Weekend VinopolPick 11-29-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

Black Friday Specials:
A Tuscan Icon at $20+ Off the Next Best Price
Our California Pinot & Syrah Offer of the Year

Case Specials for Holiday Parties

Black Friday Wines From Austria and Alsace

The Hidden Rhone Gems of St. Jean du Barroux

Collector’s Corner

The Undervalued Greatness of Domaine Huet

A Stunning Super Tuscan from a Chianti Favorite


Black Friday Special

A Tuscan Icon at $20+ Off the Next Best Price

When we get a chance to offer a wine for more than $20 off the next best price, we’re very, very interested.  When that producer is an icon of their region and the bottling is one of their very best—we’re in all the way. In this case, we’re offering two vintages of Castello di Gabbiano’s top Chianti Gran Selezione (the excellent “Bellezza” bottling at prices that are stunning compared to the rest of the market.

Castello di Gabbiano is one of the most notable producers of Chianti Classico—a historic estate that’s pushed forward into the 21st century as one of the most important producers of Chianti out there.  Their top wine is the Chianti Gran Selezione “Bellezza,” a 100% Sangiovese that challenges the best in Brunello and Chianti.  These are wines that drink well young but also will reward bottle age.

We’re offering a mini-vertical of the wines from two excellent vintages at astounding pricing—up to $22 less than the next best price online.  These will run you less than $25/btl by the six-pack, and at that price are some of the best buys in the world of wine.  They just arrived, perfect for December drinking.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2012 750ML ($59.95) $28 special
Case-6 Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2012 750ML ($359.95) $149 special (that’s only $24.83/bottle!)
James Suckling 92 points
“A wine with a wonderful depth of fruit but slightly marked by the new wood. Full body, round and silky tannins and a medium finish. This needs two or three years to come together in the bottle. A solid red.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Editor’s Choice. Baked plum, Asian spice, vanilla and menthol aromas carry the nose. The elegantly structured palate offers fleshy black cherry, licorice, mint and well-integrated French oak alongside fine-grained tannins that lend firm, polished support. A coffee note marks the finish.”
Antonio Galloni 90 points “The 2012 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Bellezza is plump, juicy and expressive. Succulent red cherries, plums, sweet spices, leather and smoke flesh out nicely in the glass. The aromatics are slightly forward, which leads me to believe the 2012 will not be a long-term ager. Still, today the Bellezza is attractive and immediate, both qualities that make it an excellent choice for near term drinking.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
The average listed price across all vintages is $43
Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2013 750ML ($59.95) $28 special
Case-6 Castello di Gabbiano Bellezza, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG 2013 750ML ($359.95) ($359.95) $149 special (that’s only $24.83/bottle!)
Wine Spectator 92 points
“This is settling into a nice groove, in a contemporary style, offering plum, black cherry, earth and tobacco flavors, framed by spicy oak. Balanced and beefy, with a long, spice-tinged aftertaste. Drink now through 2027. 2,000 cases made, 1,350 cases imported.”
James Suckling 92 points “Plenty of new wood at the moment with berry and chocolate undertones. Full body, round and juicy tannins and a flavorful finish. A little overdone but still outstanding. Drink now.”
Antonio Galloni 91 points “Gabbiano’s 2013 Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Bellezza is terrific. Succulent red cherry, woodsmoke, tobacco and licorice all flesh out in this soft, open-knit Riserva. A sheen of oak does not really seem to add much and in fact masks some of the purity of the fruit. Even so, the 2013 is very nicely done in this style.”
Wine Enthusiast 91 points “Made entirely with Sangiovese, this opens with aromas of black plum, vanilla, eucalyptus and a touch of ginger. The savory, balanced palate doles out ripe black cherry, licorice, white pepper and cedar alongside fine-grained tannins.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $46.99


Black Friday Special

Our California Pinot & Syrah Offer of the Year

Chateau St. Jean Benoist Ranch Wines for a Fraction of Other Listings

50% & 75% Off the Next Best Prices!

Chateau St. Jean is well known for their budget-friendly varietal wines, but their single vineyard collection features the terroir of Benoist Ranch, a coveted property in the Sonoma Coast where the cool maritime climate produces wines of richness, intensity and balance. It makes for fantastic juice, particularly in the 2014 vintage, which was a true winner for Pinot Noir and other reds from Sonoma.

The best part? We’re making their elite cuvee budget friendly for you. We’re offering the Syrah at over half off the next best price and the Pinot for almost 75% off the next best price!

Buy now before it’s all snapped up.

