Weekend Vinopolpick 12-21-18

In Today’s Newsletter:New Champagne Arrivals (In Time for New Year’s)

Holiday Bargains to Stock Up On

New Arrivals
Including Cameron, Togni, Beaux Freres,
Goodfellow, Westrey and More!

New Arrivals from Peter Lauer

An Assortment of California Cellar Treasures

Palacios’ Petalos: Stellar Spanish Value

Chermette: Unsung Master of Beaujolais


Vinopolis Holiday Hours Notice

December 24th: 10AM-4PM
December 25th: Closed
We will be open normal hours (10AM-6PM) all other days next week.


New Champagne Arrivals

Just in Time for New Year’s

Dom Perignon Brut, Champagne 2009 750ML ($199.95) $149 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.”Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Millesime Brut, Champagne 2006 750ML ($219.95) $169 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “The 2006 Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut is simply fabulous. In most vintages, Dom Ruinart is a big, ample Champagne that shows the structure of the Montagne de Reims Chardonnay in the blend. The 2006 has plenty of textural resonance and richness, and yet I am also struck by its tension. Both bottles I tasted point to a Dom Ruinart that is quite a bit more polished and sophisticated than it often is at this stage.”
Wine Spectator 97 points “A statuesque Champagne, firm and finely knit, with a beautiful array of baked white peach, almond biscotti, pastry cream and crystallized honey flavors riding the silky mousse. A rich and smoky note of toasted brioche echoes on the chiseled finish. Drink now through 2031.”

Krug Grande Cuvee 166 eme Edition Brut, Champagne 166 NV 750ML ($199.95) $169 special
Wine Advocate 96+ points “Compared to Krug’s 160th edition, the bright golden-yellow colored NV Grande Cuvée 166ème Édition (ID117010) is still a baby that shows the chalky and fruity features of a young white Burgundy intermixed with notes of Schwarzwälder Kirsch (dark cherries with black chocolate) and floral (ammonia) flavors on the pure, fresh and elegant yet intense and still yeasty brioche nose with its ripe apple aromas and refreshingly bright (lemon juice) overtones. Round, wide and very elegant yet also straight and tense on the palate, this 2010-dominated cuvée is very delicate, fresh and chalky but also dense and lush in its vinous texture. The finish is well-structured, fresh and persistent, indicating great complexity and vibrancy. However, I would wait at least another three years, during which time the 166th edition will gain even more finesse and quiet. The 166ème Édition is composed of 140 wines from 13 different harvests between 1998 and 2010, and it’s a blend of 45% Pinot Noir with 39% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Meunier, the latter of which provides the vivacity that the Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs surprisingly didn’t have in 2010, a vintage that was marked by its “tumultuous climate,” as Eric Lebel writes. Tasted in New York in November 2018.”
Wine Spectator 95 points “This mouthwatering Champagne feels like a swathe of raw silk on the palate, where flavors of sun-dried white cherry, toast and Meyer lemon peel are accented by expressive saffron, ground coffee and mandarin orange peel aromas. Long and racy on the honey-, spice- and smoke-laced finish.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “The MV Grande Cuvée 166ème, based on the 2010 vintage, offers good depth, but it also comes across as a bit angular and in need of time in bottle to soften. Certainly, next to the 2008 and 2009 editions, the 2010 is a touch rough around the edges. Even so, there is good freshness and verve to the bright citrus, mineral and floral flavors.”

Krug Brut, Champagne 2004 750ML ($299.95) $248 special
Antonio Galloni 97+ points “Krug’s 2004 Vintage is absolutely mesmerizing. Layers of bright, chiseled fruit open up effortlessly as the wine fleshes out with time in the glass. Persistent and beautifully focused, with a translucent sense of energy, the 2004 captures all the best qualities of the year. Moreover, the 2004 is clearly superior to the consistently underwhelming 2002 and the best Krug Vintage since 1996. Readers who can find it should not hesitate, as it is a magical bottle.”
Wine Advocate 97 points “Combining subtleness with complexity, the coolish Krug 2004 Brut opens with a highly elegant, fascinatingly clear, bright and refreshing bouquet of ripe (apple) fruits. Dense and round, with a delicate mineral soul, the pure but perfectly balanced 2004 reveals great finesse and weightless elegance with a long and round finish. This is a gorgeous Krug vintage that is 14 years old but still on the rise. Tasted from ID 316034 in New York in November 2018.”-SR
Decanter 97 points “This is the current and latest vintage release from Krug, and is a fitting successor to 2002, though it’s very different in style – unusually, the blend contains more Chardonnay than Pinot Noir. Despite this, it is hallmark Krug with its oxidative profile. It has a luminous freshness and good density without heaviness. There’s a controlled power to this poised, vinous, linear 2004, displaying candied fruits, minerals, gingerbread, white chocolate, caramel and marzipan. This has a long, dry autolytic finish, great balance and lovely bead. Disgorged just after the next, and very different, vintage we tasted, the Krug 2003. Drinking Window 2017-2037.”
John Gilman 97 points “The new release of 2004 Krug is absolutely beautiful and is already quite elegant and open on both the nose and palate and is drinking with great finesse. I had expected this wine to be a bit more steely in structure out of the blocks, but the refinement of the blend this year has produced a wine that is already a joy to drink at age thirteen, though it will continue age gracefully for many, many decades to come. The cépages in 2004 is thirty-nine percent Chardonnay, thirty-seven percent Pinot Noir and twenty-four percent Pinot Meunier, with the wine having been disgorged in the winter of 2016. The bouquet jumps from the glass in a refined mix of apple, a touch of walnut, warm bread, lavender, a superb base of soil tones and a topnote of smokiness. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with vibrant acids, great focus and grip, a lovely core, refined mousse and a very long, complex, racy and energetic finish. There is marvelous precision here on both the nose and palate, not to mention a sense of harmony and grace that is fairly rare in the 2004 vintage. Chapeau! 2017-2060.”

