Weekend VinopolPick 1-29-21

In Today’s Newsletter:

Featured New Arrival
The Exquisite Champagnes of Marie-Courtin

Subscriber Special Extended
Save Big Until Monday Morning

Bibi Graetz’s 100-Point Testamatta

German Wine Spotlight: Kruger-Rumpf


The Next Cult Barolo:
Principiano’s Traditional Stunners

Don’t Forget, New Subscriber Specials
Santa Duc’s Regal Gigondas & Châteauneuf

Subscriber Special #2
San Román’s Powerful Tinto


Featured New Arrival

The Exquisite Champagnes of Marie-Courtin

“Dominique Moreau [makes] tiny amounts of Champagne under the Marie-Courtin label that are gorgeous, precise and elegant, and that I cannot get out of my head.” – Eric Asimov, New York Times
The Aube: once a sleepy backwater Department of the Champagne region where generations of vineyard owners and tenders subsisted on selling their crops to the Grand Marque luxury brand Champistocrats headquartered in Reims. Now it is a cradle to a movement. A movement to something of a Burgundian model: of estate growers escorting their grapes through to the finished wine, and in so doing expressing their grapes, their ground, and their esthetic. The Aube is not alone in this turnabout. It is happening all over Champagne. And the proprietress of Marie-Courtin, Dominique Moreau, is not alone in the Aube- the grower contingent there has other luminaries including Cedric Bouchard, Vouette & Sorbee, and Jacques Lassaigne.
But, we digress, as our story begins in 2001….
In the Aube, on a hillside of the Cote des Bars, near the village of Polisot, where Dominique Moreau took over a small vineyard of mostly 40-50 year old Pinot Noir (planted by her father-in-law) and combined it with her vision to produce single-vineyard, single varietal, single vintage Champagnes from biodynamically grown grapes- farmed with meticulous care, and vinified au naturel. Native yeasts, no dosage, minimalist intervention at all decision points. This was and still is a sharp turn from the conventional mind-set in Champagne, which is to produce a homogenous product- and plenty of it.
And the pace picked up markedly in 2006, when the visions were first bottled, and became something the world beyond the Aube could share. But they didn’t go far beyond the Aube. There were only 1,000 cases or so, and they were mostly intercepted by the restaurants and Champagne bars in Paris.
Since then?
Well, a modest linear progression of bottlings and growth, and an immodest exponential explosion of consumer knowledge, interest, and demand. It hasn’t hurt that Champagne is by far the hottest sector of the wine market today, and the grower Champagne is the hottest sector of the Champagne market. But Dominique would have succeeded in moribund markets, as her vision and skills are indomitable and her Champagnes approach transcendental.
‘Resonance’ is the base of the program here, a tank fermented Pinot Noir. The ever-holistic Dominique says that ‘Resonance’ refers to the balancing energies of earth and sky that affect the creation of a wine from its surrounding terroir.  But we’d say that it could equally refer to the harmonic symphony it adds to a glass. The 2008 vintage of this wine was the first to be received in the Western US in quantities above miniscule and we took in an outsized share. We were the first to have it, and the last to have it, but we didn’t have it long enough. Conservation of supply was not possible when demand was spurred by Antonio Galloni’s glowing reviews and breathless conclusion that: “It is a fabulous wine in every way. I loved it.” Year in, year out, it is a wine with gazelle-like poise, mineral verve and a filigreed tension that captures her vision of balance and energy.
‘Efflorescence’ is drawn from grapes at the base of the hill- Dominique feels they have greater power and potential. The wine is raised in used Burgundy barrels for a year. For Dominique, “Efflorescence” refers to “something that evolves in perpetuity”. Starting with the evolution encouraged by the small oxygen exchange in barrel, she feels that this wine in particular will show a very different face at each stage of its development in bottle. ‘Eloquence’ arises from a small amount of Chardonnay on Dominique’s estate. Elegance is as ‘Eloquence’ does.
She’s yet to share with us what was on her mind to name this bottling ‘Concordance’. But perhaps flying very high, above all else; because that is what it does. Dominique, by the way, recommends that all of her Champagnes be served in conventional wine glasses rather than flutes. We’d say that is an option on all but this Concordance, where it is a must. Consider a decanter too. Bubbling Burgundy it is, un voyage- sans limit, sans end. The bubbles are not accidental, but they are incidental.
 “These wines represent the height of vinosity in Champagne” –Antonio Galloni
“Intensely expressive, emotionally moving wines.” –Peter Liem

In Stock Now:

Marie Courtin Concordance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2015 750ML ($119.95) $75 special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2015 Extra Brut Concordance Sans Soufre (100% Pinot Noir) is bright, precise and absolutely gorgeous. Dominique Moreau seems to have really dialed in her approach over the last few years. I can’t remember tasting a Concordance with this much translucent energy. Pinot Noir in the Aube has rarely been this weightless and nuanced. The purity of the flavors is just striking. No dosage.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $88
Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2014 750ML ($99.95) $59 special
No reviews yet for the 2014 vintage – Reviews for 2013 vintage provided for reference.
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A complete and wonderfully nuanced wine, the 2013 Extra Brut Efflorescence is fabulous. Bright and sculpted to the core, the 2013 exudes energy. Chalk, mint, jasmine and orchard fruit add complexity, but it is the wine’s overall balance that is most impressive. The Efflorescence offers striking translucence and energy from start to finish. The non-dosé style is especially successful here. Disgorged in April 2017 with no dosage.”
“Efflorescence is from an east-facing vineyard with 40-year-old vines (sélection massale) on Kimmeridgian soils. Fermented and aged for one year in pièces and 36 months on the second lees before the disgorgement…” –Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate, writing on the 2013 vintage
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $76
Marie Courtin Eloquence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Importer note
“Single parcel of Chardonnay located in the village of Polisot near the Pinot vineyard in the Cote des Bars. Massale selection, low-vigor rootstock, 15-20 yr old vines. Clay and Kimmerdigian Limestone bands similar to those found in Chablis. The Cotes des Bar is closer in proximity to Chablis than to Epernay. Aged in used barriques and bottled with no dosage. Remeniscent of Chablis with bubbles, this Blanc de Blanc is full, yet chiseled with intense mineral character.”
Marie Courtin ‘Indulgence’ Extra Brut Rose, Champagne 2015 750ML ($99.95) $89 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The 2015 Extra Brut Rosé Indulgence is 100% Pinot Noir that sees a maceration of about 48 hours. Pomegranate, mint, dried flowers, game and dried pear are all finely knit. Lifted floral and savory notes suggest at least some whole cluster influence. This is such a classy and expressive Champagne. Here, too, I see what appears to be more finesse than in the past. No dosage. Disgorged: November, 2018.”
Importer note “50 year old Pinot Noir vines from .30 hectares. Sandy marl with veins of kimmeridgian. Balanced above all else, the Indulgence rose is made from 100% Pinot Noir that macerated for four days. Not too fruity, not too meaty…just right! Non-dosé.”
Marie Courtin Presence Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne 2017 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Importer note
“70% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc. Harvested from massale selection vines of 1/3 Pinot Blanc and 2/3 Chardonnay averaging 20 years of age. The Pinot Blanc is planted in kimmerdgian-centric soils while the Chardonnay is planted in portlandian soils. Aged in apoxy lined tank, three year elevage sur lie, unfined and unfiltered, zero dosage and zero sulfur added. Dominique Moreau’s Blanc de Blanc blend combines Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grown in the unique kimmeridgian and portlandian soils of the Aube. This zero dosage, no sulfur added cuvee is rich and racy and has a commanding “presence”, if you will, just as we have come to expect from this rising star.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $96
Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Case-6 Marie Courtin Resonance Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2015 750ML ($359.95) $279 special (that’s only $46.50/bottle!)
Importer note
“Sourced from massale selection vines 35-40 years in age from a single parcel located in Polisot (Cote des Bar). The fruit for Resonance comes from the top of the slope where there is little topsoil. Clay and Kimmerdigian Limestone bands similar to those found in Chablis. The Cotes des Bar is closer in proximity to Chablis than to Epernay. Aged in stainless steel and bottled with no dosage. Fresh and nervy with a rounder character than in past years. Classic Marie Courtin cut with a bit more meat on the bone.”


Subscriber Special Extended!

Save Big Until Monday Morning

Bibi Graetz’s 100-Point Testamatta
Testamatta, which means “crazy head” in Italian, is a nod to Bibi Graetz’s eccentricity. A creative and passionate man, Graetz crafts some of Italy’s most impressive wines at his self-described Casamatta (“crazy house”). But don’t be fooled by Graetz’s self-deprecating humility, one taste of his wines will shatter any illusions that these are humble plonk. The brilliance of the wine suggests that there surely must be a method to the madness. Decanter recently recognized Graetz’s unmistakable talent by awarding the 2018 Testamatta 100 points.

We were fortunate to secure a modest allocation of this in-demand wine and want to encourage you to stock your cellar, because it will not disappoint. To that end, we’re extending our 10% discount when you order 3 bottles or more between now and 10AM Monday.