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2014 750ML ($69.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 750ML ($799.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $70
That’s a difference of over $50 PER BOTTLE when you buy by the case!

Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Syrah, Sonoma County 2014 750ML ($59.95) $24 special
Case-12 Chateau St Jean Benoist Ranch Syrah, Sonoma County 2014 750ML ($599.95) $249 special (that’s only $20.75/bottle!)
James Suckling 94 points
“This is a big and rich wine with lots of dried berry and chocolate character. Full body, layered and rich. Very long and flavorful. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Syrah Benoist Ranch has notes of preserved plums, blueberry pie and black forest cake with hints of Indian spices, violets and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, the structure on the mouth is seamless and fine, defining the berry preserves flavors and finishing long and perfumed.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $50
That’s a difference of over $30 PER BOTTLE when you buy by the case!


Case Specials for Holiday Parties

Our best selling big red of November would be perfect for a holiday fête.
Case-12 Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Sonoma 2015 750ML ($379.95) $168 special (that’s only $14/bottle!)
Seghesio Family Vineyards Defiant, Sonoma 2015 750ML ($32.95) $16 special
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Savory black cherry aromas lead to well-framed flavors of sage and pepper. A new blend from this winery offers the zest of Zinfandel with the focus of Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante, Barbera and Syrah. Drink now through 2027. 5,000 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $29.94
The average listed price is $35
Not-quite-red, not-quite-rosé, this is nevertheless delicious and a steal by the case.
Case-12 Tiberio Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Tiberio Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 750ML ($21.95) $17.75 special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points
“Luminous pink-red. Bright aromas of red cherry, redcurrant, blood orange and botanical herbs. Then bright and juicy, with laser-like acidity lifting and extending the red fruit flavors on the juicy, long, floral and slightly saline finish. A very precise, seamless Cerasuolo with no hard edges and sneaky concentration.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Big, rich, bold, opulent—and really inexpensive (for the quality) by the case.
Case-12 Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($279.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.66/bottle and the lowest listed price on the West Coast!)
Cecilio Black Slate Gratallops, Priorat DOCa 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19.90 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2017 Black Slate Gratallops Vi De La Vila comes from a warmer region in the Priorat and has a more powerful, ripe, opulent style compared to the Porrera cuvée, which comes from a cooler region. A huge nose of mulled cherries, dried earth, spice, and dusty pebble-like minerality gives way to a medium to full-bodied Priorat that has ripe tannins, an opulent, sexy texture, and a great finish. It’s another wine from Solomon that has classic Priorat character, is impeccably balanced, and drinks way above its humble price point. Don’t miss it! The blend is 58% Grenache, 32% Carignan, and 10% Syrah, aged 12 months in 20% new French oak.”

Excellent dry, crisp, mineral Riesling for under $20/btl. A winner.
Case-12 Jean-Baptiste Adam Riesling Tradition, Alsace 2016 750ML ($279.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Jean-Baptiste Adam Riesling Tradition, Alsace 2016 750ML ($24.95) $18 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 90 points
“Bright straw. Aromas and flavors of yellow plums and white pepper are complemented by more luscious notes of lemon curd. Very fresh and clean, with a classically dry (2 g/L residual sugar) finish that is extended by laser-like acidity (7.2 g/L total acidity). Made from grapes grown in four plots located in the area of Ammerschwihr plus one plot in the Letzenberg (as the latter gives a wine that differs greatly from the other Letzenberg wines, Adam chooses to blend it in here to add a little more freshness to the finished wine). Lovely, very good entry-level wine that will also age well.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
This Ripasso is Amarone on a budget and a big wine you can pour for a big group.
Case-12 Masi Brolo di Campofiorin Oro Rosso Veronese IGT, Veneto 2014 750ML ($299.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Masi Brolo di Campofiorin Oro Rosso Veronese IGT, Veneto 2014 750ML ($27.95) $19 special
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 91 points
“This was a surprisingly seamless and tight rendition for such a difficult vintage. The 2014 Brolo Campofiorin Oro is a blend of 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 10% Oseleta, and those two last grapes add broad richness and darkness to the wine. They also would explain the super tight nature of the fruit, which is surrounded by notes of smoke and tobacco. This is a great wine for a typical Veronese risotto al tastasal, a type of ground-sausage risotto. The wine ages in 600-liter casks from Verona, or fusti veronesi, for 24 months. Some 230,000 bottles were made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $28

