Vinopolis Newsletter 9-10-17

Three Dolo-Mites, See How They Drink; Coulée de Serrant’s Magisterial Autumnal Whites; Cheery Ciro; Phillipe Colin at the Best Prices in the Nation; Trending: Marcus Goodfellow’s Epic Chardonnay; Staff Pick; Giacomo Conterno’s Top Baroli; Bussola Amarone, Castello di Ama Rosato and Zilliken—Coming Soon.


Tre Dalle Dolomiti

Pojer & Sandri’s Unique Whites

Foradori seems to capture the vast majority of the public attention on Alto Adige, and while that attention is warranted, there are tons of wines from the Dolomites Mountains that deserve a closer look.  Pojer e Sandri is one such producer, making a wide range of wines in traditional ways.  They’re best known as one of the few extant producers of Nosiola, a native grape that always has an aroma of nuts but pairs with a seemingly endless number of foods.  Their Sauvignon Blanc seems to be cut from the same cloth—it’s not too citrusy and seems to be both clearly Sauvignon and also identifiably from the Dolomites—there’s a minerality to it that seems unique.  Finally, the Besler from them might be the most interesting wine they make. It’s a blend of a number of different grapes and done in a rich but elegant style.  Spicy and bright, it’s a wine that seems to be unlike anything else we’ve tasted (in a good way).  These are wines worth exploring.

Just Arrived:

Pojer e Sandri Nosiola Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Trentino-Alto Adige 2016 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Producer Notes–“The colour is straw/yellow with greenish reflections. Its bouquet is very delicate, fleeting but very characteristic, with fruity hints of golden apples. On the palate it is flavorful and fragrant, with a mildly tangy quality on the palate. There’s a subtle flavor which may remind you of hazelnuts. It pairs well both with light appetizers of fish and meat, soup, raw shellfish and it’s also good with soft cheeses. Excellent as an aperitif, too, as it sets up bigger, richer wines.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Pojer e Sandri Sauvignon Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Trentino-Alto Adige 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Winery notes: “The colour is pale straw/yellow with greenish reflections. Its bouquet is very intense with striking fragrances (hints of elder-blossom, fig, tomato-blossom) and delicate fruity tones such as peach, apricot and black currant. There is an excellent correspondence bouquet-palate, the flavors confirming the aromas. On the palate it is flavorful and intense, with crisp acidity, providing a clean finish. Our Sauvignon pairs well with an array of appetizers, seafood and shellfish. It’s excellent as an aperitif, too!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Pojer e Sandri ‘Besler Biank’ Val di Cembra Bianco Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Trentino-Alto Adige 2012 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
VinopolNote: The estate’s top white, made from a blend of Pinot Bianco, Riesling Renano, Sauvignon, Incrocio Manzoni and Kerner.  Aromatic and spicy, with good body, this is a fascinating wine and representative of the potential quality of the region.

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Joly’s Coulée de Serrant

The Apotheosis of Chenin

Perfect for Fall

Both Louis XI and XIV recognized the sublimity of La Coulée de Serrant, as did the monks who first planted the vineyard almost a millennium ago. The wines from this 17-acre plot display an individuality that long ago warranted a 17-acre appellation controlée, like Burgundy in the Loire. Put this property, and the other Savennières vineyards Les Vieux Clos and Clos de la Bergerie, into the care of the Joly family and you have fabulous wine like no other.

Nicolas Joly is considered the high priest of biodynamic winegrowing and winemaking in France, and he has managed his estate according to this uber-organic system since 1984. His are happy, healthy vines. Tasting a Clos de la Coulée de Serrant wine remains a priviledge: history combines with progressive farming in a most beautiful expression of the Chenin Blanc grape, just as nature and mankind intended.  The wines are rich and powerful but not too much so—the apotheosis of dry Chenin Blanc.  Drink them now with a decant or age them for a few decades, it’s your choice.

Nicolas Joly Vignobles de la Coulee de Serrant ‘Clos de la Coulee de Serrant’ Savennieres, Loire 2014 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 21 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The yellow-golden 2014 Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, a world famous and iconic Chenin with its own appellation (Savennières – Coulée de Serrant AC), opens with a beautifully clear, precise and aromatic bouquet of ripe and dried, lovely concentrated stone and grapefruit, as well as some honey aromas intermixed with crushed crystalline stones and herbal flavors. Highly elegant, clear and vital on the palate, this full-bodied wine is immensely intense but also silky, transparent and finesse-full. The long and stimulating finish is enormously piquant and salty, very compact but in perfect balance. There are dried Mediterranean herbs like thyme along with concentrated apricot and quince flavors in the persistent aftertaste. A great, elegant and very refined Coulée.”