Winery cellar release!
Christophe Mignon Brut, Champagne 2010 750ML ($89.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “Mignon’s 2010 Brut Nature Blanc de Noirs Pur Meunier is fabulous. Bright, focused and energetic, the 2010 Pur Meunier is endowed with real class. The flavors are bright and focused, but it is the wine’s multi-dimensional personality that truly stands out. There is a sense of verticality supported by beams of minerality that is simply compelling. This is the single finest Champagne I have tasted from Christophe Mignon so far. The 2010 emerges from parcels in Festigny and Le Breuil planted in 1976. Bottled with no dosage.”

This is the only listing in the USA today!
Bereche et Fils Reflet d’Antan Brut, Champagne (2013) NV 750ML ($129.95) $99 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The NV Reflet d’Antan is weightless, airy and gracious. Graphite, crushed rocks, petrol, smoke and licorice infuse this super-refined, polished Champagne. Intensely mineral, chalky and savory, Reflet d’Antan is a model of total precision. The current release is based on the 2013 vintage, with 30% perpetual reserve wines. Reflet d’Antan is 35% Pinot Noir, 35% Meunier and 30% Chardonnay. I tasted two bottles of the same wine; the first aged on crown seal and the second (the commercial release) aged on cork. The version aged on cork was noticeably more complex, and that is for a wine that had just been disgorged about a month before this tasting. Dosage is 6 grams per liter.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
2015 vintage base
Wine Advocate 92 points
“The NV Brut Réserve Vieilles Vignes Cuvée Non Filtrée is a blend of all the four different terroirs cultivated by the Bérêche family—35% Ludes (chalk), 30% Ormes (sand), 25% Mareuil-sur-Port (clay) and 10% Trépail (chalk), which adds up to seven hectares for this cuvée. The current release of the non-vintaged unfiltered Réserve is based on the 2015 vintage and, as usual, includes 35% of reserve wines from a solera. Fermented in oak barrels and small cuves, the assemblage of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir (from vines averaging 40+ years old) is pure and fruity on the nose, very elegant and spicy, with red fruit and cherry aromas. Pure and elegant on the palate, with intensity, remarkable finesse and complexity, the Brut Réserve reveals a still tight but long, salty, promising finish.”
Wine Spectator 92 points “Lemon curd, delicate herb and spice notes lead to flavors of crushed white cherry, toasted brioche and honey, with a streak of salinity, in this firm, focused Champagne, showing a lacy mousse. Offers a long, mouthwatering finish.” [Review is for the Jan 2018 disgorgement]
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Chartogne-Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Antonio Galloni 91 points “The NV Brut Sainte Anne is a gorgeous wine, as it so often is. Pliant and inviting, with superb textural richness, the Sainte Anne shows Alexandre Chartogne’s style off to great effect. Dried pear, chamomile, mint mad dried flowers are some of the many notes that run through this super-expressive Champagne. This release is a 50/50 blend of 2015 and reserve wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, also in equal measure. Disgorged: December 2017.”
Wine Spectator 91 points “Grainy pear, blackberry, candied lemon zest and toast notes are set on the satiny mousse of this broad, dry Champagne. Well-balanced and fresh, with a lingering, chalk-tinged finish.” [Review is for Nov 2017 disgorgement]