Classic Bordeaux that’s great pick for big red drinkers.
Case-6 L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($159.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
L’Hetre, Cotes de Bordeaux Castillon 2016 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
Julia Harding MW – JancisRobinson
“L’Hêtre 2016 Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is the first release of this wine from the organically farmed estate perched at 100 m on the end of the St-Philippe d’Aiguilhe limestone plateau, the highest point in Bordeaux…‘Rich in blackcurrant fruit with a savoury dark glow to make it more than just fruit. Just a touch of smoky char even though the oak is well in the background, a seductive fruit sweetness. On the palate, this is beautifully balanced, the alcohol perfectly integrated in the tannic structure and fruit core with a fresh tang that runs through the middle. There’s a cool fluidity to it even with its depth and length. Fine, dry, lingering and savoury aftertaste. Impressive first vintage with a promising future in the bottle. I opened this on a Sunday evening and it was still tasting fresh and vibrant four days later. This is a very classy wine, and the tannins tell you everything: fine, definite, building in the mouth but in perfect balance with the fruit and freshness. Blue-blooded Castillon. Catch it while you can.’”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
A serious version of your favorite pizza wine, pour this for any and everyone.
Case-12 Az. Ag. Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($269.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Tiberio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2017 750ML ($24.95) $18.50 special
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 92 points
“Vibrant red. Captivating aromas of red currant, dark plum, blueberry, licorice and Oriental spices. Broad and ripe on entry, then luscious in the middle, finishing with a riper mouthfeel than is usual for this wine, but in keeping with the 2017 vintage (dry and hot). Finishes long, with serious, building tannins and noteworthy sweetness. This is a real miracle considering the vintage’s less-than-stellar growing season; timely rainfall at the end of September provided much-needed liquid refreshment for the Montepulciano, allowing the vines to recover from the summer drought and heat and benefit from longer hang times. On a side note, wine lovers have something else to look forward to, as the 2018 vats of Montepulciano I tried during my cellar visit were absolutely superb; they are undoubtedly the best entry-level Montepulciano wines Tiberio has ever made, so there’s something to really look forward to here.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
Chianti on steroids, this is big, bold and sexy.
Case-12 Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($299.95) $212 special (that’s only $17.67/bottle!)
Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso, Umbria 2015 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
James Suckling 92 points
“Ripe plums, dried lavender, basil, tar, licorice and hot stones show here on the nose. Medium to full body, fresh acidity, round yet tight tannins and a fruity finish. Drink now.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 90 points “I really like the 2015 Montefalco Rosso and am happy to recommend this attractive value wine. It shows dark fruit and spice with a supple and round style. There is not too much dimension here, but the wine is upfront and immediate instead. I make roasted chicken according to an old family recipe with roasted garlic and potatoes, and this is exactly the kind of wine I’d want to pair with that dish. Some 180,000 bottles are made.”

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

A staff pick that’s a classic bistro Cabernet Franc.
Case-12 Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($259.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Domaine Guion Bourgueil Cuvee Domaine, Loire 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Importer Note
“There are few properties in France that can boast such a great pioneering legacy in organic farming as Domaine Guion. In the 1950’s, the Guion family established their farm in the heart of the Bourgueil appellation, a stone’s throw from the banks of the Loire Rive… By 1965, they began farming organically, with a holistic understanding of its effects far ahead of their time. Since taking the reins from his father in 1994, Stéphane Guion has a put a much greater emphasis on viticulture, managing 8 ½ hectares of land. Quiet and curious, he is a respected member of the vigneron community in Bourgueil and is often consulted by other growers eager to adopt organic farming practices. Once in the cellar, he only employs native yeasts and allows a moderate maceration of the grapes. “Cuvée Domaine” is entirely fermented and aged in tank.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Shipping Season is Here!

Have wines on hold, waiting to ship?
Reply to this email or give us a call (503-223-6002) with a shipping date and we’ll get you on the schedule!


