Wine Arriving Friday July 15
Wine Advocate 94 points “Probably the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2014 Syrah Milbrandt Vineyard is 100% Syrah, fermented with 100% whole clusters, spent 15 months in 20% new French oak barrels and puncheons. This beauty is overflowing with notes of cassis, caramelized meats, licorice and spice, which gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated, superbly textured Syrah that can be enjoyed today, or cellared for a decade.”
New Week – New Arrivals
Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2014 750ML ($74.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2014 Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir has a beautiful bouquet with wonderful precision. The vine age does show through here (44-years-old now) with crisp detailed red berry fruit that just exudes Pinoté. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very well-judged acidity, touches of truffle and undergrowth tincturing the red berry fruit that fans out wonderfully towards the long and satisfying finish. This is a great Pinot Noir from an estate that seems to have thrived in 2014.”
Dominus Estate Christian Moueix, Napa Valley 2013 750ML ($349.95) $319 special (only 6 bottles)
Robert Parker 100 points “The 2013 Dominus is, to my way of thinking, one of the most profound wines Christian Moueix has yet made in his rather brilliant winemaking history, both in France and in Napa Valley. This wine, with very low yields of only 3,500 cases and a final blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, offers up notes of cedar wood, forest floor, loamy soil and oodles of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Very opaque purple in color, super-pure and intense, this wine has low acidity, but ripe, noticeable tannins. This is a 30- to 40-year wine and a profound effort from this famous vineyard in Yountville. Drink it over the next 40+ years.”
Antonio Galloni 100 points “The 2013 Dominus overwhelms all the senses with its magnificent overall balance and towering intensity. Deep and nearly impenetrable in the glass, the 2013 boasts off the charts dry extract and overall power. Violets, smoke, black cherries, menthol, incense, crème de cassis and dark spices are some of the many signatures that take shape in the glass. Even better in bottle than it was in barrel, the 2013 is utterly magnificent. This is a remarkably vivid, nuanced wine considering its sheer size.”
James Suckling 100 points “The aromas to this are multidimensional and fascinating with black truffles, bark, cloves, black currants and citrus – even ginseng. Full-bodied, yet reserved, even austere, with chewy and powerful tannins that remain polished and refined. The flavors are more umami and savory. Then there’s forest fruits and red orange undertones. It lasts for minutes. A wine to age for a lifetime. It’s an experience to taste this. A new classic showing its history and tradition as a source of the greatest wines ever from Napa. A wine to always enjoy.”
Chapuy Carte Verte Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Reserve NV 375ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Elegant yet firm, structured by racy acidity, with a vein of chalky minerality and flavors of patisserie apple, apricot, salted almond and lemon preserves. Lovely texture. Drink now through 2019. 250 cases imported.”
Chapuy Carte Noire Brut Tradition NV 375ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Floral, graphite and spice notes lace this creamy Champagne, with flavors of creamed apple, bread dough, apricot and almond skin. Fresh and harmonious, offering a lasting, aromatic finish. Drink now through 2020. 2,200 cases made.”
50% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Pinot Meunier
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rose, Provence 2015 1.5L ($79.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Vivid orange. Potent, mineral-accented orange, red currant and white peach aromas are complemented by suggestions of succulent herbs and lavender pastille. Sappy, penetrating and energetic, offering fresh red berry, citrus fruit and floral flavors; a spine of juicy acidity adds back-end lift. Smoothly plays power off delicacy and finishes minerally and long, with an echo of floral pastilles.”
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Cuvee Morgon 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Grapelive 93+ points “The Cuvee Marcel 2014 from Lapierre is a glorious serious Gamay that shows the future of how we think on this place and varietal, the new generation has arrived in the world and are making great wines, their own way. This is a wine that honors the past, especially the talents of the late Marcel Lapierre, but also delivers a message that without question Mathieu Lapierre is a gifted winemaker and communicator of tradition and terroir. The 2014 Lapierre Marcel starts with blueberry, violets, wild plum with tangy herbs and salty mineral essence leading to a medium full palate of blackberry, cherry, strawberry, dark currant and walnut oil. Minty anise, saline, shale and incense provide background music in this lovely and textured Gamay, this is special and decedent juice that should age beautifully and rewarding for at least a decade. The ultra-low dose of sulfur doesn’t take away the all-natural appeal, it just gives this beauty a little security for cellaring. These 2014 Lapierre Morgon(s) bring the same kind of joy and energy that you’d expect from top Burgundy, these are truly emotional and provocative efforts, bravo!”
See our special feature on Philippe Tessier below for new Loire arrivals!
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2010 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
James Suckling 97 points “A sexy and silky riserva with dried fruit, blueberry and cedar character. Full body, firm tannins and long and gorgeous finish. So linear and precise. Chocolate-covered cherry center palate. Terrific young wine. Best riserva ever from here. Better in 2018.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “Concentrated and elegant, featuring macerated cherry, raspberry, peony, iron, tobacco and chalk aromas and flavors. Structured and fresh, offering intensity, balance and a terrific finish. Youthful and elegant, yet powerful. Best from 2019 through 2036.”
The average price is $112
Scarpa ‘RossoScarpa’ Monferrato Rosso 2010 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
VinopolNote: A red wine blended from 90% Dolcetto d’Acqui and 10% Ruchè (a rare, indigenous variety). The grapes are from the estate’s Poderi Bircchi vineyard at 1,310 feet above sea level. The wine is fermented in stainless steel.
Gulfi Nerosanlore Sicilia IGT, Sicily 2010 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 95 points “Fully saturated ruby. Pure, very deep aromas of black cherry, red plum, medicinal herbs and minerals. Rich, dense and suave, with complex flavors of saline red berries and dark plum complicated by repeating botanical herb and balsamic nuances. Finishes seamless an long. A wine of noteworthy purity, with an excellent balance of sweetness, acidity and tannins. This is Gulfi’s closest vineyard to the sea and almost always gives the estate’s most elegant, refined wine.”
Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2015 750ML ($31.95) $28 special
Vinopolnote– killer Keller, but only a couple cases could be procured. This off-dry bottling is a rare find from Keller, who almost exclusively produces dry Rieslings.
Weiser-Kunstler Wolffer Sonnenlay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2015 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
The Estate has been tending parcels in this vineyard for several years now but has been using the grapes for its Estate Riesling so far. But it felt that 2015 yielded such quality grapes that they decided to bottle separately a Kabinett from a small parcel of old vines.
