Vinopolpick Friday Newsletter 03-18-22

In This Newsletter:

Ulysses Mega-Drop:
Arriving April 2022

Friday Arrivals and Re-Arrivals 

MI5’s Top Agent’s favorite Tête

The Coin with two faces:
New Chateau Palmer arriving this March 

Collector’s Corner 
Get Schisty with Clos Erasmus


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Ulysses Mega-Drop:
Arriving April 2022

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield” – Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses 

You’ve heard of Dominus and their multi-award winning Cabernet, but did you know that there’s a sister label just as storied? Ulysses is another single vineyard owned by Christian Moueix located in Oakville at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Just like her sister, the Ulysses vineyard is organically farmed with no irrigation (No small feat given the rising temperatures as a result of climate change) and given as much pampering in the cellar as Dominus.

Primarily composed of Cabernet Sauvignon with a sprinkling of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the resulting wine from 2018 has been called “Dark enough to write a letter with” by some reviewers. We’ve secured an allotment of various formats, but as you can expect quantities are in short supply given the restrictive growing conditions. The vintage was described as “Picture Perfect” with no heat spikes and cooler evenings that hadn’t been seen in years. Even fire season seemed to wait until harvest was complete, making this an especially kismet vintage.   

Ulysses Wines arriving April 2022: 

Ulysses Vineyard Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special, 36 bottles arriving
Ulysses Vineyard Napa Valley 2018 375ML ($99.95) $79 pre-arrival special, 24 half bottles arriving  
Ulysses Vineyard Napa Valley 2018 1.5L ($399.95) $319 pre-arrival special, 12 magnums arriving
Ulysses Vineyard Napa Valley 2018 3L ($849.95) $699 pre-arrival special, 6 double-magnums arriving
Ulysses Vineyard Napa Valley 2018 2018 6L ($1999.95) $1599 pre-arrival special, 3 imperial bottles arriving
*Please note that the 6L offering is for in-store pickup only* 
James Suckling 98 points
“Aromas of terra cotta, chocolate and hazelnut with iron and ink. Dusty. Full-bodied and round. Layered. Flamboyant and juicy. Rather soft and gorgeous. Some walnut and chocolate at the end. persistent. Always there. Drinkable now, but will age wonderfully.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is the best wine off Christian Moueix’s Oakville ranch so far. Deep, creamy and generous, the 2018 captures the unqiue blend of fruit in a savoriness that is typical of the southern sector of Oakville where cooling winds from the south lend palpable freshness and vivacity to the vines. Black fruit, chocolate, spice, lavender and new leather are some of the many notes that build into the sumptuous finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Friday Arrivals and Re-Arrivals 

