Vinopolis Tuesday Telegraph 9-12-2017

Cristom: New? Old? Cellar Releases and the Much Anticipated 2015; Bordeaux For Fall, Bordeaux For All!; Giants of Burgundy in Romanee St. Vivant; Clouet Prearrival: Dreaming of Bubbles; Notable Northern Rhone – Robust and Affordable


Cristom Pinot Noirs:

Library Wines and New Releases

Cristom is a reference point wine in the Willamette Valley—as close as we have here to a first growth or a producer such as DRC or Dujac (both of whom serve as stylistic references for Cristom).  Since 1992, Cristom has been a top producer, making wines that are both powerful and elegant, and which age beautifully.  The latter part can be tough though—the wines are delicious young and anyone who has a cellar full of them isn’t selling (usually) so if you don’t have friends who’ve been hip to the wines for a while, it can be hard to try a gloriously mature bottle.

Luckily, Cristom is in the process of thinning their cellars—you can build up a lot of wine over the course of 25 years.  This week they are releasing a few of their older Reserve bottlings (called either “Reserve,” “Sommers Reserve” and over the last few vintages “Estate Reserve”) and are excited to share them with you.  We have them from 1994, a legendary year that put the area on the map, 2000, a really underrated vintage, as well as 2009 (a fantastic year for Cristom that has just started to hit its stride), 2011 and 2012.  This also coincides with the arrival of the 2015 single vineyard wines—which we can’t be more excited to see.

The 2015 vintage has turned out some unbelievable wines from Oregon, and we’ve been chomping at the bit to get the latest offerings from Cristom in the door. The wines are incredibly bright with fruit and perfectly balanced acidity, and in true Cristom style, the structure gives you the impression that these will be around for the long haul. These drink so well immediately, but will be among the best to lay down over the next five to ten years. Buy a good stash (we have a subscriber special to help you) for enjoyment now, and down the road.

Arriving Friday, September 15th:

Cristom Eileen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Eileen gives bold raspberry preserves and red currant jelly notes with suggestions of chargrill meat, truffles, forest floor and cedar. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers a solid backbone of grainy tannins and loads of freshness supporting the generous, muscular fruit, finishing with great persistence.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cristom Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Jessie Vineyard is scented of kirsch, mulberries and raspberry tart with underlying Chinese five spice, hoisin and mossy bark hints. Medium-bodied, there’s a very seductive mid-palate of red berry and exotic spice flavors, supported by velvety tannins and just enough freshness, finishing with spicy layers.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cristom Louise Vineyard Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 prearrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2015 Pinot Noir Louise Vineyard has a savory, almost meaty nose over a core of Black Forest cake, red currants, mulberries, cardamom and fenugreek with a touch of potpourri. Medium-bodied, the palate has exquisitely fine tannins and a lively line of acidity supporting generous, multi-layered red berry preserves and spice, finishing with impressive persistence and depth.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cristom Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 1994 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 1994 Pinot Noir Reserve reveals a healthy dark ruby color, followed by a super nose of herbs, smoked meats, and lavishly ripe fruit (cherries, plums, and black-raspberries). There is also a smoky, gamey quality reminiscent of a wine from Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits. The wine is ripe and medium to full-bodied, with a sweet mid-section crammed with fruit. The tannin in the finish is far better integrated than in the Marjorie Vineyard…”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cristom Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2000 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Rich in flavor and polished in texture, with a slightly spicy burr to the opulent black cherry, plum and currant flavors, which echo impressively on the elegant finish.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Cristom Sommers Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2009 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “Ripe flavors of blueberry and plum dance on a medium-weight frame, shaded by hints of pepper and clove, underlined by fine tannins. A hint of orange tea emerges on the finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cristom Sommers Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2011 Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve contains a higher percentage of estate fruit compared to the Mt. Jefferson, around 80%, and is treated like the single-vineyard–matured for 18 months in around 50% new oak. It includes 50% whole-cluster fruit. It has a mellow, natural bouquet with lifted brambly red berry fruit with touches of bay leaf and autumn leaves. I like the delineation here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, quite crisp and reserved at first, but it gently fans out with pretty red berry fruit mixed with plenty of dried herbs. This adheres to Cristom’s classic style, much more Old World inspired than its peers, and certainly well crafted.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cristom Sommers Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2012 750ML ($54.95) $49 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 92 points “Vivid ruby-red. Heady, mineral-laced aromas of ripe red berries, allspice and potpourri. Sweet raspberry and rose pastille flavors show impressive energy and focus, with a spicecake nuance emerging with air. The floral element repeats strongly on the very long, juicy finish, which is framed by gentle, slow-mounting tannins.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “The 2012 Pinot Noir Sommers Reserve will be released near the end of 2015. It offer lively red berry fruit with redcurrant and wild raspberry scents, fine delineation with cheeky hints of marmalade and orange rind. The palate is medium-bodied and almost feral on the entry, as it seems to shoot off in a different direction. Then the acidity begins to bind it all together to form a cohesive, sorbet-fresh, bay-leaf finish that is long in the mouth. It needs to develop a little more persistence on the balsamic-tinged aftertaste, but otherwise this has good potential.” NM

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Buy any 6-11 bottles of Cristom wines- you’ll receive a 5% discount
Buy any 12+ bottles of Cristom wines- you’ll receive a 10% discount

If you order online the discount will not appear in your shopping cart,
We will apply it here before processing your order.



