Vinopolis Weekend Addition 12-28-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Peak Pommard:
New Wines from Domaine de Courcel

Trending Champagne to Drink Right Now

Stock Up on the Best of Tuscany

WA Insider Secret: New Arrivals from Force Majeure

Spain’s Greatest Whites?
The Compelling Single Vineyard Bottlings of Vina Mein


Please Note:

Vinopolis will be closed on New Year’s Day

but will be open normal hours (10-6) on New Year’s Eve and January 2nd

Our Online Store is always open!


Peak Pommard

New Arrivals from Domaine de Courcel

“one of Pommard’s grandest domaines” – Jasper Morris, MW 
The Domaine de Courcel traces its lineage back 400 years, but don’t let it distract you from the fact that they’re making some of the finest wines in Pommard.  These are thrilling, traditionally-made bottles from some of the best parcels in the Cote de Beaune and their top two wines (which we just received and are offering today) are Grand Cru in everything but name.  In that sense, they remain underpriced, and outperform GC bottlings on a regular basis.

Their 2016’s are a marked success and the top two wines, from the monopole Grand Clos des Epenots (in Pommard Epenots) and Rugiens (from the top-tier Rugiens-Bas section of the vineyard) are perpetually some of the best wines made in Pommard.  These have all the trademark power you associate with Pommard allied to a delicacy and elegance that only the finest producers can capture.  Unfortunately, we were only able to secure a case of each wine this release (due to frosts, etc yields were much lower in ’16 than usual) so these wines are first come/served to a good home.

In Stock Now:

Just twelve bottles available
Domaine de Courcel Grand Clos des Epenots, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML($199.95) $159 special
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92-94 points
“Bright ruby-red. Deep, ripe aromas of black cherry and chocolatey oak, plus a high-toned whiff of sherry. Then large-scaled and aromatic in the mouth, conveying stronger terroir personality than the foregoing wines. Complex and fine-grained, with a positive trace of bracing bitterness. Chewy, chocolatey, well-integrated tannins take over the entire mouth on the back end. This nuanced, fine-grained wine finishes with a trace of dried herbs and has the structure to age. The yield here was just eight hectoliters per hectare, according to estate manager Yves Confuron.”
Burghound 91-94 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. This is the first wine to display any reduction along with a bit more wood influence. Otherwise the refined yet overtly powerful flavors once again possess so much dry extract that they come across as velvety and forward just until the almost painfully intense finish where the character changes to a youthfully austere, dusty and very serious finale. Like all of the wines in the range, this is a big 2016 with plenty of muscle and excellent aging potential.”

Just twelve bottles available
Domaine de Courcel Les Rugiens, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($219.95) $199 special
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-95 points
“(also made from a tiny crop): Bright medium ruby. Vibrant nose combines blackberry, boysenberry, kirsch, violet, minerals and chocolate. Dense, fine-grained and light on its feet, offering uncanny intensity and penetration to its juicy dark berry and mineral flavors. This graceful, vibrant Rugiens finishes with substantial broad, dusty tannins, harmonious acidity and slow-building length. A real live wire, particularly for a wine made from grapes picked in October.”


Trending Champagne to Drink Right Now

Classy, elegant and nuanced, it’s very, very serious Champagne for the price (and potentially our best value).
R.H. Coutier Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“Coutier’s NV Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is bright, focused and nuanced, not to mention incredibly delicious. The energy of Chardonnay and structure of Ambonnay yield a Champagne that is singular, classy and bursting at the seams with character. This release is based on 2016, with 40% reserve wines. I would give it another 6-12 months in bottle, although, truthfully, it is pretty hard to resist now. Dosage: 6.5 gr/L. Disgorged: July, 2019.”

