In This Newsletter:
Averaen Reserve Pinot Flying in
New Week New Wines: Arriving Friday
Cardinale, Sette Ponti and More!
Sun-Drenched Staff Picks
From Around the World
E.U. Rose for all seasons
Castello di Ama’s
Refined & Quintessential 2018 Chianti Classico
La Fiorita: The Flower of Brunello
Royal Tokaji for the Ages
Field Blend Barons of Sonoma
Titan of the Terrassenmosel:
Aged Bordeaux on the way
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Averaen Reserve Pinot Flying in
You’ve heard of Banshee and their cult following out of Sonoma County, but did you know they also had a project in the Willamette Valley? Founded in 2015, Averaen has established itself as one of the best values on the market. As a negociant or merchant, they source Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the entire valley as opposed to a singular estate, which allows tremendous creative freedom not unlike painting with different sets of colors. We’re pleased to welcome the exceptional wines of Averaen to Vinopolis—at more than exceptional pricing. We were able to secure an allotment of their reserve cuvee, sourced from two vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills.
Densely packed but lithe in style
Averaen Flood Line Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($39.95) $24 pre-arrival special, 36+ bottles arriving
Case-12 Averaen Flood Line Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017 750ML ($479.95) $249 pre-arrival special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds Vinous – 92 points – “Deep brilliant red. Mineral-driven raspberry, cherry and potpourri aromas show very good clarity and pick up hints of cola and Asian spices with air. Palate-staining, sappy red fruit and spicecake flavors are given lift and spine by a core of juicy acidity. Densely packed but lithe in style, finishing very long and spicy, with smooth tannins lending gentle grip. (30% whole clusters and 40% new French oak)”
The average listed price is $33
New Week New Wines:
Pleasant, fruity and refreshing
Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Pinot Noir Burgundy 2019 750ML ($19.95) $16.75 pre-arrival special
Veronique Drouhin Tasting Note: “A wine full of charm: bright ruby colour and a nose rich with aromas of red fruit (raspberry, red currants, wild strawberry). On the palate, the wine is pleasant, fruity and refreshing, with light tannins and great elegance”
A wine that builds slowly with time in the glass, offering a layered, singular character
Cardinale Estate Red Napa Valley 2018 750ML ($379.95) $319 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck 98 points “The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is based on a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that spent 22 months in 81% new French oak. It’s a wonderfully complete, borderline perfect wine that shows the class of this estate as well as the vintage, revealing a seamless, full-bodied style that carries lots of blackcurrant, graphite, lead pencil, and tobacco aromatics, a deep, layered mid-palate, ultra-fine tannins, and flawless balance. As with most of Chris’s 2018s, it’s a wine that builds slowly with time in the glass, offering a layered, singular character. It’s a gorgeous 2018 that can be drunk today with ample pleasure, but it will ideally be given 4-6 years of bottle age, at which point it should evolve gracefully for 30-40 years.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 98 points “Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, the 2018 Cardinale was aged in French oak barrels for 22 months, 81% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, it prances out of the glass with gregarious notions of warm cassis, black cherries and wild blueberries, followed by emerging earth scents with a tobacco and garrigue undercurrent. Medium to full-bodied, gracefully styled and refreshing, the vibrant black and blue-fruited palate offers a wonderfully fine-grained texture and bags of energy, finishing long with a skip in its step. 5,107 cases were made.”
France – Champagne
An elegant and well-balanced Champagne
Comte Audoin de Dampierre Grande Cuvee Brut NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 91 points “An elegant and well-balanced Champagne, with bright acidity and flavors of crunchy white peach, brioche, candied orange zest, anise and honey. A fine aperitif. Drink now through 2018. 10,000 cases made, 150 cases imported.”
Thrillingly complete, flawlessly balanced, and borderline perfect Margaux
Chateau Rauzan-Segla Margaux 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Jeb Dunnuck “98 Points I continue to love the 2016 Rauzan-Ségla, a thrillingly complete, flawlessly balanced, and borderline perfect Margaux that should be snatched up by readers. Notes of cassis, graphite, tobacco leaf, and earth all give way to a full-bodied effort that has building tannins, no hard edges, and a level of purity and elegance that’s just about off the charts. Given its purity and balance, it’s accessible today, but it will be best with 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 3-4 decades.”
James Suckling 98 points “The aromas of blackcurrants, sweet tobacco and sandalwood are tantalizing. Then it turns to subtle, dried fruit. Full-bodied with dense and powerful tannins, yet ending with finesse and vertical nature. Very deep. Power with finesse. Try after 2025.”
Lisa Perrotti-Brown – Wine Advocate 97 points “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Rauzan-Ségla drifts effortlessly from the glass with fragrant rose hip tea, candied violets and chocolate box scents over a core of fresh blackcurrants and black cherry compote plus wafts of tobacco and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers a great mid-palate of softly textured black and blue fruits with loads of floral nuances and a refreshing lift on the finish. The blend this year is 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, harvested between September 20th and October 15th at an average yield of 45 hectoliters per hectare. It was aged for 18 months in French oak, 60% new. The alcohol is 13.5%, and the pH is 3.6.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 97 points “The 2016 Rauzan-Ségla has an intense bouquet, one of the most perfumed that I encountered during my round of tastings. Violets infuse the ebullient black fruit, and traces of pencil lead emerge with time. The palate is medium-bodied, very pure and supple, displaying wonderful balance and a satiny texture that belongs in a lingerie shop. This is an utterly seductive Margaux, one of the finest in recent years as this estate continues its upsurge in quality. Few 2016s will dole out such inhibited pleasure.”