Buy 3+ bottles of 2018 Testamatta
Receive a 10% discount on them
Pay only $80.99 per bottle

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We will adjust your order manually before finalizing
Sale ends Monday, February 1st at 10AM PST

Pre-Arrival ETA March:

Bibi Graetz Testamatta Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2018 750ML ($99.95) $89.99 pre-arrival special
Jane Anson – Decanter 100 points
“Finely textured, with a nuanced perfume that fills the glass and takes you to the intense underbrush of Tuscany. Succulent and yet savoury, this has a lilting freshness that is overlaid with ripe berry fruits, sage and white pepper spice, and clear minerality in terms of its scraping texture that makes your mouth water on the finish. Feels light and sculpted and yet has an intensity that skewers you to the spot. This is a great wine, with scope and imagination that doesn’t want to let you go. Genuinely stands out among the wines of this tasting, and these are a fine array of wines. As with Colore, Bibi Graetz selects only old vines, the youngest 50 years old from five different vineyard sites across Tuscany, all farmed organically. Fermentations in open 225l barrels with natural yeasts and manual punch downs.”
German Wine Spotlight:


Kruger-Rumpf sits close to the Rhine, geographically, than some of the other big names in the area and their wines have more intrinsic power to them as a result.  These are some seriously good Rieslings, at prices considerably lower than what you’d pay from other name producers.

The estate dates back to the 1700s and includes some of the greatest terroirs in the area. The wines are well-crafted from the vineyard, which is in transition to certified organic and managed with an eye toward biodiversity, to the modern winery where ferments are mostly spontaneous and where terroir expression is the main goal of winemaking.

The top off-dry wines from the estate comes from the awkwardly named “Dautenpflanzer” from near the town of Munster, which means that the label reads “Munsterer Dautenpflanzer”—a stereotype of a German name if we ever saw one.  In house, we often call it the “MD” if you aren’t feeling up to testing your pronunciation skills.  The Dautenpflanzer is a premier Grand Cru site of the lower Nahe, a place that yields wine s of power and resonance, and Kruger-Rumpf is the primary (and best) landholder.

Their top dry wine comes from the Abtei , Im Pitterberg, and Burgberg vineyards, which are more suited to the production of bright, dry bottlings than the Dautenpflantzer. Their “1937” is a single-block bottling of the Abtei vineyard’s oldest and steepest section. Despite the vine age and fantastic quality, it’s just half the price of similar unicorn wines (think Carl Loewen’s “1896”). Furthermore, the Burgberg is one of the top GG sites in the upper Nahe, tiny and impossibly steep, and the Kruger-Rumpf version show off the classicism and elegance of the site.

In Stock Now:

Kruger-Rumpf Abtei ‘1937 Reserv’ Riesling Trocken 2018 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Grapelive 94-96 points
“The 2018 barrel sample of Kruger-Rumpf’s Abtei 1937 was stunningly gorgeous with brilliant details, ripe extract density, vivid mineral tones and vibrant acidity showing a purity and vitality of youth, but with the complexity and length of its old vine material. Georg Rumpf has crafted a Trocken beauty here with layers of delicacy and substance. This juice is on par with almost any GG, making it an incredible value already. Be sure to book your allocation of this ultra-limited bottling from Terry These and importer Skurnik Wines. You will not be disappointed, I know I will be hustling to get some myself. The regular Abtei offering is one of my new favorite Nahe Rieslings and while I love all the latest Kruger-Rumpf wines, especially from the Grosse Lage: Münsterer Dautenpflänzer, Münsterer im Pitterberg and Dorsheimer Burgberg, as well as exotic Rumpf’s Scheurebe plus their off dry Kabinett, Feinherb and wonderfully balanced Spatlese(s) I have become obsessed with the Bingerbrücker Abtei im Ruppertsberg vineyard and wines. This ’18 starts with subtle aromatic charm with orange blossom, rosewater, flinty stones, salt lick and quinces before thrilling the palate with energy and white peach, tangerine, lime intensity, verbena, mint tea and tart green apple. This light/medium dry Riesling is brisk and racy, at first but gains depth and builds with air in the glass adding some leesy texture, it is totally thrilling and will only get better with bottle age. Terry Theise adds that, Kuger-Rumpf’s vineyards are farmed sustainably; bees are kept nearby to facilitate pollination and aid in overall bio-diversity. Periodically sheep are allowed to roam the vines helping to control underbrush. All vineyards are hand harvested to ensure that only optimally ripe grapes are selected. Stefan believed that “you can’t improve wine in the cellar, only make it worse…” and Georg has continued his cellar work with this philosophy in mind, which to me shows in wines like this fantastic Abtei.

