Weekend Vinopolpick 12-11-20

In Today’s Newsletter:

Featured Producer
Terre Nere: Etna’s Original Star

Just Arrived: Cameron Arley’s Leap
With Limited Special Pricing + Case-6 Offer!

Two Stellar Value Big Reds

Sweet Wines for Cold-Weather Enjoyment

Two In-Store-Only Case Specials
Prices So Low, We Can’t Afford to Ship Them


Collector’s Corner
A Second Round of 2017 DRC


Featured Producer

Terre Nere: Etna’s Original Star

More than any other winery, Terre Nere is responsible for the modern interest in wines from Etna.  With vineyards in most of the historically important crus of the slopes of Etna and very old vines, Terre Nere was the first to bottle single-parcel wines from the indigenous variety Nerello and brought international focus and admiration to this once-overlooked region. The terroir of high altitude and dark volcanic soils combined with the traditional model inspired by Burgundy help yield distinctive wines from the indigenous grape varieties.

2017 is a highly successful vintage on Etna—more vibrant and aromatic than 2015, but with more richness than the 2016’s which preceded it. Lovers of Burgundy will find even more to like in this set of wines than usual.

Marc de Grazia started the Terre Nere winery in 2002 from 30 hectares of vineyards divided in 10 parcels over four crus.  The vines are between 50 to 100 years old except for 6 hectares of recently planted vines and several self-rooted plots over 130 years old that are famous for surviving phylloxera.  The red wines are 100% Nerello Mascalese, a variety known for producing wines of great elegance and the whites are based on Carricante a grape that gives mineral, piercing wines.

As for the individual wines…The soil in the Calderara Sottana cru is covered in large black volcanic pumice and is the stoniest cru.  The wine offers floral, spice and leather aromas.  The two vineyards composing the Guardiola cru stand at the highest elevation on Mount Etna, and are quite possibly the highest in Europe.  It has poor soil composed of volcanic sand, basalt and ash.  The vineyard is steeply terraced, necessitating manual labor and harvest.  The wine is lean and elegant.  Santo Spirito is adjacent to Guardiola but with black volcanic ash soil.  The Etna Rosso Prephylloxera “La Vigna di Don Pepino” is named for the grape grower who worked the parcel for over 70 years.  Grazia believes the vineyard survived and thrived only through Don Pepino’s meticulous care.

In Stock Now:

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Bianco 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Wine & Spirits 91 points
“In 2019, moderate warmth from July through September, followed by a cool October, provided near-perfect conditions for carricante, which comprises about 70 percent of this blend, the balance coming from catarratto, gracanico and minella. The wine is tautly structured, its assertive flavors of white peach, crisp pear and lemon riding on a zipline of acidity that leads to a clean, chiseled finish.”
Winery note “I first made this wine in 2005. I wanted to remove that more or less 5% of white grapes that the local vignerons used to mingle with their red ones, in order to make my Etna Rosso from red grapes alone. The white grapes were a mumbo-jumbo of local varieties: Carricante, Catarratto, Grecanico, Inzolia and Minnella. So that’s what my Etna Bianco was: a field blend of all the above, with Carricante dominating the blend with roughly 65%. And that’s what it still is. All from old vines. And, somehow, it works. A perfectly lovely wine. With the effortless uplift of a dancer, it allows me to let it go freely through life, malo included, without it ever losing its bright demeanor and lively step. Deviously drinkable, still it always clings, leaving one wondering how it delights and where do the goodies come from. In aging, the noblesse of the Etna and its remarkable terroir emerge. And the loveliness turns thoughtful and deepens, still graceful, never redundant. Fish, meat or fowl, all are fine, if very gently cooked. It loves seafood, particularly over pasta: after all, it is Sicilian.”

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

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Calderara Sottana Etna Bianco 2018 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
No reviews yet for the 2018 vintage. The following review is for the 2017 vintage:
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 94 points “Vibrant deep yellow. Deep, round and complex, this enters sweet then turns mineral and steely, with refined lemony, apple and chamomile flavors. Finishes long, very austere and stony, but manages the neat trick of tasting luscious and ripe at the same time. Deeper and more complex than the other 2017 whites I tasted from Terre Nere this year. This 100% Carricante, mostly from 60 years old vines, may well be the best white wine from owner Marc de Grazia’s Terre Nere estate I have ever tried at a similar stage of development.”

