Vinopolpick Mid-Week 2-25-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Celler-Worhty Brunellos From a Legendary Vintage

Subscriber Special Reminder
Lopez de Heredia: Spanish Classic

First Offer
Clos St. Jean Deux Ex Machina: Benchmark Modern CdP

Josh Raynolds’ Rundown of New Gigondas

New Grapelive Review for an Italian Legend-in-the-Making

Staff Pick: Spanish White for Pairing (and Sipping)

The Best Value in Barbaresco?


Collector’s Corner
Delamotte’s Rare “Collection” Champagnes


Cellar-Worthy Brunellos From a Legendary Vintage

2012 was one of this century’s finest years for Tuscan reds, a truly collectable vintage for the region’s best wines. Perhaps no Tuscan wine is more collectable than Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. These wines are built to age in most years, and are amongst the world’s most cellar-worthy wines at their best. Nearly a decade on, they are just starting to show their true potential, with modern producers like Casanova Di Neri stunning today, and more traditional producers like Fuligni just entering a beautiful drinking window.

A relatively warm vintage, 2012 produced generous and structured Brunello that retained a surprising amount of freshness. Since their release in 2018, following the required 6+ years of aging, we’ve sold through much of our stock. However, we still have several exceptional examples available, and have more arriving soon. These include everything from legendary producers like Casanova Di Neri (whose Cerretalto is not technically a Riserva, but receives similar treatment) and Fuligni, to fantastic values like La Fortuna and La Gerla. So take this opportunity to add some ringers to your cellar, because this selection of 2012 Riservas is unlikely to last long.

In Stock Now:

5 bottles in stock now
Casanova di Neri Cerretalto, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 750ML ($399.95) $319 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“Flavors of medicinal herbs, juniper, macerated cherry, plum, tobacco and spice are the hallmarks of this intense red, which is ripe and concentrated, yet sleek and focused. Spice notes chime in on the long, minerally and firmly tannic finish. Best from 2023 through 2040.”
Wine Advocate 98 points “The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Cerretalto offers a prolonged, flowing and carefully massaged drinking experience that drapes over the senses with some studied intensity and lots of intriguing complexity. This wine nails that perfect balance between power and elegance (that elusive exchange that so many winemakers hope to achieve) with effortless precision. Bold cherry fruit and spice are tightly woven together. In the mouth, the wine shows texture, depth and succulence. Generally speaking, this is not my favorite vintage in Montalcino, but this wine suddenly made me forget that thought.”
James Suckling 97 points “The density is so impressive in this great single-vineyard wine of Casanova. It’s full yet agile at the same time. Shows such integrated tannins and fresh acidity at the finish. Energized and focused. Tangy and citrusy. Mineral undertone. One of the great Brunellos of 2012. Better in 2022.”

1 bottle in stock now. More arriving soon!
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“This delivers intense balsamic notes of juniper, wild rosemary and sage, along with rose, cherry and berry aromas and flavors. Elegant and saturated with flavor, supported by a vibrant structure. Ends with energy and refined tannins. Best from 2022 through 2040. 750 cases made.”
Ian d’Agata 94+ points “Deep red. Captivating floral nuances complement red cherry, mineral and tobacco elements on the nose and on the very suave palate. Surprisingly light-bodied for a Brunello Riserva, but perfumed and very refined. This outstanding Brunello Riserva boasts a finish that lasts and lasts.”

12 bottles in stock now
Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750ML ($219.95) $179 special
Wine Spectator 98 points
“Bright and juicy, this is packed with cherry, strawberry, floral and mineral aromas and flavors. Linear in shape and tightly wound, yet very pure, with a long, detailed aftertaste that pulls all the elements together. Best from 2021 through 2040. 350 cases imported.”

36+ bottles in stock now
La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 750 ($119.95) $99 special
Case-6 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2012 ($699.95) $564 special
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.”