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Kruger-Rumpf Dorsheimer Burgberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Grapelive 94+ points
“Coming from a tiny incredibly steep Grand Cru site, the Burgberg Vineyard, that is set on volcanic and quartz soils near Munster in the village of Dorsheim. The Kruger Rumpf Burgberg GG is one of the most exciting wines of vintage at this small winery… It is fantastically mineral-driven dry Riesling. This latest set of wines, especially the Rieslings, from Georg Rumpf and his family are some of the best yet from this estate. The GG’s and the Premier Cru Trockens are gorgeous wines. No one is going to want to miss these 2018 Nahe offerings, especially the Pitterberg GG, the Abtei Erste Lage 1937 old vine, one of my secret favorites and this beautifully detailed Burgberg GG. Rumpf has turned to mostly all organic practices, and the Burgberg parcel is farmed organic. [He] prefers to do natural fermentations, or Sponti, with his Cru wines with the GG’s getting less aging in large cask, Stuckfass, to allow less reduction and enhance generosity, while retraining freshness and vitality in the wines. [It] shows here in this barrel sample of Burgberg… These Kruger-Rumpf GG’s are some of the best values out there, they really deserve much more attention, as do the lesser bottlings and their wildly tasty Scheurebe, which is one of the best examples in Germany. The Kruger-Rumpf winery, which dates back to the 1790’s, is focused on purity and the expression of the distinctive terroirs in the family’s holdings, but only began making estate labeled wines in 1984 when Georg’s dad Stefan began crafting small production bottlings. Now, mostly retired Stefan has turned things over to his sons Georg and Philipp, who are continuing the traditions here with a renewed energy and technical skill. [Their work] impresses Terry Theise, their importer, who considers Kruger-Rumpf one of best under the radar estates in the region. [Theise] notes that Kruger-Rumpf is innovative and is always striving to reach new levels of quality. I visited Kruger-Rumpf in the fall of 2016 at harvest time and was thrilled with the stylish wines I found and was blown away with the individual vineyards they farm and the hard work they have been putting in the restore the Abtei site. The iron rich volcanic and quartz influenced 2018 Burgberg GG starts with white flowers, stone fruits and vibrant citrus before expansion on the medium full palate with layers of lime/tangerine, apricot, green apple, papaya, bitter pit white peach and white cherry fruits along with steely form, spearmint, verbena, mouthwatering saline, exotic spices and subtle leesy elements. This is going to be a legendary wine and is already showing Georg’s signature finesse and vinous personality. It has masses of potential and its delicacy is utterly delicious! There’s a lot to admire at Kruger-Rumpf these days and this crisp 2018 Burgberg is a stunning effort that gains with air in the glass and will more so with a few years in bottle.”
Wine Advocate 93+ points “From low-yielding vines planted in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the 2018 Burgberg Riesling GG is absolutely great on the pure, clear and refreshing, super flinty and mineral nose. On the palate, this is an intense, highly complex and elegant dry Riesling with crystalline acidity and a long and refreshing, crystalline and salty finish. Bottled and tasted in July 2019.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kruger-Rumpf Im Pitterberg Riesling Grosses Gewachs 2018 750ML ($51.95) $46 special
Wine Advocate 93+ points
“The 2018 Im Pitterberg Riesling GG is bright and floral on the fragrant and elegant, spicy-mineral nose. Full-bodied and intense on the palate, with rich and concentrated fruit that is balanced by a tight and mineral structure and lingering salinity, this is an elegant, very complex and sustainable dry Riesling with crunchy stone flavors and a gripping finish. This is a great Nahe wine from the 2018 vintage. Tasted in July 2019.”
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points “Scents of white peach anticipate the cool juiciness as well as the peach fuzz invigoration and peach kernel piquancy that emerge on a firm palate. A bright influx of fresh lime lends animation and enhances refreshment on a finish that also features mouthwatering veal stock savor and vivid wet stone. (For background on the naming of this site and the origin of its fruit, consult my review of the corresponding 2015.)”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Dautenpflanzer Riesling Spatlese 2018 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
David Schildknecht-Vinous 92 points
“An effusively fruity nose anticipates the generously juicy peach and nectarine that feature on a glossy palate, with a hint of almond paste as well as pronounced sweetness tugging things in a confectionary direction. Happily, an influx of limey brightness and tangy fresh-fruitedness serve for welcome pushback as well as animation and refreshment on a long-lasting finish. As with others of the best Kruger-Rumpf 2018s, this manages to combine richness and high ripeness with brightness and transparency to stony inflections. That juxtaposition may have been underscored in the case of this Spätlese by its having been raised partly in cask and partly in tank.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Pittersberg Riesling Spatlese Goldkapsel 2018 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
David Schildknecht-Vinous 95 points
“Picked at the end of October but with minimal botrytis, this certainly stands in magnificent contradiction to my vintage generalization that picking past the middle of that month was not advantageous. Unlike its counterpart form the Dautenpflänzer, this was raised in cask, and was allowed to ferment to a lower level of residual sugar. It comes off as a riper, richer sibling of the corresponding Im Pitterberg Riesling Kabinett, its gloss merging with creaminess, yet with fresh white peach and lime juiciness complementing ripe quince and serving for animation and refreshment. The finish is unexpectedly electrifying in its vibrancy and mouthwateringly saline, and gains stimulating counterpoint from peach kernel piquancy, peach fuzz prickle and a crystalline sense of stone-showering mineral impingement. (If there is a second, “regular” Im Pitterberg Spätlese from this vintage, I am not aware of it.)”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $49.99