One of the more elegant Las Cases in recent years
Chateau Leoville-Las Cases ‘Grand Vin de Leoville’ Saint-Julien 2012 750ML ($249.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Robert m. Parker jr 93+ points. “The bigger sister or brother of Le Petit Lion, depending on your point of view, the 2012 Leoville Las Cases has gorgeous minerality, plenty of blueberry and blackcurrant fruit that is super-pure, an opaque ruby/purple color, medium body and firm structured, slightly austere personality. This wine is built for the long-term. A blend of 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc, it attained 13.5% alcohol, which is substantial for a 2012 Médoc. It has depth and richness, but also a boatload of tannin. Forget it for 8-10 years and drink over the following 15-20.”
Neal Martin – Vinous 93 points “The 2012 Léoville–Las Cases has a very fragrant bouquet of raspberry, wild strawberry and cedar aromas, all lively and focused; touches of potpourri develop in the glass. The medium-bodied palate delivers supple tannins matched with a fine bead of acidity. This is one of the more elegant Las Cases wines in recent years, nicely poised, offering succulent red berry fruit mixed with spice and white pepper toward the cohesive finish. Excellent. This is a very fine Las Cases and certainly the youngest and most approachable. Tasted at the château.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 93 points “The 2012 Léoville-Las-Cases offers lovely up front voluptuousness, something I am almost shocked to write about one of the Left Bank’s most notoriously slow agers. Sweet red cherry, dried flowers and pipe tobacco scents meld into a translucent, mid-weight Las Cases that should drink relatively early by this wine’s standard. The silky finish only adds to the wine’s considerable early appeal. The blend is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc. “
Italy – Tuscany
Shows tension and brightness. Excellent structure
Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo Toscana IGT Tuscany 2019 750ML ($39.95) $28 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo Toscana IGT Tuscany 2019 750ML ($219.95) $159 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 94 points “Sweet berries, flowers and cedar on the nose. Some leather, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with lightly chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Shows tension and brightness. Excellent structure. Drinkable now, but better in 2023.”
Has plenty of its trademark exuberance.
Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT Tuscany 2017 750ML ($79.95) $59 pre-arrival special
James Suckling 95 points “A fresh yet rich and dense red with cherries, berries, light cream and hints of hazelnuts. Full body, soft and layered tannins and a fruity finish. Reserved and tight. Shows balance for 2017. Better after 2021.”
Antonio Galloni – Vinous 94 points “The 2017 Oreno is an attractive, expressive wine done in a style that is all about richness. Black cherry, mocha, expresso, licorice and sweet French oak infuse the 2017 with notable depth. In 2017, Oreno is not quite as sumptuous as it can be, but it certainly has plenty of its trademark exuberance.”
Arriving Friday, November 19th
Fantastic foundation and very long, layered and expressive finish
La Jota Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate 97+ points “A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec, 5% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is deep garnet-purple colored and features gregarious crème de cassis, black cherry preserves and baked plums with touches of Indian spices, cigar box and charcuterie. Full, firm and decadently fruited, it has a fantastic foundation and very long, layered and expressive finish. 3,202 cases produced.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 points “The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain checks in as a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Malbec, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. It offers a sensational bouquet of blackcurrants, blackberries, black cherries, savory herbs, bay leaf, and earth. It’s medium to full-bodied, beautiful, elegant, has vibrant acidity, fine tannins, and a smoking good finish. It’s another age-worthy wine from this terrific estate that needs short-term cellaring and will keep for 30+ years.”
Arriving Early December
Refined and complex, this red is all about finesse and restraint.
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Bolgheri Tuscany 2018 750ML ($279.95) $249 pre-arrival special
Kerin O’Keefe Wine Enthusiast 98 points “All about radiance and finesse, this iconic Tuscan red has beguiling aromas of cedar, wild red berry, menthol and pipe tobacco that mingle with fragrant blue flowers. Made with 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc, the focused, elegantly structured palate is vibrant and savory, delivering cassis, orange zest, licorice and a hint of coffee framed in taut, polished tannins. Bright acidity keeps it energized and balanced. Drink through 2033.”
Bs – Wine Spectator 98 points “Refined and complex, this red is all about finesse and restraint, starting out with floral and black currant flavors that build steadily on the palate, with olive, cedar, tobacco and spice notes adding detail as this lingers on the terrific finish. Needs five to seven years to fully emerge. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2025 through 2045. 25,000 cases made, 4,000 cases imported.”
James Suckling 97 points “Beautiful, serene aromas of sweet berries and wild flowers with light lavender and fresh sage. Really aromatic. A firm, silky red with medium to full body and ultra fine tannins that are polished and beautiful. Lots of blue fruit and blackberries follow through to a beautiful finish. Really tight and polished. Bright acidity. Will be lovely to drink in a few years. The 2017 and 2016 were about power, but the 2018 is about finesse and subtlety. Try after 2024.”