36+ bottles in stock now
La Gerla Riserva gli Angeli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Ian d’Agata-Vinous 95 points
“Bright medium ruby. Very clean and fresh aromas and flavors of red currant, cherry pit, flowers and blood orange jelly. Bright, juicy and very light on its feet, offering superb vinosity and clarity of flavor, this conveys an impression of real underlying density and a multilayered mouthfeel. A knockout wine of outstanding energy and class, finishing with polished tannins, uncanny sweetness and lovely subtle persistence, not to mention outstanding balance (it hides its 14.5% alcohol very well).”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “Here is a dense and meaty Tusan red that flaunts its immediate power, structure and intensity. The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva gli Angeli is robust and deep thanks to a generous offering of dark fruit, spice and tar-like aromas. Fruit is carefully selected for this wine, and the grapes are fermented in stainless steel. Post fermentation, the wine goes into large Slavonian oak casks for four years. The finish is soft and supple with sweet berry flavors. This wine has made an impressive jump forward in this vintage.”

22 bottles in stock now
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.”


Subscriber Special

Lopez de Heredia: Spanish Classic

Don’t forget: We’re offering you, our email subscribers, special pricing on these fantastic wines from Lopez de Heredia until Friday at 10AM (when the wines are scheduled to be delivered).  Stock up now and save.

Lopez de Heredia is one of the world’s elite wine estates and yet, for all of the grace, complexity, age-worthiness, and profundity of the wines, the prices are shockingly low.  You can purchase the entry level wine from the greatest traditional Rioja estate for less than $30.  You can buy their Reservas (for which the current releases are 2006/7!!) for under $40.  Even their great wines–old Gran Reservas, with bottle age, will set you back less than the average bottle of 2010 Mouton.

Subscriber Special pre-arrival pricing valid until 10AM, February 28th
Prices WILL INCREASE when the wines arrive.
Arriving ETA February 28th:

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival Subscriber Special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion’s share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is a remarkably lively wine for a 12-year-old Rioja with notes of licorice and dried cherries and a very elegant tannin structure that runs through the medium to full body of this red like a silk thread. The dry finish is long and polished. Drink or hold.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points “Vivid red. Highly perfumed scents of ripe red currant, cherry liqueur, pipe tobacco, leather and rose oil, along with a hint of coconut in the background. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering deep-pitched red fruit preserve, spicecake and floral pastille flavors and a hint of mocha. The silky, sweet, impressively long finish features excellent clarity and lingering spice and smoke nuances.”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia ‘Vina Bosconia’ Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2007 750ML ($39.95) $33 pre-arrival Subscriber Special
James Suckling 95 points
“A stunning vintage of this Rioja classic. Ripe and concentrated, yet cool and delicate with tons of fine tannin. Lots of earthy, autumnal Burgundy-like nuances, as well as notes of violets and plums. Long, complete finish. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “2006 was a hard year to follow, even if 2007 was a great year in Rioja and exceptional for López de Heredia. The 2007 Viña Bosconia Reserva shows a little tannic, fulfilling the reputation for being a more rustic wine than Viña Tondonia. There are notes of chocolate-covered cherries and hints of forest floor. Maybe with a little more time in bottle? 70,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2014.”

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia ‘Vina Cubillo’ Crianza, Rioja DOCa 2010 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival Subscriber Special
James Suckling 95 points
“Cubillo is a very focused and quite crisp style of red that has spent three years in barrique and then in larger cask to wait for bottling, which happens two years before the expected release. The richness and depth of complex dried wood and spice here is seamlessly sewn into the dried red and dark cherries. The palate is pinned around a fresh-blackberry core that marries still sweet fruit to more savory style. Long and balanced. The tannins are fine yet assertive. It freshens into the finish nicely. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2010 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza is superb and shows great depth and nuance, with great freshness, and the red cherries are complemented by notes of blood oranges, nutmeg and other spices. It has a soft and harmonious palate, with great balance and very good freshness. 90,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2017.”

Bonus Subscriber Special, In Stock Now:

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco, Rioja DOCa 1973 750ML ($999.95) Was $799, Now $699 Subscriber Special, only 4 bottles remaining
Winery cellared release imported by the authorized Oregon importer
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 1973 Vina Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva is so sublime, so complete and natural that it may bring tears to the eyes. It has a complex bouquet of beeswax, lanolin, lemon curd and almond that is effortlessly combined. The palate is nigh-perfectly balanced with very good weight. It has a seamless waxy texture and a peacock’s tail of almond, creme brulee, marzipan and dried apricot. There is a beguiling sense of completeness here. Heaven in a glass, and one of the finest Tondonia Blancos I have encountered. Drink now-2020+”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today, 
Now it’s even lower!
The average listed price is $870

Subscriber Special pricing valid until 10AM, February 28th



First Offer

Clos St. Jean Deux Ex Machina: Benchmark Modern CdP

When Clos St. Jean began bottling estate wines, in 1910, the wine world was a very different place.  Since then, though, the estate has been quick to embrace all the potential that modern enology has to offer and is now one of the foremost producers of modern-styled Chateauneuf du Pape.

