Weekend VinopolPick 3-15-19

In Today’s Newsletter:

2016 de Montille at National Best Pricing

Two New Bionic Frogs

Lisini – Champion of Classic Brunello

The Most Old School Northern Rhones

Trending Wines of the Week

Perfect for Spring: Vocoret’s Classic Chablis

2006 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia

Sauternes Steals: Declassified Suduiraut

Stunning Rioja from Old Vine Garnacha


2016 de Montille

At National Best Pricing

Just Arrived and Arriving Soon

The Côte de Beaune hardly hosts a better-known name than de Montille. It’s as if the family of archetypical Burgundian vignerons arose from the earth of Volnay centuries ago. The late Hubert de Montille helped make the domaine famous for its classic style of age-worthy Burgundy, and now his son and daughter make the wines. Low yields and partial whole-cluster fermentation remain the norm, but the modern de Montille reds have softer tannins, are more aromatic, and they don’t require as much cellar time as before. Few other wines from Beaune, Pommard, and Volnay speak of their terroir and of Burgundian culture like de Montille wines do.

We’re in the process of receiving our allocation of their genius 2016’s—some arrived today, with the balance getting in next week.  2016 is another standout year in Burgundy and these treasures are some of the best wines the new generation at de Montille have produced—the only issue is the quantities involved.  The best wines in Burgundy are always scarce, but the combinations of crop loss due to frost and hail means that the 2016s are even harder to come by than usual.  The wines will be sold first-come, first served (and don’t say you weren’t warned!).

Just Arrived:

Domaine de Montille Les Greves, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Burghound 88-91 points
“A more deeply pitched and much earthier nose is comprised by notes of plum, violet and a whiff of game. There is fine volume and punch to the more powerful medium-bodied flavors that possess better depth and persistence though here too there is a trace of dryness though it is less evident.”
Stephen Tanzer 88-91 points “(vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in 20% new oak; from vines averaging 40 years of age, with some as old as 70; 30% of the crop was lost to frost): Medium red. Ripe cherry on the nose. Offers a bit more stuffing and sweetness than the Perrières, along with some floral and herbal notes, but the essentially soft middle palate turns distinctly firmer and more medicinal toward the back. Finishes with dusty tannins and a repeating herbal quality. This wine will need further élevage–and time in bottle–to come into harmony.”
Neal Martin 89-91 points “The 2016 Beaune 1er Cru Greves was matured in 20% new oak with one-third whole cluster fruit. It has a perfumed bouquet with blackberry, red cherries and iris aromas, the terroir here more expressive than the Perrieres for the moment. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin, the oak lending a little more depth than the other Beaune premier crus; there’s sinew on the finish. Give this 3 or 4 years in bottle.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $99.98
That’s a difference of over $10 per bottle!
Domaine de Montille Les Sizies, Beaune Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 88-90 points
“(vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in 15% new oak; the average vine age here is 30 years but most of the vines are younger than that; the crop level here was down 30% in 2016): Healthy medium red. Aromas of black cherry, leather and licorice. Juicy and energetic, offering good texture but also some distinctly cool menthol and medicinal nuances. In a slightly rigid style, finishing with firm tannins. This wine only completed its malolactic fermentation in August.”

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That’s a difference of over $15 per bottle!
Domaine de Montille Aux Thorey, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Domaine de Montille Aux Thorey, Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($249.95) $199 special
Burghound 90-93 points
“This too is overtly spicy and floral with notes of warm earth, plum and cool dark cherry. There is both good volume and detail to the less prominently mineral-driven medium weight flavors that possess a chalky mouth feel, all wrapped in a delicious, balanced and nicely complex finale. This is lovely stuff and already quite harmonious.”
Neal Martin 91-93 points “The 2016 Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Aux Thorey includes two-thirds whole cluster fruit, matured in 50% new oak. It has a fragrant bouquet with hints of crushed violet suffusing the red berry fruit, more blue fruit emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chalky tannin, maybe a little backward and rigid for this vineyard at the moment, but it will mellow with time in bottle. I admire the terroir expression on the finish here. Give this 4 or 5 years if you can, because this has something up its sleeve and will meliorate in bottle.”
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points “(from 45- to 50-year-old vines planted on limestone; vinified with two-thirds whole clusters): Slightly hazy red. Deep but youthfully stunted aromas of black raspberry and licorice. Very rich and quite dry; less expressive today than most of the estate’s 2016s from the Côte de Beaune but conveys subtle saline minerality. Finishes with chalky, fine-grained tannins and lingering notes of red berries and oak spices. (Domaine de Montille did not produced any Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Saints-Juliens in 2016.)”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $97
The average listed price is $105
This is the lowest listed price for a magnum in the USA today!