France – Champagne 

Dom Perignon Brut Champagne 2012 750ML ($299.95) $249 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Decanter 98 points
“What a magnificent bouquet for this Dom Pérignon 2012! Pastry, a hint of smoke and autolytic notes provide a compelling counterpart to eager yet elegant aromas of citrus (lime, tangerine and kumquat) joined by those of fresh fruit, herbs, liquorice, and menthol. There is even a refreshing note of ivy. The palate is tense, vibrant, and very fresh despite its impressive density, which meets its match with an unending finish. This 2012 incarnates the very essence of Dom Pérignon with such a concentrated degree of intensity, along with a capacity for ageing, that it is surely destined for a second life in a P2 edition.”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2012 Dom Pérignon is a dense, powerful wine. I am almost shocked by its vinous intensity and raw, unbridled power. The 2012 reminds me of the 2003, but with more finesse and not quite as pushed. Mildew, rain and frost were challenges and resulted in low yields, something that was further compounded by warm, dry weather that concentrated the fruit even more. Those qualities result in a dense Dom Pérignon endowed with real phenolic intensity. It is one of the most reticent young Doms I can remember tasting, I wouldn’t even think of opening a bottle for at least a few years.”
James Suckling 97 points “Wonderful elegance and balance to this Dom Pérignon with cooked apple, lemon and hints of white pepper and salt. It’s medium-bodied with really fine bubbles and balance. Spicy at the end. So wonderfully fresh, linear and long. Racy and elegant. A DP that invites to drink right now. All about finesse. Tension, too, with precise phenolics and bright acidity on the back palate. Subtle energy. Drinkable now, but will develop beautifully in the bottle.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 96+ points “The 2012 Dom Pérignon has turned out very well indeed, unwinding in the glass with notes of Anjou pear, smoke, toasted nuts, freshly baked bread and crisp stone fruit. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it’s still tightly wound, its incipiently fleshy core of fruit framed by racy acids and chalky grip, complemented by a classy pinpoint mousse. A touch drier and a touch less reductive than the 2008 out of the gates, these two vintages are clearly destined to be compared for some time to come; but at this early stage, my instinct is that the 2012 will have the edge in the long term.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “This eloquent Champagne has an enticing waft of Mandarin orange on the nose that continues on the palate, which is layered with flavors of crushed blackberry and cassis, toast, chopped almond, graphite and oyster shell. A bright, finely-knit and harmonious version, with a lovely, raw silk-like mousse, and a lasting, expressive finish. Drink now through 2037. — AN”

France – Bordeaux 

Chateau Canon Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010 750ML ($199.95) $179 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96+ points
“[Reviewed in 2020] Deep garnet colored, the 2010 Canon features wonderfully expressive notes of dried mulberries, stewed plums and baked black cherries with hints of mocha, bay leaves and fallen leaves. Full-bodied, opulent and super spicy, it has a plush texture with a racy line supporting the hedonic fruit, finishing with jaw-dropping persistence.”
Decanter 96 points “[Reviewed in 2020] You know you are on the Right Bank limestone plateau with this wine not by the fruit character, which is savoury, dark and concentrated, but by the juicy finish, which remains a little austere even after 10 years. After 15 minutes in the glass it opens up to be gloriously appetising and sapid (a word that is used much more frequently in French, and that sums up why limestone soils can transmit such appetising, drinkable and mouth watering flavours and textures, and why wines of this type work so well with food). At this stage it is the 2009 that delivers a readier-to-drink wine, but this is subtle and complex and has pulsating sense of purpose. Drinking Window 2022 – 2042.”

Italy – 

Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore Tuscany 2018 750ML ($149.95) $135 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“The 2018 Guado al Tasso is silky, delicate and exceptionally polished. I can’t remember tasting another Guado like it. Medium in body and gracious, the 2018 offers up a compelling mélange of dark fruit, chocolate, cedar, licorice and dried herbs, all in a mid-weight style that is incredibly appealing. The 2018 has just been bottled, so it needs time to bounce back. I can’t wait to taste it with a bit more time in bottle.”

Marchesi Antinori Tenuta Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato Bolgheri Tuscany 2020 750ML ($39.95) $28 special, 36 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 93 points
“I tasted the Guado al Tasso 2020 Bolgheri Rosso Il Bruciato from barrel, but the wine will hit the market in September of this year. Compared to the previous vintage, this edition is richer and slightly denser with nicely concentrated fruit. That extra textural support is a characteristic of this fortunate vintage. This accessible blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah offers tight mineral notes, toasted spice, almond and lots of dark, luscious fruit. To the palate, the wine exhibits softly caressing tannins”

Oregon- Willamette Valley 

The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Reserve Pinot Noir Dundee Hills 2018 750ML ($89.95) $73 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 97 points
“Editor’s Choice. This wine features some of the original vines from the first plantings in 1965. It’s a sophisticated, elegant red that will reward your full attention. The threads of berries, herbs, citrus and tobacco are already gracefully melded. From the opening aromas right on through the long and detailed finish, this wine excites and impresses. -Paul Gregutt”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points “Vivid ruby-red. Pungent, mineral-accented red berry and cherry aromas are complemented by suggestions of five-spice powder, dark chocolate and candied flowers. Chewy and appealingly sweet, offering finely tuned black raspberry, cherry and violet pastille flavors sharpened by a smoky mineral flourish. Shows fine clarity and floral thrust on the energetic finish, which is framed by steadily building tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

