Vinopolis Newsletter – Friday 10/27/2023

 In This Newsletter:

Viña Maitia, Andre Clouet, Dusted Valley, Paolo Bea, and more!
Recently Reviewed Wines
Finding Finesse in Chateauneuf-du-Pape?

6 Oregon Reds Under 25 Dollars
Great Local Values That Can’t Be Beat

Close-out Sales
An Assortment of French Wines
Collector’s Corner

The Superior Valpolicella
New Arrivals
 Chillable! Viña Maitia Aupa Pipeno Maule Valley 2022 750ml $14 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 92+ Points “I tasted a bottle of the 2022 Aupa Pipeño that had been in bottle for only one week. In 2022, David Marcel achieved a little less ripeness and alcohol (again 13%) and achieved a primary wine with very tender aromas with hints of tangerine peel, herbs and a serious mouthfeel with fine-grained tannins. It has 80% País and 20% Carignan that is expressive and easy to drink. 2022 was a small crop, but he produced around 70,000 bottles of this wine. Great value.”

Andre Clouet Chalky Brut NV 750ml $54.50 special, 9 bottles available
James Suckling 93 Points “[Reviewed 2021] Brimming with fresh apple, lemon and wild-berry aromas underlined by a note of freshly baked baguette, this begins so charming, then it turns in a fascinating mineral direction with a pronounced saline quality. The excitement comes from the tension between these two sides of this very distinctive champagne. Very long, chalky finish. 100% chardonnay from the 2013 vintage. Drink now.”
Larmandier-Bernier Les Chemins d’Avize Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ml $149 special, only 12 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Revisited from the October 2019 disgorgement, Larmandier-Bernier’s 2013 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Les Chemins d’Avize continues to show brilliantly, offering up complex aromas of argan oil, fresh apricot and crisp yellow orchard fruit, complemented by hints of fresh walnuts and almond paste. Full-bodied, deep and vinous, it’s layered and elegantly fleshy, with a concentrated core of ripe fruit, racy acids and a long, mineral finish. As I wrote last year, Pierre Larmandier invariably excels in cool, late-growing seasons, so the 2013 vintage was perfectly adapted to his talents.” -William Kelley
Larmandier-Bernier Vieilles Vignes du Levant Grand Cru Extra Brut, Champagne 2011 750ml $119 special, only 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 97 points “Revisited from the June 2019 disgorgment, Larmandier-Bernier’s 2011 Extra-Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Vieille Vigne du Levant continues to drink superbly, bursting from the glass with aromas of pear, peach, toasted almonds, white flowers, fresh bread and oyster shell. Full-bodied, layered and concentrated, it’s deep and fleshy, with superb concentration, racy acids and a long, saline finish. I have previously contended that Pierre Larmandier produced Champagne’s wines-of-the-vintage in 2011, and every bottle I open seems to confirm that. Indeed, if one were to taste only his wines, along with those produced by a small handful of other growers, one could easily think very differently about this unheralded year.” -William Kelley
“Laurent Perrier”
To make this exceptional champagne three top vintages must be blended and aged an unbelievable 10 years sur-lee. A majority of Chardonnay complemented by Pinot Noir from a maximum of 11 Grands Crus out of the 319 Crus in the Champagne region. Aged for 10 years on the lees for the bottle format and a few more years for the magnum format.
A white gold in color with delicate and persistent bubbles, Grand Siecle No. 26 offers a very complex nose which mixes honeysuckle, lemon, clementine and fresh butter aromas, followed by notes of hazelnut and a touch of honey. The feel in the mouth is very delicate and fresh with candied lemon and fresh hazelnut aromas. The palate is silky and mineral with notes of honeysuckle, flaked almonds and clementine.
Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle no 26 NV 750ml $219 special, 2 bottles available
James Suckling 100 Points “This is really something. Electric on the palate. The aromas are so complex with sliced fresh and dried ginger, subtle pie crust, tarte tatin and hints of nutmeg with some salted caramel. Toasted bread, too. Always subtle. The palate is full- to medium-bodied yet hemmed-in with a freshness and balance that draws you back. Savory and vibrant. It’s full of energy. Spectacular. Fascinating. Symphonic blend of 2012, 2008 and 2007. 65% of the 2012, 25% of the 2008 and 10% of the 2007. Eight grand cru. Chardonnay 58% and 42% pinot noir. Disgorged February 2023. 10 years on the lees. 7g/L dosage. Drink or hold.”
Janis Robinson 19.5/20 “Powerful aroma of orange peel and something in the putty/chalk spectrum. It somehow manages to be both tight yet approachable, dense in terms of flavour concentration yet filigree in terms of texture. As usual, it’s so Chardonnay! Overriding citrus character and quite amazingly long, a mouthful tingling on the palate for minutes not seconds. Enormous finesse. Massive pleasure. This would make the most luxurious aperitif. Michel Fauconnet, having welcomed the new chef de cave in January 2023, must be especially proud of this wine.”
Arriving November 3rd
Washington State