Arriving March 22nd:

Domaine de Montille Bourgogne Rouge, Burgundy 2016 750ML ($49.95) $39 pre-arrival special

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
Domaine de Montille Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits 2016 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Burghound 92-94 points
“This too is exceptionally pretty with its perfumed aromas of essence of plum, violet, earth and once again a gentle application of wood influence. The rich, full-bodied and succulent large-scaled flavors possess a beguiling mix of power, vibrancy and delineation that also characterizes the beautifully long and balanced finish where the only nit is a forgivable trace of warmth. Good stuff though again, patience advised.”
Neal Martin 93-95 points “The 2016 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru is one-third whole cluster, less than in recent years according to winemaker Brian Sieve, with almost 50% new oak. It has a beautiful bouquet with scents of blackberry, raspberry coulis, crushed strawberries and seams of wet limestone underneath. The oak is seamlessly integrated here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very focused and taut with pure black cherry and crushed strawberry on the tensile finish. This is a very stylish, quite ambitious Clos de Vougeot. Excellent.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $210

Domaine de Montille Corton Clos du Roi Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 pre-arrival special
Burghound 91-94 points
“A beautifully fresh, airy and even perfumed nose speaks of various dark berry, violet, earth and a discreet hint of oak. The equally refined, cool and vibrant big-bodied flavors possess a taut muscularity while displays plenty of minerality on the sappy, balanced and impressively complex finale.”
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points “(these 65-year-old vines escaped the frost; vinified with two-thirds whole clusters and aged in 50% new oak): Healthy full red. Aromas of cherry and currant show a chocolatey ripeness. Plush and silky in the mouth, but more about volume today than flavor intensity. Red fruit and savory mineral flavors are accented on the broad back end by notes of licorice and herbs; one is aware of the whole clusters here. The dusty tannins reach the front teeth. This wine has a tendency to absorb its wood and stems quickly, noted Sieve, which probably explains why it’s a bit out of sorts right now.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $169.99
The average listed price is $190
Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($169.95) $136 pre-arrival special
Domaine de Montille Les Pezerolles, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($349.95) $289 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
“(from the north side of Pommard above Les Grands Epenots on active limestone soil; vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in one-third new oak): Good dark red. Tight aromas of black cherry, redcurrant and rust (there’s a bit of iron in the soil here as well), lifted by a floral quality. Savory and fine-grained, with red berry flavors enlivened by saline minerality. Not a big wine but offers an attractive blend of sweet, savory and acidic elements. This minerally, salty wine finishes with big, mouth-dusting tannins.”
Burghound 90-92 points “Today there is enough reduction to push the underlying fruit to the background. Otherwise the middle weight flavors possess a similar mouth feel to the Taillepieds with fine delineation and more subtle minerality on the mildly austere finish that flashes a hint of dryness though I doubt that it will last.”
Neal Martin 90-92 points “The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Les Pezerolles is one-third whole cluster fruit. Around half the vineyard suffered frost damage in this year. There is more red fruit here than other cuvées from de Montille: raspberry, wild strawberry and a touch of Bing cherry. The palate is well balanced with fine and slightly chalky tannin. There’s also a fine line of acidity, then the finish clams up for now and says, “Revenez plus tard.” Give this 4 to 5 years in bottle.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $149
The average listed price is $158

