VinopolPick 05-27-2022

Friday Newsletter

In This Newsletter:

New Arrivals

Cantina Lonardo:
New Vintage incoming from Captain of Campania

Cult Wine Release:
Treasures from the Collector’s Vault

Collector’s Corner 
Pommery: The “other” Madame 


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New Arrivals

Rose – 

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Rose Rhone 2021 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note
 “From the lieu dit “La Moutte” this tiny production rosé is from mostly 45 year old Cinsault planted in 1970, and 10-15 year old Mourvèdre and Syrah. Cold maceration for 6 hours in the press and slow pneumatic pressing. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks with occasional lees stirring. 70% Cinsault, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre. Soil: Red sandy clay soil with broken round stones (cailloux). Organic.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy Sancerre Terre de Maimbray Rose Loire 2021 750ML ($31.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Importer note
 “100% Pinot Noir. The soil here is almost pure Terres Blanches – fossilized Marne/Kimmeridigian limestone and clay. The yields are low, about 50 Hl/Ha, with excellent natural ripeness and concentration of mineral character.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Italy- Alto Adige 

Cantina Terlano-Kellerei Terlan ‘Cuvee Terlaner’ Alto Adige Trentino-Alto Adige 2020 750ML ($29.95) $25.50 special, 6 bottles in stock now

Cantina Terlano-Kellerei Terlan Classico Muller Thurgau Alto Adige Trentino-Alto Adige 2019 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 6 bottles in stock now

Cantina Terlano-Kellerei Terlan Tradition Pinot Bianco Alto Adige Trentino-Alto Adige 2020 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points
 “This is lovely in its streamlined purity and simplicity. The entry-level 2020 Alto Adige Pinot Bianco Tradition is redolent of citrus, crushed stone and tangy grapefruit. Fresh and lively, this Pinot Bianco shows lots of life and energy. It’s very pretty. Drink it young with a buttery linguine and shrimp scampi.”
James Suckling 92 points “A very striking pinot bianco that combines concentration and elegance with stony minerality. Hints of exotic fruit, flowers and spices make this a fascinating expression of this still underrated grape. Drink or hold.”

Cantina Terlano-Kellerei Terlan ‘Vorberg’ Riserva Pinot Bianco Alto Adige Trentino-Alto Adige 2019 750ML ($59.95) $41.90 special, 6 bottles in stock now
No reviews for the 2019 vintage. 2018 vintage provided for reference.
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points
 “If I were stranded on a deserted island with just one bottle of wine of my choosing, it very well might be Cantina Terlano’s Vorberg. The 2018 Alto Adige Terlano Pinot Bianco Riserva Vorberg is a case study in creaminess and texture, although the bouquet holds back just a tad, with a bit of stone fruit. That subtle shyness is a known characteristic of the grape. The wine is as steady and clear-minded as one of those high-wire daredevils, navigating a tightrope between two Dolomite mountain peaks. This expression is salty and firm and with so much energy, and yet it is also relaxed with a touch of softness to the finish. Thankfully, an ample 55,000 bottles were made.”

Cantina Terlano-Kellerei Terlan Tradition Pinot Grigio Alto Adige Trentino-Alto Adige 2020 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 93 points 
“This is such a sophisticated and subtle pinot grigio that lies well outside the mainstream for this popular grape, the melon, peach and wild-herb aromas filling out the medium-bodied palate neatly, the long, supple finish tingling with mineral freshness. Drink or hold.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2020 Alto Adige Pinot Grigio Tradition is luminous and bright with finely tuned aromatic intensity. The bouquet reveals citrus, white peach and crisp apple. This is a zesty and crisp white to pair with specialty finger foods or vegetable tempura. I just love this freshness and the tonic, energetic quality displayed in this well-priced production.”

Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Vieilles Vignes Rhone 2019 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 97 points
 “The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Vieilles Vignes (90% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre) comes all from the stony, pebbly soils of La Crau and was brought up in tank and demi-muids. Ripe black cherry fruits, iodine, ground pepper, and bloody, meaty nuances all emerge on the nose, and it’s full-bodied, with a seamless, multi-dimensional texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a rock star of a finish. It’s just a brilliant, elegant, pure, lengthy wine that does everything right. Drink this classic, traditional, structured wine over the coming two decades.”
Decanter 96 points “Touch of liquorice behind the damson and plum fruit. This has searing intensity, very high acidity with fine tannins and a good internal framework. The alcohol is high, but the other elements are even more prominent. Very long. 3,900 bottles made. 120-year-old vines planted on north-facing clay and sand lieux-dits of Charbonnières and Esquières. Fermented in concrete, aged in foudre. Drinking Window 2027 – 2045.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Cuvee Mourre des Perdrix’ Rhone 2019 750ML ($54.95) $47.50 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
 “The 2019 Châteauneuf Du Pape Cuvée Mourre Des Perdrix comes from sandier soils around the estate and is a blend of mostly Grenache, along with 15% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, and a splash of Cinsault. Its ruby/plum hue is followed by a soft, supple, seamless 2019 (this  uvee is always the most elegant in the lineup) with lots of kirsch and toasted spice aromas and flavors, medium to full-bodied richness, silky, polished tannins, and a great finish. It’s another incredibly seamless wine from this team that can be drunk today or cellared for 15 years or more.”
Decanter 93 points “Restrained nose of bramble and plums, with sweet spices undertones and savoury hints. Rich concentration, ripe with a crunchy acidity and firm tannins. Drinking Window 2023 – 2044.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Italy – Tuscany 

Argiano NC Non Confunditur Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Case-12 Argiano NC Non Confunditur Toscana IGT Tuscany 2018 750ML ($299.95) $199 special, (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points
 “The ripe berries with delicate chocolate and hazelnut undertones are very attractive, as are the dusty tannins and herbal, berry and light tobacco undertones at the finish. Just a little more time will make it all the better. Try after 2021.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “A bit reserved, with ample black cherry, black currant and spice flavors set within a solid structure. Fresh and focused, it lingers, echoing the fruit and adding an iron note. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese. Drink now through 2032. 12,500 cases made, 12,500 cases imported. — BS”

California – 

Calera Central Coast Chardonnay California 2018 750ML ($29.95) $19 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
 “Aromas of baked peach, nectarine and butternut squash in lemon-butter sauce make for a warm and approachable nose in this bottling. There’s a firm, lemony grip when the wine hits the palate, and then it broadens to pome fruit, with zesty citrus flavors popping into the finish. -Matt Kettmann”

Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 12 bottles in stock now

Cantina Lonardo:

New Vintage incoming from Captain of Campania

Aglianico, also known as “The Nebbiolo of the south” has largely flown under the radar since its heyday in the Ancient Era. Thought to have been imported by Greek visitors to Campania, the Roman Empire used Aglianico to create an exclusive wine consumed by Rome’s elite. This particular wine called Falernum was mentioned by Pliny, Aurelius and Horace in literature and can even be seen advertised in the ruins of Pompeii’s bars. 

Fast forward a few thousand years and we have Contrade di Lonardo, one of the best kept secrets of Campanian wine, known for their commitments to traditional varieties and farming practices. Lonardo’s Taurasi is made from 35-81 year old Aglianico planted at 1300 feet above sea level, grown organically in a tall pergola in ancient volcanic ash with a base of limestone and clay. Even with these rigorous growing standards, Lonardo will only keep around 50% of his Aglianico for use in Taurasi. The very best lots are kept separate and released as single vineyard bottlings.

This commitment is evident in the finished product, featuring aromatics of violets, pipe tobacco, cedar and Bing cherries that command your full attention. There’s a characteristic “Italian Rusticity” to the wine that is evocative of new leather and antique wood, not unlike a high end cologne. These are wines made for anything roasted, braised or red sauce based. Peking duck, Grilled Cabbage, Lasagna or bbq pork ribs would all perform incredibly with this wine. Get at least two of these wines, one for short term consumption and the other for longer aging.

Cantina Lonardo wines arriving this fall: 

Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Taurasi DOCG Campania 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 pre-arrival special 

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Contrade di Taurasi Cantine Lonardo Taurasi Riserva DOCG Campania 2011 750ML ($134.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Eric Guido-Vinous 96 points
 “The 2011 Taurasi Riserva pulls you close and holds your attention firm with its deeply alluring bouquet of crushed black cherries, plum sauce, autumnal spices, woodland herbs and hints of animal musk. This fills the palate with rich, pliant textures and ripe red and blue berries, as nervous acidity maintains wonderful freshness, and sweet notes of cinnamon, clove and tobacco form toward the close. There’s plenty of tannic grip here, yet it’s balanced by the 2011’s mix of opulent, concentrated fruit and contrasting sour citrus tones that resonate for what feels like a full minute. Even as you contemplate the experience, minerals, hints of iodine and rosy inner florals can still be sensed upon the palate. Make no mistake, this is a full-throttle expression of Taurasi, but it will win the hearts of collectors who enjoy a bigger and old-school style.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

We carry a number of other bottlings from Cantina Lonardo as well, including single vineyard bottlings! 