Located in the epicenter of Washington State’s premiere Wine Country, DVV calls the Walla Walla Valley home. This rolling valley, back dropped by the Blue Mountains, has historically been landscaped by golden wheat fields, green vegetable fields (the Walla Walla Sweet Onion our favorite) and fruit orchards. However, this oasis has quickly become home to world class vineyards and wines.
Dusted Valley Stained Tooth Syrah, Columbia Valley 2020 750ml $29 special, 36 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points “A co-fermented blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier, the 2020 Syrah Stained Tooth sports a medium ruby/plum color as well as great nose of ripe black raspberry and blueberry fruit, iron, peppery herbs, and bacon fat. It’s medium to full-bodied, has lots of fruit, ripe tannins, and an outstanding finish.”
James Suckling 91 Points “Ripe and mellow plums and mulberries with chocolate and sweet spices. Citrus peel, too. Rich and juicy with medium to full body, firm tannins and bright acidity. Flavorful and satisfying. Drink now.”
Lowest Price in the USA
Arriving November 10th
Paolo Bea Arboreus Umbria Bianco 2016 750ml $64.50 special, 36 bottles available
Vinous 95 Points “The 2016 Bianco Arboreus has gained volume and depth since I lasted tasted it, wafting up unexpectedly rich and tropical in the glass, with a burst of exotic florals, ginger and spices giving way to freshly sliced nectarine. It’s round and supple on the palate, with a flourish of saline minerality, lime-tinged pit fruits and hints of sour kiwi that cascade throughout. This tapers off with a honeyed inner sweetness contrasted by a salty twang, lasting incredibly long yet still remarkably fresh. The 2016 is flat-out gorgeous.”
Lowest Price in the USA
Cerbaia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2016 750ml $49 special, 36 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is a dark and rich expression with a generous delivery of dark fruit—prune, plum and black cherry. The vines are planted in galestro soils with clay and shale in a 3.5-hectare plot, resulting in a 14,000-bottle production. Winemaking is simple, with fermentation in steel and aging in botte grande for three years. There is some extra density or heaviness to the fruit that feels reinforced by the oak notes and ultimately by the wine’s tannins. This wine will be released in April 2021, and that sounds about right because it needs more time.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Recently Reviewed
Finding Finesse in Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2019 750ml $49 special, 36+ bottles available
Vinous 92 Points “The sexy 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape packs 50% Grenache, 30%
Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah and 5% Cinsaut. It showcases attractive cooked black fruits, black olives, cured meat and a floral, crushed rose petal lift. Full-bodied and round, this delicious 2019 red is enveloped by soft tannins and kept in check by bright acidity. Finishes distinctively savory.”
Saint Cosme Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2020 750ml $49 special, 36 bottles available
Vinous 92 Points “The 2020 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a step up from the 2021, offering more concentration and complexity. Fragrant blood orange aromas emerge from the glass, complemented by hints of ripe blueberry and blackberry with white pepper and menthol undertones. This structured 2020 is a full-bodied red that’s rich and juicy, framed by smooth tannins and refreshing acidity.”

6 Oregon Reds Under 25 Dollars
Benton Lane Estate Grown Pinot Noir WV 2021 750ml $21.90 special, 29 bottles available
From the southernmost region of Willamette Valley wine country, And tasty! 750ml of red berry richness.
Winery Note “Vibrant ripe cherry, cranberry, and raspberry nose unfold into dried blueberries, plum, and lively summer herbs. Full, plush, and balanced textures with fine grained tannins and a gentle, bright acidity. This wine is complex and layered, with ripe, fresh flavors and elegance.”
Lowest Price in the USA!
Bow & Arrow Rhinestones Red 2021 750ml $19 special, 36+ bottles available
Winery note “To understand Rhinestones we have to talk about the Cheverny region of France’s Loire Valley where, by law, the red wines must be a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir.  We follow this stricture with all the Pinot and Gamay fruit we source from Johan Vineyard.  The blend is determined by nature and vintage.  Aged in a mixture of concrete and old barriques, this wine is the flagship of the Bow & Arrow operation and communicates what we’re about as much as anything we make.  Effortlessly drinkable but rewards detective work if you’re in the mood.”
Coe Cellars Mission Hill Sangiovese 2020 750ml $24 special, 21 bottles available
Vinopolnote “Coe Cellars produces just one wine: a 100% Sangiovese Grosso (the specific clone used in Brunello Di Montalcino production) grown exclusively in the Mission Hill Vineyard in Walla Walla. Dedicated to making “as old world of a wine in the New World as possible,” Coe Cellars’ Sangiovese has a ripe cherry profile, with hints of savory dried herbs around the edges, lithe tannins, and a pleasantly tart finish. Blind fold us and we’d swear this is from Tuscany.”