Domaine de Montille Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($199.95) $159 pre-arrival special
Domaine de Montille Rugiens-Bas, Pommard Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($399.95) $349 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 92-94 points
“(one-third vendange entier; 40% new oak; just racked following a very late malo): Healthy medium red. Compelling aromas and flavors of redcurrant, iron, rose petal and minerals. At once silky and penetrating, with its sweetness perfectly balanced by harmonious acidity. Shows captivating rose petal perfume throughout. The seriously tannic, floral finish displays real length and grip. This wine should age beautifully but even today there’s no hardness. The crop was reduced by about 30% due to the frost, noted winemaker Sieve.”
Burghound 91-93 points “discreet but not invisible application of wood surrounds overtly spicy and floral aromas of plum and dark currant that flash plenty of earth characters. There is first-rate punch to the delineated, muscular and mineral-inflected broad-shouldered flavors that terminate in a saline, youthfully austere and impressively persistent finish. Patience will clearly be essential as this will need time.”
Neal Martin 92-94 points “The 2016 Pommard 1er Cru Les Rugiens Cuvée Hubert apparently had a very late malolactic that did not finish until September or October. Similar to the previous two vintages, it comes from the lieu-dit “Les Rugiens-Bas.” It has a complex and inviting bouquet with black cherries, crushed rose petals and undergrowth aromas, just a suggestion of dried blood emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied, the 40% new oak is absorbed by the fleshy red fruit, and it is adorned with a lovely, ferrous finish. Drink over the next 15 or 20 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $181
Domaine de Montille Les Champans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 90-92 points
“(this vineyard features more clay than most Volnay premier crus, but the crop level was very uneven in 2016 owing to the frost, with the bottom of the vineyard wiped out, the middle portion missing 30% of its normal fruit and the top “overloaded,” according to Sieve; vinified with one-third whole clusters and aged in one-third new oak): Healthy medium red. Reticent but ripe scents of black cherry, licorice and musky chocolate. The dark chocolate element carries through on the palate but the wine also shows surprising acidity and lively notes of licorice and herbs. Saturates the tongue and palate on the aftertaste, with the tannins rather suave but serious. This wine is typically more about texture than minerality as the tannins soften, noted Sieve.”
Burghound 89-92 points “A moderately toasty nose frames brooding and restrained aromas of various dark berries that also reflect plenty of earth characters. The exceptionally rich and attractively textured flavors possess notably firm tannins on the wood-inflected finish, indeed this could be fairly described as a robust Champans.”
Neal Martin 89-91 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Champans suffered frost damage on the lower reaches and 50% damage on the mid-slope of the vineyard. It includes one-third whole cluster and matured in 30% new oak. It has a surprisingly broody and more introverted bouquet than recent vintages, defined but certainly holding everything back. The palate is well structured but bullish and rustic, quite rough tannin at the moment, a broad shouldered and square-jawed Volnay that will require several years in bottle.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $139.99
That’s a difference of over $11 per bottle!
The average listed price is $149
Domaine de Montille Les Mitans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Domaine de Montille Les Mitans, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 1.5L ($319.95) $279 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91-93 points
“(two-thirds whole clusters; one-third new oak; the sand on top of the limestone here typically yields relatively soft tannins, according to winemaker Brian Sieve): Good dark red. Cool black cherry aroma lifted by a stony quality. A step above the preceding samples in both juiciness and finesse; in fact, a real high-wire act of captivating sweetness and bright acidity. Very fine-grained, serious wine with excellent grip and length. These 45-year-old vines avoided the frost but yielded very little fruit, as they were very sensitive to rain and wind during the flowering.”
Burghound 90-93 points “As is usually the case, this is more aromatically elegant still with is airy array of intensely floral dark pinot fruit and spiced plum scents. The wonderfully refined and lilting flavors are shaped by notably fine-grained yet firm tannins on the focused and balanced finish that firms up considerably on the youthfully austere finish. This is textbook Mitans and lovely stuff.”
Neal Martin 90-92 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Les Mitans includes two-thirds whole cluster fruit and around 30% new oak. Around one-quarter of the vines suffered frost damage here. It has a more charming bouquet than the Champans, the whole bunch neatly disguised and lending discrete definition and focus. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin and well-judged acidity. It’s quite structured like the Les Champans; however, I discerned more grace and finesse here.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $139.99
That’s a difference of over $11 per bottle
This is the only listing for a magnum in the USA today!
Domaine de Montille Les Taillepieds, Volnay Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($159.95) $128 pre-arrival special
Stephen Tanzer 91-94 points
“(vinified entirely with whole clusters and aged in 35% new oak; the average vine age here is 65 years and the soil features gravel on limestone): Bright medium-deep red. Deeply pitched, fruit-driven aromas of black raspberry and dark cherry, plus a hint of smoky minerality. Wonderfully plush yet lively, displaying more volume and depth than the Mitans. Lovely silky Volnay without any impression of undue weight. Really fills the mouth and echoes on the finish while maintaining superb vivacity. Here the acidity is ripe and the broad tannins distinctly suave and fine-grained. This is showing beautifully considering that it only finished its malolactic fermentation in September.”
Burghound 91-93 points “This too is intensely floral on the restrained, ultra-fresh and pure nose that blends both red and dark berries together with slightly exotic nuances of spice and tea. The mouth feel of the medium-bodied and overtly mineral-driven flavors is at once refined but powerful with excellent underlying tension suffusing the moderately austere, firm and built-to-age finish. This should be first-rate in time but patience is required.”
Neal Martin 91-93 points “The 2016 Volnay 1er Cru Taillepieds is 100% whole cluster and 30% new oak. This vineyard was not affected by the frost. It has a very intense blackberry and Morello cherry-scented bouquet with hints of iodine and incense developing with time. I adore the controlled opulence here. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannin but less rigid than the Mitans, with a touch of salinity, a light marine influence toward the finish. This has very good potential, but it will reward those with patience to cellar 4 or 5 years.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The average listed price is $146

Two New Bionic Frogs

Cayuse produces some of the most coveted wines we sell and the most sought after is their top Syrah, Bionic Frog.  Very little needs to be said about these wines, but Bionic Frog is one of the great wines of the world, up there with any top bottling from France, Italy or California.

