Weekend VinopolPick 11-10-17

New Arrivals: Cameron, Linne Calodo, Grasso and More!; Darnaud’s High Scoring Crozes Hermitage; New Keller GG Arrivals; More Huet Goodness (including Constance!) 


New Weekend – New Arrivals


Cameron Winery ‘Abbey Ridge’ Chardonnay, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
VinopolNote: Abbey Ridge sits high atop the Dundee Hills; a collection of vines planted on their own roots in the mid-70’s. It’s unquestionably one of the most special sites in the Willamette Valley and though it’s better known for Pinot Noir, the Abbey Chard is fantastic.  This is the most limited of the Chardonnay bottlings from Cameron and isn’t produced every year (there was no 2014 version).

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Blanc, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
VinopolNote: The Clos Electrique is Cameron’s estate vineyard, named after the electric deer fence that surrounds it.  This is planted to a mix of clones and is vinified traditionally—no racking and all in older barrels.  This is crisp and coiled, with distinct minerality and a lot of power in a lithe frame.  Like most vintages of the Electrique Blanc, this is pretty good now but will be stellar in a few years.

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Cameron Winery Dundee Hills Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($21.95) $19 special
VinopolNote: This entry level Chardonnay from Cameron represents some of the best value in Oregon wine.  Made with barrels declassified from Abbey Ridge and Clos Electrique, this wine sees a little bit of new wood (after being “seasoned” on the inexpensive wine, the barrels are moved on to the single vineyard wines).  Richer and more immediate than the Abbey or the Clos, this is a wine that’s showy now but will age into something more elegant.

Cameron Winery ‘Abbey Ridge’ Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
VinopolNote: Abbey Ridge is one of the most hallowed sites in the Willamette Valley.  Planted in 1975, the Pinot Noir here is own rooted and at one of the highest elevations in the Dundee Hills.  The elevation and classic Jory soils give the wine an intense personality—high toned, elegant and tensile, with good power and a strong voice.  This bottling has been one of the defining Oregon Pinots since John Paul started making it.

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Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Rouge, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
VinopolNote: Named after the electrified deer fence surrounding the vineyard, the Clos Electrique is the estate vineyard surrounding Cameron’s winery.  Located just up the road from Maresh vineyard, on Worden Hill Road, it’s in the promised land of the Dundee Hills and the wines deliver.  This is always the meatiest, most primal Pinot of the Cameron lineup.  We love it for its intense savoriness and quiet power—every year this is an absolute treat to drink.

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Arterberry Maresh Juliard Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills 2014 750ML ($67.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 92 points “Ruby-red. Deep-pitched aromas of cherry cola, black raspberry, licorice and smoky minerals carry a suave floral topnote. Sappy, concentrated and focused on the palate, offering sweet red and blue fruit and violet pastille flavors plus a suggestion of spicecake. Smoothly combines richness and vivacity and finishes very long and subtly tannic, displaying a sweet, lingering boysenberry note.”


Linne Calodo ‘Perfectionist’, Paso Robles 2014 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Deep ruby. A highly complex, spice-laced bouquet evokes black and blue fruit preserves, incense and Moroccan spices, and a smoky mineral quality adds lift. Stains the palate with concentrated, sharply delineated boysenberry and cassis liqueur flavors that are energized by a spine of juicy acidity. Definitely rich, but shows outstanding energy and clarity as well. Finishes sweet, velvety and extremely long, leaving notes of candied flowers and spicecake behind.”
72% Syrah, 23% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre

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Linne Calodo ‘Problem Child’, Paso Robles 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points “A blend of 74% Zinfandel, 19% Mourvèdre and 7% Syrah, the 2015 Problem Child has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of blueberry preserves, dried mulberries and preserved plums with touches of baking spices, violets and raspberry leaves. Full-bodied and full-on rich and seductive, it has lovely spicy and berry preserves palate with plush tannins and a long, peppery finish.”
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 94 points “Dark purple. Deeply perfumed, spice- and mineral-accented cherry liqueur, boysenberry and black currant aromas are complemented by a sexy floral nuance. Shows impressive depth as well as nerve to the sweet black and blue fruit liqueur and floral pastille flavors, which are sharpened by a jolt of juicy acidity. Supple, harmonious tannins sneak in steadily, adding focus and shape to an impressively long, mineral-laced finish.”