Weiser-Kunstler wines are crafted by Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Kunstler. The duo farms a scant 7.4 acres of mostly ungrafted, ancient vines on steep terraces. The vineyards are ‘Grand Cru’ sites that fell into obscurity in the late 20th century. Their wines are incredibly delicate, revealing pure terroir. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bottle of Burgundy from ancient, ungrafted vines at such a price. The old vines faired very well during the drier periods in 2015, yielding clean, healthy grapes that were smaller in size than typical. A long, excellent harvest through October allowed the estate to pick when the grapes reached the desired ripeness.
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “An intense yet very subtle and multi-layered nose of grapefruit, pineapple, flowers and mint leads to a delicate and precise wine on the palate. The fruit is completely driven by minerals and the fruity only comes through in the long and smoky finish at this stage. A firm acidity makes for an almost off-dry (rather than fruity) feel in the long finish of this stylish Kabinett. 2021-2030+”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “This stunner is still backward and marked by a touch of spontaneous fermentation at this early stage. The wine starts of on an elegant and flowery side on the nose before richer flavors of yellow peach, cardamom and dried herbs join the party. A stunningly complex and multi-layered greets one on the palate, which the wine an incredibly sense of finesse and lightness despite the intensity of the flavors. The long, smooth and airy finish of this magnificent Spätlese is simply irresistible. What a superbly complex wine in the making! 2025-2045”
F.X. Pichler Loibner Loibenberg Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2013 375ML ($39.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Pichler’s 2013 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Loibenberg shows a very clear, lemon-fresh, herbal-flavored and complex bouquet leading to a vibrant, spicy, tension-filled, yet every elegant and expressive, palate. And this rich and full-bodied wine dances over the palate, followed by a very long and complex finish. A great Veltliner, indeed.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The tremendously deep bouquet of Pichler’s 2013 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Kellerberg is precise, vegetal and flinty/cool. The wine is a noble, rich, highly elegant and terroir-driven Wachauer signature wine, which reveals its overwhelming power and great expression only in its finish and long, persistent aftertaste. This is, again, an icon wine of the Wachau and the 2013 vintage. A must buy, if you can afford it.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 94 points “This impressive offering reflects the same vines on a rocky extension of the Kellerberg that until this vintage were labeled more specifically as “Wunderburg.” But Pichler and Krutzler decided that “Kellerberg” was, after all, the?? name to conjure–and to market–with. A lush combination of pineapple, pear and Mirabelle is laced with sweet/smoky Szechuan pepper and Latakia tobacco, further tinged with mocha on a palpably high-extract, voluminous, creamy palate, yet a lovely sense of clarity is preserved to herbal, mineral and kelp-like notes in a downright reverberating finish. Raised largely in cask but with a small tank-rendered portion (and last tasted as an immediate pre-bottling assemblage), this displays the ripe effects of the season’s tiny, sparse Grüner Veltliner berries, yet without its roughly 14% alcohol engendering any heat. It became more impressive over the course of its first year in bottle.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Cool, concentrated and precise on the slightly flinty nose, the 2013 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Dürnsteiner Liebenberg is a full-bodied, rich and almost smooth but elegant Veltliner with licorice flavors on the densely woven and silky textured palate. The finish reveals freshness, and rounds up a very well-balanced and already accessible wine.”
F.X. Pichler Loibner Steinertal Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau 2013 750ML ($69.95) $56 special
Wine Advocate 92 points “Clear, deep and dense, but multilayered on the nose, the 2013 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Loibner Steinertal displays herbal-scented notes of legumes and super-ripe as well as concentrated Veltliner berries. Full-bodied, powerful and rich, but also very elegant and fresh with finesse on the palate, this well-structured, mineral wine is already accessible but should gain even more finesse with further bottle age.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 92 points “Site-typical sweet/smoky pungency of Szechuan pepper mingles in the nose with high-toned almond extract and intimations of muskmelon, apple and papaya that go on to inform an expansive palate. Cooling green herb inflections lend lovely counterpoint to the impression of tropical fruits, resulting in a soothingly sustained though also subtly peppery finish.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 90 points “Bottled already in February of 2014, this offers scents and flavors of ripe apricot reminiscent of Riesling from the gravelly nearby Oberhäuser, wreathed in musky peony-like perfume and accompanied by a high-toned suggestion of pistachio extract. On a firm yet glossy and brightly juicy palate, it offers lemony-green tartness of sorrel allied to the pit-inflected but fleshy apricot, and finishes with persistent verve and invigorating tang.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 97 points “Succulent white peach and Persian melon are tinged more subtly than usual for this bottling with Madagascar and Szechuan peppercorns, black tea and crushed stone. There is hauntingly bittersweet floral perfume wafting through this entire performance, almost as though some Achleiten or Heiligenstein got loose in the fermenter. A high-toned suggestion of almond extract adds to the sweet impression of fruitiness (despite analytical dryness); and a mandarin orange note adds aromatic as well as brightly juicy allure in perfect harmony with a seductively creamy texture. Piquancy of peach kernel lends stimulating counterpoint and engenders a glowingly persistent finish. The combination of pit fruit, citrus and floral aromatics with complex peppery notes left in the empty glass is head-turning. This is as refined a Kellerberg Riesling as it has been my pleasure to experience. What’s more, it represents the first time I can recall using the word “buoyant” to describe one–and that for a wine picked in the last week of November!”
Wine Advocate 95 points “From the estate’s parade vineyard, the 2013 Riesling Smaragd Dürnsteiner Kellerberg displays a very rich and intense aroma of super-ripe and concentrated Riesling berries. Rich and powerful, but also precise, impressively concentrated and piquant on the palate, this well-balanced and highly elegant Riesling with its lemon and orange aftertaste is another signature wine of both the Wachau and the 2013 vintage. It’s aging potential should be terrific. A serious, tension-filled Riesling of great expression, which I highly recommend.”
F.X. Pichler Loibner Loibenberg Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Beautifully concenrated with apricot perfume, the 2013 Riesling Smaragd Loibner Loibenberg is a rich, full-bodied and enervating fresh and salty Smaragd of remarkable elegance and purity. Very well-balanced and long on the palate, this tension-filled Riesling elixir has a persistent salinity and steely acidity that gives it excellent aging potential.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 94 points “Ravishingly sweet floral perfume is mingled on the nose with hints of smoky Latakia tobacco and lemon oil, and a suggestion of ripe white peach that then takes on luscious palate presence. While the feel is polished and subtly creamy, juicy fresh lemon and grapefruit serve for zesty verve and refreshment, leading to a vibrantly sustained and nearly head-spinningly kaleidoscopic finish.”
