Weekend Vinopolpick 10-16-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Featured New Arrival
Champagne Lassaigne

Dragon’s Head Cider
Pride of the Pacific Northwest

Collector’s Corner
Just Arrived: Dujac’s Stellar 2018’s

A Classic Kiwi Pinot Returns!

New Arrivals from Spanish Star Telmo Rodriguez


Champagne Season Begins!


Featured New Arrival

Champagne Lassaigne

Manu Lassaigne, at the helm of his father Jacques’ estate since 1999, is the kind of winemaker you’d want to drink his wines alongside. He seems to love what he does, if only because how much he takes upon doing himself. He disgorges bottles by hand, makes wines from individual parcels, and vinifies from indigenous yeasts. Manu adds sulfur only once, at press, to prevent oxidation. His wines are layered and pure – some old tasting notes bear descriptors ranging from candied ginger and cantaloupe to buttered toast and wild flowers.

While a lot of what Lassaigne does might seem commonplace amongst the hippest growers in the region, it’s hard to overstate how revolutionary his approach was, especially in Montgueux, an area where most producers continue to sell fruit to negociants, rather than vinifiying themselves. There’s a reason the grapes are so coveted, as well—Chardonnay grown here is absolutely electric, as anyone familiar with Lassaigne understands.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Jacques Lassaigne Millesime Brut Nature, Champagne 2010 750ML ($149.95) $99 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points
“(Reviewed Aug 2019) Due to be disgorged commercial a few weeks after I tasted it was the 2010 Brut Nature Blanc des Blancs Millésime, a vintage that Lassaigne described as characterized by “very high maturity” and which was vinified entirely in tank. Offering up aromas of lemon oil, green apple, warm bread and chalky soil tones, it’s full-bodied, ample and vinous, with chewy dry extract and a fleshy core, crisp acids and a long, saline finish. Once again, it’s a blend of  Les Paluets, Le Cotet and La Grande Côte, Lassaigne commenting that it always tends to come from the same parcels.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Jacques Lassaigne ‘La Colline Inspiree’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“(Reviewed Aug 2019) A blend of the 2013 and 2012 vintages that was disgorged in March, the NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs La Colline Inspiré opens in the glass with aromas of almond paste, citrus oil, crisp green apple and pastry cream, gently framed by its élevage in barrel. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, vinous and concentrated, with an immensely incisive spine of ripe but bracing acidity, a fine mousse and a long, electric and searingly saline finish. This bottling is produced from several parcels in Montgueux, and all the vins clairs are now fermented and matured in barrel.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Jacques Lassaigne ‘Le Cotet’ Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“(Reviewed Aug 2019) The latest release of the NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Le Cotet was disgorged in March, and it’s based on the 2015 vintage, with some 10% older bottled wines  that have been “remise en cercles.” Offering up lovely aromas of lemon oil, white flowers, mandarin and pear, along with some autolytic top notes of warm bread, the wine is medium to full-bodied, vinous and structured, with a racy spice of acidity, a tightly wound core and a long, chalky finish. It’s a powerful but tensile Blanc de Blancs that comes from a plot of old vines planted in 1964.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


Dragon’s Head Cider

Pride of the Pacific Northwest

It’s hard to ignore the recent interest in the world of traditional ciders. New cideries are popping up all the time. More and more acreage is being grafted over or replanted from boring varieties such as Red Delicious to varieties that possess true character and a rich history. These new trees will take years to start producing so this is only the exciting beginning of a new era of American cider making.

One of these small grower producers that caught our eye is Dragon’s Head Cider, which was started in 2010 by Wes and Laura Cherry on Vashon Island in Washington. They focus on growing classic cider apple and pear varieties for their traditional method ciders and perries. Dragon’s Head grows much of its own fruit as well as buying fruit from other small orchards in Washington and Oregon. This gives them an advantage over other producers given the overall lack of true cider varieties available as the newly planted trees come of age.

New to cider? Here’s a quick breakdown of cider apples for the uninitiated. Depending on where you are in the world the classifications are different. To keep things simple, we will stick to the English system. All apples are classified into different categories based on malic acid and tannin. The four categories are: sharp, bittersharp, bittersweet and sweet. Sharps will have high acid and low tannin. Bittersharps high acid and high tannin. Bittersweet have low acid and high tannin. Sweets have low acid and low tannin.