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Pittersberg Riesling Kabinett 2018 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
David Schildknecht-Vinous 93 points
“While marginally lower in alcohol – at 9% – than its Rheinberg counterpart, this was picked early at a significantly lower 82 Oechsle, so its sense of sweetness is nicely restrained. Luscious and invigoratingly tart-edged white peach, apple and lime are wreathed in honeysuckle, while a billowing sense of levity and inner-mouth perfume perfectly complements a subtly creamy texture that owes something to lees exposure in cask. (In fact, Georg Rumpf performed a bit of lees stirring and an extra racking, yet the wine retains an invigorating hint of CO2 spritz.) The sustained finish delivers a superb sense of vibrancy, clarity and focus, its intense fruitiness matched by a salinity that tugs at the salivary glands. (For background on the origination and style of this Kabinett, consult my reviews of its vintage 2015 and vintage 2016 predecessors.)”
Wine Advocate 91 points “Picked early around September 10th and vinified in large oak until April this year, the 2018 Im Pitterberg Riesling Kabinett offers a clear, ripe and spicy, beautifully elegant bouquet of bright fruits and crushed nuts. Very clear and fresh on the palate, this is a filigreed, elegant and persistently light, salty-piquant and crystalline Riesling with mineral tension and stimulating grip. This is a picture-book Kabinett that is a great pleasure to drink even today and certainly with food. 9% alcohol. Tasted from AP 21 19 in August 2019.”

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

Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 89 points
“From a southeast-facing vineyard, picked at 83/84° Oechsle around the 20th of September and vinified in stainless steel and large oak in equal parts, the 2018 Münster Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett is beautifully clear, fresh and stony/piquant on the precise, stimulating, slightly nutty and coffee-bean nose. Round, lush and sweet on the first palate, this is a fresh, salty-piquant and elegant Kabinett with stimulating grip on the finish. This is a beautifully lean, light and digestible Kabinett in the good old style. Tasted in July 2019.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
We’ve got more!
Head to our webstore to see all 15 different Kruger-Rumpf wines available.

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An outrageously low price for a Sonoma icon.
Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013 750ML ($49.95) $21.90 special
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
“Pungent, spicy earth and cinnamon rise out of the wine’s bouquet, inviting one to enjoy a structured expression of cranberry, raspberry and black tea. The tannin structure is well managed and the oak strong, yet integrated. Gap’s Crown is among the vineyards that figure into the blend, along with several Dutton family properties. This is fresh and focused. -Virginie Boone”
Robert Parker-Wine Advocate 91 points “All the Pinot Noirs are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The biggest cuvée, the 2013 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast comes from many different sources, including Dutton Ranch, Martinelli Family, Chenoweth Vineyard, and a handful of others, that are blended together for a relatively consistent style from vintage to vintage. The lovely 2013 exhibits terrific blueberry and black raspberry fruit interwoven with notions of Chinese black tea, oak, earth and beet root in the background. This nicely textured, medium-bodied Pinot Noir possesses zesty acidity as well as admirable aromatics. Enjoy it over the next 5-8 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $43.90
The average listed price is $46