F.X. Pichler Loibner Oberhauser Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2013 750ML ($41.95) $39 special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93 points “Site-typical pit-tinged apricot in the nose is joined by scents of honeysuckle and high-toned nut extracts. The silky palate offers a luscious evocation of apricot fruit laced with brightly fresh lime, an impression of great purity carrying into the impressively penetrating and exhilaratingly refreshing finish, in which the sheer abundance of fruit is more than up to the counterpoint of pit piquancy and liquid floral notes perfectly complement a sense of wafting buoyancy.”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 95 points “Salt, white pepper and Szechuan peppercorn mouthwateringly and invigoratingly inflect luscious, juicy white peach, pineapple and lime. A sleek and refined texture contributes to this bottling’s overall sense of elegance. With a similar ringing clarity to that of the Oberhäuser, but with greater depth and complexity as befits its steep and stony origins, this projects liquid perfume of a bittersweet, iris-like sort; smoky black tea; crushed stone; and diverse peppercorns, finishing with phenomenal persistence. Interestingly and perhaps not coincidentally, at just 13% it is one of the alcoholically lightest wines of the present collection.”
F.X. Pichler ‘Unendlich’ Riesling Smaragd, Wachau 2013 750ML ($219.95) $199 special
David Schildknecht–Vinous 96 points “From 60% Kellerberg and 40% Loibenberg fruit, this installment of the periodically rendered Pichler Riesling essence leads with high-toned scents of lemon oil and lemon blossom as well as intimations of the white peach and pink grapefruit that then lusciously inform a glycerol-rich, subtly creamy, enveloping palate. Billowing inner-mouth perfume of gentian and iris add bittersweet allure, and there is smoky, peppery counterpoint, especially in the finish, such as one usually expects to encounter in Pichler Riesling primarily with Steinertal- and Kellerberg-dedicated bottlings. A dark, deeply savory, resonant finish certainly makes a serious effort at living up to the name “Endless,” adding a welcome touch of saliva-stimulating salinity. Incidentally, this finished at 13.9% alcohol, modest by historical standards set by “Unendlich” bottlings, and amazing considering that, as Lucas Pichler explained, this installment derived from pickings done just ahead of the main harvest of certain parcels where subtly desiccated berries could be found, the latest of which was in mid-November. I’ve often referred to installments of Unendlich as “liqueurs of Riesling,” but that would almost be to do a disservice to the clarity and dynamic complexity of this one.”
Wine Advocate 95+ points “Pichler’s late harvested 2013 Riesling Smaragd Unendlich (German for unending, infinite, endless) opens with a clear, pure, precise and cool, mineral-fresh and aromatic white peach and fully ripe Riesling bouquet of great, yet not exaggerated, concentration. The wine is full-bodied, thrillingly mineral, tension-filled and elegant on the palate. This powerful, intense, highly complex and concentrated yet still fresh, precise and long-finishing Riesling elixir has a remarkable yet variety-typical racy acidity that structures and inspires. This is a great and potent Austrian Riesling tycoon. The wine is still extremely young and needs time to open up (better years than hours). However, its aging potential should be terrific.”
GREECE, Yes Greece!
Domaine Sigalas Santorini Assyrtico, Aegean Islands 2015 750ML ($29.95) $27 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2015 Assyrtiko, Sigalas’ monovarietal Santorini, comes in at 14% alcohol. If this isn’t the unoaked wine of the vintage so far, it is pretty close and certainly on my short list. As always, Sigalas is not necessary the big blockbuster, but the winery provides superb concentration in its own right. Yet, the result always seems very graceful. When you realize how many layers there are, it seems hard to believe because it shows so well on first taste. It doesn’t seem overly big. It doesn’t seem to be hiding anything. Yet, it is. The wine always shows better with a few years in the cellar, or a day or two later. (Or, decant it. Do an experiment: taste half a bottle undecanted and compare to a decanted half bottle.) The tastings on the second day were really what sold on me this. It was fine on the first day, but impressive on the second. The concentration, finesse, balance and structure always serve this wine in good stead. This year, its purity of fruit seems even more impressive. It is a gorgeous Sigalas, mingling understatement, fine persistence and purity. Do yourself a favor and give this about three years in the cellar (maybe five). They always blossom. It is a wine that will not only hold, but improve. As I’ve stated recently, this category needs some reevaluation upwards, so it is not really that this is so unique. That said, this is still an exceptional Sigalas.”
Domaine Philippe Tessier
The Tessier estate was founded in 1961 by Philippe’s father, Roger Tessier. Philippe took over in 1981 and continues to produce naturally fermented, fun cuvees from the little-known Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny AOCs. His pet-nat “Phil’en Bulle” first caught our eye last year for its pretty spice and fruit flavors. We’re excited to feature a larger selection this year, all newly arrived and in limited supply.
Domaine Philippe Tessier Cheverny Blanc, Loire 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
VinopolNote: Mostly Sauvignon Blanc with Chardonnay and de Orbois (Arbois an obscure Loire varietal). From 20 year old vines grown in sandy/poor clay soil. Natural primary and malolactic fermentation. Aged in tank for 6 months.
VinopolNote: A blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Gamay from clay-limestone soils. Aged in stainless steel with natural primary and malolactic fermentation.
VinopolNote: A blend of Gamay, Pinot Noir and Cot (Malbec) grown in silica rich soils with a clay subsoil. 80% whole-cluster. Natural fermentation in stainless steel and aged in stainless steel and neutral barrel.
Importer Note “This is the ever-so-slightly heftier brother to the domaine Cour-Cheverny bottling. Still showing tons of acid but with a little more density. The focus and balance here are spot on. Philippe crafts this and the domaine bottling from the same vineyards each year – so they are always decidely different but complementary bottlings of Cour-Cheverny. This wine gets the older vines and sees a little more old, large wood – thus the density and added complexity. 100% Romorantin from silica, clay and limestone soil.”
