredible 6 years of barrel aging before being clarified with egg whites to ensure the purity and longevity of the wines without filtration.

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa, Spain 2011 1.5L $119 special, 5 magnums available
James Suckling 95 Points “A traditional beauty that effuses iron, warm earth and savory tobacco leaves, together with plums, spices and orange zest. This is juicy and still tight, with firm but savory tannins. Medium-weight and quite zesty in texture, as is the case with the other López de Heredia reds tasted this session. Drink now or hold.”
Wine Advocate 94 Points “The 2011 Viña Tondonia Reserva is darker and shows riper fruit, a rounder palate and some dusty tannins. A year of ripeness, concentration and tannin, the wine is powerful with the finesse of Tondonia. Tasting this next to the textbook 2010 Tondonia revealed how this has more muscle and a wider back and the 2010 epitomizes the finesse and elegance.”

“For us vignerons, these are great years, because everything got ripe, Seventeen is very good. I’m super happy with that year. And ’18 is also good—maybe a little more showy young.” He compared them to 2009 and 2015 but noted those years were more tannic. ‘The 2009s are starting to drink well now, but who waits 10 years?’ ” –Stephane Robert, as reported by the Wine Advocate
In the Rhône Valley, where Domaines often trace their history for centuries, Stephane Robert’s winery is still spoken of like a newcomer despite having been around for 30 years. In 1994, Robert founded Domaine du Tunnel, starting with 2.5 hectares of vines on the right bank of the Rhône, in Cornas, Saint-Péray and Saint-Joseph. After several successful vintages, Stéphane rehabilitated an abandoned, underground train tunnel which became his winery and cellar.
Although very little of his wines reach our shores, savvy customers know to snap them up whenever available. They are a pure, but powerful representation of what the Rhône can offer.
WAS $79
Stephane Robert Domaine du Tunnel Cornas, Rhone, France 2018 750ml $69 special, 15 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 95-97 Points “Readers looking for the essence of Cornas would do well to pick up a case of the 2018 Cornas. Deep purple, with a heavenly bouquet of blueberries, raspberries, crushed violets, olives, ground pepper, and gamey meats, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a balanced, classy texture, building yet polished tannins, and a great finish. It’s a winner.”

This is the only listing for this wine in the USA!
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Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!
Be well & drink well.