VinopolPick – Monday August 17th

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Flash Sale; New Week, New Arrivals; Staff Picks; Arriving Next Week; Priorat; Chateauneuf du Pape; Germany – By the Vineyard: Scharzhofberg; Time to Say Good Buy

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Flash Sale

Hundred Acre Few and Far Between Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2011 750ML ($419.95) Was $369, Now $319, 5 bottles available
Robert Parker 94-96 points “Another great success that escaped the insidious spread of botrytis on the valley floor is the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Few and Far Between. One of the top wines of the vintage, the Cabernet Franc component gives the wine a multidimensional aromatic display of forest floor, blueberries, mulberries, black raspberries, plums, black currants and a wet rock-like minerality. The rich, full-bodied flavors seem almost an anomaly in this vintage given its extraordinary irregularity and frequent disappointments. This prodigious 2011 is a candidate for the wine of the vintage.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $399

Harlan Estate, Napa Valley 2003 750ML ($599.95) Was $479, Now $449, 2 bottles available
Robert Parker 98+ points “One of the most backward yet promising wines of the vintage is the 2003 Harlan Estate. Its dense opaque plum/purple color is accompanied by a sumptuous bouquet of graphite, camphor, creme de cassis, smoky barbecue wood and a hint of forest floor. Similar flavors hit the mouth with full-bodied splendor, a multidimensional mouthfeel and texture, and the sensational finish lasts more than 45 seconds. Some tannins are still present, and this wine seems much younger than expected at ten years of age, so give it 4-5 more years of bottle age and consume it over the following 20-25 years.” RP

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $675

Colgin Cellars Herb Lamb Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2003 750ML ($299.95) Was $219, Now $199, 2 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Almost black in color. Flavors are of blackberry, cassis, Provençal herbs; the 100% new oak adds rich toast and char notes. Tannins are brilliant, dense and fluffy. Grown at the base of Howell Mountain, this is classic mountain Cab, beautiful now, fleshy and fat, but with a 20-year lifespan.” WE

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $255
The average price is $279

Colgin Cellars IX Estate Syrah, Napa Valley 2010 750ML ($499.95) Was $359, Now $319, 3 bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points “The 2010 IX Estate Syrah is one of the most compelling Syrahs ever made in California. It ranks alongside some of the perfect Syrahs from Sine Qua Non in Santa Ynez and the Santa Rita Hills. Tasting like liquified steak au poivre with blackberry and blueberry sauce, this amazing wine reveals staggering aromas of flowers, bouquet garni, melted asphalt, licorice, pepper and meaty notes. It should drink well for 15+ years assuming you have that much patience.” RP

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $377

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New Arrival Special Feature

Brick House Vineyards ‘Cuvee du Tonnelier’ Pinot Noir 2013 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
From the winery “The name, roughly translated as “the barrel maker’s cuvée,” honors the legacy of the winemaker’s father whose family were “tonneliers” or coopers in 17th century France. The wine is blended from the oldest vines on the farm; the ten acre block of Pommard clones just south of the brick house planted in 1990. Typically this cuvée offers cinnamon, allspice and earthy notes of forest floor and bramble. In some years the Cuvée du Tonnelier includes significant whole cluster fermented fruit, contributing powerful structure with supple fruit. Like all our Pinot Noir bottling, the Cuvée typically benefits from four to eight years in the cellar but it is often the first of our reserve Pinot Noirs to be generously approachable.”

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Snowden Vineyards The Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon The Ranch is plump, racy and intense to the core. Dark red cherries, plums, clove and new leather blossom in an explosive, resonant Cabernet Sauvignon built on pure texture. Interestingly, in 2012 Snowden did not bottle their Reserve, so all the best fruit went into the Ranch, a wine that delivers considerable value by Napa Valley standards. Healthy dollops of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot round out the blend.” AG

Domaine de la Vougeraie Cote de Beaune Les Pierres Blanches Blanc 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2012 Côtes de Beaune Les Pierres Blanches is marked by its fabulous energy and precision. Green pear, lemon, slate and grapefruit jump from the glass in a precise, finely cut white to drink now and over the next few years.” AG

Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin La Justice 2012 750ML ($99.95) $69 special
Wine Spectator 93 points “Well-marked by new oak, this leads off with vanilla and toast aromas, followed by cherry and black currant flavors lurking underneath, marshaled by vivid acidity and embedded, chalky tannins. Hangs together through the lingering aftertaste of fruit and spice. Best from 2020 through 2035.” WS

Domaine de la Vougeraie Les Corvees Pagets, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2011 750ML ($88.95) $69 special
Stephen Tanzer—Vinous 92 points “Good medium red. Spicy red berries dominate the nose. Sweet, round and silky, with harmonious acidity giving shape to the flavors of raspberry, flowers, chocolate and pepper. Very polished, graceful wine with piquant finishing minerality and sneaky concentration. Delicious already but has the balance to age.”