Domaine Philippe Tessier Phil’en Bulle, Loire NV 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Importer note “Philipe’s fizzy “pet-nat” is the least serious but perhaps the most fun wine in the Tessier lineup. To be enjoyed fresh and frothy. 90% Romorantin and 10% Orbois.”
our current shipping specials:
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 pre-arrival items that arrive after the promotional period.
-and California for $25
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-to Oregon for $17,
Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment do not qualify for flat rate shipping.
Fino represents the starting ground for fine sherry. After ageing under a layer of yeast called flor, which protects the wine from oxidation, Fino is bottled as a dry, light, refreshing sherry. Manzanilla is produced in the same way, though only in the seaside town of Sanlucar, and offers less alcohol but more acidity than Fino. These are wonderful aperitif wines, or great for sipping when the weather’s Andalucia-hot.
Fernando de Castilla Antique Fino Sherry, Andalucia NV 500ML ($29.95) $23 special, 2 500ML bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The NV Antique Fino is eight years of average age when bottled; it’s fragrant and perfumed, feminine and subtle, with dry flowers and a rare balance between old and young. The palate shows a much more serious wine, pungent, intense, saline, sharp and at the same time delicate, complex and long, most probably because it’s fortified to 17% at the time of bottling, something that was common in the past, but that almost nobody does anymore. A most unusual old-style Fino. Bravo! 4,000 bottles produced yearly. Drink 2013-2018. Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla were created in 1972, but had a history going back to 1837. In 1999 the company was sold to a group of investors lead by Norwegian Jan Pettersen, who had worked previously at Osborne for 16 years. In the end Pettersen took control of the company, enlarging the business and taking the quality of its wines to the very top. This is a small- to medium-sized bodega (1,000 botas, capacity for 200,000 liters and selling 250,000 bottles per year), clearly focused on quality. The Antique range that I have tasted here, sold in half-liter bottles, represents their top of the range, and even if it has no official age certification, the wines are certainly old. All wines, regardless of style or category follow a clear line; they are all on the elegant side, balanced, clean and easy-to-understand wines.”
Wine Advocate 95 points “The La Bota De Fino Macharnudo Alto 35 was bottled in June 2012, and shows a deep golden color. This wine is sourced from the Inocente solera from Valdespino, and averages 10 years under flor. The idea is that once the wines age for a long time and the flor sharpens the wine, if you continue to age it further it gains in volume and intensity, making them much more powerful and if you like, less fine. An old wine that is a complex gentle giant crying for food. It shows a deep old-gold color, and feels dense and concentrated. The very complex nose is redolent of yeast, chalk, esparto grass, salted almonds and iodine, and keeps changing and developing as the wine stays in the glass. The palate is full-bodied, intense, balanced, ending dry with a bitter note. As good as Fino gets. Drink 2013- 2019.”
Bodegas Tradicion Fino Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 92 points “The NV Fino Viejo Tradición is purchased from suppliers, it averages 12 years old, and is used to feed their Amontillado, but the (limited) market demand for this kind of wine has convinced them of producing 1,500 bottles now, and they will bottle another 1,500 in October. Unfiltered, unfined, this would have been considered a Fino Amontillado in the past. Golden color, pungent and powerful nose, with flower notes, it has a big palate, but it’s still a Fino–a fine wine– it’s old, extremely complex, low in acidity, but keeping the freshness, a little saline with the typical bitter end. This should have an interesting evolution in bottle. Drink 2013-2016.” WA
Valdespino Inocente Single Vineyard Fino Sherry, Andalucia 750ML ($21.95) $19 special, 2 bottles available
Valdespino Inocente Single Vineyard Fino Sherry, Andalucia 375ML ($14.95) $11.90 special, 6 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “The NV Fino Inocente must be one of the few wines in Jerez that is still fermented in 600-liter American oak botas, which is an incredible amount of work compared with fermenting tens of thousands of kilos of grapes (or even more) in a big stainless steel tank. This method was the norm of yesteryear, but is so labor intense that it was discontinued in most wineries, and gives a big diversity of wines, as each barrel has its own character, which contributes to the complexity of the blend. Furthermore, the bottled wine is on average 8 to 10 years old. One other thing that makes it apart from other Finos is that the grapes are exclusively from the high part of the Macharnudo vineyard, so this is a single-vineyard Fino. The nose is very complex, showing the effect of the long lees contact: chalk, dried hay, aromatic herbs and salty almonds. The palate is full, but at the same time elegant and balanced, powerful and fine, with the texture of a Meursault rather than a Puligny. A very complex wine, that manages to be both powerful and elegant. Inocente is great value for money. Drink 2013-2016.”
Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa Sherry, Andalucia 750ML ($19.95) $16 special, 3 bottles available
Valdespino Manzanilla Deliciosa Sherry, Andalucia 375ML ($13.95) $10.90 special, 5 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 89 points “The impressive line-up is opened with the pale-colored NV Manzanilla Deliciosa, which is produced with Palomino grapes from the Miraflores vineyard and aged for five years under yeast. It is a finer version of La Guita, easy to drink, with a sweet note of apples in the nose, a polished and gentle palate, ending with a saline touch.”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada No. 59 ‘Capataz Rivas’ Sherry, Andalucia 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special, ETA August 2016
Wine Advocate 96 points “Same as with the editions 39 and 40, 59 and 60 are also devoted to Manzanilla Pasada, both originating from an old solera belonging to La Guita, starting with The NV La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 59 Capataz Rivas. As number 30, it has been named after Rafael Rivas, capataz for several decades at La Guita’s cellars at Sanlúcar’s Calle Misericordia until his recent retirement, who in 1986 started a small 15 cask solera with old Manzanilla. Both this 59 and 60 are taken from this solera, and while 60 is from a single cask, this 59 blends wines from the other 14. The average age of the wine is estimated to be around 15 years. Some 3,000 500-milliliter bottles were filled in June 2015.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “The so-called NV La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada 60 Bota Punta is sourced from a special cask “Bota Punta” that was already bottled as numbers 20, 40 and 50. This particular cask from the Manzanilla Pasada ‘solera’ from the Calle Misericordia winery from La Guita was isolated, because it has a very marked biological character – a very old Manzanilla that keeps more ‘flor’ than the other butts in the ‘solera’ and shows less oxidative. The other particularity is that this cask is always refilled with wine from the other 14 casks from the ‘solera’, and therefore keeps an average age a couple of years older, around 17 years, while keeping a younger/fresher profile. They all have the iodine and saline character, the seaweed, low tide and the vertical palate. This is the most special -and scarce and expensive – of all the manzanillas pasadas from Navazos. Really world class. This is the one with depth and sharpness beyond belief, a step up in complexity, elegance and balance. It’s funny how the wine seems to overcome oxidation and starts getting sharper and sharper again. This is truly outstanding.”
