Wednesday Night Newsletter – 10-26-22

In This Newsletter:

New Arrival Special Featurette:  

Steinmetz: Historic Mosel Riesling

New Grapelive Review:
Mijita Wine Company

In the beginning there was Biondi Santi….  

Autumn Breeze, Makes Me Feel Fine
Rosés for the Fall: Bandol Edition


New Arrival Special Featurette: 


Envínate is a small group of winemaking friends (Alfonso Torrente, José Ángel Martínez, Laura Ramos, and Roberto Santana). Envínate wines are highly sought after as authentic expressions of their terroirs and forerunners of the “New Spanish” wine movement. The friends produce wines of purity with low-intervention winemaking and vineyard management using ancient vineyards.  They seek to highlight the individual terroirs of their home regions in Spain, including the Canary Islands. 

Despite being warm, tropical islands, the Canaries are home to several wine-growing regions, particularly along the foggy cliffs and slopes that line the Atlantic Ocean along the northern coastline on the main island, Tenerefe. Roberto Santana takes the lead for Envínate here, having consulted with Suertes del Marques and having extensive knowledge of the ancient vines, terroir, and local varieties. These are fascinating, age-worthy expressions of “New Spain” wines that are not to be missed.

Newly Arrived from Envinate:

Envinate ‘Benje’ Blanco, Canary Islands 2021 750ml $33 special, 8 bottles in stock now
100% Listán Blanco

José Pastor importer note “Benje Blanco is sourced from several old-vine, untrained pie franco parcels of Listan Blanco. Each parcel is hand-harvested and vinified separately in a mix of concrete tank and open tubs. 75% of the fruit is pressed directly off the skins, the other 25% is skin- macerated 14-40 days between 18-30C. The wine is then raised for 8 months in 60% concrete and 40% old French barriques on fine lees without battonage. Bottled without filtration.”

Envinate ‘Benje’ Tinto, Canary Islands 2021 750ml $29.50 special, 32 bottles in stock now
Envinate ‘Benje’ Tinto, Canary Islands 2021 1.5L $79 special, 3 magnums in stock now
90% Listán Prieto, 9% Listán Blanco, 1% Tintilla
José Pastor importer note “Benje Tinto is sourced from 1,000 meters elevation, old-vine, pie franco parcels of Listan Prieto (Mission) with a bit of Tintilla, named ‘Masca,’ ‘La Zanja,’ ‘Valle de Arriba,’ and ‘Llano Redondo,’ all of them located in Santiago del Teide. Each parcel is hand-harvested and vinified separately, some in concrete and some in small open tubs. Maceration is 10-30 days (depending on parcel) with daily punch-down; malolactic fermentation is in neutral French barriques, then raised 8 months in the same barrels without battonage. Bottling is without fining or filtration.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Envinate Migan Chingao Tinto, Valle de la Orotava 2021 750ml $49 special, 4 bottles in stock now
100% Lístan Negro.
José Pastor importer note “From the La Habanera parcel of 100+ year-old vines, all north-facing and trained in the traditional cordón trenzado at 620m above sea level.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Chingao Vineyards & Envinate ‘Albahra Chingao’, Castilla La Mancha 2021 750ml $33 special, 6 bottles in stock now
100% Garnacha Tintorera
José Pastor importer note “From a single parcel of 30-year-old Garnacha Tintorera vines planted on calcareous soils at 800m elevation. The vines are trained en vaso and the only vineyard treatments are with sulfur… Albahra (Castilian for “small sea”) is named for the vineyard area in the Almansa region close to the town of Albacete, located at the southeastern tip of Castilla-La Mancha.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!

Steinmetz: Historic Mosel Riesling

Fifth-generation winemaker Stefan Steinmetz and quite possibly the only black woman working in wine in the Mosel, Sammie Steinmetz, have released one of the finest vintages to date from their historic estate. Their wines are from incredibly steep terrain along the banks of the Mosel on vines grown without fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. The environmentally-friendly mindset is carried into the winery, where the wines are fermented with naturally occurring yeasts and without additives or animal proteins (often found in fining agents). Brauneberger Juffer is easily the most famous vineyard they work with, and one of the best vineyards in the Middle Mosel, known for centuries for its incredible wines from its slate and sandy soils. Across the estate, the vineyard parcels they work with are impressively steep and difficult to farm. (Be sure to check out the winery’s gorgeous and informative vineyard map.) The dedication shows in the glass, resulting in concentrated and breathtaking wines.
“If you’ve never heard of a winery called Gunther Steinmetz, we suggest you look it up… Senior Editor Stuart Pigott first met Stefan Steinmetz, 42, of the Günther Steinmetz estate in Brauneberg/Mosel just over a decade ago and his wines were already very good then with a distinctive style. But he said that nothing prepared him for the recent tastings of the Steinmetz 2019s. He was blown away by the quality.” –James Suckling