Nicolas Joly Vignobles de la Coulee de Serrant Savennieres La Roche aux Moines ‘Clos de la Bergerie’, Loire 2014 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 12 bottles available
Wine & Spirits 93 points “Perhaps the least challenging of Joly’s three cuvees from his biodynamic estate, this grows on schist soils with an eastern exposure. It’s also the most synesthetic, presenting its tastes in a sunrise of color, from golden quince to red-hued tannins. It’s pure and honeyed without any sense of sweetness or any notes of oxidation. Bursting with freshness, this is powerful, grand Savennieres.”
Wine Advocate 92+ points “Intensely yellow in color, the 2014 Roche-aux-Moines Clos de la Bergerie has a deep and concentrated bouquet of ripe and stewed stone fruits along with herbal seeds. This wine needs a lot of time to open up and should be decanted for hours. Round, rich and elegant on the palate, with a racy acidity attack, great density and a lively mineral purity and backbone, this is a powerful, firmly structured Chenin; it has a good tannin grip and a long and intense finish. Still somewhat closed and bitter, but the concentration and rich fruit is obvious. Although I didn’t have the chance to follow this bottle over days, I am pretty sure it will become an even more exciting wine with (much) more aeration.”

Nicolas Joly Vignobles de la Coulee de Serrant Savennieres Les Vieux Clos, Loire 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “Joly’s golden-yellow 2014 Savennières Les Vieux Clos is pure and elegant on the herbal and flinty nose, where spicy lemon/lemon grass and ripe, concentrated fruit aromas are displayed. Very well defined! On the palate, the 14.5% alcohol comes along in perfect balance: very elegant and finesse-full. since the powerful body is lifted by a piquant acidity, a lovely transparency and finesse, and finally escorted by a dense and lush fruit texture. The finish is very precise, fresh and aromatic, but also full of elegance, salt and stimulation.”

Cheery Ciro

The Bright, Fresh Wines of Calabria

Calabria is probably the last place you’d look in Italy for light, bright, fresh wines.  It’s the toe of the boot—a hot climate known for hot peppers (Tutto Calabria FTW) and abundant sunshine.  To have wines that are, dare we say—delicate, from this place seems beyond improbable.  And yet here we are—the two wines that we’re featuring today, both from producer Scala, are bright and fresh, nimble on their feet.

The white from Scala is made entirely from Greco, the grape we know from Campania and is bright and fresh—a little citrus, a little floral but everything harmonized and in its proper place.  The sort of white that complements anything on your table (and is a steal for the price).  The red is made from Gaglioppo, a native grape that produces light, red fruited wines that are lovely and very un-serious.

Just Arrived:

Scala Bianco Ciro, Calabria 2016 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery notes: “100% Greco.  Clear straw-coloured yellow with green-like tints, elegant and bright with scent of white flowers. Dry, cool and tasty, well-balanced and with a refined aftertaste.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $15.99

Scala Rosso Ciro Classico, Calabria 2013 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 17 bottles in stock now
“100% Gaglioppo. Ruby-red colour, powerful and persistent fragrance. Well-balanced and harmonic flavour with an evident typical note of Gaglioppo.”–Winery note

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Summer Shipping Special:

Midwest, East, & South

For the summer season we are offering UPS Three Day Select Service for the price of UPS Ground for shipments normally traveling 4 or more business days by ground.

Free service upgrade only applies on single orders purchased and shipped during the promotional period.  Additional fees will apply to orders held for any reason until after the promotional period and shipped by Three Day Select.  Offer not valid on items purchased before the promotional period or on pre-arrival items that arrive after the promotional period ends.


Phillipe Colin’s Stunning Chassagnes

There are many Colins in Puligny and Chassagne.  Some of them make good wine, some of them make ho-hum wine and a few, like Phillipe, are the reason you have to pay attention the first name—the wines are fantastic.  These are really beautiful, nuanced white Burgundies.  If you like wines with precision, elegance and grace, these are your wines.  They age beautifully and are the kind of wines you can swirl and smell for an entire evening.  We’ve got a few of the 2011’s in stock—a vintage in which he made beautiful wines and we’ve got some 2013’s on the way.  The ’13 white Burgundies have been great across the board and the P. Colin wines are no exception.