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

Marie Courtin Efflorescence Blanc de Noirs Extra Brut, Champagne 2013 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2013 Extra Brut Efflorescence is from an east-facing vineyard with 40-year-old vines (sélection massale) on Kimmeridgian soils. Fermented and aged for one year in pièces and 36 months on the second lees before the disgorgement in October 2017, this golden-yellow cuvée opens with a very delicate, almost floral bouquet of great elegance. Round, intense and full on the palate, this is an extraordinarily fine, elegant, highly finessed and perfectly balanced Pinot Noir with beautiful cherry fruit on the fresh finish. This is a great wine, and just 9,000 bottles were produced. Tasted April 2018.”
Antonio Galloni 94 points “A complete and wonderfully nuanced wine, the 2013 Extra Brut Efflorescence is fabulous. Bright and sculpted to the core, the 2013 exudes energy. Chalk, mint, jasmine and orchard fruit add complexity, but it is the wine’s overall balance that is most impressive. The Efflorescence offers striking translucence and energy from start to finish. The non-dosé style is especially successful here. Disgorged in April 2017 with no dosage.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
A. Margaine Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2012 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Antonio Galloni 95 points “The 2012 Special Club finds Arnaud Margaine at his very best. Ample, creamy and beautifully layered on the palate, with exquisite aromatics, the Special Club dazzles from the very first taste. All the elements simply fall into place. Lemon peel, orchard fruit, crushed rocks and lifted floral notes convey brightness, but here, too, I am blown away by the wine’s precision and focus. The 2012 is 100% Chardonnay, aged partly in wood, with full malolactic fermentation. It may very well be the most complete Champagne I have ever tasted from Arnaud Margaine. Disgorged: August 2017.”
Terry Theise notes “All CH and 100% malo, 25% was aged in wood, deg 12/2017, this is an absolute Margaine classic. High tones like ’08 but roasted corn like ’09; a great slender power here, a regal assertive wine, blatantly chalky; it wants years but man it’s hard to resist right now. The vampiest Margaine wine in some time.”
This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
A. Margaine Brut Rose, Champagne NV 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Wine & Spirits 93 points “Mostly chardonnay, this rose includes 23 percent pinot noir, one-third of that as red wine, all of it from Villers-Marmery. Its subtle strawberry scents and more powerful red-fruit flavors have an effortless balance, just sweet enough to hold the woodsy notes of tree bark and forest-berry tartness at bay. Generous in the middle, the wine tightens toward the finish, leaving a clean, bright impression. A lovely aperitif, especially with poached prawns.” [Review is for Oct 2017 disgorgement]
Terry Theise notes “Arnaud’s energetic daughter Mathilde hinted she might wish to change the label on this wine, whereupon we all made Edvard Munch Scream faces and pleaded with her to leave it be. In any case the wine, after suffering from 2011’s predations, is strongly back in form the past two years. Base of 2014, it’s 75% CH, 13% PN and 10% still red PN. Disg 12/2016, this is a sheer version of this dewy-fruited being, all class and spring water purity. It’s as pretty as strawberries you never forgot because they were so divine.”Vilmart & Cie ‘Coeur de Cuvee’ Premier Cru Brut, Champagne 2010 750ML ($159.95) $128 special
Antonio Galloni 95+ points “One of the things I admire most about Laurent Champs is his ability to turn out not just good – but great – wines in challenging years in which other growers struggle. Vibrant, nuanced and breathtakingly beautiful, the 2010 is simply mesmerizing. A kaleidoscope of aromas, flavors and textures dazzles all the senses in a taut, vibrant Champagne that will stop readers dead in their tracks. The 2010 is every bit that good. A few years in the cellar should help the wine soften a bit, but it is incredibly beautiful today. Dosage is 7 grams per liter. Disgorged: February, 2017.”
Wine Spectator 94 points “This elegant version offers seamless integration, draping a vivid frame of acidity with a fine, satiny texture and layered flavors of black currant, chopped almond, candied lemon zest and biscuit. Focused and graceful throughout, with a lasting, spiced finish. Drink now through 2028. 200 cases imported.”

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

Holiday Bargains to Stock Up On

Tis the season for stocking up.  Whether you’re buying for a party, for gifts, or because having a “house wine” or two is an especially appealing thing this time of year, you’re going to want to grab a case or two of the same wine.  We’ve taken a selection of wines we think would make excellent holiday-season bottles and are adding/reducing some case prices for the month of December.  These are all wines that deserve to be bought in bulk this month, at prices that will make you jump.

High quality, bargain grower bubbles in a wide range of sizes!
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($39.95) $29 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 375ML ($24.95) $18 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 1.5L ($89.95) $66 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 3L ($249.95) $199 special
R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 6L ($499.95) $389 special
Case-12 R. Dumont & Fils Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($419.95) $319 special (that’s only $26.58/bottle!)
Importer note “The Dumont Brut NV is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. The grapes from their vineyard have qualities that seem less aggressive and more sumptuous than those from the northern districts. In addition, vinification of whole berries at low temperatures enhances this quality of soft elegance. The NV is a blend of vintages typically between two and five years old. It is aged for two years on the lees before disgorgement. Dosage is 9 grams.”

These are the lowest listed prices on the West Coast today!
Case-12 Pago Casa Gran ‘Casa Benasal’ Elegant, Valencia 2016 750ML ($199.95) $138 special (that’s only $11.50/bottle!)
Pago Casa Gran ‘Casa Benasal’ Elegant, Valencia 2016 750ML ($19.95)
$14 special
James Suckling 94 points “Really impressive elegance and concentration make for a compelling, medium-weight red. Plenty of red and dark plums and cherries and deeply flavorsome, succulent tannins. This has real appeal. Drink now through to 2025 and beyond.”
This is the only listing in the USA today!
“has to be one of the best wines in Rioja in 2013”-WA
Case-12 Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($299.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Bodegas Muga Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2013 750ML ($27.95)
$21.90 special
James Suckling 92 points “This is an excellent 2013 with such purity and finesse. Cherry, stone and light cedar aromas follow through to a full body, very fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Hints of cedar. It shows a focused energy. Drink now.”
Wine Advocate 90 points “Jorge Muga told me he’s very proud of their 2013 Reserva, which he considers the most challenging vintage he’s seen: cold, rain, botrytis, vigor, mud … horrible! They only produced this Reserva, there’s no Selección Especial Torre Muga or Prado Enea, and they even produced less than the average volume of this bottling. This is the year they introduced optical sorting for the grapes, and they reckon that really helped to achieve the quality of this wine. In this price range and volume, it has to be one of the best wines in Rioja in 2013. It has the classical Muga character, polished and drinkable.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average price is $27
Big, rich Russian River Pinot at an astounding price.
The Calling Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014 750ML ($39.95) $19 special
Case-12 The Calling Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2014 750ML ($419.95) $199 special (that’s only $16.58/bottle!)
Wine Enthusiast 91 points
“A generously fruity, just-ripe and refined wine, this offers classic notions of the appellation in a warm, welcoming vintage, from rhubarb, cranberry and cherry to cola spice and clove. Still young, it shows an intensity that should meld and mellow in the bottle in short order.”
This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $32.99
Classic French bistro red for this price? Pour it all the time.
Case-12 Domaine de Pallus Chinon Messanges Rouge, Loire 2016 750ML ($179.95) $149 special (that’s only $12.42/bottle!)
Domaine de Pallus Chinon Messanges Rouge, Loire 2016 750ML ($17.95)
$14 special
Wine Spectator 90 points “A very fresh style, with high-pitched red currant and bitter cherry notes, lined with a mouthwatering iron streak. Bright savory and floral accents add lift on the finish. Very pure. Drink now through 2022. 2,000 cases made.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!