In Stock Now:

Weingut Gunther Steinmetz Wintricher Geierslay ‘GW’ Riesling, Mosel 2019 750ml $39 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 97 points “This is an amazing dry Mosel with breathtakingly intense minerality and herbal freshness that makes the flavors so vibrant and finely etched. That it’s only medium-bodied makes it even more delightful. Cascading stone fruit and minerals at the super long finish. Drink or hold.”

Weingut Gunther Steinmetz Wintricher Ohligsberg ‘GW’ Riesling, Mosel 2019 750ml $39 special, 6 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 97 points “A very striking dry riesling with a wonderfully ripe mini-banana note, but also an intense smoky quality. Full body and enormous concentration, the super-vibrant acidity illuminating all its facets like a spotlight on a huge diamond. Very long, silky finish that makes this Mosel masterpiece delicious right now. Drink or hold.”

Weingut Gunther Steinmetz Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule, Mosel 2019 750ml $49 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 98 points “What an amazing nose with devastating, peachy intensity and an overtone of saffron. Staggering concentration and colossal acidity give this incredible Mosel Auslese great tension. Patience will be rewarded by this highly structured, enormously complex wine that might live a century! Only a hint of grape sweetness. Drinkable now, but better from 2024.”

Weingut Gunther Steinmetz Wintricher Geierslay Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule, Mosel 2019 750ml $49 special, 20 bottles in stock now
Stuart Pigott 98 points “Totally seductive nose with all manner of exotic fruits but primarily pineapple and papaya. Mind-blowing concentration and mineral brilliance on the palate. Just keeps pumping the exotic fruit out at the very long, super fresh finish. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 94 points “The 2019er Wintricher Geierslay Riesling Auslese GK was made from slightly botrytized fruit harvested at 116° Oechsle, and was fermented down to fully noble-sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a stunning nose of ginger, elderflower, melon, minerals, and smoky smoke. The wine proves already remarkably open on the palate, where passion fruit zest mingles with minerals and apricot-infused cream. It leaves a great feel of tension and depth in the long and focused finish. The aftertaste is all about raciness and apricot cream. This gorgeous noble-sweet wine proves already quite enjoyable now, but it will only reveal its true colors in a decade, once the nuances will have a chance to emerge. 2029-2059.”

It’s beginning to look like we have a lot of Reeeeeeisling! Everywhere we go!

New Grapelive Review:

Mijita Wine Company

Mijita Wine Co. Abbey Road Farm Vineyard Gamay Noir, Willamette Valley 2021 750ml $28 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Grapelive 92 points “Winemaker Lizzy Esqueda’s first two wines are tiny micro releases under her brand spanking new the Mijita Wine Co. label, featuring a skin contact Pinot Gris ‘orange wine’ and this vibrant and charming Gamay Noir. Both are from the 2021 vintage, a year which is starting to create a buzz with the Oregon natives. This dark garnet/ruby 100% Gamay is already drinking well with a medium bodied palate, that is very silken and Pinot Noir like, with an array of dark fruits, crunchy herbs, a light spiciness and some subtle earthy elements that gives this well-made Gamay a fine tension between ripe fruit and savory tones. The flavor band here rotates smooth in the mouth with a layering of black cherry, brambly raspberry, tart plum and Mission fig fruits, along with a touch of walnut, saddle leather, anise and cinnamon. This wine, with its low alcohol (12.3%), is excitingly old world themed and has hints of pretty florals to go with its rustic personality. It opened up well and stayed impressively entertaining all evening and was joyous with a simple, but hearty meal. I look forward to following Lizzy Esqueda’s Mijita Wines and I can’t wait to try her skin fermented Pinot Gris.