In Stock Now:

Philippe Colin Les Chenevottes, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 92 points “Tasted blind at the Burgundy 2011 horizontal tasting in Beaune. The Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru les Chenevottes 2011 from Philippe Colin has a more floral and feminine bouquet that its peers with subtle touches of white flowers, shaved almond and popcorn that unfolds beautifully in the glass. The palate is clean and fresh with vibrant candied orange peel and citrus lemon. This is well defined and focused with a long and engaging, terroir-driven finish. This is a great Chassagne from Philippe Colin.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.99

Philippe Colin Les Vergers, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2011 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92+ points “Bright yellow. Reticent nose dominated by crushed stone and menthol. Tightly wound but already quite nuanced, showing excellent acid/mineral cut to its flavors of lemon, hay and fresh herbs. Finishes juicy and long, with suggestions of orchard fruits. An excellent showing today, but there’s more to come.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $89.99

Arriving September 22nd:

Philippe Colin Les Chenevottes, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru2013 750ML ($99.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 94 points “A powerful, muscular white, with a dense structure supporting concentrated flavors of peach, apple, lemon, vanilla and nutmeg, all underlined by vivid acidity, driving the finish to a minerally conclusion. Best from 2018 through 2027. 100 cases imported”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $112.78

Philippe Colin Les Chaumees, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($99.95) $75 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 95 points “Rich and creamy, this white features apple, lemon cake, citronella and toasted spice aromas and flavors. Beautifully put together, with the vibrant intensity of the vintage, ending with an expansive, complex aftertaste. Best from 2018 through 2027. 150 cases imported.”


This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Trending: Marcus Goodfellow’s

High-Flying, High-Scoring Chardonnay

Marcus Goodfellow’s Matello and Goodfellow Family Cellars labels have been mainstays at the shop for some time now—wines that we carry regardless of vintage, scores or overall hype.  The wines are amongst the best in Oregon and consistently some of the most inspiring wines we taste.  It looks like we aren’t alone in our love—the new Wine Advocate reviews for our fair state lavish (deserved) praise on Marcus’ wines, particularly two Chardonnays which we wanted to feature today.

Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($39.95) $36 special
Goodfellow Family Cellars Richard’s Cuvee Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2014 375ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2014 Chardonnay Richard’s Cuvee knocks it out of the park with a nose of ripe apricots, pink grapefruit and guava underscored by fresh ginger, baking bread, beeswax and yeast extract hints with a waft of jasmine. Medium-bodied, the palate is very elegant and refined, with incredible freshness and depth wrapped in a lovely satiny texture, finishing with long lasting mineral and spices layers. Wow!”-LPB

Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2014 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Case-6 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2014 ($179.95) $156 special (that’s only $26/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 95+ points “The 2014 Chardonnay Durant Vineyard delivers an intense minerally/struck match and crushed stones nose over a core of lemon pie, orange blossoms and grapefruit plus hints of toasted almonds and brioche. Medium-bodied, very fresh and very fine, the palate reveals a gorgeous creamy texture and wonderful flavor intensity, with the citrus, savory and mineral flavors lingering long and multi-layered in the mouth.” –LPB
The world premier of the 2015 version of Marcus’ amazingly good entry level Pinot:

Goodfellow Family Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Case-12 Goodfellow Family Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2015 750ML ($279.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92+ points “Pale ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir is scented of roses, wild thyme and lavender with a core of Bing cherries and warm cranberries plus an earthy/forest floor waft. Light to medium-bodied, the palate provides a wonderful intensity of perfumed red berry flavors with silken tannins and a long earthy finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


Staff Pick:

Swan Zin For the Win

This is a bittersweet wine, not in a literal sense, but it’s the last vintage of one my favorite Zinfandels.  Mancini sits right at the corner of Olivet and Piner Roads in the heart of the Russian River Valley (not too far from Merry Edward’s famous Olivet Lane Vinyeard) and was planted in 1922.  The vineyard was sold after the 2012 harvest so its future is uncertain.  This wine, though, is a tribute to everything we love about RRV Zin.  It manages to both have lots of fruit and also be incredibly light on its feet, with a dark fruited profile that belies its sub-13% alcohol.  If you yearn for the old days of California Zinfandel, this is your wine – Saul

Joseph Swan Vineyards Mancini Ranch Zinfandel, Russian River Valley 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 18 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2012 Zinfandel Mancini Ranch has a medium garnet color and nose of raspberry preserves, cherry pie and baking spices, plus a waft of anise. Light to medium-bodied, soft, fresh and spicy on the palate, it has lovely poise and expression.”
Winery notes “Blackberry, white pepper floral hints, bit of lushness. Complex balanced, elegant. A classic old style zinfandel made with new age sensibilities. And, it is under 13% alcohol!”