Black Friday Wines From Austria and Alsace

Pichler-Krutzler Kellerberg Riesling, Wachau 2014 750ML ($69.95) Was $49, Now $44, 9 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht–Vinous 95 points
“White peach, fresh lemon and tangerine mingle with lemon grass, peach kernel and Szechuan peppercorn in an aromatic display that anticipates the complexity and pungency of this wine’s lusciously juicy, polished, palpably lees-enriched but piquant palate. A faint hint of sweetness from close to a dozen grams of residual sugar perfectly supports ripe fruit that carries into a long, vibrant, salivary-gland-milking finish, in which smoky Latakia tobacco is added to the aforementioned array. Palpably high extract and the influence of full lees through summer combine with the residual sugar to buffer a level of acidity, at nine grams, that would count as elevated even on the Mosel.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Pichler-Krutzler Wunderburg Riesling, Wachau 2012 750ML ($59.95) Was $38, Now $29, 4 bottles in stock now
Wine Advocate 93 points
“Harvested in early November and subject to very slow fermentation that finished with 13% alcohol and from which a lot of CO2 was left behind even in January of 2013, the Pichler- Krutzler 2012 Riesling Wunderburg offers satiny texture and surprising fullness yet at the same time the transparency to nuance characteristic of all of the best wines in the present collection. Szechuan pepper, crushed stone, bittersweet flowers and peach kernel are perceived through a clear, juicy, luscious matrix of lime and white peach, leading to a finish not only refreshing and invigorating but almost fiery in its incisive intensity even as it remains rich in ripe fruit. Look for this beauty to yet grow in stature and to prove worth following through at least 2022. In Pichler and Krutzler’s conscientious and talented hands, this little-known site is starting to live up to its name (“miracle castle”)!”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Weingut Hirsch Ried Heiligenstein Riesling, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($69.95) Was $49, Now $39, 9 bottles in stock now
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“The perfumed, otherworldly scent of blood orange works its charm on the nose of this lovely wine. The palate is equally juicy and aromatic: tart and soft, edgy and pliant, plump and lip-smacking, juicy and bracing. The palate is streamlined and fresh, hinting constantly at this world of flavor, if you only give in to it—so moreish, so long.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 93 points “Hirsch’s 2015 Kamptal Riesling Heiligenstein 1ÖTW opens with a great nose that blends perfectly ripe white and yellow fruit aromas with the typical stony/flinty Heiligenstein terroir flavor. Full-bodied, rich and piquant on the silky textured palate, the 2015 reveals remarkably fine acidity, great finesse and a very long and salty finish that is also pure and finely aromatic. The 13% alcohol comes along light and vital, and the tension in the finish is full of positive vibrations. A great dry Riesling from one of the world’s most spectacular vineyards for Riesling. Highly recommended!”
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93-94 points “Last tasted from tank, slightly ahead of its July bottling, this leads with effusive and alluring scents of buddleia and freesia. The palate impression is oily, rich, peachy and nutty, but remains transparent to crystalline nuances and incorporates inner-mouth echoes of heady floral perfume. Peach kernel piquancy and smoky, alkaline notes reminiscent of Loire Chenin Blanc add counterpoint to the lusciously lingering, at once soothing, shimmering and vibrantly stimulating finish. One could long for the brightness and mouthwatering scallop-like briny sweetness of the 2014, whose rating I would now upgrade by a point from last year’s assessment, but this gorgeous 2015 will provide years of self-indulgence and fascination, especially if followed in parallel with the evolving 2014 and 2013.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $50
Weingut Hirsch Ried Gaisberg Riesling, Kamptal 2015 750ML ($69.950 Was $49, Now $36, 7 bottles in stock now
David Schildknecht–Vinous 93-94 points
“The haunting, esterous nose suggests rowan and white peach accompanied by kirsch and blueberry distillates. Firmer in feel than the corresponding Heiligenstein but bursting with midpalate flavor, this finishes with downright reverberative intensity; eye-watering brightness such as one least expects from 2015, not to mention mouthwatering salinity and consummate sheer refreshment. It seems to leave behind a load of crystalline stone and an alkaline residue you’ll have to scrape from your teeth.”
Wine Enthusiast 93 points “The nose just gives a gentle hint of ripe apricot. The palate, on the other hand, speaks freely of zesty citrus: ripe lemon and fresh Seville orange, full of tart zestiness and refreshing zing. This is slender and linear, taut but chock-full of fruit. There is drive and energy and total refreshment.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Agathe Bursin Gewurztraminer Zinnkoepfle, Alsace Grand Cru 2017 750ML ($49.95) Was $39, Now $36, 22 bottles in stock now
The Zinnkoepflé vineyard has been recognized as a top site since the beginning of vine cultivation in Alsace.  Known especially for Gewürztraminer and Riesling, the vineyard sits in a protected area that allows for exceptional sun exposure while limiting risk of botrytis and other problems.  The shelly-limestone soils provide for great acidity, so wines from here are always both rich and racy—a rare and impressive combination.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Brand, Alsace Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($99.95) Was $69, Now $66, 4 bottles in stock now
James Suckling 96 points
“A dense and linear riesling with sliced limes, lemons and flint. Bright and precise. Full-bodied, layered and beautiful. Great finish to this. Big and flavorful. Yet not showy. Drink now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Agathe Bursin Gewurztraminer Zinnkoepfle Selection de Grains Nobles, Alsace Grand Cru 2015 750ML ($89.95) Was $79, Now $71.90, 9 bottles in stock now
Ian D’Agata – Vinous 95 points
“Medium golden yellow. Very typical Gewürz nose of ripe tropical fruit, sweet spices, smoky bacon and orange oil. Then rich, dense and sweet, offering bitter orange marmalade and lemon peel flavors complicated by notes of cane sugar, guava and kumquat. Finishes suave and quite luscious, at once opulent and yet light on its feet. This has terrific sugar-acid balance (4.1 g/L total acidity and 92 g/L residual sugar).”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!