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Santo Spirito Etna Bianco 2018 750ML ($59.95) $45 special
No reviews yet for the 2018 vintage. The following review is for the 2017 vintage:
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93 points “Luminous golden-tinged straw yellow. Minerals and a hint of white flowers on the saline accented nose. Rich round and smooth, with very deep, complex flavors of honey and pomaceous orchard fruit. Finishes long and vibrant, this is absolutely a knockout. 100% Carricante, the vines of which range from 7 to 60 years of age (but De Grazia uses the youngest vines for the entry-level Etna Bianco blend).”

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

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosato 2019 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Eric Guido-Vinous 90 points
“The 2019 Terre Nere Etna Rosato is actually quite savory, and especially alluring in the glass, pulling me closer with notes of raw almond, dusty dried flowers, smoky tangerine and marine-inspired minerals. It’s silky with fleshy ripe melon and white orchard fruits, but also a salty character that mixes with its vibrant acids to create tension and poise, resonating on residual acids and inner florals.”
James Suckling 90 points “Medium-bodied with lots of cherry and citrus character, light tannins and a fruity finish. Fun and structured. Drink now.”

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

Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Feudo di Mezzo’ Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine & Spirits 94 points
“Nerello mascalese culled from 40- to 80-year-old vines planted in shallow volcanic ash soils produced this sultry wine. Notes of chocolate and warm spices mingle with plum and black cherry flavors, the wine knit together by silky tannins. Those dusky fruit tones glow on the long finish, giving the wine plenty of early appeal.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Ripe black raspberry and blackberry fruit is accented by wild sage and mandarin orange peel hints in this minerally, medium-bodied red. Plush tannins emerge and become firmer on the finish. Drink now through 2025. 600 cases made, 400 cases imported.”

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Guardiola Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points
 “Luminous crimson color. Offers minty red fruit and minerals on the captivating nose. Full, dense and rich, with multilayered flavors of red cherry, minerals, exotic spices and aromatic herbs. Finishes long with building mouthcoating tannins and with some alcohol-derived heat. The nose takes longer to open up than in the other 2017 Terre Nere wines, so decant an hour ahead (at least) prior to serving. Better still, cellar it for another five to six years for maximum enjoyment.”

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

Tenuta delle Terre Nere ‘Moganazzi’ Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 92+ points
“Bright red-ruby. Clean, very mineral and floral, with juicy red/black cherry aromas and flavors. A refined, mineral wine that is very well balanced and precise. This clocks in at 14.5% alcohol, but doesn’t taste warm at all. In fact, I like this wine’s austere, mineral-tinged, long finish. Will likely improve in the bottle.”
Wine & Spirits 92 points “Marco de Grazia first bought a tiny plot of vines in the Moganazzi contrade in 2007, dedicating its production to a charity project. He’s since expanded his holdings to nearly five acres, and this is the first release of some 3,000 bottles under the new label. A steeply terraced site with deep volcanic ash soils anchoring 80-year-old vines, Moganazzi produced a wine that feels more earthbound than some of Terre Nere’s more ethereal wines in the warm, dry 2017 growing season. With dense black-rock tannins and ripe and fleshy plum and black raspberry flavors, this ought to benefit from a year or two of cellaring before pairing with braised lamb shanks.”

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

Terre Nere Prephylloxera Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Spectator 95 points
“A graceful, medium-bodied version, with silky tannins and a pleasing juiciness to the array of plumped cherry, stemmy herb and tangy mineral flavors, accented by fragrant graphite, sandalwood and ground pink pepper notes. Finely knit and focused, with the tannins firming up on the long, spicy finish. Drink now through 2032. 400 cases made, 300 cases imported.”
Ian D’Agata-Vinous 93+ points “Bright red. Pungent flinty and floral nuances to the red cherry and raspberry jam aromas on the inviting nose. Enters rich, dense and almost sweet, with very precise sweet spice and red fruit flavors lingering nicely. An underlying green note remains in the background and adds complexity. Finishes with noteworthy but balanced tannic bite and plenty of freshness on the long juicy finish. A very complex wine with a beautiful nose; the tannins though are on the tough side as in many of these Terre Nere 2017 reds. A very good wine of noteworthy promise, my suggestion is to cellar this for another 4-6 years for full enjoyment.”