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Linne Calodo Rising Tides Red, Paso Robles 2015 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 95 points “Vivid ruby. Intense red fruit liqueur, spicecake and floral pastille aromas develop suggestions of licorice and smoky minerals in the glass. Sappy and deeply concentrated yet impressively energetic as well, offering palate-staining raspberry and cherry compote flavors given lift and spine by a core of juicy acidity. Shows a striking combination of richness and elegance and finishes extremely long and seamless; supple tannins sneak in slowly to add shape and grip.”
54% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 14% Syrah, 2% Tannat

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France – Champagne

Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($179.95) $159 special
James Suckling 97 points “This is a DP that shows the ripeness of the 2009 vintage yet remains full of energy. Gorgeous aromas of cream, apple, mango, honeysuckle, and chalk follow through to a full body and super fine, tight texture. Dense and agile. Vinous. It’s like a top grand cru white Burgundy. Think Batard-Montrachet. More depth than the 2006. Drink now.”
Decanter 96 points “Unbroken sun through August and early September helped to shape an idyllic harvest, on 12th September. Superb maturity of fruit in flawless health has produced a wine with wafting scents of both fresh and confit of spiced lemon and wild cherry. Despite the heat, the wine has freshness, vitality and length. Still a youngster, this will grow greatly by 2019. A more stylish son of the ’03, and cousin of the slender and charming ’06. Disgorged June 2016.”
Antonio Galloni 94+ points “The 2009 Dom Pérignon is a gorgeous, totally seductive Champagne that will drink well right out of the gate. Medium in body and unusually open-knit at this stage, the 2009 is one of the most accessible young Dom Pérignons I can remember tasting. It is an excellent choice to drink while waiting for the release of the stellar 2008 and some recent vintages that remain very young, including the 2006. Despite the warm, ripe personality of the 2009 Dom Pérignon is quite gracious, but there is plenty of depth underpinning the fruit. With each successive tasting, the 2009 seems to have gained more power and breadth, especially on the finish. Above all else, the 2009 is decidedly restrained for a warm, radiant vintage. It is not as overtly flamboyant as the 2002 nor as phenolically intense as years like 2003 and 2006. Instead, the 2009 is a beautifully balanced Champagne, with all of its elements in the right place. Tasted three times.”

Savart L’Accomplie Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Disgorged June 2017. LB10.
Wine Advocate 93 points “The NV L’Accomplie Premier Cru Extra Brut is 80% old vine Pinot Noir (selection massale) and 20% Chardonnay from vintages 2012 and 2011. Aged in 50% 500-liter barrels and 50% stainless steel. This wine has great purity and mineral tension on the palate, with clear and nice fruit. It is very clean and characterful, long and with a complex finish. It also has good mineral grip, intensity and tension.”

Savart L’Ouverture Premier Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $41.90 special
Disgorged June 2017.

Italy –Piedmont

Elio Grasso Runcot, Barolo Riserva DOCG 2008 750ML ($169.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2008 Barolo Riserva Rüncot is an exceptional wine that is only made in the best years. It was produced in 2008, 2010 and 2013. The wine undergoes a 40-day maceration time with four years in oak and one more year of bottle aging. The results are sublime and generous. Riserva Rüncot opens to a beautifully tempered and expressive bouquet that exhibits elements of wild berry, forest floor, candied fruit, licorice, cola and dried ginger. The balsamic signature is particularly beautiful and elegant. Smooth and silky tannins denote the mouthfeel and carry the wine forward over the palate. This is one of the top releases from Piedmont this year.”
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “The 2008 Barolo Riserva Runcot is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Smoke, tar, licorice, menthol, plums and spices form a tapestry of undeniable class. The sweet, perfumed fruit typical of the 2008s here is evident in the glass. A rich, sumptuous wine, the 2008 Runcot is fabulous. The 2008 spent 45 months in new French oak, all of which it has handled with superb grace. Even though the Runcot is one of the few Barolos that handles new French oak this well, once again I wonder what it might taste like if aged like the rest of the Grasso Barolos. Dark red/black fruit, spices, new leather and smoke add the last nuances of complexity.”