The Hidden Rhone Gems of St. Jean du Barroux 

Philippe Gimel is a prime example of why we look beyond the biggest name appellations of the world.  He’s a superstar winemaker who works in Ventoux—one of the least heralded parts of the Rhone, but the source of increasingly interesting wines.  Gimel is a truly special talent who worked at both Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la Janasse before starting his own project.  He was able to buy a touch over 12 hectares of old, interesting vineyards in Ventoux—something he’d never to be able to afford in a more prestigious part of the Rhone.

The wines he makes under the St. Jean du Barroux label are fantastic and unique—old vines plus long elevage in neutral vessels mean these read as very “old school” in tone, but with cleaner flavors and vivid aromatics.  The earliest released of his wines sees 18 months in tank before release and his top bottlings are held for two to three years before they’re bottled—a cash flow nightmare, but something that Gimel does out of a perfectionism and drive that are common to the best winemakers in the world.  We’re excited to finally offer these off-the-beaten path gems, arriving December 13th.

Arriving ETA December 13th

Saint Jean du Barroux La Source, Ventoux 2016 750ML ($24.95) $19.50 pre-arrival special
Case-12 Saint Jean du Barroux Ventoux La Source, Rhone 2016 750ML ($299.95) $219 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“The name La Source, comes from the natural artesian spring located near the vineyards of Saint Jean du Barroux. Philippe’s approach to farming encourages low yields but there are scattered pockets of more vigorous vines which set more clusters with larger berries. Rather than drop fruit or try to force these vines to crop lower yields, they are harvested separately and used to make a more fruit-forward and frank expression of Philippe’s terroir. Harvested by hand and destemmed, this cuvée which is naturally lower in tannin only sees a short maceration and fermentation by indigenous yeasts. It is bottled “early” by Philippe’s standards usually after 18 months in tank.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Saint Jean du Barroux L’Argile, Ventoux 2016 750ML ($29.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Decanter 94 points
“Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault. Yields 20hl/ha, hand-harvested and 75% destemmed. Light reduction on the nose calls for a decant. Gently serrated tannic weave, with taut, juicy acidity and a saline dimension that spreads across the palate like an electric current. Real intensity of searching fruit flavour and a textured finish. It’s about texture and feel at this stage – aromatic fireworks to follow in time. drinking Window 2019 – 2026.”
Importer Note “After working at Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la Janasse Philippe Gimel purchased 12.5 hectares of vines in the unheralded Ventoux. After years of working in abject penury devoting his energies into organic farming, tending his vines by hand and working (and living!) out of a makeshift cellar Philippe is beginning to get the attention that his talent and hard work deserves. The rocky clay soils of his vineyards are devoted to producing a wine he calls l’Argile which is a blend of Grenache and Syrah with small proportions of Carignan and Cinsault. Thoroughly old school, he ferments and ages his wine in concrete tanks for a very long time before bottling – in the cases of L’Argile, at least two years. Naturally he also waits to release the wines after an additional time in bottle; when he feels they are drinking well.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Saint Jean du Barroux La Pierre Noire, Ventoux 2015 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Importer Note
“La Pierre Noire, or “the black stone,” is a cuvée made from Grenache and Syrah grown on clay limestone soils marked by abrupt appearance of black gravel. So sudden and noticeable is this change in the vineyard that Philippe has always known that this site was its own cuvée. At once more stern but contradictorily more elegant, La Pierre Noire is fermented and aged in concrete for at least 36 months before bottling and released only when Philippe feels it’s ready.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!