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

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Calderara Sottana Etna Rosso 2017 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Wine & Spirits 95 points
“According to Marco de Grazia, Calderara Sottana is one of only two contrade with soils fully derived from lava flows and deposits that came out of the Ellittico eruptive center, dating back some 15,000 to 60,000 years (the other is San Lorenze, which produced a wine also recommended here). Fist-sized black pumice stones dot his vineyard, and the vines that produce this wine have survived on the stony soils for 50 to 100 years. In the warm and dry 2017 vintage, they gave a wine redolent of red roses and Bing cherries, with hints of tarragon. Rich, ripe tannins wrap around its juicy fruit while racy acidity draws the flavors upward, picking up notes of warm spice on the way to a long, harmonious finish.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “A fragrant red, offering lilac and sandalwood notes that lace the ripe raspberry, iron and Earl Grey tea flavors, echoing on the finish. Deftly knit, with a sense of grace and poise to the interaction of the fine-grained tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Drink now through 2030. 1,300 cases made, 1,000 cases imported.”



Just Arrived: Cameron Arley’s Leap

With Limited Special Pricing + Case-6 Offer!
Deep and concentrated. This wine pulls at you. It’s no surprise that John Paul announced to us that it is his favorite wine of the vintage. He referred to it as basically the Julia bottling, but with some Clos Electrique added. Just as this site shares the vineyard material with the estate vineyard, it also includes a barrel of Clos Electrique this year…

Special/Case-6  Pricing Expires Wednesday, December 16th

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Cameron Winery ‘Arley’s Leap’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Case-6 Cameron Winery ‘Arley’s Leap’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2018 750ML ($319.95) $275 special (that’s only $44.83/bottle!)
Winery Note
“Arley’s leap harkens from a block of Pinot noir planted in 1990 at Abbey Ridge Vineyard. The eponymous hero was Bill and Julia Wayne’s old dog Arley, who survived a jump from a second story balcony when startled by a cat.”
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Two Stellar Value Big Reds

In Stock Now:

Rutherford Hill Barrel Select, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($34.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Rutherford Hill Barrel Select, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($299.95) $238 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)
Antonio Galloni 92 points
“The Merlot-based 2016 Barrel Select is round, sumptuous and juicy. Soft curves and voluptuous fruit give this mid-weight blend plenty of near and medium term approachability. Sweet red cherry, plum and pomegranate fruit are nicely pushed forward.”

The average listed price is $31

Haras de Pirque ‘Hussonet’ Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Valley 2015 750ML ($17.95) $14 special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“Big and fresh-tasting, with concentrated dark plum, dark currant and black olive flavors. Asian spice and dark chocolate notes on the muscular finish. Drink now through 2024. 2,500 cases imported.”

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


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Sweet Wines for Cold-Weather Enjoyment

Because there’s something about rich, decadent, sweet wines when the weather turns chilly…

In Stock Now:

We also have a huge selection of their single-vintage tawny Colheita bottlings.
Kopke 30 Year Old Tawny Port 750ML ($179.95) $128 special
Wine Spectator 94 points
“A very inviting, open style, with butterscotch and caramel notes framing the core of glazed pear, caramelized peach, golden raisin and warm fig flavors. The lush finish lets crème brûlée and ginger cream details hang, showing a flash of honeysuckle for lift. Drink now. 200 cases imported.”
Wine Enthusiast 94 points “Dark gold in color, this Port relishes its age. Like an aged tawny, it has lost its fruit at this mature stage, while gaining the rich, intense character that comes from long wood aging. It has concentrated acidity and a long, lingering aftertaste. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The NV 30 Year Old Tawny Port was bottled in 2017 with a bar-top cork and 130 grams per liter of residual sugar. The last release I saw of this was pretty fine. So, too, here. This adds a layer of depth and more complexity to the Burmester, although it lacks the Burmester’s elegance and sex appeal. While the finish here is bigger and more gripping, it is no more flavorful (actually, less so). Still, as this rolls around the mouth, it is impressive, not necessarily more exciting than the Burmester, but definitely different stylistically. They are good examples of the diversity you can get in one portfolio. As always, these last indefinitely, barring cork failures, but they are not really meant to be held.”
[Bottling year may vary from review]

