In This Newsletter:
Rare 2017 Burlotto Barolos
Rare Magnums of Clos Rougeard
The Wines of Cascina delle Rose
Elegance in Barbaresco
Vie de Romans: Star Italian Whites
Merlin’s Exquisite Northern Rhône Reds
Rare 2017 Burlotto Barolos
Burlotto makes some of the most coveted bottles of Barolo out there. Resolutely traditional, and made with significant whole-cluster inclusion, they pull the rare trick of being both ethereal and powerful at the same time—all while aging beautifully over decades.
Unfortunately, over the last few years, they’ve become incredibly difficult to source, making today’s offer exceptionally rare. So rare, in fact, that we dare not list them on our website. Please call or email in your orders and we will process them in first come, first served fashion.
Only 12 bottles available
G. B. Burlotto Barolo 2017 750ML ($99.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The 2017 Barolo is gorgeous. Beautifully perfumed and lifted, the 2017 is pure class. Sweet red berry fruit, crushed flowers, mint, spice and orange peel are all nicely lifted in this silky, mid-weight Barolo. Drink it over the next decade. The is a blend from Breri, Rocche dell’ Olmo and Neirane, with a bit less Breri than normal, because the lower portions of the vineyard were affected by frost.”
Only 9 bottles available
G. B. Burlotto Barolo Acclivi 2017 750ML ($149.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2017 Barolo Acclivi is rich, enveloping and so expressive. Black cherry, lavender, spice, menthol and licorice fill out the layers nicely. Medium in body, with soft contours for a young Barolo, the Acclivi is so expressive today, before it starts to shut down with air. That bodes very well for its future. As it has been for a number of years, the Acclivi is the hidden gem in this range. The 2017 is a blend of Monvigliero, Neirane and Rocche dell’ Olmo, with less Monvigliero than normal because the younger vines went into the Langhe Nebbiolo, and a correspondingly higher presence of Rocche dell’Olmo.”
Only 3 bottles available
G. B. Burlotto Barolo Cannubi 2017 750ML ($219.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2017 Barolo Cannubi is enveloping and sensual right out of the gate. At the same time, it has plenty of tannic underpinning, which gives shape and real sense of direction. Like all the 2017s here, the Cannubi is decidedly mid weight in feel. Spice, leather, sweet pipe tobacco and subtle earthy notes linger. The Cannubi balances fruit intensity with a classic sense of structure. I can’t wait to see how it ages.”
Only 3 bottles available
G. B. Burlotto Barolo Monvigliero 2017 750ML ($899.95) $269 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points “The 2017 Barolo Monvigliero is such a classy wine. Light on its feet and beautifully perfumed, the Monvigliero is superb. The whole clusters are very nicely integrated. Rose petal, mint, sage and bright red berry fruit all run through this supremely gracious, deceptively mid-weight wine. It will almost certainly gain in volume over the coming year. As always, Monvigliero is done with 100% stems.”
New Burlotto wines will not be listed online.
Please call in or respond to this email to place your orders.
Domaine Rapet is a historic producer in the Cote de Beaune, yet one that remains under the radar—and underpriced—to this day. Based in Pernand-Vergelesses, which is a village we always look to for exceptional value in Burgundy, they’re known for an understated, classically elegant style.
These are fantastic bottles for anyone who loves Burgundy—with beautifully pure fruit and a very light touch on the oak front. The 2018’s reflect the outstanding, solar nature of the year with more accessible personalities and a bit more body, making them perfect to drink over the next ten years or so.
Arriving Early August:
Domaine Rapet Pere et Fils Sous Fretille, Pernand-Vergelesses Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2018 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille is showing superbly, unfurling in the glass with notes of dried white flowers, citrus oil, fresh peach and subtle hints of praline. Medium to full-bodied, satiny but incisive, it’s concentrated and tensile, concluding with a long, mineral finish. I’ve previously described this bottling as the insider’s choice chez Rapet, and the 2018 certainly merits that title.”