 NEW!  Durant Vineyards Dundee Estate Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $24 special, 16 bottles available
Winery Note “The entrance to the 2021 Pinot Noir is fresh and complex. The mid palate fills with layers of texture and weight. This wine has gorgeous fruit, spice, and herbs all framed with integrated barrel, skin and stem tannins. The stays vibrant while lingering long after the last sip.”
Evesham Wood Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2022 750ml $24 special, 33 bottles available
Winery Notes “This vintage of the WV blend shows a bright nose with cherry, red apple, fresh flowers, and a touch of loam along with a textural creamy/silkiness component that’s balanced by juicy acid. Showing well now, watch this wine evolve over the next 8-10 years.”
JK Carriere Provocateur Pinot Noir 2021 750ml $24 special, 11 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 90 Points “Spicy, ripe cologne lifts from the 2021 Pinot Noir Provocateur. A deep and opaque ruby red, it reveals aromas of pine, woodsy herbs, and black cherry, and on the palate it’s full-bodied but light on its feet, with a bright spine of acidity, a lovely match of density and fresh acidity, ripe, woodsy tannins, and a long finish. Dark fruited, with great acidity, it will need a quick decant if opening in its early life. Drink 2024-2030. It offers a great value and is a nice way to sample the style of the house.”
Peter William Grenache 2019 750ml $24 special, 8 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 92 Points “This is an exquisite example of the variety. The aromas pop, with pure notes of raspberry, orange twist and white pepper. Plump, pillowy fruit flavors follow. The purity is captivating. It’s an outrageous value.” -Sean P. Sullivan
GOLD MEDAL WINNER! Oregon Wine Experience 2022 Competition”
Peter William Tempranillo ‘Lot W’ 2017 750ml $24 special, 12 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 91 Points “Editor’s Choice. Tempranillo shows lots of promise in Rogue Valley and this is a lovely example.”
Close-out Sales
An Assortment of French Wines
Chermette Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux 2018 750ml WAS $29 NOW $24 special, 30 bottles available
Wine Advocate 91 Points “Aromas of raspberries, plums and orange rind preface the 2018 Brouilly Pierreux, a medium to full-bodied, fleshy wine with a satiny attack that segues into a fine-boned, elegantly structured mid-palate, with lively acids and a fragrant, expansive finish. This cuvée, which sees six months’ élevage in old foudres, has turned out very well.” -William Kelley
Chermette Vissoux Saint Amour 2018 750ml WAS $29 NOW $24, 23 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92+ Points “The 2018 Saint-Amour Les Champs-Grillés is a serious wine, “not just for Valentine’s Day,” as Jean-Étienne Chermette observes. Revealing attractive notes of raspberries, rose petals and cherries, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and spicy, with a muscular chassis of fine, powdery tannins. As usual, it’s a cuvée that stands to gain from a couple of years in the cellar.” -William Kelley
La Chablisienne Chablis l’Homme Mort 1er Cru 2019 750ml WAS $39 NOW $34.50 special, 20 bottles available
Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne Rouge 2020 750ml WAS $26 NOW $21.90 special, 5 bottles available
Falstaff Magazine 90 Points “[Translated] Medium ruby garnet and violet reflections. Fine herbal spices, dark wild berries, a hint of cranberries, tobacco nuances. Medium body, red fruit, integrated tannins, mineral aftertaste, versatile and fresh.”
Guy Charlemagne Brut Mesnillesime Grand Cru 2014 750ml WAS $119 NOW $99 special, 34 bottles available
Winery Note “A Grand Champagne with character from the Côte des Blancs terroir, specifically from Le Mesnil sur Oger (limestone parcels averaging 60 years of age). This champagne produced from first press of Le Mesnil sur Oger Grand Cru juices, highlights the exact characteristic of our village. Jewel of the Charlemagne house, this vintage wine combines both authenticity and the search for perfect quality. Elegantly presented with exceptional labelling, this Mesnillesime cuvee is produced with rigorous vinification, partially in oak barrels without malolactic fermentation, and a very light dosage of 4 grams per liter. Matured for 6 years in our chalk underground cellars, this cuvee highlights the excellence of our production.
Denis Chaput Noir De Jade Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV 750ml WAS $45 NOW $39 special, 15 bottles available
Winemaker Notes “Pale golden yellow colour with silvery grey highlights, this cuvée presents fine, very persistent bubbles. The nose is dominated by aromas of smoked limestone, iodine sea spray, blackcurrant, grapefruit, liquorice, blackberry, pomegranate and elderberries. On the palate, the attack is clean and fresh, with a soft, creamy effervescence. Fruity, full-bodied and crisp, the mid-palate is enhanced by a grapefruity acidity and a marly minerality that gives this champagne breadth and salinity. The finish is fresh, stony and juicy.”
Lanson Brut Pere et Fils NV 750ml WAS $49 NOW $39 special, 7 bottles available
Winemaker Note “Lanson ‘Père & Fils’ Brut is a brand new, enriched evolution of the classic Lanson Black Label Brut, and is named after the first bottle of Champagne Lanson ever produced. Created as a tribute to the Lanson family , Champagne Lanson ‘Père & Fils’ is aged in the cellars for a minimum of 4 years to allow the wine to flourish and its aromas to develop perfectly. Blended using a selection of the best Champagne Crus from 10 different vintages, the result is a rich, elegant Champagne with a fresh finish.