Very few apples are found suitable for a single varietal cider. Most traditional ciders are a blend of about 40% apples from the bittersweet class, 30% sharps, 20% bittersharp and 10% sweets. Naturally these proportions vary from year to year and producer to producer. Dragon’s Head grows mostly English and French varieties such as Kingston Black (bittersharp), Harry Masters Jersey (bittersweet), Dabinette (bitter), Medaille d’Or (bitter), and Reine de Pomme (bittersweet). You can experience Kingston Black in their eponymous single-varietal bottling. This variety is often regarded as the “perfect” cider apple because it produces a perfectly balanced cider without the need for blending.

Featured New Arrival:

Dragon’s Head Kingston Black Cider, Washington NV 750ML ($21.95) $19.90 special
Cidery note
“Kingston Black apples are often considered the epitome of cider apples. They produce a cider rich in flavor, slightly bitter, and medium bodied. Kingston Black takes its name from the town of Kingston near Taunton in Somerset, England–the heart of cider in the UK. It is thought to have been originally identified in the 19th century. This is a limited bottling. Appearance – Golden color, slight haze. Aroma – Dried apricot, clover, resinous cedar. Taste – Dried apple, clementine, hints of honey, slightly bitter. Mouthfeel – Medium body, lingering astringent finish; lightly effervescent.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Also Newly Arrived from Dragon’s Head:

Tart and lemony with bold acid. Crabapples are known for their high acidity and tannin content making them excellent for cider. As the sweetest of Dragons Head’s cider lineup, the acid balances it nicely.
Dragon’s Head Columbia Crabapple Cider, Washington NV 750ML ($17.95) $14.50 special
Cidery note
“At Dragon’s Head Cider, we have a history of working with crabapples, coaxing these high acid, boldly flavored fruits into lovely fermented beverages. The Columbia Crabapple is our latest foray into the world of producing cider with crabapples, and it makes a bold statement. Dragon’s Head is known for producing dry ciders, and this cider is sweeter than any other we have produced before. The sweetness is countered by the tartness of the crabapple, producing a flavorful delight to the palate. While this cider drinks nicely on its own, we also find ourselves particularly inspired by it to create new and lovely cider cocktails. Alcohol 6.70%. Appearance – Clear, pale straw. Aroma – Rose, orange blossom, lemon rind. Taste – Bold sweet/tart contrasting flavors, lychee, kumquat. Mouthfeel – Light/medium body, lingering finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Dragon’s Head Heritage Cider, Washington NV 750ML ($19.95) $17 special
Cidery note
“Our heritage cider is crafted from a blend of more than 20 traditional English and French cider apple varieties grown in our orchard on Vashon Island, WA. These time-honored apples create a richness of flavor and character to cider that can’t be achieved with ordinary culinary apples. Alcohol 7.30%.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Dragons Head uses pears from trees planted over 100 years ago on Vashon Island by early homesteaders.
Dragon’s Head Perry Methode Traditionnelle, Washington NV 750ML ($39.95) $28 special
Cidery note
“A 100% pear beverage, hand crafted with care in the traditional méthode champenoise. Using fruit harvested in 2016, this perry was bottled for secondary fermentation in June 2018, and then disgorged in January 2019, more than two years after the fruit was harvested. Delicate and refined, Sparkling Perry is perfect for a celebration. Alcohol 7.50%.”

Dragon’s Head Wild Fermented Cider, Washington NV 750ML ($17.95) $14.50 special
Cidery note
“This is the Dragon’s Head Cider version of a farmhouse cider. Rather than carefully selecting a yeast strain for the fermentation, we allowed the wild yeast present on the skin of the apples to ferment the cider. It’s a bit of a fun gamble, but one we believe is worth taking. Alcohol 6.90%. Appearance – hazy, straw color, some sediment may be present. Aroma – pineapple, green tea, apple blossom. Taste – lemon and young pineapple flavors are followed by mild spice and lingering grapefruit notes. Mouthfeel – medium body with mild astringency; lightly effervescent.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!

Dragon’s Head Winter Cider, Washington NV 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Distributor note
“An intense apple cider aged in bourbon barrels.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!


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Collector’s Corner

Just Arrived: Dujac’s Stellar 2018’s

We don’t have to say too much about Dujac. They’re undisputedly one of the top handful of producers in Burgundy, and their collection of vineyards is impressive by any measure. The wines are incredible—built to last and complex as the day is long.

The 2018 vintage represents a distinct triumph for Dujac—one that their winemaker described as “a vintage that will live in Burgundy folklore.” Powerful, deep and complex, they combine intensity with levity—there’s no shortage of brightness and vibrancy in these wines, despite their richness. These are some of the most sought after wines in the world and we’re proud we have such a large collection.