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


Giacomo Conterno: Titan of Barolo

Roberto Conterno is one of the top two or three winemakers in all of Italy.  This isn’t a particularly controversial statement  given the pricing and availability of the top wines that he makes at his family’s winery, Giacomo Conterno.  Not only have the wines climbed in price, but it seems like every year we get offered fewer and fewer bottles.  He’s become a reference producer in Barolo—what Giacosa used to represent in terms of benchmarks for greatness have been moved over to the Conterno estate.

The wines are always powerful and traditional, but with an elegance and grace that seems to transcend the immediate impact of flavor and leave you searching for descriptors to capture what you’ve tasted.  We love the wines and if you are thinking about trying them—do it sooner than later.  The way these wines have become collectable, it’s going to be harder and harder to source them going forward.  We’re lucky enough to have a small collection of these wines on hand and are excited to share them  with you.

Giacomo Conterno Wines Available Here Now:

Giacomo Conterno Cerretta Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2014 Barbera d’Alba Cerretta is a magnificent expression and an unexpected surprise. The Barbera d’Alba Cerretta has often taken a back seat to the more prominent Barbera d’Alba Francia. Among the two, I found that this wine offers even more depth of expression and nuance. The vineyard site in Serralunga d’Alba has clay soils that have contributed to the sheer sense of elegance and structure offered here. The results are grand and opulent. The wine ends with a playful touch of brimstone or dark mineral that frames its fruity core.”

Giacomo Conterno Vigna Francia Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 22 bottles available
Giacomo Conterno Vigna Francia Barbera d’Alba, Piedmont 2014 1.5L ($149.95) $119 special, 5 magnums available
Wine Advocate 92 points “The 2014 Barbera d’Alba Francia opens to beautiful fullness and sheer depth that represents the darker, softer and more generous side of this grape. I tasted the wine from barrel approximately one month before bottling. Roberto Conterno says that 2014 was a good year for both Barbera, but especially Nebbiolo that experienced a natural selection process in the vineyard due to low yields. This wine offers ripe fruit tones with bold lines and beautifully balanced concentration.”
Staff Pick: “Sure, this is expensive for Barbera, but it’s inexpensive for Conterno—especially when you consider that, unlike a lot of other producers, this Barbera comes from a prime Barolo vineyard.  I’ve often felt as though the Barberas from top Piedmonte producers represent excellent value.  It isn’t Nebbiolo (and you shouldn’t expect a Barolo flavor profile) but the craftsmanship and attention that is lavished on the Baroli is more than evident here.  One to buy and cellar like the serious wine that it is.” – Saul

This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Giacomo Conterno ‘Cerretta’, Barolo DOCG 2012 750ML ($249.95) Was $219, Now $199, 11 bottles available
Wine Spectator 96 points “A wealth of cherry flavor is surrounded by cut grass, tar, tobacco and iron notes in this complex, intense red. There is plenty of tension and a long aftertaste of licorice, tar and mineral. Balanced yet austere, this needs time to integrate fully. Best from 2023 through 2042.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2012 Barolo Cerretta is intriguing to taste next to the Francia, as it is much more shut down and affected by its recent bottling. Today the tannins are searing and large-grained, a characteristic this wine did not show from barrel. The clay-rich soils in Cerretta tend to give a broader style of Barolo compared to Francia, where limestone is prevalent, and that is very much what comes through today. Hints of dark red cherry, plum, smoke, leather, tobacco and licorice struggle to emerge from a wall of tannin. Today, the Cerretta is a brute, with little of the perfume and finesse it showed in cask. Readers will have to be patient. The only question is how much.
Wine Advocate 94 points “To be released in October 2016, the 2012 Barolo Cerretta opens to a profound and buoyant bouquet that is particularly driven by menthol freshness, as well as pretty nuances of balsam herb and forest fruit with licorice, tilled earth and truffle. The wine is balanced and ethereal. It’s so difficult to achieve this level of aromatic definition (especially in a warm year like 2012), but Roberto Conterno has done so with a deft hand. This is a complete expression of Barolo with aromatic intensity that is matched by an enduring sense of structure and medium-weight appeal.”