Domaine Chambeyron Cote Rotie La Chavarine 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 90 points “Bright ruby. High-pitched aromas of red and dark berries, potpourri and woodsmoke pick up a peppery nuance with air. Sappy, sharply focused black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors expand slowly on the back half, with a gentle floral pastille nuance emerging. Soft tannins shape the finish, which lingers with good sweet persistence.” JR

Domaine le Capitaine Vouvray Les Perrieres Sec 2014 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
From the winery “Exclusively made from the chenin blanc grape, the cuvée “Les Perrières” 2012, a dry white wine was born on the northern bank of the loire within the Vouvray appellation in the Touraine district ‘the garden of France.’”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Terra Laura Cour-Cheverny 2010 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Importer notes “Terra Laura is a new 50 acre estate founded by Laura Semeria and her husband Dominique in 2007. With the aim to produce wines at the highest level the appellation has to offer, they purchased an old estate with vineyards planted with vines 15-80 years of age located in the appellation of Cheverny in the Loire Valley. They are also one of the few producers of the tiny appellation of Cour-Cheverny.”

Le Galantin Bandol Blanc 2014 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Importer note “This delicious blend of Clairette 60% and Ugni Blanc 40% comes from terraced, low-yield vineyards of clay and limestone; the classic soils of Domaine le Galantin. White wine is rare in Bandol, accounting for only 5% of the appellation’s wines. The bouquet offers floral notes with a hint of the wild herbs of the garrigue coming from the mature Clairette vines. The palate is dominated by fresh fruits and a vivacious finish. Perfect with shellfish or grilled fish.”

Giacomo Fenocchio Barolo Bussia, Barolo DOCG 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
James Suckling 92 points “Walnut, berry and milk chocolate character on the nose and palate. Full and chewy with round and soft tannins and a savory finish. Better in 2017.” JS

Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2010 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella sees fruit sourced from various vineyard sites. The blend of fruit is Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara and Dindarella that all see up to four months of appassimento (air-drying in ventilated rooms). The wine offers Tedeschi’s distinctive sweetness – a quality that I assign specifically to this producer – backed by a tight tannic structure. This Amarone promises a long aging future ahead.” ML

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Mid-West, East & South – Summer Shipping Saver

Whisk your wine through warmer weather!
Now for the summer season we are offering UPS Three Day Select Service for the price of UPS Ground for shipments normally travelling 4 or more business days.

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Staff Picks

Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett Erste Lage 2013 750ML ($37.95) $21.90 special
Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett Erste Lage 2013 375ML ($21.95) $14 special
“This opulent Riesling has an aroma of crush peaches and mint. It’s sourced from the estate’s top vineyard, which is covered in Devonian slate. It’s rich and full in body with a lingering waxy texture and a surprising vibrancy given its lushness. The sweetness is nicely balanced by the high acidity. Enjoy on its own or with spicy pork dishes.”

Guy Bossard Domaine de l’Ecu Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine Sur Lie Granite, Loire 2013 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special
“Charming and complex in equal measure, this bottle proves that there’s much more to Muscadet than oysters and easy-drinkin’. The dryness and minerals you’d expect meet a unique palate of melon, citrus fruit, salty ocean air, and an intriguing touch of savory herbs. A lovely problem-solver of a wine, whether one seeks refreshment, no-fuss food pairings, or a respite from the unwarranted barrage of boring white wines which mid-August so often falls victim to. Pro tip: it also ages terrifically!”

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Just a reminder about our current shipping specials during this season:

For the Mid-West, East, and South during the summer season we are offering UPS Three Day Select Service for the price of UPS Ground for shipments that would normally travel four or more business days to their destination.

We offer flat rate shipping on any size single order / single shipment
-to Oregon for $17,
-Washington & Idaho for $20,
-and California for $25

These rates do not apply to orders held in storage here for any reason.
Multiple orders consolidated into one shipment do not qualify for flat rate shipping.