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The average price is $143

Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco, Barolo DOCG 2013 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
James Suckling 94 points “A Barolo with a solid core of ripe fruit and velvety tannins that are muscular and powerful. Medium-to full-bodied, structured and chewy. Needs two or three years to soften.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2013 Barolo Marcenasco is Renato Ratti’s flagship wine that was first produced in 1965. The Marcenasco cru in La Morra has responded well to this slightly cooler vintage. The wine shows a great deal of sharpness and precision. Beautiful cherry fruit segues to spice, tar and rose petal. Judging by the nose alone, this Barolo almost appears ready to drink now. Once you taste it, however, the youth of the tannins and the brightness of the primary fruit firmly suggest that more bottle aging will do the wine wonders.”

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Peter Lauer Saar Riesling Sekt Brut Reserve, Mosel 1984 750ML ($79.95) $69 special

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Hidden Treasure From the Stunning

2015 Vintage in the Northern Rhone

“…what I found especially thrilling when tasting my way through the 2015 northern Rhones was that it is not necessary to pay top dollar in order to experience 2015’s sumptuous combination of ripeness and precision. The lesser appelations of St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage have also excelled themselves.” – Jancis Robinson

The Northern Rhone has turned into one of the hottest areas of the wine world over the last few years, driven by a string of excellent vintages and realization that the wines are incredible but aren’t yet priced like their (qualitative) counterparts in regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux or Brunello.  While Cote Rotie and Hermitage have been the gold standard for some time, affordable land in appellations like Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph has allowed for young, ambitious winemakers to get their hands on old vines and great terroirs.

That’s great for us—it’s allowed for more great wine and because of the costs involved, great Crozes or St. Joseph is much more affordable (and therefore a great gateway into the Northern Rhone).  Whether you’re an old hand at the Northern Rhone thing or if you’re just getting started, Emmanuel Darnaud is a name worth paying attention to.  We’re excited about his wines and at the prices offered, they’re spectacular.

A passionate advocate for terroir-specific wines, Emmanuel Darnaud has been crafting robust reds from individual parcels in the northern Rhone since 2001 and has a great mentor in his father in law, the legendary Bernard Faurie. His six parcels are spread over 15 hectares, where the grapes are hand harvested. Each is vinified separately with differing oak aging and maturation practices depending upon the wine. The Saint Joseph is from a small, 1.7 hectare vineyard on a hillside in an area colloquially named ‘speared by the sun.’

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Au Fil du Temps, Rhone 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93-95 points “The top cuvée of the estate (which isn’t made in every vintage) is the 2015 Crozes Hermitage Au Fil Du Temps, which is 100% Syrah from the Les Saviaux lieu-dit (near the village of Glun), raised in once-used demi-muids. Like all the cuvées here, it sports an inky purple/opaque color and has a sensational bouquet of blueberry, strawberry, black cherry, graphite and smoked herbs. Full-bodied, rounded, seamless and impeccably balanced, it’s hands down one of the most impressive Crozes out there.”

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Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Mise en Bouche, Rhone 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 90 points “His entry-level effort is the wonderfully fruity, rounded and sexy 2015 Crozes Hermitage Mise En Bouche, which is already hard to resist. It offers tons of black and blue fruits, peppery herbs and hints of cured meats. I love its purity and it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 6-7 years.”

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The average price is $24

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chenes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($31.95) $24 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 90-92 points “A much more serious effort than the Mise en Bouche, the 2015 Crozes Hermitage les Trois Chenes was raised in a mix oak tanks (tronconique), demi-muids and barrels (some new). Its inky purple/blue color is followed by terrific notes of blackberries, blueberries, damp earth and pepper. This full-bodied beauty is rounded and seamless on the palate, with top-notch purity, sweet tannin and no shortage of length. It’s going to be hard to resist on release, yet I suspect it will have 10-12 years of life.”

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The next best price is $31.99

Emmanuel Darnaud Saint Joseph La Dardouille, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “A monster of a St Joseph, the 2015 Saint Joseph comes from the Dardouille lieu-dit (near Mauves) and was aged in demi-muids and second-fill barrels. It has a saturated purple/blue color as well as awesome notes of crème de cassis, freshly crushed rocks and cracked pepper. Rich, full-bodied, ultra-pure and with impeccably purity and balance, it’s another tour de force from this appellation.”