Winery note “Our new white Premier Cru, named “Sous Frétille”, comes from a parcel situated right below the virgin “Notre Dame de Bonnes Espérance” overlooking Pernand. The name Pernand possibly stems from the Gallic nanto, “stream, valley”, preceded either by the Latin base petra, “stone”, or the Gallic petru, “four”. Pernand can then be either the village of the four valleys, the village located at the crossroads or at a distance of four “bornes” (6 km) from Beaune. Frétille is the hill, measuring 385 m, where our beautiful village nestles. The name comes from the Frankisk first “ridge”, of which the medieval form freste has given the derivative frétille. The vines grow some fifty meters further up than the Clos du Village and we find the same exposure towards the south. However the slope is steeper and the soil poorer: 40 cm of top-layer soil, then white marl and limestone. Here the Chardonnay develops a finesse, an elegance, without loosing it’s incomparable touch of mineral.”
Domaine Rapet Pere et Fils Les Greves, Beaune Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($99.95) $75 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92+ points “The 2018 Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves is showing especially well, mingling aromas of cassis and cherries with hints of forest floor and burning embers. Medium to full-bodied, layered and lively, its deep core of fruit is underpinned by fine-grained tannins and lively acids. This will reward a bit of bottle age.”
Burghound 92 points “Sweet Spot Outstanding. An admirably pure and fresh nose of liqueur-like red and dark berries possesses even more evident floral elements along with plenty of warm earth influence. The ultra-refined mid-palate of the bigger-bodied flavors adds a sense of elegance to the balanced, long and impressively complex finish. This powerful effort is excellent though it’s clearly one to buy and cellar as it’s sufficiently firm to require extended bottle age.”
Winery note “A great Burgundy red wine from the Beaune commune. The grape variety used is Pinot Noir. This more than 50 year old parcel, on a very steep slope, is gradually revealing it’s potential to produce great wines. Grèves de Bourgogne, as the Graves du Médoc, designates a scree slope of small stones, gravelly and sandy soil, particularly ideal for wine-growing.”
Domaine Rapet Pere & Fils Les Cent Vignes, Beaune Premier Cru 2018 ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92 points “More reserved than the exuberant Bressandes, Rapet’s 2018 Beaune 1er Cru Les Cents Vignes unfurls in the glass with notes of cherries, raspberries, spices and rich soil tones. Medium to full-bodied, velvety and succulent, this has promising aging potential.”
Burghound 91 points “Outstanding. This too is attractively fresh with its nicely layered mix of red and dark raspberry, earth, spice and soft floral hints. The supple, plump and seductively textured medium weight flavors coat the palate with sappy dry extract that also buffers the firm tannic spine shaping the firm, dusty and serious finish. This fine Beaune will definitely need a few years of cellaring to soften the structure and render it more pliant.”
Winery note “This ‘climat’* on a gentle slope is characterized by a brown, very filtering limestone soil, mixed with clay and sand. The Pinot Noir expresses itself marvellously, blending the smoothness and roundness of the Beaunes with the force, richness and depth of the cellaring wines, the ‘vins de garde’.”
Domaine Rapet Pere et Fils Savigny-les-Beaune 2018 750ML ($49.95) $33 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 89+ points “Aromas of dark berries, blood orange and rich soil tones introduce the 2018 Savigny-lès-Beaune Aux Fourneaux, a medium to full-bodied, fleshy and textural wine that’s ample and generous, underpinned by a muscular chassis of ripe, powdery tannin. This will need time, but it possesses fine potential.”
Burghound 89 points “Outstanding Top Value. As is usually the case, this is at once riper and earthier with its aromas of sauvage-tinged poached plum. There is fine volume and impressive mid-palate density to the medium-bodied flavors that possess an abundance of dry extract, all wrapped in a rustic, firm and lingering finish. This offers fine quality for its level and is recommended.”
Winery note “The importance of this commune resides in the size of it’s surface and the number of renowned climats. Our Savigny-les-Beaune comes from the “les Fournaux” climat, characterized by a deep and ferruginous ground. The wines are coloured, elegant, quite powerful, marked by a dominant of Morello cherries, black currant, raspberry, then subsequently developing notes of undergrowth after some years. Savigny-les-Beaune is delicate with discreet tannins.”
Rare Magnums of Clos Rougeard
Clos Rougeard is one of the toughest wines in the world to source. Older vintages even more so—and that goes double for large formats. These are bottles that are some of the most coveted in the world—the only producer of their stature in the Loire, they’re on par with the highest end Burgundy. Collectors fight to get mere bottles of current releases, so it’s even more exciting to get our hands on these magnums of 2006, directly from our importer’s personal cellar, with perfect provenance.