The current wines from Clos St. Jean are amongst the most impressive in the region.  The winery’s holdings are mostly in La Crau (the famed, galet-strewn part of Chateauneuf) and the richness that terroir provides comes through in the finished wines.  The St. Jean wines are powerful, with intense ripe fruit, rich aromatics and lovely textures.

We’re pleased to feature the new release of one of their top bottlings, the “Deus Ex Machina,” arriving on Friday.  The 2017 iteration is yet another stunner, with dual 98 point scores and a full-throttle personality.  Less than twelve bottles are available, though, so act quickly if you want some.

Arriving Friday:

Only eleven bottles available
Clos Saint-Jean Deus-Ex Machina Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“With its more discreet oak and layers of complexity, the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape Deus Ex Machina is my favorite release here this year. Layers of dried spices accent raspberries and cherries in this full-bodied, rich and velvety wine. It’s more complex and complete than either the Combe des Fous or the Sancto Santorum, longer on the finish and supremely elegant.-Joe Czerwinski”
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “The 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape Deus-Ex Machina (60/40 Grenache and Mourvèdre) shows more classic Mourvèdre notes, with blackcurrants, Asian spices, crushed violets, cured meats, and graphite all giving way to a power packed, opulent, hedonistic 2017 that does everything right. Incredible depth of fruit, building tannins, no hard edges, and a finish to die for are all part of the package.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95-96 points “Deep crimson. An expansive, complex bouquet displays cherry liqueur, boysenberry, incense and candied lavender qualities, along with a smoky mineral nuance that builds steadily in the background. Shows impressive depth and energy to the ripe red and blue fruit, floral pastille and spicecake flavors, which turn sweeter and livelier with aeration. Closes extremely long and floral, with rounded, even tannins and emphatic, spice-tinged persistence. This one looks like it’s build for the long haul.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Also available from Clos St. Jean, in stock now:

Clos Saint-Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 23 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 92-94 points
“Leading off the 2016s, the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is noticeably darker than any of the 2015s and offers terrific blackcurrants, blackberries, smoked meats and roasted garrigue aromas and flavors. It’s full-bodied, ripe and undeniably sexy, with gorgeous purity of fruit.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 92 points “The lush, fruit-forward 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape is a good introduction to the domaine’s Grenache-dominated style, boasting copious amounts of cherry and apricot fruit. It’s full-bodied and velvety in texture, with attractive hints of licorice emerging on the long finish. With its slightly more prominent acidity, it should drink well for longer than the 2015 or 2017 versions.”



Josh Raynolds’ Rundown of New Gigondas

Josh Raynolds remains one of our favorite reviewers—a critic who manages to appreciate a wide range of wines, both modern and traditional.  For the southern Rhone, that’s especially valuable—he’s one of the few people out there who seems to be able to deliver a neutral assessment of a new vintage.  As you might expect, he’s very on board with the 2017 vintage (and the remaining 2016’s still out there).  It’s a charming, exceptionally approachable year and the wines are perfect for drinking today.  (By contrast, 2018 looks to be another Great Vintage suitable for the cellar.)  We’ve got in stock highlights below, along with some of his commentary on the estates, but would urge you to read the full report in Vinous.