California- Napa Valley 

Anakota Helena Montana Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, only 6 bottles in stock now
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 96 points
“Fruit for this was harvested on September 8th, and the wine was bottled six months ago. Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Helena Montana Vineyard gives up exuberant notions of warm blueberries, crème de cassis, lilacs and chocolate box with hints of fertile loam, licorice and menthol. Medium-bodied, elegant, very fresh and juicy, the palate has beautifully ripe, fine-grained tannins supporting the generous fruit, finishing long and perfumed. 1,200 cases produced.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Anakota Wines Helena Dakota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, only 6 bottles in stock now 
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!

Portugal – Dao 

Gota Wines Private Selection ‘Prunus’ Tinto Dao 2017 750ML ($19.95) $14 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Elegance on a grand scale. Lightly oaked and perfectly balanced, with a silky texture and crisp edge. The nose is crampacked with plums, mulberries, blackberries and anise. On the palate, black cherry and raspberry fruit tones with creamy and chocolaty oak flavours. Delicious with poultry and pork dishes. Well-rounded and harmonious with concentrated fruit flavours of peaches yellow plums, apricots and floral notes while mineral on the palate with long mouth-watering finish. Serve chilled with seafood, fresh fish and creamy pasta. In the valley of Dão river lays Silgueiros region which dates back to 4000 years. Traces left by the Romans and Moors show that the wine was produced here long before the Christ. The Latin word “Silicarios” means a rocky region and indeed soils here are poor. This is the place where on small plots of land on 400m of altitude the growers take care of vines. Prunus is an expression of that work. Hand-picked grapes by families and neighbors, blended by us, give enchanting wine.”     

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

Washington State- Walla Walla

Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($59.95) $36 special 
Case-6 Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick Red Walla Walla Valley 2016 750ML ($359.95) $199 special, (that’s only $33.16 per bottle) 
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“A blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah, and 2% Malbec aged 19 months in 40% new oak, the 2016 Frederick Red Wine is another classic, beautifully balanced, age-worthy wine from this estate that has lots of blackcurrant, leafy tobacco, and damp earth-like aromas and flavors. With a seamless, texture, it shows the style of the estate. It will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for 20 years or more.”
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 92+ points “Bright, dark red. Brooding, slightly medicinal scents of black cherry and menthol lifted by flowers. The densest and sweetest of these 2016s, but conveys a youthfully brooding quality to its flavors of red and black fruits, menthol and spices. Finishes classically dry, with substantial firm but ripe tannins and the density to support an extended life in bottle. (a different blend from normal, featuring an unusually high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, most of it from blocks planted in 2006, 2001 and 1999)”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

MI5’s Top Agent’s favorite Tête

In the world of top tier Champagne, there is only one “James Bond” of Têtes: The Bollinger Grande Anne. Arguably the most featured champagne in the novel and movie series, it’s been referenced no less than fifteen different times since the debut vintage in 1956. 

Comprised almost entirely of Grand Cru grapes with the barest amount of dosage added, the idea is to have the Grande Anne be a “snapshot” of the year through the eyes of Bollinger. The entirely oak fermentation and aging under cork closure sets the stage for exceptional development in the bottle.  Expect a plethora of character from dried spices, to citrus peel, baked pommes and dried flowers. Known for their longevity, our current batch of 2004 magnums are just beginning to leave their teenage years, with plenty of time to further evolve before their peak.   