A racier, leaner version of the Grande Reserve, this excels as a complement to meals.
Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 750ML ($419.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)

Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special
Andre Clouet Silver Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature, Champagne NV 3L ($349.95) $289 special

John Gilman 90 points “I believe that this bottle of André Clouet “Silver” Blanc de Noirs non-vintage Brut Nature is from the base year of 2013, as it has a small code printed on the back of the neck label that says “LS13”. In any case, the wine is quite good, showing that lovely structural rounding from a bit of additional aging in the cellars. The bouquet offers up scents of apple, nectarine, bread dough, a good base of soil and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and nicely balanced, with refined mousse, bright, nicely-integrated acids and a long, complex finish. This is a quite good bottle of Brut Nature. 2019-2030+.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $47

Krug made one of the finest wines of ’04—their best vintage since the legendary ’96.
Krug Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $233 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”
John Gilman 97 points “The new release of 2004 Krug is absolutely beautiful and is already quite elegant and open on both the nose and palate and is drinking with great finesse. I had expected this wine to be a bit more steely in structure out of the blocks, but the refinement of the blend this year has produced a wine that is already a joy to drink at age thirteen, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come. The cépages in 2004 is thirty-nine percent Chardonnay, thirty-seven percent Pinot Noir and twenty-four percent Pinot Meunier, with the wine having been disgorged in the winter of 2016. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a refined mix of apple, a touch of walnut, warm bread, lavender, a superb base of soil tones and a topnote of smokiness. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with vibrant acids, great focus and grip, a lovely core, refined mousse and a very long, complex, racy and energetic finish. There is marvelous precision here on both the nose and palate, not to mention a sense of harmony and grace that is fairly rare in the 2004 vintage. Chapeau! 2017-2060.”
James Suckling 97 points “This is an extremely fresh edition and remains in a restrained mode with an intense serve of Chardonnay’s lemon citrus dominating the nose alongside lime zest, bright florals, grassy elements, fresh dough, white stones and very subtle background spice. The palate has a svelte and elegant shape. Smoother than the 2002, it shares the same quality of precision but not the raging power of that vintage. The poise is unquestionable, the wine very reserved, with plenty of lemon-infused citrus flavors, hints of fresh cashew and a lot of potential. Acidity holds superbly, the dosage is exactly where it should be. This is a classic release. It’s all about Chardonnay. Best from 2022 and will mature gracefully in linear style in bottle for several decades.”

“one of the most complete, most dazzling Champagnes I have ever tasted. A stunning wine from any and all perspectives, the 2008 simply has it all” – Antonio Galloni
From the 2008 vintage, Galloni only rated Salon and Cristal Rosé higher.

Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML ($339.95) $249 special
Case-6 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut Millesime, Champagne 2008 750ML (1999.95) $1,439 special (that’s only $239.83/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 99 points
“The 2008 Cristal is one of the most complete, most dazzling Champagnes I have ever tasted. A stunning wine from any and all perspectives, the 2008 simply has it all. Spherical in construction, with superb persistence. The 2008 takes hold of all the senses and never gives up. One of the many things that makes the 2008 special is a combination of ripe fruit and bright, piercing acidity. Marzipan, lemon confit, dried flowers and orchard fruit all build into the explosive, resonant finish. “We learned from the mistakes of 1996, when we picked more on acid than ripeness, as was the norm in Champagne back then” Chef de Caves Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon told me recently. “In 1996, the best fruit turned out to be the last picks, where the fruit was physiologically ripe. Today, we aim to pick all our fruit with that criteria.””
Wine Enthusiast 100 points “Top Cellar Selection. This latest incarnation of the famous brand is a superb wine. It is on par with, maybe even better than, the already legendary 2002. Its balance is impeccable: Apple and citrus flavors working with the tight minerality to give a textured yet fruity wine. Produced from Roederer’s own vineyards which are mainly biodynamic, the wine has its own intense purity and crispness. It has amazing potential and is likely to age for many years. Drink from 2020.”
James Suckling 100 points “Disgorged October 2016 and will be the first Cristal to be released ten years from harvest when it is offered in 2018. 35 parcels used from a possible 45 in this vintage. The assemblage is 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. This is so fresh and tense and mineral with extremely exuberant chardonnay notes on the nose of white peach, lemon and yellow grapefruit, and hints of almost brambly sous bois aromas. The yeast characters are also super fresh, and there are subtle woody notes, with a hint of vanilla bean and light spices. The palate is super long, and very pure, powerful and focused. It drives deep and taut. Pinot noir is a strong core and the chardonnay sits at the edge offering lemon and white nectarine sorbet flavors. Staggeringly concentrated, yet the balance makes it seem airy and light. Acidity is perfectly positioned, and the power is intense and long. This is an ultra precise Cristal, finishing with a mere suggestion of savoriness and warmth to come. Impressive on release, this will be at its best drinking from 2025.”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The 2008 Cristal is a perfect wine, and Champagne simple does not get any better. This incredible wine offers a beautiful perfume of clean, crisp fruits, layers of complexity in its toasted spice and white flowers, and an utterly seamless, yet powerful style on the palate. This is a rich, decadent expression of Cristal yet it’s still crystalline and elegant, with no sensation of weight, and it just glides over the palate. Haut Couture at its finest and this majestic, profound, legendary Cristal can be drunk anytime over the coming 2-3 decades.”