In Stock Now:

“Louis Barruol’s outstanding collection of 2017s and 2016s makes the case, if it needed to be made by now, that his family’s domaine is among the Rhône Valley’s elite producers. The estate owns 15 hectares of vines, almost all of them extremely old (as in 100-plus years) in some of the most highly prized sections of the appellation. Barruol has also expanded, as of the 2018 vintage, Saint Cosme’s vineyard holdings with the acquisition of Château Rouanne in Vinsobres, at the extreme north of the southern Rhône area and an appellation that is renowned for the quality of its Syrah. Speaking of Syrah, Barruol’s négociant label, named Saint Cosme (no “Château” designation) is a superb source for northern Rhône wines from Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph.” – Josh Ryanolds, Vinous

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Poste, Rhone 2017 750ML ($139.95) $109 special, 10 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points
“Deep lurid ruby. Highly fragrant suggestions of ripe red berries, cherry preserves, exotic spices and candied flowers are accompanied by a smoky mineral element that builds steadily with air. Smooth and seamless on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, cherry cola, spicecake and candied lavender flavors that convey a suave mix of power and delicacy. Closes smooth, gently tannic and impressively long, leaving sappy red fruit and floral pastille notes behind.

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Le Claux, Rhone 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 19 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 96 points
“Brilliant violet. Highly perfumed black raspberry and cherry liqueur aromas are accompanied by potpourri, mocha, vanilla and baking spice nuances, along with a smoky mineral flourish that builds in the glass. Juicy and appealingly sweet, displaying palate-staining red and blue fruit, spicecake and floral pastille flavors that show superb depth and a smooth, seamless texture. Deftly balances richness and vivacity and finishes extremely long and spicy, with smooth, harmonious tannins and a subtle echo of candied flowers and kirsch.”

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas Hominis Fides, Rhone 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 96 points
“Full vivid ruby. Highly expressive, mineral- and spice-driven aromas of ripe red berries, potpourri and incense show sharp definition, and suggestions of candied lavender, cola and vanilla build in the glass. Shows impressive depth as well as energy on the palate, offering powerful raspberry, cherry preserve and floral pastille flavors and an emerging suggestion of exotic spices. Finishes with a jolt of juicy acidity, alluring sweetness and harmonious tannins that lend shape to a wonderfully long, spice- and floral-drenched finish.”

Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Chateau de Saint Cosme Gigondas, Rhone 2017 750ML ($599.95) $419 special (that’s only $34.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Shimmering magenta. Powerful red and dark berry aromas are complemented by building spice, incense and floral notes. Sappy and densely packed, offering juicy black raspberry, cherry preserve and spicecake flavors that are firmed by a spine of juicy acidity. Supple, harmonious tannins build steadily on the impressively long finish, which leaves behind lavender pastille and juicy cherry notes.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

“Domaine Saint-Damien has been producing some of the region’s most elegant wines for years, but for some reason they rarely get the attention they deserve. Pricing here is also admirably fair, which makes this an address to be reckoned with for savvy Rhône wine lovers. The Saurel family, which has been farming here since 1821, now owns just over 12 hectares of vines in Gigondas, most of them quite old and cropped low, and the wines are aged in large, traditional concrete vats and old foudres and usually bottled on the young side “to preserve freshness,” as Romain Saurel said. Saurel’s father, Joël, is largely responsible for the domaine’s current (insider) fame and was also the one who brought its vineyards up to Agriculture Biologique certification in 2012. These wines are now consistently delivering some of the southern Rhône’s greatest values in high-end wine.” – Josh Ryanolds, Vinous

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28.80 special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas Vieilles Vignes, Rhone 2017 750ML ($419.95) $319 special (that’s only $26.58/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Deep ruby-red. Powerful, smoke-accented black raspberry, cherry liqueur and lavender aromas are complicated by a spicy white pepper nuance that builds steadily with air. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering sappy red and blue fruit, licorice and bitter chocolate flavors and an energizing jolt of minerality. Finishes firm and long, displaying harmonious tannins and a lingering cherry pit note.”

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

Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 24+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine Saint Damien Gigondas ‘Les Souteyrades Vieilles Vignes’, Rhone 2017 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 93 points
“Deep magenta. Deeply pitched aromas of red and blue fruit preserves, candied flowers and allspice show excellent clarity and mineral lift. Seamless and alluringly sweet, offering palate-staining cherry, blueberry and spicecake flavors that show noteworthy depth and back-end thrust. Finishes very long and smooth, with fine-grained tannins and resonating cherry and floral character.”