Arriving Late March:

Only three bottles available
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($419.95) $379 pre-arrival special
#57 Wine Of The Year – James Suckling Top 100 In 2018
Wine Advocate 100 points
“Always one of the most unique in the lineup, the 2014 Syrah Bionic Frog is phenomenal stuff any way you look at it. Cold fireplace, charred meat, tapenade, shiitake and loads of dark, earthy fruit all emerge from this full-bodied, tight, backward and beautifully concentrated Syrah that readers just need to taste. Incredibly long, elegant, building and heavenly juicy, don’t miss a chance to get some of this! It needs 3-5 years of cellaring and is going to blow you away over the following two decades.”
James Suckling 99 points “Deep fruit presence from the outset. Dark plums and purple cherries with abundant slate and graphite, dark chocolate and orange zest. The palate has impressive power and detail, superb purity and clarity. The palate glides effortlessly. A sexy finish. Drink or hold.”

Only three bottles available
Cayuse Vineyards Bionic Frog Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2013 750ML ($349.95) $299 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 97-99 points
“I think the best of the Syrahs is the 2013 Syrah Bionic Frog, and while I’ve liked other single vineyards more than this cuvee in the past, it seems a solid step up in both 2012 and 2013. The 2013 offers incredible notes of roasted herbs, beef blood, mushrooms, scorched earth and sweet black fruits in a full-bodied, gorgeously concentrated, structured, serious style. Short-term cellaring should be the name of the game here, and while it should offer plenty of pleasure around age 5-6, I’d put money on it still singing at age 20.” JD

Looking for the new project from Cayuse’s winemaker, Christophe Baron? Check out Hors Catagorie—a wine that’s already considered one of the best in Washington.

In Stock Now:

Only two bottles available
Hors Categoire Syrah, Walla Walla Valley 2014 750ML ($349.95) $319 special
Wine Advocate 99 points
“The first vintage for this new vineyard (they made a 2013 but kept it all in magnum… if you get a bottle, call me), the inky colored 2014 Syrah is a huge, unctuous effort the exhibits crazy notes of Asian spice, soy, shiitake mushroom, blackcurrants and tar. Tasting like a young Hermitage la Chappelle from Jaboulet (from a great vintage), with lots of tannin, blood, minerality and smoke, a huge mid-palate, and tons of tannin, it’s a tour de force in Syrah I wish I could pour for every reader. Forget bottles for 4-5 years and drink over the following two decades or more.”

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Lisini – Champion of Classic Brunello

Lisini is a classic producer, both in style and in that they were one of the original 25 wineries in the Brunello Consortium.  They’re known for powerful wines that see extensive aging in (large format) cask and bottle before release, which softens their textures and gives them wonderful secondary flavors.  The These are reference-point Brunellos that belong in the cellar of any collector—as does the Rosso, a delightful wine that’s always delicious young (which is useful as a cellar defender for the big guns).

Arriving March 22nd:

Lisini Rosso di Montalcino, Tuscany 2016 750ML ($31.95) $26 pre-arrival special
Wine Spectator 90 points
“Black cherry, blackberry, iron and wild herb flavors mark this ripe, fruity red, which is well-integrated, with dusty tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2024.”

In Stock Now:

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Tuscany 2013 750ML ($59.95) $48 special
Wine Spectator 96 points
“Exuding cherry, strawberry and floral flavors tinged with iron, earth ans spice notes, this ripe red is elegant in profile, tightly wound and deftly balanced, ending with a kick of fruit, spice and mineral elements. Best from 2020 through 2037.”

Lisini Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG, Tuscany 2011 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Wine Advocate 94+ points
“I have not seen a Riserva from Lisini for a while, so this wine comes as a pleasant surprise. The 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva takes us back to one of the warmest vintages in re-cent memory. However, this wine holds nicely with plenty of lush primary fruit to keep it smelling and tasting younger than its years. Dark cherry and dried blackberry rise to the top. Soon to follow are layers of spice and sweet tobacco. The mouthfeel is thickly layered but vel-vety smooth all the while”.

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
Lisini Ugolaia, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2011 750ML ($119.95) $88 special
Importer Note: From the superlative Ugolaia cru, a 3.7-acre, southeast-facing vineyard by the same name, planted in 1978 with selected grafts (top grafted onto wild vines by Lisini senior experts). Crops are 1.1 kilo per rootstock, and élevage is 36 months in Slavonian oak barrels (11-20 hl.), followed by 18 months’ bottle age.