“This is clearly a very successful vintage chez Dujac, and it’s a very consistent portfolio in what is more generally a somewhat heterogeneous vintage. This is a deep and youthfully muscular set of wines….What is clear is that this is a serious vintage, built for the long haul despite its abundance of fruit, and the Dujac 2018s have the makings of very age-worthy wines” William Kelley, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

We’ve got too many wines to list below, so head to the full list on our webstore if you want to see them all, but here are some highlights from ’18:

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Only four bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($699.95) $579 special
Decanter 97 points
“Diana Snowden-Seysses describes this as a ‘spectacular’ Clos de la Roche and no one who’s tasted the wine would accuse her of hyperbole. Bolder and more concentrated than Dujac’s Clos St Denis, this has impressive weight and fruit concentration, 75% whole bunches and 70% new wood. Plush, sweet and intense with notes of black tea and Asian spices.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2018 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru is a beautiful young wine, built for the ages. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of cassis, cherries, rose petals, orange rind, woodsmoke, cinnamon and rich soil tones, it’s full-bodied, muscular and introverted, with prodigious concentration, lively acids and a long, ripely tannic finish. While I suspect my visit to Domaine Dujac coincided with an especially brooding evolutionary phase, this will be a Clos de la Roche for the patient.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 94-96 points “The 2018 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru is a different animal from the Clos Saint-Denis, offering sumptuous black cherries, kirsch, cassis and pressed violet aromas that burst from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, more flesh and substance than the Clos Saint-Denis and a multifaceted, persistent, black-pepper-tinged finish that lingers tenderly.”

Only one bottle remaining
Domaine Dujac Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($699.95) $579 special
Decanter 98 points
“Right up there with the very best wines of the vintage in 2018, this is a beautifully refined expression of the domaine’s St Denis, extending to 1.17ha of this finest of Grands Crus. Everything about this wine is in the right place, with subtle 75% whole bunches, polished, nuanced tannins, thrilling minerality, fine, floral red berry sweetness and lingering minerality. The sort of thing every Pinot lover should cherish.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 95-97 points “The 2018 Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru has a wonderful bouquet of blackberry, wild strawberry, crushed rocks/sandstone and touches of dried blood. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red fruit, brown spices and a slight charcoal-like note. Moderate depth, quite masculine in style, a little austerity on the finish… but that is what you want from a Clos Saint-Denis.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2018 Clos Saint-Denis Grand Cru is also showing beautifully, bursting with aromas of raspberries, red cherries, cassis and raw cocoa that are complemented by fragrant top notes of orange rind, rose petals and violets. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, lively and elegant, with finer-grained tannins than the more overtly muscular Clos de la Roche, but with similar dimension and mid-palate presence, concluding with a long and perfumed finish.”

Only five bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Echezeaux Grand Cru 2018 750ML ($649.95) $549 special
Neal Martin-Vinous 93-95 points
“The 2018 Echézeaux Grand Cru had been racked the day prior to my visit. That said, the bouquet is very well defined, offering black cherries, raspberry, rosemary and pressed rose petal aromas that blossom with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannins, good depth and precision, revealing bitter cherry and a touch of balsamic toward the finish. Very good potential.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92-94+ points “The 2018 Echezeaux Grand Cru is a promising cuvée in the making, mingling aromas of dark berry fruit, cassis and cherries with notions of burning embers, dried flowers and dark chocolate. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, broad and ripely tannic, with a layered and nicely concentrated core, lively acids, and a well-defined finish.”

Only six bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Vosne Romanee Aux Malconsorts Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($669.95) $519 special
Decanter 96 points
“Perfumed, refined and showing none of the firmness that Aux Malconsorts can exhibit in its youth, this is balanced, nuanced and spicy, with 75% whole bunches adding some freshness and texture, all framed by 70% new wood. Not a blockbuster wine by any means, but this has considerable class, poise and palate length with succulent red berry fruit to the fore.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 94-96 points “The 2018 Vosne-Romanée Aux Malconsorts 1er Cru has a perfumed, quite floral bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, black olive and oyster shells, all very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with blackberry and cranberry fruit, tangible mineralité, a crunchy texture and fine backbone on the finish. This has the same symmetry and precision as the Beaux Monts but a little more persistence on the aftertaste.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94-96 points “The fireworks begin in earnest with the 2018 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Aux Malconsorts, a brilliant young wine that bursts from the glass with aromas of cherries, red berries and exotic spices, complemented by delicate top notes of blood orange and peonies and framed by a deft touch of creamy new oak. On the palate,  it’s medium to full-bodied, supple and enveloping, with a deep and multidimensional core, lively acids and a long, resonant finish.”