Giacomo Conterno Francia Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2003 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 16 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2003 Barolo Cascina Francia is soft, silky and very nicely balanced, especially in its tannins, where the wine really stands out next to so many peers. Readers should open the 2003 at least an hour in advance to allow the aromatics to open up. This is a very sexy and open young Barolo from Conterno with very little signs of the challenging growing season.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This is expressive, with alluring cherry, strawberry, floral and mineral flavors building to a long, expansive finish. The elegant profile belies the serious structure underneath, which should allow this red to develop over the next 15 to 20 years. Offers fine berry fruit and a minerally aftertaste. Best from 2018 through 2033.”

Giacomo Conterno Francia Barolo DOCG, Piedmont 2012 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 17 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94-97 points “The 2012 Barolo Francia is dark, virile and intense, with a huge center of fruit to match its distinctly brooding personality. Today, the 2012 also comes across as quite closed in on itself, but there is a level of pure depth here that is absolutely compelling. Conterno has decided not to bottle a Monfortino, so there is good reason to think the bottled Francia has the potential to be stellar.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “Since the 2010 vintage, this wine is named Francia (not Cascina Francia) to keep with the new Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive (or official cru naming) in Barolo and Barbaresco. The 2012 Barolo Francia is a seductive and silky expression that flows gracefully over the palate with power and determination. The nose is expressive, and decidedly more articulate than many of the more muted wines made by neighboring estates in this warm vintage. The quality of the mouthfeel is of special interest. This beautiful Barolo already shows stunning texture, richness and integrity, despite this very early preview tasting. I tasted this wine in barrel shortly before bottling.”


Bussola Amarone, Zilliken Riesling

and Tuscan Rosato

Stellar Deals, Arriving Soon

We’ve got some really exciting deals coming through the pipeline—from all over the world.  The highlight might be Bussola’s excellent Amarone, as we’re often asked for high quality wines from that DOCG.  Bussola is one of the top producers in the region and his Classico is one of the benchmarks.  We also have some really stellar inexpensive Riesling coming in from Saar standby Zilliken.  They’re one of our favorite producers for off-dry Riesling and when we saw the price we could get their ‘estate’ bottling for, we had to jump on it.  Throw in a great, end of summer rosé closeout on Castello di Ama and you’ve got a set of great deals:

Arriving September 15th:

Castello di Ama Rosato Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 pre-arrival special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 91 points “Pale pink-red. Apricot, peach and flowers on the nose. Fresh and savory in the mouth; hints of pomegranate and vanilla complicate the stone fruit and sweet spice flavors. Finishes long and tactile, with insidiousness sweetness. One of the best Rosatos from Ama in memory.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Castello di Ama Rosato Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 pre-arrival special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 90 points “Pale red. Pungent floral aromas and flavors of red berries, apple and spicy underbrush. Vibrant acidity leaves a very clean and fresh mouthfeel which features hints of earth tones and red orchard fruit. Sangiovese and Merlot.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $18

Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Estate Riesling, Saar 2014 750ML ($21.95) $14 pre-arrival special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 88 points “Tropical hints of papaya and mango mingle with dominant apple on a juicy, buoyant, and even at 40 grams of residual sugar, only discreetly sweet palate. This finishes with caressing tenderness and polish, nicely poised between lightly crunchy and lushly tropical fruit.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Arriving in October:

Tommaso Bussola Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG, Veneto 2011 750ML ($67.95) $55 pre-arrival special
Ian D’agata–Vinous 95 points “Very deep ruby, almost inky in color. Multidimensional nose combines red cherry, raspberry syrup, gunflint, cinnamon, flowers and oak spices. Thick but magically light on its feet, with penetrating red fruit and very strong chocolaty flavors nicely framed by harmonious acidity. The sweet and ultra smooth finish saturates the palate with red fruits, chocolate and sweet spices. Sports a highish 17% alcohol by volume but you can hardly tell, a real neat trick for such a luscious, concentrated wine. Almost like drinking liquid chocolate with alcohol. Outstanding Amarone that will likely turn out to be one of the top three wines of the vintage.”

Thank you for reading!