Duclaux Cote Rotie Maison Rouge 2018 750ml WAS $79 NOW $69 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 Points “From arguably the most famous lieu-dit in the southern portion of the appellation, the Duclaux brothers’ 2018 Cote Rotie Maison Rouge is a showstopper. Scents of violets, stone fruit, anise-like spice and mixed berries combine to create a complex nose, while the medium to full-bodied palate is concentrated yet supremely silky, smooth and charming, ending long and elegant. It’s a superb example of the generally softer, more elegant style found around Tupin et Semons.” -Joe Czerwinski
Domaine du Tunnel Cornas 2018 750ml WAS $79 NOW $69 special, 31 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.”
Monteillet Condrieu Chanson 2018 750ml WAS $69 NOW $59 special, 13 bottles available
Decanter 96 Points “Fresh, keen and tense, with lime marmalade and touches of bubblegum. There’s delicious richness and real depth to the fruit, delivering great concentration and lovely acidity. From lieu-dit Chanson and aged for 22 months in oak on the lees, Stéphane Montez explains that a long élevage like this helps to decrease alcohol levels, is better for ageing, stimulates complex tertiary flavours and means you can decrease sulfite levels as the wine is protected from oxidation by the lees.”
Collector’s Corner
Dal Forno– The Superior Valpolicella