Only six bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Vosne Romanee Les Beaux Monts Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($449.95) $359 special
Decanter 95 points
“A wine that is both juicy and wonderfully hedonistic, this classy cuvée is fermented with 75% whole bunches and aged in 70% new wood. Comparatively pale in colour, but certainly not lacking in depth or palate weight, it has some tannic grip and subtle wood to complement the plush, palate-caressing fruit. Deliciously drinkable.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 94-96 points “The 2018 Vosne-Romanée Les Beaux Monts 1er Cru has a subtle Asian influence on the nose, offering well-defined aromas of hoisin and wet limestone. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and a fine bead of acidity, quite saline in the mouth, with a sense of symmetry on the finish. Simply a class act.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91-93 points “The 2018 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts exhibits a deep bouquet of cherries, plums, orange rind, smoked duck and spices, followed by a medium to full-bodied, supple palate that’s succulent and charming, framed by powdery but not unduly assertive tannins.”

Only two bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Gevrey Aux Combottes Premier Cru 2018 750ML ($399.95) $319 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2018 Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes was showing especially well, soaring from the glass with a lovely bouquet of cassis, dark berry preserve, baking chocolate and peonies. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, supple and enveloping, with lively acids and a long, aromatic finish.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 91-93 points “The 2018 Gevrey-Chambertin Aux Combottes 1er Cru had not been racked or sulfured when I tasted it from barrel. It has a very pure black cherry, cassis and violet bouquet that seems to grow in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannins, a grainy texture, impressive depth and a mineral-driven, slightly saline finish that lingers in the mouth.”

Only seven bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Morey-Saint-Denis 2018 750ML ($149.95) $115 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 89-91 points
“Wafting from the glass with an inviting bouquet of sweet red cherries, berries, orange rind and spices, the 2018 Morey-Saint-Denis Village is medium to full-bodied, supple and elegant, with powdery structuring tannins, fine concentration and a nicely defined finish.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 87-89 points “The 2018 Morey-Saint-Denis Village features bold blackberry and bilberry aromas that convey an attractive sense of energy. The palate has a pastille-like purity on the entry, fine acidity and a nicely structured, slightly ferrous finish. Enjoy over the next four or five years.”

Only ten bottles remaining
Domaine Dujac Chambolle-Musigny 2018 750ML ($179.95) $129 special
Decanter 93 points
“Rightly praised for the quality of their top wines, the Seysses family also know how to deliver very good quality further down the price and appellation scale. This village Chambolle is a case in point. It’s quite high in alcohol, but the 75% whole bunches bring some sap and freshness to the party, complementing the savoury red fruit flavours.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 89-91 points “The 2018 Chambolle-Musigny Village is also showing very well, exhibiting aromas of Griotte cherries, raspberries and blood orange, framed by a deft application of creamy new oak. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, succulent and youthfully structural, its ample chassis of surprisingly muscular but powdery tannin cloaked in succulent fruit. It’s promising, but based on this showing, it will also require patience.”
Neal Martin-Wine Advocate 89-91 points “The 2018 Chambolle-Musigny Village offers copious black cherry and bilberry on the very pure nose, along with gorgeous incense aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins and slightly chalky in texture, with a Morey-Saint-Denis–like structure toward the serious finish. Good potential.”



A Kiwi Value Classic Pinot Returns

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand 2018 750ML ($17.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand 2018 750ML ($189.95) $129 special (that’s only $10.75/bottle!)
90 points James Suckling
“This wine has a pretty nose with some strawberries and cranberries. Floral and toffee notes, too. Medium-bodied with a vibrant sour-cherry character on the palate. Light tannins. Tangy acidity. Clean and refreshing finish. Drink now. Screw cap.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

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New Arrivals from

Spanish Star Telmo Rodriguez

Telmo Rodriguez is one of the most talented winemakers in Spain.  Internationally trained, he returned to the family estate, Remelluri, and has taken it to new heights.  Not content to revitalize a Rioja giant, he’s since turned his eyes towards Spain’s vinous history, making it a personal mission to revitalize forgotten vineyards and overlooked regions—and tapping some of Spain’s hottest talent to work under him.

We’ve got new arrivals in from his project in the (now hot) region of Sierra de Gredos and from Valdeorras, in Galicia—a place that he’s nearly reviving single-handedly. They are textbook Telmo, with beautiful fruit, approachable textures and distinct terroir signatures. Best of all, they’re priced like they aren’t made by a world-class winemaker, so it’s easy to stock up.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Zeta’ Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y Leon 2016 750Ml ($21.95) $18 special
: Telmo Rodriguez first ventured into the Sierra de Gredos mountains west of Madrid some 25 years ago. Originally inspired to write a book on the forgotten vineyards of the area, Rodriguez founded a winemaking company, Campania de Vinos, to make wine from these ancient gems that would otherwise be lost to time. The ‘Zeta’ is the newest wine of the winery, named Pegaso. Zeta is a blend of two distinct soil types in the region: a rare, brown slate, and a granite-laced soil. 