Powerful and rich—an exceptionally full-bodied red for under $17.
Triton Tinta de Toro, Toro 2017 750ML ($21.95) $16.60 special
Case-12 Triton Tinta de Toro, Toro 2017 750ML ($239.95) $179 special (that’s only $14.92/bottle!)
Jeb Dunnuck 93 points
“Made from 100% Tinta de Toro aged a year in used barrels (and some demi-muids), the 2017 Tritón comes from multiple vineyards and is made in decent amounts. It’s a rich, powerful wine loaded with notions of blackcurrants, dark chocolate, licorice, crushed rocks, and crushed violets. It’s full-bodied, has impressive depth of fruit, sweet tannins, and a great finish. It’s a rocking wine that can be drunk today or cellared for 15 years or more.”
James Suckling 91 points “An array of ripe dark-berry and raspberry aromas with biscuity nuances, as well as boysenberries. The palate has a sleek, essence-like feel. Such richness. Open-knit with soft berries. Very long and very ripe. Drink or hold.”

It’s hard to think of a better value in Willamette Pinot right now.
Biggio Hamina Claygate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Case-6 Biggio Hamina Claygate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 special (that’s only $26.50/bottle!)
Case-12 Biggio Hamina Claygate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($399.95) $299 special (that’s only $24.92/bottle!)
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 94 points
“Bright red. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays intense red fruit, potpourri and incense qualities. Spice and savory herb nuances build as the wine opens up. Bright and energetic in the mouth, offering densely packed and appealingly sweet raspberry liqueur, cherry and spicecake flavors that pick up a smoky mineral note on the back half. Plays power off of finesse deftly and finishes extremely long and floral, with sneaky, fine-grained tannins and a touch of exotic spices.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

One of the best bottles of Beaujolais in the stellar 2018 vintage.
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Labourons 2018 750ML ($39.95) $36 special
Anne-Sophie Dubois Fleurie Les Labourons 2018 1.5L ($99.95) $79 special
Grapelive 95 points
“The top or signature wine from the talented Anne-Sophie Dubois is her awesome Les Labourons Fleurie Cru Beaujolais that comes from a high elevation, with a warm Southwest exposure, parcel of Gamay vines that are set on the classic pink granite soils of this appellation, all of which give this gorgeous wine its intensity, distinction, heightened aromatics and elegance with a crisp detailing of pure flavors. This 2018 is impeccable with a clarity of terroir and focus showing a racy edginess and a slight hint of reduction to start before everything comes alive on the medium bodied palate with precise layers of dark vine picked berries, tart currant, strawberry, ripe cherries and earthy blueberry fruits along with delicate spices, mineral tones and crushed violets. While lovely and youthful, this deeply garnet/ruby Gamay beauty takes to another level with a fine structure, complexity and exceptional length in a quaffable package that just gets better and better as it fully opens in the glass, it is a Fleurie that has the style and grace of a Chambolle-Musigny, but at a much more reasonable price. There is no question that Anne-Sophie Dubois is one of young superstars of Beaujolais region and part of a new generation of vignerons that are bringing this area to world wide attention, and as her importer says, as well as redefining the identity of Beaujolais…. [She] has mostly shied away from the use of carbonic fermentation, preferring a more traditional Burgundian regime with mostly de-stemmed grapes, while employing a natural or indigenous yeast fermentation with a gentle handling of the wine from vineyard to bottle.… The 2018 Les Labourons came from the oldest vines and the best selections of grapes, which, as mentioned, were 100% de-stemmed and saw a cool maceration with the wine, after primary was complete, seeing an elevage of just over a year in all well used or what you’d call neutral French oak barrels.”



The Next Cult Barolo:

Principiano’s Traditional Stunners

Ferdinando Principiano made one of the most remarkable sets of Barolos in 2016, cementing his rise as one of the hottest growers in the Piedmont. Powerful, energetic, and finely detailed, these are traditionally made wines with a firm sense of place—and deservedly high scores. 

Principiano has turned into such a star name because his wines evoke classic names like Canonica an Mascarello, with his organic farming and long, submerged-cap macerations, before aging in large format oak. These are stunning wines, but unfortunately quantities are exceptionally limited, so grab these while you see them.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Ferdinando Principiano Barolo Ravera Monforte 2016 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 98 points
“Cellar Selection. Menthol, new leather, pressed rose and forest berry aromas shape the enticing nose on this knockout red. Thoroughly delicious, the captivating, focused palate doles out succulent Marasca cherry, raspberry compote, truffle and tobacco while a minty note lingers on the long finish. Firm, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity provide beautiful balance and ageworthy structure. Drink 2024–2041.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Ferdinando Principiano Barolo Serralunga 2016 750ML ($69.95) $52.50 special
Case-6 Ferdinando Principiano Barolo Serralunga 2016 750ML ($349.95) $299 special (that’s only $49.83/bottle!)
Case-12 Ferdinando Principiano Barolo Serralunga 2016 750ML ($699.95) $569 special (that’s only $47.42/bottle!)
Kerin O’Keefe-Wine Enthusiast 96 points
“Editor’s Choice. Rose petal, camphor, perfumed berry and forest floor are just some of the aromas you’ll find on this gorgeous, radiant red. It’s delicious and loaded with an earthy finesse, delivering succulent red cherry, ripe strawberry, licorice, game and almost salty mineral notes. Taut, refined tannins and fresh acidity keep it impeccably balanced. Drink through 2031.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $58.99