Bollinger in stock now: 

Bollinger La Grande Annee Brut Champagne 2004 1.5L ($419.95) $379 special, 12 magnums in stock now 
Wine Enthusiast Cellar Selection 96 points
 “A blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, this is opulent and full bodied, with toast and wood flavors. Rich and ripe, this beautiful wine is generous and still young, with just a touch of bitterness at the end. -Roger Voss.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Bollinger’s 2004 Brut La Grand Année is a beautiful wine with a lot of vintage character, but the style is a bit less oxidative than Bollinger fans are likely to expect. Pears, hazelnuts, spices and crushed rocks all flow through to the tense, vibrant finish. It will be interesting to see if the 2004 puts on weight in the bottle, as so many wines from this vintage have. Today, it is bright, linear and quite pretty. Green apples, pears and flowers all add lift on the close.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2004 Grande Année Brut was disgorged in November 2013 and offers a clear, very refined, and complex though still closed bouquet with fruity aromas of fresh and stewed apples, yellow grapefruit, kaki, walnuts, tobacco, herbal tea, nougat and spicy flavors; everything is discreet here, subtle, perfectly melted together and smoky, very smoky. On the palate, this Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend wine is highly complex and elegant, firmly structured and quite long. This is an excellent Champagne.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Firm, with well-cut acidity and a fine texture, this is aromatic, delivering a skein of ground spice and graphite notes that mesh seamlessly with the flavors of black currant, black cherry, toasted almond, financier, honey and smoky mineral. Offers a long, mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2024. 3,000 cases imported. — AN”

Bollinger La Grande Annee Brut Champagne 2007 750ML ($179.95) $159 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Wine & Spirits 95 points
“While this wine seemed fully mature when we tasted it last year, the latest bottle to come across our tasting table was full of life, feeling concentrated and radiating energy out of its core. There’s a compressed floral spice and a touch of sweetness to the fruit that accommodates the mineral abrasion, the elements completely integrated, the flavors lasting for minutes. The blend is 70 percent pinot noir, mostly from Aÿ and Verzenay, with chardonnay from Cramant and Oger; 91 percent grows at grand-cru sites; all of it ferments in oak barrels. The wood is still present in the wine, rounding it, contributing to its sophistication. An exceptional 2007.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points “From a bottle disgorged in March 2017, Bollinger’s 2007 La Grande Année is showing brilliantly, offering up a superb bouquet of lemon oil, confit citrus, almond paste, iodine, walnut oil and freshly baked bread. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, broad-shouldered and powerful in this frequently rather slender vintage, with excellent concentration, a deep and tightly wound core and a precise, chalky finish.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “A bright, lacy Champagne, offering a tapestry of finely woven flavors: graphite and ground spice, crushed blackberry and dried apricot, toast and honeycomb. Firm and focused, with a lasting, chalky finish. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases imported. — AN”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “I loved the 2007 La Grande Année, which is based on 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Over 90% of this cuvée was sourced from Grand Cru sites, with the balance from Premier Cru villages. Vinified all in older barrels and aged 6 years in bottle on lees, it boasts a deep, rich, creamy style as well as full-bodied notes of ripe stone fruits, wood smoke, and spice. It has vibrant acidity, impressive length, and notable purity, all making for a classy, impressive Champagne that will keep for 10-15 years.”

Bollinger arriving April 2022: 