Keller Riesling

Germany’s Montrachet

“If I had to choose one wine to show how great dry German Riesling can be I would choose a Keller Riesling. These wines are the German Montrachets.”  – Jancis Robinson

The wines of made by Klaus Peter Keller are no secret any more.  Based on domestic German demand, it’s safe to say that these are probably the greatest dry Rieslings made in Germany (and their off-dry bottlings are pretty great too).  The estate dates back to 1789 and has holdings in some of the best vineyards in the Rheinhessen including Hubacker, Absterde and Kirchspiel.

We’ve just received some of the 2016 Grosses Gewächs wines in and, as always, the wines are spectacular monuments of Riesling. (We also got a single extra six-pack of the 2015 Abst Erde, which for some reason our distributor had left over and we couldn’t say yes fast enough.).  The GG’s are what Keller is known for and the Hubacker and Kirchpiel are the two flagship sites.  The Hubacker being known for being slightly more broad shouldered and the Kirchspiel more laser-like.

We also want to point out that many of the “lower tier” wines that Klaus-Peter Keller makes are absolute steals and would be perfect for Thanksgiving, especially the basically, but not legally, dry Kirchspiel “RR” bottling from the volcanic soils in the GG vineyard.

Weingut Keller Westhofener Abts Erde Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2015 750ML ($249.95) $199 special, 6 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 99 points “Now that you know that I am a Morstein man, I do not know how to tell you that the 2015 Abtserde GG may be even a hair better than the “perfect” Morstein this year. The intellectual contradictions presented by trying to attach numbers to the unquantifiable beauty of these wines is readily self-evident with this wine in the glass! The bouquet of the 2015 Abtserde is strikingly brilliant, offering up a blend of kaleidoscopic, chalky minerality, sweet grapefruit, tangy tangerine, gentle smokiness, lemongrass and a youthful topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, pure and displays stunning mid-palate depth, with a seamless, electric girdle of acidity, stunning mineral definition on the backend and a very, very long, laserlike and vibrant finish. Another perfect wine that I will lie about and “only” give a ninety-nine. But, you get the idea.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “The 2015 Westhofen Riesling Trocken GG Abts E (abbreviated as “Abts E” since Abtserde isn’t an official vineyard name) opens very clear, pure, delicate and fresh, but also concentrated (with grapefruit flavors!) and very mineral on the nose. This is a picture-book Riesling from (very active) limestone soils, where the terroir dominates the variety, at least on the nose. On the palate, this is a rich and powerful, silky textured, juicy and yet still concentrated and tightly woven wine. It has great intensity and minerality of stones, rocks and salt. It needs a lot of time to receive the finesse and purity of the mind-blowing Morstein, though.”

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Weingut Keller Dalsheimer Hubacker Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 10 bottles in stock now

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Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($89.95) $79 special, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points “Partly pressed in a basket press (60%), the 2016 Kirchspiel Riesling GG opens with a clear, fresh, chalky and intensely fruity nose. This is a rich, juicy, concentrated and fresh dry Riesling from calcareous soils that reveals a lot of tension, salt and vitality. Fine tannins here. Great concentration, juiciness and lingering salinity, with great grip and tension. An impressive wine!”

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Weingut Keller Westhofener Kirchspiel RR Riesling, Rheinhessen 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special, 36+ bottles in stock now
John Gilman 94 points “There was no 2014 RR bottling from Weingut Keller, but happily, the 2015 vintage allowed for this cuvée and what an amazingly fine wine it is! The bouquet is very pure, very precise and nascently complex, as it soars from the glass in a stunning blend of tart orange, very complex, crystalline minerality, blood orange, petrol, gentle notes of wild yeasts and a topnote of citrus zest. On the palate the wine is fullish, complex and electric in its vibrancy, with a superb core of fruit, great mineral lift on the backend and laser-like focus on the very, very long and utterly refined finish. The best RR vintage I have yet tasted from KP! 2016-2040.” (Mar/Apr 2016)