When the flor yeast dies out, or is killed by fortifying a Fino, the wine begins to oxidize. Its color darkens, and its flavor profile adds a delightful nuttiness. Amontillados are much richer than Finos, and they accompany stronger foods like cheese, game, and charcuterie wonderfully. (NB: Beware of cheaper, industrial Amontillados, which are the result of blending sweet wines, not of long ageing like the true Amontillados you’ll find listed below.)
Bodegas El Maestro Sierra Amontillado ‘1830’ Sherry, Andalucia NV 375ML ($99.95) $81.90 special, 2 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points “Next in sweetness is the light amber colored non-vintage (Vinos Viejos) Amontillado 1830 VORS, which has been aged at least 50 years in the solera system. It is racy and intense and would work well with lobster bisque” WA
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Amontillado No. 37 ‘Navazos’ Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95 points “The Lot 37 La Bota de Amontillado is selected from around 100 butts from the amontillado Soleras of Rainera P. Marin that were acquired by the Estevez Group and the idea here was to choose butts with freshness and heightened aromatics. Bottled in September 2012 it has a lucid deep straw color. The nose is very attractive with caramel, hazelnut, Turkish Delight and a touch of wild honey that are all very well defined and vibrant. The palate is very well-balanced with that caramel note coming through and combining beautifully with quince, white pepper, dried honey and marmalade. The oxidative element is perfectly judged on the finish with a delicate, nutty aftertaste that renders this approachable and for want of a better word – delicious!”
Equipo Navazos La Bota de Amontillado No. 61 Bota NO 500ML ($99.95) $81.90 pre-arrival special, ETA August 2016
Wine Advocate 95 points “The relatively old NV La Bota de Amontillado 61 Bota NO was offered in the past as number 31 (bottled in October 2011), aged 35- to 40-years-old. It comes from a ‘solera’ that is marked as “Manzanilla Amontillada Vieja” in the winery, Sanlúcar Viejo, belonging to Rainera P. Marín (La Guita). The wine is thought to be around 40-years-old on average and is an elegant and harmonious Amontillado, quite different from the very old and concentrated Amontillados. The style they aim for here is to age the wines with the barrels fully topped-up, so the wines age slowly and feel comparatively younger than what they are, but at the same time they are more elegant. 2,000 half-liter bottles were filled at the end of 2015.”
Wine Advocate 99 points “The NV Amontillado Coliseo VORS, is an extremely old (much older than the 30 years certified by the VORS classification) and concentrated wine. It is unique, as its origin is from Sanlucar de Barrameda, mainly from the Pago Miraflores, which produced very sharp wines. Dark mahogany colored, with a bright green border, is very aromatic, balsamic and complex, with wild herbs, candied orange rind, spices and dates. The palate is extremely concentrated, dry, and intense but it has no edges, with lively acidity and an eternal finish. It’s an extreme wine, some might find it too much, but it’s certainly unique and among the greatest wines in the world, to be sipped slowly and in tiny quantities. One of the greatest Amontillados in existence today. Drink 2013-2025.” WA
Peter Liem–“A complex demanding wine averaging over 60 years of age. This actually originates as a manzanilla, spending 15 to 20 years in Sanlucar before being blended and aged in Jerez. The result is an amontillado of tremendous finesse, balancing its vivid concentration with a stelly, racy structure”
Chosen for its natural finesse and delicacy, sometimes a Fino doesn’t develop a layer of flor. Ageing as such under oxygen, it takes on the richer body and texture of an Oloroso, while maintaining the sleek beauty of a Fino. Think of a Palo Cortado as combining the best of Fino and Oloroso. It is the rarest category of sherry, a delicious fluke of nature.
Bodegas El Maestro Sierra Vinos Viejos Palo Cortado Sherry, Andalucia NV 375ML ($99.95) $81.90 special, 5 half-bottles available
Producer note “It takes a skilled capataz, or cellar master, to recognize an unruly sherry; sherry that chooses its own path to aging. These aren’t Amontillados, and they’re not Olorosos. They are something unique and all their own, they are Palo Cortados. 100% Palomino from Albariza or chalk soil. The Solera is over 70 years old.”
The next best price is $84.99
Wine Advocate 98 points “Equipo Navazos has recently released a handful of Palos Cortados because they jumped at the chance to buy some extremely old wines from Pedro Romero. This NV La Bota de Palo Cortado 51 Bota GF is a single cask that was bottled in February 2014 averaging some 75 years of age in a solera system. GF are the initials of Gaspar Florido, a grower from Sanlúcar who owned some of the best plots in the Armijo vineyard inside Pago Miraflores in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where this wine was likely born. At that time the wines were cask fermented and could have had a few years under flor. The Palo Cortados 47, 48 and this one, and even the Amontillado 49 are somehow related and have a common origin, but this one is closer to the 48. Given that it’s not easy to define these wines, other than to compare them with each other, I find this one to have more Palo Cortado character with a little more sweetness and with a hint of Oloroso. Out of these beasts, this is the most approachable and drinkable. Only 1,200 half bottles were filled with the content of one single cask.”
Valdespino Cardenal Palo Cortado VORS Sherry, Andalucia NV 375ML ($169.95) $133 special, 7 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 99 points “The NV Palo Cortado Cardenal VORS, like the whole VORS collection from Valdespino is outstanding. It is fed from the solera of the Palo Cortado C.P. where the Palomino grapes come from the Macharnudo Alto vineyard, fermented in American oak botas. It’s 22% alcohol and has nine grams of (undetectable) residual sugar which makes it very drinkable. It’s a monumental wine of dark mahogany color with a green edge, a complex, ever-changing, concentrated, clean and delineated nose of spices, dark chocolate, Cuban cigar and balsamic notes of incense, and a sharp, saline palate. It is highly concentrated, powerful and clean, with an eternal, lingering aftertaste. Deciding between Coliseo and Cardenal might be splitting hairs, and as much as I love Coliseo, I felt Cardenal was just one notch above. At the quality helm of Palo Cortado. Drink 2013-2025.” WA
Peter Liem– “Its palo cortado counterpart is the Cardenal, a wine of similar age and equally multi-faceted complexity, although, with its richer girth and more velvety texture on the palate, it comes off as less forbidding. It essentially represents the ultimate conclusion of Valdespino’s expression of the Marcharnudo vineyard.”