“New on the Oregon wine scene, Esqueda, who has been putting in the time in at Grochau Cellars, says her wines are ‘bright, textural wines made with grapes that are organically and sustainably farmed.’ Her single vineyard Gamay comes from young vines at Abbey Road Farm Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, set on marine sediment soils and made in a transparent and raw style that would seem right any home in Côte de Brouilly. Just four barrels were made of this 2021 vintage which was aged for 10 months in neutral French oak to allow the Abbey Road Farm Vineyard Gamay to show off all its fresh purity. Lizzy adds that she likes to chill this wine down for about 15 minutes in the fridge before popping the cork to really show the juicy, spicy notes, and I found that a slight chill did indeed make everything pop, but air in the glass also brought out an extra dimension and made it even better with food, this is a lovely first time effort from a young winemaker to watch. True Gamay Noir is a big hit in Oregon and the grape thrives here with many outstanding examples from which to choose. There’s a lot new stuff going on in Oregon, especially in the Willamette Valley, and a whole new generation of winemakers, like Lizzy Esqueda, who are creating a new future of wines and who are exploring lesser known varietals, it is a great time to explore them.”

Don’t miss her Pinot Gris!

In the beginning there was Biondi Santi….  

Yes, Biondi Santi created the genesis of modern Brunello: the combination of bottling 100% Sangiovese wine from Montalcino, propagating the Sangiovese Grosso clone, and finally (in 1966) helping draft the regulations for the Brunello DOC. The foundational work did not stop there however, with Biondi Santi undertaking some of the first massale or heritage selections on their estate to identify the best clones for winemaking. These results paid off in spades, with Biondi Santi’s genetic material being some of the most sought after clones of Sangiovese in the world. 

Biondi Santi makes Brunello that all other estates are judged against.  Their estate, Il Greppo, occupies some of the most hallowed ground in the Brunello appellation, in the heart of Montalcino.  Their standards are high (they rarely release riservas) and their style defines classic. The wines are powerful, but not overwrought, elegant but emphatic. With the oldest vines on their estate now approaching 90 years old, there’s a level of depth and power in Biondi Santi that’s unprecedented anywhere else in Montalcino. The Rosso di Montalcino made from their younger plantings and declassified barrels from their other bottlings.

Highlights In Stock Now from Biondi Santi:

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2012 750ml $169 special, 22 bottles in stock now
Kerin O’Keefe- Wine Enthusiast 96 points “Underbrush, ripe berry, new leather and Mediterranean herb aromas slowly take shape in the glass. Showing youthful tension, the vibrant palate delivers red cherry, pomegranate, white pepper and pipe tobacco notes framed by bright acidity and taut, refined tannins. It already shows great balance and finesse but is still young and tight. Drink 2022-2035.”
James Suckling 95 points “Love the dried lemon rind, florals and red fruits. Medium to full body and a solid core of fruit and spices. Long and flavorful finish. Just a hint of sweet tobacco. Better in 2020.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Bright and grippy today, will go years in your cellar!

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2016 750ml $235 special, 12+ bottles in stock now
Case-6 Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Annata, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2016 750ml $1,319 special (that’s only $219.83/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 98 points “Cellar Selection. Aromas of rose petal, dark spice, woodland berries and camphor form the nose on this fragrant, elegant wine. Loaded with finesse, the linear, savory palate features red cherry, orange zest, star anise and black tea alongside tightly wound, fine-grained tannins. Bright acidity keeps it impeccably balanced. It’s still youthfully austere, with fantastic aging potential. Drink 2026–2041. -Kerin O’Keefe”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 97+ points “From a benchmark vintage, the Biondi-Santi 2016 Brunello di Montalcino reveals a gorgeous appearance with medium concentration highlighted by shiny hues of garnet and dark ruby. The first thing you notice is the compact dark fruit and rather robust textural fiber and power presented here. You almost bite into this wine, and you taste some fine grain linked to the young tannins. That, with the fresh acidity that is the hallmark signature of this estate, guarantees long cellar aging, and I would put my money on this vintage for long-long-term longevity. The fruit is compact and supple with dried cherry, blue flower, iron ore and candied orange peel. There is tobacco, balsam herb and gardening soil in a supporting role, and the wine is beautifully fleshed out but also rich in this balanced growing season. It surely needs more time to come together with pinpoint precision, but the wine’s elegance is a certainty.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “This features a well of blackberry and black cherry flavors, along with iron, licorice and fresh herb aromas and flavors. The dense tannins are easily matched by the concentrated flavors, and this shows fine potential, despite the compact finish now. Best from 2025 through 2045. 550 cases imported. — BS”
Eric Guido-Vinous 97 points “The 2016 Brunello di Montalcino is a dark stallion of a wine that showcases both the depth and radiance of the vintage. At first, its bouquet is dark and earthy, yet quickly blossoms into an enthralling mix of musky red currants, wild peppery herbs, dusty rose and worn leather. While satiny in feel, it’s also sleek and lively, with a vibrant burst of sweet and sour citrus that enlivens its notes of tart cranberry and pomegranate, all wound tightly in a web of saline-minerals. Violet and lavender tones arch across the palate over a core of silky tannins that nicely frame the experience, as a hint of balsamic spice slowly tapers off. The 2016 is one of the most deep and balanced Brunellos that I’ve ever experienced from Biondi Santi. If this is the Annata, then I can only imagine what the Riserva might bring to the table. Something of note is that in 2016, production was down by 15% following the abundant 2015 vintage and the dry conditions in the early part of the season.”
Decanter 97 points “Comparing 2015 with 2016, technical director Federico Radi says that the latter is more balanced and aromatic owing to overall cooler temperatures in July and August. It is certainly more in line with Biondi Santi’s angular, austere style and unmistakable in its class and potential. With the utmost restraint, flinty mineral notes make way for scents of dried leaves, forest wildflowers and fresh mint. Perfectly poised on the palate, this is midweight yet plumbs great depths, expressing pomegranate, fennel and orange peel. While its tannins have a certain rigidity and are decidedly linear in direction, they are not massive. It is a rather sneaky wine that needs a few more years in the cellar. Brilliantly succulent finish. Drinking Window 2025 – 2045.”