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Don’t Forget, New Subscriber Specials

Santa Duc’s Regal Gigondas & Châteauneuf

Gigondas is the finest source of value for profound wine in the Rhône. The top estates deliver wines that compete with the very best wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but at prices that are a fraction of their peers. Our Subscriber Special today, Santa Duc, is one of the very best in the region. 

Santa Duc is perhaps the only estate who can match Saint Cosme as the “Most Important Winery in Gigondas”. Owners of some of the finest vineyards in the Southern Rhône, Santa Duc is a legendary producer that more than lives up to their reputation. Unlike Saint Cosme, though, their top wines aren’t yet commanding triple-digit pricing.

These are wines that manage the neat trick of being absolutely delicious now while having a track record of aging gracefully. Recent notes for older bottles like the 1995 and 1998 Hautes Garrigues are glowing, yet the wines can be on your table tonight and impress. In the last decade or so, the winery has extended its holdings into Châteauneuf and those wines are as brilliant as you’d expect, as well.

These are wines to buy in quantity—you’re going to want to drink a lot of them now and have some left in your cellar in ten years. Best of all, our pricing was already the lowest in the country, but is now by far the best. So now is the perfect time to stock up.

In Stock Now:

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Clos Derrière Vieille, Rhône 2015 750ML ($49.95) Was $41.90 Now $38, 13 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 94 points
“Mostly (80%) grenache with 10% each of mourvèdre and syrah. There’s a very impressive, sheer and crunchy texture to the palate and a peppery edge. Tannins drive a long, powerful finish. Best from 2020.”
Jeb Dunnuck 92-94 points “The 2015 Gigondas Clos Derrière Vieille (80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre) comes from the wall vineyard located just beside the village. It offers terrific notes of dusty earth, dried cherries and herbes de Provence, medium to full-bodied richness, silky tannin and a beautiful texture. Like the other 2015s, it’s going to drink nicely for 10-15 years.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 92-93 points “Deep ruby. Ripe raspberry, cherry liqueur, violet and a hint of garrigue on the deeply perfumed nose. Fleshy, appealingly sweet and expansive in the mouth, offering plush red and blue fruit flavors and a subtle note of candied licorice that builds in the glass. Becomes more energetic with air and finishes on a sweet red berry note, showing powerful thrust, harmonious tannins and impressive persistence.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today
Now even lower!
The next lowest listed price is $42

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Prestige des Hautes Garrigues, Rhône 2015 750ML ($59.95) Was $49 Now $44, 16 bottles in stock now
Jeb Dunnuck 94-97 points
“Lastly, the 2015 Gigondas Hautes Garrigues (60/40 Grenache and Mourvèdre) is a beauty boasting killer notes of dark fruits, crushed rocks, pepper, garrigue and scorched earth. This seriously good 2015 has building richness, a stacked mid-palate and a huge finish, all suggesting short-term cellaring will be your friend. It will keep for two decades of more.”
James Suckling 93 points “Mourvèdre steps up to one third of the blend while the balance is grenache. This has an attractive array of ripe dark cherry and blue plum fruits. The tannins are framed up with a deeper, wider shape. Try from 2020, this needs time.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93-95 points “Full ruby. Smoke-accented aromas of red and dark berry liqueur, incense, spicecake and candied flowers show outstanding energy and clarity. Sweet, seamless and broad in the mouth, offering concentrated black raspberry, boysenberry and lavender pastille flavors that fan out steadily with air. Rich but nervy and precise as well, carrying no excess fat. Velvety tannins frame an extremely long, incisive finish that leaves behind notes of sweet dark berries and candied flowers.”
Wine Advocate 92-95 points “I loved the 2015 Gigondas Hautes Garrigues and this flagship Cuvée is made from 65% Grenache and 35% Mourvèdre that’s brought up in foudre. It’s a full-bodied, concentrated, yet brilliantly proportioned Gigondas that has classy notes of blackberries, plums, garrigue and leather. It’s going to need 3-5 years of cellaring.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today
Now even lower!
The average price nationally is $59

Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas Aux Lieux-Dits, Rhône 2015 750ML ($39.95) Was $33 Now $29, 36+ bottles in stock now
James Suckling 93 points
“A fluid, fleshy and deeply structured wine with dark cherry and blackberry fruit flavors amid sturdy yet supple tannins. Good weight and presence. Drink now.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “Ripe but fresh, with a slightly high pitch to the mix of damson plum, cherry and rooibos tea aromas and flavors, backed by singed vanilla, tobacco and licorice root notes that give this a darker shade through the finish. Best from 2020 through 2030. 2,400 cases made, 700 cases imported.”
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 90-92 points “Ruby-red. Ripe red fruit and floral pastille aromas show very good detail and an energizing suggestion of white pepper. Palate-caressing raspberry and bitter cherry flavors blend depth and energy with a smooth hand and show no rough edges. Fine-grained tannins lend shape to a very long, red-fruit-dominated finish that features a subtle touch of star anise.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today
Now even lower!
The next lowest listed price is $32.99

Domaine Santa Duc Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Le Pied De Baud’, Rhône 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $51.90 Now $45, 17 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Le Pied de Baud, a blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, offers compelling scents of rose petals and raspberries on the nose. While not as richly textural as some of the other cuvées, it’s still a lovely, hauntingly fragrant example of Châteauneuf du Pape.”
James Suckling 94 points “This has an array of darker berry and plum fruits with a brambly, lightly spicy edge, too. The palate delivers impeccably fresh, lithe and detailed tannin texture, as well as blue fruit flavors. Juicy and energetic. Long finish. Try from 2020.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today
Now even lower!

Domaine Santa Duc Châteauneuf-du-Pape ‘Les Saintes Vierges’ Rouge, Rhône 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $59 Now $51.90, 10 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2015 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Saintes Vierges is the most flattering of Santa Duc’s current releases, offering lushness and generosity on the palate, notes of cherries and licorice, creamy-supple tannins and a mouthwatering finish. It’s a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Counoise.”

This was the lowest listed price in the USA today
Now even lower!
The next lowest listed price is $59.98

Love Rhône reds? We have 150 in stock now. Shop the entire selection, including famous names like Clape, Henri Bonneau, Vaudieu and more, on our web store now.

Subscriber Special #2

San Román’s Powerful Tinto

“The Toro region of Spain has been famous for centuries. Its rich, robust Tempranillos are loaded with complexity, in part because of the dramatic temperature swings during the scorching summer days and frigid evenings in the high elevation vineyards. Despite the fame and the obvious appeal to modern day drinkers, like most Spanish regions, the wines still fly under the radar and thus are insane values. Consider the flagship eponymous wine from Bodegas San Román. Despite the famed founding winemaker, despite the consistent high praise, despite the knife-edge balance, this wine is just $40. Try to find a bargain like that in Napa. I have been absolutely enchanted by this wine since I first tried it while in graduate school more than a decade ago. The combination of richness and poise was just amazing to me. The wine can be quite powerful but maintains an amazing sense of balance and terroir. Simply put, it is one of the great wines of the world.” –Dr. Owen Bargreen, Washington Wine Blog

In Stock Now:

(Maurodos) Bodegas San Román, Toro 2013 750ML ($49.95) Was $39 Now $33, 36+ bottles in stock now
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93 points
“(aged for two years in 75 percent French and 25 percent American oak barrels, half of them new) Inky purple. Heady cherry, dark berry, vanilla and violet pastille qualities on the oak-accented nose. At once rich and energetic; a firm spine of acidity provides lift to sweet cassis, blueberry and vanilla flavors. Closes with youthful tannic grip and impressive persistence, leaving dark berry and licorice candy notes behind.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2013 San Román was produced with fruit from older vineyards in Toro. In 2012 they started reducing the amount of the new oak in this wine and the change is quite noticeable. There is something leafy and floral showing elegance within the power that the place provides naturally. 2013 was quite different in Toro from Ribera del Duero, here the cooler years are a plus, as they balance the extra ripeness the place provides. In 2013 there was no rain during the harvest and the grapes were very healthy. There are some fine tannins and the profile of a more austere and transparent vintage, a mineral year. But it does have the smokey and slightly wild character of Toro. 87,000 bottles produced.”

This was by far the lowest listed price in the USA today
Now even lower!
The next best price is $60

Love Spanish reds? We have 120 in stock now. Shop the entire selection, including staff favorites like Daniel Landi, Daterra Lorenzo, Guímaro and more, on our web store now.


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