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $22

“Gaba do Xil is named for the hillsides of the Sil River, which is the lifeblood of the region. They are the estate-grown red and white village wines, an introduction to the limited production single cru wines of Ladeiras do Xil. Gaba do Xil offers the drinker an incredible value for handmade Galician wines for everyday drinking, which rival the wines of similar quality in Burgundy and Beaujolais. The red wine is produced from certified organic, mencía, and merenzao grapes from estate vineyards. The primary vineyard lies inland at 400-500m in altitude, near the town of Larouco, which has an Atlantic influence due to the location in a valley that forms an outlet to the sea.” –De Maison Selections

Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Gaba do Xil’ Branco (Godello), Valdeorras 2018 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 90+ points
“The 2018 Gaba do Xil Godello comes from a very difficult year in Galicia when mildew decimated many vineyards. When tasted a few months after bottling, it was very balsamic with notes of bay leaf and something medicinal, quite aromatic, powerful and a little reductive at first (perhaps the recent bottling). The palate was round and soft, approachable, with pungent flavors and a clean, dry finish, with ripeness somewhere between that of the 2016 and 2018. 96,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2018.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $22.99

Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Gaba do Xil’ Tinto (Mencia), Valdeorras 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 90+ points
“It was hard to beat the superb 2016, but the 2017 Gaba do Xil Mencía was also perfumed and open, expressive, with a little more ripeness, with good volume and a little more density. This fermented and matured in stainless steel and was bottled without ever touching any oak to keep the fruit profile. But it’s more than fruit; it has the austere texture of the granite soils with an expressive finish. 2017 was a short vintage because of problems with frost and they produced 22,700 bottles of it.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $22.99

Also In Stock from Telmo:

The wines of Madrid have had a devoted following, especially those out of the Sierra de Gredos. The entire plateau seems to be drenched in the intense sunlight of Spain, but the altitude and the confluence of so many tributaries lends to a dramatic diurnal swing. Soils feature primarily decomposed granitic, sandy soils – the quintessential stomping ground for well-built Garnacha. These vineyards are only about a half hour from Madrid yet feel timeless, as though they were cut out of the mountains and could be found nowhere else. The highest planted parcels are surrounded by pine trees and old Pyrenean oaks that feel like sentinels looking over the reinvigorated vines that had been neglected for so long.

Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’, Sierra de Gredos 2013 750ML ($44.95) $36 special
Case-6 Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’, Sierra de Gredos 2013 750ML ($259.95) $199 special (that’s only $33.17/bottle!)
James Sucking 96 points
“Exuberant red berries and cherries with a fine, rose-like edge and some coal smoke. Very juicy, fleshy, rich and ripe mid-palate with a dense, long and showy, glossy black-cherry finish. Drink or hold.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “Cropped from a cooler and late ripening vintage, the 2013 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra resulted in fresh wines and certainly worked well with the slate soils of these old Garnacha vines in Cebreros. This has a very good balance between ripeness and freshness, power and elegance, with the character of the soils slowly coming through in the shape of fresh meat and beef blood, with the iron-like notes still pretty shy. This should develop nicely in bottle. 8,931 bottles produced.”

Compania de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez ‘Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra’, Sierra de Gredos 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94+ points
“The 2015 Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra has subtler tannins and has a more Mediterranean twist with notes of thyme and rosemary, ripe without excess. In fact, it felt quite elegant for the natural conditions of the harvest. On the palate, it is rounder and more approachable than the granite version, with the rusticity of the zone but more elegant. less extracted and with better oak integration than the initial vintages. It gives me the feeling that the best is yet to come… 2,700 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017.”
Importer note “Cebreros, a village within the Sierra de Gredos mountains outside of Madrid, was a forgotten region Telmo Rodriguez discovered while traversing the Cañadas Reales with his father in 1999. Then, the region was known only for bulk wine and the idea was to write a book. However, enchanted by the old-vines and incredible natural beauty of the terrain, Telmo began to make his first wine that year. He decided to use the name Pegaso, a tribute to the famous Spanish car and truck manufacturer of the 1940s, which is dear to collectors with an eye for design and style. In the village of Cebreros, a rare band of brown slate is folded into the mostly granitic mountain range. They began by recovering the gran cru slope of Arrebatacapas, at an elevation of over 1100m, which is the most important pizarra (slate) landscape in all of Gredos. The wine from this special slate vineyard and other slate vineyards they have recovered is called Pegaso Barrancos de Pizarra. Barrancos de Pizarra is sourced from 930m to 1100m slate vineyards near Cebreros. Produced with 100% traditional, EU organic, bush-trained garnacha vines. Hand-picked grapes are fermented with native yeasts. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak barrels sourced from different forests.”