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Rosso di Montalcino Tuscany 2018 750ml $99 special, 24 bottles in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “Elegant, graceful and fine, the Biondi-Santi 2018 Rosso di Montalcino offers a delicate approach to the senses and it spreads over the palate with polished and silky intensity. The acidity is elevated in this vintage. A handful of historic producers in Montalcino are bringing the Rosso category up to the next level, and the venerable house of Biondi-Santi is one of them. This was a somewhat unusual vintage with prolonged cool spells alternating with moments of intense heat. However, this wine shows even ripening and is quite vibrant and tangy in terms of its acidity. In spectacular Sangiovese style, the wine ends with lingering tones of wild cherry, sweet earth, potting soil and perfumed violet.”

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ml $459 special, 14 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94+ points
“Dark red. Musky nuances give way to brighter red fruit, licorice and herbal aromas. Rich and dense, with flavors of red cherry and minerals lifted by hints of orange peel and bergamot, not to mention noteworthy but harmonious acidity. Finishes long with youthfully chewy tannins and lingering hints of violet. This strikes me as a slightly readier to drink version of Brunello Riserva from Biondi-Santi, but as always, it improves greatly with aeration so decant at least six hours ahead for maximum enjoyment.”
Wine & Spirits 94 points “A warm summer yielded this rich and opulent 2011 Riserva. Only fruit from the estate’s oldest vines (some up to 80 years of age) makes it into this bottling, and that old-vine concentration shows in the wine’s dense flavors: notes of black cherry and umeboshi plum layered with iodine, basil and smoke. The tightly packed flavors need time to unfold, so it’s best to decant this several hours before serving.”

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2013 750ml $649 special, 1 bottle in stock now
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 98 points
“The Biondi-Santi 2013 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is a stunning wine from all points of view. Seamless integration and elegant complexity are what stand out, and it’s worth dedicating a few extra lines to the aromatic depth that is put so beautifully on display as the wine slowly unfolds. The bouquet starts off with wild cherry, earth, wet ash, crème de cassis and pruny chocolate. With extra time, there are hints of dried tobacco leaf, sandalwood and mossy forest floor. These lead to a fine tail of dried herb, bay leaf and a touch of rusty nail. The Riserva comes in numbered bottles, and I opened number 04277. To the palate, the wine is streamlined and silky with smooth tannins and a well-managed 13.5% alcohol content. The oak presence is reduced to a minimum, offering mild hints of spice and the delicate sandalwood or dried fig aroma I described above. Fresh acidity is the glue that gives the wine buoyancy and staying power. At this young stage, this 2013 vintage could be considered a bit shy or slow to start, but this will play out to great advantage in the long term as the wine continues its bottle evolution.”

Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 1983 750ml $1,199 special, 1 bottle in stock now
***Winery Cellared Release***
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 96 points “[Reviewed July 2021] This precious bottle is part of Biondi-Santi’s late-release program for collectors (I tasted bottle number 10,723). The 1983 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is showing beautifully on its aging timeline, although this bottle is slightly more evolved since I last tasted this vintage in 2019 before the pandemic. With slow and measured determination, the bouquet embraces dried fig, cured bresaola, burnt caramel, wet campfire, dried oregano and a familiar aroma that reminds me of the Florence leather market. However, there is a lot of life and vertical lift in this Riserva, thanks in great part to the beautiful freshness that keeps the tannins alive and adds a pop of pretty acidity to the close. The wine shows its age with pride and grace, and the final results are quite spectacular. In fact, I’m opening the drinking window up by an additional five years thanks to the latitude and depth shown here.”