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Arriving This Week

Castello di Ama ‘Ama’, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Castello di Ama ‘Ama’, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2010 750ML ($259.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “This exquisite wine offers classic Sangiovese aromas of violet, wild cherry and tobacco leaf. The palate delivers bright red cherry, mint and cinnamon notes along with vibrant acidity and bracing but supple tannins. It’s extremely elegant and should develop complexity over the next few years.” WE
Wine Spectator 90 points “Cherry, licorice, spice and mineral flavors give this dimension, while the lively acidity lends focus. Balanced and long, with berry fruit and spice details gracing the finish. Drink now through 2020.” WS

Domaine La Barroche Chateauneuf-du-Pape Signature 2012 750ML ($74.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 92 points “The direct black currant and fig paste notes are underscored with tobacco, tar and roasted alder hints, revealing an echo of Black Forest cake. The finish rumbles along, leaving a dark, slightly muscular feel. Best from 2015 through 2027.” WS

Snowden Vineyards Lost Vineyard Merlot, Napa Valley 2012 750ML ($44.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 88 points “The 2012 Merlot Lost Vineyard is a pretty wine to drink now and over the next few years. Silky and nicely textured in the glass, the 2012 shows good depth along with the outgoing personality of the vintage. Hints of tobacco, cedar and spice are laced into the finish.” AG

Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Santenots, Volnay Premier Cru 2011 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Burghound 90 points “This offers a step up in aromatic elegance with a pure and highly complex nose of extract of cassis, plum, violets and black cherries. There is a very suave and seductive texture to the delicious, lacy and lightly mineral-inflected middle weight flavors that firm up on the solidly long finish. This is markedly finer than the Cardeuse but only a bit more complex.”

Domaine Bernard Moreau et Fils Les Vergers, Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($119.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2013 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru les Vergers, which debuted in 2002 and comes from purchased grapes, was taken from tank and will be bottled next February/March. Matured in around 25 to 30% new oak, it has a floral bouquet: hints of white flowers accompanying the citrus fruit dallying with walnut. The palate is lively and citric on the entry with orange zest and Clementine notes, the acidity taut and lending linearity toward the long, shaved ginger-tinged finish. This should be a delight once in bottle.”NM

Rene et Vincent Dauvissat Chablis, Burgundy 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 87-90 points “Lemon oil, white flowers and orchard fruit are laced together in Dauvissat’s 2013 Chablis. There is plenty of nuance in the glass, but I also can’t help noting how open the Chablis is at this very early stage. The 2013 finishes with notable freshness and vibrancy. Today my sense is that the 2013 will be a very pretty early drinker, but then again, the wines here have a proven track record of aging exceptionally well.” AG

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Les Champlots, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2013 Saint Aubin 1er Cru Champlots has a more austere bouquet compared to Pierre-Yves’s other premier crus: stony, touches of damp moss in an old churchyard. The palate is well balanced with sharp acidity on the entry: sour lemon, hints of apricot with quite an intense saline finish, this is a very well-crafted Saint Aubin that should repay time in the cellar. There’s something enigmatic about this wine.” WA

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey La Chateniere, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($79.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points ‘The 2013 Saint Aubin 1er Cru Chatenière is initially reticent on the nose, but it unfolds with time in the glass with delicate orange blossom and white peach aromas that remain very well defined. The palate is crisp and tensile on the entry. There is a wonderful salinity here, very good persistence in the mouth with a taut, linear finish that begs another sip. Top class.” WA

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Les Combes, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 88-90 points “The 2013 Saint Aubin les Combes has another very expressive bouquet with hints of mango and overripe Satsumas combining nicely with the mineral component. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, quite refined, although it just eases off a little prematurely on the tapered finish. Otherwise I envisage this slipping down the throat with ease.” WA

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Les Creots, Saint-Aubin Premier Cru 2013 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “The 2013 Saint Aubin 1er Cru les Creots has very fine mineralité on the nose: flint and wet limestone, almost Puligny-like in style. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, hints of orange zest and lime with a dash of spice to round things off nicely on the finish. It does not quite have the complexity of a top climats, but it is still very well crafted and should offer a decade of drinking pleasure, possibly more.” WA

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Nestled in the southwest of Catalonia, the wines of the Priorat denomination have skyrocketed from relative obscurity to enjoy front-and-center attention from collectors, critics, and drinkers alike. Yields are markedly low even by Spanish standards with old vines, extreme hot and cold seasons, and nutrient-poor soils all culprit to its limited output. Quartz and slate soils dominate the dusty terrain, with the first vine planted by monks dating back to the 12th Century.

Garnacha dominates here, with the native Cariñena grape rounding out. Most Priorat wines age for at least a year in oak, with three qualifiers based on maturation periods: Crianza spends a year in oak and a year in bottle prior to release, Reserva spends a year in oak and then two years in bottle, and Gran Reserva spends two years in oak and three in bottle.