Bargain Bordeaux:

Take These to the Bank, Left or Right
Without a doubt, finding high quality, reasonably priced Bordeaux is one of the things which is most rewarding for us.  In terms of both sales and verbal feedback, there’s tons of demand for classic wines that you can drink tonight at prices that won’t break the bank.

It’s tempting to see Bordeaux as a region that’s only the realm of rich collectors in foreign markets but the more we taste, the more we think there are real values to be had under $75 and even under $40 (or $25 in the case of the Vielle Cure).  These are wines that put anything coming out of California to shame for the price, which is certainly contra-what we think of when we think of big money Bordeaux.

The last decade of vintages has been extremely successful for the region with only a few (minor) misses and so we’re looking to buy all that we can. 2009, the year of the Gloria we’re offering today, was notable for how rich and intense the wines ended up, and while 2014 is a little larger than a ‘classic’ year, its wines are notable for their aromatics and minerality.  These are wines to buy several of—one or two to drink now and a few to hold on to.

Arriving Tomorrow:

Chateau La Vieille Cure, Fronsac 2014 750ML ($27.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2014 La Vieille Cure is soft, supple and radiant throughout. Succulent red cherry, sweet tobacco, raspberry and flowers all flesh out in a deep, expressive Fronsac endowed with real class. Bright fruit-toned fruit and lively acids give the 2014 its distinctive personality. The interplay of succulent fruit and lifted aromatics is compelling.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Ripe and structured, this sports a vivid core of cassis and plum that races along, with fine-grained structure and light anise, bay and chalk notes hanging in the background. The long finish has cut and drive, with the cassis accent pushing through with determination. Rock-solid. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2018 through 2026.”

Chateau de Pressac, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($39.95) $31.90 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “A gorgeous wine, the 2014 de Pressac is dark, bold and voluptuous. Dark cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, lavender, sage and licorice all run through it. Deeply expressive, pliant and succulent, the 2014 will drink well with minimal cellaring. The dark, flamboyant style works beautifully here.The blend is 69% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon plus dollops of Malbec and Carmenère. Tasted two times.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Chateau Gloria, Saint-Julien 2009 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Robert Parker 93 points “Gloria has long been one of the most popular wines in America, but I do not believe they have ever made better wines than they have over the last decade, and the 2009 is one of their finest. While this estate is not a classified growth, it certainly performs like one in 2009. A dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by an expressive, flamboyant bouquet of black fruits, Christmas spices, licorice and roasted Provencal herbs. Fuller-bodied, more concentrated and extracted than most vintages with soft tannins, its low acidity and a sumptuous, plump style remind me of a modern day version of the 1982 (which is fully mature but still in great shape). The 2009 Gloria is a very smart purchase for those looking to maximize their buying power. In fact, this may be the value of the vintage.”

Arriving ETA Early October:

Chateau de Birot, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2014 750ML ($19.95) $16 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Chateau de Birot, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux 2014 750ML ($219.95) $149 pre-arrival special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 90 points “Rich blackberry and black-currant flavors give this wine its ripe character. They are already well balanced by the spicy tannins and dry core. The wine will develop well and should be ready from 2019.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Chateau d’Angludet, Margaux 2014 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Chateau d’Angludet, Margaux 2014 750ML ($519.95) $419 pre-arrival special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “This is a wine that brings out all the bright fruit of the vintage. It has classic black-currant flavors and crisp acidity. The tannins are a firm supporting act to this wine that will develop well over the medium term.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Summer Shipping Special:

Midwest, East, & South

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

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


Arnoux-Lachaux and Romanée Saint-Vivant:

The Inside Play in Vosne-Romanée

Not many people make wine from Romané Saint-Vivant.  It’s a tiny vineyard, even by Grand Cru standards, only barely larger than it’s main rival—Richebourg.  The top example comes, of course, from DRC, but over the last two decades, more and more winemakers are making wines that are contending for “top dog” status.  If anyone else will be recognized as the best producer of Romanée Saint-Vivant, it will be Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux.