Oloroso represents the darker, richer, nuttier style of sherry. Fortified from the start, it never develops a protective flor, which lets oxygen meld Oloroso into the sumptuous yet dry wine that it is. Spice, grilled nuts, and dried fruit flavors make it sippable on its own, or a fine match for roasted meat and strong cheese.
Bodegas El Maestro Sierra Vinos Viejos Oloroso 1/14 VORS Sherry, Andalucia NV 375ML ($99.95) $81.90 special, 2 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The (Vinos Viejos) Oloroso 1/14 VORS is medium amber and spicier than its predecessor, with just noticeable sweetness, complex flavors (toffee and caramel come to mind) and outstanding length” WA
Wine & Spirits 92 points “At just over one dollar for each year of aging, this wine’s price is nearly absurd. What you’ve stolen is viscous and generous, with the precise balance of acidity to rein in the sweetness and frame the voluptuous maturity. It’s a decadent pleasure, trailing nuts, earthy savor and dried fruit in its wake.”
Valdespino Solera De Su Majestad Oloroso VORS Sherry, Andalucia 375ML ($219.95) $149 special, 6 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “The NV Oloroso Solera de su Majestad VORS produced from Palomino grapes from the Carrascal vineyard, has aged in a solera for over 30 years. It has a bright mahogany color and a subtle nose of noble woods, walnuts, aromatic herbs, and a touch of brandy. The palate is quite gentle for a VORS. Very polished and round, with a pungent, intense feeling, it feels extremely old. One of the best Olorosos around, it’s old enough to have that extra complexity, but not to be too aggressive, as Olorosos can easily get when they’re very old. Drink 2013-2017.” LG
For those with a sweet tooth, the Spanish make Cream sherry. Blended and sweetened, Cream comes out with dessert, or as dessert. Its dark amber hue and rich viscosity enliven any table, and foods like pie, nuts, and blue cheese are delighted in Cream’s presence.
Bodegas Tradicion VOS 20 Years Cream Sherry, Andalucia NV 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 9 bottles available
Importer notes: “This is the most recent addition to the portfolio (so new that it has yet to be reviewed) and completely transcends the Cream category. It also represents the only blend bottled by the bodega with 70% coming from 35+ year old Oloroso barrels and 30% from young 5 year old PX barrels. Here the intensity of old Oloroso blends seamlessly with the dried fruit concentration of the Pedro Ximenex, creating a wine that appeals to both dessert wine drinkers and those seeking a pairing for sturdier main dishes. Being a VOS, it is certified by the Consejo Regulador to be greater than 20 years average age at bottling, an extremely rare Cream sherry indeed.”
The sweetest, darkest, most unctuous sherry, Pedro Ximenez (aka PX) warms up even the coldest nights. Produced in the Montilla-Moriles region of Andalucia, PX gains its concentration as the grapes (also named Pedro Ximenez) shrivel in the baking sun. Packed with flavors of spice, dried and candied fruits, and nuttiness, a little bit of PX goes a long, delectable way.
Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada, Montilla-Moriles 2013 375ML ($27.95) $18 special, 24 half-bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “This 2013 Pedro Ximenez de Anada wine is made from 100% hand-harvested Pedro Ximenez grapes that are dried on mats in the sun, and then fermented in stainless steel, with the fermentation being halted by the addition of liquor. It is then aged six months in 500-liter American oak barrels. A medium amber color is followed by notes of maple syrup, brown sugar, honeysuckle, Chinese black tea and marmalade. This sweet, rich, heady, after-dinner wine should drink well for a decade or more.”
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento, Montilla-Moriles 1929 750ML ($459.96) $359 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 95 points “The extreme 1929 Don PX Convento Selección is a thick, dense and unusual, rare sweet beast. It is very dark with a green border, dense, oily and serious full-bodied palate with the profile of a PX from Jerez. With 500 grams of residual sugar per liter, it is a little monolithic, a little heavy and not so easy to drink. Still it is an impressive, very sweet wine that is really unique.”
The next best price is $419.99
Wine Advocate 98 points “One more single-harvest, old sweet wine, the 1955 Don PX Convento Selección was bottled in September 2014 and it had been aged slowly in very old American oak barrels and getting thick and concentrated through evaporation. It’s 320 grams of sugar are (partially) compensated by 6.5 grams of acidity. It has a nose and palate of chocolate-covered candied orange, spices, molasses. I’d say the dominant aromas in the nose are dark chocolate. It’s very dense, developing notes of very concentrated licorice and balsamic, mint, camphor and evolving notes of petrol with time. Complex, rare and unique.”
The next best price is $349.99
Wine Advocate 98 points “The NV Ninos Pedro Ximenez 30 Anos VORS is again a monumental wine, redolent of its sibling, Moscatel Toneles, as often the extremely old wines have so many similarities that even the grape and the origin is diminished. This beast of a wine has 470 grams of sugar. It’s believed to average 50 years of age, and shows a dark mahogany, almost black color. Being extremely concentrated, is not just power, it has finesses and balance. Curry, spices, coconut, balsamic notes (eucalyptus), tar, Cuban cigar, and nutmeg can be identified in its nose. The palate is velvety, dense, thick, long, and intense, with pungent acidity but at the same time it feels smooth. Again, choosing between Ninos and Toneles might be purely academic. Drink 2013-2035.” WA
The average price is $202/half-bottle
Fernando de Castilla Antique Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Andalucia NV 500ML ($49.95) $39 special, 35 500ML-bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 points “This deep and viscous version shows good range, as warm ganache, buckwheat, toasted poppy seed, black walnut, rum-soaked raisin, sweet Turkish coffee and prune eau-de-vie notes are all seamlessly layered, while a gingerbread accent at the very end imparts lift. Thoroughly unique. Drink now.” WS
The next best price is $43.99 for the 500ML
Maysara Asha Pinot Noir, McMinnville AVA 2010 750ML ($39.95) $29 pre-arrival special
Winery note: A jeweled glassful of garnets, Asha dances onto your palate with amarena cherries, pine nuts and a tantalizing wisp of a far away campfire.. Completely elegant and silken tannins have integrated perfectly to form a structure that allows the richness of the vintage to glow brightly, while still allowing for age-ability. Pair with dishes that utilize slow braised meats, complex layers of spices and caramelization, as the mid-palate is graced with layers of its own.