The Most Old School Northern Rhones

Craving a Gamey, Stemmy Syrah? Check These Out.

The Northern Rhone is the home of some of the most distinctive wines in the world—in the right hands.  The old school Syrah that’s found there is truly unique with its bloody, savory and floral personality combined with take-no-prisoners textures and sparkling fruit.   The issue can be finding those sorts of hyper-traditional wines in a world that rewards generous fruit and new-oak-laden personalities.  There’s a lot of wines to sort through and inconsistent information on the internet.

Don’t worry, though.  We’ve got a selection of some of our favorite throwback producers below.  These winemakers work with 100% whole clusters and large format, mostly older oak barrels for aging, producing wines that show off the terroir more than the winemaking talent.  While quality is high, quantities are low—some of these domaines work less than a hectare of vines! We source all we can but we’d advise you to grab these while you see them.

In Stock Now:

Classic and wild, the 2015 is a real standout vintage from the tiny Domaine Lionnet.
Domaine Lionnet Cornas Terre Brulee, Rhone 2015 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Jeb Dunnuck 95 points
“The 2015 Cornas Terre Brûlée comes from a total of seven different lieux-dits throughout the appellation (all are granite soils) and was vinified in concrete tanks before spending 18 months in older demi-muids. It offers a classic, traditional feel in its blackberry, peppery herbs, bouquet garni and violets aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, nicely integrated acidity and superb concentration, it’s just another sensational Cornas from this vintage. Bravo to Corinne Lionnet and Ludovic Izerable!”
Grapelive 95+ points “One of my favorite wines and producers, Domaine Lionnet makes an incredible and authentic Cornas that never disappoints this Syrah geek. It’s always a nervy, stemmy wine, but with gracious fruit and textures to balance everything out. I find these wines to have a raw sex appeal and with a dark earthy seduction. In terms of pure Syrah it rarely gets much better than this!… Ludovic’s style is all about nature, with 100% whole cluster, 100% stems and all organic farming. He ferments native and uses long maceration (three weeks) in cement vats before malos in large cask, all well used and never new, with lengthy elevate/aging. There are never any additions or adjustments with just a tiny amount of sulfur. Each parcel is between 40 and 100 years old, including four great lieu-dit sites: Chaillot, Combes, Brugeres and Mazards. [Each is] hand-picked and fermented individually. Each of these Crus add to the whole and give this wine its special personality and chemistry. Domaine Lionnet’s attention to detail really shows in the bottle. These are electric and thrilling wines….A touch of air sets this 100% Syrah alive and releasing an inner perfume of violets, while a meaty wave flows underneath before reaching a climax of earth, spice and a core of black and blue fruit on the full bodied palate showing layers of boysenberry, cassis, blueberry, damson plum and kirsch along with vibrant peppercorns, dried basil, salted black licorice, bacon fat and truffle. This deep garnet hued Cornas lingers on and on recalling the violet and edgy stems for minutes in the aftertaste…If you love Jamet or Allemand you’ll want this wine, and at almost half their price this wine is a rockstar value.”
Wine Advocate 94 points “A terrific wine, the 2015 Cornas Terre Brulee combines smoky notes of grilled plums and meat in a full-bodied format. It’s richly tannic and velvety at the same time, with a finish that’s simultaneously drying (from tannins) and mouthwatering (from juicy fruit). Farmed organically, vinified with stems in concrete and aged in used, large-format oak, Cornas doesn’t get more authentic (or better) than this!”

Levet makes perfumed, wild Cote Rotie like few others.
Bernard Levet Cote Rotie La Chavaroche, Rhone 2014 750ML ($69.95) $59 special
Josh Raynolds – Vinous 94 points
“Bright purple. A deeply perfumed, complex bouquet evokes ripe cherry and blueberry, along with complicating notes of candied flowers, incense, bacon fat and smoky Indian spices. Sappy and expressive, offering palate-staining, smoke-tinged black and blue fruit liqueur and floral pastille flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Shows superb clarity and lift on the youthfully tannic, floral-accented finish, which lingers with outstanding tenacity.”