Only one magnum available
Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg 2006 1.5L ($1,199.95) $999 pre-arrival special
David Schildknecht-Wine Advocate 92 points “Game, sweat, and saddle leather greet the nose from the Clos Rougeard 2006 Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg allied to sweet ripeness of black fruits, blond tobacco, sage, black pepper, and ginger. Given its aromas near-savage spiciness and pungency, this wine’s seamless richness and tender fruit and texture offer a striking but complimentary contrast. Crushed stone, nut paste, confitured blackberry, blond tobacco, and brown spices inform a memorably long finish. As much fun as it is to drink this today, it should be worth following for at least another 6-8 years.”
Only two magnums available
Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux 2006 1.5L ($999.95) $749 pre-arrival special
David Schildknecht-Wine Advocate 91 points “The Foucaults’ 2006 Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux is decidedly gamy in the nose, with concentrated blackberry and cassis as well as beet, rhubarb, sweet pea, brown spices, black tea, and dark leafy green notes, a remarkable combination that has me imagining a Cabernet Franc – Gruner Veltliner co-fermentation! Firmer, brighter, and more austere than the corresponding regular Clos bottling, this also displays saline, peaty, iodine mineral depth, all of which will set it in good stead for another 5-7 years of bottle aging, during which it is likely to retain its striking complexity while taking on a more flattering textural patina.”
Looking for other rare Rougeard treasures? Check out these rare wines, in stock now:
Clos Rougeard Saumur Blanc Breze 2007 750ML ($469.95) $399 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg 2005 750ML ($899.95) $679 special, 1 bottle in stock now
The next best price is $750
Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Le Bourg 2009 750ML ($679.95) $549 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny 2004 750ML ($399.95) $319 special, 3 bottles in stock now
The Wines of Cascina delle Rose
Elegance in Barbaresco
“Cascina delle Rose is without question one of the emerging estates in Barbaresco. Readers who have not tasted these wines should make a point of doing so, as they encapsulate everything that makes Barbaresco so alluring.”– Antonio Galloni
When coming up with a list of the “most beloved” Piemontese estates, Cascina delle Rose would definitely be on it—to the surprise of many who aren’t familiar with the estate. Cascina delle Rose does fly under the radar—that’s for sure, but those who know the wines love them and buy them year in and out. The love for the wines is easy to understand once you taste them—they’re soulful renditions in an elegant style. The grace the wines display is hard to come across in a region increasingly warming and concerned with critical appeal—they’re wines for a set, not for the masses.
These are wines with soaring aromatics and beautiful textures—and they’re surprisingly ageworthy for such ethereal bottlings, as well. These are wines that are striving for beauty and achieve it without sacrificing their drinkability and the ability to satisfy. The winemaking here is extremely traditional, verging on natural and the vineyard management fully organic.
In Stock Now:
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Rio Sordo 2015 750ML ($69.95) $59 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Cellar Selection. This fragrant and structured red opens with alluring scents of crushed rose, baking spice, wild berry and a whiff of menthol. Full bodied and elegant, the focused palate delivers succulent red cherry, crushed strawberry, orange zest, licorice and white pepper framed in taut refined tannins. Fresh acidity lends tension and keeps it balanced. Give it time to fully develop. Drink 2023–2035.”
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle 2015 750Ml ($79.95) $66 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle 2015 1.5L ($149.95) $128 special, 5 magnums in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe – Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Delicate tantalizing scents of woodland berry, rose petal, iris and exotic spice mingle with new leather and a balsamic whiff of cedar. The palate is ethereal, delivering cranberry, red cherry, star anise, brown pepper and crushed herb alongside tight fine-grained tannins. It’s still youthfully austere and needs time to come around and develop even more complexity. Drink 2025–2035.”
Cascina delle Rose Barbaresco Tre Stelle 2016 1.5L ($149.95) $128 special, 4 magnums in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Editor’s Choice. Enticing scents of rose, violet, menthol and nutmeg float above the glass on this fragrant, radiant red. Elegantly structured, the focused palate delivers raspberry compote, juicy cherry, star anise and cinnamon. Taut, ultrarefined tannins and bright acidity lend precision and balance. Drink 2022–2034.”