Aldo Fiordelli – Decanter 97 points “This is the fiftieth Sassicaia, representing a milestone for Italian winemaking and viticulture. Restrained cassis aromas with hints of kiwi peel, dried herbs and eucalyptus leading up to citrus notes and juicy acidity. Few months ago, at the release, this acidity was still quite aggressive and chewy, while now it is fragrant and integrated with refined tannins in a finely woven palate. Don’t look for large powerful body which is not typical of Sassicaia. It is different from all other Bolgheri and stands out as a result. The value of this Tuscan wine is the consistency of its style across decades, proving what seems to be obvious: it is the expression of its terroir. ‘Reminds me the 1988 which was chewy and tense like 2018 at the release’ says Carlo Paoli, managing director of Tenuta San Guido.”
Sun-drenched Staff picks from around the World
Bodega Amalaya Malbec
Much like skyscrapers and statues, did you know that some countries compete for the highest elevation vineyards in the world? While Tibet currently holds the world record at 11,700 feet above sea level, the vineyard has yet to produce a commercial volume of wine. The same cannot be said for the Salta region of Argentina, which has rapidly expanded production since the first plantings in the 1830’s.
Of the few producers brave enough to plant in the arduous high desert, some of the best wines are coming out of the Calchaqui Valley. Amalaya is no exception on all counts, and at a budget friendly price point no less! Sourced from a vineyard planted at 5,900 feet above sea level and organically farmed you’d be hard pressed to find a better example of “Mountain wine”.
Mineral driven, yet still juicy, fruity and floral the Amalaya is almost entirely Malbec, with a dash of Tannat and Petit Verdot contributing additional tannic power. Because of the intense sun exposure the fruit character is largely purple and black fruited with a grilled strawberry and Seville orange peel on the finish that keeps everything lifted. The vintage is reported to be one of the best in recent memory, promising both structure and concentrated flavors.
In Stock Now:
Bodega Amalaya Malbec Calchaqui Valley 2019 750ML ($17.95) $16 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Decanter Wwa 2020 97 points “Perfumed attractive nose with layers of spice, crunchy strawberries, ripe red plums and fresh violets. Vibrant on the palate with a lovely freshness in harmony with a dense chocolatey character, ending in an elegant spicy finish.”
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’
Founded by Pablo Calatayud in 1995, Cellar Del Roure has made a name for itself by bucking tradition. This is no better illustrated than by Safra, made with the indigenous varietal Mando, using traditional lagar and amphorae during fermentation to preserve the natural structure and earthy flavors. Mando is described as being similar to Pinot Noir or Mencia and is largely extinct even within Valencia. This is due to Valencia’s history as breadbasket for Spanish agriculture, producing massive quantities of wine, olive oil and most famously oranges. This led to massive plantings of grapevines meant for bulk wine production, at the cost of historically premium sites and varietals.
In stock now:
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’Valencia 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 Points “The 2019 Safrà was produced with a base of Mandó, but it’s a different Mandó from Parotet, livelier and more fluid. They say it’s a red with the soul of a white. In any case, both wines change in 2019 with the addition of Arcos. They harvest the grapes early and use some 30% stems for the vinification in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. This 2019 is a blend with 30% Arcos, an almost forgotten grape they are recovering and to which they are paying very much attention. Like many of the other wines, it matured in ancient buried 2,600-liter tinajas in their impressive 17th-century cellar. I’ve always liked the floral and aromatic expression of this wine, which has nice aromas and complexity, developing beautiful notes of sour cherries; and in the palate, it’s more serious than you expect, longer, deeper and very tasty. This is more ethereal than Vermell and less spicy that Parotet. I think it has gained in freshness and complexity with the addition of Arcos, which is part of the blend for the first time in 2019. In fact, this is better than ever! 20,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in June 2020.”
Decanter 93 Points “Mainly Mandó grapes with Arcos (rather than Garnacha Tintorera as in previous blends) – a change that brings greater finesse to this aromatic wine. Bright, mid-weight, juicy, with sour cherries and cranberries and the faintest rasp of tannin. Fermented in stainless steel and matured in buried clay amphorae in the remarkable cellar. Organic. Drinking Window 2021 – 2024. -Sarah Jane Evans MW.”
Celler del Roure ‘Safra’ Valencia 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Case-12 Celler Del Roure Safra 2017 750ML ($379.95) $239 special (That’s only $19.91 per 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.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Southern Right Pinotage
The Hemel-En-Aarde Valley is one of the coolest growing regions in all of South Africa, being located directly in the path of the ocean’s cool air as it travels to Table Mountain in Cape Town. As a result the area is famous for its elegant expressions of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage.
Being the country’s flagship grape, Pinotage is famous for its chameleonic expression depending on pruning style, growing conditions and vinification practices. This is no better evidenced by Southern Right’s iteration of Pinotage, grown less than 2 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. In warmer and drier conditions the varietal takes on a spectrum of blue, black and purple fruits underscored by a tertiary plethora of smoke and earth.