In many wine areas throughout the world, there are a handful of individuals or families who make “the” wine for their particular region – winemakers who define the style of the region. When it comes to Valpolicella, the Dal Forno family does just that. For more than 30 years, Dal Forno has been producing deeply concentrated Valpolicella and Amarone.
Romano Dal Forno, the current winemaker/owner, took over the farm in 1983. Risking everything, he invested a large amount in 1990 to update the winery and refine Dal Forno’s process. The extremely bold flavor of the Valpolicella Superiore is a great example of Dal Forno’s commitment to perfection and their respect for traditional winemaking. Just short of an Amarone, it’s made entirely with fruit that has been dried, though for less time than that legally required for Amarone. A key to the Dal Forno style seems to be an incredibly low yield from their vineyard: each bottle of Valpolicella takes six vines worth of grapes to produce!
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2017 750ml $138 special, 12 bottles available
Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points “Taking in the 2017 Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta reminds me of all of the desserts, spices and confections experienced on Christmas day. An array of medicinal cherries, plum sauce, ginger cookies, cloves, cinnamon and dried roses captivate. There’s tremendous depth here, but it maintains fantastic freshness. This is wildly spicy and intense, yet deep, with brilliant acidity adding energy seldom found in Valpolicella, which enlivens the crunchy red fruits and pretty inner florals within. The 2017 finishes dramatically long and perfumed, resonating on sour blackberries, currants and a bitter hint of cocoa. This goes far beyond the expectation of Valpolicella, with the power and aromatics of an Amarone but with a liveliness that will allow it to excel at the dinner table.”
Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2011 750ml $299 special, 6 bottles available
Decanter 99 Points “The strongest wine in my selection, yet this magnificent Amarone’s alcohol is barely visible thanks to its astonishing depth, texture and sumptuousness. Pressed black fruits seep with fruit essences; smoke and cinders; herbal complexities; teasing floral notes, all engraved into a palate that expresses creamy finesse but without a trace of superfluous fat, heat or obviousness. Beautifully crafted, as dignified as any grand Barolo.”
Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2012 750ml $379 special, 14 bottles available
James Suckling 97 Points “A decadent nose of treacle tart, chocolate, tar, tons of black fruit such as blackberries and mulberries and even ash and licorice. A dense, layered mouthfeel makes for a full-bodied palate that’s explosive yet somehow so refined and pretty all at the same time. The finish goes on and on. Incredible now, but better to wait for this giant to settle well into 2020.”
Dal Forno Romano Amarone 2015 750ml $399 special, 12 bottles available
100 Points James Suckling “This is black as pitch in the glass and, yes, there’s a light, tarry edge to the super-concentrated prune, date and currant fruit. But even more interesting are the complex notes of bitter-orange liqueur, aged balsamic, fresh roasting herbs, cinnamon, roasted chestnuts, black tea and licorice. The more you decant in advance, the more nuances will emerge. It’s full-boded with huge concentration and lots of chewy tannin that is managing to hold the fruit back for now. This needs plenty of time to develop in the bottle. Just superb. One of the greatest Dal Forno’s ever.”
Dal Forno Romano Amarone Valpolicella 2017 750ml $449 special, 6 bottles available
Vinous 97 Points “This is dark, sultry and almost animalistic in nature, as crushed fall leaves and earth tones open the experience, giving way to masses of macerated black cherries, cedar shavings, spiced cookies, and a lifting hint of camphor. It floods the palate with velvety textures while maintaining fantastic energy, as stimulating acidity adds unexpected vibrancy, and tart wild berries slowly saturate. While structured, the tannins are sweet, and the wine remains remarkably fresh, almost crunchy, as an air of inner rose and balsam herbs slowly fades.”
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2007 750ml $179 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2007 Valpolicella Superiore from the celebrated Monte Lodoletta vineyard is rock-tight with a midnight black appearance and aromas that emerge with fierce determination. The fascinating aromatic medley includes dark spice, prune, Spanish cedar, tar, black licorice, balsam herb and blackberry tart. The mouthfeel is plush and rich with super-tight tannins that grip nervously to the finish. It has only started its bottle evolution and requires more time to soften and develop. Drink 2017-2035.” -Monica Larner
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2008 750ml $169 special, 4 bottles available
Vinous 94 points “A dark, super-ripe wine, the 2008 Valpolicella Superiore is fabulous in this vintage. Smoke, tar, incense, licorice and blackberry jam hit the palate in a massive, intense Valpolicella loaded with class and personality. Even with all of the concentration, the 2008 is quite a bit less tannic than some recent vintages have been, which makes it accessible even today, especially if given a little air. There is a lot to admire in this drop-dead gorgeous Valpolicella from Romano Dal Forno.” -Antonio Galloni
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2009 $159 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94+ Points “Built like a tank, the 2009 Valpolicella Superiore Monte Lodoletta is a masterful achievement. This wine shows so beautifully, especially in a warm but balanced vintage like 2009. The fruit is expressive and articulate with deep layers of blackberry preserves, dried cherry, dark chocolate, espresso bean, mesquite smoke and soy sauce. The mouthfeel is super rich and concentrated as the Dal Forno signature style would dictate. The tannic bite is still strong and this wine needs a few more years to stretch out its muscular build. I’d suggest drinking it after 2018.” -Monica Larner
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2015 750ml $119 special, 3 bottles available
James Suckling 96 Points “Such a profound nose of fresh and dried fruit with blackcurrants, dates and prunes, together with lighter notes of mild spice and pomegranate seeds. The fresher elements provide the drive on the full palate and, together with very fine, bright, fine-grained tannins, give a long, chewy yet fresh and pruney finish. Hugely concentrated, but the balance and poise is impeccable. There’s no denying the classic quality of this. Delicious to taste now, but this needs a few years to integrate. Try from 2025.”
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella Superiore 2016 750ml $119 special, 10 bottles available
Wilson Daniels Importer Note “The Dal Forno family has been making wine since 1983. Located in Val D’Illasi, the estate consists of 65 acres of vines planted to traditional indigenous varieties of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta and Croatina. The estate vineyards and farm are located where the slopes begin to rise toward the mountains and sit 1,000 feet above sea level. The loose, alluvial soils, meticulous pruning and scrupulous viticultural techniques ensure remarkable-quality grapes. The Dal Fornos use traditional methods to grow the finest fruit, and then employ modern techniques to produce the best wines — classic in expression and modern in purity.”
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