New Arrivals


Cameron Winery Clos Electrique Blanc, Dundee Hills 2016 1.5L ($189.95) $159 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 quite good now but will be stellar in a few years.
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!
Westrey Reserve Chardonnay, Willamette Valley 2015 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
This is the only listing in the USA today!
Beaux Freres The Upper Terrace Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge 2016 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Wine Advocate 96 points “The Upper Terrace Vineyard was planted in 2000. Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir The Upper Terrace has a classic nose of warm red cherries and cranberries, sliced blueberries and strawberry jam with notes of cola, cardamom, oolong tea leaves and blue flowers—the nose gives up changing earth, fruit and savory layers every time I go back for another smell. Light to medium-bodied, it fills the mouth with warm, luscious strawberry and raspberry jam notes with an integrated vein of baking spice and potpourri, framed by very finely grained tannins and juicy, mouthwatering acidity, finishing epically long and spicy. Yes, yes, yes! 1,300 cases produced.”
Wine Spectator 96 points “A seductive wine that combines structure with harmony and a silky texture. Vivid black raspberry, rose petal and mocha espresso flavors build richness and dance on the long finish. Drink now through 2025. 1,278 cases made.”Goodfellow Family Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($24.95) $20.90 special
Case-12 Goodfellow Family Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2016 750ML ($279.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
Winery Note
: Goodfellow Family Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is comprised entirely of declassified fruit from our single-vineyard and  eserve wines. Fruit is all sourced from sustainably farmed, non-irrigated vineyards with old vines and exceptional character, where we have long standing relationships with the vines and their farmer-owners. As with all of our Pinot Noirs, fermentations are relatively cool and slow, with native yeast in small 1.5 ton bins. Whole cluster percentages range between 30 and 100%. Punchdowns are done twice a day (after a short early period of pigeage for high whole cluster lots), and free run wine goes directly into barrel where it sits on the lees undisturbed for the duration of elevage. Cooperage is a mixture of new and used larger format puncheons, and neutral barriques.

Westrey Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2014 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special

Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($159.95) $138 special
Antonio Galloni 96 points” A regal wine, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate has really shut down following its recent bottling, which is probably a very good thing for its long-term prospects, although it does make the wine harder to read. Today, the 2016 is dark, powerful and quite savory, with tremendous persistence and class to burn. Translucent, deep and exquisitely layered, the 2016 has a lot to offer. Dark red cherry, plum, wild herb, cedar, tobacco and smoke build as the 2016 starts to open up in the glass. This is a jewel of a wine from the Togni family.”
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “A barrel sample, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is deep garnet-purple in color with loads of blue and black fruits—very spicy—with a fragrant earth undercurrent. The palate is medium-bodied and elegant with very fine, firm, ripe tannins and great freshness, finishing vivacious and earthy.”Philip Togni Vineyard Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016 750ML ($79.95) $66 special
Antonio Galloni 92 points ” The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Tanbark Hill Vineyard captures all the signatures of the Togni house style in a medium-bodied, accessible style that will be easy to drink and enjoy upon release. Savory herb, blackberry, crushed flowers, sweet tobacco and earthy notes give the 2016 its distinctive aromatic and flavor signatures. Silky and gracious to the core, the 2016 Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is a winner”

Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($24.95) $21.90 special
Case-12 Lamole di Lamole Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany 2015 750ML ($259.95) $219 special (that’s only $18.25/bottle!)
James Suckling 93 points
“This shows black cherries, licorice, black pepper and hints of dark chocolate. Full body, ripe and compact tannins and a bright finish. I like the harmony and focus here. Drink now or hold.”


All the Crus of the Kupp

New Arrivals from Peter Lauer

“For purists, there is nothing like the Saar. It is arguably one of the greatest, most unique wine-growing regions on earth. The core of greatness in the Saar is intensity without weight, grandiosity without size. Frank Schoonmaker put it best in his 1956 tome The Wines of Germany: “In these great and exceedingly rare wines of the Saar, there is a combination of qualities which I can perhaps best describe as indescribable – austerity coupled with delicacy and extreme finesse, an incomparable bouquet, a clean, very attractive hardness tempered by a wealth of fruit and flavor which is overwhelming.”

“Yes, this is the Saar and Florian Lauer is currently one of the greatest winemakers in this sacred place.