Collector’s Corner

The first ever “Rare” rosé, this is a beautiful wine that’s the first of its kind.
Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2007 750ML ($499.95) $379 special
Case-3 Piper-Heidsieck Rare Brut Rose Millesime, Champagne 2007 750ML ($1,499.95) $1,099 special (that’s only $366.33/bottle!)
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 96 points
“The salmon colored 2007 Rosé Millesimé Rare has a clear, fresh, slightly oaky-nougat and pretty vinous bouquet. It is a rich and slightly sweetish yet pure, refined, elegant and well-structured Rosé Champagne with good grip and tension as well as a long, intensely aromatic and powerful finish. This is great and enormously complex Champagne with an extraordinary, complex finish. The 2007 is based on 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir. Tasted in November 2017.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96+ points “Another sensational Champagne, as well as the first vintage for the cuvee, the 2007 Rare Rosé (56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot Noir) offers that beautiful complexity and nuance you only get from top rosé Champagnes. Orange blossom, strawberries, spice, dried flowers, toasted bread, and orange peel notes all emerge from this richly concentrated, medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured 2007. With a fine, yet layered mousse, incredible complexity, and a great finish, this blockbuster effort will be better with 2-3 years of bottle age and shine for 10-15 years or more.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “Toasted brioche and ripe blackberry notes leap from the glass in this lovely rosé Champagne. Glides like raw silk on the palate, with a deftly woven mix of dried white cherry, spun honey, exotic spice and blood orange zest flavors. Long and persistent on the vibrant finish, showing more fruit and a rich pastry character. Drink now through 2027. 1,500 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Bernstein keeps threatening to become the next DRC, but right now his wines are still obtainable.
Olivier Bernstein Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($869.95) $779 special
Wine Spectator 97 points
“($865) Expressive, even flamboyant, this red features red and black cherry, sandalwood, stony mineral, earth and spice flavors. Larger than life, with a boisterous personality, yet there’s no denying the intensity and complexity. Shows superb structure and length. Best from 2023 through 2046. From France.”-B.S.
Stephen Tanzer-Vinous 93-96 points “(Bernstein works with two strips of vines that extend from the bottom to the top of the cru on the Chambolle side, thus giving him both red and white soil influences): Healthy dark red with ruby suggestions. Reticent, pure aromas of musky raspberry, spices and rocky minerality, lifted by a floral topnote. Boasts terrific precision and inner-mouth mineral grip but this is youthfully imploded today and less accessible than the Clos de la Roche, with a touch of peppery stems contributing to the impression of tension. The very long, building finish stimulates the salivary glands, leaving behind notes of black and white pepper in the empty glass. This wine, too, should be long-lived. Bernstein vinified in 2016 with an average of 50% whole clusters but this one was more like two-thirds.”

Gaja is always a welcome presence in the cellar or at the table—the ’11’s are delicious, as well.
Gaja Sori San Lorenzo Langhe-Barbaresco, Piedmont 2011 750ML ($499.95) $399 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“The 2011 Sorì San Lorenzo boasts massive depth, intensity and power. Black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice, savory herbs and leather are some of the many notes that emerge from the glass. Regardless of the year, the personality of Sorì San Lorenzo always comes through, which is why this is one of the great sites in Barbaresco, Piedmont and Italy. In 2011 the contours are a bit softer, which gives the wine a level of accessibility that is quite rare in Sorì San Lorenzos when the wines are young. Why is Sorì San Lorenzo one of the world’s most profound vineyards? Because its personality simply can’t be denied.”
Wine Advocate 96 points “The exciting 2011 Sori San Lorenzo is a wine of enormous beauty and grace. Gaia Gaja classifies her three single vineyard Langhe Nebbiolo wines as follows: Costa Russi is “flowers;” Sori Tildin is “fruit;” and San Lorenzo is “plant” (with more structure and a more compact feel). San Lorenzo does indeed boast a strong mineral component of pencil shavings and crushed granite, followed by red cherry and soft spice. The wine’s tannins start off harder than the other wines, but soften with time. Drink: 2018-2040.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
This is a pretty incredible price for Gaja’s flagship Barolo.
Gaja Sperss Langhe – Barolo, Piedmont 2014 750ML ($319.95) $219 special
James Suckling 95 points
“More forward and in a more earthly realm than the dizzying heights of the Conteisa this vintage, but it’s so endearing and immediately delights. The aromas range from elderberries and black cherries to brambleberries and Chinese spices. Full-bodied and structured with powerful tannins that encase bright and forthright blue fruit, which is polished over by a sheen of glimmering acidity. Long finish. Delicious now, but better in 2022.”
Wine Enthusiast 95 points “Underbrush, tobacco, toasted hazelnut, menthol and grilled herb aromas slowly take shape on this focused red. On the structured elegant palate, taut refined tannins and fresh acidity provide an ageworthy framework for raspberry compote, juicy Marasca cherry, orange zest, white pepper and star anise. It already has layers of depth and loads of finesse, but hold for even more complexity. Drink 2022–2030.”
Monica Larner-Wine Advocate 94 points “This is a slightly more subdued vintage of this legendary wine, albeit just as sophisticated as past editions. The 2014 Barolo Sperss opens to gorgeous aromas of dark fruit, wet earth and white truffle. The vineyards in Serralunga d’Alba produced much less fruit than average and suffered from bouts of downy mildew during the rainy seasons. But Serralunga d’Alba fruit is also harvested late, and that extra time was important for achieving grape ripeness targets. The wine presents depth and complexity within the context of a thinner vintage. Having said that, the bouquet is spectacular.”
Decanter 94 points “Sperss comes from two crus in Serralunga, and like Gaja’s Barbarescos it’s aged in a combination of barriques and large barrels. As so often is the case, it’s a wine that combines power and finesse. It has a subdued cherry nose with a touch of oak, leading to a palate which is rich, powerful and tannic, but not too assertive. It’s well balanced and fleshy, with lots of velvety texture and grain, and there’s still an underlying freshness and finesse. Very long finish.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $292