In the Hemel-En-Aarde Valley these characteristics are toned down and express a more Pinot Noir esque showing of strawberry, rosehip, amarena cherry and orange peel. Southern Right’s Pinotage features the varietals classic smoke character, but more along the lines of incense and Cuban tobacco. Pinotage is traditionally paired with braai, South Africa’s flame grilled meats and vegetables but compatible with other foods like tagine, chili adobo fish or kimchi-jjigae.
In stock now:
Southern Right Pinotage Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2020 750ML ($49.95) $30.90 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Importer Note: Southern Right is re-defining Pinotage with this intense classically styled, clay-grown wine, packed with complex berry fruit, beautiful tannins, and subtle spice. Full ripeness and the longer hang-time afforded by cooler sites, combined with the complex, more classic fruit aromas and structure resulting from clay-rich soil, make this wine a highly individual expression of South Africa’s unique grape variety.
E.U. Rose for all seasons
Tenuta delle Terre Nere
You’ve heard of the Rosso and Bianco wines coming from the legendary Mt. Etna, but did you know that Rosato is also produced from the same basaltic vineyards? Representing a fraction of the production in the region, Terra Nere makes a unique rosato that features both the legendary volcanic terroir and the beauty of Sicily’s indigenous varietals.
Coming from a parcel of younger vines on the northern slope the Rosato is described as having “The body of a white but the soul of a red; A wine that is joyful without frivolity and bright without being superficial”. Farmed organically without any synthetic input at high elevation, there is a fabulous purity to this wine that speaks to the meticulous practices of Terra Nere.
The Rosado delivers a full spectrum of fresh white peach and assorted oranges ranging from blood, Cara-Cara and Dekopon with a subtle note of hibiscus and papaya with a finish of valerian flower. Perfect for any type of day and even more so paired with something crunchy like wakame, caprese or a green salad.
In stock and available now:
Tenuta delle Terre Nere Rosato Etna Sicily 2020 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe Wine Enthusiast 92 points “Lightly hued, this refined, onion-colored rosato, made with organically grown Nerello Mascalese grapes, has delicate aromas suggesting Mediterranean scrub and wild berries. The dry, savory palate offers pomegranate, peach and citrus before a tangy mineral finish suggesting oyster shell. – “
Eric Guido-Vinous 91 points “The 2020 Etna Rosato lifts up wonderfully fresh and perfumed, offering notes of sweet peach and white smoke backed by honeyed florals and wedges of candied lime. It’s silky-smooth and round yet spry, washing nuances of ripe pear and nectarine across a core of saturating saline-minerality. There’s simply so much going on here for a Rosato as the 2020 punches well above its class, finishing incredibly long yet juicy, and fizzling out to hints of sour citrus and cheek-puckering green apple.”
Domaine Les Aphillanthes
Domaine les Aphillanthes has vineyard holdings in three villages of Chote Du Rhone, with soils that are largely composed of iron rich sand with veins of limestone and a smattering of Galets, or “pudding stones” Certified biodynamic and plowing exclusively by horse for over 10 years, the owners Daniel and Hélène Boulle suspect that the roots of their grapevines go 100 feet underground!
Their rose is the same blend as their red with Grenache leading followed by Cinsault, Mourevedre and Counoise. Expect an entire spectrum of fruits including raspberries, Bing cherry, fresh redcurrant and watermelon. From an aromatic perspective there’s a symphonic combination of rose petals, fresh ground espresso and cinnamon apples.
Domaine Les Aphillanthes Cotes du Rhone Nymphea Rose France 2020 750ML ($17.95) $14 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Weygandt-Metzler Import note “Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Counoise. Biodynamic. Gailloux/Galets Roules over clay & limestone. Tasting note: Red fruit and bright acidity. Full body with a long and balanced finish.” Region: Cotes du Rhone, Rhone, France.
Castello di Ama’s
Refined & Quintessential 2018 Chianti Classico
Looking for a single village Chianti that’s priced and labeled as a Classico? Consider Castello di Ama, one of our in house favorites from the village of Ama. If you were to put a bullseye over the Chianti Classico region, Castello di Ama would be almost dead center, at an average elevation of 1600 feet above sea level. Climatically perfect for growing Sangiovese, the area was first cultivated by the Etruscans before becoming a famous wine village in 1773. As the legend goes, the Grand Duke of Tuscany was so impressed with the wine and sightseeing that he wrote a poem to commemorate the occasion.
Founded in 1978, Castello di Ama was also instrumental in the region’s promotion from DOC to DOCG in 1984. They haven’t been content to sit on their laurels however, and have undergone major overhauling of their vineyards and fermentation facilities. These changes are clearly paying off, with the wines exhibiting the quintessential sour cherry, dark chocolate, terra cotta and sage character of a good Chianti. Made from Sangiovese accented with a sprinkle of Merlot, this is drinking beautifully now but would also be right at home in the cellar for 5-7 years.