The Perrin family, owners of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s famed Château de Beaucastel, have invested in Gigondas in a big way in recent years. Their commitment is already delivering huge dividends for Rhône wine lovers.… the Clos de Tourelles, from a 10-hectare vineyard that sits at the entrance to the village, and the L’Argenée, which is from a sandy, one-hectare vineyard of pre-phylloxera vines that are now over a century old.” – Josh Ryanolds, Vinous

Famille Perrin Gigondas Domaine du Clos des Tourelles, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Famille Perrin Gigondas Domaine du Clos des Tourelles, Rhone 2015 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points
“Brilliant ruby color. Powerful cherry, blackberry and floral pastille aromas are energized by building spice and floral notes. Stains the palate with sappy red/dark berry preserve, candied lavender and spicecake flavors and shows a touch of licorice on the back half. Refuses to let up on the powerful finish, which features gently chewy tannins and resonating cherry and floral notes.”

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

Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur Gigondas Terrasses de Montmirail, Rhone 2016 750ML ($39.95) $29 special, 26 bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points
“Deep shimmering ruby. Pungent, spice-accented red and blue fruits, garrigue and a floral nuance on the perfumed nose. Plush and broad on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry, cherry and boysenberry flavors sharpened by a spicy jolt of white pepper. Dusty tannins build slowly on a long, smoky finish that emphatically echoes the dark fruit and spice notes.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

New Grapelive Review for an Italian Legend-in-the-Making

In Stock Now:

Felsina Berardenga Fontalloro Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($69.95) $54.50 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 98 points
“The wines of Fèlsina have always moved me and…Fèlsina produces one of the most iconic of all Sangiovese wines, the Fontalloro, which is labeled as a simple IGT Rosso, or Vino di Tavola, much the same way as Montevertine’s Le Pergole Torte is, another pure and outstanding Sangiovese wine….The Fontalloro, especially this powerful, concentrated and complex 2016 version, performs with a sense of elegance that is hard to describe in written words, it is a wine that needs to be experienced to understand its profound impact on the senses and the palate, it reminds me of Chateau Margaux in that way, it is not as showy as some of its contemporaries, but unforgettable, beautiful, and almost without a fault. I really, really am impressed with this 2016 edition… it is one of the best I’ve tried from Felsina since the majestic 1997 and is everything you’d ask for in such a wine, and while not a cheap bottle, it is one of the wine world’s sublime values  Honestly, there are hundreds of boring and generic wines that sell for twice the price.  The ripe and structured year gave all the best elements to this Fontalloro to be one of the legends and the Felsina team didn’t disappoint, making a wine for the ages.  While exceptional even now,  this one will be one that will be a certain treasured time capsule wine that should be incredibly long lived, going two or three decades with ease. The layers unfold with gorgeous life and dimension with a firm, but welcome tannic force that holds back the massive fruit and shows the wine’s terrific poise in the glass with classic Sangiovese details including blackberry, plum, cherry and strawberry fruits, a light sense of French oak, delicate florals, minty herb, sweet and spicy tobacco, a trace of sandalwood, balsamic notes, mineral and well judged acidity that lifts this full bodied wine and keeps things in near perfect check. ($65 Est.)”


Staff Pick

Made with 100% Viura (Macabeo) grapes, the Cune Monopole Blanco is an elegant and refreshing white, perfect for casual sipping. The nose expresses floral and fruity notes of white flowers, pear and citrus. On the palate, underripe pear skins persist, along with wet stone and lime zest. The acid is low and well-integrated into the fruit, the mouth-feel creamy, yet saline, making it a perfect wine to sip on its own or to pair with salads, grilled chicken, and shellfish, and, perhaps more surprisingly, a great paring for cream-based dishes.

In Stock Now:

CVNE ‘Monopole’ Blanco, Rioja DOCa 2018 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 89 points
“There are two versions of the dry white, the young, fresh and fruit-driven 2018 Monopole and another one they call “clásico,” which is released later and has some Manzanilla de Sanlúcar added to it. This fruity white is also floral and light and was produced with Viura (a.k.a. Macabeo) grapes that fermented in stainless steel at low temperature with dry yeasts to keep the primary aromas. It’s from a fresh year with less ripeness and alcohol (perhaps more noticeable in the reds), and this continues with the profile of previous years. The source of the grapes is quite stable, so variations are due to the climate of the year. 400,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2018.”