This spent 84 years in barrel. It’s an incredible bottle for so many reasons—taste first among them.
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Convento Seleccion, Montilla-Moriles 1931 750ML ($399.95) $279 special
Wine Advocate 98 points
“If someone told you they kept a wine for 84 years in barrel before bottling, you’d think they are nuts, right? Well, that’s what the folks at Toro Albalá in Aguilar de la Frontera – in the province of Cordoba, part of the Montilla Moriles appellation – did with their 1931 Don PX Convento Selección. This is part of what they call ‘vinos olvidados,’ which means ‘forgotten wines.’ The border is amber, with green tints that denote very old age. Such old age provides an array of unusual aromas and flavors, including iodine and salt that compensate the sweetness (403 grams) and even the alcohol (18%). It’s terribly balsamic, with notes of dry herbs and spices, cigar ash, carob beans (algarrobas), incense and noble woods. The palate is very, very sweet and concentrated, unctuous, dense, with a chewy texture. This goes beyond a glass of wine, a drop of it is like having a piece of cake. I don’t think this reaches the complexity and depth of the 1946, which remains the benchmark for these old sweet PX, but it’s truly terrific!… bottles were filled in June 2015.”

Schrader is one of the hardest wines for us to acquire and for good reason: it’s at the top of the Napa food chain.
Schrader Cellars CCS Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 ($419.95) $399 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98-100 points
“I think the gem in the lineup (which is splitting hairs as these are all gorgeous wines) is the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard CCS. Tasting like the essence of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with its incredible cassis, blueberry, graphite, violet and scorched earth aromas and flavors, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, polished tannin, and a purity of fruit and elegance that’s hard to believe. It’s going to be impossible to resist on release (and if I had a bottle I’d probably open it the day I received it) but will certainly benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and keep for 25+ years.”
Wine Advocate 98 points “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon CCS has exuberant notes of plum preserves, baked blackberries and warm cassis with notions of cedar, pencil lead, Indian spices and Sichuan pepper plus a touch of rose hip tea. Very firm and structured in the full-bodied mouth, the palate is laden with tightly wound black and blue fruit layers, lifted by an exciting line of freshness and finishing on a lingering perfumed note.”

A perfect Parker wine, this is just entering it’s prime drinking window.
Chateau Pavie, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2000 1.5L ($1,999.95) $1,699 special
Robert Parker 100 points
“Just beginning to come around and strut its enormous potential, this wine at age 15 has been evolving like a glacier. The wine has an inky, opaque, plum/purple color and a stunningly rich nose of mulberries, bramble berries, blackberries, licorice and incense as well as touches of toast and graphite. Fabulously concentrated and full-bodied, with a multidimensional mouthfeel, this profound Pavie is in mid-adolescence. It should evolve and continue to drink well for at least another 30-40 years. This is clearly the first compelling effort made by the Perse family.” 8/2015

750’s or mags, we’ve got you covered for Quilceda’s finest.
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2016 750ML ($219.95) $199 special
Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2016 1.5L ($479.95) $449 special
Jeb Dunnuck 98+ points
“The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Colombia Valley is a beautiful wine and has a more classic profile than the more sexy, massive 2015. Beautiful notes of creme de cassis, lead pencil shavings, graphite, dried herbs, and loamy earth all flow to a full-bodied, incredibly pure and perfectly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon that has no hard edges, a deep, concentrated mid-palate, good acidity, and a great, great finish. It reminds me of the 2002 with its uber classic, balanced yet broad and powerful style.”