Shop the complete list of Biondi Santi wines in stock now or shop our Brunello selections!

Autumn Breeze, Makes Me Feel Fine
Rosés for the Fall: Bandol Edition

Famous as a source for dense reds from Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault, Bandol’s rosé has taken the world by storm and for good reason: it’s delicious and fantastic year-round! Rosé commands almost 3/4s of total production, including our picks from Pradeaux, Bastide Blanche, and Tempier.
Bandol and Bandol-Adjacent Rosés In Stock Now:
Domaine de la Bastide Blanche Bandol Rosé, Provence 2021 750ml $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92 points
“Light, bright orange. Vibrant pomegranate, blood orange and pit fruit qualities on the highly perfumed nose, along with building mineral and floral accents. Taut and focused in the mouth, nicely concentrated red berry, orange zest and lavender flavors are supported by an undercurrent of chalky minerality. Finishes floral and long, with repeating mineral and citrus fruit notes.”
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 91 points “Regularly a top Bandol, the flamingo-pink 2021 Bandol Rose comes across initially as rather simple, fruity and easy. Plum, cherry and melon notes do add attractive hints of crushed stone and lime on the zesty-briny finish of this medium-bodied effort. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Chateau Pradeaux Bandol Rosé, Provence 2021 750ml $36.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Rosenthal Wine Merchant importer note
“The Bandol Rosé from Pradeaux is perhaps the most serious wine in this category. Robust, rich, and complex with an ability to age gracefully, Etienne Portalis insists that the Domaine’s rosé is a gastronomic experience, not just an easy-drinking wine. We could not agree more, and tastings at Château Pradeaux have repeatedly demonstrated the graceful, profound future this wine encounters if not swallowed in its infancy.”
Chateau Pradeaux ‘Vespree’ Rose Vin de France 2020 750ml $41.90 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Rosenthal Wine Merchant importer note
““Vesprée” represents a small portion of Pradeaux’s Bandol Rosé production vinified and aged in a combination of foudre and cement egg, and with an additional six months of ageing before bottling. Our tastings from the individual vessels in the cellars every year show a wine full of energy, slightly leaner and more focused than the basic Bandol above, but with similar concentration and grip.”
Domaine Ray-Jane Bandol Rosé, Provence 2021 750ml $31.90 special, 8 bottles in stock now
Distributor note
“The Constant family has been working this same hillside and vinifying Bandol in the same ancient stone cellar since 1288 (that’s two centuries before the first Chave vintage). The “house style” at this small family domaine is all about structure, freshness and balance. In other words, it’s the opposite of the increasingly viscous, alcoholic, “post climate change” $$$ Bandol found in most other books. These wines are also built to age gracefully in the cellar: at 5-7 years Ray-Jane rosé takes on a gorgeous saffron/wax-y Clos Cibonne “Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes” vibe that is unique in Bandol. The only downside at Ray-Jane is that the wines are quite limited in production, and thus have never really been visible in the US market. We are thrilled to be gradually changing that in Oregon.”
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé, Provence 2021 750ml $49 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Joe Czerwinski-Wine Advocate 93 points
“Not included in the blind tasting at the local syndicat, Tempier’s 2021 Bandol Rose nevertheless looked good when I tasted it at the estate. It’s a very fine, elegant example of Bandol rosé, with notes of passion fruit and pink grapefruit leading the way in a tightly knit, medium-bodied package that adds promising hints of white peach and anise on the lingering finish.”
Domaines Ott Chateau Romassan Bandol Rosé, Provence 2021 750ml $54.50 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine & Spirits 96 points
“Chateau Romassan sits at the foot of the hilltop village Le Castellet, a few miles north of the Bay of Bandol. The Otts rely on mourvedre for the bulk of their rose, this one includes 30 percent cinsault and 15 percent grenache), and, thought 2021 was another hot summer here, Romassan’s poor limestone and sandstone soils produced a deeply savory wine. This pale Bandol seems to have inhaled the local scrubland and seaside breezes, presenting that savory edge alongside husk cherry, grapefruit and pale melon flavors. Firm and versatile, it would pair nicely with anything from bouillabaisse to a Nicoise salad; or take it abroad alongside chicken yakitori.”
Shop our full selection of in stock rosé wines on our webstore!

Thank you from the team at Vinopolis!

Be well & drink well.