Bollinger R.D. Extra Brut Champagne 2004 1.5L ($599.95) $519 pre-arrival special, only 6 magnums arriving 
Wine & Spirits 98 points
“Time has graced this wine, proving the value of Bollinger’s policy of long aging on the lees followed by prompt release after disgorgement. This RD (Recently Disgorged) 2004 is a joyous wine, staunch, cold and powerful at first, transforming to fresh fruit shadowed by darker tones of barrel fermentation. As it opens in the glass, revealing racy energy, a range of floral pear and apple flavors emerge, resonant with a sense of limestone capturing the sun and reflecting it back in pale power. Enjoy this over the course of an evening as its presence shifts, providing varied perspectives on a great Champagne.”
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Top 100 Cellar Selection in 2019. The wine’s name stands for recently disgorged and this vintage Champagne was taken off its lees in 2018. That gave many years for it to develop its depth of flavor, richness and beautifully memorable toasty flavors. Drink through 2028. -Roger Voss”
Antonio Galloni 97 points “Bollinger’s 2004 R.D., tasted from magnum, is all class. Silky and understated, the R.D is super-expressive and inviting today. In 2004, the R.D. is decidedly light on its feet and more perfumed than tends to be the norm at Bollinger. Candied lemon peel, mint, apricot, pastry and yellow fruits are all laced together in a Champagne that delivers the goods. The 2004 is 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay picked between September 25 and October 8. Disgorged: November 21, 2017.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate  97 points “Fermented in oak barrels and aged under natural corks for almost 13 years, Bollinger’s 2004 R. D. Extra Brut blends 66% Pinot Noir with 34% Chardonnay from 16 crus, 88% of which are classified as Grand Cru. The wine opens with a very clear, deep, rich and aromatic but also pure and mineral-fresh nose of crushed rocks, cherries, brioche, pain aux raisin, white nougat, chalk and ripe, yellow-fleshed fruits. Highly elegant and complex on the weightless yet persistent and salty palate, this is an intense, densely woven, firmly structured yet elegant, beautifully refined and refreshing “recent disgorgement” (February 2018) that reveals just a kiss of oxidative flavors that adds even more complexity. A great Champagne on its way to improve over many years in the bottle. Tasted June 2018.”
Decanter 97 points “This is Bollinger’s 2004 interpretation of their famous barrel-aged, recently-disgorged Champagne. This time around it’s a blend of 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay, having received a dosage of 3g/l before being cellared under cork, unlike the usual practice of using a crown cap for this phase. A bouquet of raisins and spice jumps out of the glass, propelled by a magnificent mint-toned freshness. Tight and crystalline on the palate, it’s dense and yet not all that vinous in mouthfeel. The finish is one of ethereal lightness and magnificent balance. Drink with well-aged cheese. Drinking Window 2018 – 2030.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “The lovely nose of acacia blossom, toast and graphite leads to flavors of poached quince, fleur de sel, white cherry, lemon pith and almond skin in this dry and harmonious Champagne. Almost airy and ethereal in texture, yet the finely woven flavor range goes on and on, echoing on the finish. Disgorged June 2017. Drink now through 2034. 301 cases imported. — AN”
[Disgorgement date may vary from reviews]     

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


 The Coin with two faces:
New Chateau Palmer arriving This March  

We were lucky enough to secure one of the best recent examples of the 2016 vintage from Chateau Palmer in Margaux. 2016 was the fifth year that the chateau practiced biodynamic farming, something their next-door neighbor Château Margaux hasn’t even initiated yet in 2022. It’s said that biodynamics requires a handful of years to find it’s stride, and this vintage exemplifies that in spades! 

Couple that with old vines ranging from 25-70 years old and ideal soil conditions, you can see how people compare them to their first growth neighbor! Palmer is famous for their rigorous standards, with the majority of production being delisted from the Château’s label. With a house style described as “Silk wrapped in satin with layers of velvet” this is one of the most collectable houses in general before price is even factored. 

If that wasn’t enough we were able to secure a limited amount of their most exclusive cuvee, known as the Historical XIXth Century. Harkening to the Bordeaux blends of centuries past, it’s easy to forget the region’s historical predilection to unusual weather events. These often resulted in wines that were barely ripe and highly austere, with the vignerons of the day electing to blend Syrah sourced from the Northern Rhone for much needed stuffing. As you can expect with such a nod to the past this is considered the most collectible bottling by Chateau Palmer and is one of the rarest in all of  Bordeaux. Found almost exclusively in the auction circuit, we will be offering a negligible amount for only the most serious collector’s. 