“Florian’s general style is exactly the opposite of his famous Saar neighbors Egon Müller and Hanno Zilliken. At Lauer, the focus is on dry-tasting Rieslings as opposed to the residual sugar wines of the latter two. Employing natural-yeast fermentations, Lauer’s wines find their own balance. They tend to be more textural, deeper and more masculine. They have a preternatural sense of balance, an energy that is singular. Yet the hallmarks of the Saar are there: purity, precision, rigor, mineral.

“Florian’s playground is the breathtaking hillside of the Kupp, pictured above. Though the many vineyards of this mountain were unified (obliterated?) under the single name “Kupp” with the 1971 German wine law, it has been Florian’s life’s work to keep the old vineyard names alive, to keep these voices alive. He has been fighting this fight since his first vintage in 2005 and only with an update to the law in 2014 can he now legally use the older vineyard names such as Unterstenberg, Stirn, Kern and Neuenberg.” –Vom Boden

The Cru Wines
“The most important category of Lauer wines we’ll call the “terroir” wines. These are the Rieslings that have made Lauer so famous. These wines eschew the whole Prädikat system (Kabinett, Spätlese, etc) completely. They ferment spontaneously with natural yeasts and thus they find their own balance. In most cases they have a bit more residual sugar than a purely dry wine, yet not nearly enough sugar to be considered sweet. Let’s call them dry-tasting to off dry. First, there is the appellation-level Barrel X. This is Lauer’s Platonic ideal of what a Saar Riesling should be. If we were in Burgundy this would be the equivalent of a Bourgogne Blanc. As an appellation-level wine, it is sourced from multiple vineyards in three different villages of the Saar. This is always a thrilling off-dry and a silly value.“Next up the hierarchy is the “Senior.” While Lauer considers this a village-level wine (and prices it thusly), it is in fact a single-vineyard wine sourced completely from the Ayler Kupp. With an average vine age of around 70 years and a plethora of ungrafted vines, this is a wine that punches well above its price. Although there can be vintage variation, this wine is normally dry tasting.

“The remaining wines in this category, the bottles with the golden circles on the labels, are the “Grand Cru” terroir wines. What is important here is the vineyard site: Unterstenberg, Stirn, Kern and Neuenberg. Each of these vineyards has its unique voice. Taste Unterstenberg next to Stirn. The difference in distance is only 300 feet, yet the wines are night and day.” –Vom Boden

Peter Lauer ‘Neuenberg’ Fass 17 Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($59.95) $46 special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 93-94 points “Still a bit compact and monolithic, but there’s excellent ripeness. A long finish with cool, wet stones and lemons. Better from 2019, but it also shows long-term aging potential.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92-93 points “The 2017 Ayler Kupp Neuenberg Riesling “Fass 17″ offers a deep, pure and flinty bouquet with floral and stony aromas and beautiful mineral freshness. Piquant and lush on the palate, this is a light to medium-bodied, very pure and mineral Riesling with refreshing acidity. The wine has a stimulatingly grippy finish with lush tropical fruit in the aftertaste. Excellent. Tasted March 2018.”
Mosel Fine Wines 92 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Neuenberg Fass 17 comes from this prime Lieu-Dit forming the south-southwest facing, central part of the original Kupp and was fermented down to just off-dry levels (13 g/l of residual sugar). It offers a slightly ripe nose made of mirabelle, vineyard peach, apricot blossom, gooseberry and a hint of licorice wrapped into some herbs and smoky slate. The wine develops the presence of a dry-tasting Auslese with great tension between spicy flavors and a creamy structure on the palate. The finish is multi-layered, smooth, delicately zesty and hugely complex. A hint of power in the after-taste is still in need of integration. 2020-2032.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Peter Lauer ‘Stirn’ Fass 15 Ayler Kupp Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 95 points “Not for the faint of heart, this has a magical nose of dew-laden herbs and wet stones. A breathtakingly balance of bright mineral acidity, juicy citrus and a slew of herbal character. Amazing intensity at the finish. Better from 2019, but it should hold for a couple of decades.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Stirn Fass 15 comes from the prime south-west-facing, upper-front part of the original Ayler Kupp hill and was fermented down to almost fruity levels (40 g/l of residual sugar). This offers a gorgeous nose of candied grapefruit zest, greengage, mirabelle, herbs and spices. The wine develops the full fruity vibrancy of a light Spätlese on the mouthwatering palate, where zesty acidity mingles with gorgeous citrusy fruits and a nice touch of fruity sweetness. A floral side adds to the elegance and vibrancy of the finish. The after-taste is tart and driven by candied grapefruit and delicately bitter lemon. This only needs a few years to integrate its sweetness and shine. 2022-2037.”
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Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp “Unterstenberg”Fass 12 Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “Smoky, but also packed with nectarine and peach aromas. Although this is a concentrated and powerful wine, it shows so much vitality that there’s no hint of heaviness. A long, complete finish with great mineral freshness. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Unterstenberg Fass 12 comes from this prime Lieu-Dit forming the south-southwest facing, front part of the original Kupp and was fermented down to just off-dry levels (13 g/l of residual sugar). It develops a gorgeous nose made of delicately creamy notes of mirabelle, grapefruit, greengage, herbs and spices. The wine is gorgeously complex, silky and multi-layered on the palate and leaves a stunning feel of tart fruits and minerals in the long and persistent finish. A gorgeous floral side emerges in the after-taste and freshens up the whole experience. This beautiful piece of dry-tasting Riesling only needs a little bit of bottle age to shine. 2020-2032.”
Stephan Reinhardt-Wine Advocate 92-93 points “From the bottom of the Kupp, so on deeper slate soils, and bottled with 12 grams of residual sugar, the 2017 Ayler Kupp Unterstenberg “Fass 12″ has a clear and aromatic bouquet with clayey slate and refreshing citrus aromas. Piquant, pure and fresh on the palate, this is a lush and round yet dry and mineral Riesling with a long, aromatic, powerful yet finessed finish with salty and mouthwatering minerals. Tasted March 2018.”
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Peter Lauer Senior Fass 6 Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($29.95) $24 special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 93 points “A stunning medium-bodied dry riesling that’s brimming with herbal aromas. It also has a great structure. A long and intense finish with a pronounced wet-stone character. Better from 2019, but you can also hold and wait.”
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Peter Lauer ‘Barrel X’ Saar Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
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The Pradikat Wines