Of particular note are the wines of Alvaro Palacio, considered by many to be a torchbearer for “The New Spain.” Born to a family of Rioja winemakers, Palacio studied enology in Bordeaux and worked under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Pétrus. Though a return to Rioja seemed inevitable, Palacio was instead drawn to the relative obscurity of Priorat in the 1980’s – many vineyards sat abandoned, and the pre-Phylloxera vines lining steep hills and terraces evoked a sense of hope.

Since then, Palacio has helped the region earn high regard and respect through vintage after vintage of mature, powerful, and age-worthy wines. Below, we list some of his – and others – which deserve particular attention.

Priorat Wines Available Here Now

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat, Priorat DOCa 2014 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 12 bottles available
Wine Advocate 90 points “Bottled one week before my tasting in February 2015, the entry-level 2014 Camins del Priorat is the only wine that contains French grapes and is more or less 50% Garnacha, 15% Cariñena, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah and 5% Merlot. The grapes are sourced from vineyards in many different villages, fermented in stainless steel, oak and cement vats with indigenous yeasts and aged in barriques and oak vats for six months. This ultra young, jovial wine is a commercial success in the thirsty local restaurant market. It is really affordable too, considering that it bears the signature of Álvaro Palacios. It is bottled at different phases, released already because 2012 and 2013 were short vintages, and this lot is the first bottling with around four months in barrel; the last lot is kept in large oak and cement vats so all lots are more or less four months in barrels. Ripe, juicy and somewhat balsamic, it shows a Priorat character that is highly drinkable with fine tannins and pungent flavors. It is a wine to enjoy at the table. I missed the 2013 because this wine sells like hot cakes. Very good wine at a very good price.” LG

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($79.95) $59 special, 24 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94 points “(100% garnacha): Brilliant ruby. Potent red berry liqueur and floral scents are complemented by deeper notes of licorice, cola and licorice, with a mineral nuance adding lift and focus. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated but lively spice-tinged raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a touch of candied flowers. Silky tannins add shape to the extremely long, fruit-driven finish, which leaves a sexy spicecake note behind. In the context of elite Priorat wines this is a serious value.” ST

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Alvaro Palacios ‘Les Terrasses’ Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($44.95) $36 special, 36+ bottles available
Case-12 Alvaro Palacios ‘Les Terrasses’ Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($419.95) $359 special, 5 cases available (that’s only $29.92/bottle and the lowest listed price in the USA today!)
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Brilliant ruby. Potent, mineral-laced raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by exotic floral and spice qualities, picking up white pepper and mocha accents with air. Seamless and sweet, offering silky red berry preserve flavors with a touch of allspice. Closes lively and precise, with sneaky tannins and a jolt of bitter cherry.” ST

Alvaro Palacios ‘Les Terrasses’ Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa 2013 750ML ($44.95) $31.90 special, 23 bottles available
Case-12 Alvaro Palacios ‘Les Terrasses’ Velles Vinyes, Priorat DOCa 2013 750ML ($479.95) $333 special, 1 case available (that’s only $27.75/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2013 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes, from a rainy year and a late harvest that resulted in perfect ripeness and low yields, is a blend of 55% Garnacha and 45% Cariñena. You might find labels and literature referring Cariñena to as Samsó, something that is wrong and creates confusion since Samsó is the Catalan name for Cinsault. The grapes are sourced from different villages (Gratallops, La Vilella Baixa, Bellmunt, El Lloar, El Molar, Porrera, Scala Dei, Torroja and Poboleda) all of them grown on schist llicorella soils, fermented in a combination of oak and cement vats with natural yeasts and matured in barrique for one year. It has a meaty nose with aromas that transported me to the Northern Rhône, showing smoky bacon intermixed with violets and really well-integrated oak resulting in a very fine and elegant impression. It seems more refined than other vintages of Les Terrasses, lighter and more elegant with none of the volatility or oak of yesteryear. It is really fine, polished and is without edges. Somehow within the Atlantic vintage you can see the Mediterranean character. Awesome Terrasses and good value for Priorat. 95,500 bottles produced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Bodegas La Cartuja, Priorat DOCa 2013 750ML ($21.95) $17 special, 24 bottles available
Case-12 Bodegas La Cartuja, Priorat DOCa 2013 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 1 case available (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90 points “(70% garnacha and 30% carinena; aged for six months in French oak): Bright violet color. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes dark berries and fresh flowers, with a spicy nuance gaining strength with air. Juicy and energetic on the palate, showing a silky texture and juicy blackberry and cassis flavors. The smooth, smoky finish shows very good clarity and a whisper of fine-grained tannins.”

Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2013 750ML ($21.95) $18 special, 36+ bottles available
Robert Parker 95 points “Another unbelievable wine from 65-year-old vines planted in the schist soils of this area of Priorat. The 2013 Gratallops shows sensational aromatics of spring flowers, licorice, crushed rock, black currants and blackberry notes that all soar from the glass of this lush, seamlessly constructed full-bodied, opulent wine that is just a mind-boggling effort. It is a blend of 50% Grenache, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Carignan and 10% Syrah aged six months in barrel, as well as concrete tanks. Purity and presence of this wine in its aromatics and flavors are just remarkable. The average age of the vines that went into this cuvée are 65 years. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.” RP

Cellar Pasanau Ceps Nous, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($27.95) $18 special, 30 bottles available
Importer note “The Pasanaus are perennial growers in La Morera, the highest municipality of Priorat, with vineyards at over 2,400 feet elevation abutting the sheer rock wall of the Sierra de Montsant. Gravelly scree eroded from the cliffs covers the underlying llicorella slate, together with the elevation creating a less Mediterranean microclimate relative to the region as a whole.”

Rotllan Torra Crianza, Priorat DOCa 2010 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 90 points “Aromatic, with floral, spice and smoke notes, this expressive red follows through with kirsch, vanilla and mountain herb flavors that mingle in the firm texture. Balsamic accents round out the package. Drink now through 2020.” WS

Rotllan Torra Reserva, Priorat DOCa2009 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 4 bottles available
Winery note “[Translated] Grapes were hand-harvested as each plot reached optimum ripeness. The nose presents the best of new oak: toast and spicy notes, with an undernote of ripe raspberries and blueberries. As the highly aromatic wine evolves in the glass, it gradually shows spicy aromas, notes of ripe red fruit and some notes of licorice. The palate has moderate acidity with a round, well-structured mouthfeel and sweet, velvety tannins giving smoothness and an elegant and long finish. Very pleasant in the mouth, soothing, silky, very persistent, with long aftertaste that leaves the palate full of a complex array of aromas that invite drinking. A wine of extraordinary quality. A harmony of textures, elegant, black cherry, spice and toasty oak.”

Priorat Wines Arriving This Month

Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($219.95) $169 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 98 points “After no 2011 was produced, the 2012 Clos Erasmus comes with renewed energy, a much fresher approach and a more transparent wine while keeping the slate typicity of Gratallops even in a tiny-yielding vintage. Part of the wine aged in 700-liter clay amphorae and the rest in Burgundy barrels that added a spicy patina to the nose, yet very much respected the wet slate character of the vintage. Contrary to previous vintages, the core of fruit is red rather than black; the 2013 that I tasted (not in bottle) followed pretty much this same direction. The palate shows power, elegance and a special mineral savoriness akin to licking stones. There is more Garnacha in the blend (there’s only 15% Syrah) which gives a Mediterranean juiciness. A new life for Erasmus, very much recognizable as Priorat, Gratallops and Erasmus, but with a more elegant haircut. Only 2,000 bottles produced.” WA

Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ‘Laurel’, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2012 Laurel is a blend of 70% Garnacha, 20% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had a different élevage as it matured in a combination of used barriques, 20-hectoliter oak vats, cement vats and 700-liter amphorae. This is a very savory vintage of Laurel with pungent, almost saline flavors. The wet slate and black fruit that I link to Gratallops are present but the wine is much fresher than anticipated for a warm and especially dry vintage in a hot village like Gratallops. There is a balsamic twist in the background, but the place comes through stronger than grapes or process. I also tasted the 2013 a couple of weeks before bottling and it showed even better than the already great 2012. 9,000 bottles produced.” WA
Josh Raynolds–Vinous 93 points “(75% garnacha, 20% syrah and 5% cabernet sauvignon; aged in a combination of wooden upright vats and two- to four-year-old French oak barrels): Opaque ruby. Powerful smoke- and mineral-accented black and blue fruit aromas show very good clarity and pick up suave floral and spicecake elements with air. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering ripe blackcurrant and mulberry flavors sharpened by a peppery flourish. The floral note comes back strong on the finish, which clings with excellent tenacity and youthfully chewy tannins. In a broader-shouldered style than its Clos Erasmus sibling; this one should age well but offers plenty of immediate appeal as well. In the context of high-end Priorats there’s remarkable value here.” JR

Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Nit de Nin’, Priorat DOCa2012 750ML ($109.95) $89 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97 points “If the Planetes was impressive, wait for the 2012 Nit de Nin, which is a similar wine but at two levels of intensity, depth and elegance above. It’s also a single-vineyard wine from a very old plot in Porrera in the Mas d’en Caçador vineyard at some 500 meters altitude on an impressive slope planted with very old vines on slate soils. It’s approximately 60% Garnacha Peluda (which is a different strain producing lighter-colored wines with higher acidity than the regular Garnacha) and the rest Cariñena. The wine is pure, perfumed, intoxicating even, floral and spicy, intense and captivating. The palate is highly refined, with pure flavors, great freshness, completely focused, nothing blurry at all in there, generous but fine at the same time. It ends very tasty, with a saline minerality. I had the chance to visit the vineyard on my last night in Priorat, and when you see it you understand that it HAS to produce great wine. Simply superb. Drink or keep. 4,000 bottles were filled in March 2014.” WA

Familia Nin-Ortiz ‘Planetes de Nin’, Priorat DOCa 2012 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “I was thoroughly impressed by the 2012 Planetes de Nin, a bright ruby-colored, fragrant Garnacha-based red with some 30% Cariñena from the Planetes vineyard in Porrera. It has a beautiful floral nose of violets and lilies, with showy aromas of blood orange peel, wild berries and oriental spices in a Vosne-Romanée way, very Burgundian overall and truly captivating. The palate is ultra-sleek, silky with very refined tannins and a subtle minerality that adds to the freshness and makes the wine very focused and precise. This is so different from previous vintages, so much more elegant and focused, pure and elegant. This should age in bottle nicely, but it will be very difficult to resist. And it’s a very good value. 9,000 bottles.” WA

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Chateauneuf du Pape

Chateauneuf du Pape is the name for a village in the Southern Rhone and is one of France’s oldest declared wine appellations, established in 1929. During the 14th century, the nearby village of Avignon housed seven French Popes. A summer chateau was built in what is now Chateauneuf-du-Pape in 1320 as a retreat from Avignon. This building gave the village its new name, which translates to “New House of the Pope.” Today, little remains of the papal chateau after several battles, but many other historic buildings are well-maintained.

The town surrounded by vineyards speckled with white pebbles. The soil in the region is made up of quartz stones and sandy red clay from ancient riverbeds. Its Mediterranean climate is hot and dry. The mistral wind that blows down through Rhone keeps the region dry and can threaten ripening grapes when it reaches its maximum speeds of over 55 miles per hour.

The style of red wines produce is full-bodied, spicy and typically made with a large proportion of Grenache and often with Syrah or Mourvedre. The other red varieties allowed under the AOC are: Cinsault, Muscardin, Cournoise, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir, and Vaccarese. Usually these wines are not aged in new wood, leading to a more pure expression of the fruit. Expect to detect notes of herbs, red and black berries and even notes of roasted meat. The white wines are also full-bodied with a heady floral perfume, most often meant to be drunk young. Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Picpoul (Piquepoul), and Picardan (Araignan) make up the white grapes, though only the first four are commonly used.

Below is a selection of ten wines of the 38 Chateauneuf du Pape red and white wines we carry!

Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc

Vignobles Brunier Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos La Roquete Blanc 2013 750ML ($47.95) $34.80 special, 22 bottles available
Case-12 Vignobles Brunier Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos La Roquete Blanc 2013 750ML ($449.95) $376 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $31.33/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 94 points “Rich, racy and very pure, with a gorgeous medley of yellow apple, star fruit, fennel, white peach, honeysuckle and wet stone notes that all ripple through the bright, mouthwatering finish. Long and well-cut. This has quietly become one of the appellation’s top whites. Drink now through 2020.” WS

Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge

Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Quartz 2009 750ML ($109.95) $69 special, 12 bottles available
Case-12 Le Clos du Caillou Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Quartz 2009 ($899.95) $599 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $49.92/bottle!)
Robert Parker 94 points “The opaque ruby/purple-colored 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Quartz is a blend of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah from one of the appellation’s more obscure lieu-dits. This stunning 2009 offers copious floral notes intermixed with crushed rock, wet stone, kirsch and black currant characteristics.”RP