In Stock Now:
Castello di Ama ‘Castello di Ama’, Chianti Classico DOCG 2018 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Case-12 Castello di Ama ‘Castello di Ama’, Chianti Classico DOCG 2018 750ML ($419.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 93 points “Fragrant and refined, this features enticing aromas of rose, iris, woodland berry and crushed botanical herb. Medium bodied and loaded with finesse, the elegant palate features juicy Marasca cherry, strawberry compote and dark culinary spice. Polished tannins and fresh acidity keep it well balanced. Drink through 2028.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 92+ points “This is the quintessential happy wine from Tuscany that will easily pair with wintery pici al ragù or summery pasta al pomorodo. There is enormous versatility in the all-season Castello di Ama 2018 Chianti Classico Ama. The wine is round, plump and approachable. It offers enormous freshness and the bright berry intensity of the Sangiovese grape. Red cherry and cassis are backed by red rose petal and softly fragrant potting soil. I tasted this wine immediately after Castello di Ama’s Pinot Nero di Toscana Il Chiuso, and I was struck by the similarities of the two wines in terms of silkiness and those pretty rose aromas. An ample 105,000 bottles were made.”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2018 Chianti Classico Ama shows just how promising the vintage is. A burst of sweet red cherry fruit, cedar, leather, spice and orange peel give the 2018 a feeling of exuberance that is impossible to miss. The purity of the flavors is just striking. This is such a beautiful wine.”
The average price nationally is $31
Castello di Ama Vigneto La Casuccia, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2016 750ML ($219.95) $179 special, 15 bottles in stock now
Antonio Galloni 97 points “The 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto La Casuccia is rich, sensual and inviting, as it so often is. The addition of Merlot to Sangiovese yields a Chianti Classico built on textural resonance, with silky tannins, soft curves and tons of sheer allure. The 2016 won’t be ready to drink anytime soon, but it is unquestionably a great wine in the making. Succulent dark cherry, red plum, menthol, licorice, cloves and new oak infuse the creamy, voluptuous finish.”
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 97 points “Mature black-skinned berry, rose, tilled soil and a balsamic whiff of eucalyptus shape the nose. The bright, elegant palate has energy, tension and depth, delivering ripe wild cherry, red plum, licorice and crushed botanical herb. Taut, fine-grained tannins lend polished support while fresh acidity keeps it balanced. A gorgeous wine. Drink through 2031.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “From the small vineyard facing Castello di Ama from the north, the 2016 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigneto la Casuccia shows a dark and hearty side with rich fruit that flows steadily from the bouquet. Like the other new releases from this iconic estate, this wine shows a pretty earthy note that is particularly well defined and fine-tuned in this vintage. The fruit is broad, thick and horizontal. This is a Sangiovese painted with broad brush strokes. It’ll stand another decade or two, or open it sooner with a pappardelle al cinghiale.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This aromatic Chianti Classico features violet, black cherry, leather, earth and spice flavors. A laser of bracing acidity and muscular tannins runs underneath. The balance tips toward the tannins today, but put this in your cellar for another few years. Sleek and very long. Sangiovese and Merlot. Best from 2023 through 2042. 315 cases made, 40 cases imported.”
James Suckling 95 points “A dense and layered red with spice and berry character. Medium to full body. Blueberry, wet-earth and walnut undertones. Iodine. Shows structure and intensity. Drink in 2020 and onwards.”
The average price is $198
Castello di Ama ‘Castello di Ama’, Chianti Classico DOCG 2015 1.5L ($69.95) Was $49, Now $39 special, 30 magnums in stock now
James Suckling 92 points “So much sweet tobacco and cherry character here with hints of smoked meat. Medium body, fine tannins and a bright and fruity finish. Acid tension give this definition. Tangy. Drink now.”
Wine Spectator 90 points “The raspberry and cherry flavors are immediate in this elegant, balanced red, followed by accents of earth and spice. Not excessively long, but well-proportioned. Drink now through 2022. 900 cases imported.”
The Flower of Brunello
Looking for Biondi-Santi? How about the vineyard next door for a fraction of the cost? Coming from a single vineyard neighboring the Biondi-Santi estate, this is already a steal before you consider farming practices and vintage conditions. The juice from this high-density, high-elevation (almost 4,000 feet above sea level), organically farmed estate, is vinified by Roberto Cipresso. Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you may be familiar with his work. He is perhaps best known for his Argentine label Achaval-Ferrer. But he also famously created a papal cuvée for His Holiness John Paul II, and crafted the Sesquicentennial Anniversary Cuvée commissioned by the Italian Republic to celebrate 150 years of unification.
This is a Brunello built for long-term aging, given the ripe fruit profile and richly developed tannins from the 2015 vintage. La Fiorita means “flowery” in Italian and this certainly comes through in the wine with notes of rose petal, rosemary and flowering oregano. These qualities have already been harmonizing during the additional time in vat and bottle required by the Riserva classification. Expect this wine to continue improving for at least 10 years, as even La Fiorita’s entry-level Brunello is famously austere. But if you can’t wait that long, a few hours in a decanter will have it singing.