Weingut Keller ‘Von der Fels Riesling’ Trocken, Rheinhessen 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special, 18 bottles in stock now
John Gilman 92+ points “Year in and year out, I am a huge fan of the von der Fels bottling and the 2014 vintage is another outstanding wine in the making. This is a touch fuller than the straight Riesling Trocken, coming in at twelve percent alcohol, and perhaps a bit more ageworthy as well. The excellent nose wafts from the glass in a mix of pink grapefruit, tangerine, petrol, a stunningly complex base of minerality, lemongrass and a topnote of orange peel. On the palate the wine is fullbodied, pure and very much defined by its complex soil tones, with a rock solid core, outstanding focus and grip and a very long, youthful and bouncy finish. This is still very early days for this outstanding wine, which is the same quality level of a lot of top estates Grosses Gewächs bottlings. 2019-2040.” JG
Wine Advocate 90 points “Keller’s 2014 Riesling Von Der Fels Trocken was born as a selection of younger vines, but these are more than 25 years old today. Sourced in the grands crus, this Riesling trocken shows a highly expressive shell limestone flavor with flinty/smoky aromas of crushed stones, and the typic lemon flavor of chalky soils along with white fruit flavors. Full-flavored, very delicate and finesse-full on the palate, this is an elegant, filigreed, lovely, pure and very frisky Riesling, with ripe fruit flavors and a stimulatingly salty finish. With just three grams of residual sugar, it’s the driest von der Fels so far.” WA

Weingut Keller Limestone Riesling Kabinett, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($34.95) $29 special, 31 bottles in stock now
Distributor note “The Limestone cuvée of Riesling is a special one, indeed, a gift from nature. Keller rarely makes an off-dry Riesling and can only do so when the conditions are perfect. When balanced by incredible, juicy fruit and just 9% alcohol, we have the makings for the perfect summer/Sunday brunch wine. Limestone has a deep, intense nose of lime zest, pink grapefruit and jasmine. It is wonderfully concentrated with peach and apple flavors, followed by a long, stony finish.”

Weingut Keller Riesling Trocken, Rheinhessen 2016 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
VinopolNote: “Klaus Peter Keller makes incredible dry Riesling up and down the range from this bottling all the way up.  Year in and out it’s one of the best values in white wine.”

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Hip Hip Huet!

New Offerings From the Storied Estate

Domaine Huet has been on a roll recently and we’re selling out of almost everything they’re making.  We got our hands on these three, very different, wines that are arriving in the next few weeks.  First off, the Petillant, a fizzy Vouvray that’s perfect for pairings that do well with bubbly but you want something with a bit less fizz.  We’ve also got the highly rated Le Haut Lieu Demi Sec in half bottles and the big guy: Cuvee Constance.

Constance is only produced in the very best years—we’re talking about 2-3 times per decade, usually.  Made from botrytized grapes, it’s a full-throttle dessert wine as good as they come.  This is “nectar of the gods” type stuff, on par with d’Yquem or anything out of Germany—it’s that good.  Unfortunately, like you might expect, we’re not getting very much of it.

Arriving Next Friday:

Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut, Loire 2013 750ML ($29.95) $24 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: This is a fizzy (but not full on sparkling) wine and one of the best values in the world of bubbly.  Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this is rich and bright at the same time, with lots of quince and brioche flavors.

Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Le Haut Lieu’ Demi-Sec, Loire 2016 375ML ($24.95) $21.90 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 96 points “This delivers a beautiful display of purity and grace, with creamed Jonagold apple, star fruit, white peach and chamomile notes flowing seamlessly, backed by wet stone and fresh verbena accents. Subtle but persistent energy ripples through the very long finish. Drink now through 2035.”

Arriving December 8th:    

Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Cuvee Constance’ Moelleux, Loire 2015 500ML ($199.95) $169 pre-arrival special
VinopolNote: The last four releases of Constance (which is not released every vintage) have scored 98pts (2009), 99pts (2005), 98pts (2003) and 99pts (2002) from Wine Spectator, with similar scores from the other major publications.  We’re not great at predicting the future, but when Huet decides to produce and release a Cuvee Constance, we’re buying as much of it as we can afford.

Thanks for reading!