Holiday Season Note

Need wines to arrive in time for your December fêtes and gifts? 

Don’t hesitate.

Purchase now and ship ASAP to ensure you’re ready for your holiday entertaining and gift giving.

The Undervalued Greatness of Domaine Huet

Huet makes some of the most undervalued great wine in the world.  Take any metric you’d use to adjudicate greatness (complexity, age-worthiness, terroir, aromatic intensity, world-wide praise, etc) and Huet’s Vovray is on the list, at prices far below almost anything else in the world of wine. They own some of the greatest vineyards in the Loire and make sure that they reach their potential year in and out.

They seemingly age forever, gaining complexity and density, but impressively are priced like low-tier white Burgundy.  It’s this last part that’s so perplexing.  You can put well-aged Huet on the table with any top tier white Burgundy and it has a chance of being not only in the same league, but the best wine on the table.  It often costs 1/2-1/5th that of the Burgs.  That’s insane.

Huet makes some of the top wines in Vouvray and has for quite some time now. What makes them and amazing producer is that they make incredible wines all the way from bone dry, mineral drenched Sec to nobly sweet, honeyed dessert wines (and everything in between—including the Demi-Sec range, which are some of our favorites and, like German Riesling, are very flexible at the table).  We have a broad selection of vintages and styles in stock now.  They’re listed below, but you can also check out the full list in our web store.

In Stock Now:

A Stunning Super Tuscan from a Chianti Favorite

Chianti remains one of the best value regions in Italy, despite its great international acclaim.  Case in point? The wines from Rocca di Montegrossi.  These are big, rich versions of Chianti, with texture and density to spare.  Except for the slight textural difference, you’d swear these were Brunello/Rosso di Montalcino—except their pricing is 20% off what they’d be if they had those labels.

The highlight of their range is a Super-Tuscan called Geremia, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia captures so much of what we love about the estate with big, rich fruit and a surprising amount of elegance.  This is a wine that would be 2x as expensive if it were from Bordeaux (and probably 3x if it were from Napa, sadly) but the wines of Chianti offer superb value, as we mentioned.  We have a mere four cases arriving in December, so hop on these fantastic wines now, while they’re available.

Arriving ETA December:

Only forty-eight bottles available
Rocca di Montegrossi Geremia Toscana IGT, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 pre-arrival special
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The Geremia, Rocca di Montegrossi’s Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend, is outrageously beautiful in 2015. Racy and pliant, with soft curves, Geremia captures all of the radiant beauty of the vintage. Sweet red cherry, plum, mint, mocha and sweet spice are all fused together. At the moment, there is a touch of new oak that still needs to integrate, but a few more years in bottle should do the trick. Time in the glass brings out attractive floral notes and red-toned fruit character that lend freshness and lift to play off the wine’s more extroverted leanings. The 2015 is a gorgeous Geremia.

Also Available, In Stock Now:

Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2017 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Antonio Galloni 90+ points
“Rocca di Montegrossi’s 2017 Chianti Classico is a rich, exuberant wine that is going to need at least a few years in bottle to settle down. Super-ripe, dense and concentrated, the 2017 may very well shock readers with its intensity. Then again, that is 2017. Super-ripe dark plum, espresso, spice and licorice all race out of the glass. It will be interesting to see where the 2017 goes in the coming years. Today, it is shockingly raw and unformed.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Rocca di Montegrossi Vigneto San Marcellino, Chianti Classico DOCG 2014 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“The 2014 Chianti Classico Vigneto San Marcellino is dark, sumptuous and super-expressive. Like all of the wines here, the 2014 San Marcellino needs at least a few years in bottle to truly show everything it has, but there is more than enough here to provide for engaging drinking for many years to come. Time in the glass brings out gorgeous scents of black cherry, plum, menthol, licorice and smoke. The 2014 is a striking, complete wine.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!

Only four half-bottles remaining
Rocca di Montegrossi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2006 375ML ($149.95) $119 special
Antonio Galloni 94 points
“Rocca di Montegrossi often makes one of the richest Vin Santos in Chianti Classico. The 2006 is a bit less opulent than is often the case, but that just means the Vin Santo is not a blockbuster. Voluptuous and beautifully layered throughout, the 2006 offers an attractive infusion of dried herbs, wild flowers, coconut, mint and leather, all wrapped around a core of dark, deeply spiced fruit.”

Thanks for reading!