La Fiorita Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG Tuscany 2015 750ML ($119.95) $89 special, 27 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 97 points “Highly Recommended. This rich red is energetic and balanced, saturated with black cherry, plum and mineral flavors. Accents of wild rosemary and sage chime in as this remains fresh and long on the iron and underbrush aftertaste. Best from 2024 through 2045. 310 cases made, 100 cases imported. — BS.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “This Riserva from La Fiorita boasts a full and generous style with pretty richness, concentration and ample intensity. This pretty wine really does hit those 2015 vintage expectations dead on. The 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva offers plush fruit and good softness with cherry, cassis, spice, potting soil and candied orange peel. There is balanced intensity here with Sangiovese purity that cedes to lightly toasted aromas.”
James Suckling 95 points “Aromas of plums and berries with flowers and dried meat. It’s full-bodied with round, juicy tannins and an extremely polished and beautiful finish. Hints of walnut and spice at the end, not to mention ash. Very attractive to taste now, but better after 2025.”
Love Tuscany? We have over 165 different options in stock. Shop the entire selection, including staff favorites like Castell’in Villa, Fèlsina, Fontodi and more, on our web store now.
Royal Tokaji for the ages
There are only a handful of wines in the world considered “Immortal” in terms of its life in the bottle. The most famous of these is without a doubt Tokaji. The confluence of high acid, prodigious sugar levels, perfect terroir and masterful cellarwork is what makes these wines so long lived, with bottles that are hundreds of years old still being drinkable. They’re also among some of the highest selling wines at auction, with 500ml bottles selling for tens of thousands of dollars or more!
Have you ever had something that tasted so good you thought there was a secret ingredient? Marzio Galeotto, an Italian merchant in the 1460’s widely proclaimed that Tokaji contained flecks of actual gold. This sparked a centuries long obsession with the region, with an inexhaustible list of historical figures who proclaimed their love for the wines including Thomas Jefferson, Catherine the Great, Tolstoy and the Sun King himself, Louis the 14th who made it the court wine of Versailles. We offer two single vineyard examples from Royal Tokaji Co, a producer credited with reintroducing Tokai to the world of fine wine after the elimination of the Iron Curtain. These are benchmark wines that you should try at least once in your lifetime, and have at least one in the cellar.
Royal Tokaji ‘Betsek’ Single Vineyard Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2016 500ML ($149.95) $119 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 96 points “The 2016 Betsek First Growth Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos contains the most residual sugar this vintage, at 185.8g/L. The clean, pure bouquet offers dried honey, a light adhesive note, lanolin and candle wax, very complex and mercurial in the glass. The elegant, well-balanced palate features apricot, quince, marmalade and a touch of ginger. What I adore is the manner in which this Betsek builds in the mouth and fans out like a great Tokaji ought to. Another outstanding single-vineyard offering from the Royal Tokaji Company.
Royal Tokaji ‘Nyulaszo’ Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2016 500ML ($149.95) $119 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2016 Nyulászó First Growth Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos, which delivers 180g/L residual sugar, has a deep, honeyed, slightly more introverted bouquet compared to the Ste. Tamás. It gradually reveals scents of manuka honey, orange pith and quince jus, yet it clearly deserves several years to really open. The palate is very well balanced, harmonious and brimming with tension. Pears, Seville orange marmalade, hints of mandarin and fresh figs vie for attention. This is a powerful, intense Tokaji, but razor-sharp, delivering real precision and “bite” toward the finish. Outstanding.”
Arriving ETA Friday, November 12th
Royal Tokaji ‘Betsek’ Single Vineyard Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2017 500ML ($149.95) $119 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin-Vinous 96 points “The 2017 Tokaji Betsek 6-Puttonyos comes from Royal Tokaji’s largest vineyard site, a crescent-shaped parcel on black volcanic soils. This has a very harmonious, Sauternes-like bouquet with orange blossom and wild peach aromas percolating through with time. The palate is poised and focused, delivering vibrant energy, a touch of spiciness on the back palate and outstanding length. This could turn out to be their finest single-vineyard release. Brilliant. 4,606 bottles produced.”
Royal Tokaji ‘Szt. Tamas’ Aszu 6 Puttonyos Tokaj 2017 500ML ($149.95) $112 pre-arrival special
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Tokaji Szt. Tamás 6-Puttonyos comes from red-clay topsoils in the commune of Mád. This is more backward compared to the Mézes Mály, and very much more citrus-driven, featuring lemon peel, orange zest and crushed stone aromas; the Aszú element is more discreet. The fresh, vibrant palate is well balanced and harmonious, offering a fine bead of acidity and candied orange peel toward the finish. Edgier than Royal Tokaji’s other 2017s, and perhaps spicier on the finish, this will be fascinating to observe mature in bottle. 3,635 bottles produced.”
Field Blend Barons of Sonoma
Their Ancient is gorgeously saturated in color and leaves a spectrum of purple and red in the Marangoni flow, throwing out aromas of lavender, 5 spice, dried cherries and terra cotta in a multilayered spectacle. On the palate the old vine influence is evident, with a full body serving spiced marionberries, Italian plum, and blueberry compote by the bucketful interspersed with juniper berries, bay leaf, and sage. There’s a beautiful minerality that is reminiscent of hot sandy loam and granite. The acid and tannins are stratospheric on this wine, which speaks to a long life in the bottle but also temper the alcohol level to the point you’d expect it to be 13-14% ABV. Get one if you can resist opening it, and a few if you can’t.