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $155

This will put most Sauternes in its price-point to shame.
Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Réserve, Loire 2009 750ML ($119.95) $79 special
Wine Advocate 97 points
“What there was in this vintage of botrytis, Foreau reports, essentially went into his 2009 Vouvray Moelleux Réserve. Brown-spiced pear liqueur and quince preserves dominate the proceedings – wreathed in perfume of freesia and lily – and there are buoyancy and elegance, despite viscosity, enormous richness of texture and residual sweetness, that indeed point to the magic nobility rot can convey. Its sense of lift – when combined with luscious, still juicy suggestions of grapefruit and blood orange familiar from the corresponding demi-sec – wards off any risk of palate fatigue. Mysterious botrytis manifestations of stale bread, truffle, and white raisin emerge from the empty glass. This extraordinary achievement will stand with such past great Foreau moelleux réserves as 2005, 2003, and 1989-90 and is likely to merit 30 or more years of consideration. In direct comparison, what strikes one about the 2005 today is its more obvious sense of botrytis and its slightly diminished sense of acidity and lift. But it maintains the edge in sheer complexity.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

A steal of a price on one of Spain’s hidden gem sweeties.
Telmo Rodriguez ‘Molino Real,’ Malaga 2009 500ML ($59.95) $21.90 special
Case-6 Telmo Rodriguez ‘Molino Real,’ Malaga 2009 500ML ($349.95) $119 special (that’s only $19.83/bottle!)

No reviews available for the 2009 vintage.  Review of the 2010 provided for reference.
Luis Gutierrez – Wine Advocate 94 points “The 2010 Molino Real is the flagship and initial wine produced here, a sweet Moscatel from the schist slopes of Málaga at altitudes over 550 meters high, fermented with indigenous yeasts in 225-liter French oak barrels where the wine matures for 20 months. The grapes are dried in the sun for two weeks to get more concentration. The nose is extremely aromatic with notes of condensed milk, a touch of volatility and bay leaf; it is extremely complex, attractive and extremely young with the giveaway note of syrup that denotes youth. The wine has 13.5% alcohol and 127 grams of residual sugar. It was a relatively late harvest and the growing season was cooler and warmer than the average. The palate is extremely balanced with perfect harmony between sweetness and acidity leaving the palate with a fresh, minty sensation, rich, intense, with the spiciness of the grape, fine and elegant. I tasted 2009 and 2007 for context, and they are both young, as these are wines thought for the long haul. 7,8824 half-liter bottles were produced. ($75)”

Sauternes with this much bottle age at this price? Yes, please.
Chateau Coutet, Barsac 2004 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Wine Enthusiast 94 points
“A fresh, delicious wine, the natural richness of the botrytis balanced beautifully with acidity. It is ripe but delicate, a style that floats over the sweet fruit.”

An insider’s pick for wine of the vintage in ’16
Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2016 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
#42 Wine of the Year – James Suckling Top 100 in 2018
James Suckling 98 points “This is a superb baby Noval that reminds me of the 1966. Chewy yet so polished. The light sweetness suggests an overall dialing back of the sugar content. Stemmy and lightly green. A truly classic Noval. Almost all from Pinhao. Buy. Better in 2025.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “This has terrific energy from the start, with a bramble note inlaid in the core of cherry and plum paste flavors. Sappy, sweet and fresh, with a plum cake-infused finish. Gains focus and polish as it stretches out in the glass.—Non-blind Quinta do Noval vertical (May 2018). Best from 2030 through 2055. 6,000 cases made.”
Mark Squires-Wine Advocate 97 points “The 2016 Vintage Port is a field blend, mostly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão and Sousão, aged for 18 months in old wood. It comes in with 82 grams of residual sugar. This was in bottle for only about seven weeks when seen, but I made sure at least some of it had a lot of air. It looks super, with plenty of room to grow in the cellar. Christian Seely likes to say that this regular Noval and the Nacional are not better than one another, just different. In fact, I usually prefer Nacional, but in this vintage I make a case for equality and endorse that view. This was stunning from the first smell, promising concentration, intensity of fruit and great things to come. It had a 100-point nose that made me go “wow!” No wine I tasted had a better nose than this. Violets and blue fruits lead off, with a trace of eucalyptus. I tend to think Noval is a producer that always shows mid-palate finesse, but this seems pretty deep too. It is also intense. The tannins won’t sear your mouth because the balance is impeccable. To be sure, it might close down, but it is surprisingly approachable now, notwithstanding that intensity. Rest assured that this lively young Porto still has all the materials to make old bones. Needless to say, “approachable” does not mean “ready.” You need to toss this in the cellar for a decade, at least. Purists will say to double that or more. When the palate becomes as expressive as the nose—if it does—this will be entitled to an uptick. No pricing was set yet.”