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Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012 750ML ($79.95) $66 special, 25 bottles available
Wine Advocate 93-96 points “More backwards and tannic, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape (same blend as the 2012) was tight and structured at the time of this tasting (as was the 2011, which was much more approachable and open when I tasted it from a bottle in the U.S.), with serious pepper, herbs de Provence and assorted darker berry-styled fruit. Cutting a broad path across the palate, with full-bodied richness, bright acidity and edgy tannin, it should soften up over the next year and be reasonably accessible with short-term cellaring. A solid 12-15 year drink window sounds about right. Drink 2016-2027. Consistently producing lively, fresh and elegant efforts that never lack for structure or richness, Domain Charvin is run by the soft spoken and generous Laurent Charvin. The winemaking here is very traditional, with some stem inclusion and aging completely in tank.” WA

Vignobles Brunier Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2010 750ML ($59.95) $39 special, 20 bottles available
Case-12 Vignobles Brunier Domaine La Roquete Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2010 750ML ($499.95) $399 special, 2 cases available (that’s only $33.25/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 92 points “Silky and briary, with lots of pepper, savory and tobacco notes coursing along, while a hint of shiso leaf separates them from the blackberry and black currant confiture flavors. Lovely, finely beaded acidity offsets the tarry grip. Great range and tension. Best from 2014 through 2028. 1,200 cases imported.” JM

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Henri Bonneau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve des Celestins 2009 750ML ($379.95) $319 special, 10 bottles available
Wine Advocate 95-98 points “The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve des Celestins might be the wine of the vintage and got a big “Wow” in the notebook. Thrillingly perfumed, with kirsch, currants, herbs de Provence, dried meats and spice-like aromas and flavors, it is an absolute knockout on the nose. This is all backed up by full-bodied richness in the mouth, and it possesses terrific mid-palate depth, layers of sweet tannin and a finish that pumps out plenty of sweet fruit. I don’t know when it will be bottled, but certainly, I was blown away by the wine.” WA

Domaine de La Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Chaupin 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special, 20 bottles available
Robert Parker 98 points “The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Chaupin rivals the 2007 Chaupin (to date the best Chaupin I have yet tasted). Made from 100% Grenache (3/4 destemmed), it boasts a dense black/purple color as well as unbelievable notes of raspberries, black cherries, licorice, truffles, camphor, forest floor and garrigue. This wine is stunningly concentrated, incredibly noble, precise and expansive on the palate with mouth-saturating intensity, glycerin and extract. It is an amazing example of impeccably grown old vine Grenache translated into a natural yet full-throttle red.”RP

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Domaine Olivier Hillaire Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Petits Pieds d’Armand 2012 750ML ($119.95) $99 special, 8 bottles available
Robert Parker 95-98 points “Even better, and possibly the wine of the vintage, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Petits d’Armand is about as fabulous an expression of old vine Grenache as you’re likely to find. Massive and decadent, yet lively and fresh, it offers up a sweet bouquet of berry fruits, licorice, incense, flowers, garrigue to go with full-bodied richness and depth, thrilling purity, good freshness and blockbuster length. Gorgeous all around, it should drink well on release, yet last for 15+ years. Don’t miss it! Drink 2014-2027.” RP

Chapelle Saint Theodoric Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse 2011 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 23 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points “Looking at the 2011s, both of which showed much better from bottle than barrel, the 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Guigasse (100% Grenache from sandy soils) has a Rayas-like perfume of sweet red cherries, currants, white pepper, spring flowers and underbrush. Fermented with 100% whole-cluster and aged all in neutral, larger barrels, this medium to full-bodied, dense and beautifully textured effort is superb now, yet should easily have 10-12 years of ultimate longevity. Drink now-2023.”

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Domaine Pierre Usseglio et Fils Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul 2010 1.5L ($249.95) $219 special, 4 magnums available
Robert Parker 97 points “The 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de Mon Aieul (cropped at 12-16 hectoliters per hectare) comes from the estate’s finest vineyards in the southern part of the appellation (Les Grandes Serres), the eastern sector (the famed La Crau) and the northern sector (Guigasse). The wine is aged primarily in stainless steel tanks with a small percent (less than 20%) kept in 600-liter demi-muids. Despite the 16.5% natural alcohol, there is not a trace of heat in this wine. It is stunningly concentrated with great intensity as well as classic blueberry, peppery, incense, camphor, fig and licorice characteristics. Rich and full-bodied with slightly more freshness than their profound 2007, the 2010 Mon Aieul should age effortlessly for two decades.” RP

Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge Arriving in October 2015

Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee Reservee 2012 750ML ($89.95) $69 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 94 points “One of my favorite wines, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Réservée is a classic. Beautiful on the nose, with notions of ground pepper, wild herbs, minerality and smoked plum and dark fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has plenty of tannin that comes through on the finish. Similar in style to a lighter-weight 2010, drink this beauty anytime over the coming 12-15 years.” JD

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Germany – By the Vineyard: Scharzhofberg

Scharzhofberg lies along the Saar River in a southwestern pocket of Germany, a mere 25 miles outside of Luxembourg. The typical gray slate soils are present here, though a far cooler climate dominates– winds sweep along the Hunsrück mountain range, ventilating the vineyard. At the same time, the south-southeast sun exposure upon the sloping terrain allow for a desirable balance in climate. Heat is stored by the slate by day and released at night, fending off frost on the vines.