This is the lowest listed price on the West Coast today!
From the tiniest of domaines (0.5ha!) comes a throwback Cote Rotie.
Domaine Chambeyron-Manin Cote Rotie Cote Brune, Rhone 2013 750ML ($119.95) $99 special
Importer notes
“At the southern end of Ampuis, Christianne Manin and her family own and operate Les Jardins de la Côte-Rôtie, a small market offering locally produced meats, cheeses, and produce. Luckily for us, they also cultivate a tiny parcel of vines in Côte-Rôtie. The .5 hectare parcel of vines is located directly above their home and cellar. Dedicated exclusively to the Serine clone of syrah, these 40-50 year old vines grow on iron rich schist laden soils of the Côte Brune. All of the vineyard work is done by hand, as the 50% slope must be very cautiously navigated. In the cellar, the grapes are vinified as whole cluster and via native yeasts in concrete tanks. Upon the completion of fermentation, the wine is pressed off using a traditional basket press and transferred via gravity into 500L barrels (up to one third new, depending upon the vintage). The wine then ages for 18 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Production is limited to approximately 165 cases per year.”

This is the lowest listed price in the USA today!
The next best price is $108
Jerome Despesse does it old school—100% whole cluster, but with elegance.
Domaine J. Despesse Cornas, Rhone 2015 750ML ($59.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94 points
“From the young Jerome Despesse’s estate located in the southern part of Cornas, in the La Craux region and steep, terraced slopes, the 2015 Cornas sports a deep ruby/purple color as well as a killer bouquet of black fruits, scorched earth, beef blood, pepper, violets, and cedarwood. This old-school Cornas has a bloody, meaty, olive, iodine character (not far from what you can find from Allemand or Clape) as well as medium body, brilliant minerality, notable, yet integrated acidity, and a great finish. It doesn’t have the over the top power or richness that can be found in the vintage yet is perfectly balanced, complex, and just classic Cornas. I love it.”

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The spiritual heir to Robert Michel—and in the Rosenthal portfolio.
Domaine Guillaume Gilles Cornas, Rhone 2015 750ML ($99.95) $79 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 93 points
“Deep ruby. A complex, expressive bouquet displays aromas of ripe, mineral-accented dark berries, cola, incense, olive and candied violet. Deeply concentrated black and blue fruit flavors show superb focus and energy, and suave floral pastille and Moroccan spice qualities emerge as the wine opens up. Shows a deft blend of richness and vivacity and finishes with strong lift, building tannins and minerally persistence.”
Importer Note “This is the grand wine of this tiny domaine. The vines are situation on the higher slopes of the Chaillot vineyard. The “terroir” is more complex here with a mixture of soil types and expositions. There are terraces of pure granite that are oriented east – southeast; then, these are supplemented by terraces that sit on a clay-limestone base that have a full southern exposure. The grapes are never destemmed, the cuvaison is long (30 days) and the elevage is in demi-muids for eighteen months. As with the other wines of the domaine, this wine is neither fined nor filtered.”

While some of Paris wines are destemmed, this is 100% WC and vivid.
Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale, Rhone 2016 750ML ($89.95) $69 special
Josh Raynolds-Vinous 95-97 points
” (vines over 100 years old vines and no new oak) Brilliant purple. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes fresh black and blue fruits, Asian spices, incense, smoky minerals and olive paste. Deeply concentrated yet lively boysenberry, cherry pie, spicecake and bitter chocolate flavors are underscored by a building mineral quality. Shows a compelling blend of depth and litheness and finishes on a youthfully tannic note, displaying remarkable clarity and insistent mineral character. I don’t think I have ever tasted as profound a wine as this one from Vincent Paris, who seems to be one of the most underrated and under-the-radar producers in the northern Rhône.”
Wine Advocate 95-97 points “There are only about 3,000 bottles of the stunning 2016 Cornas la Geynale. Tasted from tank prior to bottling, it looks every bit the equal of the 2015—oozing with concentrated purple fruit and crushed stone but without that vintage’s massive tannins. The 100-year-old vines Paris works with at this site face south and achieved terrific ripeness, making the wine approachable relatively young.”

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A bit more polished, Barge continues to make some of the most captivating Cote Rotie.
Domaine Gilles Barge Cote Rotie Brune, Rhone 2012 750ML ($119.95) $89 special
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Focused, with a supple beam of cassis and plum reduction notes lined with hints of anise, violet and incense. The finish picks up light bay and juniper accents, but stays fleshy and inviting in feel. Solid and approachable now. Drink now through 2022.”

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Trending Wines of the Week

Big and rich, an excellent bolder-style Pinot.
Averaen ‘Eola Springs Vineyard’ Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Josh Raynolds 93 points
“(50% whole clusters and 50% new French oak) Vivid red. Spice-tinged black raspberry and cherry scents are complicated by hints of cola, pungent flowers and smoky minerals. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering energetic red and dark berry and vanilla flavors along with suggestions of rose pastille and blood orange that add complexity. Concentrated but vibrant and precise in character, delivering strong finishing thrust, interwoven tannins and excellent, floral-driven persistence.”