#5 Wine of the Year – Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2018
Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($219.95) $169 special
Case-6 Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2008 750ML ($1199.95) $899 special (that’s only $149.83/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 98+ points
“The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous, but quite remarkably, it was even more open when I tasted it a year ago. Bright, focused and crystalline in its precision, the 2008 is going to need a number of years before it is at its best. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the 2008 its chiseled, bright profile. Several recent bottles have all been magnificent. What I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions.”
John Gilman 98 points “The 2008 vintage of Dom Pérignon is an absolute classic in the making and this is destined to be one of the great recent years for this iconic cuvée. It is far more classically structured out of the blocks than the relatively generous 2009 version, offering up a deep, complex and very youthful bouquet of menthol, green apple, a touch of tangerine, a very complex base of minerality and notes of dried flowers in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock solid at the core, with precise mousse, brisk acids and stunning length and grip on the primary and laser-like finish. This will demand some cellaring to start to really stir and should prove to be an extremely long-lived vintage of DP. Stellar juice.”
James Suckling 98 points “The best Dom since 2002. A vintage with very restrained, powerful style that has been released non-sequentially after the 2009. This has a lighter stamp of highly curated, autolytic, toasty aromas than many recent releases. Instead, this delivers super fresh and intense aromas of lemons, grapefruit and blood-orange peel. Incredible freshness here. The palate has a very smoothly delivered, berry-pastry thread with light, sweet spices, stone fruit and fine citrus fruit. This really delivers. Drink now or hold.”
Decanter 96 points “Departing chef de caves Richard Geoffroy says that 2008 is his best DP vintage since 1990. The first half of the growing season was dull and sunless, but good weather returned in mid-September and led to one of the longest harvests, running into October. The summer provided ideal conditions for a classic, cool, maritime vintage of exceptional, subtle aromas with minerality and freshness. This has a vibrant but controlled acidity, and is above all a memorable symbiosis of mature fruit and salinity derived from top terroirs. The poised mouthfeel makes this a perfect gastronomic wine, strong enough for spicy Asian cuisine from the Pacific rim, but still compatible with classics such as roast turbot and lobster.””
Wine Spectator 96 points “There’s power to this graceful Champagne, with the vivid acidity swathed in a fine, creamy mousse and flavors of toasted brioche, kumquat, pastry cream, candied ginger and poached plum that dance across the palate. An underpinning of smoky mineral gains momentum on the lasting finish. Drink now through 2033.”

Our go-to Champagne for any occasion (or none at all).  Delicious by itself or with food.
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($419.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle—the lowest listed price in the USA today!)

Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($99.95) $89 special
Andre Clouet Grande Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 3L ($319.95) $279 special

William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points “The latest release of André Clouet’s NV Brut Grand Réserve Grand Cru is showing well, exhibiting a nicely integrated bouquet of red apple, ripe citrus fruit, honeycomb and blanched almonds, followed by a medium to full-bodied, enveloping palate with a fine mousse, ripe but racy acids and an elegant, understated profile, concluding with a well-defined finish. This is a stylish, harmonious wine that makes for a fine introduction to the Clouet portfolio.” [Reviewed April 2019]

The average listed price is $43
Looking for toasty, brioche-y character? This has it in spades.
Charles Heidsieck Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special
William Kelley – Wine Advocate 92 points
“($69) Based on the 2010 vintage and disgorged in 2018 with 11 grams per liter dosage, the latest release of the NV Brut Réserve incorporates fully 40% of reserve wines that average ten years of age. It’s an excellent Champagne, wafting from the glass with a complex bouquet of brioche, waxy lemon rind, mandarin and dried white flowers. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, rich but precise, with a brisk mousse, a generous core of fruit and a precise, elegantly chalky finish. This cuvée just goes from strength to strength, and for now, it remains a great value, considering its depth and complexity.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $59