Harvest is a bit later here, typically coming to a close in November (save for Eiswein, of course). Scharzofberg wines are marked with subtleties and a certain delicateness, all primed to develop and expand with aging. Kabinett and Spätlese wines are of particular note, though Auslese, Beerenauslese, and Trockenbeerenauslese can also be found.

With vines first planted by the Romans in the Third Century, Scharzofberg bears no shortage of history. Egon Müller, a producer whose wines serve as a benchmark for German wines, occupies nearly a third of the hectares of vines here. Equally, the small production of Weingut von Hovel has been producing wine over seven generations with remarkable clarity and of great value. Both are proudly represented within the store.

Weingut von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett 2012 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special, 10 bottles available
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “Everything seems infused in this wine as there is nothing loud or dominating. Superbly fresh scents of anise, gooseberry, white peach, lime, mint and grass give this wine an immediate elegant feel: nothing is out of place, too dominating or screaming A remarkable feel of extract on the palate makes the wine appear almost lean in structure yet it retains a great playful side thanks to some intense zesty flavors of grapefruit. The finih is very long and pure. This is a wonderful Scharzhofberg bottling! 2017-2027.” MFW
Wine Advocate 91 points “Tasted from a small 0.375-liter bottle, the 2012 Scharzhofberger Saar Riesling Kabinett is quite sweet and creamy, but also has finesse in its structure and is nicely transparent, filigreed and salty.”RP

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Weingut von Hovel Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese 2012 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 36+ bottles available
Wine Advocate 93 points “According to Maximilian von Kunow, the flinty/mineral-flavored 8.5% alcohol 2012 Scharzhofberg Saar Riesling Spätlese was made “from 60 or 70% luscious ripe and 30 or 40% noble rotten berries – not too much to keep the precision and terroir expression.” Lovely clear, piquant and very elegant on the palate, the sweetness of this very well-balanced Spätlese does not cover the site character. The aging potential is excellent.”RP
Stephen Tanzer 92 points “Aromas of white peach, ripe cherry and apple blossom. Refined and poised, with a mouthwatering juiciness and lush finish. Nice balance and a saline minerality generate an weightless quality. A persistent wine for hedonistic drinking.” ST

Egon Muller-Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese 2011 750ML ($399.95) $249 special, 4 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points “Mullers 2011 Scharzhofberger Riesling Auslese delivers a penetrating and multifarious nose of heliotrope, lily, candied lime rind, quince preserves, white peach preserves, distilled herbal essences, marzipan and brown spices. Almost weightlessly delicate yet simultaneously expansive and creamy, this both caresses and stimulates the palate with a kaleidoscopically interactive array of those diverse and exotic elements that on the nose signaled its ripeness and botrytis ennoblement. An almost syrupy sense of white peach along with hints of white raisin that emerge in that prodigious finish fails to tip the scales in too-confectionary a direction thanks to a vibratory sense of energy and refreshing rivulet of juicy fresh peach and lime that is threaded throughout.” WA

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $407

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Time to Say Good Buy

Diamond Creek Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2012 750ML ($249.95) Was $179, Now $169, 11 bottles available
James Suckling 97 points “Aromas of dark fruits such as blackcurrants as well as chili spices. Maybe some tar. It’s full-bodied with wonderful depth and intensity. It starts slowly and grabs your attention. Voluptuous fruit style to this. Better in 2020.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $199

Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2011 750ML ($219.95) Was $189, Now $149, 3 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 96 points “Dark raspberries, plums, smoke, mocha, licorice, tar and lavender notes burst from the glass in Diamond Creek’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace. Pliant, juicy and expressive, the 2010 covers every corner of the palate with gorgeous depth and pure richness. Layers of fruit built to a deeply resonant, generous finish marked with expressive, perfumed aromatics. Right now, the Red Rock Terrace is showing a little more French oak influence in its flavors and textures, but all the elements are beautifully balanced.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $201

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