Cascina delle Rose Barbera d’Alba 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
“Here is a comparably food-friendly red wine to pair with simple roast meats or risotto with wild mushrooms. The Cascina delle Rose 2018 Barbera d’Alba is an easier wine when contrasted with the Barbera d’Alba Superiore Donna Elena from 2017 that I also tasted in this report. Yet this wine does not show that jammy ripeness that you get in the Superiore and ultimately shows more balance as a result. There is some softness with dried blackberry and Morello cherry, but the cooler 2018 vintage manages those aromas with more precision and a softer touch. Some 4,500 bottles were released.” -Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
Cascina delle Rose A Elizabeth Dolcetto d’Alba 2019 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Winery note ” Dolcetto grapes 100% from old vineyards in Tre Stelle and Rio Sordo. Fermentation and vinification in still for to exalt his crispness and purity. Its colour is bright ruby red with violet hues, crisp on the palate, delicate scent of wild rose and violet, cherry, red fruits and gooseberry, pleasant wine, which is the fruit pulp. Elegant notes ethereal, sensation of spices: cinnamon and cloves of carnation. Good structure acid, silky tannins and lovely aromatic persistence. It combines well with appetizers, pasta dishes with light sauces, fresh cheeses.”
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A standout value. This quality at ~$20 is really something.
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’, Valencia 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Celler del Roure ‘Safra’, Valencia 2017 750ML ($379.95) $239 special, (that’s only $19.92/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The third vintage of my favorite red, the 2017 Safrà is from an early and low-yielding year when they got larger grapes that delivered fresher and more fluid wines than a normal warm year. It fermented with 30% full clusters in stainless steel vats, and like all of these wines, it didn’t see any oak; it matured exclusively in 2,600-liter clay “tinaja” for six months. It’s floral and subtle, super elegant, without any excess, expressive and perfumed. The palate is equally elegant, with very fine tannins, good freshness and very tasty, almost salty flavors. This has to be the finest vintage for this wine. Even if 2017 can be similar to 2015, this feels more balanced and complete. Most of the wines are a bargain, and this is a steal.”
2016 was a standout Bordeaux vintage, and this is exceptional for the price.
Chateau Grand Corbin, Saint-Emilion 2016 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Chateau Grand Corbin, Saint-Emilion 2016 750ML ($599.95) $449 special (that’s only $37.42/bottle!)
Case-6 Chateau Grand Corbin, Saint-Emilion 2016 750ML ($299.95) $239 special (that’s only $39.83/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points “Attractive dark-stone aromas with graphite and ripe dark berries sit fresh on the nose. The palate has a riper feel with very rich, dense fruit presence and a heavier, tannin line weight. Full body. Try from 2022.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Grand Corbin has grown into a powerful, dense Saint-Émilion. This is a fairly rich, bombastic style, and yet all the elements fall into place. I would give the 2016 a few years in bottle to allow the tannins to soften, but there is good depth and plenty of potential. A rush of chocolate, leather, licorice, smoke and black cherry meld into the potent finish. Tasted three times with consistent notes.”
A stellar value from one of Soave’s top producers.
Tamellini Le Bine di Costiola Soave Classico 2018 750ML ($19.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Eric Guido-Vinous 92 points “The 2018 Soave Classico Le Bine de Costiola pulls you close to the glass with a beguiling display of musky apricot and peach contrasted by spiced lemon peel, incense and hints of curry leaf and wet stone. It’s silky and textural, yet buzzing with energy, as tart stone fruits and zesty citrus create inner tension, and honeyed florals form toward the close. This is wonderfully persistent, with a coating of glycerol-like fruits that are washed clean by residual acids and salty minerals.”
The grilling red of the summer.
Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau Silex, Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Case-6 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau Silex, Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2017 750ML ($159.95) $136 special (that’s only $22.67/bottle!)
Case-12 Les Vignerons de Tautavel Vingrau Silex, Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2017 750ML ($319.95) $259 special (that’s only $21.58/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93-95 points “The 2017 Côtes Du Roussillon Villages Tautavel Silex might end up matching (or even surpassing) the 2016. The same 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan brought up in tank, it offers a ripe, medium to full-bodied, straight-up sexy style to go with complex notes of kirsch, black olives, black licorice, and dried garrigue. It’s a powerful yet elegant red that has tons of potential.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 93 points “A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Carignan from old vines, the 2017 Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel Silex is partly aged in barrel and part in tank. It delivers just enough cedar on the nose to let you know there’s barrel influence, without overwhelming the terroir-derived hints of crushed stone or the varietal notes of dark berries. Full-bodied, concentrated and supple, it’s a terrific bottle of Roussillon wine, with a long, elegant finish.”