Valdeorras is the lost great region in Spain.  Nestled in the eastern edge of Galicia, with its cool Atlantic climate, the region has been planted since at least the Roman occupation.  The Sil (Xil) river is the dominant feature, just as it is in neighboring Ribeira Sacra, and that’s what Ladeiras do Xil is named for.  Valdeorras is a hidden gem in the Spanish wine scene, with great old terraced terroirs and old plantings that have been abandoned for decades before their recent (~2002) rediscovery.  The whites are based on Godello and the reds on a true mélange of grapes—these are wines that recall Burgundy in their elegance and perfume, but with a flavor profile all their own, and that’s what we love about them.

Ladeiras do Xil makes the defining wines of the appellation, focusing on restoring these historic vineyards on impossibly steep, often terraced, sites.  Founded by two giants of Spanish wine, Pablo Eguzkiza and Telmo Rodríguez, the winery is now helmed by the young, driven Jorge Saa, who has been working to restore the vineyards to prestige and condition of their ancient roots.  The work is very hard and the production levels tiny (less than 250 cases are made of each red we’re offering today) but the results speak for themselves—this is an estate producing wines that are unique and compelling.

In Stock Now:
“unusual intensity, elegance and balance”
Ladeiras Do Xil “As Caborcas”, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($99.95) $89 special, 12 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2.5 hectares of north- and west-facing terraces planted with old vines produced the 2016 As Caborcas, a wine of unusual intensity, elegance and balance in 2016. The cooler year seems to have worked wonders for the reds here, and the wine is expressive and open, floral and aromatic, developing nuances of moss and fern, with a textured palate where the tannins have the granite mark of stony austerity that is then coated by the glycerin and the fruit, making a wine that is both elegant and powerful, with a very Galician feeling to it. 2,619 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2017.”
Importer note “As Caborcas is a unique vineyard, full of different varieties, of different ages, from different strains, growing at different altitudes and exposures. Among the native grapes planted are mencía, merenzao, sousón, godello, and brancellao. Indigenous yeasts cause spontaneous fermentation in small wooden barrels of various sizes, with light foudre aging for 12 months to preserve the “Atlantic” delicacy of this wine of inland Galicia. True to the origins, As Caborcas could be made nowhere else. As Caborcas is extremely limited, with less than 3,000 bottles produced in a good year.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $95

Ladeiras Do Xil “Falcoeira a Capilla”, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($79.95) $69 special, 11 bottles in stock now
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Falcoeira was the first of their Valdeorras vineyards to be harvested in 2016, starting on September 16th. The 2.75 hectares of this young south-facing vineyard produced 2,635 bottles of the 2016 Falcoeira A Capilla, always a richer wine compared with its siblings. It’s a historical vineyard that was abandoned, but its almost 100 ancient terraces were replanted with a field blend of Mencía, Merenzao, Sousón, Godello, Garnacha…and other grapes that would have been there in the past. Winemaking is simple, the grapes fermented in small wooden and stainless steel tanks, and the wine aged in French oak foudres. 2016 seems like a great vintage for the reds here, and Falcoeira kept the freshness and poise within its riper character. The palate is delineated and with a marked stony feeling to it. With time in the glass, the wine became finer and more elegant, and that extra touch of ripeness seemed to disappear. A great year for this wine.”
Importer note “The soils here are coarsely-textured, decomposed granites. It is an intense and profound wine, like the place it comes from. Indigenous yeasts begin a spontaneous fermentation in small wooden barrels of various sizes, the wine is then aged in foudres for 12 months. Falcoeira keeps freshness and poise within its riper character; with a delineated palate and a wild, stony feeling echoing the granitic slopes. With time in the glass, Falcoeira unfolds and displays the power, finesse, and elegance, which makes it one of the most exciting wines in the world. Falcoeira is extremely limited, with less than 3,000 bottles produced in a good year.”

