Vinopolis Newsletter – Arriving This Week 5-21-24

 In This Newsletter:

Bonny Doon and Spanish history in a bottle


Your Guide to the Grill… PLUS a value from Cayuse
Arriving This Week
Bonny Doon Vineyard.

One of the pioneers of Rhône-styled wines in the United States as well as an early champion of terroir focused winemaking and Biodynamic viticulture, Bonny Doon Vineyard is a true original. Despite bringing a serious attitude to the quality of their wines, they were also pioneers in distancing themselves from the stuffy culture around fine wine with humorous labels, and flippant nameing conventions. This wine, “Le Cigare Volant,” for example, a Grenache dominant blend which has remained one of the most solid domestic Rhône blends for decades now, is a reference to and parody of, a law establish in the 1950’s prohibiting UFOs (known as “Flying Cigars” in France) from landing within the boundaries of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
While Bonny Doon may refuse to take themselves seriously, Cigar Volant is one of the best values in California reds, and you would be well advised to take serious advantage of it at this price.
Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant, Central Coast, USA 2021 750ml $14.50 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 92 Points “This classic, pioneering Rhône red continues inspiring the masses. The blend of 65% Grenache, 18% Syrah, 15% Cinsault and 2% Petite Sirah starts with crisp red currant, crumple flower and cracked white pepper aromas. The palate is young, fresh and tense, offering raspberry jam dusted in lavender and delicate baking spices.”

Lopez Heredia.

Spanish history in a bottle!
The story of Lopez Heredia starts with a bug. Actually millions of little parasites called “Grape Phylloxera” that ate about 60% of France’s grape vines in the late nineteenth century. Now in survival mode, French estates were presented with two options: ruin or innovation. Many sold or abandoned their land, while others set their eyes on viticultural regions still untouched by the Phylloxera.
French vineyards? Destroyed by bugs. Spain? Untouched potential. For many the choice was clear. It was this opportunity that savvy businessmen like Lopez Heredia’s founder, Rafael López de Heredia y Landet, took advantage of, buying land to grow grapes , producing and selling wines for French Vignerons, and most importantly, learning all about what it was that made the wines of Bordeaux the most sought after wines on the planet. He introduced barrel aging, extended bottle aging, and careful blending among many other techniques that he learned from the French, helping to create the vinicultural style and traditions which shaped Rioja into one of the world’s most beloved wine regions.
Today, Lopez de Heredia’s wines follow the path started by Rafael, 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, 6 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.”