Cult Wine Release:

Treasures from the Collector’s Vault

We’ve compiled a list of some our most collectible wines currently on the shelf, with the majority of them being newly restocked. Thanks to our decades in business we’ve been able to secure allocations with a number of the best wines in the world, at a competitive price. 

Collectors Vault wines in stock now: 

Bodegas Vinicola Real 200 Monges Reserva Seleccion Especial Rioja DOCa 2004 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Jay Miller-Wine Advocate 97 points 
“Even better is the extraordinary 2004 200 Monges Reserva Especial, a cuvee of 100% Tempranillo, that was aged for 18 months in new French oak and held for 20 months in bottle prior to release. Deep purple in color (but not as dense as the 2005), it offers up a breathtaking bouquet of exceptional complexity. Sandalwood, a hint of balsamic, exotic spices, lavender, incense, black cherry, and black raspberry aromas inform the nose of a multi-dimensional, complex, plush, layered offering with superb volume and impeccable balance. This lengthy effort is likely to drink well through its 40th birthday in the manner of great Bordeaux. Drink 2011-2044.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

One of the most allocated and in-demand producers from Washington State, Cayuse has been making waves for their bold reds for over 20 years. Representing the best in the state’s production with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and red blends these are widely considered among the best in the state’s production. 

Cayuse Vineyards Wallah Wallah Special Series Syrah Walla Walla Valley #12 2018 1.5L ($319.95) $289 special, 3 magnums in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points
 “Christophe often releases a special blend in magnum (he never says which vineyards it’s from), and the 2018 Syrah Special #12 is another gorgeous wine. Revealing a deep ruby/plum hue as well as classic Rocks notes of blue fruits, ground pepper, bacon fat, lavender, and violets, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a seamless, elegant texture, ripe yet certainly present tannins, and a great finish. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will cruise for two decades.”

Cayuse Vineyards ‘Widowmaker’ En Chamberlin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 3 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points
 “Blackcurrant, black licorice and sliced plum on the nose. Medium-to full-bodied with soft, velvety tannins. The steady balance here is great, so even-keeled and articulate. Lifted notes of black fruit and chocolate with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”

Cayuse Vineyards God Only Knows Armada Vineyard Grenache Walla Walla Valley 2018 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Case-3 Cayuse Vineyards God Only Knows Armada Vineyard Grenache Walla Walla Valley 2018 ($599.95) $479 special, (That’s $159.67 per bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points 
“Gorgeous rose petals, wildflowers, cured meats, wild strawberries, and framboise-like notes emerge from the 2018 Grenache God Only Knows, another ethereal, sensationally complex, nuanced, medium-bodied Grenache that’s as unique and singular as they come. Blossoming with time in the glass, it has ripe, present tannins, a layered, building mouthfeel, and a gorgeous, smoky, meaty finish. It needs 3-5 years in the cellar (it’s far from unapproachable today) to integrate its tannins and structure and will deliver the goods over the following 10-15 years.”
Anthony Mueller-Wine Advocate 96 points “Erupting from the glass with spiced cherry and smoked plum tones, the 2018 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard offers up notions of dusty roses, red peppercorn and dried potpourri. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is balanced with energetic acidity, a spicy, red-fruited expression and fine-grained, succulent tannins. The wine concludes with a dusty essence and a lingering flavor of red pepper skin. The wine rested for 22 months in neutral French demi-muids and foudre. It’s stunningly good, and I have no choice but to finish the glass. Just over 6,200 bottles produced.”
Grapelive 96 points “The amazing 2018 God Only Knows Grenache from Cayuse’s legendary winemaker Christophe Baron, whose roots are from the Champagne region in France, is an absolute rock star wine and one of the most unique Grenache based wines in the world. This vintage with its deep purple/garnet hue, fruit density and a raw earthy sex appeal is close to perfection, but not over worked and with loads of umami with a sultry spicy edginess. Some Grenache fans, and maybe rightly so, compare Barron’s Grenache to Chateau Rayas, standing head and shoulders above all the rest in its own style, especially as it has such depth and truly distinct singular character, unlike almost any other wine made from this varietal. This vintage has layers of black raspberry, brambly huckleberry, creme de cassis, tree picked plum, pomegranate and kirsch all accented by an array of spices, dried flowers, minty herbs, leathery notes and woodsy elements that all make this wine incredibly compelling, along with the year’s bright acidity, stony/savory expression and cool toned mineral charm. The bouquet perks up as the wine unfolds in the glass, fading the more rustic edginess and allowing the inner beauty of this taut God Only Knows Grenache to shine through its youthful intensity with peony florals, anise, cinnamon and sweet smoke coming through. Baron, who originally came to America to make Oregon Pinot but ended up turning to Rhone and Bordeaux grapes, has an amazing touch for Syrah and Grenache, as this bottling proves. He makes riveting wines that combine power, sensuality and texture, again proven majestically in this wine and of course in his epic Bionic Frog Syrah, the flagship Cailloux Vineyard Syrah and the awesome Flying Pig, which I also tasted recently, made from a right bank collection of grapes led by Cabernet Franc, think Cheval Blanc! I was lucky to taste with Christophe before he got famous and was blown away by his En Cerise Vineyard Syrah in the early 2000s, a wine I compared to Chapoutier’s Le Meal ‘Ermitage in presence. It was an experience I didn’t soon forget and his current set of wines [is] even more memorable and monumental!”

Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($179.95) $149 special, 17 bottles in stock now
Case-3 Cayuse Vineyards Impulsivo Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley 2019 ($549.95) $419 special, (That’s $139.67 per bottle)
Grapelive 96 points 
“While renowned for his Syrah and Grenache based wines, Cayuse’s Christophe Baron also does some fantastic Bordeaux blends, Cabernet Sauvignons, and this awesome Tempranillo, called the Impulsivo, which is very much in the mold of a great Ribera del Douro, with incredible fruit density and thrilling palate impact. It’s a real head turner, something you’d not want to miss…This 2019 Impulsivo has a seductive inky blue/black and garnet hue in the glass and a sultry dark and smoky nose that leads to a complex array of flavors on the concentrated full bodied pale with blackberry coulis, black cherry, plum and grilled orange fruits that are accented by graphite, cedar, sweet pipe tobacco, caramelized fennel, mineral tones and a subtle floral dimension. Think of this wine as an American Pingus! Thick and opulent for sure, but with some nice lift from natural acidity and an earthy and transparent personality, along with a young taut structure and balance that certainly gives the impression that it will age well… These new releases from Cayuse are tight and powerful wines that should be decanted and paired with hearty cuisine, but they also possess a raw beauty and finesse that truly make them so alluring, especially the God Only Knows Grenache, which has a soulful expression, reminding me of Rayas and Sadie Family, and this very sexy Tempranillo that should drink well for decades to come. Cayuse employs all organic and biodynamic farming and minimal intervention in the cellar to make wines influenced by place first and foremost, which has made them incredibly hard to get, but well worth the effort!”
James Suckling 95 points “Rounded aromas of cherries, plums, blackcurrants, nutmeg and violets. Medium-to full-bodied with supple tannins. Rich black fruit turns savory with notes of tobacco and espresso as the palate evolves. Roasted rosemary and thyme, too. Great complexity and balance. A hint of sea salt at the finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”

Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Case-3 Cayuse Vineyards Cailloux Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 ($449.95) $359 special (That’s $119.67 per bottle!) 
James Suckling 97 points
 “An expressive nose of cracked black pepper, black cherry and an array of dried herbs. Medium-to full-bodied with incredible spicy character. So much going on here. Silky, fruit-soaked tannins. The supple dark fruit is accented by peppercorn, dried ginger, bay leaf, basil and oolong. Umami. Superb. Co-fermented with 4% viognier. Drink or hold.”

Cayuse Vineyards Camaspelo Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 4 bottles in stock now

Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Case-3 Cayuse Vineyards En Chamberlin Vineyard Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2019 ($499.95) $259 special, (That’s $86.33 per bottle) 
James Suckling 96 points 
“An intriguing nose of hot stone, rosemary and sliced plum. Medium-to full-bodied with soft tannins. Excellent spiced, herbal complexity. Pure, ripe red and black fruit that’s expertly balanced and expressive. Delicious finish. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.”