“When the vintage allows it, Florian will craft Prädikat wines, the Kabinetts, Spät and Auslesen that we all know and once loved. As the focus of Lauer’s production is clearly on the dry and dry-tasting wines, the Prädikat wines are only made when the vintage is perfect for such wines. It is possible to have a vintage with only a Kabinett, or only a Spätlese. In nearly all cases, these wines are sourced from the Kupp and represent in fact a pre-selection of grapes. In other words, Lauer selects out the grapes that are ripening too quickly, or showing botrytis for these wines. The remaining grapes are left on the vine for the drier wines.” –Vom Boden

Peter Lauer Fass 8 Ayler Kupp Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2017 750ML ($34.95) $28 special
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Kabinett Fass 8 was made from fruit harvested at a comparatively low 80° Oechsle on the original Kupp hill. It offers a superb nose of candied grapefruit, lemon zest, cassis, white flowers and chalky minerals, all wrapped into some residual scents from its spontaneous fermentation. The wine develops the presence of a beautiful Spätlese but with the light-footed and focused structure of a Kabinett on the palate. The finish is vibrant, pure, precise, fruit-driven and above all incredibly persistent and deliciously fruity and tart. This stunning expression of fruity Riesling will prove irresistible at maturity. 2027-2042.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 92 points “A strong Kabinett but also a very vibrant one. This has wonderful lemony freshness at the long finish. A great wine for spicy food. Drink now or in 2019 and 2020.”

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Peter Lauer Lambertskirch Kabinett, Saar 2017 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “If you ever wondered what a bolt of lightning would taste like, try this one. It is the equivalent of that in the form of Saar riesling. In spite of generous analytical sweetness, dangerously fresh and mineral with an almost dry finish. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Ayler Lambertskirch Kabinett Fass 14 was made from fruit harvested at a comparatively low 79° Oechsle in this steep, south-east facing Lieu-Dit overseeing the Saar. It offers a complex nose of pear, ripe apple, grapefruit and slate, all wrapped into a hint of whipped cream. The wine is deliciously pure and delicately zesty on the grapefruit puree and ginger infused palate. The finish develops the full presence of a light Spätlese, but does this with great focus and by leaving one with a gorgeous tart-sweet feel in the after-taste. This is a great fruity-styled wine in the making. 2027-2042.”
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Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Fass 7 Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Mosel Fine Wines 95 points “The 2017er Ayler Kupp Spätlese Fass 23 develops a magnificent nose of grapefruit, yellow peach, pineapple, pear, ginger, herbs, slate and spices. It proves still rather backward on the gorgeously light-footed but intense palate and leaves an elegant and superbly balanced feel in the very long finish. This is a stunner in the making but one which will need some time to integrate all its elements. 2027-2047.”
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “Exotic and creamy with a touch of floral honey. The balance of grape sweetness and vibrant acidity is spot on. A long and expressive finish. Drink or hold.”
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Arriving Next Month:Peter Lauer ‘Kern’ Fass 9 Ayler Kupp Riesling, Mosel 2017 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 94 points “Tropical and creamy, but it also shows a very firm core — Kern means core in German. This is another stunningly original wine from Peter Lauer. A lot of power at the finish. Drink or hold.”
Mosel Fine Wines 93 points “The 2017er Kern Fass 9 comes from old vines in a prime south-west-facing part of the original Ayler Kupp hill situated well into the side valley and was fermented down to almost fruity levels (40 g/l of residual sugar). It offers a delicately vibrant nose of candied grapefruit, cassis, lemon zest, ginger and fine herbs. The wine is beautifully focused and just fruity-styled on the palate and leaves a vibrant feel of zesty acidity and bitter lemon in the long and delicately tart finish. This is a beautiful expression of fully off-dry tasting Riesling in the making! 2022-2032.”

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Peter Lauer Ayler Kupp Fass 2 Riesling Extra Trocken, Mosel 2017 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Stuart Pigott – JamesSuckling.com 91-92 points “Although this is a serious Saar riesling for the acid hounds, it has plenty of smoky and candied-citrus character. Generous substance, too. Better from 2019.”
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An Assortment of California Cellar Treasures

Just Arrived:“a spectacular performance from this hallowed vineyard”
Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2001 750ML ($249.95) $219 special
Robert Parker 95+ points “This was a spectacular performance from this hallowed vineyard as well as one of Napa Valley’s great historic terroirs. Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, it reveals a still youthful personality and will benefit from another 5-7 years of bottle age. An opaque purple color is followed by aromas of graphite, creme de cassis, flowers and background earth as well as spice. The old eucalyptus-filled aromatics of a young Martha’s Vineyard are nowhere to be found as the 2001 is dominated by fruit and earth. Full-bodied and powerful with superb integration of wood, tannin, acidity and alcohol, this large-scaled red is capable of three or more decades of cellaring. It is unquestionably a youthful classic, but it requires patience from its owners. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2035.”