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The average price is $80

The original Super Tuscan? Carmignano lays claim to the prize…and Piaggia’s is one of the best.
Piaggia Il Sasso, Carmignano 2016 750ML ($37.95) $29 special
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Dedicated to the estate’s paternal figure Mauro Vannucci, the 2016 Carmignano Il Sasso (with 40,000 bottles produced) is a compelling blend of 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. This vintage delivers ample power, yet the wine remains smooth and elegant from a tactile point of view. Sangiovese’s identity emerges with aromas of wild berry, tilled earth and rose hip. The two international grapes serve to shape the firmness and structure of the mouthfeel. This wine is fermented in oak and later aged in medium-toast neutral barrique for 12 months.-ML”
Antonio Galloni 92 points “The 2016 Carmignano Il Sasso is a veritable explosion of aromas, flavors and textures. A rush of dark red and purplish berry fruit makes a strong opening statement. The interplay of rich fruit, expressive aromatics and brightness makes for a wonderfully complete, vibrant Carmignano that will be impossible to resist upon release. The 2016 is a wine of pure and total pleasure.”

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One of the ultimate California Pinot Noirs.
Paul Hobbs Hyde Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“From the Carneros region in the southern part of the valley, the 2018 Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard gives up a Burgundian bouquet of black cherries, mulberries, smoked earth, and candied violets. It shows more and more floral tones with time in the glass and is beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and has silky tannins. It’s terrific today, yet it has a solid spine of acidity that’s going to allow it to evolve gracefully for a solid decade or more. This cuvée was just about all destemmed (there are 8% stems) and spent 15 months in 53% new French oak.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The 2018 Pinot Noir Hyde Vineyard is unusually refined this year. The savory, earthy notes typical of Hyde are present, and yet the wine has an extra kick of polish that helps to balance what are sometimes slightly rustic qualities. Elegant and polished, the 2018 is light on its feet and impeccable in its balance. It is also one of the finest Hyde Pinots I can remember tasting from Paul Hobbs.”

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Look, go ahead and buy the GG’s from Dönnhoff if you want, but this is in the same class and $30 cheaper.
Kruger-Rumpf Abtei ‘1937 Reserv’ Riesling Trocken, Nahe 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.

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Andre Clouet delivers up and down their range, perhaps none moreso than this gem from the stellar ’13 vintage.
Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut 2013 750ML ($65.95) $55 special
Case-6 Andre Clouet ‘Dream Vintage’ Brut 2013 750ML ($389.95) $315 special (that’s only $52.50/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)

100% Chardonnay, bottled one year after harvest. Disgorged to order (Summer 2019) for the importer.

Trending, now and forever, for good reason.
Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2019 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Ameztoi Rubentis Rosado, Getariako Txakolina 2019 750ML ($319.95) $239 special
Grapelive 93 points
“My Summer has definitely taken a Spanish turn and I’m perfectly okay with that, especially when sipping on the fresh and zippy Ameztoi Rubentis Rosé from the Basque region not far from San Sebastian, which is one of the world’s most unique and exciting pink wines and one of my favorites along with Clos Cibonne and of course Domaine Tempier, these are wines that really capture the season in the glass. This vintage is ultra zesty and refreshing with a pop of spritz and tart layers of red citrus, strawberry, distilled raspberry essence, wet stone, saline and delicate floral tones all in an incredible light and steely form that begs to be quaffed. The iconic Rubentis Getariako Txakolina Rosé, as noted in my prior reviews, was the region’s first pink wine, made from native grapes, both red and white, it is naturally fermented in refrigerated stainless steel tanks utilizing indigenous yeasts from the vineyard. The tanks are closed to preserve natural carbonation from fermentation, which is the preferred style of Getaria. The fermentation tanks, according to importer De Maison Selections, are kept chilled to near 32 degrees Fahrenheit before bottling, which preserves the wine’s delicate, effervescent character and signature electric (spritzy) mousse. Ameztoi does a fantastic lineup of Txakolina wines, White, Red, this thrilling Rosé and a true and seriously rare Champagne style cork finished Rosé as well, all are must try wines from this remote Atlantic influenced region. This Ameztoi Rubentis Rosé is a hyper addictive wine that I will glad push on anyone that is in search of the dry pink high…. This is a wine, as I’ve said before, that proves a wine doesn’t have to be heavy or dense to have a serious impact on the palate, and it delivers a wonderful performance that leaves you always wanting more.”

Just austere enough to be classic, this Sangiovese massively over-delivers.
Lisini San Biagio Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
Case-12 Lisini San Biagio Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($259.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Eric Guido – Vinous 90 points
“What a wonderfully fresh and vibrant expression of Sangiovese, showing peppery herbs and florals up front and then giving way to crushed cherries with hints of leather and undergrowth. On the palate, the 2016 Lisini San Biagio is cool-toned and silky, while delivering a beautiful display of pure red berry fruits, laced with minerals and spice. The finish is long with a staining of cherry, as zesty acids and mineral tones sizzle upon the senses. Lisini never ceases to amaze.”