The next best price is $39
Charles Smith ‘Vino’ Rose, Washington 2015 750ML ($14.95) $11.90 pre-arrival special
Vinopolnote 100% Sangiovese, with a delicate touch.
Charles Smith K Vintners Milbrandt Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope 2014 750ML ($34.95) $27 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Probably the greatest vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2014 Syrah Milbrandt Vineyard is 100% Syrah, fermented with 100% whole clusters, that spent 15 months in 20% new French oak barrels and puncheons. This beauty is overflowing with notes of cassis, caramelized meats, licorice and spice, which gives way to a full-bodied, concentrated, superbly textured Syrah that can be enjoyed today, or cellared for a decade.”
B. Leighton Olsen’s Brothers Vineyard Grenache, Yakima Valley 2012 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92 points “(14.5%; from a north-facing slope on limestone caliche soil at 1,200 feet): Good medium red. Raspberry, mocha and smoky minerality on the alluring nose. Creamy and sweet but lively in the mouth, with the raspberry fruit complicated by rocky minerality and subtle notes of fennel, sweet dirt and peppery spices. Finishes with a firm tannic spine that should support a graceful evolution in the bottle. This is the new project of Brennon Leighton, who left Efesté a couple years ago to join Charles Smith on his new white wine projects.”
Bereche et Fils Le Cran Premier Cru Brut Nature Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Bereche et Fils Le Cran Premier Cru Brut Nature Millesime, Champagne 2008 1.5L ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Domaine Raymond Usseglio & Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Imperiale, Rhone 2013 750ML ($79.95)$39.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93 points “Given the difficulty with Grenache in 2013, the Grenache-dominated 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape Imperiale (Vigne Centenaires) is a head-turner that offers terrific notes of plum, black cherries, mulberries, dried flowers and licorice. Brought up all in concrete tank, this medium to full-bodied, ripe, textured, yet structured Grenache will be better in a year or three, and drink well through 2025.”
The average price is $52
Burghound 91 points “Like the Fleurie this is exceptionally pretty and actually a bit spicier and more complex if otherwise similar. There is equally good punch and delineation to the delicious, supple and seductively textured flavors that deliver very fine depth and length. This isn’t quite as refined as the Fleurie but the depth is even better.”
“The 2014 Brouilly ($23) is, predictably, the lightest of the three wines, but lightness and freshness can be very much an asset in Beaujolais wines. With floral and peppery aromas, red fruit flavors, supple tannins and a slight earthy note on the finish, this wine is delicious and delightful.” –Mary Ewing-Mulligan WineReviewOnline.com
Maison Joseph Drouhin – Domaine des Hospices De Belleville Fleurie 2014 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91 points “An exceptionally pretty nose features notes of spicy cherry, raspberry and soft earth nuances. There is good vibrancy and lovely detail to the utterly delicious middle weight flavors that terminate in a dusty, cool and nicely balanced finale that exhibits just a trace of youthful austerity. This will need a few years to add depth but it is already quite pretty and very Fleurie.”
“The 2014 Fleurie ($25) is spicier and more savory than the Morgon, with a bit more tannin and a bit less exuberance. The aromas are floral first and then red-berried, with peppery notes on the palate; the texture shows some grip compared to the utter fluidity of the Morgon. This Fleurie to me seems to be holding back a bit, and I am curious to taste how it will develop over the next year.” –Mary Ewing-Mulligan WineReviewOnline.com
Maison Joseph Drouhin – Domaine des Hospices De Belleville Morgon 2014 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92 points “There is a hint of Maraschino cherry to the cool, airy and elegant red berry fruit suffused nose that exhibits an excellent range of spice elements. There is once again excellent punch and detail to the slightly bigger and richer medium-bodied flavors that deliver beautiful depth and length on the impeccably well-balanced finale. I very much like the overall sense of harmony and this offers incredible value for money.”
“The Morgon is a beauty: rounded and rich, with firm acid-and-tannin structure, and an exuberance of red fruits that is the wine’s salient characteristic. The texture is silky, the finish is long and savory, and the overall taste is harmonious and complete.” –Mary Ewing-Mulligan WineReviewOnline.com
Castello Colle Massari Melacce Montecucco Vermentino, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($24.95) $14 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 90 points “This is pure, sporting cherry, strawberry, spice and earth flavors over a layer of dense tannins. Balanced and vibrant, finishing with length and grip. Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Ciliegiolo. Best from 2017 through 2024.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2013 Montecucco Rosso Rigoleto is a gorgeous entry-level wine from ColleMassari. Fresh, floral and nicely delineated in the glass, the 2013 offers lovely purity in its dark stone fruit, floral and spice notes. Silky tannins round out the finish.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Focused cherry, strawberry, kirsch and floral aromas and flavors highlight this elegant, concentrated red. Balanced, firm and long, with tobacco and wild herb elements chiming in on the finish. Drink now through 2020.”
The next best price is $95.07
Fattoria Poggio di Sotto Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2009 750ML ($249.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Ian D’Agata–Vinous 93 points “Good bright medium red. Rich aromas of raspberry, red cherry, licorice, sweet pipe tobacco and violet. Rich, layered and sweet, boasting superb definition and depth to its fleshy but vibrant red berry, sweet spice and licorice flavors. This big, broad, perfumed wine finishes with excellent clarity and floral lift. Another standout Brunello from this producer and easily one of the year’s best. I’d enjoy it within the next ten years, but I suspect it has the structure to age for longer than that.”
The average price is $204
New Case Deals on Massolino Barolo
Our lowest prices in the country just got lower!
Arriving in July
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Structured and focused, this gorgeous wine offers enticing scents of pressed violet, woodland berry, baking spice, tilled soil and leather. The firm palate delivers ripe black cherry, licorice, mint, tobacco and ground clove alongside youthfully assertive but refined tannins. Give this time to fully develop—it should blossom into a beauty. Drink 2018–2026.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “A mix of ripe cherry, raspberry, plum, tobacco and tea aromas and flavors are the hallmarks of this well-defined red. A stiff backbone of tannins and vivid acidity keeps this moving toward the lingering, earth-tinged aftertaste. Best from 2019 through 2032”
Our lowest listed price in the USA today,
Just got lower!