Clouet’s rosé normally disappears very quickly, so we stocked up this year.
Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Case-12 Andre Clouet Grand Cru Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($499.95) $444 special (that’s only $37/bottle!)
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90 points
” The latest release of Clouet’s deeply colored NV Brut Rosé No 3 Grand Cru is showing well, opening in the glass with notes of blood orange, red berries, ripe apples and oatmeal. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, broad and vinous, with ripe acids, a frothy mousse and a moderately intense finish. This is an attractive, gastronomic rosé that hails exclusively from Bouzy.” [Reviewed April 2019]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $52
Looking for more Champagne?
Check out all our options in the web store!


Stock Up on the Best of Tuscany

We love the great wines of Tuscany—there’s something about the heart of Italy that’s utterly captivating.  From great Brunello Riserva’s like the epic ’12 Sasseti to wines like Casanova di Neri’s Tenuta Nuova (a shooting star in ’13) and more, we’ve got you covered.  We’ve got 133 wines from Tuscany in stock or available for pre-arrival purchase and you can see them all in our webstore.

In Stock Now:

A benchmark wine in a top vintage—this is a Brunello others are compared against.
Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 750ML ($134.95) $99 special
#87 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
James Suckling 98 points
“A vivid and bright red with intense blueberries and raspberries. Floral undertones and tons of citrus, too! Full-bodied, dense and layered. Polished tannins and fantastic fruit. The muscularity of the structure is what gives this wine focus and intensity. So serious for the vintage. Give it time to show its greatness. Drink in 2022.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 95+ points “Bright deep red. The youthfully reticent nose hints at flinty red cherry, blueberry, graphite, cedar and pepper. Then flavors similar to the aromas, and a tight acid spine and serious but polished tannins nicely extending and framing the brooding fruit notes and peppery flintiness on the long, deep, complex finish. A truly outstanding Tenuta Nuova Brunello that seems less fruit-forward and more shut down than usual but holds exciting promise. Interestingly, some of this wine’s elements, such as its flinty nuances, reminded me of Casanova di Neri’s Cerretalto Brunello (made with grapes grown at the opposite end of the Montalcino territory). I guess my palate needs to take a vacation. This knockout wine will age splendidly and will likely merit an even higher score in eight to ten years’ time.”

A stunning ’12 Riserva that’s a great wine for tonight’s table.
Il Poggione Vigna Paganelli, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012 750ML ($129.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“Here’s a beautifully rich and succulent Brunello that drinks very nicely straight out of the gate. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Vigna Paganelli delivers a warm, inviting and velvety presentation. This bold wine is redolent of black cherry and dried blackberry with sweet almond, toasted spice and balsam herb on the long finish. What stands out most, however, is the wine’s rich texture that floods the mouth from front to back. That richness is fueled by the warmth of the vintage but also by the magnificent oak integration. This Riserva is aged in botti grandi for four long years. Bottle production is 45,000 strong.-ML”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Big, but polished, this full-bodied wine offers subtle, alluring aromas of baked plum, fragrant blue flower and pipe tobacco. The succulent, chewy palate brings juicy Morello cherry, raspberry jam and licorice tones framed in firm, velvety tannins. Drink 2020–2030.-Kerin O’Keefe”
James Suckling 97 points “Rather sweet due to the super ripe vintage. But there’s also great subtlety, enormous depth and a ton of tannin behind the opulence. The super long finish is incredibly focused. Try to wait until at least 2020. This stunning Brunello has decades of life ahead of it.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $91.67
The average listed price is $111

The 2012 Riservas are impressively built bottlings and the Sassetti approach pays off here.
Sassetti Livio Pertimali Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 96 points “Firm and dense, this red sports cherry, leather, cigar box and sweet spice flavors. A juiciness midpalate adds depth. Finishes with tannins and a combination of earth, mineral and tobacco notes. Best from 2022 through 2038.”