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Mineral to the max. This speaks of the Alps in unique ways.
Domaine Jean Masson & Fils Savoie Apremont Coeur d’Apremont 2016 750ML ($49.95) $36 special
Winery note
“Our flagship wine, the cuvee Coeur d’Apremont is sourced from the same plots every year, selected with the greatest care by Jean-Claude Masson. The grass cover-cropping and the age to the vines (80 years on average) result in tiny yields. Thus, when the fruit is picked at optimum maturity, it highly expresses all its aromatic potential. The result, after a long fermentation on fine lees, is a powerful wine of purity, characterized by notes of exceptional candied fruit: apricot, fig and peach.”

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A fantastic Blanc de Noirs for under $40.
Perseval-Farge C. de Pinots Premier Cru Brut, Champagne NV 750ML ($49.95) $39 special
Importer note
“The “C. de Pinots” is a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. A gentle pressing is done with a vertical press and the juice is vinified in stainless steel vats and in barrels (not new). A part of the wine goes through a malolactic fermentation. This cuvée is typically a blend of several vintages with at least 40% being reserve wine. The Champagne rests 48 months “sur lattes” before being disgorged. The dosage is 7g/L.”

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One of the preeminent natural wine producers made fantastic 2015’s.
Domaine Jean-Claude Lapalu Brouilly Cuvee des Fous, Beaujolais 2015 750ML ($41.95) $36 special
Wine Advocate 92-94 points
“The 2015 Brouilly Cuvée des Fous had been racked the day before my visit to the domaine and I tasted this directly from vat. It has an intense dark cherry, cassis and iodine-scented bouquet with gorgeous raspberry ripple scents lurking just underneath. The palate is very well balanced with fine, very lithe tannin. The acidity here is perfectly judged, as it sashays towards a composed and very pure and long finish. Wow – this is going to turn into one sensual and compelling Beaujolais.”

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What more needs to be said.  Janasse+2016.
Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone 2016 750ML ($69.95) $49 special
Jeb Dunnuck 94-96 points
“Incorporating 10% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre, the Grenache-dominated 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (there’s a touch of Cinsault) sports a saturated ruby/purple color. It shows hints of new oak in its black raspberries, blackberry, cured meats, crushed violets and spice-driven aromatics. This gives way to a rich, incredibly concentrated base cuvée that could easily be mistaken for the Vieille Vignes from another good year. Polished, concentrated and young, it’s going to need bottle age.”
Wine Advocate 93 points “The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape exhibits more dark fruit than I would’ve expected, with black cherries, black olives and tar all mingling on the nose. In the mouth, the blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and 5% Cinsault is full-bodied, rich and velvety, with a lush, lingering finish. Easy to drink now, it should age for at least a decade just on its sheer concentration and ripeness.”
Wine Spectator 93 points “A lovely beam of cassis and dark plum fruit streams through, laced with anise and graphite notes and driving through a sage brush–accented finish. Shows the ripe, focused, racy feel of the vintage. Best from 2020 through 2030.”

Mencia in a bright, fresh idiom.  Delicious and perfect for spring.
Bodegas Albamar Fusco, Ribeira Sacra 2017 750ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Advocate 91 points
“Mostly from the Chantada zone in Ribeira Sacra, the 2017 Fusco fermented destemmed in stainless steel and was bottled completely unoaked. It saw a maceration of 20 to 25 days and was bottled after it spent the winter in stainless steel. It’s very pleasant, fresh and easy to drink, but it’s not banal and is more about the granite soils than the variety—simple, transparent, straightforward. A degree more sophisticated and deep than the 2015. There are 13,000 bottles of this.”

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Vocoret’s Classic Chablis

Perfect for Spring

Classic Chablis at reasonable prices is an increasingly rare beast.  The best producers make exceptional and classic wines, but at prices that are hard to stomach for casual drinking.  There are an ocean of affordable but mass-market wines that seem to lack any sort of typicity. Domaine Vocoret, on the other hand, exists in a perfect overlap—the wines are delicious and have an essentialness about them that screams Chablis.  The pricing, too, is within reach, with even the Grand Cru wines under $50 a bottle.

The 2014 and 2016 vintages are excellent for Chablis in a classic mold.  Unlike the ripe and round 2015’s both vintages feature bright, crisp acidity and a palpable tension in the wines—exactly what you’d want out of wines from the region.  The 2016 Premier Crus and 2014 Grand Crus just landed, and you’d be wise to stock up now.

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Domaine Vocoret et Fils Les Forets, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($31.95) $24 special
Importer Note
“Fôrets is on the western side of the Serein river on a south-facing hill of high-quality Kimmeridgian soils just a few miles southwest of the town of Chablis. This site is known for elegant, steely expressions of Chardonnay. Aged in demi-muids, 1/3 new.”