One of the best selling Chateauneufs in the history of Vinopolis.
Domaine Olivier Hillaire Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand, Rhône 2016 750ML ($99.95) Was $79 Now $69, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 96 points “The 2016 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand comes from a parcel of Grenache originally planted at the end of the 19th century in a sandy part of La Crau. It’s Hillaire’s flagship, and it merits its status this vintage, where it shines with raspberry fruit and layers of dried spice complexity. It’s full-bodied and rich yet silky, elegant and long on the finish, epitomizing the delicious contradictions that Grenache can present.”
The next best price is $85
Graciano for Burgundy lovers.
Viña Zorzal ‘Cuatro del Cuatro’, Navarra 2018 750ML ($36.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Viña Zorzal ‘Cuatro del Cuatro’, Navarra 2018 750ML ($199.95) $165 special (that’s only $27.50/bottle!)
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 94 points “The pure Graciano 2018 Cuatro del Cuatro was first produced in 2015 as an homage to the Sanz brothers’ father, who kept his Graciano vines when the majority ripped them up. They have seen that, with a soft vinification, the variety is not as rustic as most think and, in fact, can be quite elegant. 2018 was a tricky vintage for the variety, and the wine has moderate alcohol (13.3%), a very low pH (3.35) and notable acidity (six grams of tartaric acid per liter). It was produced with grapes grown in the village of Corella (especially from a vineyard planted in 1978), which has more Mediterranean influence that Fitero, the other village where they have the majority of their vineyards. This is a super serious Graciano, fresher than the majority of varietal bottlings out there, as they have lost the fear of harvesting it earlier, and it delivers a very spicy wine, with lots of black and even white peppercorns. I think this is very much in line with the 2016. It matured in used oak barrels of different sizes, and they did a barrel selection to produce 2,900 bottles of it.”
With the brothers officially announcing their retirement, we’ve seen interest in these wines spike.
Merkelbach Ürziger Würzgarten Auslese Urglück, Mosel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
John Gilman 94 points “The Urglück section of the Würzgarten is the Merkelbachs’ filet section, still planted with ungrafted old vines. The 2018 Urglück Auslese from Weingut Merkelbach is an utterly refined and effortless example of the vintage. The bouquet is the epitome of elegance, wafting from the glass in a blend of pear, apple, strawberry chiffon, bee pollen, lovely minerality, lime blossoms and hints of the honeycomb to come with bottle age. On the palate the wine is pure, bright and fullish, with lovely filigree and focus, a fine core, good mineral undertow and a long, nascently complex and simply superb finish. This is not flashy, but the one more pays attention to it, the further one is drawn into its bottomless sense of beauty. 2026-2065.”
Stupidly good for the price. Bone dry and delightful.
Von Winning Riesling Sekt Extra Brut Pfalz, Deidesheim NV 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points “I’m lucky to have enjoyed this exciting Riesling Sparkler on a few occasions now. I love its intensity, crisp detail and briskly dry profile that make it celebratory but sublime with meals especially first courses or as an aperitif to whet the palate. German bubbles are incredible and this one is a classy example at a reasonable price, not to be outdone by Prosecco, the Cremants of Alsace, the Loire and Burgundy, and Champagne even, these modern Sekt(s) are stylish, elegant and full of personality. This one [is] in the mold of one of my favorite small Champagne house, Agrapart, with its cool invigorating mineral tones and extreme dry flavors. Von Winning is one of Germany’s top wineries, based in the chalky sandstone soiled Pfalz region, with an exceptional range of wines, especially their absolutely awesome series of Grosses Gewachs (Grand Cru) Rieslings, though there is excellence throughout the collection here and as I have noted in my prior reviews, Von Winning does one of the finest Sauvignon Blanc(s) in the world, too. The Extra Brut Riesling Sekt is vibrant and steely from the start with a mix of zesty citrus and peachy fruits, a hint of wet stones, leesy/yeasty notes and a faint floral element all of which folds together nicely and vigorously on the energy driven light to medium bodied palate that gains texture with air, but stays firmly taut with an expressive, subtly luxurious small bubbled mousse…”
This continues to be one of the best values in Chardonnay out there.