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


The Best Value in Barbaresco?

Since 2010, which Barbaresco has Wine Spectator consistently scored higher: Adriano Barbaresco Basarin or Produttori Barbaresco Normale? 

The answer might surprise you—it’s the Adriano. 

Since 2010, the Adriano Basarin has scored 94 points twice, 93 points three times and 92 points (once) from Wine Spectator.  That’s a better track record (with a higher peak) than the Produttori Barbaresco Normale (which never scored higher than a 93), the generally accepted best-value champ.  

That means that Adriano’s Barbaresco Basarin might be the most consistent value in Italian wine.  In 2016, as you might expect, the wine is absolutely exceptional—the best version of it we’ve ever seen.  This is a cru bottling from Basarin, a vineyard that Antonio Galloni rated as Noteworthy (the same designation given to nearby Rio Sordo and Cotta), not a blend from a number of different sources—and yet the price is lower than Produttori’s entry Barbaresco.

At under $30/btl by the case, this is a wine you’ll want to own in volume.  Traditionally made, it’s surprisingly approachable right now with several hours of air, but has the bones to age into something even more profound.  Lovers of Piedmontese wines shouldn’t pass this up—at some point the secret is going to get out and we’ll look back on this wine as a glorious buying opportunity.  When that day comes, you’ll want to have plenty in your cellar.

In Stock Now:

#6 Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2019
Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2016 750ML ($479.95) $359 special (that’s only $29.92/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Spearmint, black-skinned berry, blue flower and new leather aromas lead the way along with a whiff of menthol. Tight and taut, the elegant, structured palate delivers juicy black cherry, crushed raspberry, wild herbs and white pepper alongside assertive, close-grained tannins. Bright acidity provides balance. Best 2024–2036”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Aromas of rose, cherry, strawberry and white pepper draw you in, while vibrant acidity and a lacy texture carry the fruit flavors, adding tobacco and earth details. A solid base of tannins provides support. This should come together nicely. Best from 2022 through 2038.”

Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin, Barbaresco DOCG 2015 750ML ($34.95) $28 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“A streak of cherry bisects the supple texture and sleek structure in this elegant red. Hints of licorice, menthol, leather and tobacco add depth as this plays out on the chewy, resonant finish. Best from 2022 through 2038.”

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


One of the better Super Tuscans we’ve tried recently, from an outstanding vintage.  Powerful and delicious.
Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The Geremia, Rocca di Montegrossi’s Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, is outrageously beautiful in 2015. Racy and pliant, with soft curves, Geremia captures all of the radiant beauty of the vintage. Sweet red cherry, plum, mint, mocha and sweet spice are all fused together. At the moment, there is a touch of new oak that still needs to integrate, but a few more years in bottle should do the trick. Time in the glass brings out attractive floral notes and red-toned fruit character that lend freshness and lift to play off the wine’s more extroverted leanings. The 2015 is a gorgeous Geremia.”

Every bit the equal of Prum for $15 less.  A no-brainer to stock up on.
Selbach-Oster Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Mosel 2015 750ML ($39.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2015 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese is bright, pure, very fine, floral and flinty on the nose. It is provided with perfectly ripe and concentrated, slate-flavored fruit aromas intermixed with lemon and grapefruit notes. This is a lush, piquant and elegant, filigreed and finessed Auslese. It has great finesse and provided with a lot of Spiel and salt. The finish is pure, piquant and salty, but also lush and generous. This is a very precise, straight and stimulating, highly digestible Auslese with a lot of energy, tension and aging potential. It is very clear and there is no hint of botrytis here.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “This offers a beautiful nose of cassis, grapefruit, greengage, apricot tree flower, white flowers and herbs. A more yellow fruit driven side comes through on the palate with yellow peach playing with acidity to produce a mouth-watering cocktail of Mosel charm. A hint of sweetness in the finish is still in need of integration of this gorgeous Auslese in the making. 2025-2045.”

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“shockingly good”
Xavier Vins Cotes du Rhone SM, Rhone NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 32 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The NV Côtes du Rhône S.M. is thrilling stuff. Made from equal parts Grenache and Syrah and aged half in concrete and half in barrel, it offers a full-bodied, voluptuous and decadent style to go with overflowing notes of plum and darker fruits, licorice and violets. Gorgeous on all counts, it’s a shockingly good Côtes du Rhône to drink over the coming 4-6 years, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it last even longer.”