Also offered by Bucklin, the stewards of Old Hill Ranch for over 3 generations are wines made from their “younger” parcels of vines. Otto’s Grenache is composed of a hillside planting done in 2010 over decomposed volcanic tuff and basalt. Incredibly structured and burly on first pour, Otto throws out strawberry jam, kirsch cherry and fresh raspberry, but with a subtle note of dried hibiscus, daffodil and honeysuckle. There’s a tremendous minerality throughout the wine, exhibited by hot pumice in the aromas and a savory basaltic note on the finish. Otto’s Grenache is something to cellar for at least 5 years after the vintage, or to be had by the glass over the course of a week.
The Bambino was planted in 1998 and is generally around 75% Zinfandel co-fermented with Alicante Bouchet and Petite Sirah. The exact blend is vintage dependent as a result of Bucklin’s commitment to entirely estate grown fruit. Bambino exhibits an old world character that would have me thinking this was imported from Puglia. There’s a fruit character that sets it aside from its centarian counterparts on the ranch, but sharing in the layers of purity, spice, minerality and old world rusticity.
In stock now:
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Ancient Field Blend Sonoma Valley 2018 750ML ($49.95) $37.70 special, 13 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 94 points “Will Bucklin’s Zin based Ancient Red Field Blend is a deep, richly flavored and thrilling wine that has more than two dozen different varietals in the mix, with close to 65% Zinfandel with the remaining balance co-fermented after being picked together. These other grapes, all inter-planted at Old Hill Ranch, includes small amounts of Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Syrah, Carignan, the rare Persan red grape, originally from the Savoie region in the Alpine region of France close to the Swiss border, and some Mataro (Mourvedre) as well as some white grape clusters. This Ancient Zin blend is dark purple/garnet color in the glass, boldly fruity and floral on the nose with a complex full bodied palate with loads of classic ripe black raspberries along with some briar/spicy notes, adding sweet plums, minty herbs, sandalwood, baked earth, mineral, kirsch, mocha and a dark florals. Bucklin humbly says of his Ancient parcel, it is 12 acres, 30 grape varieties and 1 wine! This is an understatement and this is an iconic wine, like those of Bedrock and in league with the Ridge Pagani and Lytton Springs bottlings. This is a special and historic place for Zinfandel, where it was first planted, located in the Glen Ellen/Kenwood area of the Sonoma Valley, which was also the first place plant to non-Mission grapes in the state. The 2018 is a lively and fresh vintage in character, but also deeply concentrated and it should only get better with age. While I loved the 2017, this release takes this wine to the next level. I recommend securing some of them as soon as possible. Bucklin has a gifted touch with his wines and as a winegrower he is very in tune with the subtle nuances that his vines give, he was a Pinot Noir geek and was the winemaker at Oregon’s King Estate and you can see that gentle winemaking experience in his wines, and this wine really benefited from this approach.”
Distributor note “60% Zinfandel,15% Grenache, 10% Alicante Bouschet, 5% Petite Sirah and 10% “other” (20+ other varieties, in fact) from a twelve-acre block of vines that were planted in 1885. The vineyard is a mosaic of over two dozen grape varieties; the grapes are fermented together. Fermented with native yeast and aged 22 months in French oak, 40% of which is new. Bottled unfiltered.”
Winery note “Our “Ancient Field Blend” comes from the original vines that were planted on Old Hill Ranch in the 1880’s. Approximately 65% Zinfandel with the remaining varieties co harvested and fermented together. Includes Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Petite Sirah, Grand Noir, Syrah, Carignan, and Mourvedre to name a few. 12 Acres, 30 grape varieties, 1 wine.”
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Otto’s Grenache Sonoma Valley 2019 750ML ($49.95) $36 special, 28 bottles in stock now
Winery note “Otto’s Grenache was planted to honor our Step Father Otto Teller. Opinionated and cantankerous, Otto believed grapevines were too coddled and needed great stress to produce the best wines. This field blend was planted in 2010 on a modestly steep hillside that faces the hot setting sun. The soils are shallow, between two to three feet deep, and they are underlain with a thick impermeable volcanic tuff made from ejected rock and ash that is compacted and cemented into rock. If these growing conditions aren’t challenging enough, the vines are also dry farmed. Average yields are low primarily because the berries are so small and these grapes produce very intense and colorful wine.”
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Bambino Zinfandel Sonoma Valley 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special, 2 bottles in stock now
Wine Spectator 91 points “Lively and briary, with expressive raspberry, smoky tarragon and cracked pepper flavors that pick up speed toward well-groomed tannins. Drink now through 2028. 569 cases made.”
Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Love California Reds? We have over 100 available now both online and in-store
Titan of the Terrassenmosel:
These are Rieslings that feature incredibly high acids, pervasive minerality and a plethora of secondary flavors like hoshigaki persimmon, saffron and ginger. From a stylistic perspective these are “serious” wines that are usually bone dry, with some sweet examples to be found in exceptional years. They require bottle age to even begin expressing their potential, with the best having almost unlimited life in the bottle. Most of their production is dry, but sweeter versions are made when the vintages conditions permit.