This 100% Sanviovese is a “Super Tuscan” in its name but a classic in its game.
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Isole e Olena Cepparello Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 1.5L ($219.95) $199 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2016 Cepparello is dense, dark and also very closed in on itself. Those qualities bode well for the future, but readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is going to need at least a few years to come into its own. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and new leather gradually open up in the glass, but the 2016 is not ready to show all of its cards. This fruit was brought in during the second week of October, which is pretty much optimal at Isole e Olena. The 2016 spent 20 months in French oak, with a bit less than 30% new oak, and a few months in cask prior to bottling. An explosion of floral and spice notes punctuates the super-refined finish. The 2016 is shaping up to be epic. Don’t miss it!”

This 100% Cabernet is a knockout. Tuscan terroir as expressed through Cab
Isole e Olena Collezione Privata Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of elegance and finesse that shows the effects of rain during harvest in its decidedly mid-weight, lithe construction. Even so, the 2015 offers lovely aromatic presence and persistence. Grilled herbs, crème de cassis, licorice, violet, plum, spice and licorice all develop, but the 2015 remains decidedly delicate for this bottling. My impression is that it will age more on its freshness rather than on its concentration.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $78
Always one of the best wines in the appellation, this is one of the best vintages in Brunello.
Altesino Montosoli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($119.95) $95 special
Wine Enthusiast 99 points
“Enticing aromas of ripe berry, chopped herb, new leather, tobacco and a whiff of eucalyptus all mingle together on this gorgeous, vibrant red. The stunning, savory palate boasts juicy red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and star anise while firm refined tannins and vibrant acidity lend structure and balance. It’s already extraordinary and elegant but also young and primary, so give it time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2043.”
James Suckling 98 points “Fantastic aromas of blueberries, plums, bark and wet earth follow through to a full body, velvety and polished tannins and a wonderful finish. Refined and persistent on the finish. Drink in 2019 and onwards.”
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 97 points “Good full pale ruby-red. Knockout aromas and flavors of red cherry, raspberry, licorice and minerals, complicated by hints of iris and violet. Extremely suave and polished on the extremely long, pure, mineral finish. Deeper, richer, more tannic and longer than the lovely 2013 Brunello Classico from Altesino, this is an absolutely beautiful Brunello. I especially like that the pristine, refined aromas and flavors of the famed Montosoli site are showcased to maximum effect here. One of the best Brunellos of the vintage.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “Balsamic notes of juniper, sage and eucalyptus are buried underneath the cherry and plum fruit in this expressive, supple red, which is dense and well-structured, with terrific balance and a long iron and saline aftertaste. Just a tad richer and broader than the blended Brunello. Best from 2021 through 2038.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $104
Biondi-Santi is the godfather of Brunello.  Highly collectible, scarce and sought after, this is a treasure.
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”

A Petrus-challenging Merlot from a classic Tuscan estate.
Tua Rita Redigaffi Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($299.95) $229 special
James Suckling 100 points
“This is an extraordinary merlot with such purity and focus. Flowers such as violets and hints of orange peel. It is full-bodied yet incredibly energetic and structured. The finish goes on for minutes. Seamless texture. Fresh yet dense. Contrasty. Best Redigaffi ever. Hard not to drink now but a wine for decades.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Lush and polished, featuring a cashmere texture caressing vanilla, chocolate, black cherry and plum flavors. Well-balanced, with a persistent finish. The harmony hides a solid structure. Decant now. Merlot. Best from 2020 through 2032.”

Again, the 2012 Riservas deliver in a big, big way. Fortuna’s is powerful and bold.
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 1.5L ($259.95) $219 special
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 3L ($619.95) $428 special
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($699.95) $564 special (that’s only $94/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 97 points
“Perfumed, with wild herb aromas and a subtle mix of strawberry and cherry fruit. Vibrant and dense, with fine acidity driving the long finish. Though elegant, there is intensity and fine energy on the aftertaste. Best from 2022 through 2028.”


New Wines from Force Majeure

Force Majeure is a Washington state insider’s wine.  The name doesn’t come up as often as a winery like Cayuse, but these estate grown gems are typically completely sold out to a rabid mailing list.  It’s a tough winery to source—and for good reason. These are big, bold, dense wines with an elegance that keeps them in beautiful balance.  Winemaker Todd Alexander made his name at Bryant Family in Napa before being enticed to Washington and he’s making those epic cult wines for Force Majeure as well.