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Domaine Vocoret et Fils Les Forets “Vieilles Vignes”, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($34.95) $26 special

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Domaine Vocoret et Fils Vaillons “Vieilles Vignes”, Chablis Premier Cru 2016 750ML ($34.95) $26 special
Importer Note
“On the left bank of the Serein. The name Vaillon comes from the Latin word valles meaning valley, which refers to the small valley where the vineyards are located.”

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Domaine Vocoret et Fils Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Stephen Tanzer 93 points
“Pale straw-yellow. Sweaty, savory aromas of fresh peach, ginger, quinine and crushed rock. Wonderfully generous, even silky, on the front half, as much floral and marrowy as peachy in the early going. With its strong impression of terroir, this wine already delivers a lot of personality, but its strong finishing saline minerality and brisk acidity call for at least a couple years of delayed gratification. This very ripe, smooth but vivacious 2014 grand cru should age gracefully.”

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Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($79.95) $59 special
Case-6 Domaine Vocoret et Fils Valmur, Chablis Grand Cru 2014 750ML ($349.95) $299 special
Stephen Tanzer 92+ points
“Much less expressive on the nose than the Blanchots but still with noteworthy incipient complexity to the aromas of citrus peel, white flowers, wet stone, white pepper and clove. Boasts terrific grain and thrust, but this youthfully dry, uncompromising wine is downright brooding today in spite of its essential light touch. Incisive flavors of citrus fruits, white flowers and ginger are further lifted by subtle herbal accents. This is excellent.”
Burghound 92 points “In contrast to the Vaudésir this is much better with much more evident Chablis character on the green fruit and citrus-infused nose that displays an appealing hint of mineral-reduction. There is excellent punch and detail to the relatively rich and powerful flavors that possess reasonably good mid-palate concentration before culminating in a notably stony and lingering finish that is presently quite tightly wound. This is definitely going to require a few years to further flesh out and develop better depth but the balance and underlying material are present for that to occur.”
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2006 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia
One of the world’s elite wine estates, this is an historical estate that is held in the highest esteem among insiders. The most shocking secret about the winery? For all the extraordinary grace, complexity and age-worthiness of the wines these are simply the best value in wine money can buy.

Arriving Wednesday:

R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($44.95) $39 pre-arrival special
Case-6 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja DOCa 2006 750ML ($249.95) $199 pre-arrival special
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion’s share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014.”
James Suckling 94 points “This is a remarkably lively wine for a 12-year-old Rioja with notes of licorice and dried cherries and a very elegant tannin structure that runs through the medium to full body of this red like a silk thread. The dry finish is long and polished. Drink or hold.”


Declassified Suduiraut

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Chateau Suduiraut Castelnau de Suduiraut, Sauternes 2012 375ML ($21.95) $18 special
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
“This generous and opulent wine is full and ripe, with well integrated fruit. It offers spice and layers of rich honey and is ready to drink.”

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Old Vine Garnacha + High Altitude

An Untraditional, Stunning Rioja

We have carried Eperatriz’s Cepas Viejas Garnacha every vintage we can—it’s a profound and unique expression of Rioja.  Made solely from old vine Garnacha from the higher altitude “Rioja Alta” sub-region of Rioja, it combines rich, captivating fruit with a brightness and delicacy that is unexpected for a wine this powerful.  Our allocation is arriving Wednesday, so pre-order yours today!

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“The wine that won my heart”
Finca La Emperatriz Cepas Viejas Garnacha, Rioja DOCa 2014 750ML ($39.95) $33 special
James Suckling 95 points
“An intensely herbal and floral nose displaying raspberries, cherries and hints of cloves. Mint, too. Medium body, ripe and juicy tannins and a very long, citrusy and savory finish. Made from vines over 65 years old. A wine that boasts superb finesse and style. Drink or hold.”
Luis Gutierrez-Wine Advocate 93 points “The wine that won my heart this time was without a doubt the 2014 Finca la Emperatriz Garnacha Cepas Viejas. This wine is sourced from the Rioja Alta subzone, not quite the classical Garnacha place, from the only old-vine Garnacha plot they have in the estate. It displays a captivating nose of sweet Garnacha fruit akin to cherries in liqueur, but keeping the freshness in a coolish vintage like 2014. The uncrushed grapes fermented in open-top stainless steel vats and 500-liter oak barrels with indigenous yeasts after five days of pre-fermentative maceration, and it matured in 500-liter oak barrels for ten months. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, delicious fresh flavors and very good length, ending with a tasty, almost salty note. 8,966 bottles and a bunch of magnums were produced and filled in November 2014.”


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