Sandhi Zuni Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2019 750ML ($34.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Sandhi Zuni Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2019 750ML ($399.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Winery note “If you’ve ever sat at San Francisco’s iconic Zuni Café with a plate of oysters in front of you while you wait for the iconic whole roast chicken, you may have had a glass or two of this collaboration between longtime friends Rajat Parr of Sandhi and Zuni wine director Thierry Lovato. The wine is a barrel selection from some of Sandhi’s iconic Sta. Rita Hills sites, (think Mt. Carmel, Sanford & Benedict) with enough own-rooted, 1973 Wente selection Bien Nacido Chardonnay blended in to warrant a Santa Barbara County designation.”
Vie de Romans: Star Italian Whites
“Year after year, Vie di Romans makes some of my favorite Italian Chardonnays… Gianfranco Gallo’s Vie di Romans is one of the most accomplished, quality-minded estates in Italy. I am always impressed by their offerings” –Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
Vie di Romans is one of the flagship wineries of Friuli—arguably the greatest white-wine producing region of Italy. Named for the ancient Roman road that defines one of their vineyards, they sit in the prestigious Isonzo section of the region, with a warmer micro-climate that makes developing powerful, rich whites easier.
Those whites are held back an extra year before release and age beautifully, as well—a tribute to the fine balance between power and minerality that makes these some of the most intriguing, food-friendly bottles around. Their attention to detail is the key to producing wines with beauty, mystery, wildness and elegance all in one bottle.
Given the quality of the wines, we always expect their prices to be higher—but Friuli remains one of the last great bargains for exceptional bottles. If you’re a drinker of Sancerre, top-end California Chardonnay, or white Burgundy, you owe it to yourself to stock your cellar with these.
The wines have been moving briskly, and so we’ve brought in additional stock—plus a new single-vineyard Chardonnay.
In Stock Now:
Vie di Romans Chardonnay ‘Vie di Romans’ Friuli Isonzo 2018 750ML ($34.95) $29.50 special, 25 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “Polished, clear and silky, the Vie di Romans 2018 Friuli Isonzo Chardonnay Vie di Romans is a beautifully balanced wine that gives equal weight to the intensity and quality of the fruit and the abundantly enriched texture of the mouthfeel. This is Chardonnay presented in 360-degree splendor with peach, melon, honey, pastry crust and cream custard. Ten months of aging on the yeasts gives the wine added dimension and opulent richness. Saffron, spice, cumin and fragrant sandstone are intermingled on the long and silky finish.”
Eric Guido-Vinous 94 points “As is usually the case, the Chardonnay Vie di Romans really stands out amongst its peers, especially in the 2018 vintage. There’s an undeniable richness to the bouquet as this gorgeous expression slowly blossoms in the glass. Pretty white and yellow florals, lemon confit, hints of custard, peach and sweet melon all come forward over time. It’s silky and pliant in texture, with formidable weight, yet balanced by brisk acids, as ripe citrus-tinged fruits and minerals excite the senses. A subtle hint of sweet exotic spice and almond lingers on the long and dramatic finish. The 2018 is charming today, yet also full of potential.”
James Suckling 94 points “A rich, aromatic white with sliced and cooked apple, steel and stone. Full-bodied with layers of fruit, but in a focused and polished way. It’s creamy and fruity with a round texture and a delicious, flavorful finish. Mineral and steely notes at the end. Drink or hold.”
Vie di Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo 2018 750ML ($33.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94+ points “The Vie di Romans 2018 Friuli Isonzo Pinot Grigio Dessimis boasts a pale copper color with amber and peachy pink highlights. This vintage is not as wide or as texturally generous as the 2017 vintage also tasted in this report. However, the 2018 offers lifted, sharp fruit that is delineated and pure. Those subtle mineral nuances also appear with more clarity. There is tart berry, white cherry, wild mint and bitter almond. I also taste a mild tannic crunch. That structure comes from extended maceration on Pinot Grigio skins, as does the wine’s pretty color. It would be interesting to check in on its evolution in five year’s time. The wine ages on the lees for two months in French barrique.”
James Suckling 96 points “Beautiful rose-gold color with lots of ripe pear, golden apple, mango and pineapple on the nose. Hint of honey. It’s full-bodied and creamy on the palate with toasted almonds alongside tropical fruit. Smoky minerality, too. Drink or hold.”