One of the most anticipated arrivals from the ’15 Brunello vintage.
Siro Pacenti Pelagrilli, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 750ML ($59.95) $47 special
James Suckling 96 points
“Such lovely aromas of flowers and red fruit with some cedar and spice. Hot terra cotta. Full-bodied, very round and soft textured with beautiful fruit and balance. Fresh and vivid. Such balance and beauty. Drink or hold.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 95 points “The Siro Pacenti 2015 Brunello di Montalcino Pelagrilli is a rich and pleasing wine with very nice aromatics. Of these two new releases, the Pelagrilli is more characteristic of Tuscany and Sangiovese. The Vecchie Vigne expression tastes far more international or contemporary (read: it has more oak flavors) in comparison. I tend to prefer this wine especially in a vintage like 2015 that is so naturally expressive and powerful to begin with. The bouquet opens to dried cherry with dusty mineral notes and dried Mediterranean herb. On the the finish, you taste some of that sweetness that comes with aging in French barrique. Some 23,000 bottles were released in January 2020.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “Effusive aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry, plum and spice mark this generous, polished red. Well-structured, picking up earth and iron accents for good measure. Shows terrific balance and a long finish. Best from 2022 through 2042. 1,900 cases made, 680 cases imported.”
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Champagne Season Begins!

We’re kicking off the beginning of our great fall Champagne stock-up with a producer that’s new to us here, but is coming in with a bang. With 97 points from Decanter’s World Wine Awards and a price tag that’s under $40, it’s a crowd pleaser that’s absolutely classic in its blend and style. To go along with it, we’ve got vintage bottlings from Vilmart and Gaston Chiquet, two stellar producers that are much beloved by customers over the years.

Arriving Friday, October 23rd

Boizel Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $36 pre-arrival special
Case-6 Boizel Reserve Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($269.95) $199 pre-arrival special (that’s only $33.17/bottle —The lowest listed price in the country!)
Decanter World Wine Awards 97 points
” 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Meunier. Liquorice aromatic notes with resonant plum and red apple. Deep, exuberant, mouth-filling, vigorous and long, this is an exuberant, vinous Champagne with plenty of richly-textured aromatic lift. Crowd-pleasing but connoisseur-pleasing too.”

Also Arriving Friday, October 23rd

Gaston Chiquet Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs d’Ay Vintage Brut 2008 1.5L ($179.95) $138 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 93 points
“The 2008 Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ, in the magnum late-release, is an absolutely gorgeous wine that brings together the natural richness of Aÿ with plenty of vintage 2008 vibrancy. Dried pear, crushed flowers, mint and spice infuse the 2008 with striking layers of nuance. Aÿ is, of course, best known for Pinot, but in a few choice spots Chardonnay shines, as it does here. Chiquet’s Blanc de Blancs d’Aÿ is once again one of the most singular wines in all of Champagne. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”

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Vilmart & Cie ‘Coeur de Cuvee’ Premier Cru Brut 2011 750ML ($159.95) $119 pre-arrival special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94 points
“Disgorged in May 2018 with seven grams per liter dosage, Vilmart’s new 2011 Brut Coeur de Cuvée is showing beautifully, offering up an expressive bouquet of crisp green pear, yellow apple, dried white flowers, English walnuts and spices. Medium to full-bodied, elegantly fleshy and nicely concentrated, it’s a fine-boned, precise rendition of this cuvée, built around ripe but racy acids and complemented by a pinpoint mousse. Vilmart is the sort of grower that succeeds in vintages such as 2011, and this wine met my expectations.”
Antonio Galloni 93 points “The 2011 Coeur de Cuvée is gorgeous, especially within the context of the year. Translucent and airy, the 2011 is a Champagne of real elegance. Sage, mint, dried flowers, orchard fruit and lemon peel all grace this super-expressive and pretty Champagne. These 60-year-old vines handled the challenges of 2011 well. Harvest took place in August, which after 2003 and 2007, is not as freakishly unusual as it would have been a generation ago. The 2011 is undoubtedly terrific. Even so, I would not push my luck on aging given the inherent fragility of the year. Dosage is 7 grams per liter.”

Vilmart & Cie Grand Cellier Premier Cru Brut NV 750ML ($89.95) $59 pre-arrival special
2015 base
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Cuvée Grand Cellier (base 2015) is striking. Hints of lemon peel, crushed rocks and mint are framed by a kiss of new oak, with a hint of reduction that adds a further note of complexity. The Grand Cellier is based on 2015, with 25% 2014 and 25% 2013 reserve wines, aged exclusively in foudre. It is another stellar wine in the entry-level portion of the Vilmart range. Dosage is 8 grams per liter.”

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Thanks for reading!