Two In-Store-Only Case Specials

Prices So Low, We Can’t Afford to Ship Them

In Stock Now:

M. Chapoutier Luberon La Ciboise Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($19.95) $11.90 special
Case-12 M. Chapoutier Luberon La Ciboise Rouge, Rhone 2017 750ML ($149.95) $119 special (that’s only $9.92/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
Sorry, no shipping on Case-12 special; sold only for in-store pickup.
Anna Lee C. Iijima-Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“Notes of crisp raspberry, bramble and crushed stone introduce this full-bodied yet invigorating red. Blackberry and mulberry flavors are juicy yet vital, edged by hints of mineral and a zesty midpalate. Peppery, fine tannins linger on the finish. This lovely sip is ready now but should hold through 2023.”

Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay, Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($14.95) $7.50 special
Case-12 Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay, Columbia Valley 2018 750ML ($149.95) $79 special (that’s only $6.58/bottle!)
Sorry, no shipping on this wine; sold only for in-store pickup.
Winery Note
“Our Columbia Valley Chardonnay is a food-friendly wine. It is crafted in a fresh, soft style with bright apple and sweet citrus fruit character with subtle spice and oak nuances. We blend Chardonnay grapes from vineyards throughout Washington’s Columbia Valley to make this a complex and interesting wine. Cheers!”


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Trending Wines

In a blue-chip appellation like Hermitage, a bottling like this is a rare value.
Delas Freres Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes, Rhone 2015 750ML ($89.95) $66 special
Falstaff Magazine 96 points
“[Translated] Very closed, blackberry jam, hints of balsamic spice. Creamy start, immediately present minerality, extremely high density with fine but not too silky tannins, an elegance at the maximum of what fits in 14 percent by volume, minerally seasoned, all components seamlessly integrated, ripe, well-bearing acidity, very expressive.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This is loaded with well-defined loganberry, blackberry and boysenberry pâte de fruit flavors, flecked with anise and black tea notes and carried by a fine iron streak that lingers wonderfully. A wine of cut, purity and precision. Best from 2020 through 2035. From France.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A blend of Syrah grapes from several lieux-dits, including Les Bessards, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes is aged in new and second use barrels. It’s a dark, concentrated wine, meaty, rich and tannic but with a bright beam of cassis fruit that lifts it and gives it great definition and shape on the palate. Give this medium to full-bodied wine at least 5 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 15.”
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points “While the Les Bessards gets all the attention, the 2015 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes isn’t far behind and is unquestionably the value play. Beef blood, cassis, blackberry liqueur and loads of crushed rock nuances all emerge from this ripe, concentrated, full-bodied Hermitage that has a classic, structured profile. It’s well worth a case purchase and will keep for two to three decades. As always, this cuvée comes from two parcels, the lower part of the Bessards lieu-dit and the Les Grandes Vignes located at the highest point on Hermitage Hill. It’s completely destemmed and sees 16 months in 30% new French oak.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!