Pascal Lachaux, who took over Domaine Robert Arnoux from his father-in-law, elevated it to one of the top several domaines in Vosne, an already exceptional village.  Pascal’s son, Charles, has taken the wines a step higher over the last ten years, cutting back a touch on the new oak and adding some whole cluster fermentation to the wines.  The results are stunning—these are epic wines, with admittedly epic price-tags.  Compared to their peers, though, they almost seem like bargains.  How many wines can compete with the DRC, year in and out?  Not many.

We’ve got a miniscule amount of the Arnoux-Lachaux Romanée Saint-Vivant and Les Suchots (which borders RSV and Richebourg) coming in this week.  These are special, special wines and we don’t expect them to last very long.

Arriving Tomorrow:

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2014 750ML ($799.95) $699 pre-arrival special
Burghound 95 points “An even more elegant nose of spicy and floral red and black pinot fruit is nuanced by subtle traces of sandalwood, Asian-style tea, soy and anise. There is fine concentration to the relatively powerful sappy and mouth coating flavors that are shaped by wonderfully fine-grained tannins on the hugely long, balanced and moderately austere finale. This terrific and notably powerful effort is also quite silky yet it should have zero difficulty rewarding at least 15 to 20 years of cellar time.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 93-96 points “(100% vendange entier; 80% new oak): Deep red-ruby. Alluring aromas of black raspberry, licorice and minerals show a noble, deep vegetal nuance that reminded me of a young Romanée-Conti. The youthfully unevolved middle palate displays the depth, pliancy and freshness of the vintage at its best. Finishes extremely long and ripely tannic, with palate-saturating sweetness and mineral pungency. These 90-year-old vines were originally planted by the father of Robert Arnoux, according to Pascal, who added that the estate’s vines in Suchots are even older, at 94.”

Domaine Arnoux-Lachaux Les Suchots, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru 2014 750 ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Burghound 93-95 points “On the nose it’s as though the Reignots and Suchots have switched places as this is much, much more restrained with its intensely floral red berry and spice suffused nose that merges seamlessly into impressively rich and full-bodied middle weight flavors that possess just a hint of minerality on the hugely long and palate staining finish. This lightly austere and beautifully well-balanced effort is an obvious wine of class and grace.”
Stephen Tanzer–Vinous 92-95 points “(100% vendange entier; 80% new oak; from a healthy crop of 42 hectoliters per hectare):Bright red-ruby. A touch of reduction mostly dissipated to reveal classic Suchots scents of black raspberry, Oriental spices, flowers and fresh herbs, plus an intriguing note of paprika. Wonderfully silky, plush, generous wine with sneaky inner-mouth energy. The wine’s sweet oak component will need a few years to harmonize with its fruits and flowers. Finishes with terrific length and substantial ripe tannins. This should ultimately make a wonderfully complete Burgundy.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Speaking of impressive, impossible to find red Burgundy from Romanée Saint-Vivant, we have a few bottles of Cathiard’s legendary bottling arriving soon.  This is one of the white whales of Burgundy—and from a vintage that’s nothing less than monumental.

Arriving Later This Month:

Sylvain Cathiard Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2009 750ML ($2799.95) $2499 pre-arrival special
Burghound 94-97 points “A dazzlingly complex, perfumed and pure nose reveals a bit of wood influence yet remains strikingly elegant with its superb scope of spicy red berry fruit aromas that are followed by ripe, seductive and beautifully intense flavors that display marvelous depth and perfect balance on the sappy and naturally sweet finish of monumental length. This is a wine of indisputable class and a model of grace and understatement that should age effortlessly for 20 to 30 years.”

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


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Andre Clouet:

Standbys and Wines to Dream On

Andre Clouet is a Champagne house known for many things, chief among them being some of the best values in the appellation.  The wines they’re making are fantastic, from their base non-vintage blend all the way through the prestige “1911” cuvee which is perpetually one of the best under $100 Champagnes out there. The wines, on the whole, tend to be Pinot based, which makes our offering today a bit of a departure: it’s 100% Chardonnay.

Andre Clouet calls this new releases “Dream Vintage” and like everything else they make, it’s a steal for the price.  Made with Grand Cru fruit, it’s bottled a year after vintage and then disgorged to order.  Let that sink in for a second.  The wines have been on the lees for a long time and well, they’re from great vintages to begin with.  The only catch with these are the quantities involved: we won’t have these around for long.

Arriving Friday:

Andre Clouet Dream Vintage Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Vinopolnote: 100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged on order.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $79
The average price is $84

Andre Clouet Dream Vintage Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Andre Clouet Dream Vintage Brut, Champagne 2002 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Vinopolnote: 100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged on order.

These are the only listings in the USA today!

We’ve also just lined up our annual holiday purchase of the Clouet wines, from the Grand Reserve (the workhorse) to the Silver Label (Brut Nature/No Dosage)and higher end wines.  The 2008 is stunning and the 1911 is one of the best deals is in higher end Champagne out there.