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100 points and two bottles available
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Insignia, Napa Valley 2007 750ML ($349.95) $299 special
Wine Advocate 100 points “Deep garnet colored with a lingering hint of purple, the 2007 Insignia Proprietary Red Wine reveals the most seductive crème de cassis, Black Forest cake and licorice notions with touches of violets, eucalyptus, chocolate box and unsmoked cigars plus a waft of cedar chest. Full-bodied with tantalizing opulence yet compelling restraint, the palate beautifully juxtaposes the rich, ripe fruit with wonderful freshness and a firm yet plush backbone, finishing beautifully perfumed.”Back-vintage To-Kalon magic.
Robert Mondavi Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2002 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points “(14.5% alcohol; 80% from To-Kalon): Dark medium ruby color. Sexy, dark aromas of cassis, minerals and bitter chocolate. Sweet, plush and deep, conveying an almost syrupy ripeness counterpointed by unexpected acidity. This very generous wine boasts terrific palate presence and appeal, finishing with suave tannins and outstanding length. I liked this wine very much upon its release but it has taken a while to reveal the liqueur-like ripeness that’s typical of this vintage.”

Beringer Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 1997 750ML ($149.95) $135 special
Robert Parker 95 points “Alcohol: 14%; Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon; Harvest Dates: September 12 to October 11. A bountiful, nearly perfect crop of consistently high quality grapes was created by flawless weather with moderate, but steady temperatures throughout the summer and beautiful weather in September and October. The result is a great vintage in both quality and quantity. The fruit came from five separate vineyards, Bancroft Ranch and Tre Colline on Howell Mountain, Chabot and St. Helena Home Vineyard, and for the first time, a small portion came from the Marston Ranch on Spring Mountain. Still densely purple-colored, the 1997 exhibits wonderful plum, blackberry, cedar, spice and subtle smoky oak notes, a gorgeously opulent texture, full-bodied power and hints of roasted espresso and white chocolate in the flavors. This beauty can be drunk now and over the next 12-15+ years. One of the all-time great Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserves, it also has the highest production to date of this cuvee.”

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Hartwell Vineyards Estate Merlot, Stags Leap District 2001 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Wine Spectator 92 points “Dark, rich and polished, with a plush, textured core of blackberry, black cherry, plum and mocha, with hints of espresso and chocolate, finishing with a long, intricate aftertaste, with flavors that keep soaring. Drink now through 2010. 550 cases made.”And One Bordeaux…

“A wine of the vintage candidate”
Chateau Troplong Mondot, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2008 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Robert Parker 96 points “A wine of the vintage candidate in 2008, Troplong Mondot’s offering was produced from yields of 41 hectoliters per hectare and achieved 14.5% natural alcohol. A classic blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it offers copious quantities of blue and black fruits, a full-bodied opulence, sweet tannin and a fabulous texture as well as finish. Already drinking beautifully, it will be even better in 2-5 years and should last for 20 years. A great effort for the vintage, it couldn’t happen to a more deserving proprietor, Christine Valette. Bravo!”

Palacios’ Petalos: Stellar Spanish Value
Alvaro Palacios’ ” Descendientes J Palacios” project, in Bierzo, makes some of the most captivating wines in Spain at prices that are hard to believe.  Rich yet elegant and bright, these are captivating wines at insane prices for their quality.  The Petalos bottling, in particular, is an absolute bargain—there’s a very serious wine in that bottle with the under $20 price tag.Just Arrived

Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2015 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Case-12 Descendientes de J. Palacios ‘Petalos’, Bierzo 2015 750ML ($249.95) $189 special (that’s only $15.75/bottle!)
Wine Advocate 92+ points
“The entry level 2015 Pétalos del Bierzo, their regional wine, in the new official category that will start working in the appellation from the 2017 vintage, a blend of many different vineyards planted with field blends, where the breakdown might come to some 5% white varieties (Valenciana/Doña Blanca, Godello and Palomino/Jerez) and around 1% other reds (Pan y Carne, Negrada and Gran Negro), all from vines ranging between 40 and 90 years of age on slopes (half of the grapes around the village of Corullón and the remainder in the rest of Bierzo). It’s a showy, approachable, aromatic and open version of Pétalos, and as I tasted it later on in the season, it felt more polished and round, with a lush texture. It’s extremely aromatic, in a way similar to the 2012. This is always one of the best values not only of Bierzo but for the whole of Spain. 310,000 bottles and 2,000 magnums produced.”

Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullon, Bierzo 2015 750M ($49.95) $39 special
Wine Advocate 95 points “Ricardo Pérez Palacios told me his favorite overall vintages for Bierzo are 2001, 2012 and possibly 2015, because he sees them as very complete years, even if 2015 didn’t have as perfect conditions as 2001 and 2012; the 2015 Corullón is a perfect example of that, a really pretty wine, open, where I see the similarities with 2012. They use many of the vineyards year after year, all of them around the village of Corullón, all planted with a field blend of varieties, and they have been increasing the percentage of white grapes from those vines that they include in the cuvée. In 2015, it can be almost 9%, mostly Palomino, and they feel it polishes that slight bitterness in the finish of the Mencía, reminiscent of green almonds. Of course, there are also other red grapes, like Alicante Bouschet, Gran Negro, Pan y Carne and Negreda, that might contribute to some 2% of the volume. 19,572 bottles, 720 half bottles, 450 magnums, 45 double magnums and 30 Jeroboams were filled between May 11th and 17th of 2017.”


Chermette: Unsung Master of Beaujolais

“I search out wines as naturally made as possible, but only if this contributes to the wine being better. Domaine du Vissoux may just be the most perfect expression in my whole portfolio of what I seek, for this very ability to be natural and great, at once.  A masterful 5th generation grower, Pierre has maintained the strict traditions of his ancestors and of the region, with more tenacity than most.  Despite fashions changing, Pierre has, for his entire life, adhered only to the classic methods handed down from his family. This means farming in sustainably a manner as is possible, only using indigenous yeasts for every wine, long fermentations and making whole-cluster (semi-carbonic) wines in the old foudres built by his great-grandfather. Pierre Chermette’s yields are so low and the grapes so naturally ripe that he does not chaptalise.  The wines are bottled with little or no filtration and the addition of no sulfur or very little depending on the cuvée.  Given the life Pierre imbues upon the wines, they are as stable as Premier Cru Burgundy and age for nearly as long in many cases.  They are, nevertheless,  utterly “glugable” upon release. The wines of Vissoux are a fascinating study in terroir, tradition and talent, with the pricing more befitting a wine half as great.”-Peter Weygandt, Importer

Pierre-Marie Chermette’s Domaine du Vissoux wines are a great value; the quality is uncompromised and the wine is joyful and vibrant. From their simplest bottlings through their top crus, the wine expresses Beaujolais terroir in spades. The fruit is deep and pure, but it doesn’t go beyond perfectly ripe. The top wines age beautifully over a 5-15 year period but always seem to drink well on release.  We’ve never managed to avoid drinking the less expensive bottles to find out how they age. The wines are quite simply a near perfect reflection of what Beaujolais should be.  Chermette killed it in 2017 and these wines are as good as have ever been produced by the estate.

Just Arrived:

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux ‘Origine’ Vieilles Vignes, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($19.95) $16 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 91 points “A superb wine, the 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Origine unfurls in the glass with a classy bouquet of smoky cassis, plums and subtle notions of loamy soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, juicy and ample, with supple tannins, succulent acids and impressive concentration, concluding with a mouthwatering, flavorful finish”

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Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Coeur de Vendanges, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($24.95) $19 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “A wine that would embarrass many more expensive bottlings from Moulin-à-Vent or Fleurie, Chermette’s 2017 Beaujolais-Villages Coeur de Vendanges bursts with aromas of crushed cassis, raspberries, potpourri and rich soil tones. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and concentrated, with melting tannins, a generous core of sappy fruit and a long, beautifully delineated finish. Intensely flavorful but refreshing, accessible but substantive, this is a fabulous wine that exemplifies the appeal of Beaujolais. Given its unabashed deliciousness and decidedly modest tariff, this wine must be one of French wine’s greatest values.”
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Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Brouilly Pierreux, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $21.90 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 90+ points “Notes of crushed cassis, ripe plums and dried flowers introduce the 2017 Brouilly Pierreux, a crunchy, medium to full-bodied wine with good depth at the core, juicy balancing acids and a somewhat rustic chassis of structuring tannin. I’d be inclined to forget it in the cellar for a year or two and drink it over the following five.”

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Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie les Garants, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Garants is a warmer, southwest-facing site, and its bouquet is correspondingly richer and more sun-kissed than that of Chermette’s Poncié, exhibiting notes of ripe, plummy fruit, rich spices and subtle hints of loamy soil. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, ample and expansive, with a generous core of fruit, framed by fine tannins.”Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie Poncie, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($31.95) $27 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2017 Fleurie Poncié hails from a southeast-facing, higher-altitude site that’s typically quite cool, and that’s reflected in its bright, perfumed bouquet of raspberries, rose petals and Griotte cherries, with suggestions of darker fruits emerging with air. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, pure and nicely concentrated, with fine tannins, a bright line of acidity and good length on the finish.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Moulin-a-Vent Les Trois Roches, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($34.95) $29 special
William Kelley-Wine Advocate 95 points “The 2017 Moulin-à-Vent Les Trois Roches is superb—and likely the king of the cellar chez Chermette this year—wafting from the glass with a beautiful bouquet of raspberries, potpourri, orange rind and rose petal. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, layered and supple, with the most depth and amplitude of any wine in the portfolio and the most held in reserve, too. This is a fantastic expression of Moulin-à-Vent from one of Beaujolais’s greatest winemakers, and it comes warmly recommended.”

Pierre-Marie Chermette Domaine du Vissoux Saint Amour, Beaujolais 2017 750ML ($27.95) $24 special
Nick Stock-Jamessuckling.com 93 points “Rich aromas of poached strawberries and pastries, as well as pomegranate and blood oranges. Really fresh. The palate has a very plush and lively strawberry core. Raspberries, too. Juicy, sapid appeal. Drink now or hold.”


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