One of the Loire’s hottest Chenin producers’ flagship, at an unbeatable price.
Brendan Stater-West Saumur Les Chapaudaises, Loire 2017 750ML ($59.95) $36 special
Case-12 Brendan Stater-West Saumur Les Chapaudaises, Loire 2017 750ML ($719.95) $389 special (that’s only $32.42/bottle!)
Importer Note
“We met fellow ex-pat and wine geek, Brendan Stater-West, where magic happens – in Romain Guiberteau’s cellar in Saint-Just-sur-Dive. Since 2011, Brendan has been working behind the scenes as Romain’s right-hand-man. And in 2015, he completed the first harvest of wine to be bottled under his own label, from the wonderfully unique site of Les Chapaudaises! Brendan’s single hectare of vines comes from the lieu-dit, Les Chapaudaises.  A half-kilometer from the now famous butte of Brézé, on slightly elevated slope, the vineyard soil is completely composed of tuffeau limestone with calcium-rich clay and sand with a plentiful supply of seashell fossils.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $44
The average listed price is $53

A great value out of northeast Spain
Bodegas Virxen Pagos del Galir Mencia, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($21.95) $16 special
Case-12 Bodegas Virxen Pagos del Galir Mencia, Valdeorras 2016 750ML ($249.95) $169 special (that’s only $14.08/bottle —the lowest listed price in the country!)
James Suckling 92 points
“A wine with a delicious density of fruit and dusty texture. Medium body, fresh acidity and a long and flavorful finish. New wine from Rioja’s CUNE in this appellation.”

Lascombes has been one of the biggest over-performers in Margaux, with a string of successes since the 2000 vintage—but the 2010 might be their best ever.
Chateau Lascombes, Margaux 2010 750ML ($149.95) $119 special
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The wine hits all cylinders in 2010. The average alcohol for the bottled wine is 14%. It has a gorgeously sweet nose of creme de cassis, spring flowers, subtle barbecue smoke and charcoal followed by full body, beautiful intensity, great purity, stature and length. The influence of any oak is minimal, despite the fact that 90% new French oak was used. Needless to say, this is an example of modern-styled winemaking at its finest, and arguments that such wines will not age well, do not represent their terroir , and are soul-less, are totally groundless. Give it five or so years of cellaring and drink it over the following 25-30 years. This is one of the great Margaux wines of the vintage.”
Decanter 94 points “Lascombes in 2010 has exuberance and precision and confidence, and a sense of fun. At the 10 year mark the power of the tannins is clear and evident. It’s a big, concentrated, exuberant wine but it has delicacy and construction and persistency. Drinking Window 2020 – 2042.”

An insider’s pick made with some very coveted grapes
Jacques Lassaigne Millésimé 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!

Collector’s Corner

A Second Round of 2017 DRC

To say DRC is the finest example of Burgundy is an understatement. These are the finest wines produced in the world. Iconic and highly sought after, these are devoted followed and drunk in ecstasy. These arrive next month directly from the national importer, Wilson Daniels, through our local distributor. 

“The Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 2017s are showing brilliantly from bottle, and this tasting with Bertrand de Villaine was one of the absolute high points of my two months of visits along the Côte d’Or… spending an hour or two with full glasses of wines such as these is not merely of immense professional interest but, I admit, a source of great personal pleasure… it is clear that this is a vintage that will give immense pleasure to anyone able to secure a few bottles. Hauntingly aromatic, structurally supple and pungently intense, this vintage will drink well younger than both its 2016 and 2015 predecessors, but it is much closer in quality to those two vintages than I perceived 12 months ago. At the end of our tasting, the group spent some time discussing possible analogies, and the comparison I found the most compelling is with the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s 1985 vintage. Indeed, I had drunk a superb 1985 Grands-Echézeaux from the domaine over dinner with a good friend a few days before my visit, and the similarities in overall balance between the two vintages were strikingly apparent as I tasted through the young 2017s. The domaine’s 2017 Montrachet also merits special comment, as it is a magical wine built for the ages.” William Kelley, Wine Advocate

Just Arrived, In Stock Now:

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Corton Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2017 750ML ($1999.95) $1,499 special, only 4 bottles available
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points
“The 2017 Corton Grand Cru is performing beautifully from bottle, bursting from the glass with a captivating bouquet of peonies, rose hips, sweet red berries, orange rind, spices and subtle soil tones. On the palate, the wine medium to full-bodied, supple and velvety, with succulent acids, good concentration and a long, exquisitely perfumed finish. Indeed, it’s only by comparison with the domaine’s utterly suave wines from Vosne-Romanée later in the tasting that this Corton’s tannins seem comparatively coarse-grained. Picked on September 4th, it is showing appreciably better than it did when I tasted it from tank before bottling last year.”
Allen Meadows-Burghound 93 points “A ripe, fresh and layered nose combines notes of plum, spice, earth and plenty of floral influences. There is fine richness to the relatively supple middle weight flavors that possess a velvety mid-palate mouthfeel along with reasonable if not special density, all wrapped in a youthfully austere, balanced and sneaky long finish where a hints of warmth and sweetness eventually emerge. This minerally effort needs to develop better depth but the potential appears to be present for that to occur.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast!
The average price nationally is $1,734

Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grands Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2017 750ML ($2,499.95) $1,799 special, only 1 bottle available
Antonio Galloni 96 points
“The 2017 Grands-Echézeaux Grand Cru is a pretty big step up in this range, both in terms of depth, power and energy. Here the flavors are dark, while there is quite a bit of tannin lurking beneath. Black cherry, graphite, leather, smoke, spice and menthol infuse the 2017 with tons of virile, somber character. Readers will have to be very patient. A whole range of sepia-toned aromas and flavors shrouded in tannin add depth to an imposing Grands-Echézeaux built for cellaring. Harvest was on September 12.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 94+ points “More brooding and reserved than the Échézeaux that preceded it in the tasting, the 2017 Grands Échézeaux Grand Cru unwinds in the glass with an enticing bouquet of cassis, blackberries, blood orange, exotic spices and musk. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with a more introverted, structured profile than the Échézeaux, its considerable reserves of concentrated fruit framed by an abundance of powdery tannin and succulent acids. Long and penetrating, this will reward sustained bottle age. The Grands Échézeaux was picked on September 12.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 94 points “The 2017 Grands Echézeaux Grand Cru was picked at 41hl/ha on September 12 and bottled on May 21 and 23, 2019. Given 10–15 minutes to open, it is clearly richer on the nose compared to its petit frère, revealing hints of kirsch, red currant and orange pith and subtle loamy aromas. The palate is medium-bodied, with suppler tannins than the Echézeaux and hints of wild mint, freshly rolled tobacco and a touch of spice toward the harmonious finish, which fans out effortlessly; it is perhaps less grippy than the 2015. This is an open “G.E.” since it can often be difficult to read just after bottling. It will give enormous pleasure over the next two decades. 1,290 cases produced.”
Allen Meadows-Burghound 94 points “A cooler, more elegant and equally spicy nose of mostly red fruits and Asian-style tea is wonderfully fresh if notably more restrained. As is typically the case there is more size and weight to the broad-shouldered flavors that are shaped by firmer and slightly less fine-grained tannins on the impressively persistent finish. This is not as concentrated or powerful as it usually is but even so, it is going to require at least 10 years or so of patience and should amply reward 15 to 18.”

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Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2017 750ML ($3,199.95) $2,399 special, only 4 bottles available
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2017 Richebourg Grand Cru offers up generous aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries, cinnamon and coniferous forest floor, framed by a lavish application of creamy new oak that’s less immediately integrated than in the Domaine’s other wines at this early stage. On the palate, the Richebourg is full-bodied, rich and multidimensional, with a lavishly enveloping attack and supple structuring tannins that are almost entirely concealed by its deep core of fruit. Long and sapid, this is a spectacular wine in the making.”
Allen Meadows-Burghound 95 points “A discreet application of wood frames the even more complex and spicier nose of relatively high-toned, cool and airy aromas of red berries, violet, rose petal, orange pekoe tea and a hint of leather. The sleek, intense and sophisticated middle weight plus flavors brim with both minerality and dry extract that buffers the slightly firmer tannic spine shaping the hugely long, powerful and beautifully harmonious finale. It would be fair to observe that this isn’t the most concentrated Richebourg the Domaine has ever produced but it is one that should age effortlessly on its balance. In sum, this is a highly refined and elegant Riche with a positively gorgeous mouthfeel.”
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2017 Richebourg Grand Cru is a Burgundy of Cistercian austerity. Searing tannins give the Richebourg its trademark sense of energy and vibrancy. White pepper, mint, dried flowers and bright red berry fruit are all beautifully delineated, with underlying beams of minerality and salinity that lend dimension. Richebourg is very rarely finessed, but is more typically a wine of brawn and pure power, as it is here. A range of bright, floral/savory accents suggest a bit more elegance may lie ahead. We will see. My colleagues appreciate the Richebourg more than I do. Harvest began the afternoon of September 8, after Romanée-Conti. Rain on the 9th caused a break in picking for the day. The last of the Richebourg came in on the 10th.”