Collector’s Corner:

Pommery: The “other” Madame 

You’ve heard of the Champagne widow and pioneer Madame Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (also known as Madame Clicquot), but have you heard of Madame Pommery? While you can be forgiven for not knowing her, Champagne as we know it would not exist without her contributions. In the 1870’s Champagne was one of the sweetest wines of the world for a number of reasons. The first and foremost was to balance out the otherwise searing acid that was seen in Champagnes of the period. The second was to cater to commercial preferences of the era, particularly from the Russian royal family and their contemporaries who loved exceptionally sweet wines. 

This all changed when Madame Louise Pommery commissioned her cellarmaster to make a champagne with as little added sugar as possible, creating the category we now know to be “Brut”. The debut vintage in 1874 was an overnight success in England, who had developed a preference for drier styles of wine. It was so popular in fact, that it set records in London for the highest ever paid for champagne at auction. The Brut style clearly outlived its sweeter contemporary, given the latter is rarely seen on the market anymore.

The Tête de cuvee from Pommery is named after Madame Louise and in honor of her legacy has the barest amount of sugar added. Comprised of 3 Grand Cru vineyard sources Avize, Cramant and Aÿ and aged for 11 years on its lees before disgorgement. The blend itself is predominantly Chardonnay but has 40% Pinot Noir inclusion as well. The grand cru sources for the fruit are clearly evident in the concentrated flavors, strong mineral character and high acidity with notes of toasted brioche, blackcurrant preserves, hazelnut paste, pine nuts and lemon curd. With the “Current” release being the 2004, this is a Champagne built for the long haul to say the least. We also carry a number of magnums, back vintages and the elusive Rosé bottling!

In stock and available now: 

Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime 2004 750ML ($149.95) $125 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime 2004 1.5L ($299.95) $279 special, 4 magnums in stock now 
James Suckling 95 points 
“A very fine-textured Champagne with lovely density and finesse. The bubbles roll off the palate. Full body. Extremely creamy and flavorful. Shows wonderful finesse and a lovely, chalky, lemon-curd and brioche aftertaste. Drink now.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Pommery’s prestige Champagne is named after one of the great Champagne widows of the 19th century who took over when her husband, Alexandre Pommery, died. It is a rich, mature wine, with toast and almond flavors as much as fruit. Full of mineral Chardonnay (60% of the blend), this ripe wine is very ready to drink.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Bright and minerally, featuring smoke and pastry dough notes layered with lemon curd and pureed black currant details, riding the lively bead. Offers a creamy finish, with a lightly floral overtone. Drink now through 2024. 16,666 cases made.”
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!

Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Nature 2004 750ML ($199.95) $149 special, 34 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 97 points
 “A creamy and refined 2004 with a very reserved and tight palate of ultra fine tannins that lend the wine beautiful creaminess and finesse. Subtly floral, offering lightly cooked apples and lemons. Flavorful, yet always hiding behind the fine bubbles. Drink now.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Rose Millesime 2004 750ML ($299.95) $219 special, 25 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 95 points
 “This is a new release and shows wonderful finesse and beauty. You know that the moment you see the pale-amber color. It’s medium bodied with freshness and energy and a long, vivid finish. A joy to taste. Drink now.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Pommery Grand Cru Brut Millesime 2008 750ML ($99.95) $79 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Winery note
 “It was a must for Pommery not to miss out on one of the greatest vintages of champagne. One single term to characterise 2008: unexpected! After a difficult summer, nature succeeded in aligning its stars and allowed us to have an exceptional harvest. 2008 has already conquered aficionados from all over the world, but it is a special vision of 2008 in the pure style of our Maison that we propose to you. Only originating from grands crus, with an exceptional ageing potential, slowly brought to maturity in the freshness of our 18 kilometres of galleries, it is necessary to wait to taste a Pommery vintage at its zenith: the precise moment when all the components are in harmony and when maturity, freshness and complexity come together. This moment has come for our 2008 vintage. The nose presents the patina of the Pommery vintages: elegance, minerality, freshness. First of all intense floral notes reach us: the peony floats around the hawthorn. Maturity is expressed by fruity notes of pear and fresh apricot. The great Pinot Noir present themselves with notes of crushed fresh strawberries. On the palate, the tasting is floating, with a great uprightness. A mineral structure fills the palate from the attack to the finish like a spine. Notes of acacia honey and Mirabelle underline the central element of the tasting. The finish is punctuated by a nice sweetness, marked by flavours of blood orange.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!