We’re only able to get as much of this as we’re offering today, so we’re offering special pricing on these wines as pre-arrivals.  Once these wines gets here and stock gets low, these deals will disappear, so if you’ve purchased and loved these wines in the past, now’s the time to stock up.  We don’t expect these prices to be here come December.

Arriving ETA Mid-October:

Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($47.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($519.95) $359 pre-arrival special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The NV Brut Grande Reserve emerges from the glass with layers of hazelnut, pear, spice and dried flower aromas. This rich, creamy wine impresses for its balance and sheer richness. I loved it.” AG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($47.95) $33 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($519.95) $359 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Nature Silver is naturally a very focused, driven wine given the no-dosage style. This shows wonderful nuance and depth all the way through to the long finish, with bright aromas and flavors but less of the toastiness than some of the house’s other wines. The mousse and finish are both utterly impeccable in their elegance.” AG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Andre Clouet Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 92 points “Clouet’s 2008 Brut Millesime shows quite a bit more tension and focus than the 2007, hardly a surprise given then personality of the vintage. Bright, saline notes frame expressive red fruits, flowers and sweet spices. The 2008 Brut is a gorgeous wine with plenty of appeal today, but it will also develop beautifully in bottle. Stylistically it is less overt than the 2007 but places more emphasis on length. Brut Millesime is mostly Pinot, with 30-40% Chardonnay.” AG

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Andre Clouet Un Jour de 1911… Brut, ChampagneNV 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Hidden Treasure From the Stunning

2015 Vintage in the Northern Rhone

“…what I found especially thrilling when tasting my way through the 2015 northern Rhones was that it is not necessary to pay top dollar in order to experience 2015’s sumptuous combination of ripeness and precision. The lesser appelations of St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage have also excelled themselves.” – Jancis Robinson

The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest areas of the wine world over the last few years, driven by a string of excellent vintages and realization that the wines are incredible but aren’t yet priced like their (qualitative) counterparts in regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux or Brunello.  While Cote Rotie and Hermitage have been the gold standard for some time, affordable land in appellations like Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph has allowed for young, ambitious winemakers to get their hands on old vines and great terroirs.

That’s great for us—it’s allowed for more great wine and because of the costs involved, great Crozes or St. Joseph is much more affordable (and therefore a great gateway into the Northern Rhone).  Whether you’re an old hand at the Northern Rhone thing or if you’re just getting started, Emmanuel Darnaud is a name worth paying attention to.  We’re excited about his wines and at the prices offered, they’re spectacular.

A passionate advocate for terroir-specific wines, Emmanuel Darnaud has been crafting robust reds from individual parcels in the northern Rhone since 2001 and has a great mentor in his father in law, the legendary Bernard Faurie. His six parcels are spread over 15 hectares, where the grapes are hand harvested. Each is vinified separately with differing oak aging and maturation practices depending upon the wine. The Saint Joseph is from a small, 1.7 hectare vineyard on a hillside in an area colloquially named ‘speared by the sun.’

Arriving Friday:

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The top cuvée of the estate (which isn’t made in every vintage) is the 2015 Crozes Hermitage Au Fil Du Temps, which is 100% Syrah from the Les Saviaux lieu-dit (near the village of Glun), raised in once-used demi-muids. Like all the cuvées here, it sports an inky purple/opaque color and has a sensational bouquet of blueberry, strawberry, black cherry, graphite and smoked herbs. Full-bodied, rounded, seamless and impeccably balanced, it’s hands down one of the most impressive Crozes out there.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Mise en Bouche, Rhone 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90 points “His entry-level effort is the wonderfully fruity, rounded and sexy 2015 Crozes Hermitage Mise En Bouche, which is already hard to resist. It offers tons of black and blue fruits, peppery herbs and hints of cured meats. I love its purity and it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 6-7 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $24

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chenes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($31.95) $24 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “A much more serious effort than the Mise en Bouche, the 2015 Crozes Hermitage les Trois Chenes was raised in a mix oak tanks (tronconique), demi-muids and barrels (some new). Its inky purple/blue color is followed by terrific notes of blackberries, blueberries, damp earth and pepper. This full-bodied beauty is rounded and seamless on the palate, with top-notch purity, sweet tannin and no shortage of length. It’s going to be hard to resist on release, yet I suspect it will have 10-12 years of life.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $31.99

Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “A monster of a St Joseph, the 2015 Saint Joseph comes from the Dardouille lieu-dit (near Mauves) and was aged in demi-muids and second-fill barrels. It has a saturated purple/blue color as well as awesome notes of crème de cassis, freshly crushed rocks and cracked pepper. Rich, full-bodied, ultra-pure and with impeccably purity and balance, it’s another tour de force from this appellation.”

Thank you for reading!