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Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2017 750ML ($2,999.95) $2,499 special, only 3 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 98 points
“A total stunner, the 2017 Romanée St. Vivant Grand Cru is the most expressive wine in the lineup today. Rich, creamy and so wonderfully textured, the RSV simply has it all. The tannins are present, but they are also matched by tremendous fruit density and pure power. Floral and savory overtones grace the lifted, saline finish. Leaving price aside, if I could only have one wine in this range, it would unquestionably be the RSV. The 2017 is a total knock-out. That’s all there is to it. This fruit was picked on September 10 and 11.”
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Romanée-St-Vivant Grand Cru was also showing very well indeed, soaring from the glass with scents of cassis, violets, blood orange, cinnamon and espresso roast that are complemented by carnal nuances of smoked duck and musk. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, multidimensional and enveloping, with terrific concentration, rich and powdery structuring tannins and a long, saline finish. This is a dramatic, head-turning Romanée-St-Vivant in the making, and it is showing even better in bottle than it did from barrel.”
Neal Martin-Vinous 95 points “The 2017 Romanée-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru was picked on September 10 and 11 at 36hl/ha and bottled between April 26 and May 21. It initially has a more reticent bouquet compared to the Richebourg and requests more time in the glass. Eventually it evolves wonderful, almost pixelated scents of red berry fruit, wild hedgerow and crushed stone. Although it is less intense than the previous two vintages, I discern a touch more precision and focus than in the Richebourg. The palate is medium-bodied with lithe tannins. There is a little more body and depth than in the aforementioned Grand Cru; more energy, perhaps. A mixture of red and black fruit emerges toward the finish, the latter becoming more prominent with aeration. This is a delicious Romanée-Saint-Vivant. Beautiful. 1,693 cases produced…”
Allen Meadows-Burghound 94 points “A markedly floral and very finely nuanced nose almost timidly reflects notes of rose petal, violet, red currant, sandalwood, tangerine peel and a whisper of anise. The sleek and strikingly refined medium-bodied flavors culminate in a sneaky long if decidedly compact and quite serious finish that is presently on the youthfully austere side. This is an exercise in lace and grace though not one without plenty of punch.”

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Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Richebourg Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2002 750ML ($4,199.95) $3,799 special, 1 bottle available
[Back label significantly stained]
Wine Spectator 95 points
“The most forward of the ’02s in both barrel and bottle, this floral- and cherry-scented red verges on opulent, yet remains fresh, pure and succulent. There’s a more decadent feel to this Richebourg.–Non-blind 2002 DRC tasting (February 2005). Best from 2014 through 2032.”
Burghound 95 points “(fashioned with <70% whole clusters). I had not tried the ’02 Riche in several years so it was interesting to see how it’s progressing. The expressive though very cool nose is finally beginning to display the initial hints of maturity with the classic dried rose petal and spice nuances adding both elegance and breadth to the pretty mix of red fruit and plum scents. There is a beguiling mouth feel to the intensely mineral-driven broad-shouldered flavors that are at once powerful but sleek, all wrapped in a muscular and palate staining finish. The refined palate impression is considerably enhanced by the dense but extremely fine tannins, in fact so much so that while this is still very clearly on the way up it could actually be drunk now with pleasure. That said I would still strongly advise holding this strikingly pretty effort for another 6 to 10 years first. I should note that while I have had relatively consistent notes over the years, occasionally I land on a bottle that seems herbaceous and almost vegetal; why this variation occurs isn’t clear but nonetheless it does happen.”

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