Chateau Palmer wines arriving March, 2022: 

Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend Vin de France  ($499.95) $419 pre-arrival special

“In fact, seeing a bottle of 19th century Lafite Hermitagé, as it is described on the label, gave me an idea, and from 2004 we produced a small quantity of what we call Historical 19th Century Wine. It’s Palmer plus 15% Syrah from the northern Rhône. It’s labelled as vin de table, so no one would ever mistake it for Palmer.” – Palmer’s director-general Thomas Duroux
The 19th Century practice in Bordeaux of ‘hermitaging’ their ‘claret’ was abandoned with the installation of the AOC regulations. Over the past decade however the always acclaimed Chateau Palmer decided to utilize some of their classifed Margaux to reincarnate the traditition. Those 19th Century Clarets needed the boost of power and structure. Palmer’s Margaux has no such need. Palmer’s ‘hermitaged’ margaux in its early years will be somewhat more fruit forward. After a decade rolls by you might detect a slight difference in flavor but be need to be a gifted taster to describe. The “Historical’ is made to honor the past, not to alter the wine and its future.

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

Chateau Palmer Margaux 2016 750ML ($499.95) $419 pre-arrival special, only 10 bottles arriving 
Antonio Galloni 100 points
“Technical Director Thomas Duroux and his team made one of the most brilliant wines of the 2016 vintage. Palmer is simply exceptional. Rich and dramatically sweeping in the glass, the 2016 is breathtaking. All the elements simply fall into place in a wine of mesmerizing beauty. The counterpoint of dark, sumptuous fruit and floral notes makes for an utterly compelling Palmer that will take its place among the estate’s finest vintages. Dark cherry, lavender, spice and mocha are some of the many notes that build into a deep, substantial finish that is truly unforgettable. In a word: magnificent!”
Jeb Dunnuck 100 points “The finest vintage I’ve ever tasted from this estate, surpassing the 2009 and 2010, the 2016 Château Palmer is a blend of 47% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Petit Verdot, all of which was brought up in 65% new French oak. This magical effort reveals a saturated purple color as well as a huge nose of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rocks, and spring flowers, and it develops beautifully with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, incredibly concentrated and powerful, it nevertheless just glides over the palate with flawless purity and balance, present, ripe tannins, and a finish that just won’t quit. This is Bordeaux at its most regal and classic. It will be drinkable with just 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for half a century.”
Wine Enthusiast 100 points “#27 Cellar Selection in 2019 Powerful tannins and hugely rich fruit balance together in this superb wine. The velvet texture belies the power behind the concentrated, ripe black-fruit flavor, with vibrant acidity giving ample lift. The wine’s structure will ensure aging for many years. Drink from 2024. -Roger Voss”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98+ points “The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Opaque garnet-purple colored, it slowly glides out of the glass with compelling notes of blueberry compote, warm cassis and kirsch with emerging hints of violets, cigar box, black tea, sandalwood and Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, wonderfully rich, concentrated and packed with latent energy, the palate literally grows in the mouth, revealing layer upon layer of black, blue and red fruits and tons of floral sparks, framed by super ripe, incredibly fine-grained tannins and finishing with epic length. It’s a wine that makes you wanna drape yourself languidly over a chaise lounge, glass of Palmer in hand, sighing with deep satisfaction, ‘This is so wonderfully Palmer.’”
Decanter 98 points “As is always the case with Palmer, the richness, depth and silkiness is just so impressive. Sophisticated and well constructed, with a vertical lift-off, there’s a creamy richness on the palate which supports pencil-lead, liquorice, damson, black cherry and slate. I love the smoky cocoa bean finish. Like the Alter Ego, it’s a different style this year but no less impressive, displaying width, heft and incredible persistency. It’s a wine that’s going to age far into the future and is extremely easy to recommend. The highest ever proportion of grand vin was produced in 2016. Drinking Window 2025 – 2042.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 98 points “The 2016 Palmer has a generous, slightly lactic bouquet of opulent red fruit infused with touches of dark chocolate, although it calms down and gains more grace with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and well-judged acidity. Very harmonious, revealing cedar and mint toward the extraordinarily persistent finish. This is another classy, persistent Margaux with a long future ahead. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting.”
James Suckling 98 points “Such attractive fruit and alluring ripeness that it draws you in from the get-go. The discreet power here is delivered with a very astute touch. Assorted dark-berry aromas, as well as red plums, abound on the nose. The richness and depth in the mouth is stunning. The tannins are super polished and layered and they draw pristine dark fruit flavors deep into the finish in effortless mode. This is a star of the vintage. A blend of 47 per cent merlot, 47 per cent cabernet sauvignon and six per cent petit verdot. Try from 2024.”