Vie di Romans Flors di Uis Friuli Isonzo 2018 750ML ($31.95) $27 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Vie di Romans Flors di Uis Friuli Isonzo 2018 750ML ($349.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Malvasia Istriana 57%, Tocai 8% and Rhein Riesling 35%
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “The Vie di Romans 2018 Cuvée Friuli Isonzo Flors di Uis is an assembly of Malvasia, Riesling and Friulano that builds beautiful intensity on both the nose and the palate. Attempting to dissect the bouquet is not easy because there are so many elements to take under consideration, from orchard fruit and ripe apple to custard cream. The protagonist of the blend is Malvasia, and the wine’s floral notes of honeysuckle and yellow rose are quite amplified as a result. Thanks to nine months of aging on the lees, the wine is broad, rich and generous to the end.”
James Suckling 93 points “Lovely, perfumed nose of lilies, lime blossom, passion fruit and lychee. More citrus-peel and lightly herbaceous notes on the palate. This is full-bodied and very intense, yet there’s some good acidity. Warm finish. Drink now.”
Vie di Romans Vieris Sauvignon Friuli Isonzo 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “This was a vintage that saw reduced yields across the board with quite a few climatic challenges thrown at winemakers in Friuli. The team at Vie di Romans was evidently undeterred by the bad weather, instead producing a wine with some hot-vintage aromas of ripe apricot and honey that are well balanced against the fleshy richness of the mouthfeel. The 2017 Friuli Isonzo Sauvignon Blanc Vieris (which is aged on the lees in oak) shows softness and silkiness, all capped by abundant stone fruit, melon and pear. The results are impressive, and 33,753 bottles were released.”
James Suckling 95 points “Extremely fresh and intense with waxy and lemony character, as well as candied apples. Full body. Lots of fruit and flavor. Layered and powerful. Excellent depth and flavor intensity. Drink now.”
Merlin’s Exquisite Northern Rhône Reds
After studying under Rene Rostaing, François Merlin planted his first vineyard in the late 1980s. Since then, he’s been meticulously caring for his tiny acreage and making exquisite, if under-the-radar, Rhône wines. Preferring to let the grapes speak for themselves, he ages the wines in mostly neutral oak and steel. These are fresh and vibrant wines that, coming from the warm 2018 vintage, are beautiful now with grippy tannins and balanced acids indicating a long life ahead of them, particularly the Côte Rôtie and the Saint Joseph. While the IGP Syrah is a winner and a staff pick for hearty meals.
In Stock Now:
Domaine François Merlin Côte Rôtie, Rhône 2018 750ML ($79.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Domaine François Merlin Côte Rôtie, Rhône 2018 750ML ($479.95) $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Decanter 93 points “A very soft style, very ripe and juicy. Fairly tannic, but they’re ripe and yielding with flavours of black fruit coulis and touch of liquorice. It has fairly high alcohol with a saline finish – there’s freshness despite the very ripe fruit. This is a palate-coating, fairly opulent style but will be good when it’s ready – has length.”
Domaine François Merlin Saint-Joseph, Rhône 2018 750ML ($39.95) $26 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Domaine François Merlin Saint-Joseph, Rhône 2018 750ML ($479.95) $279 special (that’s only $23.25/bottle!)
Decanter 91 points “An approachable wine that has lifted cedar and incense on the nose. Very plush with soft fruits, slightly lacking in acidity perhaps, but it’s an authentic representation of the vintage, not overly corrected. Good natural sense to the fruit, it’s expressive, unrestrained. Not overly marked by oak spice. South-facing granite terroir, 70% of vines are 45-years-old, the rest are 15-years-old. All destemmed, 12 months in barriques and demi-muids, from 1 to 4 years-old.”
Domaine François Merlin Brocéliande Syrah, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes 2018 750ML ($27.95) $17 special, 20 bottles in stock now
VinopolNote “Staff pick! Shows dark fruit, spice, and warm iron on the nose. Leather and black cherries leads into gingerbread and dried cherries with air. On the palate, the wine is impactful with flavors of spice and black berries. The light astringency of the tannins and solid acidity keep everything in check. There’s an aroma of black tea, plum and dark chocolate on the finish. A fantastic wine to pair with roast meats, game, or ratatouille.”
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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