What really sets Force Majeure apart from many other top Washington producers, though, is their site.  It’s relatively rare to have an estate vineyard in Washington (like in Napa, many producers buy grapes from a variety of sites).  To have an estate in the tiny Red Mountain AVA of this quality, though, is a truly special thing—a secret weapon in creating some of the finest wines in the state.  We just brought in some new releases from the excellent ’16 and ’17 vintages and are excited to offer them to you today.

New Arrivals, In Stock Now:

Parabellum Coulee, Red Mountain 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Washington Wine Blog 93 points
” “The 2017 ‘Coulée’ Red Wine is a fantastic blend of 86% Syrah with the remainder Mourvèdre that was all sourced from the esteemed Force Majeure Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA. Tobacco leaf and smoky undertones collide with suggestions of green peppercorns and smoked black olives that all take shape together in the glass. The soft texture entices as the black and blue fruits mingle with minerals, black tea and chocolate covered brandy soaked kirsch flavors. This is seriously good by superstar winemaker Todd Alexander.”

Only ten bottles available

Force Majeure Estate Cabernet, Red Mountain 2016 750ML ($179.95) $119 special
Jeb Dunnuck 99 points
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Estate is a thrilling effort from winemaker Todd Alexander that rates with some of the most monumental wines to come out of Washington State. Based on 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from their estate vineyard on Red Mountain, brought up in mostly new barrels, it reveals a saturated purple color that’s followed by a rich, primordial bouquet of crème de cassis, espresso roast, crushed rock, and graphite. It needs considerable air to start to show its potential yet is a full-bodied, powerful wine that has subtle oak, plenty of sweet tannins, and a huge, layered finish that won’t quit. It’s the tannin management that’s truly spectacular. This brilliant wine needs to be forgotten for 4-5 years and will keep for 2-3 decades.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Also Available, In Stock Now:

Only six bottles available
Force Majeure Estate Syrah, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Wine Advocate 93-96 points
“It’s going to be interesting to see if the 2015 Estate Syrah matches the 2014, and they both showed similar from barrel. The 2015 is a big, full-bodied Syrah that has tons of chalky minerality in its classic Syrah notes of blackberries, licorice and smoked meats. With good acidity, fine tannin and terrific elegance and purity, it will keep for 15+ years. Led by winemaker Todd Alexander, Force Majeure has now officially moved away from their Collaboration Series releases and is focusing exclusively on their estate vineyards on Red Mountain. The lineup is stacked with incredible wines, and I expect the quality to only go up from here as their vineyards age and they fine-tune the winemaking. The 2015s were structured and tannic, and while they’ll certainly be more polished from bottle, I suspect short term cellaring will be your friend. These are great wines, and even at their prices, these represent killer values.”

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Only six bottles available
Force Majeure Epinette, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“A Pomerol look-alike, the 2015 Epinette is mostly Merlot, yet includes 30% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet [Sauvignon] and 4% Petit Verdot. It’s another rich, mouthfilling effort and offers lots of darker, plummy fruits, chocolate, and scorched earth aromas and flavors. With building tannin and serious structure, it isn’t for those looking for instant gratification and is going to need a solid 3-5 years of bottle age.”

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Only eight bottles available
Parabellum Rhone Red Blend, Red Mountain 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Checking in as a blend of 61% Syrah and 39% Mourvedre, the 2014 Rhone Parabellum sports a vibrant purple, semi-opaque color to go with fabulous notes of black raspberries, cassis, cedary spice and hints of pepper. This is a rich, elegant, incredibly polished red that has terrific purity, ripe, sweet tannin, a graceful personality and a great finish. It’s an entry-level wine that surpasses most estates’ top cuvees.”

Force Majeure Parvata, Red Mountain 2015 750ML ($89.95) $75 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“Moving to the reds, the Mourvèdre-dominated 2015 Parvata GSM is a smoking effort loaded with deep, rich aromas and flavors of blackberries, currants, cured meats, and a hint of chocolate. It’s full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and perfectly balanced, and is a sensational wine.”
James Suckling 94 points “A fascinating nose of earth, brambles, forest floor, blackberries, herbs, black pepper, some animal and freshly cut herbs and tobacco. Full-bodied with firm, sturdy tannins, a wealth of bark and dark fruit, a lot of power, fresh acidity and an underbrush finish. Washington’s answer to the Southern Rhone! GSM blend. Drink in 2020.”