Just across the literal tracks from Pauillac.
Chateau Larose Trintaudon, Haut-Medoc 2016 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Chateau Larose Trintaudon, Haut-Medoc 2016 375ML ($17.95) $14 special, 13 half-bottles in stock now
Chateau Larose Trintaudon, Haut-Medoc 2016 1.5L ($59.95) $49 special, 12 magnums in stock now
Case-12 Chateau Larose Trintaudon, Haut-Medoc 2016 750ML ($359.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“A solid red with currant, chocolate and walnut character. Medium body, round yet firm tannins and a delicious finish. Typical Bordeaux from this excellent vintage. A blend of 60 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 40 per cent merlot. Needs two to three years to soften. Drink in 2022.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “At 380 acres, this is one of the largest Médoc estates just the wrong side of the tracks from Pauillac. This generously structured wine is full of juicy black-currant flavors that come from the 60% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. It is likely to develop relatively quickly and will certainly be ready from 2021.”

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Pepper and bright, this is in a beautiful place right now.
Matello Fool’s Journey Deux Vert Vineyard, Willamette Valley 2013 750ML ($24.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 90 points
“Bright violet. Smoke-tinged dark berries and pungent flowers on the nose. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors that take a sweeter turn on the back half. Dusty tannins make a late appearance and add gentle grip to the smooth, energetic finish.”
Winery note “From the Willamette Valley’s first planting of Syrah, this cool climate, low alcohol wine will redefine your idea of the possibilities of new-world Syrah. If you like your Syrah French, here is a kindred but one of a kind wine from Oregon.”

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Zinfandel under 14% is a hard thing to find, indeed.  This is brambly, spicy and berry fruited.  Perfect with barbeque or a roast chicken.
Frog’s Leap Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($37.95) $24 special, 21 bottles in stock now
Winery note
“Delightful aromas of summer-berry conserve combined with a touch of spice and fresh fruit flavors. A Zinfandel that draws its power from sophistication instead of raw alcohol content. Made in the classic field blend style including significant portions of Petite Sirah and Carignan.”

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Avignonesi always over-delivers and this Merlot would be a great ringer in a $50+ St. Emilion tasting.
Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot, Tuscany 2014 750ML ($49.95) $28 special, 36 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 93 points
“A dark-fruited if rather fresh nose of blackcurrants, iodine, ivy, stems and licorice as well as some tobacco. Full body, firm tannins and an ink-like finish. Linear but very enjoyable. Drink now.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points “The 2014 Merlot Desiderio is a bold and forthcoming red wine that peels back with thick layers of aromatic intensity. The bouquet is deeply endowed with black cherry, toasted espresso and sweet mocha. This is a soft and luscious wine that wraps thickly over the whole palate, from front to back. The finish is a bit leaner than that bold bouquet would have you initially think.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2014 Merlot Desiderio is a very pretty wine. Savory herb, tobacco, licorice and underbrush are all pushed forward, while the fruit is very much in the background. It’s hard to say if the wine’s laid back profile is more a reflection of the very cool year or a conscious decision to dial back the intensity, but there is no question the 2014 is quite refined and miles away from the super-concentrated, viscous Desiderios that were made here in the past. This is very nicely done.”

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The next best price is $36.90
The average listed price is $49

Collector’s Corner

Delamotte’s Rare “Collection” Champagnes

Delamotte is best known as the more affordable arm of Salon—the original luxury-collectible single vineyard Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil.  While that’s understandable, it tends to ignore the fact that Delamotte is a Champagne house of note in its own right (it’s much easier for other merchants to shout “Salon for Cheap” than to sell the Champagne on its own merit).  If one were making a case for Delamotte as a great producer on their own, you could look no further than their “Collection” wines.

These are the peak of the Delamotte range, held on the lees longer and disgorged late to capture the full glory of mature Champagne.  They have the racy brightness of their Cote de Blancs origins balanced against toasty, rich flavors that only come with age.  The best comparison for these wines might be Bollinger’s “RD” series, except that Bollinger always works from a place of power and Delamotte from elegance and finesse.