In stock now:
Heymann-Lowenstein ‘R’ Winninger Uhlen Roth Lay Auslese Goldkapsel Mosel 2007 375ML ($99.95) $49 special, 20 half-bottles in stock now
Heymann-Lowenstein ‘R’ Winninger Uhlen Roth Lay Auslese Goldkapsel Mosel 2010 750ML ($199.95) $89 special, 29 bottles in stock now
Heymann-Lowenstein ‘B’ Uhlen Blaufusser Lay Mosel 2016 750M ($69.95) $49 special, 9 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93+ points “The 2016 Riesling Uhlen B ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ is pure, fresh and rich at the same time, with flinty aromas on the nose. Full-bodied, precise and piquant on the palate, this is an elegant, fresh and salty Riesling with a lot of tension and length. Powerful. Long.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “This offers a gorgeous nose of candied grapefruit zest, some star fruit, ripe pear and apple, all wrapped into the telltale classy touch of fine spices and herbs so typical of the Estate. The wine is medium-bodied on the palate and leaves a beautifully pure, spicy and mineral-loaded feel in the long and delicately powerful finish. This is a gorgeous wine in the making with a hint of power and nice saltiness in the after-taste.”
Heymann-Lowenstein ‘L’ Uhlen Laubach Grosses Gewachs Riesling Mosel 2016 750ML ($69.95) $49 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “From a slate soil with 10% chalk, the 2016 Riesling Uhlen L ‘VDP Grosse Lage’ shows licorice, flinty and bright fruit aromas on the nose. Juicy, piquant and tensioned on the palate, this is an intense and complex Riesling with lush and intense fruit. The finish is long and promising. Tasted February 2018.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92+ points “This offers a stunning even if still rather reduced nose of pear, grapefruit, start fruit, ginger and smoky elements. The wine is beautifully balanced on the palate, where creamy fruits are nicely wrapped into a hint of acidity and some superb mineral and herby elements. The delicately powerful after-taste oozes refinement, under-toned freshness and multi-layered complexity. This is a gorgeous Uhlen L in the making and one with great upside potential as the wine gains in elegance at maturity.”
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Aged Bordeaux on the way
The assortment of vintages represents some of the most critically lauded in the past score, with each of them being typecasted for being exceptionally age-worthy. What made these vintages unique is the rare combination of a wet winter and spring with a dry and warm summer. This meant for incredibly concentrated and healthy fruit, with minimal disease pressure and a leisurely harvest. With the majority of the bottlings having over 10 years of bottle age, they are just now entering their prime drinking windows.
Arriving Late November:
Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse Pauillac 2010 750ML ($119.95) $99 pre-arrival special
Robert M. Parker Jr. 92 points “This blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot is an up-front, seductively styled Pauillac (one of the more forward and evolved wines from this appellation in 2010). Deep purple, with exceptionally subtle texture and oodles of cassis fruit as well as hints of mocha and white chocolate, it is an elegant wine, but the overall impression is one of considerable flesh, fat and succulence. It will be hard to resist now, but can be cellared for another 15+ years.”
Chateau Batailley Grand Cru Pauillac 2005 750ML ($159.95) $138 pre-arrival special
Robert m. Parker Jr. 93 points “Tasted at the Batailley vertical tasting at the château, the 2005 Batailley continues to be an excellent Pauillac that I suspect is overshadowed by some of its more illustrious and, let’s not forget, more expensive neighbors. Here, it has an effervescent bouquet with vibrant red berry fruit and superb mineralité. This is extremely well focused, with hints of rose petal emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with finer tannin than in previous years. I feel there is still some oak to be fully absorbed, so don’t be afraid to cellar this 2005 for another four or five years; but, even at this early stage, you can appreciate its precision on the graphite-infused finish. The 2005 Batailley is where the estate began its upward swing that is continuing to this day. Tasted April 2016.”
Domaine de Chevalier Pessac-Leognan 2009 750ML ($179.95) $149 pre-arrival special
Robert m. Parker Jr. 95 points “In late 2011, I had the last bottle in my cellar of the 1970 Domaine de Chevalier. Much to my surprise, it was still holding on to life and remained gorgeously complex in that ethereal Graves style. The 2009, one of the finest Domaine de Chevaliers yet produced, reveals a striking bouquet of burning embers, sweet cherry, black and red currant fruit, spice box, cedar and lead pencil shavings. The tannins are sweet in this fleshy, full-bodied offering. It is built on the notion of extraordinary harmony, elegance and complexity. While not the most concentrated or flamboyant 2009, its intense aromas are already reasonably evolved and its lusciousness and balance are terrific. Made from an interesting blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, its yields of 45 hectoliters per hectare were slightly higher than many of its neighbors achieved. Drink it over the next 25 years.”
Chateau Haut-Bergey Pessac-Leognan 2010 750ML ($69.95) $59 pre-arrival special
Robert m. Parker Jr. 92 points “From Helene Garcin, this blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot displays classic tobacco leaf and smoky barbecue notes along with rich black currants and crushed rocks in a medium to full-bodied, seductive, attractively up-front style. Some Asian plum sauce is also noticeable in this complex, evolved and delicious wine, which can be drunk over the next 10-15 years. It is a sleeper of the vintage.”
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