Only nine bottles available
Force Majeure Parvata, Red Mountain 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
“There are only 325 cases of the 2016 Parvata, a blend of 69% Mourvèdre, 21% Syrah, and 10% Grenache brought up in 30% new, mostly larger barrels. Deep ruby-colored, with a beautiful bouquet of black raspberries, white pepper, spiced meats, and graphite, this hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and beautiful length.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “With a brooding yet polished demeanor, this red builds richness as it goes, offering blackberry, cured meat, loamy mineral and pepper flavors that end with big yet refined tannins. Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache. Best from 2020 through 2026. 450 cases made.”

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Spain’s Greatest Whites?

The Compelling Single Vineyard Bottlings of Vina Mein

Coastal, northwestern Spain is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world.  After decades operating in obscurity, the wine world is starting to discover the maritime climate, amazing terroirs and unique grapes of Galicia.  As the world has noticed, money and technical ability have flowed in, creating the perfect environment for stunning, cool climate wines.  These are wines that can challenge the finest of Chablis for complexity, personality and age-worthiness at prices that, while expensive for Spanish white wine, are bargains for the quality of the bottles in question.

A top case in point is the wines of Vina Mein, in Ribeiro.  Just inland from the more famous Rias Baixas, the main grape at Vina Mein is Treixadura, which combines the saline notes you often get in Albarino with more texture and golden stone fruit flavors.  These are electric wines which have the intensity and complexity that you expect out of Great Wine, in a distinctly coastal Spanish idiom.  The wines we’re highlighting were made by the talented team at Comando G, who convinced owner Javier Alen to separate out different sites and expand the different vessels used for elevage.

While it’s easy and tempting to compare these wines to something like Burgundy (specifically Grand Cru Chablis), we’d like to note that these are very much their own genres—it’s just that these specific examples are more or less without peer in Spain.  If ever we needed proof that the expansion of the wine world has been a good thing, these are some of the first wines we’d point towards.  We have three wines from Vina Mein, the two single vineyards as well as the entry level bottling, all good. There’s a noticeable step up in class and texture between the two levels of wines, but both are stellar and worth paying attention to.

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Vina Mein ‘Tega Do Sal’, Ribeiro 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“The single-vineyard 2016 Tega do Sal is 90% Treixadura and 10% Albariño from the Vilerma zone, from 25-year-old plants on granite soils that have more clay and some laminar, schist-like texture, soils that give a little more volume. There’s also a high percentage of Treixadura and an east-facing exposition that provides good ripeness. They try to tame that natural power, as they are looking for tension in a place that would naturally deliver more volume, so they decided to ferment the Treixadura in stainless steel. It has great finesse and elegance; it’s floral and has a fresh palate with very good acidity. 2,745 bottles produced.”

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Vina Mein ‘Eiras Altas’, Ribeiro 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The lemony and citrusy 2016 Eiras Altas comes from the vineyard that surrounds the winery, a place that was mentioned in old books linked to the San Clodio Monastery, where the Ribeiro wine was born. They used a blend of 70% Treixadura, 20% Loureiro and 10% Albariño from three hectares planted in 1987 on soils of white granite sand. The full clusters were pressed and the juice fermented in oak foudre, stainless steel and egg-shaped concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and then matured in those vessels for ten months with lees but without bâtonnage. This has great freshness and purity, great tension and length, it feels very young and undeveloped. There are some balsamic notes, possibly from the Loureiro, which they try not to pick early. It has tingling acidity that gives an electric sensation. This should develop nicely in bottle, and even if it’s drinkable now, I’d wait a little more before pulling the cork. 5,544 bottles were filled in September 2017.”

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Vina Mein Blanco, Ribeiro 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer Note
“Made from a blend of mostly Treixadura (70%) with a blend of Godello, Albariño, Loureira, Torrontés and Lado. This wine is fermented in stainless steel with extended aging on the lees.”

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