Chillin’ and Grillin’
…pair these wines with your barbecue favorites!
Salt and lemon oil, iron. Pairs well with fatty fish like salmon or Black Cod, plus Pork loin or chops.
Ovum Memorista Riesling, Eola-Amity Hills, United States 2021 750ml $27 special, 22 bottles available
Michael Alberty-Wine Enthusiast 96 Points “A pear aroma is surrounded by a bouquet of apple blossoms, fresh pine cones and the sweet spice of daphne flowers. Lemon cake and juniper berry flavors are joined by something akin to anise or caraway seeds. Elevated acidity makes the Memorista vibrate on the palate. Enjoy this remarkable Riesling now-2034.”
Flinty, citrusy. Pairs well with grilled chicken.
Jonathan Didier Pabiot Pouilly-Fume Aubaine, Loire, France 2021 750ml $29.50 special, 16 bottles available
Rebecca Gibb Mw-Vinous 90 Points “The 2021 Aubaine is aromatic with floral and gooseberry characters. Having spent 18 months in concrete tank on lees and tasted every two weeks to check the condition, it has taken on a richness of texture and breadth that coats the palate. It is suave and ready to enjoy, with a pretty elderflower scent lingering on the medium-length, lightly savory finish.”
Dry, Brambly, fruity, pairs well with dry rubbed steaks or pork ribs.
Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County, USA 2021 750ml $44.50 special, 18 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points “From Zinfandel grown in the pure sand soils of this incredible site, the 2021 Evangelho Vineyard Heritage is lifted and pure with raspberry liqueur, fresh flowers, and brushy earth. Medium-bodied, with a highly refined structure, it reveals a floral perfume of herbes de Provence and rose petals that lasts long after the wine has dissipated. With fine tannins and a gorgeous, sandy mineral texture, it’s a beautiful wine to drink over the next 10 or more years.”
Savory and meaty, pairs well with burgers.
Marietta Cellars ‘Christo’ Rhône Blend, California, USA 2021 750ml $21.90 special, 18 bottles available
Erin Brooks-Wine Advocate 93 Points “The 2021 Christo is a blend of 68% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 8% Petite Sirah and 4% Viognier. The nose features fresh blackcurrant and blueberry aromas with tones of cast iron, violet, sagebrush and conifer. The full-bodied palate is chalky and refreshing with restrained, mineral-driven fruit and a long, perfumed finish.”
Peppery and herbaceous… pairs with herb crusted steak.
Domaine des Tourelles Rouge, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon 2019 750ml $16 special, 20 bottles available
No reviews for the 2019 vintage. 2018 vintage review provided for reference.
Decanter 93 Points “Mediterranean-like character with lots of vibrant redcurrant, raspberry and herbal notes. Floral, restrained and quite finely textured on the palate. Drinking Window 2021 – 2026.”
This lush ruby is big on raspberry and cherry fruit with some tar and cola present as well. Chill it down and pair with smoked pork.
W & J Graham’s Fine Ruby Port, Portugal NV 750ml $19.50 special, 12 bottles available
Winery Note “Full-bodied with a youthful freshness and aromas of luscious fruit. About: Very deep-coloured and intensely aromatic, our Fine Ruby Port is bottled young so as to retain the assertiveness of the fruit, a recognisable Graham’s hallmark.”

Featured Close-out!
2020 was a dangerous year to be alive for reasons we won’t rehash here but it was a dangerous year to be a winemaker in Washington and Oregon as well. With fires and smoke damage rampant there was danger of losing whole crops. Some winemakers just gave up.
However, Christophe Baron, the owner and proprietor of Cayuse Vineyards, the very same man who put The Rocks district of Milton-Freewater on the viticultural map, has never backed down from a challenge. Instead of releasing tainted wines (as some wineries did) or abandoning the vintage altogether he made less wine but, by carefully selecting the parcels which remained untouched by smoke, he was able to narrow his focus more intently than ever on what was left.
As luck would have it, his En Chamberlin vineyard, which produces his Tempranillo, remained unscathed, resulting in a higher production of his Impulsivo bottling than usual. Lucky us! Tempranillo, a nervy, but sturdy red grape that provides the backbone for Rioja’s reds is underrepresented in the new world, especially as a single varietal, but it is incredibly well-matched for the climate of Walla Walla, where it can bake in the sun like its home in the arid hills of Spain.
WAS $133
Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley, USA 2020 750ml $119 special, 25 bottles available
Owen Bargreen 96 Points “The sensational 2020 Impulsivo is a powerful wine from a tough vintage. On the nose this shows dried herbs and freshly tilled rocky soils alongside black plum and baking spices. The palate is deep and concentrated, yet maintains beautiful freshness and a strong douse of salinity. Complex, novel, enjoy this one-of-a-kind Tempranillo now and over the next six years.”
James Suckling 95 Points “Enticing aromas of black cherries, blackberries, licorice, cloves, green chilis and dark chocolate. It’s full-bodied with fine-grained tannins. Beautifully deep, fleshy and inky, with excellent freshness, too. Spicy and attention-grabbing.”
Skurnik Notes “100% Tempranillo. En Chamberlin Vineyard (Walla Walla Valley AVA). Planted in 1998. 10′ by 4′ planting density. 6.1 acres planted. 12-18 – of silty loam and basalt cobblestone soils. 875 ft. elevation.”
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Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!
Be well & drink well.