The only challenge with these wines is finding them—they’re extremely rare and so when we discover a parcel of them, we jump on it as quickly as we can.  We’ve managed to secure a few different vintages, which just arrived, and lovers of the finest Champagnes shouldn’t hesitate to put these on their tables ASAP.

In Stock Now:

Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 1999 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 7 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“From a very warm and generous year, the 1999 Blanc de Blancs Collection (disgorged in October 2015) offers a rich and intense bouquet of ripe Chardonnay and buttercup. Rich, super ripe and intense, but also precise on the palate, this is a full-bodied, complex, mineral and fresh Champagne. It is very well-defined and even finesse-full, with great tension. This is at perfect maturity. It is a simply a great vintage Champagne that has been produced only in the vintages of 1964, 1970, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1990, 1999, 2000 and 2002.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Flavors of baked plum, lemon preserves, biscotti and crystallized honey are enlivened and focused by well-cut acidity that firms this harmonious Champagne. Lacy in texture and fresh, with a zesty finish of delicate spice and mineral details. Disgorged 2018. Drink now through 2024. 25 cases imported.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 1999 Brut Vintage (Collection) is a gorgeous wine that will especially please readers who enjoy Champagnes with the nuance that develops with time in bottle. Apricot jam, orange peel, hazelnut, dried flowers and lightly honeyed notes all develop in a rich, burnished Champagne endowed with tons of nuance intermingled with the freshness that Chardonnay in the Côte des Blancs expresses so eloquently. Certainly, the 1999 is a bit rustic relative to recent vintages here, but it nevertheless offers fine drinking.”

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Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 2000 750ML ($249.95) $219 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 2000 1.5L ($599.95) $499 special, 10 magnums in stock now

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Delamotte Collection Brut, Champagne 2002 1.5L ($599.95) $499 special, 3 magnums in stock now
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2002 Blanc de Blancs Millésimé Collection is showing superbly, bursting from the glass with aromas of lemon curd, lime zest, white flowers, praline and walnut oil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with muscular structuring extract, incisive acids and a long, complex finish. This is a beautifully complete, expressive vintage Delamotte that is beginning to drink well.”

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Additional noteworthy & mature Champagne, in stock now:

Duval-Leroy Femme de Champagne 2000 1.5L ($349.95) $299 special, 30 magnums in stock now
Wine Spectator 94 points
“A rich version, with beautiful integration and mouthwatering acidity that seems to amplify the flavors of toasted raisin bread, black currant, candied orange zest and salted almond. Fresh and focused, showing hints of oyster shell and spice on the lasting finish.”

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Pommery Cuvee Louise Brut Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($149.95) $128 special, 30 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 95 points
“This well-aged wine from a top Champagne vintage is just now ready to drink after 12 years. It has a touch of toast, but it’s the rich, complex texture and fine structure that set it apart. It’s not a dry wine, it feels soft. It is so well integrated, elegant with hints of apples, a layer of minerality and still-fresh final acidity.”
James Suckling 94 points “A beautifully seductive and creamy nose with plenty of honey and clotted cream across lemon and grapefruit. Some white peach too, really alluring. The palate’s nicely orchestrated and balanced; it builds in stages and delivers pithy lemon and grapefruit flavor amid assertive driving acidity, good depth and concentration. Another great ’02. Drink now or in five or more years.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2002 Cuvée Louise Brut is dressed in an intense citrus colored robe and offers – as if it was a Pfalz Riesling – ripe yellow fruit aromas of pineapples, oranges and ripe peaches along with noble yeasty layers in the background. Full-bodied, rich and fresh on the palate, Madame Louise is a firm and almost mineral structured, persistent Champagne of complexity, finishing with a refreshing citric aroma as well as a stimulating salinity and purity. Good length and balance.”

De Venoge Louis XV de Venoge Extra Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2002 750ML ($219.95) $189 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Harmonious, with fine intensity, offering rich notes of spice cake, toasted almond, dried cherry, grilled plum and smoky mineral. Almost velvety in texture, with juicy acidity that brings you back for another sip. Delicious. Drink now through 2022. 54 cases made.”

Shop our complete selection of 151 Champagnes in stock and on the way on our web store!

Thanks for reading!