Collector’s Corner 
Get Schisty with Clos Erasmus

Priorat or Tarraconensis as it was once called has cultivated winegrapes since the Roman Empire first occupied the area, but it was Clos Erasmus and their collegues who transformed Priorat from sleepy backwater to a global wine powerhouse in the 1980’s and 90’s. Farming biodynamically since their inception Clos Erasmus has maintained very low production throughout the stratospheric rise of the region, and rarely exceeds 140 cases per year from their 25 acres in production. Limited does not begin to describe the scarcity of these wines, with these bottles being the crown jewel of wine lists around the world. 

Clos Erasmus Wines in stock now: 

Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus Priorat DOCa 2018 1.5L ($699.95) $579 special only 1 magnum in stock now
Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate Luis Gutierrez 99 points
“A blend of 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah, 2018 Clos Erasmus comes from a year with good yields and enough rain for good ripeness of the grapes. The vines are now 36 years old on average, and the grapes fermented after a cold soak in 1,000-, 1,500- and 2,000-liter oak vats with indigenous yeasts and a five-week maceration. It matured in new and second use Burgundian 228-liter oak barrels, with around 40% new oak. This is a very elegant and perfumed vintage for Clos Erasmus, a wine that reveals a bright ruby color and a exotic nose that mixes flowers with tons of sweet spices. It is still very young and influenced by the élevage in oak, with something herbal and fresh, reminiscent of pine needles. The palate is textured and velvety, lace and dust, with fine-grained tannins that bring back the memories of the slate rocks; it is pure and detailed and has terrible balance, focus, inner strength, filigree and subdued minerality. I’d wait a little bit for the oak to get integrated before pulling the cork. It has the ingredients, stuffing and balance to develop nicely in bottle for a long time. 3,319 bottles and 100 magnums produced. It was bottled in May 2020.”

Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’ Priorat DOCa 2018 1.5L ($179.95) $149 special, 4 magnums in stock now 
Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’ Priorat DOCa 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The second wine here and one that is easier to drink, the 2018 Laurel was produced with fruit from the younger vines, a couple of barrels that are declassified from Clos Erasmus and the Cabernet Sauvignon, more or less 70% Garnacha and 15% each Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has good ripeness and still a pH of 3.3. It fermented mostly in oak vats and 2,000-liter concrete vats with indigenous yeasts and matured for 18 months in 20,000-liter oak and concrete vats, second use barriques and some clay amphorae. It’s a bright translucent ruby color and has a perfumed and delicate nose with notes of orange peel and flowers; this is the most elegant and ethereal vintage of Laurel as far as I can remember, with red rather than black fruit and a kind of cranberry quality. The palate is medium-bodied, textured and fluid, with subtleness, balance and very fine tannins. The oak is perfectly integrated, and the wine is easy to drink, approachable and very pleasurable right now. It’s a fresh vintage with energy and finesse, quite different from previous vintages. I love it. 22,825 bottles and 515 magnums produced. It was bottled in May 2020.”


Vinopolis is an independent wine shop in Portland that opened in 2004. Our goal has always been to offer the finest, broadest, and largest selection of wines at the best prices to our customers in Portland, in Oregon, across the West Coast, and throughout the United States.

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