The average price per bottle is $81
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2009 Barolo Parussi sees fruit sourced from the Castiglione Falletto township and consequently shows the most ethereal and refined characteristics of these three vineyard-designate wines. Rosehip, forest berry and even a touch of stone fruit or apricot emerge at first, followed by heavier aromas of tar and black licorice. The wine shows impressive elegance, finesse, silky tannins and fresh acidity. Those overall attributes, melded so perfectly together, are rare to find in the warmer 2009 vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”
Our lowest listed price in the USA today,
Just got lower!
The average price per bottle is $78
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2009 Barolo Margheria, however, moves us over to the Serralunga d’Alba township where power and structure are the name of the game. This wine shows big bones with firmly rooted tannins and a bold, fleshy quality of fruit. Black currant, chopped mint and licorice are woven tightly within the fabric of the wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2028.”
And finally, yes our lowest listed price in the USA today,
Just got lower!
The average price per bottle is $83
Arriving Late July
Domaine de la Vougeraie Arriving Late July:
Domaine de la Vougeraie Les Damodes, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2011 750ML ($119.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Burghound 90-93 points “Here the wood treatment is more obvious though still relatively modest as it allows the ripe, earth and appealingly spicy red currant, plum, violet and rose petal aromas to shine. I very much like the mouth feel of the distinctly mineral-tinged medium-bodied flavors that possess outstanding complexity while concluding in a tension-filled and impressively persistent finish. The balance of structural elements is perfect and this should age effortlessly for up to a decade.”
The next best price is $76
The average price is $108
Antonio Galloni 93+ points “The 2011 Bonnes Mares needs time to fully come together. Today the whole clusters (80%) are a bit prominent. Savory herbs, tobacco, incense and orange peel all add layers of complexity to the dark fruit in a powerful, intense Burgundy that captures the essence of this site, albeit in a more medium-bodied style than is normal for this wine, but that is very much in line with the year. The 2011 is going to need at least another few years to be fully expressive. There is plenty of tannin and acidity to ensure years of fine drinking.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Tasted blind at the Burgundy 2011 horizontal tasting in Beaune. Lighter in color, there are plenty of pretty, demure red berry fruits on the nose of the Bonnes-Mares 2011 from Domaine de la Vougeraie: very pure and translating the essence of Pinoté, albeit not the kind of aromatics for someone seeking opulence. The palate is medium-bodied with very well-judged acidity. This just glides across the palate and down the throat in effortless fashion. Bon vin.”
Antonio Galloni 96+ points “Bright, full red. Musky red berries, flowers, leather and potpourri spices on the complex nose. Juicy and penetrating, conveying excellent energy and lift to the complex flavors of red fruits, smoky underbrush and saline minerality. Rich, dense and creamy but with lovely restraint. Finishes with a firm edge of tannins and excellent building length. Already quite nuanced but I’d hold this for at least three or four years.” ST
The next best price is $174.99
Arriving Late July
John Gilman 90 points “Bodegas Akutain is a new producer to me. The family farms just over six hectares of vineyards in the Rioja Alta region, with their cellars based just outside of Haro. The estate is old school in the best sense, picking by hand, fermenting everything with wild yeasts and raising the wine exclusively in old, American oak casks and bottled unfiltered in the great traditions of the region. Their 2012 Crianza is outstanding, wafting from the glass in a complex blend of red and black cherries, toasted coconut, woodsmoke, a touch of sweet nuttiness and a topnote Rioja spice tones. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, pure and wide open, with a velvety attack, a sappy core, lovely soil signature and a long, refined and meltingly tannic finish. Utterly classic and flat out delicious. 2016-2030+.”
Bodega Akutain Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
John Gilman 92+ points “The 2006 Rioja Reserva from Bodegas Akutain includes a bit of garnacha in the blend and was aged three years in old American oak barrels prior to bottling. The wine offers up an outstanding bouquet of red and black cherries, cigar ash, excellent soil tones, a bit of bay leaf and a discreet base of coconutty American oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and beautifully balanced with a fine core, still a bit of backend tannin and excellent grip and focus on the very long and classy finish. This is bottled unfiltered and unlike most ten year-old bottles of Rioja, this is best decanted off of its sediment. An excellent bottle from this very exciting classical Rioja estate! 2016-2030+.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
John Gilman 94 points “The 2004 Rioja Gran Reserva from Bodegas Akutain is a lovely the elegant side of Rioja Alta fruit, as it offers up a complex and utterly classic bouquet of plums, raspberries, cigar smoke, an impressively complex base of soil tones, cloves and toasted coconut. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and vibrant, with a great core of fruit, impeccable balance, lovely complexity and a very long, bright and classy finish. Just a great bottle of old school Rioja! 2016-2035+”
Arriving September 2016
Spottswoode Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena 2013 750ML ($189.95) $159 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 95+ points “The flagship wine, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, which in this vintage is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot aged 20 months in 60% new French oak. It is elegance personified. Dark blueberry and black raspberry fruit with crème de cassis, licorice and spring flowers emerge from this juicy, medium to full-bodied wine with everything in ideal balance. The acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol are subtle and disguised. This is another beauty from Spottswoode. Slightly less dramatic than the 2012, but classic, it offers 20-25 years of aging potential.”
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Vivid, nuanced and explosive, the estate’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses remarkable intensity and pure power. The 2013 is one of the most precise wines I have tasted here in some time. Dark blue and black fruits, cedar, lavender and leather are all vivid and beautifully articulated throughout. The flavors build effortlessly to the huge, dramatic finish.”
Arriving July 22
James Suckling 98 points “Incredible blueberry, blackberry, black walnut, mineral, black licorice and flowers. Full-bodied, very tight and structured with hints of hazelnut, fine chocolate, mineral and spice. Layered and very fine. A solid and classic-styled Napa Valley cab.”
Robert Parker 96+ points “The opaque purple-hued 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits a glorious bouquet of crème de cassis, spring flowers, a Pauillac-like lead pencil note, and background new oak. The overall impression is one of restraint combined with richness. This full-bodied effort possesses good acidity and ripe tannin. It has been crafted for the long-term. The hallmarks of great Spottswoode wines are their purity and elegance combined with serious power. The 2012 has that in abundance. This youthful, reserved Cabernet will benefit from 3-5 years of cellaring, and will keep for two decades or more.” RP